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The Chief of the R.S.H.A. has issued an order, which is to come into immediate operation, in which the Sipo and SD Study and Treatment of Church Politics, which has hitherto been divided between the SD-Abschnitte and Stapostellen, shall now be taken over entirely by the Stapostellen. (See the plan for the division of work issued by the R.S.H.A. on 1.3.41. In addition to combatting opposition, the Stapostellen thus take over the entire 'Gegnernachrichtendienst' in this sphere.)
In order that the Stapostellen should be in a position to take over this work, the Chief of the Sipo/SD has ordered that 'Church Specialists' hitherto employed in the SD-Abschnitten, should be temporarily transferred to the same posts at Stapostellen, and operate the Nachrichtendienst (Intelligence Service in the Church Political Sphere) there.
On the orders of the Chief of the R.S.H.A., and after reaching agreement with the heads of Amts III, II, and I, these 'Church Specialists' specified in the attached lists will thus be transferred from the SD-Abschnitten to the Stapostellen, quoted. Further instructions for transference or removal will be issued by Amt. I. Those Stapostellen which are unable to obtain any SD-'Specialists' must immediately train those of their specialists who appear most suitable for Nachrichtendienst work.
The Chief of the R.S.H.A. has furthermore ordered that 'Nachrichtendienst' files concerning Church Political Opposition, hitherto the property of the SD-Abschnitte should be handed over to the Stapostellen. However, material concerning Confessional influence on the lives of the people is to remain with the SD-Abschnitten. In doubtful cases the Stapostellen are to be given an opportunity of making copies or photostats of these reports.
Since it is essential that in this particular sphere the opposition should be kept under constant observation, with no possibility of loopholes, I am endeavoring to ensure that the changeover in organization should take place immediately.
On I.VI.1941 all Stapostellen are to send in reports on the completion of the actual change-over of organization, and, at the same time, draw up a list of personnel, giving the names of those 'Specialists' who, after the reorganization, are doing executive work in the Stapostellen, and of those who are conducting the intelligence proper of the Nachrichtendienst.
I then intend, at the end of June, to summon all these specialists to a conference [Arbeitstagung] in Berlin, at which they will receive important instructions for the carrying-out of their work.Signed Mueller
Concerning: conference of the Specialists in Church Affairs [Kirchenbearbeiter] attached to the Stapostellen.
On 22d and 23d of September 1941 a Conference for Church Specialists attached to Stapo-leit-stellen will take place in the Lecture-Hall of the Stapoamt, Prinz-Albrechtstrasse 8, Berlin SW II. Date of arrival: 21.9.41. Uniform: Brownshirt and trousers worn with jackboots.
I leave it to the heads of the Stapo-leit-stellen as to whether they send those officials responsible for the entire 'Kirchenbearbeitung' (Treatment and Study of Church Politics) to this conference, or officials in charge of both the executive and intelligence branches (SD-members). In each case those taking part in the conference must have their names sent in before 10.9.1941, in order that accommodation may be found for them. Billeting forms will be issued on arrival in Berlin on the 21st at the Stapoamt Watchroom, Room I. Passes are to be given up at the entrance of the lecture-hall at the opening of the conference at 9 hrs.-22.9.41.Heydrich
On the 22d and 23d September 1941 a Conference of Church Specialists attached to Stapo-leit-stellen was held in the Lecture-Hall of the R.S.H.A. in Berlin, in which 141 Specialists took part.
I. On 22.9.1941
1. The latest developments in the Church Political situation, and our outstanding tasks at this moment-SS-Stubaf. Hartl.
2. Sipo measures for combating the Political Church and Sects-Regierungsrat Rotu & Reg. Ass. Harnensbruch.
3. Nachrichtendienst tasks in the conflict with Political Catholicism in the Reich-SS-Ostuf. Kunze.
4. Vatican world-politics, and our nachrichtendienst tasks-SS-Untersturmfuehrer Jakobs.
II. On 23.9.1941
5. Present conditions within the German Protestant Church-SS-Obersturmfuehrer Stiller.
6. Treatment of the Sect problem, and the combating of Sects-SS-Hauptscharfuehrer Ehrhardt.
7. World-Protestantism and the Oxford Movement-Nachrichtendienst work evolving from these subjects-SS-Obersturmfuehrer Stiller.
8. The problem of the Church in the Eastern regions, and Nachrichtendienst measures-SS-Untersturmfuehrer Wandesleben.
9. The present Nachrichtendienst problem of Freemasonry-SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Kolrep.
10. Summary of the most important points in the treatment of Church Political opposition-SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Hartl.
