Further Petitions Forbidden

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Dr. Hans Heinrich Lammers (1879–1962) was head of the Reich Chancellery; he held the post of a Reich minister without portfolio from 1937 onward. Hitler valued him highly as (legal) counsel and since Hitler studied files only very reluctantly, Lammers prepared and presented them to him.

Wurm hoped to be able to exert influence on Hitler through Lammers but the head of the Reich Chancellery had no intention of pursuing Wurm’s entreaties. Lammers took the Bishop of Württemberg’s letter to him of December 1943 as an opportunity to issue an ultimatum forbidding the bishop from any more petitioning.

The Reich government cannot accept statements such as Wurm was making for any length of time. Lammers warned Wurm firmly and commanded him to stay most punctiliously within the limits drawn by your profession in the future; Wurm was ordered to refrain from commenting on issues of general policy.

At that point, Wurm was barred from petitioning the Reich government directly; he was no longer able to appeal to the various ministers of the government as had been his practice. Wurm could only have continued petitioning if he had been willing to run the risk of bring the regime’s harsh measures upon himself. He would have had to expect being sent to a concentration camp – like Niemöller, who was detained in 1937.

Wurm did not want to take this step; he may have realized that every possibility to exert influence on the regime’s actions had been blocked at that time. He therefore considered his duty to be to continue governing and uniting the Protestant church. In the face of the increasingly vulnerable situation of the people in his homeland, he did not want to imperil the regional church’s options for action.

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