German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: Julius Streicher is most known as the leading anti-Semite of the Third Reich (after Hitler, of course). He was also Gauleiter of Franconia. This is a speech delivered in Nuremberg on 5 January 1939 to an audience of lower-level party officials in his Gau Franken, block wardens and cell leaders. They were not the most popular people. They collected for party charities, sold subscriptions to magazines, encouraged people to attend public meetings, kept an eye on their neighbors. When the block warden came to the door it often mean a request for time, money, or both. Unlike higher-level party offices, these posts were unpaid.

I am not sure how many the hall where the meet was held could hold, but from the accompanying photograph several thousand at least. The speech went for about an hour and a half, according to the report, so this is only part of the speech.

The source: Fränkische Tageszeitung, 5 January 1939, p. 4.

Julius Streicher Speaks

I regret that we do not have the ability in Nuremberg to assemble all of the block wardens and cell leaders of my Gau in a single hall. We have here only a part of the many men who could expect that we think once each year about them. Those gathered here, I am told, are the most experienced block wardens and cell leaders.

Only he who himself has had to build, only he who himself began a cell for the movement, the party, that has since grown large, only he knows what exhausting effort it takes, only he knows how one must think day and night about what to do to move forward. He knows, too, how hard it is to find the right people for all the necessary positions. In the end it depends on people. What would the National Socialist Party be without the men whose names one never mentions, who voluntarily do the work on which everything depends.

A clear warning!

Here and there in cabarets or variety shows dubious sorts who perhaps have the ability to talk but lack spirit try to mock block wardens. That has happened recently in Berlin and also in Nuremberg. I here say publicly: If someone once more dares in Nuremberg to mock a block warden, he will have to deal with me. I will reduce such a chap to size and close the cabaret.

We are happy that there are men who have true wit, who are creative and artistic in their performances. The mentally impoverished performers, however, are annoyed that they can no longer mock government leaders and matters of the government and city, dragging everything good and great into the muck as they did before. Idiots laughed at such jokes back then, not noticing that the pillars of the state were being undermined. We, however, know that we must have a government that serves the people. These chatterers who lack all spirit complain today about their lost “freedom” and say that one cannot tell a joke any more. That is their greatest insolence.

I know that artists respect me because I have repeatedly defended their interests. I have said what I just said to the best artists, and I hope that it will be heard where it should be heard!

The idea to call you together today came to me as I heard such a joke about block wardens in a cabaret.

Block wardens are the most valuable men that the party and state possess. You can be sure of this: We are always with you, by your quiet, hidden work that is hardly seen by the public, work that you do in loyalty to the people and the Führer. As one who built the movement and laid some of the first stones, let me say that I know what the block warden and the cell leader do.

The movement owes its existence to you. The Führer knows what he has in you.

The fact that everything in this Gau and particularly in this city works so well is thanks to you. If as Gauleiter I did not have you, I would have no foundation to stand on. If you fail, the movement fails.

I know that wherever people work, they need satisfaction. And that is why I say this to you. I was able to survive the worst times we experienced, the period of betrayal, because the Führer was with us.

The Führer is the embodiment of loyalty. If he deserts someone, there has to be very good reason. There is no way back to the movement we serve for someone who deserted the flag during the hardest times. We owe you that.

You, however, have worked through cold and heat, through storm and rain. You have proven yourselves. He who joined us later has to earn the right to be a party member by quiet, loyal work. Your tasks are to be sure people donate to the Winter Relief, that one thinks and acts in a social way, that one never forgets that there is a party that serves the people that in the end is the heartbeat of the people.

You must never focus on trivial matters, but always be just and focused on what is great.

The people must know that you are the true representatives of the movement, they must see in you the embodiment of the movement, and you must know that you represent the movement and that it will be judged by what you do. You must have the right attitude, both inwardly and outwardly.

Once again the successes of our Gau in the past year have been beautiful and great. We have the block wardens to thank for that, who are the antennae of the movement. I know your work, work that you often do with limited resources and time.

My dear block wardens and cell leaders! I regret that I cannot shake the hand of each one of you and say to each: “You are a splendid chap! You have worked loyally!”

“You have passed the test”

The highest praise that I can give you is to day that most of you joined the movement after the takeover of power. A few may have taken the office of block warden in hopes of personal advantage,, but most realized that they have only the pleasure in a job well done. You have done your work with ceaseless loyalty and great energy, and have already joined the ranks of old party members. he who has been tested for years and who had done loyal work for people and Führer has earned the right to wear the brown shirt. I can shake your hands with pride. You are no longer newcomers, but rather you have become old fighters because you have passed the test.

I am happy to have opportunity to thank you at the beginning of the year. You all are part of the reason why we live today in a great German Reich, of which one speaks as if it were a miracle.

We are entering a new year in which new miracles will happen if we all serve the Führer and people as we have before.

I order:

Each year on the second work day after the first of January, 100 cell and block wardens chosen from the entire Gau will receive awards. I will decide what kind of award this will be. These 100 men will be presented to the public and their pictures published in the newspapers.

In that way we will add a new tradition to those already existing in our Gau.

I feel that we have already made a good beginning to the year 1939 and I also feel that good things will happen. The best thing we can do to please the Führer is to assure him: “Führer, we will follow you!”


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