Robert Ley

American National Socialist recently introduced our readers to Robert Ley the author of “Roosevelt Betrays America” and as the husband of Inge, one of the many women who wanted to be in Hitler’s inner circle.

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Sadly Inge Ley met a tragic end 3 years before her husabands when she commited suicide at approximately 18.40 on the 29th of December 1942 by means of a single pistol shot to the head. Apparently, her husband was just leaving the house with his adjutant when the shot rang out. The adjutant ran up the stairs to the bedroom closely followed by Ley and the housekeeper. Inge was half lying on the bed with a pistol by her side, a GSW to her right temple, she was 29 years old.

She was suffering from post natal depression following the birth of her 3rd child which was not without complications, and caused her to become drug dependent. She was also, as was her husband, a known heavy drinker, and they often fought. It has been opined that she had previously attempted suicide a few months before by jumping from a window, but this has never been proven.

Inge Ley was often portrayed as a vacuous bimbo, but she did sterling work nursing wounded soldiers from the start of the war. Hitler was said to be very shocked and upset by her death, but i understand he did not attend her funeral.

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Inge in above photo with Austrian Sculptor Josef Thorak, one of Hitler’s favorite artists, who’s life and work will be featured in an upcoming article.

Robert Ley : Nazi Germany

Robert Ley, the seventh of eleven children, was born on 15th February, 1890. When he was a child, his father got deeply into debt and tried to raise insurance money to repay it by setting fire to his farm.

Richard Evans has argued: “To judge from Ley’s later autobiographical writings, the poverty and disgrace that ensued for the family after his father’s conviction for arson left the boy with a permanent sense of social insecurity and resentment against the upper classes.”  Whether or not he resented the upper classes is pure speculation in my opinion, but as we will see he was a champion of the workers in the Third Reich.

Ley was a military aviator during the First World War but was shot down over France in 1917 and spent over two years as a prisoner of war. The incident left Ley with serious injuries, including damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. After the war Ley worked as a chemist but was sacked because of his serious drink problem.

Ley joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1925 and later that year became Gauleiter for Rhineland South. Ley became close to Gregor Strasser and his brother, Otto Strasser, who had established the Berliner Arbeiter Zeitung, a left-wing newspaper, that advocated world revolution.

In 1925 the Strasser brothers argued the the property of the former German royal houses should be expropriated. Adolf Hitler disagreed with this policy. At a NSDAP meeting in Hanover, Ley and Gottfried Feder were the only leading figures in the party who supported Hitler. When Feder protested in Hitler’s name, Joseph Goebbels jumped to his feet: “In these circumstances I demand that the petty bourgeois Adolf Hitler be expelled from the National Party.”

After hearing Hitler speak on 12th July 1925, Goebbels changed his mind about the leader of the party: “Hitler begins to speak. What a voice. What gestures, what passion. Exactly what I had wanted from him. I can scarcely contain myself. My heart stands still. I hang on every word.”  Goebbels apologised to Hitler about his earlier comments and he was later given a senior post in the Nazi Party. However, Hitler never forgot that it was Ley who supported him in his time of need.

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In 1928 Hitler appointed Ley as the Gauleiter of Cologne. He was elected to the Prussian Landtag and in 1930 to the Reichstag.

In the spring of 1932 he was sentenced to three months in prison for assaulting Otto Wels, the Chairman of the Social Democrat Party (SDP).

In 1933 Hitler gave Robert Ley the task of forming the German Labour Front (DAF). Ley, in his first proclamation, stated: “Workers! Your institutions are sacred to us National Socialists. I myself am a poor peasant’s son and understand poverty… I know the exploitation of anonymous capitalism. Workers! I swear to you, we will not only keep everything that exists, we will build up the protection and the rights of the workers still further.”

Adolf Hitler addresses the German people on radio on 31st January, 1933
National German Front poster (c. 1934)

Strength Through Joy (KdF) was established as a subsidiary of the German Labour Front on 27th November, 1933.Robert Ley claimed that “workers were to gain strength for their work by experiencing joy in their leisure”.

Albert Speer was a great supporter of Ley’s plan to persuade factory owners to improve the workplace: “First we persuaded factory owners to modernize their offices and to have some flowers about. But we did not stop there. Lawn was to take the place of asphalt. What had been wasteland was to be turned into little parks where the workers could sit during breaks. We urged that window areas within factories be enlarged and workers’ canteen set up… We provided educational movies and a counseling service to help businessmen on questions of illumination and ventilation… One and all devoted themselves to the cause of making some improvements in the workers’ living conditions and moving closer to the ideal of a classless People’s Community.”

