Baldur von Schirach

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974) was a Nazi German politician who is best known for his role as the Nazi Party national youth leader and head of the Hitler Youth from 1931 to 1940. He later served as Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna. After World War II, he was convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Baldur von Schirach
Presidium of the European Youth Union Baldur von Schirach (cropped)
Schirach as Reichsstatthalter in 1942
Reichsjugendführer
In office
30 October 1931 – 1 May 1940
DeputyKarl Nabersberg
Hartmann Lauterbacher
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byArtur Axmann
Reichsstatthalter of Austria
In office
August 1940 – May 1945
LeaderAdolf Hitler
Preceded byJosef Bürckel
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Gauleiter of Great-Vienna
In office
August 1940 – May 1945
Preceded byJosef Bürckel
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Born
Baldur Benedikt von Schirach

9 May 1907
Berlin, Brandenburg, Prussia, German Empire
Died8 August 1974 (aged 67)
Kröv, Rhineland-Palatinate, Federal Republic of Germany
Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s)
Children4, including Richard von Schirach
Signature
Baldur von Schirach's signature
AwardsHitler Youth Golden Honour Badge with Diamonds and Rubies

Early life

Schirach was born in Berlin, the youngest of four children of theatre director, grand ducal chamberlain and retired captain of the cavalry Carl Baily Norris von Schirach (1873–1948) and his American wife Emma Middleton Lynah Tillou (1872–1944). A member of the noble Schirach family, of Sorbian West Slavic origins, three of his four grandparents were from the United States, chiefly from Pennsylvania.[1] Through his mother, Schirach was a descendant of Thomas Heyward Jr. and an indirect descendant of Arthur Middleton, two signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. English was the first language he learned at home and he did not learn to speak German until the age of five. He had two sisters, Viktoria and the opera singer Rosalind von Schirach, and a brother, Karl Benedict von Schirach. His brother committed suicide in 1919 at the age of 19.

On 31 March 1932 Schirach married the 19-year-old Henriette Hoffmann, the daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler's personal photographer and sometime friend. Schirach's family was vehemently opposed to this marriage, but Hitler insisted.[2] Gregor Strasser dismissively described Schirach as "a young effeminate aristocrat" upon whom Hitler bestowed both Henriette and the Hitler Youth position. Through this relationship, Schirach became part of Hitler's inner circle. The young couple were welcome guests at Hitler's "Berghof". Henriette von Schirach gave birth to four children: Angelika Benedikta von Schirach (born 1933), lawyer Klaus von Schirach (born 1935), businessman Robert von Schirach (born 1938) and sinologist Richard von Schirach (born 1942). The lawyer and best-selling German crime writer Ferdinand von Schirach is the couple's grandson.[3][4] They are also the grandparents of the philosopher and critic Ariadne von Schirach and of the novelist Benedict Wells.[5]

Schirach was a published author, contributing to literature journals, and an influential patron of the arts.[6]

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H13039, Münchener Abkommen, Rückkehr Hitler
Schirach (extreme left) watches as Hitler greets his Chancellery chief Philipp Bouhler in Munich 1938.
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F051620-0043, Hitler, Göring und v. Schirach auf Obersalzberg
Schirach (right) with Hitler, Bormann and Göring at the Obersalzberg.

Military career and the Nazi Party

Schirach joined a Wehrjugendgruppe (military cadet group) at the age of ten and became a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1925. He was soon transferred to Munich, and in 1929 became leader of the National Socialist German Students' League (Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund; NSDStB). In 1931 he was named as Reichsjugendführer (Youth Leader) of the Nazi Party, and in 1933 was made head of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) and given an SA rank of Gruppenführer. He was made a state secretary in 1936.

Schirach appeared frequently at rallies, such as the Nuremberg rally of 1934, when he appeared with Hitler in rousing the Hitlerjugend audience. The event was filmed for Triumph of the Will the propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl for the Nazi Party. Schirach set the militaristic tone of the youth organisation, which participated in military-style exercises, as well as practising use of military equipment, such as rifles.

