The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3469-PS


                          Nurnberg, 7 January 1946

I, Hans Fritzsche, at present a defendant before
International Military Tribunal, herewith declare and state
the following after having consulted my defense lawyer:

1. My name is Hans Fritzsche. I was born on 21 April 1900,
at Bochum, Westphalia. I attended the classical high school
[Humanistisches Gymnasium] in Halle/Saale, Breslau, and
Leipzig. Afterwards, I studied history, philosophy, and

2. I started my practical work in 1923 as editor of the
Prussian Yearbooks (Economic-Political Review) [Preussische
Jahrbuecher] [Wirtschaftspolitische Rundschau]. I held this
position for about one year. The publisher of this
periodical was Dr. Walther Schotte.

3. I did not belong to any party, after I had resigned in
1923 from the German National Peoples Party
[Deutschnationale Volkspartei] in which I had been a member
for hardly a half year. In the years 1923-1924, that means
before I joined the Telegraph Union International News
Agency Company [Telegrafen-Union Internationalen Nachrichten
G.m.b.H.], I did not write for other papers or periodicals.

My way from the so-called Hugenberg press to the Propaganda
Ministry was as follows:

4.   To my knowledge, the Alfred Hugenberg Enterprises
consisted mainly of the following enterprises or groups of
enterprises: Universal Film Corporation [Universum Film
Aktiengesellschaft (UFA) ]; Vera Publishing House
Incorporated [Vera Verlagsanstalt GmbH]; Deulig Film
Corporation [Deulig-Film A.-G.]; Telegraph-Union
International News Incorporated [Telegraphen-Union
Internationale Nachrichten GmbH]; (abbreviated “T.U.” and
commonly called the Telegraph Union; after the Wolff
Telegraph Agency, the “T.U.” was the most important news
agency in Germany); The Foreign Company [Auslands-GmbH];
Foreign Advertising Company [Auslands-Anzeigen-GmbH]; Ala-
Haasenstein & Vogler Company [ Ala-Haasenstein & Vogler
GmbH] Darlehens Mutual Newspaper Bank [Zeitungsbank Mutuum
Darlehens A-G] (for investment in and credit for newspapers;
this bank also exercised control over a great number of
daily newspapers); Provincial Press Service
[Wirtschaftsstelle der Provinzpresse] (Wipro) (For producing
printed correspondence and ready-made printed mats); West
End Publishing Company [Westend-Verlag GmbH]; German Picture
Company [Deutsche Lichtbildgesellschaft]. The Hugenberg
concern was by far
the largest and most influential press concern in Germany.
Alfred Hugenberg was a member of the German National
Assembly and of the Reichstag from 1920 until after the
seizure of power in 1933. He was chairman of the executive
committee of the German National Peoples Party
[Deutschnationale Volkspartei] from 1928 until its
dissolution in 1933. He became Reich Minister of Economics
in the Papen government in 1932. He remained a member of the
Hitler cabinet from 30 January 1933 up to the complete
seizure of power in March 1933.

5. From 1924 until 1932 I was an editor with the Telegraph
Union. The Telegraph Union belonged to and was controlled by
the Alfred Hugenberg Enterprises. I worked there as chief
editor of foreign letters, a service of foreign articles for
German newspapers. Besides that, I wrote leading articles
almost daily for several domestic services of the same
publishing concern mostly dealing with the foreign political
questions, frequently writing against the Treaty of
Versailles. This treaty at this time was being discussed
constantly in Geneva and other cities. The newspapers and
periodicals which printed my articles belonged to all
parties reaching from the Centrum [Zentrum] and to the
National Socialist Party. Mostly, however, they belonged to
the so-called “Generalanzeigertyp", a middleclass, national
and moderate group of newspapers represented in almost all
greater German provincial cities.

6.   In the late summer of 1932, probably in August, the
director of the Telegraph Union, Otto Mejer (Korvetten
Kapitan a.D.), asked me whether I would like to take over
the management of the radio news service of the so-called
Wireless Service. Mejer had been asked by a member of the
Papen government — whose name I do not know — to release me
for this purpose, because the incumbent editor and chief,
Dr. Josef Raeuscher, was politically unbearable. After a
first examination I rejected this offer. Subsequently, Dr.
Raeuscher, whom I had known for quite some time and who was
already my predecessor as editor and chief for the foreign
letters with the Telegraph Union, paid me a visit. He
advised me to accept the assignment and promised to
introduce me for some few months into a field which was
entirely new to me. For my part, he asked me to help him to
get a position as a German correspondent abroad. Now I
accepted the offer, dissolved the contract with TU, with the
condition that I could return after one year. I signed a new
contract with the Reich Radio Corporation which managed the
Wireless Service (the Reich Radio Corporation was owned by
the Reich and was managed under the
supervision of a committee consisting of all parties). Dr.
Raeuscher signed a contract as Paris correspondent with the
democratic Berliner-Tageblatt which was owned by the Jewish
publishing house Mosse.

7. In September 1932 I began to make broadcasts to the
German people under the program called “Political Newspaper
Review” over the following stations: Deutschland Sender,
Stuttgart, Koenigsberg, Breslau, Koeln. My broadcasts were
quotations of the opinions of the newspapers of all parties
on current events. While I worked for the Wireless Service,
I wrote only infrequently articles for the Telegraph Union.

8. In September 1932, assisted in a friendly way by Dr.
Raeuscher, I took over my new office. I did not make a
single change in the editor’s staff or the other kind of
personnel. Among the entire personnel of about 30 persons
there were about five Jews and Jewesses.

