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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Fermor View Post
    von Schirach stated that 'His boys' won the peace. Without the training and skills that they gained in the HJ they would have soft in mind and spirit as well as business and not been able to rebuild Germany.
    This is something many lose sight of. However unpalatable it may be to some people it was the training and attitude of that generation, as he says, that helped greatly to rebuild Germany. You can pump aid in (Marshall Plan) but the people have to want to rebuild.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garry View Post
    Very interesting answers from Axmann. What time period did your discussions with v. Schirach concentrate on Tony? What kind of things did you ask him?

    We discussed the early formation and politics, he put a lot of his own money into the early formation.

    We talked about most of his service but I focused on Vienna and the final days of the war. I wanted to know how he felt about Vienna, being where Hitler spent a lot of time, was there a feeling that it deserved better support as a kind of cultural center, was Vienna ordered to be destroyed as was Paris, what part did the HJ pay in the salvage of items of value from coming battle. The use of boys in the front line, the conversations he had with boys that were obviously shocked at loosing, what part propaganda played. Did he see the end clearly and could he have taken steps to save more young lives under his jurisdiction and so on.

    Was there an affinity in the early days between him and Hitler, one an artist and the other a poet, in the same way that Speer had a special relationship.

  3. #13

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    I can see that I will have to go back to the UK and rescue the letters and things to get it right.

    One thing I do recall vividly with von Schirach was that even though his sight was fading fast he proudly waved a large manuscript around and pointed to around 100-150 dictaphone tapes, which he said was mostly poetry, but also some personal essays and statements on those days. I asked what kind of thing and he said I would have to wait until it was published. After his death I wrote to his lawyer and asked about the book and he knew nothing of it and said that nothing like that was found in the rooms.

  4. #14

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    Thanks for the replies tony much appreicated....

    steve

  5. #15

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    hi tony
    look forward to your answers on my question the fact it will be a long answer makes me look forward even more due to the fact there is plenty to tell

  6. #16

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    Thanks for sharing, Tony. Not only is it great info, straight from the source, but you write so eloquently, like telling a good story.

  7. #17

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    Very interesting. I would like to know if both men felt resentment at their treatment by the allies even in their later years. Both men believed in the ideals of the Hitler Youth and von Schirach always resisted any attempts to turn his Hitler Youth into nothing more than soldiers-in-waiting (something he was accused of at the trial). The SA and the Wehrmacht tried to take control of military training of the HJ and he would not allow it so it would be interesting to know how he in particular felt about his sentence and the way his life went after he was released.

    Thanks

  8. #18

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    Absolutely great information here. I am looking forward to read more about it.

    Thanks Tony for everything.

    Best Regards

    Antonio

  9. #19

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    Back at Home

    Hi guys

    Sorry for the delay in replying. I had to go away for a couple of days, but I am back now and will post something asap

    Tony

  10. #20

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    Answers to Questions

    The two mens feelings towards each other

    I will deal with Axmann first as he is easier to quote and more succinct in his statements.

    These are not word perfect as I am working from memory.

    I asked a related question which got an answer I think address’ the question

    Q. When did you realise that the HJ would be called on to make the ultimate sacrifice?

    A complex and sometimes contradictory answer about the decline of the Reich followed:-

    A. “When the day came to prove the loyalty and dedication of the Youth we did not turn from the task. They fulfilled their oaths to the fullest. I did not then, or now, believe that previous policies would have left our youth equipped to deal with such high matters”.

    Q. Are you referring to von Schirach’ policies?

    A. “If I had been in a position in the party at the time I would have urged the führer to deal with ‘that man’ in the same way as the rest of them in ’34 then we would have had a youth to be proud of. So many years were wasted in classrooms”.

    There were no further questions on this point as it was not relevant to my research and the venom in the statement made it clear that it would serve no purpose to follow up. We continued on the fall of the Reich.

    It is difficult to decide what he means by the final statement. Is it a reference to rumours about the sexuality of von Schirach, as a number of those that perished on the night of the long knives were homosexual?