In July 1939, Schirach paid Passau a formal visit.[7] In July 1940, when a new play by Hans Baumann was staged there, Schirach insisted that 2,000 local Hitler Youth members be part of that performance.[8]

In 1940, Schirach organised the evacuation of five million children from cities threatened by Allied bombing. Later that year, he joined the army and volunteered for service in France, where he was awarded the Iron Cross before being recalled. He served with the 4th (Machine Gun) Company of Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland in the rank of Gefreiter.[9] During the French Campaign he was promoted to Leutnant and decorated for bravery.[10] Schirach lost control of the Hitler Youth to Artur Axmann, and was appointed Governor (Gauleiter or Reichsstatthalter) of the Reichsgau Vienna,[11] a post in which he remained until the end of the war.

An anti-Semite, Schirach was responsible over the next few years for sending Jews from Vienna to Nazi concentration camps. During his tenure, 65,000 Jews were deported. In a speech on 15 September 1942, he said that their deportation was a "contribution to European culture".[11] Later during the war, Schirach pleaded for a moderate treatment of the eastern European peoples and criticised the conditions in which Jews were being deported. He fell into disfavour with Hitler in 1943, but remained at his post in Vienna.[12]

Schirach was notoriously anxious about air raids. He had the cellars of the Hofburg Palace in the Vienna city centre refurbished and adapted as a bomb shelter, and the lower level of the extensive subterranean Vienna air defence coordination centre in the forests to the west of Vienna held personal facilities for him. The Viennese promptly dubbed this command and control centre the "Schirach-Bunker".

Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg Trials
Baldur von Schirach at the Nuremberg trials (in second row, second from right)

Trial and conviction

Schirach surrendered in 1945 and was one of the officials put on trial at Nuremberg. At the trial, Schirach was one of only a few defendants to denounce Hitler (including Albert Speer and Hans Frank).

He claimed that members of the Hitler Youth were innocent from any of the German war crimes:

In this hour, when I can speak for the last time to the Military Tribunal of the four victorious powers, I should like, with a clear conscience, to confirm the following on behalf of our German youth: that it is completely innocent of the abuses and degeneration of the Hitler regime which were established during this Trial, that it never wanted this war, and that neither in peace nor in war did it participate in any crimes.[13]

He said that he did not know about the extermination camps. He provided evidence that he had protested to Martin Bormann about the inhumane treatment of the Jews. Schirach claimed at the trials that the roots of his anti-semitism could be found in the readings of Henry Ford's The International Jew. He was originally indicted for crimes against peace for his role in building up the Hitler Youth, but was acquitted on that charge. He was found guilty on 1 October 1946 of crimes against humanity for his role in the deportation of the Viennese Jews to certain death in German concentration camps located in German-occupied Poland. He was sentenced and served 20 years as a prisoner in Spandau Prison, Berlin.

On 20 July 1949, his wife Henriette von Schirach (3 February 1913 – 27 January 1992) divorced him while he was in prison.

He was released on 30 September 1966 after serving his full sentence, and retired quietly to Southern Germany. He published his memoirs, Ich glaubte an Hitler ("I believed in Hitler") and died on 8 August 1974 in Kröv.