9. I was acquainted with Dr. Goebbels since 1928. Apparently
he had taken a liking to me, besides the fact that in my
press activities I had always treated the National
Socialists in a friendly way until 1931. Already before
1933, Goebbels, who was the editor of the “Attack”
[Angriff], a Nazi newspaper, had frequently made flattering
remarks about the form and content of my work, which I did
as contributor of many “national” newspapers and
periodicals, among which were also reactionary papers and

10. On the evening of 30 January 1933, the radio chief
Dressler-Andrees and his collaborator Sadila-Mantau
approached me upon request of the National Socialists, the
new government party. They declared that their superior, the
propaganda chief of the party, Dr. Goebbels, was still angry
at me on account of an essay under the title of “Potempa".
In this article I had taken publicly a sharp position
against Hitler, after Hitler had sent a telegram of sympathy
to several Nazis sentenced on account of political murder.
They said Goebbels was also still angry on account of my
position against the Nazis concerning an organizational
question, the explanation of which here would lead too far.
They added that Dr. Goebbels respected my public success
since the previous autumn on the radio, and that he would
like to keep me if I would comply with several conditions.

11.  I should dismiss immediately without notice the Jews
and also dismiss the remaining employees by 1 April 1933 in
order to replace all of them by party members. I refused the
first by
referring to contracts and to the fact that except for the
Jewish editor Frank, all Jews were
only technical auxiliary employees. Moreover, that personnel
contracts were not signed by me but by the personnel
division of the Reich Radio Corporation which was superior
to me. As a matter of fact I succeeded in that not a single
Jew was given notice. Nevertheless, during the following
three months they were looking for other positions because
the demand of the party was not kept a secret. A Jewish
secretary went to London, three of them found employment
with the publishing house Mosse, and Frank, through
Raeuscher’s help, found work in Paris. All of them got their
salaries paid in full; several of them, for instance the
wife of Mr. Frank, thanked me for the protection against
this dismissal without notice. The dismissal of the other
employees I had likewise refused. However, I agreed to the
hiring of one National Socialist. This was Sadila-Mantau.
After this I was left undisturbed for about two months with
the exception of four to five assault-like
[ueberfallartigen] visits by SA Troops. They always asked to
give news through the radio which I prevented with some
trouble. From 13 January 1933 until April 1933 I gave
regularly radio broadcasts, at least once weekly. In my
radio speeches, I supported the coalition government, at
this time consisting of German Nationalists and National

12.  About the beginning of April 1933, Dr. Goebbels, who in
the meantime on 17 March 1933 had become Minister for
Peoples Enlightenment and Propaganda, called me. He proposed
to take out the Wireless Service from the Reich Radio
Corporation and to bring it into his new ministry. Deadline,
the 1st of May. At another meeting we discussed the
personnel which should be transferred into the ministry.
After a long discussion, Dr. Goebbels agreed that almost all
editors could come with me. I remember still the names Dr.
Kuehner, Zentrum party, and Thormeier, member of no party,
who were taken over. I became a member of the NSDAP on the
1st of May 1933 and remained an NSDAP member until the
collapse in 1945. When I joined the Propaganda ministry I
had to hire only two secretaries who were party members. The
two secretaries whom I thereby had to dismiss, Misses
Kiepsch and Krueger, I placed with the Reich Radio
Corporation, where they were still in higher positions at
the beginning of 1945. The editor Hartmann, a Social
Democrat, I could place there likewise after a certain
period, where he was still working until the end of the war.
The editor Eckert, a Democrat, who had some
Jewish ancestors, I could not place immediately. For about
one to two years he had to fight very hard as a free lance
writer. Then, however, I could place him with the Transocean
Agency, which was under my official supervision. At the
collapse he was still there in a good position.

13. When at the end of April 1933 I reported to Dr. Goebbels
that I had accomplished the reorganization, which was based
on many technical and organizational changes, and when I
asked him for his permission to return to my position with
the Telegraph Union, or to be permitted to work as a free
lance writer, he asked me to stay. My salary had to be
reduced from 1500 marks monthly to 700 marks per month.
Things like that happened in the ministry and one could not
avoid it. But he wanted to add to my present work as editor
a very interesting task, namely, the reorganization of the
various small German news agencies such as the Transocean
Company, Europa Press, Fast Service Company [Eildienst
G.m.b.H.] which had nearly all gone to sleep. In view of
this task, which to me as an expert was very interesting, I
accepted his offer to join his ministry. Next, as head of
the Wireless Service of the Reich Radio Corporation, I
entered the press division of the Reich Ministry for Peoples
Enlightenment and Propaganda with the greater part of my
staff. This is an honest presentation of the circumstances
under which I came into the propaganda ministry from the
Hugenberg press. Many of my former colleagues from the
Wireless Service were able to remain in their old positions
or to find employment with the propaganda ministry. In some
few cases I could assist them by virtue of my governmental
position. My former colleagues from the Telegraph Union were
almost without exception taken over in the Deutsche
Nachrichten Bureau [D.N.B.], established by the fusion
between Telegraph Union and the Wolff News Agency.

To clarify my functions and relations within the propaganda
ministry I herewith submit the following statement:

14.  The main division of the propaganda ministry for the
spreading and control of news was the “Press Division of the
Reich Cabinet” [Presseabteilung der Reichsregierung] which
was headed by Dr. Otto Dietrich from the summer of 1938
until February 1945. This division was composed, since 1938,
of three subdivisions, namely: “German Press Division” by
far the most important and largest; “Periodical Press
Division"; and “Foreign Press Division". Successive heads of
the German Press Division were Privy Counsellor [Geheimrat]
Walter Alexander Heide,
 from about March 1933 until June 1933; Ministerial
Counsellor [Ministerialrat] Dr. Kurt Jahncke, from June 1933
until about 1935; Ministerial Director [Ministerialdirektor]
Alfred Ingemar Berndt, from about 1935 up to 23 December
1938; I myself, from 23 December 1938 up to 3 November 1942;
Ministerial Counsellor Erich Fischer, from 3 November 1942
until February 1945; deputy heads of the German Press
Division were successively: Ministerial Counsellor Werner
Stephan, from 1933 until about 1938; Ministerial Counsellor
Dr. Hans Brauweiler, from about the beginning of 1938 up to
about June 1938; myself, from June 1933 up to 23 December

15.  During the whole period, from 1933 up to 1945, it was
the task of the German Press Division to supervise the
entire domestic press and to provide it with directives by
which this division became an efficient instrument in the
hands of the German State leadership. More than 2300 German
daily newspapers were subject to this control. The aim of
this supervision and control, in the first years following
1933, was to change basically the conditions existing in the
press before the seizure of power. That meant the
coordination into the New Order [Neuen Ordnung] of those
newspapers and periodicals which were in the service of
capitalistic special interests or party politics. While the
administrative functions wherever possible were exercised by
the professional associations and the Reich Press Chamber,
the political leadership of the German press was entrusted
to the German Press Division. The head of the German Press
Division held daily press conferences in the ministry for
the representatives of all German newspapers. Hereby all
instructions were given to the representatives of the press.
These instructions were transmitted daily, almost without
exception, and mostly by telephone, from headquarters by Dr.
Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, in a fixed statement, the
so-called “Daily Parole of the Reich Press Chief". Before
the statement was fixed the head of the German Press
Division submitted to him (Dietrich) the current press
wishes expressed by Dr. Goebbels and by other ministries.
This was the case especially with the wishes of the Foreign
Office about which Dr. Dietrich always wanted to make
decisions personally or through his representatives at the
headquarters, Helmut Suendermann and chief editor Lorenz.
The practical use [Auswertung] of the general directions
[Ausrichtung] in detail was thus left entirely to the
individual work of the individual editor; therefore, it is
by no means true that the newspapers and periodicals were a
monopoly of the German Press division or that essays and
leading articles through it (German Press Division) had to be
submitted to the ministry. Even in war times this happened
in exceptional cases only. The less important newspapers and
periodicals which were not represented at the daily press
conferences received their information in a different way--
by providing them either with ready-made articles and
reports, or with a confidential printed instruction. The
publications of all other official agencies ere directed and
coordinated likewise by the German Press Division. To enable
the periodicals to get acquainted with the daily political
problems of newspapers and to discuss these problems in
greater detail, the “Informationskorrespondenz” was issued
especially for periodicals. Later on it was taken over by
the Periodical Press Division. The German Press Division
likewise was in charge of pictorial reporting insofar as it
directed the employment of pictorial reporters at important
events. In this way, and conditioned by the current
political situation, the entire German press was made a
permanent instrument of the propaganda ministry by the
German Press Division. Thereby, the entire German press was
subordinate to the political aims of the government. This
was exemplified by the timely measuring and the emphatic
presentation of such press polemics as appeared to be most
useful as shown for instance in the following themes: the
class struggle of the system era [Systerzeit]; the
leadership principle and the authoritarian state; the party
and interest politics of the system era; the Jewish problem;
the conspiracy of world Jewry; the bolshevist danger; the
plutocratic democracy abroad; the race problem generally;
the church; the economic misery broad; the foreign policy;
and living space [Lebensraum].

16.  Finally there was a main section “Archiv und Lectorat”
attached to the German Press Division. This main section
employed about 30 people. Within this main section the basis
was laid for the entire work of the division by production
of newspaper clippings, excerpts from and condensing of the
contents of domestic and foreign newspapers and periodicals.
The material thus obtained was also put at the disposal to
the highest Reich authorities regularly, and, if especially
requested, also in single cases. In another working group
"Room 24” all new information, inquiries, and counter-
questions were centralized within a day and night service
established for this special purpose. Here was the main
nerve of the entire division. With this presentation of the
organization and tasks of the German Press Division, I am
now able to describe my own position within the propaganda

