The story

Hans Fritzsche


Hans Fritzsche was born in Bochum, Westphalia, in 1900. He served in the infantry in the German Army during the First World War. After the war he studied liberal arts at university but left before taking a degree.

Fritzsche found employed in the new field of radio and in September 1932 he was appointed as head of the Wireless News Department. Soon afterwards he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and advised Adolf Hitler on the use of this new medium.

He continued as head of the Wireless News Department when Joseph Goebbels became head of the Reich Ministry for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda. Later Fritzsche was given responsibility for the News Section of the Press Division.

In December 1938 Fritzsche was appointed chief of the Home Press Division. This organization controlled news publication in Germany during the Second World War. This post became even more important when the war started going badly for Germany and in May, 1942, it was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. For the rest of the war Fritzsche was chief of the Propaganda Ministry's Radio Division.

Fritzsche was taken prisoner by the Red Army in Berlin on 2nd May 1945. He was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial but was found not guilty and released. However he was quickly re-arrested and after being found guilty of a variety of crimes by the German courts, was sentenced to nine years hard labour.

Fritzsche was released from prison on 29th September, 1950. Hans Fritzsche died of cancer on 27th September, 1953. His Memoirs were published in the United States in 1971.

I do not by any means want to deny that I and my fellow workers selected news and quotations following a certain tendency. It is the curse of propaganda during war that one works only with black and white. But to my knowledge it is a mistake to believe that in the Propaganda Ministry thousands of little lies were hatched out. If we had lied on a thousand small things, the enemy would have been able to deal with us more easily than was the case.


Nuremberg Trial Defendants: Hans Fritzsche

Fritzsche's Party membership and his various positions in the propaganda apparatus of the Nazi State are shown in two affidavits made by himself (2976-PS 3469-PS). Fritzsche became a member of the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933, and continued to be a member until Germany's collapse in 1945.

Fritzsche began his service with the staff of the Reich Ministry for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda (hereinafter referred to as the Propaganda Ministry on 1 May 1933, he remained within the Propaganda Ministry until the Nazi downfall in the spring of 1945.

Before the Nazis seized political power in Germany, and beginning in September 1932, Fritzsche was head of the Wireless News Service (Drahtloser Dienst), an agency of the Reich Government, which at that time was the government of von Papen. After the Wireless News Service was incorporated into Dr. Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry in May 1933, Fritzsche continued as its head until 1938. Upon entering the Propaganda Ministry in May 1933, Fritzsche also became head of the news section of the Press Division of the Propaganda Ministry. He continued in this position until 1937. In the summer of 1938 Fritzsche was appointed deputy to Alfred Ingemar Berndt, who was then head of the German Press Division. (The German Press Division, in the Indictment, is called the "Home Press Division." Since "German Press Division" seems to be a more literal translation, it is referred to as the German Press Division throughout this section. It is sometimes otherwise known as the Domestic Press Division.) This Division, as will be later shown, was the major section of the Press Division of the Reich

In December 1938 Fritzsche succeeded Berndt as the head of the German Press Division. Between 1938 and November 1942, Fritzsche was promoted three times. He advanced in title from Superior Government Counsel to Ministerial Counsel, then to Ministerialdirigent, and finally to Mnisterialdirektor.

In November 1942 Fritzsche was relieved of his position as head of the German Press Division by Dr. Goebbels. In its place he accepted from Dr. Goebbels a newly created position in the Propaganda Ministry, that of Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio. At the same time he also became head of the Radio Division of the Propaganda Ministry. He held both these positions in radio until the Nazi- downfall.

There are two allegations in the Indictment concerning Fritzsche's positions for which no proof is available. The first unsupported-allegation states that Fritzsche was Editor-in-Chief of the official German News Agency, Deutsche Nachrichten Buero. The second unsupported allegation states that Fritzsche was head of the Radio Division of the Propaganda Department of the Nazi Party. Fritzsche, in his affidavit, denies having held either of these positions, and these two allegations must fall for want of other proof.

B. FRITZSCHE'S PART IN THE CONSPIRACY TO CONSOLIDATE NAZI CONTROL OVER GERMANY AND TO LAUNCH WARS OF AGGRESSION.

In one of his affidavits (8469-PS), which contains numerous statements in the nature of self-serving declarations, Fritzsche state. that he first became a successful journalist in the service of the Hugenberg Press, the most important chain of newspaper enterprises in pre-Nazi Germany. The Hugenberg concern owned papers of its own, but it was important primarily because it served newspaper which principally supported the so-called "national" parties of the Reich, including the NSDAP.

In paragraph 5 of this affidavit (3469-PS), Fritzsche relates that in September 1932, when von Papen was Reich Chancellor, he was made head of the Wireless News Service, replacing an official who was politically unbearable to the Papen regime. The Wireless News Service was a government agency for spreading news by radio. Fritzsche began making radio broadcasts at about this time, with a success which Goebbels recognized and later exploited on behalf of the Nazi conspirators.

On the evening of the day when the Nazis seized power, the 30 January 1933, two emissaries from Goebbels visited Fritzsche. One of them was Dressler-Andrees, head of the Radio Division of the NSDAP the other was an assistant of Dressler-Andrees named Sadila-Mantau. These two emissaries notified Fritzsche that although Goebbels was angry with Fritzsche for writing an article critical of Hitler, still Goebbels recognized Fritzsche's public success on the radio. They stated further that Goebbels desired to retain Fritzsche as head of the Wireless News Service on certain conditions: (1) that Fritzsche discharge all Jews (2 that he discharge all other personnel who would not join the NSDAP (3) that he employ with the Wireless News Service the second Goebbels' emissary, Sadila-Mantau. Fritzsche refused all these conditions except the hiring of Sadila-Mantau. (3469-PS)

Fritzsche continued to make radio broadcasts during this period in which he supported the national National Socialist coalition government then still existing.

In early 1933 SA troops several times called at the Wireless News Service and Fritzsche prevented them, with some difficulty, from making news broadcasts.

In April 1933 Goebbels called Fritzsche to him for a personal audience. At paragraph 9 of his affidavit (3469-PS) Fritzsche has described his prior relationship with Dr. Goebbels:

"I was acquainted with Dr. Goebbels since 1928. Apparently he had taken a liking to me, besides the fact that in my press activities I had always treated the National Socialists in a friendly way until 1931. Already before 1933, Goebbels, who was the editor of the 'Attack' ["Der Angriff" a Nazi newspaper, had frequently made flattering remarks about the form and content of my work, which I did as contributor of many 'National' newspapers and periodicals, among which were also reactionary papers and periodicals." (3469-PS)

(1) Establishment of complete Nazi control over press and radio. At the first Goebbels-Fritzsche discussion in early April 1933, Goebbels informed Fritzsche of his decision to place the Wireless News Service within the Propaganda Ministry as of 1 May 1933. He suggested that Fritzsche make certain rearrangements in the personnel so as to remove Jews and other persons who did not support the NSDAP. Fritzsche debated with Goebbels concerning some of these steps. During this period Fritzsche made some effort to place Jews in other jobs.

In a second conference with Goebbels shortly thereafter, Fritzsche informed Goebbels about the steps he had taken in reorganizing the Wireless News Service. Goebbels thereupon informed Fritzsche that he would like to have him reorganize and modernize the entire news services of Germany within the controls of the Propaganda Ministry. On 17 March 1933, approximately two months before this time, the Propaganda Ministry had been created by decree. (2029-PS) Fritzsche was intrigued by the Gobbles. offer. He proceeded to conclude the Goebbels inspired reorganization of the Wireless-News Service and, on 1 May 1933, together with the remaining members of his staff, he joined the Propaganda Ministry. On this same day he joined the NSDAP and took the customary oath of unconditional loyalty to the Fuehrer (3469-PS).

From this time on, whatever reservations Fritzsche may have had, either then or later, to the course of events under the Nazis, Fritzsche was completely within the Nazi camp. For the next 13 years he assisted in creating and in using the propaganda devices which the conspirators successfully employed in each of the principal phases.

From 1933 until 1942 Fritzsche held one or more positions within the German Press Division. For four years, from 1938 to 1942 the period when the Nazis undertook military invasions of neighboring countries -- he headed this Division. By virtue of its functions, the German Press Division became an important and unique instrument of the Nazi conspirators, not only in dominating the minds and psychology of Germans, but also as an instrument of foreign policy and psychological warfare against other nations. Thus, the already broad jurisdiction of the Propaganda Ministry was extended as follows by a Hitler decree of 30 June 1933:

"The Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda has jurisdiction over the whole field of spiritual indoctrination of the nation, of propagandizing the State, of cultural and economic propaganda, of enlightenment of the public at home and abroad. Furthermore, he is in charge of the administration of all institutions serving those purposes." (2030-PS)

An exposition of the general functions of the German Press Division of the Propaganda Ministry is contained in an excerpt from a book by George Wilhelm Mueller, a Ministerial Director in the Propaganda Ministry. (2434-PS) Paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of Fritzsche's affidavit contain an exposition of the functions of the German Press Division, a description which confirms and adds to the exposition in Mueller's book. Concerning the German Press Division, Fritzsche's affidavit (3469-PS) states:

"During the whole period from 1933 to 1945 it was the task of the German Press Division to supervise the entire domestic press and to provide it with directives by which this division became an efficient instrument in the hands of the German State leadership. More than 2,300 German daily newspapers were subject to this control. The aim of this supervision and control, in the first years following 1933, was to change basically the conditions existing in the press before the seizure of power. That meant the coordination into the New Order of those newspapers and periodicals which were in the service of capitalistic special interests or party politics. While the administrative functions, wherever possible, were exercised by the professional associations and the Reich Press Chamber, the political leadership of the German press was entrusted to the German Press Division. The head of the German Press Division held daily press conferences in the Ministry for the representatives of all German newspapers. Hereby all instructions were given to the representatives of the press. These instructions were transmitted daily, almost without exception, and mostly by telephone, from headquarters by Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, in a fixed statement, the so-called 'Daily Parole of the Reich Press Chief.' Before the statement was fixed the head of the German Press Division submitted to him -- Dietrich -- the current press wishes expressed by Dr. Goebbels and by other Ministries. This was the case especially with the wishes of the Foreign Office, about which Dr. Dietrich always wanted to make decisions personally or through his representatives at the headquarters, Helmut Suendermann and chief editor Lorenz. The practical use of the general directions in detail was thus left entirely to the individual work of the individual editor. Therefore, it is by no means true that the newspapers and periodicals were a monopoly of the German Press Division or that essays and leading articles through it had to be submitted to the Ministry. Even in war times this happened in exceptional cases only. The less important newspapers and periodicals which were not represented at the daily press conferences received their information in a different way -- by providing them either with ready-made articles and reports, or with a confidential printed instruction. The publications of all other official agencies were directed and coordinated likewise by the German Press Division. To enable the periodicals to get acquainted with the daily political problems of newspapers and to discuss these problems in greater detail, the Informationskorrepondenz was issued especially for periodicals. Later on it was taken over by the Periodical Press Division. The German Press Division likewise was in charge of pictorial reporting in so far as it directed the employment of pictorial reporters at important events. In this way, and conditioned by the current political situation, the entire German Press was made a permanent instrument of the Propaganda Ministry by the German Press Division. Thereby, the entire German Press was subordinate to the political aims of the Government. This was exemplified by the timely measuring and the emphatic presentation of such press polemics as appeared to be most useful, as shown for instance in the following themes: the class struggle of the system era the leadership principle and the authoritarian state the party and interest politics of the system era the Jewish problem the conspiracy of World Jewry the Bolshevistic danger the plutocratic Democracy abroad the race problem generally the church the economic misery abroad the foreign policy and living space [lebensraum]."

This description of Fritzsche's establishes clearly that the German Press Division was the instrument for subordinating the entire German press to the political aims of the Nazi Government.

Fritzsche's early activities within the German Press Division on behalf of the conspirators are described in his affidavit (3469-PS). In a conference with Goebbels the following occurred:

"At this time Dr. Goebbels suggested to me, as a specialist on news technique, the establishment and direction of a section 'News,' within the Press Division of his Ministry, in order to organize fully and to modernize the German news agencies. In executing this assignment given to me by Dr. Goebbels I took for my field the entire news field for the German Press and the radio in accordance with the directions given by the Propaganda Ministry, at first with the exception of the DNB, German News Agency." (3469-PS)

The reason why the DNB was excepted from Fritzsche's field at this time is that it did not come into existence until 1934.

Later on in his affidavit Fritzsche mentions the sizeable funds put at his disposal in building up the Nazi news services. Altogether, the German news agencies received a ten-fold increase in their budget from the Reich, an increase from 400,000 to 4,000,000 marks. Fritzsche himself selected and employed the Chief Editor for the Transocean News Agency and also for the Europa Press. Fritzsche states that some of the

" *** directions of the Propaganda Ministry which I had to follow were *** increase of German news copy abroad at any cost *** spreading of favorable news on the internal construction and peaceful intentions of the National Socialistic System. ***"

About the summer of 1934 Funk, then Reich Press Chief, achieved the fusion of the two most important domestic news agencies, the Wolff Telegraph Agency and the Telegraph Union, and thus formed the official German news agency known as DNB. Although Fritzsche held no position with DNB at any time, nevertheless as head of the news section of the German Press Division, Fritzsche's duties gave him official jurisdiction over the DNB, which was the official domestic news agency of the Reich after 1934. Fritzsche admits that he coordinated the work of the various foreign news agencies

"within the inland Europe and overseas foreign countries with each other and in relationship to DNB" (3469-PS).

The Wireless News Service was headed by Fritzsche from 1930 to 1937. After January 1933 the Wireless News Service was the official instrument of the Nazi government in spreading news over the radio. During the same time that Fritzsche headed the Wireless News Service, he personally made radio broadcasts to the German people. These broadcasts were naturally subject to the controls of the Propaganda Ministry and reflected its purposes. The influence of Fritzsche's broadcasts to the German people, during this period of consolidation of control by the Nazi conspirators, is all the more important since Fritzsche was concurrently head of the Wireless News Service, and thus in control of all radio news.

