Schirach, Baldur von, born on 09-03-1907 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). 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. His first five years he spoke English before learning the German language. “Baldur von Schirach grew up in a milieu of music, theater, and literature and early showed talent for poetry. A romantic and sentimental lad, somewhat plump in physique, he longed for adventure. In 1917 Schirach joined a military cadet unit and he joined the Nazi Party in 1925. Schirach first met Hitler (see Did you know) and Rudolf Hess in 1926 and the future Fuhrer took to him and advised Schirach to move to Munich if he was to advance his position within the party.
In 1929, Hitler appointed Schirach head of the National Socialists Students’ League. In 1931, he was promoted to head the youth movement in the Nazi Party and in 1933 became the head of Hitler Youth. In 1938 the Hitler Youth would have a 8 million members, where the boys were “Pimpf” from their 6 to 10 years, “Jungvolk” to their 14 and then a member of the Hitler Youth, with the oath to die for Adolf Hitler and from their 18’s birthaday the duty to join the Army. The girls were “Jungmädel” from their 10 to 14, member of the BDM, Bund Deutscher Mädel from 14 to 21 and they were prepared for the coming mothethood. Schirach himself viewed the youth of Germany with the same importance as Adolf Hitler. He wrote that “the NSDAP is the party of youth” and he frequently compared the honesty and freshness of the nation’s youth with the corruption and ‘oldness’ of Weimar Germany. “Youth had right, hope and the future on its side: age had death.” (Joachim Fest) “Faust, the Ninth Symphony and the will of Adolf Hitler are eternal youth and know neither time nor transience.” Fest claims that the fledgling Nazi Party specifically targeted the disillusioned youth of Weimar Germany – those who has seen the failure of past regimes and old political parties in the horrors of the first war and the chaos witnessed during the years of the Weimar government.
It was Schirach’s task to focus their energy totally and completely towards Hitler as, in the words of Rudolf Hess, “Hitler is Germany and Germany is Hitler”. Nazi education policy and post-school activities all came within Schirach’s remit – or at the least within his influence. His book ‘Revolution in Education’ (1938) was a clear statement of intent as to what he wanted from the Nazi education system. Schirach was a devoted Nazi and in 1940 he volunteered to join the army and fought in France where he won the Iron Cross. A Golden Hitler Youth Badge of Honour, Special Class, decorated with diamonds and rubies, was awarded to Baldur von Schirach 09-05-1942. In June 1943 Schirach asked Hitler for a better treatment of the the East European people and Henriette von Schirach critized Hitler, at his Berghof in an intimate Hitler circle, for the deportation of the Jews, which she witnessed herself, being with friends in Amsterdam. Sent home inmiddeliately from the Berghof, Schirach lost Hitler’s protection, lost his post as Youth leader and never saw Hitler again. On 24-06-1943 Schirach was appointed Gauleiter of Vienna. He was succeeded by Arthur Axmann
,The Gauleiter 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 15-09-1942 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 In Vienna he oversaw the deportation of Jews. At the end of World War II. 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. Schirach was arrested and put on trial at Nuremburg. Like Albert Speer , here after his arrest, during his trial he denounced Hitler. This may have saved him from being hanged – though his defence also pointed out that he had in 1943 protested about the conditions Jews were kept in; protests that were ignored. On 01-10-1946, Schirach was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to twenty years in prison . He served his full term and was released in September 1966. Von Schirach married the 19 years old Henriette “Henny” Hoffmann, the daughter of Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler and SA leader, Ernst Röhm were the witnesses, and they got 4 children, three sons and one daughter. Klaus, Robert und Richardand daughter Angelika Benedikta. While in prison on 20-07-1949, Henriette wanted a divorce, because of another man, but still tried to get Baldur free from prison, without result. Asserted is that von Schirach was bisexual.
Death and burial ground of Schirach, Baldur von.
In his biography ‘Ich Glaubte an Hitler’ “I Believed in Hitler”, von Schirach denied all charges of his knowledge of the murder and tortures in de concentration and extermination camps. Schirach spent the rest of his life in Kröv and died lonely in his sleep in a small hotel, owned by a former leader of the BDM, in Kröv an der Mösel on 08-08-1974, age 66, almost blind owing to a eye illness.
The hotel was pulled down after his death and Baldur von Schirach is buried in all stillness closeby on the local cemetery of Kröv. On his stone the inscription ” Ich war Einer von Euch” or “I was one of you”
A grandson Ferdinand von Schirach looking like his grandfather, born 1964 in Munich is a German lawyer and writer. Peter Quiess reported on 25-05-2015 that the gravestone of Schirach is removed.
Von Schirach in Nuremburg with von Ribbentrop.
Cemetery and grave location of Schirach, Baldur von.