17.  As mentioned before, I joined the Press Division of the
Reich ministry on 1 May 1933 as head of the Wireless Service
of the Reich Radio Corporation. At this time Dr. Goebbels
suggested to me, as a specialist on news technique, the
establishment and direction of a section “News” within the
Press Division of his ministry, in order to organize fully
and to modernize the German news agencies. In executing the
assignment given to me by Dr. Goebbels I took for my field
the entire news field for the German press and the radio in
accordance with the directions given by the propaganda
ministry, at first with the exception of D.N.B. I achieved
this reorganization and modernization with the assistance of
the following persons, methods and technical means: (1)
Examination of the efficiency of the offices compared to
foreign competition; (2) Improvement of their news supply;
(3) Increase of the funds granted by the Reich to these
bureaus from 400,000 to 4,000,000 marks; (4) hiring of good
experts, for instance from the United Press; (5) speeding up
the elaboration of news; (6) elimination of delaying
censorship; (7) generous introduction of teletype and radio-
writing [Schreibfunk]; (8) within the ministry for this
purpose I had not one collaborator; (9) for Transocean I
hired the chief editor von Homeyer, formerly in Cairo; for
Europa Press I hired the chief editor Roesgen, formerly in
Paris. The directions of the propaganda ministry which I had
to follow were essentially the following: (1) increase of
German news copy abroad at any cost; (2) No gratis offer to
foreign newspapers in order to avoid suspicion of
propaganda; (3) avoiding mutual competition at one and the
same place abroad; (4) spreading of favorable news on the
internal construction and peaceful intentions of the
national socialist system. At a later period, about summer
1934, the fusion of the Telegraph Union and of the Wolff
Telegraph Agency (WTB) (the most important news agencies)
into D.N.B. was achieved by the then Reich press chief Funk.
I was never chief editor of the news agency D.N.B. nor was I
employed therein in another capacity. Chief editor,
respectively director, of the German News Bureau (D.N.B.)
was to my knowledge, from its establishment in about 1934 up
to 1945, Dr. Gustav Albrecht, a former director of W.T.B.;
the former director of the Telegraph Union, Otto Mejer, who
at first was also general manager of D.N.B., resigned later
on. Head of the radio division of the propaganda ministry
were successively to my knowledge: Ministerial Counsellor
Horst Dressler-Andress, Eugen Hadamovsky, Alfred Ingemar
Berndt, Hans Gottfried Kriegler, Wolfgang Diewerge up to 3
November 1942; and later
up to 1945, I myself. As head of the “Section News” I
extended the business of Transocean agency and erected
several new modern short-wave senders. I intensified the
activity of the Europa Press agency and I put the economic
news information within the Fast Service Company [Eildienst
G.m.b.H.] on a new basis. The Transocean Agency was owned
before and afterwards by the Reich; it was directed by chief
editor Schredler. The Europa Press was owned before and
afterwards by the Reich and was directed by chief editor
Fleischer. The Fast Service Company [Eildienst G.m.b.H.] was
owned before and afterwards by the Reich and directed by
Ministerial Counsellor Puhlmann. Around 1937 I coordinated
the work of these offices within the inland Europe and
overseas foreign countries with each other and in
relationship to DNB. With this office I conflicted the first
time by establishing a wireless television radio. The task
of the section, until that period, was therefore a purely
journalistic, organizational one; actual political
directives were only given by the head cf the press division
or by his delegate to the news agencies.

18. When I joined the ministry, the task was limited in
time. It was, however, prolonged from year to year. For
almost four years I refused to become a government employee
of the ministry. I remained as a private employee with
mutual right of notice. I remember having refused several
times, in writing, an appointment as government counsellor
and thus becoming a government employee as intended by Dr.
Goebbels. Finally, however, I was so caught by the fine and
free work which I could do in the field of organizing the
news from 1933 to 1937, that I agreed to my appointment as
superior government counsellor (Oberregierungsrat) and thus
as a government employee, keeping the old field of work. So
far as my income was concerned during my activity within the
propaganda ministry, I take this opportunity to declare the
following: After May 1933, as an employee in the ministry, I
drew a salary of 700 marks monthly. Beyond this I had a
monthly income of about 300 to 500 marks for my work with
radio and from contributions to newspapers and periodicals.
From 1937, after having become a government employee of the
propaganda ministry, I drew, until 1945, a salary lowly
increasing from 600 marks (a superior government counsellor)
up to about 1500 marks (as ministerial director). Here has
to be added the very greatly changing single fees averaging
monthly about 1000 marks. After 1942 almost all such income

19. After having become head of the German Press Division,
around 23 December 1938 I still had until about the middle
of 1939 the possibility to comment freely on the daily
paroles [Tagesparolen] in the press conference, while after
the middle of 1939 I had to stick to the directions given by
Dr. Dietrich. About the summer of 1939 I had established
within the German Press Division a section called “Speed-
Service” [Schnelldienst]. This “Speed Service” was under the
direction of superior government counsellor
[Oberregierungsrat] Walther Koerber with a personnel finally
of 6 persons. At the start it had the task of checking the
correctness of news from foreign countries. Later on, about
the Fall of 1939, this section also elaborated on collecting
materials which were put at the disposal of the entire
German press. For instance, dates from the British colonial
policy, from political statements of the British prime
minister in former times, descriptions of social distress in
hostile countries, etc. Almost all German newspapers used
such material as a basis for their polemics. Hereby was
achieved a great unification within the fighting front of
the German press. The title “Speed Service” was chosen
because materials for current comments were supplied with
unusual speed.

20. In my position as head of the German Press Division, I
was promoted three times within four years. To my knowledge:
(a) from superior government counsellor to ministerial
counsellor on 28 January 1939, (b) from ministerial
counsellor to ministerial dirigent on 9 October 1940, (c)
from ministerial dirigent to ministerial director on 16
October 1942.

21. I remained in my position as head of the German press
division until 3 November 1942, though from  March 1942
until the above mentioned day I belonged to the armed
forces. During my service in the army I was in a loose
connection with a propaganda company (P.K.) of the armed
forces, as soldier with a fighting unit in the Eastern war
theater until October 1942. During this period I made
broadcasts only three or four times. The acting head of the
German press division at that period was in the hands Or my
deputy, Erich Fischer. Fischer became my successor on 3
November 1942 as head of the German press division. As to
the direction of propaganda concerning important foreign
political events between 1936 and 1941 I am able to state
the following:

22.  Since a long time before the outbreak of the war, all
instructions given to the newspapers were summarized daily
in the so-called daily parole of the Reich press chief. Also
the fast instructions [Eilanweisungen] issued in the meantime were
always incorporated into the next scheduled daily parole, in
order to guarantee its completeness. Copies of this daily
parole were mailed to each Reich propaganda office. All
leading papers received these directives which under the
responsibility of the chief editor had to be locked up and