Von Schirach is mentioned in Philip K. Dick's 1962 alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle as a candidate for Führer after the previous holder of the office, Martin Bormann, dies.[14]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Michael H. Kater, Hitler Youth, Harvard University Press, 2009, p. 17, ISBN 0674039351
  2. ^ The Mind of Adolf Hitler, Walter Charles Langer, New York 1972, pp. 99–100
  3. ^ Ferdinand von Schirach (September 23, 2011). "A Third Reich Past: Why I Cannot Answer Questions about My Grandfather". Spiegel Online.
  4. ^ "Von Schirach: Der verschrobene Star hinter 'Schuld'", Focus, 21 February 2015
  5. ^ Interview mit Ariadne von Schirach: Spross einer bekannten Familie, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 2 May 2014
  6. ^ Gerwin Strobl (2007). The swastika and the stage: German theatre and society, 1933–1945. Cambridge University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-521-88076-3. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  7. ^ Rosmus, Anna (2015). Hitlers Nibelungen (in German). Grafenau: Samples Verlag. pp. 212f. ISBN 9783938401323.
  8. ^ Rosmus, p. 255f
  9. ^ Spaeter, Helmuth, "The History of Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland" p. 70 (English edition)
  10. ^ Spaeter, Helmuth, p. 137
  11. ^ a b Robert S. Wistrich (7 November 2001). Who's who in Nazi Germany. Psychology Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-415-26038-1. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Baldur von Schirach". Archived from the original on 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2006-03-18.
  13. ^ "Two Hundred and Sixteenth Day, Saturday, 31 August 1946". Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 22.
  14. ^ Dick, Philip (1962). The Man in the High Castle. pp. 24, 98, 102. ISBN 978-0-547-57248-2.

Further reading

  • Fest, Joachim C. and Bullock, Michael (trans.) "Baldur von Schrach and the 'Mission of the Younger Generation'" in The Face of the Third Reich New York: Penguin, 1979 (orig. published in German in 1963), pp. 332–354. ISBN 978-0201407143.

External links

Adolf Hitler's private library

Adolf Hitler's private library was Adolf Hitler's private collection of books, excluding books he purchased for the German state library. Baldur von Schirach, the leader of the Hitlerjugend, claimed that Hitler had about 6,000 volumes and that he had read each one. Frederick Cable Oechsner put his collection at 16,300 volumes. No records exist to confirm this amount as several books were destroyed by The Allies.Hitler's collection reflects his attitudes toward censorship, lacking any works presenting counter-opinions. Although contemporaries say that he loved reading works by German authors, Nietzsche in particular, "there is no sign of Goethe, Schiller, Dante, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche in his library." He is said to have believed that Shakespeare was far superior to Goethe and Schiller. He had a copy of Georg Müller's 1925 translation of Shakespeare's collected works. He was fond of quoting certain lines throughout his life. Copies of Goethe, Schiller, Dante, and Schopenhauer may have been destroyed by Allied bombing so there is no way of knowing for certain whether his collection was lacking. His collection is said to have included "first editions of works by philosophers, historians, poets, playwrights, and novelists." He owned illustrated copies of Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, which he ranked, along with Gulliver's Travels and Uncle Tom's Cabin, as the great works of world literature. Hitler himself was a voracious reader: he claimed to read at least one book a night, if not more. He was also frequently given books as gifts by females of his acquaintance. "The only outstanding classical literary text found in his library today is the collected writings of Kleist."

Adolf Hitler March of German Youth

The Adolf Hitler March of German Youth was a yearly rally of some 2,000 Hitler Youth who marched from all parts of Nazi Germany to the Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party, where they participated to the general parade. For some groups the task was quite demanding having to cover by foot as many as 800 kilometres (500 mi). They had to be "combat ready" (Wehrhaftmachung) anyway as this was the password given to them by their leader Baldur von Schirach.

After 1937, the march was extended beyond Nuremberg to Landsberg am Lech whose little fortress saw on 11 November 1923 Adolf Hitler greeted and escorted by thirty-nine guards to the broad and comfortable cell n. 7 which became his residence for some thirteen months. The aim of visiting that famous cell was to inculcate in those young and bound followers an apologetic and unconditional appreciation of the "supreme leader".

Ariadne von Schirach

Ariadne von Schirach (born 1978 in Munich) is a German philosopher, writer, journalist and critic. She is known as a literary critic for Deutschlandradio Kultur, and as an essayist and columnist for newspapers such as Die Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

She studied philosophy, psychology and sociology at LMU, the Free University of Berlin and the Humboldt University of Berlin. She teaches philosophy and chinese thinking at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg and the Donau-Universität Krems since 2012. In 2007 she published the book Der Tanz um die Lust, about the consequences of an increasingly sexualized society, which became a bestseller. In 2014 she published her second book, Du sollst nicht funktionieren: Für eine neue Lebenskunst. 2016 she published the psychoanalytical textbook Ich und du und Müllers Kuh. Kleine Charakterkunde für alle, die sich selbst und andere besser verstehen wollen. After Der Tanz um die Lust, 2007 and Du sollst nicht funktionieren. Für eine neue Lebenskunst, 2014 she published 2019 Die psychotische Gesellschaft. Wie wir Angst und Ohnacht überwinden, the final book of this Trilogy of Modern Life.

Schirach is a member of the Sorbian Schirach family and is a daughter of the sinologist Richard von Schirach and a granddaughter of the Nazi youth leader and war criminal Baldur von Schirach. She is a cousin of the lawyer and bestselling crime writer Ferdinand von Schirach and the sister of the novelist Benedict Wells.

Carl von Schirach

Carl Baily Norris von Schirach (born 10 November 1873 in Kiel, died 1949) was a German-American theatre director. He was head of the Weimar Court Theatre from 1909 to 1918. He was also a chamberlain at the grand ducal court in the Grand Duchy of Saxony, and was a retired captain of the cavalry (Rittmeister).

Carl von Schirach was born an American citizen and was the son of Karl Friedrich von Schirach, a former major in the US Army who fought in the American Civil War on the Union side and who was an honour guard at President Abraham Lincoln's funeral in 1865. His mother was Elisabeth Baily Norris, a member of a prominent Philadelphia family. Carl von Schirach married the American Emma Middleton Lynah Tillou (1872–1944), who also belonged to a prominent Philadelphia family and who was descended from two signatories of the American Declaration of Independence. They were the parents of the opera singer Rosalind von Schirach and of the Nazi youth leader Baldur von Schirach.

Erich Jahn

Erich Jahn (born 23 July 1907, date of death unknown) was a leader of the Hitler Youth in Berlin. He was born in Berlin and as a teenager became a member of the Berlin youth organisation 'Bismarck Bund'. He later became involved in the Hitler Youth, playing a significant role in the organisation at both a local and a national level. He became a member of the Nazi Party in 1929. He was a close associate of Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach.

Expert Committee on Questions of Population and Racial Policy

The Expert Committee on Questions of Population and Racial Policy (German: Sachverständigen-Beirat für Bevölkerungsfragen und Rassenpolitik) was a Nazi Germany committee formed on 2 June 1933 that planned Nazi racial policy. On July 14, 1933, the committee's recommendations were made law as the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, or the "Sterilization Law".The committee was organized by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, and brought together many important Nazi figures on racial theory, including Ernst Rudin, Alfred Ploetz, Arthur Gutt, Heinrich Himmler, Fritz Thyssen, Fritz Lenz, Friedrich Burgdorfer, Walther Darre, Hans F. K. Günther, Charlotte von Hadeln, Bodo Spiethoff, Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Gerhard Wagner, and Baldur von Schirach.

Gaugefechtsstand Wien

The Gaugefechtsstand Wien (regional combat command center Vienna) was a World War II subterranean command bunker situated in the densely forested Wienerwald western parts of Ottakring, the 16th district of Vienna. Commonly known as the Schirach-Bunker (named after the Nazi governor for the Reichsgau Wien, Baldur von Schirach), the facilities were constructed between 1942 and 1945 as a massive underground extension to barracks that had been established in 1940.

Gregor Ziemer

Gregor Athalwin Ziemer (24 May 1899 – August 1982) was an American educator, writer, and correspondent. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1922 with an English degree. Ziemer lived in Germany from 1928 to 1939, during which time he served as the headmaster of the "American School in Berlin." After fleeing Germany, Ziemer returned to his wife Edna's hometown of Lake City, Minnesota. Ziemer wrote a couple of notable books about Nazi society: Education for Death, which inspired the eponymous Disney short, and, more directly, Edward Dmytryk's movie Hitler's Children, as well as, along with his daughter Patricia, Two Thousand and Ten Days of Hitler.

For a time from November 1941, Ziemer was a commentator on European affairs with radio station WLW out of Cincinnati. He later returned to Europe as a correspondent, embedded this time with General George Patton's Third Army.

At the Nuremberg Trials, a affidavit by Ziemer (an excerpt of one of his books), dealing with Nazi society in general and the education of youth in particular, was presented by the prosecutors. According to Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach, this writing contained untruth and had "more importance as propaganda than it tends to be objective" and was "clearly inflammatory".Ziemer, who lived in California but summered in Lake City, kept busy as a writer of stories and articles and author of screenplays, contributing to the Saturday Evening Post and other popular magazines of the mid-20th century. He later served as a director of the American Foundation for the Blind as well as director of the Institute of Lifetime Learning. Among his key contacts in his charitable work was Hoagy Carmichael.

A manuscript for a book about the history of water skiing was discovered only recently among Ziemer's papers by one of his publishers.

Hans-Otto Borgmann

Hans-Otto Borgmann (20 October 1901 – 26 July 1977) was a German film music composer during the Third Reich.He joined UFA as a silent film music conductor in 1928, and became head composer by 1931. A melody he had composed for a documentary on Svalbard island and had become well known was taken up by Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach who wrote new lyrics as "Our flag flutters before us", becoming one of the Hitler Youth's anthems.In 1938 he composed a Großdeutsche Hymne for Schirach which coincided with the Anschluss of Austria.From 1937 to 1951 he collaborated on a series of films with Veit Harlan. From 1959 to 1971 he withdrew from film popular music to lecture at the Max Reinhardt Theatre and privately compose difficult atonal music.

Henriette von Schirach

Henriette "Henny" von Schirach (née Hoffman; 3 February 1913 – 27 January 1992) was a German writer and wife to Baldur von Schirach, former Reichsjugendführer (Reich Youth Leader) and Gauleiter in Vienna. Henriette von Schirach is one of the few people known to have challenged Hitler personally about the persecution of Jews.

Hitler Youth

The Hitler Youth (German: Hitlerjugend , often abbreviated as HJ in German) was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. Its origins dated back to 1922 and it received the name Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend ("Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth") in July 1926. From 1933 until 1945, it was the sole official youth organisation in Germany and was partially a paramilitary organisation; it was composed of the Hitler Youth proper for male youths aged 14 to 18, the German Youngsters in the Hitler Youth (Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend or "DJ", also "DJV") for younger boys aged 10 to 14, and the League of German Girls (Bund Deutsche Mädel or "BDM").

With the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, the organisation de facto ceased to exist. On 10 October 1945, the Hitler Youth and its subordinate units were outlawed by the Allied Control Council along with other Nazi Party organisations. Under Section 86 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hitler Youth is an "unconstitutional organisation" and the distribution or public use of its symbols, except for educational or research purposes, is illegal.

Jungmädelbund

The Jungmädelbund (German for "Young Girls' League") was the section of the Hitler Youth for girls between the ages of 10 and 14.

It was called the Jungmädelbund in German, and commonly abbreviated in period and contemporary historical writings as JM. Since this was a girls' organization, it fell under the League of German Girls (BDM), which was led by the BDM-Reichsreferentin (National Speaker of the BDM), who reported to the overall head of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach (who was later succeeded by Artur Axmann).

Karl Nabersberg

Karl Nabersberg (sometimes written as Carl Nabersberg) was a German youth leader.

