Baldur von Schirach

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Baldur von Schirach (before 1934)

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (born May 9, 1907 in Berlin ; † August 8, 1974 in Kröv on the Moselle , Rhineland-Palatinate ) was a German politician during the time of National Socialism and Reich youth leader of the NSDAP .

Schirach was one of the 24 people charged in the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on October 1, 1946 for crimes against humanity , but was acquitted of the crime against peace .


Schirach (standing) in 1946 in the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals

Schirach was the son of the first lieutenant and squadron chief in the Guard Cuirassier Regiment and later Rittmeister and Grand Ducal Saxon chamberlain Carl Baily Norris von Schirach (1873-1948), who belonged to a well-known Sorbian-German noble family . From 1909 to 1918 he was director of the National Theater Weimar , where Baldur grew up, and from 1935 to 1943 director of the Wiesbaden State Theater . His mother was the American Emma Lynah Tillou Bailey Middleton von Schirach (1872-1944). She was the descendant of Arthur Middleton , co-signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and thus one of the founding fathers of the United States .

Schirach grew up in a milieu that was equally liberal and progressively enlightened as well as conservative and loyal to the emperor . He only spoke English until he was five. His brother Karl (* 1900), who was seven years older than him, shot himself in Roßleben in 1919 , apparently out of grief over the emperor's abdication and the conclusion of the Versailles peace treaty . He also had two sisters, Rosalind and Viktoria. Victoria died young of diphtheria . Rosalind became an opera singer. Baldur was brought up in the spirit of the reform pedagogue Hermann Lietz .

On March 31, 1932, he married Henriette Hoffmann (1913–1992) in Munich , the daughter of the Hitler photographer Heinrich Hoffmann and his wife Therese. Henriette gave birth to the children Angelika Benedikta, Klaus, Robert and Richard between 1933 and 1942 . The marriage of the von Schirachs was divorced on July 20, 1950 in Munich.

The lawyer and writer Ferdinand von Schirach , the essayist Ariadne von Schirach and the writer Benedict Wells are his grandchildren.


Schirach, 1939, second from the right

At the age of 17, Schirach first met Adolf Hitler in 1925 and became his enthusiastic supporter. Upon reaching the age of majority, he joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party . As a student of German and art history, he became leader of the National Socialist German Student Union in 1928 . On October 30, 1931 he was appointed Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP and received the rank of group leader in the SA . He did not complete his studies.

After the " seizure of power " and the synchronization of all youth associations, Hitler appointed him on June 17, 1933 as youth leader of the German Reich . On the same day, Schirach dissolved the Greater German Confederation - and its member unions - to which the Freischaren and scout associations had only joined forces in March before.

Schirach (center) in 1937 with the youth leader of Japan, Yoshinori Futara

From 1936 to 1945 von Schirach lived with his family at Aspenstein Castle in Kochel am See .

In 1936 he became State Secretary and made membership of the Hitler Youth (HJ) compulsory, so that the HJ grew to six million members. Baldur von Schirach also proclaimed a "Year of the German Young People " in 1936 . His efforts to gain control over the entire upbringing of young people led to a power struggle with Artur Axmann . The Adolf Hitler Schools were also an attempt to influence education under National Socialism .

Schirach was also active in cultural politics. He was relatively cultured and especially a Goethe admirer and gave a “Goethe speech” in June 1937, which was emphatically supported by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels , because “this was the first time a responsible functionary of the Reich met Goethe and his position in cultural will of National Socialism ”. Regarding the content of the speech, the announcement of the Ministry of Propaganda said, "Goethe's personality had been stripped of the concept of being a citizen of the world and a liberal poet"; According to Schirach, Goethe prophesied the educational principles of National Socialism. The speech was titled Goethe to us. Eternal thoughts of the great German printed in more than 170,000 copies; the booklet also contained numerous Goethe quotes on around 100 pages. The speech was instrumental in propagating a nationalist image of Goethe in the Third Reich, although Schirach omitted the alleged anti-Semitism of Goethe emphasized in other National Socialist writings - such as by Franz Koch .

At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, Schirach volunteered in the Wehrmacht and took part in the western campaign in 1940. Axmann became Schirach's deputy on May 1, 1940 and his successor on August 7, 1940. Schirach retained his rank as Reichsleiter , became the person in charge of inspecting the entire Hitler Youth and, from September 1940, organized the expanded Kinderland dispatch , with which around 2.5 million children were transported from cities threatened by the air war to less endangered parts of the Reich.