23. In regard to the reoccupation of the demilitarized
Rhineland, on 16 March 1936, no propaganda whatsoever was
made in advance. I, then chief editor of the Wireless
Service, learned of the expected action only on the eve of
the invasion from Dr. Goebbels in the presence of
Undersecretary [Staatssekretaer] Hanke, later Gauleiter of
Silesia. Dr. Goebbels had me called around midnight,
described the situation, and asked me to work out
[herauszuarbeiten] over the radio as strongly as possible
the Franco-Russian agreement as the foreign-political
justification of the action. Besides that, he asked me to
indicate that the Fuehrer did not consider the other
treaties violated, and therefore had decided to keep them.
For the press, similar instructions were received by the
deputy head of the Press Division, Ministerial Counsellor
Stephan, in my presence. The then head of the press
division, Ministerial Director Alfred Ingemar Berndt, was
already on his way to Cologne with some journalists whom he
had called together very quickly. I learned that only in the
ministry. Likewise on his way to Cologne, together with some
radio specialists, was the then Reich broadcasting director
Hadamovsky. Their current reports soon dominated press and
radio. The action developed propagandistically
[propagandistisch] on the next day without special
instructions. I remember only that the question as to
whether the French would march was not supposed to be
mentioned and discussed in the press.

24.  The propaganda in relationship to the Dollfuss Putsch,
which took place on the 25 July 1934, is summarized in the
following way: I learned at noon about the announcements
which the rebels had spread over the Vienna radio. After a
careful examination I gave them over the radio by quoting
with reserve. Dr. Goebbels requested me to spread
information about the extension and success of the
rebellion, which was ordered by the so-called Nazi state
leader of Austria, Habicht. I refused this because I had
recognized his first announcement as wrong and exaggerated.
Subsequently, Dr. Goebbels relieved me from my office and
installed Habicht as responsible for the radio news. He
(Habicht) gave information over the German radio stations
which was intended to promote the Austrian rebellion movement. When by
evening the Putsch was wrecked, I was picked up from my
apartment and again took over my office.

25. The incorporation of Austria brought, however, some more
complicated problems. Since the Putsch failed against
Dollfuss, it was forbidden for the press, with some few
exemptions, to occupy itself with Austria at all. Only
shortly before the visit of Schuschnigg with Hitler in
February 1938, this prohibition was lifted and single, but
sharp articles appeared about the Schuschnigg government.
The Schuschnigg government was reproached as being alien to
the Austrian people, with cruelty in the Woellersdorf
concentration camp, and with reliance upon powers hostile to
Germany. After the conversation there appeared friendly

26. The news about the sudden setting of a national vote by
Schuschnigg was at first withheld by the German News Agency
(D.N.B.) by direction of Berndt. After a discussion with Dr.
Dietrich, press chief to the Fuehrer, and with Privy
Counsellor Aschmann, then press chief of the foreign office,
Berndt, finally released information. In addition, however,
he instructed all German newspapers to bring this
information with big headlines, and to ear-mark it as a
breach of agreement with the Fuehrer. All newspapers, which
still appeared up to the beginning of the invasion, then
brought details about the new fashioned fast vote of the
Austrian National Socialists, etc. After the accomplishment
of the invasion, which took place on the13 March 1938, the
newspapers and radio were full of the speeches which were
held and with reports by eye witnesses. The reports came
from some dozen journalists who had quickly been called
together and who had been sent in airplanes and cars to
follow the so-called Fuehrer column. A complete collection
of all news issued in relationship to the whole action by
the German news agency-(DNB) has been published in book form
by Frithjof Melzer. The end and summarization of the entire
Austrian action was then presented in a report by Gericke,
which was issued in the Berlin Illustrated Newspaper under
the slogan “Thus it does not go, Mr. Bundeskanzler.”

27.  The most decisive issue was the role of German
propaganda before the Munich agreement on the Sudetenland,
which was occupied on 1 October 1938. This propaganda was
directed by Berndt. The action, which at first did not
appear to me as an action, started with the lifting of the
prohibition, which existed for
years in the German press against occupying itself
critically with Czechoslovakia. Since about the summer of
1938 the press was asked in the daily directions to busy
itself with the problems of the different nationalities of
the population of Czechoslovakia, another time with the anti-
German orientation of the policy of this state, etc.
Especially carefully studied was the entire foreign press,
from the standpoint of whether and how it reacted to the
same questions. If some useful headings appeared abroad,
then by direction they were taken up by the entire German
press; or if it appeared more correct, they were taken up by
one or another of the well-reputed newspapers or writers.
The mission of Runciman offered especially good reason for
this. Each time during a conference or discussion--
Berchtesgaden, Godesberg, Muenchen--there was transmitted to
the press instructions for the most sensational make-up of
reports about the suppression or deprivation of the rights
of Sudeten Germans, also about reports on current incidents.
These latter represented a very ticklish chapter. They were
personally made by Berndt and given to the German News
Agency (DNB). He exaggerated minor events very strongly,
used sometimes old episodes as new. There even came
complaints from the Sudetenland itself that much of the news
reported in the German press was untrustworthy. As a matter
of fact after the great foreign political success of Munich
in September 1938, there came a noticeable crisis in the
confidence of the German people to the trustworthiness of
its press. This was one reason for the recalling of Berndt
in December 1938 after conclusion of the Sudeten action and
for my appointment as head of the German Press Division.
Beyond this Berndt, by his admittedly successful but still
primitive military-like orders to the German press, had lost
the confidence of the German editors.