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The KDF program offer discounted leisure activities that were within the financial reach of many workers and their families. By 1934-35, over three million people were taking part in its physical education and gymnastics evenings, while many others took advantage of the cheap coaching it offered in tennis, golf, skiing, sailing and other upper-middle-class-sports.

Strength Through Joy promoted evening classes, amateur cultural activities, recitals and traveling art exhibitions. Plays were performed in factories and specially organized KdF concerts, featuring important classical conductors and soloists, such as Carl Bohm, Eugen Jochum and Wilhelm Furtwanger, played to German workers. The KdF had its own ninety-piece symphony orchestra which continually toured the country and in 1938 over two and a half million people attended its concerts. One observer pointed out that the KdF “made available at bargain rates tickets to the theatre, the opera and concerts, thus making available more highbrow entertainment to the laboring man.”

The most popular aspect of Strength Through Joy was the provision of subsidized holidays. Large sections of the labour force were for the first time given the opportunity of holidaying away from home. The holidays ranged in price from a week in the Harz Mountains (28 marks), one week at the North Sea coast (35 marks) and a fortnight at Lake Constance (65 marks). As the average wage of an industrial worker was about 30 marks, it enabled a third of all workers to go on holiday.

The KdF set about building its own model resort on the Baltic island of Rügen. Construction began under the supervision of Albert Speer on 3rd May 1936. “The resort spanned eight kilometres of the Baltic shore, with six-story residence blocks interspersed with refectories and centred on a huge communal hall designed to accommodate all 20,000 of the resort’s holidaymakers as they engaged in collective demonstration of enthusiasm for the regime and its policies. It was consciously designed for families, to make good the lack of facilities for them in other Strength Through Joy enterprises, and it was intended to be cheap enough for the ordinary worker to afford, at a price of no more than 20 Reichsmarks for a week’s stay.”

The better paid workers were able to go abroad. A tour of Italy cost 155 marks. Strength Through Joy commissioned the building of two 25,000-ton purpose-built ships and chartered ten others to handle ocean cruises. The Robert Ley could carry 1,600 passengers. It only had forty lavatories and 100 showers but 156 loudspeakers that relayed on-board propaganda. The liner also included a gymnasium, a theatre and a swimming pool to ensure that participants engaged in regular healthy exercise and experienced serious cultural events.

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These cruise liners sailed as far as the Norwegian fjords, Maderia, Libya, Finland, Bulgaria and Turkey. 180,000 Germans went on cruises in 1938 and the volume of tourism doubled.  In 1939 alone, 175,000 people went to Italy on organized trips, a good number of them travelling on cruise liners.

Adolf Hitler addresses the German people on radio on 31st January, 1933
Volkswagen poster (1938)

In 1935 Adolf Hitler announced that the government had plans to produce a “People’s Car” (Volkswagen). Hitler gave his drawings of his “beetle car” to Ferdinand Porsche, a man who had become famous for designing racing cars. However, Porsche’s prototype design was not ready until the end of 1937. At Hitler’s insistence, the car’s production was funded by the German Labour Front as part of its Strength Through Joy . Robert Ley was  provide 50 million marks in capital to produce the car. On 2nd August, 1938, Ley announced that: “A Volkswagen for every German – let that be our aim. That is what we want to achieve.” He also gave details of how workers could obtain this new car. “I herewith proclaim the conditions under which every working person, can acquire an automobile.  Each German, without distinction of class, profession, or property can become the purchaser of a Volkswagen.  The minimum weekly payment, insurance included, will be 5 marks. Regular payment of this amount will guarantee, after a period which is yet to be determined, the acquisition of a Volkswagen. The precise period will be determined upon the beginning of production.”

 

This story ends badly, as it did for so many other Germans as a result of the Jewish war of aggression against The Third Reich.On 20th October, 1945, Ley with twenty-one others, was indicted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He asked Gustave M. Gilbert, the prison psychologist. “How can I prepare a defense? Am I supposed to defend myself against all these crimes which I knew nothing about? Stand us up against the wall and shoot us – you are the victors.” On 24th October, he was found dead in his cell. He had made a noose from the edges of a towel and fastened it to the toilet pipe.

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Published in: on July 9, 2016 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment