Baldur von Schirach
|Baldur von Schirach|
|Appointed by||Adolf Hitler|
|Preceded by||Post created|
|Succeeded by||Artur Axmann|
|Gauleiter of Vienna|
August 1940 – May 1945
|Appointed by||Adolf Hitler|
|Preceded by||Josef Bürckel|
|Born||Baldur Benedikt von Schirach
9 May 1907
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
|Died||8 August 1974 (aged 67)
Kröv, Rhineland-Palatinate, Federal Republic of Germany
|Political party||National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)|
|Spouse(s)||Henriette von Schirach
(née Hoffmann; married 1932)
|Awards||Hitler Youth Golden Honour Badge with Diamonds and Rubies|
Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974) was a Nazi youth leader later convicted of crimes against humanity. He was the head of the Hitler-Jugend (HJ, the "Hitler Youth") and Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna.
Early life 
Schirach was born in Berlin, the youngest of four children of theatre director Rittmeister Carl Baily Norris von Schirach (1873–1948) and his American wife Emma Middleton Lynah Tillou (1872–1944). Through his mother, Schirach descended from two signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. English was in fact the first language which he learned at home and he was not able to speak German until the age of five. He had two sisters, Viktoria and Rosalind von Schirach, and a brother, Karl Benedict von Schirach, who committed suicide in 1919 at the age of 19.
On 31 March 1932 von Schirach married 19-year-old Henriette Hoffmann, the daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler's personal photographer and close friend. Von Schirach's family was vehemently opposed to the marriage to Henriette, but Hitler insisted. Von Schirach, says Gregor Strasser, was "a young effeminate aristocrat" upon whom Hitler bestowed Henriette and the HJ position. Through this relationship, von Schirach became part of Hitler's inner circle. The young couple were appreciated guests at Hitler's "Berghof". Henriette von Schirach gave birth to four children: Angelika Benedikta von Schirach (born 1933), Klaus von Schirach (born 1935), Robert von Schirach (1938) and Richard von Schirach (born 1942). The lawyer and bestselling German crime writer Ferdinand von Schirach is his grandson.
He was a published author, contributing to literature journals, and an influential patron of the arts.
Military career 
Schirach joined a Wehrjugendgruppe (military cadet group) at the age of 10 and became a member of the NSDAP in 1925. He was soon transferred to Munich and in 1929 became leader of the Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Studentenbund (NSDStB, National Socialist German Students' League). In 1931 he was a Reichsjugendführer (youth leader) in the NSDAP and in 1933 he was made head of the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend) and given an SA rank of Gruppenführer. He was made a state secretary in 1936.
In 1940 he organised the evacuation of 5 million children from cities threatened by Allied bombing. Later that year, he joined the army and volunteered for service in France, where he was awarded the Iron Cross before being recalled. Schirach lost control of the Hitler Youth to Artur Axmann, and was appointed Governor (Gauleiter or Reichsstatthalter) of the Reichsgau Vienna, a post in which he remained until the end of the war. He was an anti-Semite and an anti-Christian. Over the next few years Schirach was responsible for sending Jews from Vienna to German death camps. During his tenure 65,000 Jews were deported from Vienna to Poland, and in a speech on 15 September 1942 he mentioned their deportation as a "contribution to European culture." Later during the war von Schirach pleaded for a moderate treatment of the eastern European peoples and criticised the conditions in which Jews were being deported. He fell into disfavour in 1943, but remained at his post.
Schirach was notoriously anxious about air raids. He had the cellars of the Hofburg Palace in the Vienna city centre refurbished and adapted as a bomb shelter, and the lower level of the extensive subterranean Vienna air defence coordination centre in the forests to the west of Vienna held personal facilities for him as well. The Viennese promptly dubbed this C&C centre Schirach-Bunker.
Trial and conviction 
Schirach surrendered in 1945 and was one of the officials put on trial at Nuremberg. At the trial Schirach was one of only two men to denounce Hitler (the other was Albert Speer). He said that he did not know about the extermination camps. He provided evidence that he had protested to Martin Bormann about the inhumane treatment of the Jews. Schirach claimed at the trials that the roots of his antisemitism could be found in the readings of Henry Ford's The International Jew. He was found guilty on 1 October 1946 of crimes against humanity for his deportation of the Viennese Jews. He was sentenced and served 20 years as a prisoner in Spandau Prison, Berlin.
On 20 July 1949 his wife Henriette von Schirach (3 February 1913 – 27 January 1992) divorced him while he was in prison.
Lothar Machtan's book The Hidden Hitler asserts that von Schirach was bisexual. Walter C. Langer's wartime psychiatric report on Nazi leaders, later published as The Mind of Adolf Hitler, portrays Baldur von Schirach as a homosexual.
He was released on 30 September 1966, and retired quietly to southern Germany. He published his memoirs, Ich glaubte an Hitler ("I believed in Hitler") and died on 8 August 1974 in Kröv.
- Douglas O'Keeffe in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Nuremberg
- Timothy Walker in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
See also 
- Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward, Jr.
- The Mind of Adolf Hitler, Walter Charles Langer, New York 1972, pp. 99–100
- Ferdinand von Schirach (September 23, 2011). "A Third Reich Past: Why I Cannot Answer Questions about My Grandfather". Spiegel Online.
- Gerwin Strobl (2007). The swastika and the stage: German theatre and society, 1933–1945. Cambridge University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-521-88076-3. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Robert S. Wistrich (7 November 2001). Who's who in Nazi Germany. Psychology Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-415-26038-1. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Everette Lemons (4 January 2005). The Third Reich, A Revolution Of Ideological Inhumanity: The Power Of Perception. Lulu.com. pp. 240–. ISBN 978-1-4116-1932-6. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Baldur von Schirach
- Lothar Machtan, The Hidden Hitler, p.229.
- The Mind of Adolf Hitler, Walter Charles Langer, New York 1972, p. 99
- Nuremberg (2000) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database
- Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial (2006) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Baldur von Schirach|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Baldur von Schirach|
- Timeline of Schirach's life (German)
- Baldur von Schirach at Find a Grave
- Short biography of Baldur von Schirach
- Revolution der Erziehung (Revolution of Education) by Baldur von Schirach
- Die Hitler-Jugend – Idee und Gestalt (The Hitler Youth – Idea and Character) by Baldur von Schirach
- Die Fahne der Verfolgten (The Flag of the Persecuted), collection of poetry
- Goethe an uns (Goethe to Us) by Baldur von Schirach
- Das Lied der Getreuen (The Lay of the Faithful); more poetry
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Baldur von Schirach
- Biography: Baldur von Schirach