Julius Streicher
Overview
Julius Streicher was a prominent Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 prior to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz
Der Giftpilz
Der Giftpilz is a children's book published by Julius Streicher in 1938. The title is German for "the toadstool" or "the poison mushroom". The book was intended as anti-Semitic propaganda...

 ("The Toadstool" or "The Poison-Mushroom"), one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which purported to warn about insidious dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 of an attractive yet deadly mushroom
Mushroom
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi that...

.
Encyclopedia
Julius Streicher was a prominent Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 prior to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz
Der Giftpilz
Der Giftpilz is a children's book published by Julius Streicher in 1938. The title is German for "the toadstool" or "the poison mushroom". The book was intended as anti-Semitic propaganda...

 ("The Toadstool" or "The Poison-Mushroom"), one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which purported to warn about insidious dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 of an attractive yet deadly mushroom
Mushroom
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi that...

. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

 and executed.

Early life

Streicher was born in Fleinhausen
Fleinhausen
Fleinhausen is a village of the municipality of Dinkelscherben in the western part of the Bavarian district of Augsburg in Germany. It is located on the western bank of the Zusam River. Fleinhausen is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of Dinkelscherben, and along with the nearby village of...

, Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

, one of nine children of the teacher Friedrich Streicher and his wife Anna (née Weiss). He worked as an elementary school teacher like his father, and in 1909 he began his political career, joining the German Democratic Party. He would later claim that because his political work brought him into contact with German Jews, he “must therefore have been fated to become later on a writer and speaker on racial politics.” In 1913 Streicher married Kunigunde Roth, a baker's daughter, in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

. They had two sons, Lothar (born 1915) and Elmar (born 1918).

Streicher joined the German Army
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

 in 1914. He won the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

 and reached the rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 by the time the Armistice
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

 was signed in November, 1918.

Early politics

In 1919 Streicher became active in the anti-Semitic Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund
Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund
The Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund was the largest, most active, and most influential anti-Semitic federation in Germany after the first World War, and one of the largest and most important organization of the German völkisch movement during the Weimar Republic, whose...

 (German Nationalist Protection and Defense Federation), one of the various radical-nationalist organizations that sprang up in the wake of the failed German Communist revolution of 1918. Such groups fostered the view that Jews had conspired with “Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

” traitors in trying to subject Germany to Communist rule. In 1920 he turned to the Deutschsozialistische Partei (German-Socialist Party), a group whose platform was close to that of the young NSDAP, or National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (National Socialist German Worker's Party). Streicher sought to move the German-Socialists in a more virulently anti-Semitic direction – an effort which aroused enough opposition that he left the group and brought his now-substantial following to yet another organization in 1921, the Deutsche Werkgemeinschaft (German Working Community), which hoped to unite the various anti-Semitic Völkisch movements.

National Socialism

In 1921, Streicher finally found his mentor. He visited Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 in order to hear Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 speak, an experience that he later said left him transformed:
Soon after, Streicher joined the Nazi Party and merged his personal following with Hitler’s, almost doubling the party membership.

In May 1923 Streicher founded the newspaper, Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 (The Stormer, or, loosely, The Attacker). From the outset, the chief aim of the paper was to promulgate anti-Semitic propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

. “We will be slaves of the Jew,” the paper announced. “Therefore he must go.”

In November of that year, Streicher participated in Hitler’s first effort to seize power, the failed Beer Hall Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. Streicher marched with Hitler in the front row of the would-be revolutionaries
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 and braved the bullets of the Munich police. His loyalty earned him Hitler’s lifelong trust and protection; in the years that followed, Streicher would be one of the dictator’s few true intimates.

As a reward for his dedication, when the Nazi Party was legalized again and re-organized in 1925 Streicher was appointed Gauleiter
Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

 of the Bavarian region of Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

 (which included his home town of Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

). In the early years of the party’s rise, Gauleiter were essentially party functionaries without real power; but in the final years of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, they became paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 commanders. During the 12 years of the Nazi regime itself, party Gauleiter like Streicher would wield immense power, and be in large measure untouchable by legal authority.

Streicher was also elected to the Bavarian "Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

" or legislature, a position which gave him a margin of parliamentary immunity
Parliamentary immunity
Parliamentary immunity, also known as legislative immunity, is a system in which members of the parliament or legislature are granted partial immunity from prosecution. Before prosecuting, it is necessary that the immunity be removed, usually by a superior court of justice or by the parliament itself...

 — a safety net that would help him resist efforts to silence his racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 message.

The rise of Der Stürmer

Beginning in 1924, Streicher used Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 as a mouthpiece not only for general antisemitic attacks, but for calculated smear campaign
Smear campaign
A smear campaign, smear tactic or simply smear is a metaphor for activity that can harm an individual or group's reputation by conflation with a stigmatized group...

s against specific Jews, such as the Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 city official Julius Fleischmann, who worked for Streicher’s nemesis, mayor Hermann Luppe. Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 accused Fleischmann of stealing socks from his quartermaster during combat in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Fleischmann sued Streicher and successfully disproved the allegations in court (Streicher was fined 900 mark
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

s), but the detailed testimony exposed other less-than-glorious details of Fleischmann’s record, and his reputation was badly damaged anyway. It was proof that Streicher’s unofficial motto for his tactics was grimly correct: "Something always sticks."