    Or were his, von Schirach’, forward looking Hitler Youth educational policies not in line with Axmanns longer term goals? Von Schirach saw a particular future world and a place for the youth in that world. He did not see the Youth fighting as a natural progression of the service and he could not have imagined a war in which children of Germans would have been needlessly slaughtered.



    von Schirach on Axmann

    “ I was charged with ‘crimes against humanity’ and indicted of ‘conspiracy against peace’ yet Axmann who is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children for nothing more than a place in the bunker at Hitlers side with his old friend Bormann, buys 3 years in prison by using his confirmation of Bormanns death ”.

    “After all who cares how many German youth died in those days, who today would bring charges of mass murder against the guilty party? Ask that question in Vienna today and see what answer you get?” (Reference to Wiesenthal)

    “As I said at the time we would have marched on the gates of hell, but I would have been at their head and fallen first protecting those that held the future of the Reich in their hearts”.

    “I have little doubt that I will again face charges as history is re-written by those with most to gain as new ‘evidence’ is uncovered”.

    “To the victor the pen, always mightier than the sword in the pages of history”

    While in contrast to his ignominious escape from Vienna at the end of the war it does indicate some sense of compassion that is over looked by many historians for whatever reason.

    =========

    Von Schirach’ view of Axmann is clear but where Axmann fits in with the politics of the change of leadership is far from clear. While I never directly questioned either man over the change over some information may be relevant to the build up to the event.

    Our dialogue was spread over several letters and a few items at our meeting, so writing it up is hard without full notes and as I cannot recall specific questions that address the topic more directly

    Many of his views and feelings had been formed by the trials and charges at the end of the war making it hard to decide if his views are of the time or more coloured with age

    As I recall and not verbatim

    Von Scirach had for many years played the political game of keeping the army, SA and SS at each others throats as way to stop them trying to seize control of the HJ. Therefore he was aware that he had enemies and rivals from an early date. The work load of the new movement and party was such that it was easy for some time to ignore a lot of maneuvering against him by various parties.

    Von Schirach became aware of more open and direct moves against him in early 1938, he was aware that private conversations and documents were being used and quoted in situations of political sensitivity. His first thoughts were that the army was planning to take over the leadership with a puppet appointment. This was because of a cooling in the close relationship he had with Keitel, which was due to the latters pre-occupation with preparations for the coming conflicts and not a move against him as he later discovered.

    “He, Keitel, would have gained nothing from the move but a distraction from the real benefit of control over the army of able bodied SA men”

    Von Schirach had spoken to Victor Lutze about his political standing far earlier, in late1933 early 1934 he questioned Lutze informally, by letter and later by telephone, and was reassured that Rohm had “no ambitions towards the HJ”, his eyes were firmly set on the command of the army. With the purge of ’34 the possibility of an SA take over were laid to rest as Lutze had stated. There were small attempts by SA commanders to absorb the HJ through ‘co-operation’ training programmes but when these were reported they were soon curtailed. He recalled that in Munich his protests were ignored and he had to ask Hess to personally intervene to stop the political posturing by the local SA chief. This lack of respect to his position did cause a pang of paranoia and he questioned friends about his standing and political safety. From 1935 onwards he paid little attention to the SA as a threat.

    Lutze had informed him that the only possible person with most to gain by his removal was Bormann whos own aims were well known to the SA high command. These claims were dismissed by von Schirach as Bormann was at the time personal secretary to his close long time friend Hess.

    In the early days there were several people that could have instigated moves against him and sown seeds that would bare fruit in later years.von Trotha had a well known dislike for him and good connections across the old military command structure. While Nabersberg appeared loyal to the youth and its leader he had strong links to Himmler and access to the HJ high command and its inner councils. From the information available it would be more likely that Nabersberg was recruited by the British intelligence service on his visit to the UK in 1933 rather than anyone within the Reich

    The suspicions were supported at a high party meeting in late 1939 when Hitler asked about a particular item that von Schirach was working on ( I seem to recall it was a possible change to the oath of allegiance ). Appalled he, von Schirach, then looked through his staff and decided that either one of his secretaries or a close aide was working for the weakened SA or more possibly the army. One of the things that von Schirach was known for was the large bureaucratic machine that accompanied him everywhere making it an almost impossible task to track down a leak.*1

    He never considered the SS as a real threat and dismissed the idea that Himmler was anything other than “a loyal party member who would do anything Hitler asked” and “with his eyes firmly fixed on a higher position”. Considering that Lauterbacher, his deputy, was a member of the SS and an honourary SS general this is a surprise. Lauterbachers relationship with Himmlers close friend and advisor Berger * made him a prime suspect in the period from 1938 onwards. I asked about this and it was dismissed out of hand even after all the years of reflection.

