Julius Streicher

02.05.2016 ( Last modified: 08.06.2016 )
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facts

Julius Streicher was born on 12 February 1885 in Fleinhausen, Bavaria. Son of a schoolmaster, he worked as a teacher in a primary school until joining the German army in 1914.

In 1919, Streicher helped to establish an anti-Semitic political organisation which would later be incorporated into the NSDAP, the Nazi Party.

In 1923, at the time of the Munich putsch attempt, Streicher became a close collaborator of Adolf Hitler. It was also in 1923 that he founded and became editor of the violently anti-Semitic newspaper, “Der Stürmer”, which in 1935 had a circulation of 600,000 copies. Streicher used the newspaper as a forum to make known his deep hatred of the Jews and to accuse them of being responsible for all the difficulties with which Germany was afflicted.

In 1929, Streicher was appointed Gauleiter of the NSDAP for Franconia a position he held until 1940. After the Nazis came to power, he also became a Member of the Reichstag, the German Parliament, until 1945. In addition, Streicher held other positions, in particular in the SA. It is noteworthy that Streicher organised a boycott programme against Jewish companies, which began on 1 April 1933, and advocated the 1935 Nuremberg Decrees. By way of other examples, Streicher was accused of being responsible for the Nuremberg Synagogue fire of 10 August 1938, and of publicly applauding, on 10 November of the same year, the pogrom which took place on that date.

A number of his publications called for the annihilation of the Jews. For example in a May 1939 article Streicher wrote “A punitive expedition must be organised against the Jews in Russia. A punitive expedition which will provide the same fate for them that every murderer and criminal must expect-.the death sentence and execution. The Jews in Russia must be killed. They must be exterminated root and branch.”

Due to his verbal attacks against certain high ranking members of the Party, Streicher was gradually stripped of all his positions in the NSDAP beginning in 1940. Nevertheless Hitler allowed him to continue publication of “Der Stürmer”

Julius Streicher was accused of having used his different positions, his personal influence and close relationship to Hitler to promote the accession to power of the Nazi conspirators and the consolidation of their control over Germany set forth in count 1 of the Indictment. He was also accused of authorising directing and participating in crimes against humanity as set forth in count 4 of the indictment, including particularly incitement towards persecution of the Jews set forth in count 1 and count 4 of the indictment.

Streicher was arrested on 23 May 1945.

legal procedure

Julius Streicher was arrested on 23 May 1945.

Charged under count 1 (common plan or conspiracy), and 4 (crimes against humanity), he pleaded not guilty.

Streicher’s defence was to argue that all he ever did was to write, and never to take action.

The Nuremberg International Military Tribunal did not follow his line of argument. Streicher was indeed acquitted on count 1, it being considered that that he had never been in attendance, for example, in important meetings during which Hitler disclosed his plans to his principal chiefs of staff. On the other hand, the judges condemned him for crimes against humanity. In the opinion of the Tribunal “the fact of Streicher’s incitement to murder and extermination, at a time when the Jews in the East were being massacred under unspeakable conditions, was manifestly persecution for political and racial reasons in keeping with war crimes as set forth in the Statute, and a crime against humanity”.

The Tribunal therefore found Streicher guilty on count 4 of the indictment and condemned him to death on 1 October 1946.

Streicher did not wish to appeal the sentence but his lawyer proceeded to do so. The appeal to the Control Council was rejected on 10 October 1946.

Julius Streicher was executed by hanging on 16 October 1946. His last words were “Heil Hitler”.

context

After the Second World War numerous trials against war criminals and those responsible for Nazi crimes took place in Germany and other countries. It is not possible here to give an overview of all the trials. Below are the main facts concerning the major trials of war criminals at Nuremberg.

BASIS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on 7-8 May 1945. The Allies (USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France) took over all governmental functions in Germany, instituted the Allied Control Council and divided Germany into four zones of occupation.

After the adoption of the London Charter of 8 August 1945, the Allies set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in order to judge the major German war criminals. Annex III of the Agreement contains the Statute of the International Military Tribunal (IMT Statute [2]).

NUREMBERG TRIAL OF MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS

According to Articles 1-3 of the London Charter, war criminals with offenses having no particular geographical location were to be judged by the IMT. However in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the Convention, the principle of territoriality was to apply to the other German war criminals, with the courts of those states where crimes had been committed having the competence to try these criminals on the basis on their national laws.

Crimes within the jurisdiction of IMT:

– Crimes against peace;

– War crimes and

– Crimes against humanity (Article 6 of IMT Statute).

The IMT was composed of four judges and four substitutes who were appointed by the four Allied powers (Article 2 IMT Statute). In application of Article 13 of the IMT Statute, the Tribunal drew up its own Rules of Procedure

The IMT indicted 24 people in total. The trials took place from 14 November 1945 until 1 October 1946. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death, three were acquitted and seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. In one case, the procedure was suspended for health reasons and in another the defendant committed suicide before his trial.