28.  The action for the incorporation of Bohemia and
Moravia, which took place on the 15 March 1939, while I was
head of the German Press Division, was not prepared for such
a long period as the Sudeten action. According to my memory
it was in February that I received the order from the Reich
press chief, Dr. Dietrich, which was repeated as a request
by the envoy Paul Schmidt of the foreign office, to bring
the attention of the press to the efforts for independence
of Slovakia and to the continued anti-German coalition
politics of the Prague government. I did this. The daily
paroles of the Reich press chief and the press conference
minutes at that time show the wording of the corresponding
instructions. These were the typical headlines of leading
newspapers and the emphatic leading articles of the German
daily press at that time: (1) The terrorizing of Germans
within the Czech territories by arrest, shooting of Germans
by the state police, destruction and damaging of German
homes by Czech gangsters; (2) the concentration of Czech
forces on the Sudeten frontier; (3) the kidnapping,
deporting and persecuting of Slovakian minorities by the
Czechs; that the Czechs must get out of Slovakia; (4) secret
meetings of Red functionaries in Prague. Some few days
before the visit of Hacha, I received the instruction to
publish in the press very emphatically the incoming news on
the unrest in Czechoslovakia. Such information I received
only partly from the German News Agency (D.N.B.). Mostly it
came from the Press Division of the foreign office and some
of it came from big newspapers with their own news service.
Among the newspapers offering information was above all the
Voelkischer Beobachter which, as I learned later on,
received its information from the SS Standartenfuehrer
Gunter D'Alquen. He was at this time in Pressburg. I had
forbidden all news agencies and newspapers to issue news on
unrest in Czechoslovakia before I had seen it. I wanted to
avoid a repetition of the very annoying results of the
Sudeten action propaganda (Sudeten-Aktion-Propaganda) and I
did not want to suffer a loss of prestige caused by untrue
news. Thus, all news checked by me was admittedly full of
tendency (voller Tendenz), however not invented. After the
visit of Hacha in Berlin and after the beginning of the
invasion of the German army, which took place on 15 March
1939, the German press had enough material for describing
those events. Historically and politically the event was
justified with the indication that the declaration of
independence of Slovakia had required an interference and
that Hacha with his signature had avoided a war and had
reinstalled a thousand year union between Bohemia and the

29. The action against Memel, which took place on 22 March
1939, came somewhat later. It was such a surprise for me and
for the press that some of the representatives of the press
quickly dispatched by me were only able to see in
Swinemuende the departure of the ship with which Hitler went
to Memel.

30.  Very complicated and changing was the press and
propagandistic treatment in the case of Poland. Under the
influence of the German-Polish Agreement, it was generally
forbidden in the German press for many years to publish
anything on the situation of the German minority in Poland.
This remained also the case when in the spring of 1939 the
German press was asked
to become somewhat more active as to the problem of Danzig.
Also, when the first Polish-English conversations took place
and when the German press was instructed to use a sharper
tone against Poland, the question of the German minority
still remained in the background. But during the summer this
problem was picked up again and created immediately a
noticeable sharpening of the situation, namely, each larger
German newspaper had for quite some time an abundance of
material on complaints of the Germans in Poland without the
editors having had a chance to use this material. The German
papers from the time of the minority discussion at Geneva,
still had correspondents or free collaborators in Kattowitz,
Bromberg, Posen, Thorn, etc. Their material now came forth
with a bound. Concerning this the leading German newspapers,
on the basis of directions given out in the so-called “daily
parole", brought out the following publicity with great
emphasis: (1) Cruelty and terror against Germans and the
extermination of Germans in Poland; (2) forced labor of
thousands of German men and women in Poland; (3) Poland,
land of servitude and disorder; the desertion of Polish
soldiers; the increased inflation in Poland; (4) provocation
of frontier clashes upon direction of the Polish government;
the Polish lust to conquer; (5) persecution of Czechs and
Ukrainians by Poland. The Polish press replied particularly
sharply. When the German press curing August wanted to write
with steadily increasing strongness against Poland, the
material for this was only too easy to get. The Polish
newspapers, especially the papers of the Polish Westmark
Association, had made simple slanders before the German
press. They wrote that Germany so far had not had a real
opponent; that Poland, however, would remain tough and would
show how the German armed forces could only win in “flower
wars"; how Germany was only a giant on very slippery ground,
and how there would be a victorious battle of annihilation
before the gates of Berlin. The German press quoted all
these Polish reactions and received the order to trace this
strong Polish language to the influence of the open British
promise of assistance, the so-called blank power of
authority [Blankovollmacht]. The German press, at this time
and also later, had the opinion that the Polish sharpness
was directed at the small demands of Hitler for Danzig and
for a road through the Corridor.

31.  On 1 September, the day of the beginning of the battle
against Poland, Hitler’s speech in the Reichstag gave the
instructions for the press, especially as to the ticklish
problem of the attitude of the Western powers. On Saturday,
2 September 1939,
late in the night, I went home with the assurance given to
me by Goebbels, by Dietrich, and by the representative of
the foreign office, that there would be no war. By the
intervention of Mussolini, the German armies were to stop
their advance. Germany, England, and France had accepted the
suggestion which should give time for conference. On Sunday
I was called from my bed by a telephone call from Goebbels,
hastened to the ministry, found there Dr. Goebbels before a
microphone which was already turned on. Dumbfounded, I took
the manuscript which he asked me to read. Only when reading
it I noticed what was going on the proclamations of the
Fuehrer on the entering of the war England and France. When
I left the microphone I found numerous representatives of
the press who were highly alarmed by the radio news just
read by me. I had to hold a press conference. Quickly I
tried to get some orientation from Dr. Goebbels or Dr.
Dietrich, from the Fuehrer’s house or from the foreign
office. I received none. Thus, without information or
instructions, I was forced to hold the first press
conference in war time. Therefore, I restricted myself to
giving some words of consolation, of courage, and of
confidence in God to the press and highly perplexed
journalists, and also to give some words of confidence in
our cause which I at that time firmly believed to be just
and conducted with a will for peace.