The slanderous attacks continued, and lawsuits followed. Like Fleischmann, other outraged German Jews defeated Streicher in court, but his goal was not necessarily legal victory; he wanted the widest possible dissemination of his message, which press coverage often provided. The rules of the court provided Streicher with an arena to humiliate his opponents, and he characterized the inevitable courtroom loss as a badge of honor. The Weimar
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 habit of following the strictest letter of the law made prosecution for more serious crimes difficult. Der Stürmer's
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

 infamous official slogan, Die Juden sind unser Unglück (the Jews are our misfortune) was deemed unactionable under German statutes, since it was not a direct incitement to violence.

Streicher’s opponents complained to authorities that Der Stürmer violated a statute against religious offense with his constant promulgation of the “blood libel” — the medieval accusation that Jews killed Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 children to use their blood to make matzoh. Streicher argued that his accusations were based on race, not religion, and that his communications were political speech, and therefore protected by the German constitution.

Streicher orchestrated his early campaigns against Jews to make the most extreme possible claims, short of violating a law that might get the paper shut down. He insisted in the pages of his newspaper that the Jews had caused the worldwide Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, and were responsible for the crippling unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 and inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 which afflicted Germany during the 1920s. He claimed that Jews were white-slavers
Sexual slavery
Sexual slavery is when unwilling people are coerced into slavery for sexual exploitation. The incidence of sexual slavery by country has been studied and tabulated by UNESCO, with the cooperation of various international agencies...

 and were responsible for over 90 percent of the prostitutes in the country. Real unsolved killings in Germany, especially of children or women, were often confidently explained in the pages of Der Stürmer as cases of “Jewish ritual murder.”

One of Streicher’s constant themes was the sexual violation of ethnically German women by Jews, a subject which served as an excuse to publish semi-pornographic
Pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

 tracts and images detailing degrading sexual acts. These “essays” proved an especially appealing feature of the paper for young men. With the help of his notorious cartoonist, Phillip "Fips" Rupprecht
Philipp Rupprecht
Philipp Rupprecht was a German cartoonist best known for his antisemitic caricatures in the Nazi publication Der Stürmer, under the pen-name Fips.-Career:...

, Streicher published image after image of gruesome Jewish stereotype
Stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

s and sexually-charged encounters. His portrayal of Jews as subhuman and evil is widely considered to have played a critical role in the dehumanization and marginalization of the Jewish minority in the eyes of common Germans — creating the necessary conditions for the later perpetration of the Holocaust.

Streicher also combed the pages of the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 in search of passages which could paint their ancient Jewish authors as harsh or cruel, a practice which continues to this day among anti-Semites. In 1929, this close study of Jewish scripture helped convict Streicher in a case known as “The Great Nuremberg Ritual Murder Trial.” His familiarity with Jewish text was proof to the court that his attacks were religious in nature; Streicher was found guilty and imprisoned for two months. In Germany, press reaction to the trial was highly critical of Streicher; but the gauleiter was greeted after his conviction by hundreds of cheering supporters, and within months Nazi party membership surged to its highest levels yet.

Streicher in power

In April 1933, after Nazi control of the German state apparatus gave the Gauleiter
Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

s enormous power, Streicher organised a one-day boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

 of Jewish businesses which was used as a dress-rehearsal for other anti-Semitic commercial measures. As he consolidated his hold on power, he came to more or less rule the city of Nuremberg and his Gau Franken. Among the nicknames provided by his enemies were "King of Nuremberg" and the "Beast of Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

." Because of his role as Gauleiter of Franconia, he also gained the nickname of Frankenführer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

.

To protect himself from accountability, Streicher relied on Hitler’s protection. Hitler declared that Der Stürmer was his favourite newspaper, and saw to it that each weekly issue was posted for public reading in special glassed-in display cases known as "Stürmerkasten". The newspaper reached a peak circulation of 600,000 in 1935.

Streicher later claimed that he was only “indirectly responsible” for passage of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 of 1935, and that he felt slighted because he was not directly consulted.

In 1938, Streicher ordered the Great Synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 of Nuremberg destroyed; he later claimed that his decision was based on his disapproval of its architectural design.

Fall from power

Streicher’s excesses brought condemnation even from other Nazis. Streicher’s behaviour was viewed as so irresponsible that he alienated much of the party leadership; chief among his enemies in Hitler’s hierarchy was Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

, who loathed him and later claimed that he forbade his own staff to read Der Stürmer.

In spite of his special relationship with Hitler, after 1938 Streicher’s position began to unravel. He was accused of keeping Jewish property seized after Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

 in November 1938; he was charged with spreading untrue stories about Göring – such as alleging that his daughter Edda was conceived by artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

, and he was confronted with his excessive personal behaviour, including unconcealed adultery, several furious verbal attacks on other Gauleiters and striding through the streets of Nuremberg cracking a bullwhip (this last is portrayed in the 1944 Hollywood film The Hitler Gang). In February 1940 he was stripped of his party offices and withdrew from the public eye, although he was permitted to continue publishing Der Stürmer. Streicher also remained on good terms with Hitler.

