Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in April 1942. It deals with a variety of matters, perhaps the most interesting of which is guidance on how to deal with a forged letter supposedly written by German air ace Mölders.
The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 30, 16 April 1942. The original is held by the Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen in Detmold.
Advice to Speakers
I. Victory at any price.
III. The “Mölder Letter” again.
I. Victory at any price!
The fundamental principle that Dr. Goebbels stated in Vienna, “Victory at any Price,” must become the guiding thought of all of our people’s comrades. Speakers are instructed to use this phrase in every meeting.
Every idea that can harden our people’s will in this direction is to be used. Here are a number of examples.
II. On Bartering and the black market
The press currently is publishing the first verdicts by special courts in the battle against bartering and the black market. A few cases from the larger number of court decisions are being emphasized. Our speakers will receive details on several other cases and should use this material in party meetings to show our people that party and state are not willing to allow crimes against the spirit of our our people’s war community to go unpunished.
a) Do not promote a general criminality psychosis.
It is important that the actions against bartering and the black market do not become an occasion for nasty denunciations and general snooping. Stress strongly that the whole of our people is decent and that there is no reason to attack each individual over a stick of butter or a liter of milk.
If, for example, a mother worries about her children and gives a little bit “extra” to feed her hungry mouths, that is no crime against the people’s community, but rather an understandable motherly emotion. If someone in the countryside sends his married daughter a package with a few foodstuffs, that is no crime against the people, but rather understandable family support.
If a worker who loyally and capably does the increased labor demanded of him today takes the opportunity to get a few cigarettes or cigars without paying exorbitant prices or hoarding, there is no need to move heaven and earth to declare the man a state criminal.
Such insignificant matters do not merit police investigation and court action that result from a complaint. Besides, such complaints are generally not the result of a high sense of responsibility, but rather of base envy and nasty jealousy.
Naturally we do not mean general hoarding here, but rather “insignificant” matters that do not harm the whole, but instead provide a valuable aid for a person’s life and productive energies.
Speakers should discuss this, helping the people’s community to develop a camaraderie that is able to overlook small weaknesses with patience, but to condemn real offences unmercifully.
Our soldiers at the front live with such camaraderie and are at risk of concluding from such penalties that the German people consists entirely of profiteers and black marketers.
The seriousness with which we take such matters, however, is clear from the following examples that speakers may use in their meetings.
The press has already reported death sentences against head nurse Matilde Arndt and kitchen worker Anna Rudeck, both from the crippled children’s home at the Bethesda hospital in Angersburg, and also against master butcher Alfred Lindhorst from Fürsetenburg in Mecklenburg. In the first case, it was a matter of stealing a large quantity of foodstuffs from the crippled children’s home and greedily selling these wares at excessive princes. In the second case, large-scale black market slaughtering that cost the people’s community meat was punished by death.
There have been other press reports of long prison terms and large fines against the black market butcher and profiteer Hellmut Mollenhauer from Berlin-Wilmersdort, pig raiser Johann Heidrich from Berlin-Siemensstadt, master butcher Johann Quellen from Sittensen near Hannover, and his son Heinrich Quellen. There was also the merchant Bernhard Strotkötter from Mastholte, who was convicted of profiteering by exploiting the war situation and charging excessive prices.
The following cases have not yet been made public:
These few cases should allow the speaker to make clear to everyone that we will deal with crooks who in any way use the needs of our time to their own advantage or who violate our great community of discipline. People who act in the ways described have no right to call themselves German. Their attitudes and desires are as greedy as the Jews, their acts criminal and base, and their penalty is obvious and just.
III. The “Mölder Letter” again.
With reference to the item in #27 of the Redner-Schellinformation:
Despite repeated statements regarding the false rumor about a letter from deceased air force hero Captain Mölders, which have also been encouraged by church offices, the rumor continues to be spread by those with obvious malicious intent. [The letter was one of the more successful propaganda British forgeries and caused the Germans a great deal of trouble.] To provide our speakers with the material to energetically combat the rumor where necessary, here is a summary of the matter:
This forged letter has been spread by Catholic agitators, and was supposedly sent to the Provost of Stettin. It suggests that only Catholics were able to demonstrate bravery in combat, while the so-called “life-affirming,” those who believed in God [gottgllaübiger, the Nazi term for those who claimed to believe in god rather different than the traditional Christian God], had to gain the courage and strength they needed for battle from the “life-denying” Catholics.
That this letter is a contemptible forgery is proven by the fact that the Provost of Stettin, the supposed recipient of the letter, Provost Daniel, told the state police that he did not personally know the deceased Captain Mölders, was never in written contact with him, and did not receive the letter in question.
This was further supported by an announcement published in the newsletter of Catholic Military Chaplain Rarkowski on 10 January 1942, who stated:
The Provost of Stettin has also rejected the spreading of this crude forgery and had the following announcement read from the pulpit of the Provost’s Church in Stettin on Sunday, 8 February 1942:
Provost Daniel’s statement reveals the insidious ways that Catholic Action [a Catholic group unfriendly to the Nazis] makes unscrupulous use of the name of a dead hero honored by the entire German people. They use base falsehoods to sow doubt and promote internal divisions within the people.
It should be noted that a few Catholic bishops have distanced themselves from this criminal activity by statements in their newsletters. However, other Catholic circles are promoting such agitation. The letter was spread in Gau Tirol-Voralberg by the Apostolic Administration in Innsbruck. Two clerics who used this forgery in continuing propaganda from the pulpit were temporarily arrested, and confirmed that they received the letter from the Apostolic Administration through Bishop Dr. Rusch.
Only after action by the Gestapo did the Apostolic Administration in Innsbruck find it appropriate to state that the letter was a forgery in a message to its subordinate church offices and prohibit its distribution.
Speakers are instructed to present the facts as outlined here in meetings in areas where this letter has produced rumors. However, strictly avoid a broader discussion about fundamental questions of the various religious perspectives. Nor should setting the facts straight be used for general complaints about Catholic political action. The facts presented speak for themselves and will enable all clear-eyed people’s comrades to draw the proper conclusions about the value and morals of those unscrupulous agitators. A broader discussion, on the other hand, would lead to disputes that would only divide our people and advance the goal of the crude forgers of the letter. We have to work hard to frustrate that goal, which could only help the enemy. All the strengths of the German people’s community have to be directed toward our common battle with fate: Victory over the Jewish-plutocratic-Bolshevist world conspiracy.
For weeks the Wehrmacht report has carried almost daily mention of the unbroken attack of the German and Italian air force against Malta. That has to lead to stupid jokes. Now the rumor occasionally surfaces that they are “clear signs of coming operations.”
Speakers should make clear to all their listeners that such thoughts perhaps spring from the understandable wish of the British to learn something about our future plans. We, however, have no desire to discuss such matters. We always leave what will happen and when it will happen to the Führer. He always knows the right moment and also knows the best and most effective place to strike, the place most painful for the British.
Malta has an entirely different significance. The British have few remaining possibilities to help and support their African troops via the Mediterranean. They need Malta as a refuge and operational base. The goal of our continuing attacks is to make this difficult, to make British supply of Africa and Egypt as difficult as possible. We have so far fully succeeded in doing this. All other speculations are senseless chatter.
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Home Page.