Harder’s first profile

Copy /22/

Professor Harder – Munich, February 17, 1943
Ludwig Str. 14, 1st staircase
Tel. 23 0 31.


A few hours ago, two leaflets were forwarded to me. In the interest of expediting the investigation, I will immediately compile the [best possible] psychological evaluation as is possible in so short a time. Should additional important criterion occur to me later, I will issue a supplemental report.

I will quote the two leaflets as follows:

A [Note 1] = “Leaflets of the Resistance Movement in Germany” (which begins “the war is …” and ends “…disseminate the leaflets”

B = “Fellow Students!” (which begins “Trembling stands…” and ends “…of freedom and honor”)

I have numbered the lines in both leaflets.

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 2] 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.

I propose the following theses regarding these facts of the case:

1. A and B originated from the same author. 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”; the catchphrase “Freedom” reappears in A 53. 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 the political-historical view of the author, a new “war of independence” [Note 3] is beginning (A 24); it is very characteristic for this author that this phrase is not used casually on the spur of the moment, but is part of his well-thought-out historical thesis. 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); he quotes Theodor Körner (A 55) and speaks of the “Enslavement of Europe” (A 56) as was common in the Napoleonic era. 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. A and B were written at different times. A was written around December 1942 or January 1943. The status of the war was exclusively seen as generally unfavorable: Armies retreating in the East. Expectation of invasion from the West, enormous military buildup of America. It was only during those days that one could speak of the “Bolshevist threat” (29) in a mocking manner. In contrast, 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. A 34: “…just judgment over him that…” [Note 4] In contemporary Germany, this archaic grammatical construction is used only as an echo of Luther. 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. And indeed, since the Catholic Church generally uses other translations of the Bible, this person is more likely Protestant than Catholic (compare also A 53 “Freedom of Religion”). [Note 5] The expression in B 51 “pious [Note 6] breakthrough” is also theological [in nature]. The expression in A 26 “the cloak of indifference, which you have placed on your hearts” is typical homiletics. The comment in B 20 about the Ordensburgen [Note 7] 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 8] 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. Where the reference to the selection process for leaders in A 19 is tinged with bitterness, I must assume that the author fell through the cracks in this process. The intimate knowledge of the terminology [associated with the process] confirms this portrayal.

7. Despite careful thought processes, flawed logic occasionally creeps in, which points to hasty composition. A 54 “Gewaltstaat” is nonsensical [Note 9]. So is A 36 “the outcome of this war” [Note 10]. 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. Significant as well is the manner in which he speaks of the Jews in A 20: In no way as philo-Semitic, and in no way making use of the sentimental, emotional arguments that circulate abroad in this point. He does not demonstrate any knowledge of the usual foreign arguments. It is likely that he has never been abroad, and that he does not have contact with foreigners. It is significant that there is a complete lack of understanding about foreign affairs (e.g. Italy). What is said in A 41 ff. about “cooperative efforts of the European nations” is verbose, empty, and paltry.

So much about the author himself. The following can be deduced regarding the presumed political situation. A 38 ff., that is in the earlier leaflet, he uses the old propagandistic phrase about “Prussian” militarism. Of course this is attributable to Bavaria. Correspondingly the call to “federalism” (A 46). Working on the peculiar Bavarian biases is an old tactic of the Center. The confused words in A 48 ff. correspond to this as well. The words attempt to describe a social agenda, but the concept does not materialize. This shoddy writing points to a naïve academician and reminds one a little of the earlier “yellow” workers’ unions, that is of Catholic social policy.

Yet at the same time, there is a very considered limitation of this battle against Prussiandom. In A 39, the opposition is to “a one-sided Prussian militarism”. The word “one-sided” is a conscious limitation that seeks to avoid offending those with a militaristic proclivity. This [form of] Bavarian separatism takes into consideration the broad support of the military that exists among the German people and seeks its disciples from appropriate circles, that is, most likely among students. This [conclusion] is further supported in A 35, which opposes those who are “cowardly and undecided”: this targets typically intellectual [Note 11] circles. As additional proof, A 36 specifically disputes the notion that this war is a “national” war. The feelings of people with nationalistic attitudes are herewith consciously spared. Incidentally, I do not believe that the author has been or is a soldier, based on the overall manner of speech.

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.

Signed by Harder.



Note 1: I had to deviate from the exact wording of the original document to preserve clarity. In the original document, Professor Harder referred to the documents using lower case a and b. However, in German, lower case a is not a word, whereas it is in English. Hence, the documents are referred to with upper case letters.

Note 2: Harder used the runic S that was the symbol of the SS. In every case, but only noted here.

Note 3: Alternate translation: War of liberation (German: Befreiungskrieg).

Note 4: German: gerechtes Gericht über die, so…, where “so” is used instead of “die”. This is the grammatical equivalent of King James “thee” and “thou”.

Note 5: Bekenntnis, same root word as in the Bekennende Kirche – Confessing Church – of Bonhoeffer/Niemöller.

Note 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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.

Note 9: A Gewaltherrschaft is a despotism – ‘forced or violent’ + rule. The German word Gewaltstaat – ‘forced or violent’ + nation – has no meaning, though it’s likely the leaflet readers knew what was intended.

Note 10: The war had not yet ended. Stalingrad was a battle.

Note 11: Intellectual only, not geistig.

Note 12: At this point (February 17), the Gestapo was on the right track, but making one critically false assumption, namely that one person penned both of the last leaflets. This would have an effect on the events of the next day.


Source: ZC13267 (24 – 28)

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