Date of issue: September 7, 1939
Decree on Extraordinary Radio Measures
From September 1, 1939
In modern warfare the opponent does not only use military means but also methods which influence national morale and are intended to undermine it. One of these methods is radio. Every word which the opponent broadcasts is of course a lie and intended to damage the German people. The Reich Government knows that the German people are aware of this danger and, therefore, expects that every German will have the sense of responsibility to consider it a matter of decency to refrain from listening to foreign broadcasts.
For those national comrades who lack this sense of responsibility the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich has issued the following decree.
It is forbidden to listen to foreign broadcasts with intent. Contraventions will be punished with penal servitude. A prison sentence may be substituted in less serious cases. The equipment used will be confiscated.
Anyone who intentionally disseminates information gleaned from foreign radio stations which is liable to threaten the defensive capability of the German nation will be punished with penal servitude, in particularly serious cases with death.
The regulations of this decree do not apply to actions which are carried out in the performance of a duty.
The Special Courts are responsible for dealing with and passing judgment upon contraventions of this decree.
Prosecutions under §§1 & 2 are only to be initiated by the agencies of the State Police [Gestapo].
The Reich Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda will issue the requisite legal and administrative regulations for the implementation of this decree and, insofar as penal regulations are concerned, will do so in consultation with the Reich Minister of Justice.
The Chairman of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich
Göring, General Field Marshall
The Deputy of the Führer
The Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration
The Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery
Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, p. 126. (With additional portions added by GHI staff.)
Source of original German text: Reichsgesetzblatt I, 1939, p. 1683; reprinted in Helma Kaden and Ludwig Nestler, eds., Dokumente des Verbrechens. Aus Akten des Dritten Reiches 1933-1945. Volume I. Berlin, 1993, pp. 114-16.