(2) Use of propaganda to prepare the way for aggressions. The use made by the Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack. They used the press, after their earlier conquests, as a means for further influencing foreign politics and in maneuvering for the net following aggression.

By the time of the occupation of the Sudetenland on 1 October 1938, Fritzsche had become deputy head of the entire German Press Division. Fritzsche states that the role of German propaganda before the Munich Agreement on the Sudetenland was directed by his immediate chief, Berndt, head of the German Press Division. Fritzsche describes Berndt's propaganda as follows:

"He exaggerated minor events very strongly, used sometimes old episodes as new -- and there even came complaints from the Sudetenland itself that much of the news reported by the German press was untrustworthy. As a matter of fact, after the great foreign political success at Munich in September 1938, there came a noticeable crisis in confidence of the German people in the trustworthiness of its press. This was one reason for the recalling of Berndt, in December 1938 after the conclusion of the Sudeten action and for my appointment as head of the German Press Division. Beyond this, Berndt, by-his admittedly successful but still primitive military-like orders to the German Press, had lost the confidence of the German editors." (469-PS)

Fritzsche was accordingly made head of the German Press Division in place of Berndt. Between December 1938 and 1942, Fritzsche, as head of the German Press Division, personally gave to the representatives of the principal German newspapers the "daily parole of the Reich Press Chief." During this period he was the principal conspirator directly- concerned with the manipulations of the press.

The first important foreign aggression after Fritzsche became head of the German Press Division was the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia. Fritzsche describes the propaganda action surrounding the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia as follows:

"The action for the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia, which took place on 15 March 1939, while I was head of the German Press Division, was not prepared for such a long period as the Sudeten action. According to my memory, it was in February that I received the order from the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich, which was repeated as a request by the envoy Paul Schmidt of the Foreign Office, to bring the attention of the press to the efforts for independence of Slovakia and to the continued anti-German coalition politics of the Prague government. I did this. The daily paroles of the Reich Press Chief and the press conference minutes at that time show the wording of the corresponding instructions. These were the typical headlines of leading newspapers and the emphatic leading articles of the German daily press at that time: (1) the terrorizing of Germans within the Czech territory by arrest, shooting of Germans by the state police, destruction and damaging of German homes by Czech gangsters (2) the concentration of Czech forces on the Sudeten frontier (3) the kidnaping, deporting, and persecuting of Slovakian minorities by the Czechs that the Czechs must get out of Slovakia (4) secret meetings of Red functionaries in Prague. Some few days before the visit of Hacha, I received the instruction to publish in the press very emphatically the incoming news on the unrest in Czechoslovakia. Such information I received only partly from the German News Agency, DNB. Mostly it came from the Press Division of the Foreign Office and some of it came from big newspapers with their own news services. Among the newspapers offering information was above all the 'Voelkischer Beobachter' which, as I learned later on, received its information from the SS Standartenfuehrer Gunter D'Alquen. He was at this time in Pressburg. I had forbidden all news agencies and newspapers to issue news on unrest in Czechoslovakia before I had seen it. I wanted to avoid a repetition of the very annoying results of the Sudeten action propaganda, and I did not want to suffer a loss of prestige caused by untrue news. Thus, all news checked by me was admittedly full of tendency [voller Tendenz] however, not invented. After the visit of Hacha in Berlin and after the beginning of the invasion of the German Army, which took place on 15 March 1939, the German press had enough material for describing those events. Historically and politically the event was justified with the indication that the declaration of independence of Slovakia had required an interference and that Hacha with his signature had avoided a war and had reinstated a thousand-year union between Bohemia and the Reich." (3469-PS)

The propaganda campaign of the press preceding the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 bears again the handiwork of Fritzsche and his German Press Division. Fritzsche speaks of the conspirators' treatment of this episode as follows:

"Very complicated and changing was the press and propagandistic treatment in the case of Poland. Under the influence of the German-Polish agreement, it was generally forbidden in the German press for many years to publish anything on the situation of the German minority in Poland. This remained also the case when in the Spring of 1939 the German press was asked to become somewhat more active as to the problem of Danzig. Also, when the first Polish-English conversations took place, and when the German press was instructed to use a sharper tone against Poland, the question of the German minority still remained in the background. But during the summer this problem was picked up again and created immediately a noticeable sharpening of the situation, namely, each larger German newspaper had for quite some time an abundance of material on complaints of the Germans in Poland without the editors having had a chance to use this material. The German papers, from the time of the minority discussion at Geneva, still had correspondents of free collaborators in Kattewitz, Bromberg, Posen, Thorn, etc. Their material now came forth with a bound. Concerning this the leading German newspapers, upon the basis of directions given out in the so-called 'daily parole' brought out the following publicity with great emphasis: (1) cruelty and terror against Germans and the extermination of Germans in Poland (2) forced labor of thousands of German men and women in Poland (3) Poland, land of servitude and disorder the desertion of Polish soldiers the increased inflation in Poland (4) provocation of frontier clashes upon direction of the Polish Government the Polish lust to conquer (5) persecution of Czechs and Ukrainians by Poland. The Polish Press replied particularly sharply." (3469-PS)

The press campaign preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia followed the conventional pattern. The customary definitions, lies, incitement, and threats, and the usual attempt to divide and weaken the victim, are contained in Fritzsche's description of this propaganda action:

"During the period immediately preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia, on 16 April 1941, the German press emphasized by headlines and leading articles the following topics: (1) the planned persecution of Germans in Yugoslavia, including the burning down of German villages by Serbian soldiers also the confining of Germans in concentration camps and also the physical mishandling of German-speaking persons (2) the arming of Serbian bandits by the Serbian Government (3) the incitement of Yugoslavia by the plutocrats against Germany (4) the increasing anti-Serbian feeling in Croatia (5) the chaotic economic and social conditions in Yugoslavia."

Since Germany had a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, and because the conspirators wanted the advantage of surprise, there was no special propaganda campaign immediately preceding the attack on the USSR. Fritzsche's affidavit discusses the propaganda line which was given the German people in justification of this aggressive war:

"During the night from the 21st to the 22nd of June 1941 [21 June 1941-22 June 1941], Ribbentrop called me in for a conference in the Foreign Office building at about 5 o'clock in the morning, at which representatives of the domestic and foreign press were present. Ribbentrop informed us that the war against the Soviet Union would start that same day and asked the German press to present the war against the Soviet Union as a preventative war for the defense of the Fatherland, as a war which was forced upon us through the immediate danger of an attack of the Soviet Union against Germany. The claim that this was a preventative war was later repeated by the newspapers which received their instructions from me during the usual daily parole of the Reich Press Chief. I, myself, have also given this presentation of the cause of the war in my regular broadcasts." (3469-PS)

Fritzsche, throughout his affidavit, constantly refers to his expert technical assistance to the apparatus of the Propaganda Ministry. In 1939, apparently becoming dissatisfied with the efficiency of the existing facilities of the German Press Division, he established a new instrument for improving the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda:

"About the summer of 1939 I established within the German Press Division a section called 'Speed-Service.' *** At the start it had the task of checking the correctness of news from foreign countries. Later on, about the Fall of 1939, this section also elaborated on collecting materials which were put at the disposal of the entire German press. For instance, dates from the British Colonial policy, from political statements of the British Prime Minister in former times, descriptions of social distress in hostile countries, etc. Almost all German newspapers used such material as a basis for their polemics. Hereby was achieved a great unification within the fighting front of the German press. The title 'Speed Service' was chosen because materials for current comments were supplied with unusual speed." (3469-PS)

Throughout this entire period preceding and including the launching of aggressive wars, Fritzsche made regular radio broadcasts to the German people under the program titles of "Political Newspaper Review," "Political and Radio Show," and later "Hans Fritzsche Speaks." His broadcasts naturally reflected the polemics and the controls of his Ministry and thus of the conspiracy. Fritzsche, the most eminent member of Goebbels propaganda team, helped substantially in making possible, both within Germany and without, the conspirators' plans for aggressive war.

C. FRITZSCHE'S USE OF PROPAGANDA TO FURTHER THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ATROCITIES AND EXPLOIT OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.

Fritzsche incited atrocities and encouraged a ruthless occupation policy. The results of propaganda as a weapon of the Nazi conspirators reaches into every aspect of this conspiracy, including the atrocities and ruthless exploitation in occupied countries. It is likely that many ordinary Germans would never have participated in or tolerated the atrocities committed throughout Europe, had they not been conditioned and goaded by the constant Nazi propaganda. The callousness and zeal of the people who actually committed the atrocities was in large part due to the constant and corrosive propaganda of Fritzsche and his official associates.

(1) Persecution of the Jews. With respect to Jews, the Department of Propaganda within the Propaganda Ministry had a special branch for the "Enlightenment of the German people and of the world as to the Jewish question, fighting with propagandistic weapons against enemies of the State and hostile ideologies." This quotation is taken from a book written in 1940 by Ministerial Director Mueller, entitled "The Propaganda Ministry." (2434-PS)

In his radio broadcasts Fritzsche took a particularly active part in this "enlightenment" concerning the Jewish question. These broadcasts were full of provocative libels against Jews, the result of which was to inflame Germans to further atrocities against Jews. Even Streicher, the master Jew- baiter of all time, could scarcely outdo Fritzsche in some of his anti-Jewish incitements. Broadcasts by Fritzsche which were monitored and translated by the British Broadcasting Corporation are quite revealing (3064-PS). These radio speeches of Fritzsche were broadcast during the period 1941-1945, which was a period of intensified anti- Jewish measures.

For instance, in a broadcast on 18 December 1941, Fritzsche declared:

"The fate of Jewry in Europe has turned out as unpleasant as the Fuehrer predicted in the case of a European war. After the extension of the war instigated by Jews, this unpleasant fate may-also spread to the New World, for you can hardly assume that the nations of this New World will pardon the Jews for the misery of which the nations of the Old World did not absolve them." (3064-PS)

On 18 March 1941 Fritzsche broadcast as follows:

"But the crown of all wrongly-applied Rooseveltian logics is the sentence 'There never was a race and there never will be a race which can serve the rest of mankind as a master.' Here too we can only applaud Mr. Roosevelt. Precisely because there exists no race which can be the master. of the rest of mankind, we Germans have taken the liberty to break the domination of Jewry and of its capital in Germany, of Jewry which believed to have inherited the Crown of secret world domination." (3064-PS)

On 9 October 1941 Fritzsche declared over the radio:

"We know very well that these German victories, unparalleled in history, have not yet stopped the source of hatred, which, for a long time, has fed the war mongers and from which this war originated. The international Jewish-Democratic Bolshevistic campaign of incitement against Germany still finds cover in this or that fox's lair or rat-hole. We have seen only too frequently how the defeats suffered by the war mongers only doubled their senseless and impotent fury." (3064- PS)

And on 8 January 1944 Fritzsche broadcast the following:

"It is revealed clearly once more that not a system of Government, not a young nationalism, not a new and well applied Socialism brought about this war. The guilty ones are exclusively the Jews and the Plutocrats. If discussion on the post-war problems brings this to light so clearly, we welcome it as a contribution for later discussions and also as a contribution to the fight we are waging now, for we refuse to believe that world history will confide its future developments to those powers which have brought about this war. This clique of Jews and Plutocrats have invested their money in armaments and they had to see to it that they would get their interests and sinking funds hence they unleashed this war (3064-PS)

Finally, in a broadcast on 13 January 1945, Fritzsche stated:

"If Jewry provided a link between divergent elements as Plutocracy and Bolshevism and if Jewry was first able to work successfully in the Democratic countries in preparing this war against Germany, it has by now placed itself unreservedly on the side of Bolshevism which, with its entirely mistaken slogans of racial freedom against racial hatred, has created the very conditions the Jewish race requires in its struggle for domination over other races."

"Not the last result of German resistance on the fronts, so unexpected to the enemy, is the fruition of a development which began in the pre-war years, the process of subordinating British policy to far-reaching Jewish points of view. It began long before this when Jewish emigrants from Germany started their war- mongering against us from British and American soil."

"This whole attempt aiming at the establishment of Jewish world domination, now increasingly recognizable, has come to a head at the very moment when the people's understanding of their racial origins has been far too much awakened to promise success to the undertaking." (3064-PS)

(2) Ruthless treatment of peoples of the USSR. Fritzsche also incited and encouraged ruthless measures against the peoples of the USSR.

In his regular broadcasts Fritzsche's incitement against the peoples of the USSR were often linked to, and were certainly as inflammatory as, his rantings against the Jews. It is ironic that his propaganda ascribing atrocities to the peoples of the USSR are accurate descriptions of some of the many atrocities committed by the German invaders. Shortly after the invasion of the USSR in June 1941 Fritzsche broadcast as follows:

"The evidence of letters reaching us from the front, of P. K. [Propaganda Kompanie]- reporters and soldiers on leave demonstrates that, in this struggle in the East, not one political system is pitted against another, not one view of life is fighting another, but that culture, civilization, and human decency make a stand against the diabolical principle of a sub-human world."

"It was only the Fuehrer's decision to strike in time that saved our homeland from the fate of being overrun by those sub-human creatures, and our men, women, and children from the unspeakable horror of being their prey." (3064-PS) In his broadcast on 10 July 1941 Fritzsche spoke of the alleged inhuman deeds committed in various areas by the Soviet Union, and he states that upon seeing the evidence of those deeds one is " *** finally to make the holy resolve to give his aid in he final destruction of those who are capable of such dastardly acts."