In the time of National Socialism, Schirach was said to have homosexual tendencies, for example in whispering jokes . The rumors are likely to have had their starting point in the - compared to other leading National Socialists - Schirach's "less pronounced masculinity", which corresponded to contemporary clichés of homosexuals. They can also be interpreted as an allusion to his rather soft facial features. Derlei rumors were picked up by foreign broadcasters and circles of exile: So the writer was Hans Siemsen in his 1940 at Lindsay Drummond in London novel, Hitler Youth to, Schirach had a relationship with the main character in the film Hitler Quex , Jürgen Ohlsen had. Evidence for Siemsen's portrayal is missing.

The text of the Hitler Youth Song Forward! Forward! blare the bright fanfares came from Schirach and was presented to the public for the first time in the sound film Hitlerjunge Quex, which premiered in 1933 . Schirach was also seen in the 1940 propaganda film The March to the Führer .

Baldur von Schirach held the honorary citizenship of the cities of Braunschweig and Melle .

Baldur von Schirach became a full-time Gauleiter and Reich Governor in Vienna on August 7, 1940 and moved with his family to the prestigious Vienna Hofburg . In this position, which he held until the end of the war in 1945, he was responsible for the deportation of the Viennese Jews , which he described in a speech on September 14, 1942 as a contribution to European culture: “If you wanted to accuse me of being I have to answer that I have deported tens of thousands from this city to the eastern ghetto: I see it as an active contribution to European culture. ”Schirach was an avowed anti-Semite , but several times he voiced cautious criticism of the National Socialist persecution of Jews. For example, there are indications that he had forbidden the Hitler Youth unit leaders to participate in the November 1938 pogroms . However, this is controversial and has not yet been proven. When he also called for better treatment of Eastern Europeans on June 24, 1943, he fell out of favor with Hitler.

On February 24, 1945, Schirach was summoned to Berlin to see Adolf Hitler and was ordered to defend the city of Vienna to the full as Reich Defense Commissioner . The Gaugefechtsstand Wien on Gallitzinberg in Ottakring was evacuated on April 4, 1945 because the Red Army was already in Hütteldorf . When the Soviet troops Klosterneuburg annäherten, the Reich Defense Commissioner gave on April 6, 1945, first from his bunker on the Hohenwarte forced, because the resistance movement had cut electricity and telephone of the bunker, in the Hofburg hastily and on the afternoon of April 9, 1945 to Floridsdorf , where the headquarters of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps was located near Bisamberg . “Fight to the last man”, Schirach had ordered before he crossed the Danube. The war diary of the High Command of the Wehrmacht notes: “Part of the Viennese population has lost their attitude.” Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary on April 10, 1945: “There were rioting actions in the city in the formerly red suburbs It is assumed that, in his helplessness, Schirach has found himself compelled to place himself under the protection of the troops. That is so typical of Schirach. First he lets things go the way they do, and then he takes refuge with the soldiers. "

After 1945

Eight of the defendants in Nuremberg
(front row from left to right): Hermann Göring , Rudolf Heß , Joachim von Ribbentrop , Wilhelm Keitel
(behind): Karl Dönitz , Erich Raeder , Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel

After the end of the Third Reich , von Schirach went into hiding in Tyrol as Richard Falk and was initially considered dead. From the last days of the war there was news that Viennese had hung him. Instead, he now worked as an interpreter for the US Army and wrote about Vienna shortly before it was conquered in April 1945. On June 5, 1945, however, he surrendered and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg Trial of 1946 against the major war criminals sentenced for being Gauleiter responsible for the deportation of 185,000 Austrian Jews to concentration camps.

He was imprisoned in the Spandau War Crimes Prison together with the other war criminals who were sentenced to prison terms in the trial . During his imprisonment, Schirach was divorced in 1950. After his joint discharge with Albert Speer in 1966, he lived, partially blind, in the Müllen Pension in Kröv and published his memoirs in 1967 under the title I believed in Hitler . In 1968 he gave a TV interview to journalist David Frost . He died on August 8, 1974 in Kröv, and had the following written on his gravestone: "I was one of you".

At the beginning of 2015, his grave was leveled in the Kröver cemetery after the rest period had expired and the family had decided not to extend it.


  • The pioneers of the Third Reich. Essen 1933.
  • Education revolution. Speeches from the years of construction. Rather, Munich 1938.
  • I believed in Hitler. Mosaik-Verlag, Hamburg 1967.


  • Michael BuddrusSchirach, Baldur Benedikt von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , p. 4 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Gerhard Hay: Religious pseudo cult in Nazi poetry using the example of Baldur v. Schirach. In: Pietas liturgica. 1, 1983, pp. 855-864.
  • Joe J. Heydecker, Johannes Leeb: The Nuremberg Trial. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-462-03240-2 .
  • Guido Knopp , Ricarda Schlosshan: Hitler's helpers. Perpetrators and executors. Goldmann, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-442-15017-5 , p. 89 ff.
  • Roman B. Kremer: Autobiography as an apology. Rhetoric of justification in Baldur von Schirach, Albert Speer, Karl Dönitz and Erich Raeder. V&R unipress, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8471-0759-0 .
  • Jochen von Lang: The Hitler Youth. Baldur von Schirach, the man who raised Germany's youth. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-426-04045-X (= Knaur; 4045; non-fiction).
  • Henriette von Schirach: The price of glory. Experienced contemporary history. Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-548-35457-2 (= Ullstein book; 35457).
  • Richard von Schirach : The shadow of my father. Hanser, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-446-20669-8 .
  • Karl Schönhammer: Baldur von Schirach's trade of honor. In: then and now. Yearbook of the Association for Corporate Student History Research. Volume 30, 1985, pp. 69-86.
  • Robert Wistrich : Who was who in the Third Reich? Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-596-24373-4 .
  • Michael Wortmann: Baldur von Schirach, Hitler's youth leader. Böhlau, Cologne 1982, ISBN 3-412-05580-8 (also Cologne, University dissertation 1980).

Web links

Commons : Baldur von Schirach  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ferdinand von Schirach, The dignity is touchable. Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-492-05658-8 , p. 43.
  2. Ferdinand von Schirach in an interview with Christoph Amend , Zeit-Magazin of February 28, 2019, p. 29.
  3. Hermann Weiß (Ed.): Biographical Lexicon for the Third Reich . 2nd Edition. Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-596-13086-7 , pp. 404 .
  4. ^ Wolfgang Mück: Nazi stronghold in Middle Franconia: The völkisch awakening in Neustadt an der Aisch 1922–1933. Verlag Philipp Schmidt, 2016 (= Streiflichter from home history. Special volume 4); ISBN 978-3-87707-990-4 , p. 182.
  5. ^ A b c W. Daniel Wilson: Jew friend, Jew enemy - or Jew? Goethe and Judaism under National Socialism . In: Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, Steffen Höhne (ed.): Goethe and the Jews - the Jews and Goethe. Contributions to a relationship and reception story . de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2018, ISBN 978-3-11-052803-9 , pp. 235-253 , here pp. 246-247 .
  6. Baldur von Schirach: Goethe speech. Held on June 14, 1937 on the occasion of the Weimar Festival of German Youth in the National Theater in Weimar. In: Will and Power. Leader organ of the National Socialist youth. Volume 12, 1937, unpaginated; Separate print: Goethe to us. Eternal thoughts of the great German. Introduced by a speech by the Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach. Munich 1938.
  7. Burkard Jellonnek: homosexuals under the swastika. The persecution of homosexuals in the Third Reich. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 1990, ISBN 3-506-77482-4 , pp. 87f.
  8. ^ Quotation from Ernst Klee : Das Personenlexikon zum Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 536.
  9. In April 1943, Hitler's wife Henriette complained to Hitler about the treatment of Jewish women in the Netherlands, which aroused the anger of the “Führer”. Christa Schroeder: He was my boss. From the estate of Adolf Hitler's secretary. 2nd edition, Langen Müller Verlag, Munich / Vienna 1985, ISBN 3-7844-2059-1 , p. 194 ff.
  10. Annett Gröschner, Peter Jung: A booklet and bombs: Vienna 1944/45. In: Jungle World. No. 15, April 8, 2004 ( jungle-world ).
  11. ^ Kurt Landsmann: Floridsdorf 1945. The end of the war - A contribution to contemporary history. Christian Brandstätter Verlag, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-85447-622-1 , pp. 49–51.
  12. Died: Baldur von Schirach . In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 1974 ( online ).
  13. Ferdinand von Schirach: The dignity can be touched. Munich 2014, p. 40.
  14. ↑ There is no longer any memory of the former "Reich Youth Leader" Baldur von Schirach in Kröv., May 13, 2015, accessed April 27, 2016.