32. During the period immediately preceding the invasion of
Yugoslavia, on 6 April 1941, the German press emphasized by
headlines and leading articles the following topics: (1) the
planned persecution of Germans in Yugoslavia, including the
burning down of German villages by Serbian soldiers, also
the confining of Germans in concentration camps, and also
physical mishandling of German-speaking persons; (2) the
arming of Serbian bandits by the Serbian government; (3) the
incitement of Yugoslavia by the “plutocrats” against
Germany; (4) the increasing anti-Serbian feelings in
Croatia; (5) the chaotic economic and social conditions in

33.  During the night from 21st to the 22 of June 1941,
Ribbentrop called me in for conference in the foreign office
building at about 5 o'clock in the morning, at which
representatives of the domestic and foreign press were
present. Ribbentrop informed us that the war against the
Soviet Union would start that same day and asked the German
press to present the war against the Soviet Union as a
preventative war for the defense of the fatherland, as a war
which was forced upon us through the immediate danger of an
attack of the Soviet Union against
Germany. The claim that this was a preventative war was later
repeated by the newspapers which received their instructions
from me during the usual daily parole of the Reich press
chief. I, myself, have also given this presentation of the
cause of the war in my regular broadcasts.

34. In November 1942 a position, newly established by Dr.
Goebbels, was conferred on me — plenipotentiary for the
political organization of the greater German radio
[Boauftragter fuer die politische Gestaltung des
Grossdeutschen Rundfunks]. At the same time I was also given
the direction of the “radio division” [Rundfunk Abteilung]
in his ministry. I held both offices until the German
military collapse.

35.  Around the end of 1942, a growing importance was
attributed to the German radio in securing support of the
direction of the war by the broad masses. The radio appeared
as the only instrument to fill the space behind the then far
extended German fronts. Therefore a relatively independent
position was granted to the radio within the Reich ministry
for people’s enlightenment and propaganda. While my
predecessors as heads of the “Radio Division” had to take
into consideration, for example, the demands of the
Propaganda, press, foreign and music divisions, I finally
managed to drop such consideration. An exception was
consideration for the press. After January 1943 I forced the
press, by competition, to somewhat more realistic news
information. However, in view of his superior position with
the Fuehrer, the Reich press chief, Dr. Dietrich, kept a
priority [Primat] over the radio. Finally in February 1945,
Dr. Goebbels overthrew Dr. Dietrich. To an ever growing
extent in the field of radio, I became the sole authority
within the ministry. One after the other I eliminated those
side-governments [Nebenregierungen] which had disturbed my
predecessors. As plenipotentiary for the political
organization of the greater German radio, I had authority
only over the political domestic broadcasts. About six
months later, in the spring of 1943, I also took over
control of the foreign broadcasts which were under the
direction of Dr. Winkelnkemper. About another 6 months later
I also took over control from the hands of
Ministerialdirektor Hinkel, the musical part of the radio
program. In spring 1945 I also had the intention of taking
under my control those broadcasts in Eastern languages,
which still were under foreign direction. However, this
intention was not realized. In any case in my performance of
the office as head of the radio in the field of radio
publication, I was dependent only in my decisions and
measures upon the following: the general political
directions; the personal supervision
of Dr. Goebbels, sometime going into the details; the
decisions of the radio-political division of the foreign
office which claimed leadership in the field of transmission
in foreign languages.

36.  As far as my activity as head of the radio division is
concerned, I attended to the following fields: (1) Planning
and organization of the entire German radio and television
system; (2) the issuance of corresponding decrees to the
subordinate sections, the elaboration and submission of
suggestions for the other agencies of the Reich cabinet. In
order to execute these tasks the division was essentially
organized as follows: (A) Radio-Command
[Rundfunkkommandostelle], a section operating day and night,
which received and transmitted orders to the various
sections of radio, and which acted on its own decisions in
case of sending or -program troubles, etc. (B) The section
Reconnaissance Service, organized according to working
fields or countries of origin, which gave extracts from the
gigantic quantities of material of the Radio-Listening-
Service [Rundfunkabhoerdienst] with the name Seehaus. (C)
Section Foreign Radio [Rundfunk Ausland], a small
administrative unit with skimpy tasks, because the practical
work was done by myself in daily conferences with the head
of the foreign division of the Reich radio corporation
[Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft]. During my time in office a
special section for the organization of radio, in case of
war, did not exist. Should it have existed before my time,
in my opinion it could not have achieved anything. When I
took over the radio division, the most important
transmitters had to limit their transmissions to a few hours
daily because of the lack of tubes. Only a few transportable
senders had been developed in prewar times. During the war a
few transportable senders, improved and smaller, were
developed for the front. (D) Section Radio-Economy. This was
in charge of construction and supply of radio receiving
instruments. My office practically represented the high
command of the German radio.

37.  To my knowledge all of my predecessors, as head of the
radio division, were also simultaneously head of the central
radio office of the Reich propaganda directorate of the
NSDAP Reichsamtsleiter Rundfunk der Reichspropagandaleitung
der NSDAP. Personally I never received this party job,
because I was always considered politically unreliable. I
had acquired my reputation and influence as an expert. The
Reichsamtleiter of radio was SA Group Leader Schaeffer. I
was unable to have my way as against him. Even more
difficult for me was the fact that Dr. Goebbels gave ample
power to Reich Main Office Leader [Reichshauptamtleiter]
Corff, the officer in charge of culture in the NSDAP
headquarters. This was allowed out of concern of the
national socialist ideology in radio programs. Corff caused
me the biggest difficulties until I ousted him after a
scandal caused by him in the middle of all my collaborators.
Dr. Goebbels sent him to Italy in November 1944 and did not
name a successor. I then felt freer as to the organization
of radio programs. Subsequently I reintroduced the church
service on the radio which had been prohibited by my
predecessors. This was done in a round-about way, by giving
radio time for Catholic and Protestant services in churches
near the front. My working field can be summarized as

To spread as far as possible the conception of my government
as to the cause, character and goal of the war in Germany,
in the occupied countries, abroad and even in enemy
countries as well. To organize a radio program as artistic
and entertaining as possible, to revive the dwindling
interest of the German people in radio and to grant them an
opportunity to hear as many sendings as possible.

