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The SS (Schutzstaffel):
Special Report of the State Police in Hannover to Heydrich

(August 18, 1935)


The SS: Table of Contents | Background & Overview | Waffen-SS


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Hannover, August 18, 1935

Since the populace in general is timid and takes great care not to express its opinion publicly, it is becoming more and more difficult to observe and assess the public's attitude. Unmistakable, however, is the fact that the internal political situation has lately been considerably tense, which has adversely affected attitudes. Even though trade and industry are apparently being conducted smoothly, a certain public uneasiness and dejection can be observed which manifests itself in varying degrees among various occupational strata. As to the size of the circle so affected, it must be said openly that its extent is much greater than the limits assigned to it by [National Socialist] Party offices, the Party press, and propaganda. It includes not only reactionary segments of the population and those elements subject to their influence, but this deep dissatisfaction reaches also into the Party and to its oldest members - which gives cause for serious concern.

The causes of this attitude, insofar as economic factors are not involved, ... can be traced to the conduct of a segment of the lower-ranking leadership of NS organizations. This is especially true of the political officeholders. This has largely contribute to a loss of Public confidence in these offices.

Hence it is repeatedly said that Party offices continue to be staffed by men who, according to their past and present activities, are not suited for their positions. These men lack all sense of responsibility. Their life-styles and attitudes give rise to criticism, and they simply ignore directives from higher Party offices. The end result is that they undermine the authority and discipline within the Party itself. The general public does not understand that these individuals are not publicly taken to task for their mistakes. The public has the impression that such cases are purposely hushed-up, and that state government officials who feel compelled to take measures out of a sense of duty are being prevented from acting because of pressure being exerted by Party offices. This then inevitably leads to the assumption that the state is powerless. This undermines the authority of the state government . ...

The Party, especially the political branch, can maintain or improve its image with the public if in future only impeccable, unpretentious, and ideologically and morally schooled Party members are appointed to leading positions. ...

Another matter that has attracted considerable adverse criticism is the conduct of the press. Large segments of the population harbor the opinion that freedom of the press is being restricted and suppressed, and consequently that the truth is not being reported. Even Party members are critical when unpleasant incidents and punishments for mistakes are not publicized. It goes without saying that enemies of the Party and state are here especially vocal. I feel that it is imperative that change is brought about as soon as possible to remedy this situation.

It is obvious that the public's attitude is being influenced by increased reactionary activity, much of which emanates from circles that include political Catholicism, the Confessional church, and from citizens who refuse to be reeducated and who continue to mask themselves. Periodically even monarchist sentiments are expressed. The reintroduction of compulsory military service is giving rise to the hope of a "fourth Reich" in which the armed forces will exercise authority to the exclusion of the Party. ...

As far as individual occupational strata are concerned, one can point to economic factors as a cause for negative attitudes. In this regard the situation of the working class merits special attention in that wage rates are creating increased bitter resentment. ... The increase in the cost of foodstuffs required in a daily basis, such as potatoes, vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, and butter, has heightened the dissatisfaction among workers. They maintain that they have never seen such [high] prices. ...

Additionally, workers are loudly complaining about the excessive membership dues payments to the Labor Front. The organization Strength Through Joy is still accepted by a segment [of the workers], although a larger segment contends that the advantages of the organization are worthless if a worker is not in position even to basically support his family....

As far as the agricultural community is concerned, it seems to be the case that peasants naturally tend to be dissatisfied. ... Discordance has been caused by the increase in membership dues payments to the National Food Ministry, especially when the peasant compares these payments to those made in earlier days to the Chamber of Agriculture, the Farmers' League, or other earlier agricultural associations. Among craftsmen, complaints are heard about a lack of work and competition from department stores, cooperative stores, and Jewish business. Time and time again it is said that the Party program has not been adhered to in this matter.

In closing I might add that the mood of the populace, in regard to foreign policy developments, can be seen as a positive one. The naval agreement that has been reached with England, the continued friendly German-Polish relations, the preoccupation of the erstwhile enemy alliance with the Abyssinian conflict, and the reconciliation of German and English veterans has cleared away the previous war panic that was felt by all segments of the population. There is now a new feeling of optimism that Germany can gradually free itself from its international encirclement. ...


Sources: Yad Vashem; B. C. Sax & D. Kuntz, "Inside Hitler's Germany," Massachusetts, 1992, pp. 463-464.

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