"The Bolshevist agitators make no effort to deny that in towns, thousands, in the villages, hundreds, of corpses of men, women and children have been found, who had been either killed or tortured to death. Yet the Bolshevik agitators allege that this was not done by Soviet Commissars but by German soldiers. Now we Germans know our soldiers. No German woman, father, or mother requires proof that their husband or their son cannot have committed such atrocious acts." (3064-PS)

Evidence to be offered by the Soviet prosecuting staff will prove that representatives of the Nazi conspirators did not hesitate to exterminate Soviet soldiers and civilians by scientific mass methods. The incitements by Fritzsche make him an accomplice in these crimes. His labeling of the Soviet peoples as members of a "sub-human world" seeking to "exterminate" the German people, and similar talk, helped fashion the psychological atmosphere of unreason and hatred which not only made possible these atrocities in the East, but made them appear a holy duty.

(3) Exploitation of occupied territories. Fritzsche encouraged and glorified the policy of the Nazi conspirators in ruthlessly exploiting the occupied countries. In his radio broadcast of 9 October 1941 he stated:

"Today we can only say: Blitzkrieg or no -- this German thunderstorm has cleansed the atmosphere of Europe. It is quite true that the dangers threatening us were eliminated one after the other with lightning speed but in these lightning blows which shattered England's allies on the Continent, we saw not a proof of the weakness, but a proof of the strength and superiority of the Fuehrer's gift as a statesman and military leader a proof of the German peoples' force we saw the proof that no opponent can stand up to the courage, discipline, and readiness for sacrifice displayed by the German soldier and we are particularly grateful for these lightning, unmatched victories, because as the Fuehrer emphasized last Friday -- they give us the possibility of embarking on the organization of Europe and of lifting of the treasures of this old continent, already now in the middle of war, without it being necessary for millions and millions of German soldiers to be on guard, fighting day and night along this or that threatened frontier and the possibilities of this continent are so rich that they suffice for any need of peace or war." (3064-PS)

In his affidavit, Fritzsche admits having encouraged the exploitation of foreign countries:

"The utilization of the productive capacity of the occupied countries for the strengthening of the war potential, I have openly and gloriously praised, chiefly because the competent authorities put at my disposal much material, especially on the voluntary placement of manpower." (3469-PS)

(4) Control of German radio. In addition to continuing as the head of the German Press Division until after the conspirators had begun the last of their aggression, Fritzsche was also the high commander of the entire German radio system. In November 1942 Goebbels created a new position, that of Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio, a position which Fritzsche was the first and the last to hold. In his affidavit, Fritzsche narrates how the entire German Radio and Television System was organized under his supervision:

"My office practically represented the high command of German radio." (3469-PS)

As special Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio, Fritzsche issued orders to all the Reich propaganda offices by teletype. These were used in conforming the entire radio apparatus of Germany to the desires of the conspirators.

Goebbels customarily held an eleven o'clock conference with his closest collaborators within the Propaganda Ministry. When both Goebbels and his undersecretary, Dr. Naumann, were absent, Goebbels, after 1943, entrusted Fritzsche with the holding of this eleven o'clock press conference.

In Goebbels' introduction to a book by Fritzsche, called "War to the War Mongers," he took occasion to praise Fritzsche's broadcasts in this fashion:

"Nobody knows better than I how much work is involved in those broadcasts, how many times they were dictated within the last minutes to find some minutes later a willing ear by the whole nation."

It is clear from Goebbels himself that the entire German nation was prepared to lend willing ears to Fritzsche, after he had made his reputation on the radio.

The rumor passed that Fritzsche was "His Master's Voice" (Die Stimme seines Herren). This is borne out by Fritzsche's functions. When Fritzsche spoke on the radio it was plain to the German people that they were listening to the high command of the conspirators in this field.

Fritzsche was not the type of conspirator who signed decrees, or who sat in the inner councils planning the overall grand strategy. The function of propaganda is, for the most part, apart from the field of such planning. The function of a propaganda agency is somewhat more analogous to an advertising agency or public relations department, the job of which is to sell the product and to win the market for the enterprise in question. Here the enterprise was the Nazi conspiracy. In a conspiracy which depends upon fraud as a means, the salesmen of the conspiratorial group are quite as essential and culpable as the master planners, even though he may not have contributed substantially to the formulation of all the basic strategy, but rather concentrated on making the execution of this strategy possible. In this case, propaganda was a weapon of tremendous importance to this conspiracy. Furthermore, the leading propagandists were major accomplices in this conspiracy, and Fritzsche was one of them.

When Fritzsche entered the Propaganda Ministry, which has been called the most fabulous "lie factory" of all time, and thus attached himself to the conspiracy, he did so with more of an open mind than most of the conspirators who had committed themselves at an earlier date, before the seizure of power. He was in a particularly strategic position to observe the frauds committed upon the German people and the world by the conspirators.

In 1933, before Fritzsche took his Party oath of unconditional obedience and subservience to the Fuehrer, he had observed at first hand the operations of the storm troopers and the execution of Nazi race actions. When, notwithstanding, Fritzsche undertook to bring all German news agencies within Nazi control, he learned from the inside, indeed from Goebbels himself, the intrigue and lies against opposition groups within and without Germany.

He observed, for example, how opposition journalists, a profession to which he had previously belonged, were either absorbed or eliminated. He continued to support the conspiracy. He learned from day to day the art of intrigue and quackery in the process of perverting the German nation, and he grew in prestige and influence as he practiced this

Fritzsche learned a lesson from his predecessor, Berndt, who fell from the leadership of the German Press Division partly because he over-played his hand by blunt and excessive manipulation of the Sudetenland propaganda. Fritzsche stepped into the gap caused by the loss of confidence of both the editors and the German people, and did his job with more skill and subtlety. His shrewdness and ability to be more assuring and "to find," as Goebbels said, "willing ears of the whole nation," -- these things made him the more useful accomplice of the conspirators.

Nazi Germany and its press went into war with Fritzsche in control of all German news, whether by press or radio.: In 1942, when Fritzsche transferred from the field of the press to radio, he was not removed for bungling, but because Goebbels then needed his talents most in the field of radio. Fritzsche is not in the dock as a free journalist but as a propagandist who helped substantially to tighten the Nazi stranglehold over the German people, who made the excesses of the conspirators palatable to the German people, who goaded the German nation to fury and crime against people they were told by him were subhuman.

Without the propaganda apparatus of the Nazi State, the world would not have suffered the catastrophe of these years, and it is because of Fritzsche's role in behalf of the Nazi conspirators, and their deceitful and barbarous practices, that he is called to account before the International Military Tribunal.

(See also Section 9 of Chapter VII on Propaganda, Censorship, and Supervision of Cultural Activities.)

Sources: Nizkor. Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Volume II, Chapter XVI, pp.1035-1052.

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Biografi [ redigera | redigera wikitext ]

Fritzsche inträdde 1933 i Nationalsocialistiska tyska arbetarepartiet (NSDAP) och utnämndes till nyhetschef för pressavdelningen vid Goebbels propagandaministerium. Han blev känd över hela Tyskland för sitt radioprogram Hier spricht Hans Fritzsche, i vilket han ofta hetsade mot judar. Mellan åren 1938 och 1942 kontrollerade Fritzsche nyhetsförmedlingen i Tyskland. Under återstoden av andra världskriget verkade han som radiochef.

