Robert Ley

German Nazi politician; indicted by the International Military Tribunal for war crimes (1890-1945)

Robert Ley (February 15 1890October 25 1945) was a German politician during the Nazi era; Ley headed the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945. He also held many other high positions in the Party, including Gauleiter, Reichsleiter and Reichsorganisationsleiter. He committed suicide while awaiting trial at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Understanding sometimes is not enough to explain something. Only faith is sufficient.


  • Stand us against a wall and shoot us, well and good, you are victors. But why should I be brought before a Tribunal like a c-c-c-... I can't even get the word [criminal] out!
    • To G.M. Gilbert. Quoted in Gitta Sereny Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (1996), p. 573
  • When a Russian pig has to be beaten, it would be the ordinary German worker who would have to do it.
    • Quoted in Adam Tooze The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, p. 529
  • The Weimar system appeared to me like a father who locks his little boys in a room and stirs them up against one another and says: 'Beat each other up as much as you want.'
    • Leipzig, 1939. Quoted in Ronald Smelser Robert Ley: Hitler's Labor Front Leader (1988), p. 24
  • We National Socialists have monopolized all resources and all our energies during the past seven years so as to be able to be equipped for the supreme effort of battle.
    • Quoted in Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg, Germany - 1948), p. 408
  • The trade unions that were swayed by Marxist teaching did not want social peace. They calculated that their chances of acquiring political power would improve with the growing dissatisfaction of the workers. One of the first necessities with which the Hitler Government found itself faced was that of dissolving the organizations that kept alive the antagonism between employers and employees. They were replaced by the Labour Front.
    • Quoted in Bruno Rauecker Social Policy in the New Germany (1936)
  • You know we have this new poison gas - I've heard about it. The Fuehrer must do it. He must use it. Now he has to do it!
  • Catastrophe was only narrowly averted. It was all due to the faith of one man! Yes, you who called us godless, we found our faith in Adolf Hitler, and through him found God once again. That is the greatness of our day, that is our good fortune!
    • Speech given on November 3, 1936. Quoted in Wir alle helfen dem Führer "Schicksal — ich glaube!" (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1937), pp. 103-114
  • Understanding sometimes is not enough to explain something. Only faith is sufficient. The Führer in Nuremberg said: 'Woe to him who does not believe!' He who does not believe has no soul. He is empty. He has no ideals. He has nothing to live for. He has no sunshine, no light, no joy in life. He is a poor, poor man. What is wealth? What are possessions? What does it all mean? Problems come despite them, only faith is left. Woe to him who does not believe!
    • Speech given on November 3, 1936. Quoted in Wir alle helfen dem Führer "Schicksal — ich glaube!" (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1937), pp. 103-114
  • Our god is the wonderful law of creation, whose amazing unity of all things shows itself if wonderful flowers, in growing trees, in new born children, in the secrets of a mother, in the growth of our people, in work and accomplishment and creation, in life itself. It is the joy we have in everything. How beautiful everything is. Do you feel the same way? I am so happy to be alive.
    • Speech given on March 31, 1939. Quoted in Robert Ley Die Hoheitsträger and titled "Wir oder die Juden" (May 1939), pp. 4-6.
  • We believe on this earth in Adolf Hitler alone! We believe in National Socialism as the creed which is the sole source of grace! We believe that Almighty God has sent us Adolf Hitler so that he may rid Germany of the hypocrites and Pharisees.
    • Quoted in W. W. Coole, Władysław Wszebór Kulski, M. F. Potter Thus Spake Germany (1941), p. 30
  • We swear we are not going to abandon the struggle until the Last Jew in Europe has been exterminated and is actually dead. It is not enough to isolate the Jewish enemy of mankind - the Jew has got to be exterminated!
    • May 1943. Quoted in David Cesarani The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (1994), p. 224
  • The second German secret weapon is anti-Semitism, because if it is consistently pursued by Germany, it will become a universal problem which all nations will be forced to consider.
    • Quoted in Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg, Germany - 1947), p. 118
  • Workers of all lands, unite — to smash the rule of English capitalism! You young upward-striving nations of the earth, combine to annihilate the old English dragon who blocks the treasures of the earth and withholds from you the riches of the world.
    • Quoted in Peter Viereck Metapolitics: From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler (2004), p. 140
  • The fight against the Jews has not ended... it will not have ended until the Jews throughout the world have been exterminated.
  • Christ, one of the great men of humanity, condemned Judah with the sharpest words. He cursed and damned their devilish goals. His whole life was an antisemitic struggle against Judah and its methods. The Jew Paul, born Saul, also called Schaul, transformed the honest, noble and elevated goals of the founder of the Christian religion into its very opposite, making them serve Jewish purposes. That may not dim the light of this great man of human history.
    • Quoted in Robert Ley Pesthauch der Welt (1944), p. 19
  • I admire the new Turkey and its great leader Atatürk.
    • The words he wrote to Ali Hikmet Ayerdem, to whom he presented the Kraft Durch Freude brochure. [1]

Quotes about Ley

  • Workers were encouraged to overcome a trades union mentality – Ley’s Germany Labor Front (DAF) rapidly ceased to describe itself as such – and to think in terms of a ‘socialism’ transcending mere bread and butter issues. In a departure from labourist economism, the Nazis recognized the workers’ need for respect, and the pride they took at their work, their skill, their tools, and the products of their labour, attitudes already evident in the modern technological sectors, such as aircraft or optical manufacturing. This lends plausibility to the idea that they were embarked on a revolution in consciousness, changing the way people perceived the world, rather than its material circumstances.

See also

Wikipedia has an article about: