The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 064-PS


The Deputy of the Fuehrer Chief of Staff

at present in Berlin, 27 Sept 40 Bo-An [Rubber stamp] Chancellery Rosenberg Received No. 2565. 1 Oct 1940

To Reichsleiter A. Rosenberg Berlin W 35 Margaretenstr. 17

Dear party member Rosenberg:

I am sending you a photostatic copy of a letter from Gauleiter Florian dated 23 Sept 1940 and I request you to take action on it.

Heil Hitler! Yours very respectfully signed: M. BORMANN


[Letterhead of the NSDAP]

Duesseldorf Duesseldorf 23 Sept 1940

Gauleitung Subject: Lecture of Major General von RABENAU Our file: Fl./V. Department: The Gauleiter Personal [Receipt stamp] Deputy of the Fuehrer 27 Sept 1940

To the Deputy of the Fuehrer Party member Rudolf HESS Munich

Photocopy [penciled]

Dear Party Member Hess:

A pamphlet entitled "The Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers" written by Major General Dr. h. c. (doctor, honorus causa) von Rabenau has appeared in the publications section of the NSDAP. Group I: German Military Might, published by the Central Publishing Co. of the NSDAP, Successors to Franz Eher Inc. Ltd. (GmbH) Berlin.

I cannot but point out this spiritual outpouring as a digression, at least as inadequate. It is on the same order as the many lectures which General von Rabenau gave to officers before the present war and its tendencies are directed against the concept of the German soldier which was born with the national-socialistic revolution, even if this tendency is cleverly kept to a minimum in this case. Just as in his lectures, Rabenau uses the method of arbitrary juggling with philosophic learning, which on one hand displays a widespread knowledge, and on the other consciously holds back from the clarity for which we strive with the national-socialistic world philosophy [Weltanschauung].

As I have reported before in conversation with you, General von Rabenau gave a lecture in Aachen some time before this war to a group of some 60 to 70 younger officers and about 15 leaders of the party who were invited, and among whom I chanced to be, about the development of the people's army. According to Rabenau, the present people's army began about 1813 during the wars of Liberation (Napoleonic) and developed in the decades which followed to its present size, thanks to the great German qualities of soldiery which reached their zenith in the army of one hundred thousand men. The national-socialistic revolution which created the popular will for soldiery, and with it the developments for the establishment of the first German people's army is not mentioned in any way, much less, in the role of being the dynamic creative force. Rabenau contented himself with presenting only a few quotations from the Fuehrer's "Mein Kampf". The politically ignorant officers got the impression, as Rabenau knew how to talk vividly and convincingly, that the size of the present day people's army was an accomplishment of the old military forces, and in their later thinking they will ask themselves: "Why is there so much emphasis on the Party? Why invite the Party fuehrers? This is an affair for soldiers."

When I asked a question after the lecture, which unfortunately did not offer a discussion period, and explained to him that he was in no wise justified by history, that he had denied the mother of the people's army, the Revolution, the Party, he overbore me in the arrogant manner which is peculiar to him with references to Indian, Chinese, French, English and German philosophies in order to prove to me in front of several listeners that his lecture presentation was correct. I replied with the philosophic ideas which I have won in the practical struggle of life, and insisted on the correctness of my concept. He professes not to be able to allow my contentions because they were not scientifically based. According to all appearances only those philosophic ideas are scientifically based, for him, which were developed before the national-socialistic revolution.

The inadequacy of Rabenau made itself clear at the close of this conversation, when the church came into the debate as the educational factor [Erziehungsfaktor]. After he had affirmed the necessity of the churches, Rabenau said with emphasized selfassurance something like the following, "Dear Gauleiter, the Party is making mistake after mistake in the business with the churches. Obtain for me the necessary powers from the Fuehrer, and I guarantee that I shall succeed in a few months in establishing peace with the churches for all times." After this catastrophic ignorance I gave up the conversation about the importance of philosophic ideas for our ordinary life [Volksleben].

Dear Party Member Hess: The reading of General von Rabenau's pamphlet "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" has reminded me again of this. In this brochure, just as at that time, Rabenau affirms the necessity of the church, straightforward and clearly, even if it is prudently careful. He writes on page 28:

There could be more examples, they would suffice to show that soldiers in this world can scarcely get along without thoughts about the next one.

Because General von Rabenau is falsely based spiritually, I consider his activities as an educator in spiritual affairs as dangerous and I am of the opinion that his educational writings are to be dispensed with absolutely, and that the publications section of the NSDAP can and must renounce these writings.

If such spiritual educational work should be done, in the interests of the German armed forces, then the Publications Section of the NSDAP can be permitted to accept for publication only brochures about "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" which point out most strongly the permanent danger for "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier." The churches with their Christianity are this danger against which the struggle must always be carried on.

I considered it my duty to tell you again of my concept of General von Rabenau, as well as to convey my criticism of the Publications Section of the NSDAP.

Heil Hitler signed: FLORIAN Gauleiter

official seal of Gauleiter Gau Duesseldorf enclosure.