Alexander Schmorell and Jung Stahlhelm

Regarding the transfer notice, I can state: In 1933, I briefly belonged to the “Jung Stahlhelm” [Note 2]. I was then transferred to the SA [Storm Troopers].

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Note 1: This was a topic Alexander Schmorell clearly was not comfortable talking about. In the initial part of his interrogation when asked about membership in NSDAP organizations, as well as about military medals, he answered None to both questions, even though an affirmative response would have been beneficial to his case.

Note 2: Jung-Stahlhelm, referring to the steel helmets worn by soldiers. During the Nuremberg Trials on August 29, 1946, the question of membership in one of the Stahlhelm organizations arose: Did that membership alone constitute a prosecutable offense?

Following excerpt from trial transcripts elucidates Alex’s position. It has been reiterated time and again that the prosecution are anxious to obtain a declaration of criminality only against those who bear a major responsibility for the crimes that have been committed. In view of this, and in view of the evidence that has been presented to you since February, we desire respectfully to recommend certain additional exclusions from among the general membership of this organization. …

Secondly, we believe that we are also justified in asking for the exclusion of certain sections of the Stahlhelm. So that you may understand the grounds for this recommendation, it may be of assistance if I briefly remind you of the structure and history of that organization. It was composed of: 1. The Scharnhorst, which was the Stahlhelm youth organization for boys under 14, with a strength of about 500,000. 2. The Wehr Stahlhelm, which included the Jung Stahlhelm (boys from 14-24 years of age) and the Stahlhelm sports formations (men from 24-35 years of age). The total strength of the Wehr Stahlhelm was 500,000. 3. The Kern Stahlhelm, which consisted of men between 36 and 45 years of age. Its strength has been given as 450,000. The total strength of the Stahlhelm was therefore approximately 1,500,000 men and boys.

In 1933 the Stahlhelm was placed under the control of the Nazi Party. The Scharnhorst was transferred to the Hitler Jugend; the Wehr Stahlhelm to the SA proper; and the Kern Stahlhelm to the SA Reserve. Since we have already excluded the SA Reserve we are left to consider only that part of the Stahlhelm which was incorporated into the SA proper – 500,000 members of the Wehr Stahlhelm.

You have evidence both from witnesses and from documents contained in the defence document book that many of these 500,000 Stahlhelm members were opposed to their transfer to the SA and to the policies and aims of the SA and the Nazi Party. Many, including the witness von Waldenfels, refused to join the SA. It is a possible hypothesis that many more, although opposed to the policies of the SA, were prepared to join, in view of the assurance that was given to them that they would retain their independent character, identity and leaders in the same way as did the Reiterkorps, and that they would never be called actively to associate themselves with the SA proper.

On the other hand, there can be no doubt whatsoever that many wholeheartedly joined the SA and participated to the fullest extent in its criminal activities. Juettner himself is an example, and he declared that he was by no means the only one. You will remember his evidence: “Numerous SA men came to me in the first few months, who had formerly belonged to the Stahlhelm; like myself, they felt regret that their fine old organization was no longer in existence. But together with me they hailed the fact that they were now permitted to participate in this large community of the SA.”

Speaking of his own district, he said: “Really, after 1935 the nucleus of the SA was my old Stahlhelm organization; therefore many Stahlhelm men remained in the SA.” To exclude the whole of the Stahlhelm would entail the exclusion of men like Juettner and many other Stahlhelm members who were to form the nucleus of the SA. For more information, see: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-22/tgmwc-22-214-05.shtml.

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Source: RGWA, February 26, 1943 interrogation of Alexander Schmorell.

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