Vid krigsslutet arresterades Fritzsche av Röda armén och åtalades så småningom vid Nürnbergprocessen 1945–1946. Domstolen ansåg honom dock vara oskyldig till anklagelsepunkterna och frikände honom. Den ryske huvuddomaren, Iona Nikitjenko, reserverade sig dock mot domstolens beslut. Trots detta faktum dömdes Fritzsche 1947 av en tysk denazifieringsdomstol till nio års fängelse. Fritzsche släpptes 1950 ur ett arbetsläger i Eichstätt av hälsoskäl. Fritzsche publicerade två apologetiska böcker, Es sprach Hans Fritzsche (1949) och Das Schwert auf der Waage: Hans Fritzsche über Nürnberg (1953). Hans Fritzsche avled i september 1953 i sviterna av en canceroperation.


Hans Fritzsche

In the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, the world was faced with a challenge—how to hold individually accountable those German leaders who were responsible for the commission of monstrous crimes against humanity and international peace. The International Military Tribunal (IMT) held in Nuremberg, Germany, attempted to face this immense challenge. On October 18, 1945, the chief prosecutors of the IMT brought charges against 24 leading German officials, among them Hans Fritzsche.

Hans Fritzsche (1900–1953) was head of the radio division of the German propaganda ministry. A relatively minor propaganda ministry official who had not held a policy-making position, Fritzsche was included in the dock at Nuremberg in the absence of the deceased Joseph Goebbels and to mollify Soviet authorities, who held him in their custody.

Although he was acquitted by the International Military Tribunal, Fritzsche was then arrested again and brought before West German denazification courts. He was sentenced to nine years imprisonment, but was released early in September 1950.

Defendant Hans Fritzsche enters the Nuremberg courtroom under American guard. - Harry S. Truman Library


Denazification

Long before the war ended, the Allies pledged to destroy German militarism and Nazism. Following Germany's defeat in May 1945, the occupation authorities began implementing that war aim. At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the victorious nations laid down the fundamental principles for Germany's reformation: the nation was to be completely disarmed and demilitarized its armed forces abolished, and its population “de-nazified” and re-educated.

During the immediate postwar period in Allied-occupied Germany, “denazification” entailed renaming streets, parks, and buildings that had Nazi or militaristic associations removing monuments, statues, signs, and emblems linked with Nazism or militarism confiscating Nazi Party property eliminating Nazi propaganda from education, the German media, and the many religious institutions which had pro-Nazi leaders and clergymen and prohibiting Nazi or military parades, anthems, or the public display of Nazi symbols.

Allied soldiers, former concentration camp prisoners, and anti-Hitler Germans took their vengeance on Nazi symbols by burning or destroying swastika-emblazoned flags, banners, and posters. In a moment captured on film, US soldiers blew up the huge swastika at the Nuremberg stadium, the site of former Nazi rallies.

To those who witnessed it, whether in person or in newsreels shown at movie theaters, the explosion symbolized the end of Nazism and the beginning of a new era. The Führer cult had to be discredited, and the former German leader was shown to have been a maniacal mass murderer whose policies had brought misery to millions of Europeans and had led to the destruction of Germany. Film crews documented workers as they took sledge hammers to a massive metal bust of Hitler and melted down the lead printing plates for his autobiography, Mein Kampf, to produce type for a democratic newspaper for the new Germany. The distribution of Nazi propaganda continues to be illegal in Germany today.


Born in Meissen, Frietzsch wrote himself with a stretched IE. Research in the 20th century, however, consistently referred to him as "Fritzsche". [1] He was born the son of the goldsmith Jobst Fritzsche († 1585). His grandfather Johannes Fritzsche (1508-1586) was cathedral syndic in Meissen. Before 1603 he probably learned organ building from Johann Lange in Kamenz. [2] Frietzsch was an organ builder in Meissen until 1612, then in Dresden. There he was appointed court organ builder to the Elector of Saxony around 1614. [3] From 1619 to 1627, he worked in Wolfenbüttel and from 1628 to 1629 in Celle, before coming to Ottensen in 1629. He succeeded Hans Scherer the Younger and remained there until his death.

His first marriage to a woman who is no longer known by name produced three sons and three daughters, including the organ builder Hans Christoph Fritzsche. Through his second marriage in 1629 to Margarete née Ringemuth, widowed Rist, he became the stepfather of the poet Johann Rist. His pupils (and later sons-in-law) were Friederich Stellwagen and Tobias Brunner.

Frietzsch stood on the threshold from the Renaissance to the early Baroque. He further developed Brabant organ building and introduced numerous innovations, [1] for example, on Zungenregister the rackett regals such as dulzian, regal, sordun and the long-beaked crumhorn. Frietzsch not infrequently placed stops of the same stop family but with contrasting scales (wide and narrow) in one work or chose unusual foot pitches. In the Brustwerk and pedal he regularly used one-foot voices, which were still unknown with Scherer. [4] Also characteristic is his double zill, which takes the place of Scherer's high-lying Scharff, as well as the use of various aliquotregister [de] as single voices. For example, the simbel installed by Frietzsch in 1635 in the organ of the St. James' Church, Hamburg was the first of its kind in northern Germany. He also liked to use secondary stops such as tremulant and "drum", which do not yet appear in Scherer's work, and Effect stops such as "Cuckoo", "Birdsong" and "Nightingale". [5] While hammered lead pipes had been the rule in northern Germany until then, Frietzsch planed the pipes and used an alloy with a higher tin content, for the cups of the trombones and trumpets he added marcasite. Compared to Scherer, the use of Subsemitones (double upper keys) was new. During his time in Hamburg, he carried out alterations to the organs of all four main churches. Frietzsch's extensions made the organs in St. Jacobi and St. Katharinen among the first organs ever to have four manuals. [6]


Hans Fritzsche - History

Pictures from David Irving: Nuremberg, the Last Battle
Albert Speer and Walter Funk in the dock at Nuremberg

From the Nuremberg Trial memoirs of Reich press chief, Hans Fritzsche

He [ Thomas Dodd ] dropped every sign of harshness from his manner and seemed to become almost genial as he entered into discussion with the defendant about his former collaborators, particularly a certain Puhl who had been a senior director of the Reichsbank. Funk , impressionable and gullible, visibly revived under this treatment he seemed almost happy in the informal atmosphere of this examination. Puhl? Why, yes, of course: a very sound man. The witness agreed that he had always set great store by old Puhl. A thoroughly trustworthy fellow.

Dodd now dropped the pleasant subject of Puhl and steered the conversation to the subject of the gold reserves of the Reichsbank, the stocks of bullion immediately available at different times and the various fluctuations of the reserve funds. At the end of this thoroughly technical and friendly conversation the prosecutor asked quite casually if the Reichsbank had had any special relations with the S.S.

"None that I can think of," said the Bank's last President.

