Gestapo comments about sixth leaflet

Both concoctions demonstrate an extraordinarily high niveau. The speaker is a person who has completely mastered the German language, who has thought through his topic with absolute clarity. The man knows exactly what he wants; he possesses detailed knowledge. He is a German. And indeed, he is not only not an immigrant, he is also a German who has experienced the political events here in this country for many years, up to and including the present time.

He is informed regarding exact details of political and personal relationships, particularly in Munich. Indeed, he knows the personal relationships with the Party: For example, he knows that Gauleiter Giesler, who is known in Munich simply as Gauleiter, is merely officially delegated the responsibility of administering the Gau [region]. As a result, he targets him in B 24 with the expression “Gauleiter Aspirant”. Additionally, he knows the personal relationships at the university. For without question, the expression in B 34 “the lecture halls of the SS-Noncom-and-Major General” [Note 1] targets the university’s rector, SS-Major General Wüst. Undoubtedly, there are not many people who know his exact SS-rank. Incidentally, the camouflaged innuendos in both cases exemplify the stylistic finesse of this man. …

1. …In spite of deviations in tone, the identity of the author emerges from several details fairly clearly. The catchphrase of B is “Freedom and Honor”. … Indeed, the eye of the person interested in freedom typically falls on “every individual”. (A 51; B 37; correspondingly in B 12, it says “personal freedom”.) … In B, the author draws parallels to the end of the War of Independence of 1813, down to the last detail (B 50): He compares Napoleon’s defeat at Beresina with the events of Stalingrad (B 53). …Often in reactionary circles, one hears these parallels between Hitler and Napoleon that provide the basis for this. But here it is exploited through precise knowledge of the historical facts.

2. … B was written after the fall of Stalingrad (see the beginning) and after the University Week in Munich; in addition, it was written after the announcement of the Closure Measures (36). That means it was written within the last 2 – 3 weeks.

3. The author writes in a distinguished German style. Only a person who is intimately familiar with German literature is capable of such a style, which means the author is probably a humanities scholar or a theologian.

4. Stylistically, the author demonstrates that he is a person who is well-versed in the Lutheran translation of the Bible. … In B 4, the expression “cast before swine” is used. This intimate familiarity with the language of the Bible points to either a theologian or someone who fights for the church. The expression in B 51 “pious [Note 2] breakthrough” is also theological [in nature]. … The comment in B 20 about the Ordensburgen [Note 3] likely originated from a clergyman. Currently the Ordensburgen are without any contemporary significance, as they have been closed since the beginning of the war. They have played a relatively small role in the discussion of domestic politics, with one single exception: The discussions about the “Cult Places” that are being advanced from the side of the churches. The accusation of godlessness in B 21 is heading in that direction.

5. In B, the author speaks in the voice and name of an intellectual [Note 4] Germany. This is only possible if he is not merely an academic, but someone closely connected to the university. I conclude that this must be a person who began his university studies around 1933 and is still connected in some way or another with the university, perhaps either as a Teaching Assistant or some similar scholarly position or maybe even active in university politics.

6. The author is specifically familiar with National Socialism and its development. This can only be explained out of his own personal experience. In particular, the section in B 15-19 proves this point. His attack against “ideological education” hits a nerve. I have reported about this in a different context in influential places, describing how alienating this education must be for persons gifted with great intellects. …

7. Despite careful thought processes, flawed logic occasionally creeps in, which points to hasty composition. … In B 16, “to make uniform, to revolutionize, to drug”: The middle term is out of place.

8. The tendencies observed thus far have slipped past the author unwittingly. He has carefully camouflaged his intellectual origins to achieve his political goals. For example, he does not make use of the battle with the churches to make the arguments that mean the most to him. …

While in A disciples of any sort are sought, in B the political soil is clearly the student body. [The author] works with an exact knowledge of the events of the last weeks. The author is even familiar with the mood of the student body. In B 23, it mentions that warriors from the front lines are disciplined like school boys by the leaders of the student body. This reflects the actual exasperation of the soldiers who are home from the front on leave to study. These soldiers are frequently opposed to the political demands of the League of Students.

To summarize: The author appears to be a gifted intellectual who disseminates his propaganda in academic circles, particularly among the student body. Despite a certain vivacity in his speech and in the determination of his political will, his intellectual products are in the end little more than literary exercises. His words may not have the tone of an embittered loner, but it is certain that only a small, specific clique stands behind these words. They are not the effluence of a politically powerful, active group. The language [in these leaflets] is too abstract for that. The words will not (and cannot) find resonance in larger circles of soldiers or workers.


General Note: In Harder’s memorandum, A = Leaflet 5 by Hans Scholl, B = Leaflet 6 by Kurt Huber. I have extracted only the analysis of Leaflet 6 in this post. – Note that dating as February 9, 1943 is based on the heated debate about this leaflet at a meeting between Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Kurt Huber, Willi Graf, and Falk Harnack. That meeting is alternately dated February 11, 1943.

Note 1: Harder used the runic S that was the symbol of the SS. In every case, but only noted here.

Note 2: Gläubig, which is more often used by the Pietists in the Lutheran Church as well as by other non-mainstream Christian groups. For those groups, gläubig has a more positive connotation than fromm, also translated pious.

Note 3: In non-National Socialist German, an Ordensburg is a castle of a particular (e.g. Teutonic) order. In National Socialist German, it was a training school for political leaders.

Note 4: The German word is geistig, which is often incorrectly translated as spiritual (geistlich). Geistig does include overtones of spirituality with emphasis on intellectual; it could be translated as “intellectual/spiritual” to distinguish it from intellektuell. But that would make the translation unwieldy. It will be noted in future references only if it is purely intellectual, and not geistig.


Source: ZC13267, Harder’s memorandum dated February 17, 1943

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