Streicher's wife, Kunigunde Streicher, died in 1943 after 30 years of marriage.

When Germany surrendered to the Allied armies in May 1945, Streicher said later, he decided to commit suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. Instead, he married his former secretary, Adele Tappe. Days later, on May 23, 1945, Streicher was captured in the town of Waidring
Waidring
Waidring is a municipality in the Kitzbühel district in Tyrol, Austria, located 20 km northeast of Kitzbühel and 9 km east of Kirchdorf in Tirol near the border with Salzburg. The village was mentioned for the first time as „Waitheringen“ in documents from 1147. It has about 1,850 inhabitants....

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, by a group of American officers led by Major Henry Plitt – who was Jewish. At first Streicher claimed to be a painter named “Joseph Sailer,” but after a few questions, quickly admitted to his true identity.

During his trial, Streicher claimed that he had been mistreated by Allied soldiers after his capture. By his account they ordered him to take off his clothes in his cell, burned him with cigarettes and made to extinguish them with his bare feet, allowed him to drink only water from a toilet, made him kiss the feet of Negro
Negro
The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...

 soldiers and beat him with a bullwhip. He further claimed that some of the soldiers also spat at him and forced his mouth open to spit in it.

Trial and execution

Julius Streicher was not a member of the military and did not take part in planning the Holocaust, or the invasion of other nations. Yet his pivotal role in inciting the extermination of Jews was significant enough, in the prosecutors' judgment, to include him in the indictment of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 – which sat in Nuremberg, where Streicher had once been an unchallenged authority. In essence, the prosecutors took the line that Streicher's incendiary speeches and articles made him an accessory
Accessory (legal term)
An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal...

 to murder, and therefore as culpable as those who actually ordered the mass extermination of Jews (such as Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

 and Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

).

During his trial, Streicher displayed for the last time the flair for courtroom theatrics that had made him famous in the 1920s. He answered questions from his own defence attorney with diatribes against Jews, the Allies, and the court itself, and was frequently silenced by the court officers. Streicher was largely shunned by all of the other Nuremberg defendants. He also peppered his testimony with references to passages of Jewish texts he had so often carefully selected and inserted (invariably out of context) into the pages of Der Stürmer.
Streicher was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 and sentenced to death
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 on October 1, 1946. The judgment against him read, in part:
Streicher was hanged
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

 in the early hours of October 16, 1946, along with the nine other condemned defendants from the first Nuremberg trial (Göring, Streicher's nemesis, committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 only hours earlier). Streicher's was the most melodramatic of the hangings carried out that night. At the bottom of the scaffold he cried out "Heil Hitler!". When he mounted the platform, he delivered his last sneering reference to Jewish scripture, snapping "Purim-Fest 1946!". The Jewish holiday Purim
Purim
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther .Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th...

 celebrates the escape by the Jews from extermination at the hands of Haman
Haman (Bible)
Haman is the main antagonist in the Book of Esther, who, according to Old Testament tradition, was a 5th Century BC noble and vizier of the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus, traditionally identified as Artaxerxes II...

, an ancient Persian government official. At the end of the Purim story, Haman is hanged, as are his ten sons. Streicher's final declaration before the hood went over his head was, "The Bolsheviks will hang you one day!" Howard K. Smith
Howard K. Smith
Howard Kingsbury Smith was an American journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film actor. He was one of the original Edward R. Murrow boys.-Early life:...

, who covered the executions, said in his filed report that after the hood descended over Streicher's head, he also said what apparently was "Adele, meine liebe Frau!" ("Adele, my dear wife!").

The consensus among eyewitnesses was that Streicher's hanging did not proceed as planned, and that he did not receive the quick death from spinal
Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain . The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system...

 severing typical of the other executions at Nuremberg. Howard K. Smith
Howard K. Smith
Howard Kingsbury Smith was an American journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film actor. He was one of the original Edward R. Murrow boys.-Early life:...

, who covered the executions for the International News Service
International News Service
International News Service was a U.S.-based news agency founded by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst in 1909.Established two years after the Scripps family founded the United Press Association, INS scrapped among the newswires...

, reported that Streicher "went down kicking" which may have dislodged the hangman's knot from its ideal position. Smith stated that Streicher could be heard groaning under the scaffold after he dropped through the trap-door, and that the executioner intervened under the gallows, which was screened by wood panels and a black curtain, to finish the job. U. S. Army Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

 John C. Woods
John C. Woods
John Chris Woods was an American Master Sergeant and the hangman for the Third United States Army at the Nuremberg Trials.-The executions in Nuremberg Prison:...

 was the main executioner, and not only insisted he had performed all executions correctly, but stated he was very proud of his work.

Portrayals

Julius Streicher was played by Rolf Hoppe in the German film Comedian Harmonists
Comedian Harmonists (film)
Comedian Harmonists is a 1997 German film by Joseph Vilsmaier. It is a biopic about the popular German vocal group Comedian Harmonists...

.

External links

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