Then the genial Mr. Dodd became a little more insistent. Would Funk please think again, exert his memory? Funk did so and finally remembered that the S.S. central accounts department did, indeed, maintain a deposit account and a safe in the Reichsbank.

Dodd interrupted with a casual question as to whether it was customary to have gold teeth deposited in the Reichsbank?

"Well, I will now show you a film taken by the Allies when they first entered premises belonging to the Reichsbank."

Funk was shepherded back to the dock, the lights were extinguished, and we saw projected on the screen before us the horrible pictures of what the Americans found in the strong-room of the Frankfurt offices of the Reichsbank. We saw soldiers enter the building and the big safes swing open. Huge, tightly packed bags with the imprint Deutsche Reichsbank dropped to the floor powerful men needed all their strength to lift them on to tables. Then the seals were solemnly broken and the contents poured out: rings, bracelets, ear-rings, trinkets jewellery of every conceivable kind from simple brooches to great tiaras, coins, banknotes, studs, sleeve-links, and above all false and gold-capped teeth in their thousands. And in the midst of this fantastic booty in this nightmare of a thieves' kitchen we saw again and again the emblems of the state we had all served and the clear imprint Deutsche Reichsbank.

We sat flabbergasted. The lights were switched on and Dodd went back to the rostrum to confirm that this film had been made immediately after the Allied occupation of Frankfurt on Main. Anyone could verify the details by looking at the official minutes of the meeting of 7th May, 1946.

Funk tottered from the dock to the witness chair. He was completely shattered. He confirmed that he did know about the S.S. safe deposit and clearly remembered the formalities of its establishment. But, of course, he knew nothing whatever about the contents of the deposit. No bank bothers about the exact articles a client chooses to put in the safe he has hired. But what he found entirely inexplicable was the presence of the big bags with the imprint Deutsche Reichsbank bags of this kind were never handed to safe deposit holders.

Then the Prosecution struck again. It produced an affidavit signed by Reichsbank director Puhl, the very man whose reliability Funk had so amply and generously confirmed. This affidavit had evidently been signed after a showing of the film we had just seen.

The text of this document seemed a subject of dispute the Prosecution's interpretation of it was that Funk, after having accepted the S.S safe deposit account, had then instructed Puhl not to bother about the contents stored with the bank by that organisation. It was by no means impossible to assume on the strength of Puhl's statement that Funk had known all about the horrible robbery and had acted as a sort of fence.

Moreover the Prosecution now produced further evidence of fantastic dealings, such as an offer by the Reichsbank to the Berlin Municipal pawn-shops for the 'most advantageous disposal of a collection of rings, ear-rings, brooches, bracelets, pearls, diamonds, etc.' -- an official document signed in 1942. Yet another paper seemed to indicate that these appalling business-deals were transacted on behalf of the Minister of Finance.

Then the Prosecution struck a third blow. It recalled to the accused his mental breakdown and tearful confession after his arrest a year before and reminded him of the full and detailed confession made by Hoss then he advised him to search his heart and his conscience.

We all wondered at this stage whether we were about to witness the collapse of the defendant in open court there seemed every reason to suppose that we should. But this apparently feeble man, still very ill, and deeply shaken by what seemed overwhelming evidence did not break down. Indeed he seemed to display more firmness than we had yet seen him show in court as he stated in a solemn and subdued voice that he had been ignorant of the contents of the safe-deposit, and that if Puhl has said otherwise he would have to answer for it before God and his own conscience for it was not true.

Funk's counsel asked for Puhl to be called for cross-examination.

I suppose that in the eyes of the people present in that crowded hall the accused was already a hopelessly beaten man when he made his way back to his seat in the dock. None of us had any idea where a chink might be found in the seemingly flawless evidence the Prosecution had produced. Yet we were all of us quite certain that Funk had spoken the truth. It would have been physically impossible for him to sustain the ordeal of that cross-examination without a clear conscience.

A few days later Puhl took his place on the witness-stand. He appeared as a free man and when, first questioned by the Prosecution, briefly confirmed his affidavit.

Dr. Sauter , Funk's counsel, then proceeded to cross-examine and asked him to elucidate his affidavit. Counsel wanted to know its precise significance.

This produced a considerable surprise: Puhl testified that he had never wished to claim - nor indeed had he in so many words - that the defendant was aware of the contents of the safe deposit. As the lawyer's questions probed into the past circumstances and technical details of the bank's transactions with the S.S. the apparent contradictions in the statements of the two directors began to dissolve and the differences between the present witness and the accused grew less.

Now Mr. Dodd stepped up to the rostrum and wished to know with whom Puhl had spoken during the last few days.

Dr. Sauter then rose to ask: 'Did you speak to me as well''

'No, I didn't. I see you here today for the first time in my life.'

As I returned to gaol that evening I happened to glance at the door of the cell next to mine. It was No. 31 and had been vacant since Raeder had been moved to the south wing now it appeared once again to be tenanted. Right over the spy-hole I could see a brand new name-plate: 'Puhl'.

Puhl was held in the Nuremberg prison for about a year at the end of which he appeared in the dock at the 'Wilhelmstrasse' trial. However, the Allies were not very lucky with this man, who, though he looked not unlike Funk, had a great deal more calm tenacity.

At the Wilhelmstrasse trial Puhl got an official of the Frankfurt branch of the Reichsbank to testify on his behalf. The witness declared under oath that at the time of the city's occupation by American troops the strong-room and all the safes of the bank had been completely empty and were so when he had handed them over to the Occupation Authorities.


Propaganda virtuoso

Although Goebbels and Fritzsche were in the same business, they never became friends. The Minister admired Fritzche’s work, but never expressed approval of him personally. As well as his work at the radio station, Fritzche, as head of the German Press Service, was responsible for international telegraph services and nearly 2,000 daily newspapers and magazines. He often chaired meetings with numerous representatives of the most influential German newspapers and met journalists to tell them the official Nazi line.

Like Goebbels, Fritzsche constantly invoked the ideals espoused in Adolf Hitler’s "Mein Kampf”: he spoke of the “international Jewish conspiracy", "plutocracy", "the Bolshevik danger", "the living space" and "the principle of the Führer". He praised the “Führer’s geniality” and the fact that no one in German history had achieved so much in five years without firing a single shot. He applauded the partition of Czechoslovakia, the occupation of Poland, the attack on Yugoslavia and other acts of Nazi aggression.

"The fate of Jewry in Europe has turned out to be as unpleasant as the Führer predicted it would be in the event of a European war," Fritzsche said in a radio broadcast of 18 March 1941. “After the extension of the war instigated by Jews, this fate may also spread to the New World, for it can hardly be assumed that the nations of this New World will pardon the Jews for the misery of which the nations of the Old World did not absolve them.”

When the Second World War broke out, Fritzsche reported on the glorious victories of the Third Reich and admired economic potential of the conquered territories for the Reich. But when the failures on the Soviet battlefield began, the propaganda office faced significant challenges.

