Adolf Hitler – speech at the Ordensburg Sonthofen – 22.11.1937.docx

Allgäu, November 22, 1937

Since in international life there are only natural, sober interests, it should be based neither on gratitude nor on family connections. Family connections were as useless in preserving Prussia and Austria from war as they were for Germany and England.

In Europe, we have more difficult obstacles to overcome than those, for instance, which exist for England-which only [!] needed its naval supremacy to occupy large living spaces with relatively little loss of blood.

Nonetheless: we had Europe once before. We only lost it because our leadership lacked the initiative that would have been necessary to not only maintain our position, on a long-term basis, but also to expand it.

Today a new state is being established, the unique feature of which is that it sees its foundation not in Christianity and not in a concept of state; rather, it places its primary emphasis on the self-contained Volksgemeinschaft.

Hence it is significant that the “Germanic Empire of the German Nation” now puts this supremely capable concept of the future into practice, merciless against all adversaries, against all religious fragmentation, against all fragmentation into parties.

If we regard our German history in a very extensive sense from our most dim and distant past up to today, we are the richest Volk in Europe. And if, with utmost tolerance, we allow our great German heroes to march by, all our great leaders of the past, all our great Germanic and German emperors-for they were great without exception-England would have to shrink before us.

It is this unification of the German nation which gives us the moral justification to step before the world with vital demands. The fact is that ultimate justice resides in power. And power, in international life, resides in the self-containment of the nations themselves. Today the German nation has finally been given what it has lacked for centuries, namely, the organization of a leadership of the Volk.

[…]

Today we are laying claim to the leadership of the Volk, i.e. we alone are authorized to lead the Volk as such-that means every man and every woman.

The lifelong relationships between the sexes is something we will organize. We shall form the child!

We are giving you unconditional freedom in your teachings and in your views on what God is. For we are well aware that we ourselves know nothing of these things.

Yet let one thing be quite clear: the Churches may determine the fate of the German being in the next world, but in this world the German nation, by way of its leaders, is determining the fate of the German being. Only if there is such a clear and clear-cut division can life be made bearable in a time of transition.

At the bottom of our hearts, we National Socialists are religious. For the space of many millenniums, a uniform concept of God did not exist. Yet it is the most brilliant and most sublime notion of mankind, that which distinguishes him most from animals, that he not only views a phenomenon from without, but always poses the question of why and how.

This entire world, a world so clear-cut in its external manifestation, is just as unclear to us in its purpose. And here mankind has bowed down in humility before the conviction that it is confronted by an incredible power, an Omnipotence, which is so incredible and so deep that we men are unable to fathom it. That is a good thing! For it can serve to comfort people in bad times; it avoids that superficiality and sense of superiority that misleads man to believe that he-but a tiny bacillus on this earth, in this universe-rules the world, and that he lays down the laws of Nature which he can at best but study. It is, therefore, our desire that our Volk remains humble and truly believes in a God.

Hence an immeasurably large scope is given for the Churches, and thus they should be tolerant of one another! God did not create our Volk that it be torn apart by priests. This is why it is necessary to ensure its unity by a system of leadership. That is the task of the NSDAP. It is to comprise that order which, beyond the limits of time and man, is to guarantee the stability of the German development of opinion and hence of the political leadership.

The NSDAP is the largest organization the world has ever seen. All counted, it encompasses a total of twenty-five million people and has 300,000 functionaries. It is quite obvious that an organization that is only eighteen years beyond its founding cannot be the same as it would be after one hundred years.

Yet the important thing is that we equip it with the law according to which it came to power and which it shall retain. Here we have established the basic rule of absolute obedience and absolute authority. Just as the Army-the weapon- cannot prevail without this law of the absolute authority of each and every superior to those below him and his absolute responsibility to those above, neither can the political leadership of this weapon prevail. For what is gained by the weapon is ultimately subject to political administration, and what the political administration wants, the weapon is to procure. The leadership of the Volk in former times, the Church, also recognized only this one law of life: blind obedience and absolute authority.

Old Germany was overthrown because it did not possess this zealous blind will, did not have this confidence and this serenity. New Germany will be victorious because it integrates these virtues and at present has already integrated them in an extremely difficult struggle. I know quite well that this is independent of the individual. I know quite well that, were anything to happen to me today, the next one would take my place and continue in the same fashion, just as zealously; because that, too, is part of this Movement.

Just as it is not possible to instantly turn a political bourgeois association into a fighting group of heroes, it will be equally impossible to ever turn this Movement, which was built up from the very beginning on courage and initiative, into a bourgeois association.

That is also the future task above all of these schools: to conduct this test of courage over and over again, to break with the opinion that only the soldier must be brave. Whoever is a political leader is always a soldier, too! And whoever lacks bravery cannot be a soldier. He must be prepared for action at all times. In the beginning, courage had to be the basic prerequisite for someone to find his way to the Party-and it really was, otherwise no one came.

Today we have to install artificial obstacles, artificial trenches over which the person has to jump. That is where he now has to prove whether he is brave.

Because if he is not brave, he is of no use to us.

