The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/14

Q. I think you characterised the manner in which the
Sudetenland was acquired as wrong and reprehensible.

A. I do not know when I could have done that. I said that
the Allies, through their policy gave the Sudetenland to
Hitler, whereas I always had expected that the Sudeten
Germans would be given autonomy.

Q. Then you approved of Hitler's policy in handling the
Sudetenland situation? Is that what you want to be
understood as saying?

A. I never knew that Hitler, beyond the autonomy, demanded
anything else.

Q. Your only criticism of the Czechoslovakian situation
relates to the Allies, as I understand you?

A. Well, it also applies to the Czechs, maybe to the Germans
too; I certainly do not want to be the judge here.

Q. Well, now on 16th October, 1945, in Exhibit USA 636, I
ask if you did not make these replies to questions:

  "Question: Now, I am coming back to the march against
  Czechoslovakia which resulted in the appeasement policy
  in Munich and the cession of the Sudetenland to the
  Reich.
  
  "Answer: Yes.
  
  "Question: Did you at that time favour the policy of
  acquiring the Sudetenland?
  
  "Answer: No.

                                                   [Page 61]
  
  "Question: Did you favour at that time the policy of
  threatening or menacing the Czechs by force of arms, so
  as to acquire the Sudetenland?
  
  "Answer: No, certainly not.
  
  "Question: Then I ask you, did it strike you at that time
  or did it come to your knowledge that the means which
  Hitler was using for threatening the Czechs, was the
  Wehrmacht and the armament industry?
  
  "Answer: He could not have done it without the
  Wehrmacht."

Did you give those answers?

A. Yes.

Q. Continuing:

  "Question: Did you consider the manner in which he
  handled the Sudeten question wrong or reprehensible?
  
  "Answer: Yes.
  
  "Question: You did?
  
  " Answer: Yes, sir.
  
  "Question: And did you have a feeling at that time,
  looking back on the events that had preceded and on your
  own participation in them, that this army which he was
  using as a threat against Czechoslovakia was at least in
  part of your own creation? Did that ever strike you?
  
  "Answer: I cannot deny that, sir."

A. Certainly not.

Q. But here again, you helped Hitler once he had been
successful with it, did you not?

A. How can you say such a thing? I certainly did not know
that Hitler would use the army in order to threaten other
nations.

Q. After he had done it, you joined in and took over the
Czech bank, did you not?

A. Of course.

Q. Yes. You followed to control economically just as much
territory as Hitler had acquired, did you not?

A. But I beg your pardon. He did not take it with violence
at all. The Allies gave the territory to him. The whole
thing was settled peacefully.

Q. Well, we have your testimony on the part the Wehrmacht
played in it and what part you played in the Wehrmacht.

A. Yes, I have never disputed that.

Q. No. What I mean is this, referring to your interrogation
of 17th October.

  "Question: Now, after the Sudetenland was taken over by
  the Munich agreement, did you as president of the
  Reichsbank do anything about the Sudeten territory?
  
  "Answer: I think we took over the affiliations of the
  Czech Bank of Issue."

Q. And you also arranged for the currency conversion, did
you not?

A. Yes, that too.

Q. That is what you did after this wrong and reprehensible
act had been committed by Hitler, did you not?

A. It is no "wrong and reprehensible" act "committed" by
Hitler, but Hitler received the Sudeten German territory by
way of treaty and, of course, the currency and the
institution which directed financing had to be amalgamated
with this activity in Germany. There can be no talk of
injustice. I cannot believe that the Allies put their
signature to an injustice.

Q. So you think that everything up to Munich was all right?

A. No. I am certainly of a different opinion. There was much
injustice.

Q. Were you in this Court when Goering testified to his
threat to bomb Prague - "the beautiful City of Prague?"

A. Thanks to your invitation I was here.

Q. Yes. I suppose you approved that use of the force which
you had created in the Wehrmacht?

A. Disapproved. Disapproved under all circumstances.

                                                   [Page 62]

Q. You did not think that was right dealing, then?

A. No, no, that was an atrocious thing.

Q. Well, we have found something we agree on, Doctor. You
knew of the invasion of Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. You regarded it as an unqualified act of aggression on
Hitler's part, did you not?

A. Absolutely.

Q. The same was true of the invasion of Luxembourg, was it
not?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And of Holland?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And of Denmark?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And of Norway?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And of Yugoslavia?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And of Russia?

A. Absolutely, sir; and you have left out Norway and
Belgium.

Q. Yes; well. The entire course was a course of aggression?

A. Absolutely, to be condemned.

Q. And the success of that aggression at every step was due
to the Wehrmacht which you had so much to do with creating?

A. Unfortunately.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I intend to take up another
subject and perhaps it would be ... it is almost recess
time.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the report is made
that defendant von Neurath is absent.

BY MR. JUSTICE JACKSON:

Q. Dr. Schacht, in your direct testimony you made reference
to a film, which was taken and exhibited in Germany for
propaganda purposes, of your demeanour on the occasion of
Hitler's return after the fall of France.