Nabersberg was the son of a Crefeld shopkeeper. In 1923 he joined the Jugendorganisation, the forerunner of the Hitler Youth, in his home town. On 28 December 1925 he was admitted as a member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (member number 26269) and as a member of the Sturmabteilung. After school, he studied law at the University of Cologne and Humboldt University of Berlin, although he never graduated. He participated in the founding of the Cologne local NSDAP and served from 1928 to 1929 as a high-school group leader of the National Socialist German Students' League as well as a group leader of the General Student Committee at Humboldt University.From November 1931 to June 1934 was Stabsführer of the Hitler Youth and deputy to Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach. In July 1933, Schirach dissolved the Reich Committee of German Youth Associations which represented 135 different youth groups. Nabersberg led a raid on the Berlin headquarters of the Committee, with a handful of Sturmabteilung men and 50 armed teenagers from the Hitler Youth. (The figure of 50 armed teenagers comes from Baldur von Schirach's 1934 book Die Hitler – Jugend and may be exaggerated. A postwar account by Helene Gehse, one of five staff at the headquarters, reported a very small number of Hitler Youth, one of whom was armed with an old carbine.) During the raid, Hermann Maaß was summoned and threatened by Nabersberg before being told to leave the building. Schirach named Nabersberg as one of the "Pioneers of the Third Reich" in his 1933 book.From July 1934 he became head of the Border and International Relations Office of the Hitler Youth, promoting ethnic politics amongst Germanic youth in neighbouring countries. In January 1935 he resigned this position for health reasons and assumed the duties of an Obergebietsführer of the Hitler Youth. In November 1937 he met Lord Baden-Powell with a view to forging closer ties between the Hitler Youth and The Scout Association.After the war, the West Berlin Denazification Tribunal fined Nabersberg ℛℳ6,000. He died in 1946.

Kröv

Kröv is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Reichsgau Wien

The Reichsgau Wien (English: Gau Vienna) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany based in Vienna, Austria. It existed between 1938 and 1945. Parts of Lower Austria were annexed to establish Greater Vienna, which then became the biggest city of Nazi Germany by area.

Reichsjugendführer

Reichsjugendführer ("National Youth Leader") was the highest paramilitary rank of the Hitler Youth. In 1931, Hitler appointed Baldur von Schirach as the first Reich Youth Leader. In 1933, all youth organizations were brought under Schirach's control. Artur Axmann succeeded Schirach as national leader of the Hitler Youth on 8 August 1940.

Richard von Schirach

Richard von Schirach (born 11 February 1942 in Munich) is a German sinologist and author.

He studied at LMU, where he earned a doctorate in Chinese literature in 1974. In 1973 he published a German version of the autobiography of Chinese Emperor Puyi. Richard von Schirach is a member of the noble Sorbian Schirach family. He is a son of the Nazi war criminal Baldur von Schirach, and a grandson of Hitler’s official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann. He has published a book about his father. He is the father of the philosopher Ariadne von Schirach and of the author Benedict Wells.

Urfeld am Walchensee

Urfeld am Walchensee is a municipality in Kochel am See in Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen in Bavaria, Germany on the northwest shore of Lake Walchensee.

Yoshinori Futara

Count Yoshinori Futara (二荒 芳徳, Futara Yoshinori, October 26, 1886 – April 21, 1967) was an official in the Imperial Household Ministry and a co-founder with Michiharu Mishima of the Boy Scouts of Japan in April 1922, with Shinpei Gotō at its helm.

Yoshinori Futara was awarded the title Count on November 22, 1909.

Count Futara was the first Japanese member of the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, from 1931 until 1939.

A Japanese Scout group led by Yoshinori Futara visited Germany in 1937. A photograph exists of Baldur von Schirach together with Futara as spectators at fight games of the Hitler Youth, the youth organisation of the National Socialist German Workers Party in Bremen, Germany, taken August 15, 1937.

In 1956 he received the highest distinction of the Scout Association of Japan, the Golden Pheasant Award.

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