    He saw no reason why Hitler would allow anyone to undermine him at this time; his loyalty was “Above question”. Add that to a shared passion for art and architecture and “our friendship was beyond most mens understanding”
    The search for spies went deep into his retinue; his driver was changed three times in six weeks, several of the closer HJ high command were reassigned, two taking up transfers to the SS, Secretaries were rotated between meetings and aids were watched closely by trusted friends, even a favourite cook was double checked. ( names )

    “I had no idea who or where the enemy was, but I knew he was there”

    Axmann had been for sometime a rising star with an eye on command of the HJ. He pursued his own career and was both privately and openly dismissive of von Schirach’ lack of commitment to the militarisation of the HJ. While von Schirach had actively pushed the HJ forward with military training programmes these were tempered with studies which had a longer term application in peace time as a more cultural and political force than an armed fighting arm of the army. These theories were the creation of the relationship with Himmler and the ideals of the SS, many meetings between the two men were held throughout von Schirach’ time at the head of the HJ.

    It is a matter of record that he had the full support of Hitler in stopping the Adolf Hitler schools becoming institutions for purely military training

    So through the turmoil of the formation of the movement and disillusionment of the pre-Nazi boys’ organisations culminating in his triumphant arrival as a major political force at the rally in 1936 he made many enemies. The early difficulties in removing and absorbing the non-Nazi boys organisations came under increasingly strong influence of Bormann, who tried to prevent absolutely any kind of agreement between the Party offices and the Church and between the youth leadership and the Church.

    Axmann while a close co-worker in the 1933 fund raiser was always trying to be one step ahead politically. When he was appointed as one of von Schirach’ assistants “ I kept one eye on the front and one on Axmann”
    While von Schirach left the office of the Reich Youth Leadership of the NSDAP, he retained the office of Reichsleiter for Youth Education and with that the entire responsibility for German youth as well as Deputy of the Fuehrer for the Inspection of the Hitler Youth.

    So his dismissal from the HJ is not as clear cut as would first appear. Von Schirach recommending Axmann as successor to the job was in many ways a shrewd move, with his retained titles and power he would have access to the highest levels of the HJ at any time. And he always saw a short war he felt, until it was clear that things were to have a different ending to those planned, that he would be again one day head of the HJ in the greater German Reich.

    The promotion to Gauleiter of Vienna very quickly after his action in France hints of something wider in the politics of the Reich. Von Schirach said that he “felt the direct hand of Hitler in this appointment” as opposed to a cabinet appointment. The elevation to Gauleiter of the most difficult Gau in the Reich was a comment on his abilities and was a major coup against the power base of Bormann.

    The pivotal figure in all this von Schirach stated was Bormann, his position with Hess and the high party leadership gave him ample opportunity to work against him. The links between the major figures in the early movement and Bormann he said were stronger than those to the SA or the Army, remember that he had served in the SA and had relationships that allowed him to call on the likes of Lutze when needed. Himmler and the SS were never really interested in the HJ except to “pick the best for its ranks”. Logically his closeness to the disgraced SA high command, his relationship with fellow art and culture lover Hitler made him stand out as a potential threat to the ambitious Bormann.

    Even as late as 1944 Bormann was plotting against von Schirach openly; I find the episode with the Christmas cards laughable considering the state of play on both fronts of the war.

    By ’44 the relationship with Hitler had fallen apart and a resignation to accept that which was handed him took over. Whether this was due to his wifes brow beating of Hitler over events in Holland or his letter to Hitler is difficult to say. What is known is that he was for a short time a suspect in the July bomb plot and that the SS held a file on him. “I would never had a part in that plan, the alternatives to Hitler were to terrible to consider” ( Bormann )


    As a humorous foot note it is worth nothing that von Schirach’ appointment as Jugendführer on 17 June is ironically his most vehement critic Bormanns birthday ( and by a twist of fate mine as well )

    * Who I also have letters from but sadly passed away before I could meet him

    *1 which is a contradiction to his statement at Nuremberg where he claimed to have a very small efficient staff.

    ============


    I hope I have managed to answer the questions asked

    Cheers

    Tony

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