A. May I correct that? Not I but my Counsel spoke of this
film; and it was not mentioned that it was used for
propaganda purposes. My Counsel merely said that it had been
shown as a newsreel, so it probably was shown for about one
week.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that the film be exhibited
to the Tribunal. It is a very short film, and the movement
in it is very rapid. There is very little translation
involved in it, but the speed of it is such that for myself
I had to see it twice in order to really see what it is.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to put it on now?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I would like to put it on now. It will
take only a short time, and Dr. Schacht should be placed
where he can see it, for I want to ask him some questions,
and particularly I may ask him to identify the persons in
it. I will ask, if I may, to have it shown twice.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.

(At this point the film referred to by Mr. Justice Jackson
was shown.)

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think that I, in mentioning this
exhibit which I wish to offer in evidence, spoke of it as a
"propaganda film." That was not the

                                                   [Page 63]

language of Dr. Dix. Dr. Dix described it as a "weekly
newsreel" and as a "weekly film."

Q. While our memory is fresh about that, will you tell the
Tribunal of as many of the defendants as you recognized
present in that picture.

A. In looking at this short film, I could not see exactly
who was there. However, I should assume that almost all were
present - I say that from memory, not from the film - either
in Hitler's retinue or among those who received him.

Q. While you were still President of the Reichsbank and
after the action in taking over the Czechoslovakian Bank,
you made a speech, did you not, on 29th November, 1938?

A. Yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It is Document EC-611, Exhibit USA 622.
I am advised that the film became Exhibit USA 835, and
before I pass from it, I would like to offer the statement
as to the personality of Hermann Goering, which is Document
3936-PS, as Exhibit USA 836.

Q. In this speech of 29th November, 1938, Dr. Schacht, if I
am correctly, informed - and by the way, it was a public
speech was it not?

A. Inasmuch as it was made before the German Academy. It was
entirely public, and if it passed the censorship, it
certainly was also mentioned in the papers. It was public;
anyone could have heard it.

Q. You used this language, did you not:

  "It is possible that no bank of issue in peace times has
  carried on such a daring credit policy as has the
  Reichsbank since the seizure of power by National
  Socialism. With the aid of this credit policy, however,
  Germany has created an armament second to none, and this
  armament in turn has made possible our successes."

Is that correct?

A. That is absolutely correct, and ... would you please mind
letting me explain in future? That is correct and I was very
much surprised that it was necessary to do this in order to
create justice in the world.

Q. The taking over of Czechoslovakia represents your idea of
justice?

A. I have already told you that Germany did not "take over
Czechoslovakia," but that it was, indeed, presented to
Germany by the Allies on a silver platter.

Q. Are you now saying that that was an act of justice, or
are you condemning it? I cannot get your position, Doctor.
Just tell us, were you for it? Are you today for it, or
against it?

A. Against what? Will you please tell me against what and
for what?

Q. Against the taking over of the Sudetenland by the method
by which it was done.

A. I cannot answer your question for the reason that, as I
said, it was no "taking over," but was a present. If some
one gives me a present, such as this, I accept it
gratefully.

Q. Even though it does not belong to them to give?

A. Well, that I must naturally leave up to the donor.

Q. And although it was taken at the point of a gun, you
still would accept the gift?

A. No, it was not taken "at the point of a gun."

Q. Well, we will pass on to your speech. Did you say also:-

  "Instead of a weak and vacillating government a single,
  purposeful, energetic personality is ruling today. That
  is the great miracle which has happened in Germany and
  which has had its effect in all fields of life, and not
  least in that of economy and finance. There is no German
  financial miracle. There is only the miracle of the re-
  awakening of German national consciousness and German
  discipline, and we owe this miracle to our Fuehrer, Adolf
  Hitler."

Did you say that?

A. Certainly. That was my great surprise.

                                                   [Page 64]

Q. As Minister without portfolio, what did your Ministry
consist of?

A. Nothing.

Q. What employees did you have?

A. One female secretary.

Q. What space did you occupy?

A. Two or three rooms in my own apartment, which I had
furnished as an office.

Q. So the government did not even furnish you with an
office?

A. Yes, they paid me a rental for those rooms.

Q. Oh, and whom did you meet with as Minister without
Portfolio?

A. I do not understand. Whom I met with?

Q. Well, did you have any meetings? Did you have any
official meetings to attend?

A. I have stated here repeatedly that, after my retirement
from the Reichsbank, I never had a single meeting or
conference, official or otherwise.

Q. Did anybody report to you, or did you report to anybody?

A. No, no one reported to me, nor did I report to anyone
else.

Q. Then I take it that you had no duties whatever in this
position?

A. Absolutely correct.

Q. And you were Minister without Portfolio, however, at the
time that Hitler came back from France, and you attended the
reception for him at the railway station? And went to the
Reichstag to hear his speech?

A. Yes.


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