German Propaganda Archive Calvin University

Background: August Eigruber was Gauleiter of Oberdonau (Upper Danube), a region of Austria, from 1939-1945. He was tried after World War II for crimes against humanity, convicted, and hanged on 28 May 1947. This is a newspaper report of his radio speech on 10 April 1945.

The source: “In Oberdonau wird Stehengeblieben. Rundfunkansprachen des Gauleiters. — Die Blickrichtung nach dem Osten,” Neue Warte am Inn (Braunau am Inn), 18 April 1945, 1. The issue is available on ANNO.

Oberdonau Will Stand Firm

On Tuesday evening, 10 April, Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter Eigruber spoke over the radio to the people of Oberdonau in his capacity as Reichsverteidugungskommissar. He began with a brief review of the military situation in the Gaue Steiermark, Niederdonau, and Vienna. Then Gauleiter Eigruber continued:

“I do not intend to talk about the many rumors and stories going around, even if they are confirmed by supposed eyewitnesses. I am not one of those who tell stories about things as they would like them to be, but rather I describe things as they really are. By and large the enemy will not be able to move the front further toward the Danube in the near future. Despite that, I wish to say clearly not only to all people’s comrades in Reichsgau Oberdonau, but also to all those who have found shelter here in the last months and days, whether civilian or military, that not only as Gauleiter of the NSDAP and as Reichsstatthalter, and thereby the representative of the Reich government, but also as Reichsverteidigungskommissar of the Reichgau Oberdonau, I am considering everything that could happen with regards to the present military situation in Niederdonau and Vienna and am making preparations.

Looking to the East

I have been doing this not only in the past few days, but for many months. Life in Reichsgau Oberdonau is concerned entirely with the needs of the front. Our attention is focused exclusively on the East. That is where the enemy stands, there the decisive battle will be fought, there will be decided the fate of the Reich and of our people.

It is time to put an end to the cowardly panic-makers who reduce our powers of resistance. Bolshevist soldiers are not supermen, nor disciplined and courageous individual fighters, but only what they always were: a wild collection of Asiatics driven forward by whips, mixed with European trash from the Balkans. Russian tanks, which have been attacked by many in Steiermark, Niederdonau, and Vienna avoid organized resistance, anti-tank guns. and bazookas because they have stolen gold, silver and watches and want to return with this booty to their Anushka on the steppes. If they meet no resistance they charge forward, but if they encounter resistance or if they are attacked, their aura of invincibility is gone. Determined counterattacks in Niederdonau and Steiermark prove that a few German soldiers and Volkssturm men are far better fighters than the Bolshevists, just as in 1941.

I repeat my order: Oberdonau will hold firm! Were we to run, the fate of our women and children would be postponed at most a few days. We have a chance to give this war a different direction and that is: Hold firm and fight! I direct this order to all who are able to defend their homeland, and therefore our women and children.

I have given strict orders that no one here will be evacuated. I have learned through the controls I established on the western border of Gau Oberdonau that there are a few who have not followed my orders. The president of the Gau labor office Gustav Böhm from Länz in Braunau was arrested as he attempted to leave the Gau in a westerly direction. I have ordered that the president of the Gau labor office be court martialed today. [Böhm was hanged on 12 April for cowardice and desertion.]

I am not concerned with small failings of simple people’s comrades committed because of nervousness. I do expect exemplary behavior from responsible men of the state, business, and government offices. I expect of the leading men of the Gau just what is expected of the simplest people’s comrades. And for officials of the NSDAP, that is obvious.

“... but no one will go hungry”

And now a word to refugees. I ask all people’s comrades in cities and the countryside, but particularly women and girls, help where you see a need! Take in mothers and pregnant women and small children, regardless of whether they are German or allied foreigners. Even if hundreds of thousands have moved into our Gau, I have assured sufficient provisions and food supplies. I have taken the necessary measures to ensure that everyone gets the same. There is no danger of hunger in his Gau. There may be shortages, but no one will starve. Sharp action will be taken, however, against hoarders and beggars. I instruct the police and Volkssturm in the villages to be sure of that.

Work in the cities and countryside goes on as before. Nothing will shake the native calm of we people from Oberdonau. We will stand together. We will help each other as much as we can, and we are ready to stand together and to fight!”

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