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With Knight’s Cross and Combat Boots as Guests of Honour in Berlin

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Vol. 6, No. 3, Number 33,
January – March 1984

Waffen SS front soldiers are visiting Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels in Berlin

In early 1943 our division, the 3rd SS Panzer Div. “Totenkopf,” was situated around Belgorod to the north of Kharkov. In the middle of March, I was summoned to the battalion command post. Our commander. SS-Sturmbannführer Max Seela, told me: ‘‘You are to report to the divisional HQ at 10:00 tomorrow; there you will receive your papers and will travel together with another four men to Berlin!” I stared at him in surprise like a squirrel and the CO and his adjutant, Obersturmführer Wolf, laughed.

The next day began with a ride in a motorcycle sidecar to the divisional HQ. There I, as a representative of the SS Engineer Bn. 3, joined Hstuf. Masairie, the CO of the recce detachment, an Oberscharführer from SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 5 and a Hauptscharführer from the artillery regiment, for a conclave of Demyansk veterans in Berlin. Somewhat later a fifth man joined up with us. He was large and slender, with Knight’s Cross and combat boots, and full of drive and energy. It was our Unterschar- führer Hans Hirning from SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 6, who had been awarded the Knight’s Cross as a Rottenführer during his time in the Demyansk pocket.

We attempted to find an airplane that was going to Germany so that we could get there faster. At the Kharkov airfield we had some luck. A Lieutenant who had flown “Junkers” into Demyansk packed us into his machine and took us first to Dnepropetrovsk. I was happy, as were the others, to get out of that plane. The Lieutenant flew like the devil heading down: we often just missed brushing the treetops. We flew on to Lemberg and Breslau in our old “Ju.” In Berlin we reported in to the garrison commander. There we got our leave passes in hand and we were allowed to go home. After 14 days we all got back together and reported into the hotel “Russian Manor” in Berlin.

Here the gathering of “Demyansk fighters” was held. Each division that had served there had sent 5 or 6 men for a total of 50 to 60 men. A Major Benzin led this delegation. We were guests of honour of the city of Berlin. Arrangements for the course of our stay were handled by the city and the propaganda ministry.

Hans Hirning and 1 shared a room. The elevator was much used and appreciated. During breakfast we each charted a “plan of action” for visits and excursions during our allotted time here. In these 14 days in Berlin we visited all the sightseeing spots, many theatres and review shows, the Berlin Zoo and other places. Each time we went into a theatre or a show the director, before the performance began, would come out on the stage and greet us in this way: “Today we are especially honoured to have in our midst, guests of honour of the city of Berlin and the Reich Propaganda Ministry; permit me to introduce the “fighters’ from the cauldron at Demyansk . . . etc., etc.” The crowd would applaud and we would stand up to acknowledge their recognition.

We also visited the Reich National Memorial and the factory in which the new “Panther” tanks were being made. We toured the avenues towards Potsdam in two busses, visiting, among other things, the Sanssouci Palace, the Garrison Church, the City Palace,- and the grave of Friedrich the Great. In a boathouse on the Havel we stopped for coffee and the well-known bandmaster Herms Niels of the RAD (Labour Service) led a concert for us.

Hans Hirning was noticed everywhere we went since it was a curiosity to see an Unterscharführer with the Knight’s Cross. He kept getting asked: “How did you get that decoration?” And he always answered: “I had good luck.” Unfortunately his luck would run out shortly before the end of the war.

We were then guests of the Mayor of Berlin in the city hall. The Mayor wore a “Pour le mérite” (“Blue Max”), and gave us a speech. The Waffen-SS general Kurt Knoblauch, formerly the chief-of-staff of our division, was also in attendance. He was happy to speak with us and learn about what had been happening with the division. Then lunch began.

We were surprised at the enormous table. It was built in a U-shape and had on it the best porcelain and heavy silverware as well as a sea of flowers, liquor, wine and wine glasses. Many guests besides us were served. The General sat next to a private, and highly ranked guests were found next to NCOs. The waiters passed before and behind us, continually bringing and serving food. After the meal some artist-entertainers who sang and danced appeared. It was beautifully simple; everything was very sincere and open and there was no forced merriment.

Then came the day in which we went to the Reich Propaganda Ministry. On the first floor we entered a huge lobby. There were massive curtains on the windows as well as tapestries and parquet flooring. In our combat and riding boots we felt as though we were walking on ice. After a while the door opened and in came our large and energetic former divisional commander (my former regimental CO), Max Simon. He had heard that the Demyansk “fighters” were here including a few from the “T”- Division. At the time he had been staying in a Berlin hospital. It made us very happy to see him.

Representatives of each different division presented a war report of their combat activities in the Demyansk pocket and a proposal was made for a “Demyansk Shield” decoration. This was the hour when the “Demyansk Shield” originated Later on every soldier who fought in the Demyansk cauldron would wear this decoration on the upper left sleeve.

Next we received yet another leave pass for 14 days, which each man was to spend in his hometown. Then the longest and most beautiful leave we were ever going to get came to an end. Trains and airplanes took us back to our old bunch near Kharkov.

— A Former Member of the SS-“Totenkopf” Division