38. Upon my suggestion those directions and instructions
which had been fixed by me daily in writing were transmitted
by teletype to all Reich propaganda offices. Those Reich
propaganda offices used those directions and instructions at
their discretion and transmitted them frequently to their
Gau leaders. This material consisted of: a) the so-called
radio parole. This I worked out until 1943 or 1944 after the
daily morning conference with Dr. Goebbels together with a
representative of the foreign office and the head of the
foreign division of the propaganda ministry Afterwards it
was given verbatim by Dr. Goebbels; b) the comments on this,
which were worked out by one of my collaborators based on a
comment which I gave orally at noon at the radio conference.
Dr. Goebbels himself gave daily a highly confidential radio
speech to the Gau leaders personally, which was spoken
through a microphone and extended over special
transmissions. In his absence, Undersecretary
(Staatssekretaer) Dr. Naumann acted for him. If he was
absent, the radio speech was cancelled. Dr. Goebbels always
rejected the suggestion made by the undersecretary that I
should take over the representation. I acted frequently for
him (Dr. Goebbels) in individual reports, such as with

39. From fall 1932 until April 1945 I regularly made radio
speeches. According to my memory until fall 1939 once weekly
until December 1939 daily, then three times, then twice and
finally once weekly. In my instruction to the press and
when head of the German Press Division, I was most strictly
bound by the directions of my superiors. However, in my
radio speeches I enjoyed a greater liberty. Dr. Goebbels
once had tried to make me submit my texts before the
speeches were given. I refused, indicating I dictated a
brief speech just before speaking and hence spoke half-
extemporaneously. Subsequently he renounced the submission
of texts upon the condition that at least certain topics be
discussed upon demand. The addresses formerly were called
"Political and Radio Show"; later “Hans Fritzsche Speaks".
In these addresses I discussed political and human problems
of all kinds and reported on the general situation as well.
According to my memory, I did not take any position on the
Jewish question for many years. In my position as head of
the German press division I had tried twice to forbid the
appearance of “Der Stuermer” without success. Later,
especially during the war and mostly upon request, I took a
position concerning the statements of Jewish individuals and
organizations against Germany. The sharpness of these
polemics, as the sharpness generally of my polemics,
remained less than the sharpness of the opposition
publicists. I remember I stated that Jewish emigrants,
already years before the war, referred to the necessity of a
war against Germany. I also remember that I referred to the
role of this Jewish propaganda in accomplishing an alliance
between the Western powers and the Soviet Union. According
to my knowledge, this alliance was not supposed to have been
established by the German declaration of war against Russia,
but by an Anglo-Saxon secret treaty of 1940. The utilization
of the productive capacity of the occupied countries for the
strengthening of the war potential. I have openly and
gloriously praised, chiefly because the competent
authorities put at my disposal much material, especially on
the voluntary placement of manpower. Where I made claims
before the occupied territories, for instance 3 French radio
transmitters for Spanish and Portuguese night sendings, I
refused any sequestration and saw to it that private
agreements were made with the owners of the transmitters.
Moreover, I had the impression that many production shifts
from the Reich had many advantages for the other territories
and disadvantages for the Reich. In my field for instance,
certain musical productions could only be made in Prague, to
which flowed people, machines and money. All the factory
equipment of the German recording industry came to Prague. A
direct or indirect request for the ruthless utilization of
occupied countries by me was all the more out of question as
it would have meant a strike against my own
propaganda. The goal of it was to win the hearts of the
population of the occupied countries.

40. In 1939 when I talked almost daily over the radio, I
asked for a lump sum of 750 marks monthly, as far as I
remember, for this work. When I took over the direction of
the radio. Dr. Goebbels gave the instruction that the radio
corporation should pay me the difference between my salary
as a government employee (about 1500 Marks) and the salary
as director of the Reich radio corporation (3000 Marks),
thus I received an income in all of 3000 Marks (without
deduction of taxes), namely 1500 Marks as government
employee and 1500 Marks from the Reich radio corporation.
From my other writing I earned until 1942 a yearly average
of 5,000 marks as far as I remember. After taking over the
radio this income ceased almost entirely.

41. While head of the German press division, according to my
knowledge, I never took over the direction of the daily 11
o'clock conference in absence of Dr. Goebbels or Under-
Secretary [Staatssekretaer] Dr. Naumann. Dr. Goebbels held
this conference with his closest collaborators. I took this
over several times, however, as head of the radio division
and this only after 1943. On the average this was the case
once weekly. In this case Goebbels gave his directions by
way of transmitting his manuscript over the phone. All in
all, maybe on 5 days, these directions did not come in. In
these cases I myself initiated the necessary news.

42. In the beginning of 1942 while a soldier in the Eastern
Theater, I saw that extended preparations had been made for
the occupation and the administration of territories,
reaching as far as the Crimea. Based on my personal
observations I came to the conclusion that the war against
the Soviet Union was planned already a long time before its

The correctness of the above given statement is hereby
assured by me under oath.

                                     [signed] Hans Fritzsche

Nurnberg, Germany, 7 January 1946

As Witness:

[signed] Dr. Fritz
Defense Counsel