Fritzsche spoke of the cruelty of the Russians and their Western Allies and convinced his listeners of the imminent threat they faced, and overlooked the crimes committed by German soldiers. He even used anti-Hitler propaganda, readily quoting the London newspaper "News Chronicle", which said: "We are for the destruction of all life in Germany - men, women, children, birds and insects."

Sprecher said: “Although we cannot say that Fritzsche directed that 10,000 or 100,000 persons should be exterminated, we ought to weigh this question: without being incited by Fritzsche, how much harder would it have been for the Nazi conspirators to exterminate millions of people in the East?”


Contents

Hans Fritzsche was the second child of a senior civil servant family. Due to his father's position as post director, he spent his school days in Dresden and Leipzig. After completing his school career, he took part in World War I and served in the 6th Cavalry Rifle Division between April and October 1918. After the end of the war, he began studying philology, history and philosophy at the universities of Greifswald and Berlin, which he did not finished. Fritzsche, a member of the DNVP since 1923 , was editor of the Prussian yearbooks from 1923 and editor of Alfred Hugenberg's intelligence service Telegraphen-Union from 1924 to 1932 . From September 1932 Fritzsche was head of the " wireless service ", an agency of the Reich government under Franz von Papen .

After the " seizure of power " he joined the NSDAP on May 1, 1933 and in the same year became head of news in the press department of Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda . There he was promoted several times up to 1945: in 1938 he was first appointed deputy and later head of the "German Press" department, and from 1942 he headed the broadcasting department. In the final phase of the war he spread slogans to hold out . In October 1942 Fritzsche was promoted to ministerial director. After a short period of service on the Eastern Front in a propaganda company, in November 1942 he became head of the broadcasting department of the Propaganda Ministry and plenipotentiary for the political organization of Großdeutscher Rundfunk .

After the Battle of Berlin , Fritzsche signed the unconditional declaration of surrender for Berlin on May 2, 1945, presumably the oldest government official remaining in the city . He helped Red Army soldiers identify the bodies of the Goebbels family. Then he was sent to Moscow spent there in solitary confinement in the Lubyanka prisoner held and finally to Nuremberg transferred.

In the Nuremberg trial against the main war criminals, Fritzsche was also indicted at the instigation of the Soviet Union, because the latter was anxious to try war criminals who had been arrested by it in Nuremberg. Of their original six candidates, Erich Raeder and Fritzsche were left after consulting the other prosecuting authorities . Fritzsche was a "substitute for Joseph Goebbels," which in the war, killed himself accused had. Fritzsche was indicted in court on three of the four Nuremberg charges. "Before the International Military Tribunal, he seemed to regret his former role and described himself as a victim who had always been deceived about the true situation." The opposite could not be proven in Nuremberg. For example, he was able to assert irrefutably that he only became aware of the Lidice massacre and the Ležáky massacre during the Nuremberg Trial. The fact that there was one report on the German radio station in Prague and at least two reports in the German occupation newspapers in the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia could not be proven in the trial of 1945/1946. On September 30, 1946, Fritzsche was acquitted, which he had not expected.

Shortly after his release by the Allies, the German authorities brought Fritzsche to trial again in Nuremberg . The authorities - above all the Attorney General Thomas Dehler - tried to obtain incriminating material they even asked the population via newspaper ads to provide incriminating evidence and witnesses. There was an initial trial and an appeal process. In the latter, Fritzsche was condemned on the one hand for his role as a “leading propagandist” who, because of his semi-official demeanor, had a strong influence on the will of the German people. Secondly, it was said that although he had "not called directly for the persecution of the Jews and their extermination, through his propaganda he had made a major contribution to creating a favorable mood among the people for this". Thirdly, for the sake of his career, he had hidden the criminal sides of the Nazi regime and thus contributed to lying to the German population. He was also burdened by the fact that he was involved in a complaint against the Nuremberg fire chief Johann Wild with the Gestapo . Wild was then sentenced to death by a special court. Another stressful moment was that Fritzsche had read an article by Goebbels on the radio in 1943, which called for the lynching of shot down Allied airmen . The court sentenced him to nine years in a labor camp , along with a life ban from ever again publishing or working as a teacher or educator.

After an amnesty , Fritzsche was released at the end of September 1950 and worked, among other things, as an advertising manager in the Rhenish-Westphalian industry and most recently for a French cosmetics company. He published two books under the name of his wife Hildegard Springer ("Es sprach Hans Fritzsche" and "Das Schwert auf der Waage"). His wife had worked in the Ministry of Propaganda herself. They had only married in 1951.

In the early 1950s, Fritzsche belonged to the Naumann Circle , a group of exposed National Socialists who had the goal of Nazi infiltration of the FDP . Although he was not a member of the FDP himself, he was involved in the preparations for the so-called German program that Wolfgang Diewerge had designed for Friedrich Middelhauve .

Seriously ill with lung cancer , Hans Fritzsche died on September 27, 1953 in Cologne as a result of an operation.


Hans Fritzsche

Syyskuusta 1932 Fritzsche toimi Franz von Papenin valtakunnahallituksen alaisen Radiopalvelun johtajana. 1. toukokuuta 1933 hän liittyi kansallissosialistiseen puolueeseen. Samana vuonna hänestä tuli Joseph Goebbelsin johtaman valtakunnan kansanvalistus- ja propagandaministeriön lehdistöosaston uutispäällikkö. Vuoteen 1945 mennessä hänet ylennettiin useasti. Vuonna 1938 hänestä tuli ensi varapääjohtaja ja sitten pääjohtaja ministeriön lehdistöosastolla. Vuonna 1942 hän siirtyi radio-osaston johtoon. Hän piti radiossa uutiskatsauksia, jotka hän avasi tunnetulle repliikillä ”Hier spricht Hans Fritzsche” (suom. Tässä puhuu Hans Fritzsche ). Hän oli naimisissa Hildegard Springerin kanssa.

2. toukokuuta 1945 Fritzsche allekirjoitti luultavasti virkaiältään vanhimpana Berliiniin jääneenä virkamiehenä kaupungin antautumisasiakirjan.

Nürnbergin sotarikosoikeudenkäynnissä Fritzsche istui syytettyjen penkillä ikään kuin Joseph Goebbelsin sijaisena. Goebbels oli tehnyt itsemurhan, joten häntä ei voitu syyttää oikeudessa. Fritzscheä syytettiin rikoksista rauhaa vastaan, sotarikoksista ja rikoksista ihmiskuntaa vastaan, mutta syytekohtia ei voitu näyttää toteen. Fritzsche julistettiin syyttömäksi ja hänet vapautettiin. Myöhemmin saksalainen oikeus tosin tuomitsi hänet yhdeksäksi vuodeksi työleirille, mutta hänet armahdettiin 1950.

Myöhemmin Fritzsche toimi muiden muassa kosmetiikkayhtiön johtajana. 1950-luvun alussa hän toimi Naumannin piiri -nimisessä entisten kansallissosialistien ryhmässä, joka halusi muuttaa Vapaan demokraattisen puolueen FDP:n kansallissosialistiseksi ryhmäksi. Fritzsche menehtyi syöpään 1953.

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