The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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Part II
The Orders for the "Final Solution" of the Jewish Question


1. The Order of the Führer (der Führerbefehl) in General

A mission announced as an Order of the Führer imposed on those to whom it was entrusted an unconditional fervour in its execution. According to the testimony of Eichmann, it was as an "Order of the Führer" that Heydrich presented to him the task of the extermination of the Jews, a task for which Heydrich gave him the responsibility.

The Order of the Führer gave the force of law to the measure ordered. Such was the foundation of the regime based on the "Führerprinzip." But this principle set up a complex system which was ramified by a multitude of chiefs in a hierarchy engaging the personal responsibility of each one in the accomplishment of his task. They had to use their initiative not only with their subordinates but also with their superiors to develop as well as possible the action under the sign of the Order of the Führer. In this hierarchy of responsibilities, the highest level was that of Orders of the Führer, by definition in conformity with the doctrine and therefore right. Next came the level of governmental orders, which applied the supreme orders in terms of one of the spheres constituting the life of the people (Ministries, Party, SS) and often acted in contradictory interdependence. Beneath the governmental level was that of the administration, which arranged by its orders the execution of those of a higher level. But, given the Führerprinzip, these less important acts were to be accomplished with the same conviction as the governmental acts, the whole being animated by the conscience of the direct and total responsibility of each member of the people to the Führer.

It may be argued that the efficiency shown in the accomplishment of the evil acts of the Hitlerian regime was not due to blind obedience but rather to a very lucid zeal developed by subordinates who sometimes gave a stimulus to their superiors in the execution of the order that the latter had received.
     
   

 
The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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