In the absence of SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, the Conference was opened by SS-Brigadefuehrer Mueller, who, after a short speech of welcome, and introduction handed over to the first lecturer. The most important lectures-those under I, items 2 and 3, have been noted down and field.
The main aim and object of the conference has been to familiarize the specialists as thoroughly as possible with their material, and, by stimulating their interest, enable them to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability.
Nothing of great moment came to light in the discussions. Finally SS-Stub. Hartl, also deputizing for the absent Heydrich, summed up the most important points in the treatment of Church Political affairs. He summarized the culminating points as follows:
1. Avoidance of all sweeping measures and actions against the Church and its establishments.
2. Suspension of measures taken against monasteries/convents, including "camouflaged" measures of this type.
3. Action is still to be taken as before in individual cases, but the R.S.H.A. is to be informed in each case. In particularly serious cases the decision of the Fuehrer will be sought.
4. Above all it must be ensured that the Church does not win back any lost ground. We must see to it that we retain any position won.
5. The greatest importance is to be attached to Church Political activity. Any material that is of the slightest significance, or could become of significance, is to be carefully examined. On the Fuehrer's instructions photostats are to be made of all documents seized, and other material of this type, as in such cases duplicate copies are in no way sufficient for the introduction of decisive measures.
The "Nachrichtennetz" is to be fostered with the greatest of care, and enlarged through the recruitment of new V-Personen. Particular value is attached to contacts between Church circles and "Staatsstellen."
The lecturer closed with the following words:
Each one of you must go to work with your whole heart and a true fanaticism. Should a mistake or two be made in the execution of this work, this should in no way discourage you, since mistakes are made everywhere. The main thing is that the enemy should be constantly tackled with determination, will, and effective initiative.Signed: HEINZE
Report of Regierungsrat Roth's speech before Conference dated 26 September 1941
Sicherheitspolizei measures for combating Church Politics and Sects
While describing the aim and methods of the Political Church in its oppositional activities, the executive measures which, in accordance with the Concordat, are at the disposal of the Stapo, were discussed.
a. Punishable offences and infringements of the law by members of the Church are to be submitted to the Kripo for processing.
Nachrichtendienst evaluation, and the compiling of evidence for a final breakdown is the responsibility of the Stapo.
b. It has been demonstrated that it is impracticable to deal with political offences (malicious) under normal legal procedure. Owing to the lack of political perception which still prevails among the legal authorities, suspension of this procedure must be reckoned with. The so-called "Agitator-Priests" must therefore be dealt with in future by Stapo measures, and, if the occasion arises, be removed to a Concentration Camp, if agreed upon by the RSHA.
c. Offences and crimes against the "Sammlungsgesetz" [Order to contribute to Party Funds] and the "Flaggenerlass" [Order to beflag Churches etc.,] come under normal procedure. [A penciled note states that this is not always so, and that it depends on the case in question.]
d. The necessary executive measures are to be decided upon according to local conditions, the status of the person accused, and the seriousness of the case-as follows:
1. Warnung (Warning)
2. Sicherungsgeld (Fine)
3. Redeverbot (Forbidden to preach)
4. Aufenthaltsverbot (Forbidden to remain in parish)
5. Betaetigungsverbot (Forbidden all activity as a Priest)
6. Kurzfristige Festnahme (Short-term arrest)
7. Schutzhaft (Protective custody)
The instructions for the application of individual measures are known. The following points must be remembered:
The Aufenthaltsverbot (Forbidden to remain in parish) is very much feared by all the clergy. In one case a Vicar-General appealed to the RSHA for the lifting of the ban, and begged that they would rather place the priest under short-term arrest. The "Aufenthaltsverbot" is to be enforced in any case where the continued stay of the priest in his former parish is likely to bring about dissension and for disquiet among the population. It should be applied, for instance, in the event of a priest returning from arrest, in order to prevent him from being feted as a martyr. Care must be taken that the measure is only enforced where really expedient (encumbering of another Stapostelle).
Redeverbot (Forbidden to preach) is intended chiefly as a measure against itinerant preachers, and will only be brought against residential ones when they exceed their normal offices as priests, and preach much injurious matter.
Betaetigungsverbot (Forbidden all activities as a priest) has not yet been applied, but is possible.
Schutzshaft (Protective custody). As already stated, in accordance with the Order issued by the RSHA on 24.8.36 the "Agitator Priest" is to be taken into long-term imprisonment. The technical execution of this lies in the hands of the Referat IV C 2, while it is IV B I's responsibility to present the charges.
Actions against societies are not at the moment possible as a widespread State measure. However, in case where the Society has been involved in anti-state activity, or appears superfluous or undesirable, local measures may be applied. Small funds/properties may be liquidated. Funds may also be handed over to the NSV. In cases of activities against the State the only method is confiscation of funds. Proposals for "Declaration of Enmity to People and State" with the object of confiscation of property, are principally to be directed to the RSHA, which works nonexecutively, and directs the necessary negotiations with the MdI.
Monasteries/Convents. It is not expected at the present that they will be declared as hostile to the State. During the process of "Dissolution" it should be remembered that the Law of 10.2.36 suffices as a legal basis for the disposal. It is not essential that the Order of 28.2.33 should be quoted, and it will only be brought up if the Stapo measures are to come under "legal justification" (Betaetigungsverbot 4).
Actions against Monasteries/Convents. About 100 monasteries in the Reich have been dissolved. Various incidents which may be traced back to bad tactical procedure by Stapo officials, have led to disagreeable consequences. Should the inmates of the monasteries put questions to the appointed officials, those officials must refer them to the Aktionsleiter [officer in charge of the proceedings].
Churches are to be seized at the same time, but, if possible, should not be closed. As long as the confiscation is not absolute, any action which interferes with property, or causes any alteration to it should be avoided. The principle is to be followed during the period of "Sicherstellung" is that life should go on within the framework of an ordered administration.
Further points made were:
Retreats, recreational organizations, etc., may now be forbidden on grounds of industrial war-needs, whereas formerly only a worldly activity could be given as a basis.
Youth camps, recreational camps are to be forbidden on principle. Church organizations in the evening may be prevented on grounds of the black-out regulations.
Processions, pilgrimages abroad are to be forbidden by reason of the overburdened transport conditions. For local events too technical traffic troubles and the danger of air attack may serve as grounds for their prohibition (one Referent forbade a procession, on the grounds of it wearing out shoe leather).
There are no new regulations regarding the despatch of Confessional literature to the troops, and the restrictions on Confessional publications.
Visas are always to be denied where the applicant cannot offer the excuse that he will dedicate himself unreservedly to working for the Fatherland while abroad. There are, however, possible exceptions. In principle the intention still holds good, that no foreign priest should enter the Reich, and that no German priest should travel abroad, above all, not to the "Aufbaugebiet."
In the meantime the Church Ministry has adopted the view of the RSHA, in which it was decided that Polish civilian workers and prisoners-of-war must definitely be separated at Services.
The RSHA requests that questions of policy should be submitted to them, but that, on the other hand, they should not be bothered with unnecessary inquiries. Above all, definite proposals on how to handle the case in question should always be given, and not just requests for direction or decision.
The immediate aim: The Church must not regain one inch of the ground it has lost.
The ultimate aim. Destruction of the Confessional Churches to be brought about by the collection of all material obtained through Nachrichtendienst activities, which will, at a given time, be produced as evidence for the charge of treasonable activities during the German fight for existence.Signed: HAMMES
Excerpt from Note 16 concerning the Conference held by the Inspector in Dusseldorf on 23.9.41. (Pp. 26, 27, 28.)
14. Cooperation between Stapo/and SD in the sphere of Church Politics
The study and treatment of the efforts of the Catholic Church in its opposition to the present State is, from both a communication and executive angle, the responsibility of the Stapo ('Gegnerbekampfung'). The treatment of the efforts of the Church, and their repercussions in the sphere of 'religious life' is, however, the task of the SD.
From this it can be seen that a close cooperation in the future within the sphere of the "Catholic Church" is especially necessary. It is the duty of the Stapostellen to inform the SD-Abschnitte of any general points to be observed during the course of 'Gegnerbekampfung,' in order that the SD-Abschnitte can evaluate these facts from a religious angle. The SD-Abschnitte are to inform the Stapostellen of any observations which might be of assistance to them in their fight against the church as an opponent of the State. Gegnerbekampfung and research in the religious sphere must go hand in hand. The SD-Abschnitte must hand over to the Stapostellen those V-Maenner who are working entirely, or for the greater part, in 'Gegnerbekampfung.' However, if mutually agreed upon, the SD-Abschnitte, who may still have a certain claim on these V-Maenner by virtue of their work in the religious sphere, may retain one or another of them to contribute work in this sphere. It is desirable, however, that the appropriate official attached to the Stapostelle should start taking over the direction of the V-Maenner by stages as soon as possible.
The Inspector has asked for a general ruling from RSHA concerning the direction of the 'Kirchenreferat' by the Stapo offices, and at the same time expressed the opinion that it was not absolutely essential that the responsibility of this should rest principally on the executive officials. The RSHA has made a corresponding decision in which it shall be left to the Stapoleiter in every individual case to choose who should be entrusted with the general direction and control of the 'Kirchenreferat.' It is therefore up to the Stapo leader [leiter] to decide, by the efficiency of his work, who is the more capable, and to appoint him head of the Referat. (Order of the Chief of Sipo/SD 18.9.41 IV B.) The Inspector is to be informed as soon as possible of the subsequent decision.Berlin, 22 October 1941
a. The Fuehrers of all SD-(Leit) Abschnitte
b. To all Inspectors of the Sipo/SD
c. To the "Befehlshaber der Sipo/SD in Generalgouvernement KRAKAU"
d. To the "Kommandeure der Sipo/SD-KRAKAU, LUBLIN, RADOM, WARSCHAU.
Concerning: Present Conditions within the Organization of the Catholic Church.
Enclosure: I Report.
I am inclosing a report on the present position of the Organization of the Catholic Church. This report is designed to serve as a basis for:
a. The education of the appropriate Specialist.
b. To aid "Nachrichtendienst" activity.
The following directions must be followed concerning Nachrichtendienst activity:
1. If at all possible to verify that Bishops are using the papal nunciate courier to deliver their report to Rome, and vice versa, we should be informed.
2. It should be found out which priests, members of Holy Orders, and Laymen are used by the Bishops to bring their reports to and from Rome. Wherever possible, attempts should be made to intercept this method of reporting through V-Maenner.
3. If possible, the reports submitted to Rome every 5 years should be intercepted, especially when an opportunity arises in connection with Stapo action.
4. Where tension is known to exist between Bishops, the Bishop and Nuncio, or the Bishops and the "Instanzen" subordinate to them, this is to be utilized for Nachrichten purposes.
5. Since there are at the moment 13 Arch- and Bishoprics vacant in Greater Germany, efforts must be made to obtain the lists of Bishop candidates.
6. If not already known, it must be found out with what particular department the individual Bishops are concerned, under the aegis of the Bishops Fulda Conference. Those Stapostellen in whose area there is a Bishop entrusted with special duties- (The Bishop of Berlin with Press work, the Bishop of Mainz with "Jugendseelsorge," the Archbishop of Freiburg with charity work, the Bishop of Passau with work connected with the Church in the Eastern regions ... etc ...) have Nachrichtendienst tasks of especial Reich importance.
7. Points discussed during the Diocesan Synodes are to be obtained wherever possible, and should be immediately submitted to IV B 1 at the R.S.H.A.
8. The following directive is given for local Nachrichtendienst activity-
a. In every case where a Sachbearbeiter attached to a Staposteele has an Archbishopric in his area, he must have a thorough knowledge of the particular sphere of work in which the individual Referenten of the appropriate Ordinarists are engaged.
b. The Episcopal Chancery is of particular importance within the Episcopal Ordinariat. Similarly, and especially in the case of an "Action," the diocesan archives and the Episcopal secret archives are of especial significance.
c. The Deans are of particular importance to Aussenstellen, since they are described as the eyes and ears of the Bishop. Should the opportunity arise, the yearly reports which they have to submit to the Bishop, should be obtained and evaluated locally.
d. In order to ensure that the Nachrichtendienst organization is as comprehensive as possible, an all-embracing Nachrichtennetz should be spread among the more insignificant members of the clergy.
9. It must be discovered which of those members of Orders, and priests of German origin are employed in important posts at the Vatican-other than those named in the report; we must be immediately informed of this.
10. The Specialists of the individual Stapo (leit) stellen have to extract the names of those Papal "Protonotare," Chamberlains, Prelates, and Chaplains who are officiating in their districts, and devote extra attention to them in the course of their Nachrichtendienst duties. Especial watch must be kept in order to discover to what extent they are employed as "agents" to and from the Vatican.
11. Reports are also to be submitted on those theological students destined for Papal Institutes, and Priests returning from such institutes to Germany. Should the opportunity arise of placing someone for Nachrichtendienst purposes in one of these institutes, in the guise of a theological student, we should receive immediate notification.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946