The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/29

Q. Donitz?

A. I met Donitz here in the prison.

Q. Raeder?

A. I believe I have known him for some time. In the
beginning we exchanged occasional friendly visits, visits of
a semi-official character but always on a friendly basis;
however, I believe that I have not seen him or talked to him
since '38.

Q. Brauchitsch?

A. I have not talked with him since '39 - or since '38,
since the Fritsch affair.

Q. How about Halder?

A. Halder, as you know, I saw in connection with the Autumn
Putsch of '38 but not after that.

Q. How often did you see Hitler after your dismissal as
president of the Reichsbank?

A. After my dismissal as president of the Reichsbank?

Q. Since January, 1939.

A. I saw him once more in January, 1939, because I had to
discuss my future activity, etc., with him. And on that
occasion he suggested - he knew that I had long had the wish
to make an extended journey - that I might avail myself of
this opportunity to make this journey now, so that there
would not be so much talk about my leaving the Reichsbank.
Then we agreed on the trip to India. On that occasion I also
saw Goering for the last time. And then - after my return in
August, I did not see him again - then the war came, during
the course of which I saw him twice.

Shall I tell you about those two occasions?

Q. Yes.

A. I saw him once in February, 1940. At that time various
American magazines and periodicals had requested me to write
articles on Germany's interpretation of the situation, its
desires, and its position in general. I was inclined to do
this, but because we were at war, I naturally could not do
so without first advising the Foreign Minister. The Foreign
Minister advised me that he had nothing against my writing
an article for an American periodical, but that before
sending off this article he wanted to have the article
submitted for censorship. Of course that did not appeal to
me - I had not even thought of that - and, consequently, I
did not write this article.

However, there were further inquiries from America and I
said to myself, "It is not sufficient for me to talk with
the Foreign Minister, I must go to Hitler in this matter."
So, with that aim, I called on Hitler, who received me very
soon after my request, and I told him at that time, among
other things, just what

                                                  [Page 406]

my experience with von Ribbentrop had been, and I further
told him that I thought it might be expedient to write these
articles; and that it seemed vital to me constantly to have
some one in America, who by means of the Press, etc., could
enlighten public opinion as to Germany and her interests.

Hitler was favourably impressed with this suggestion of mine
and said to me: "I shall discuss this matter with the
Foreign Minister." Consequently, the entire matter came to

Then, later, through the good offices of my co-defendant,
Funk, who probably had a discussion at that time with
Ribbentrop about this matter, I tried to get at least an
answer from Ribbentrop. This answer, given to Funk, was to
the effect that it was still too early for a step of that
sort. And that was my visit in 1940. Then I saw Hitler again
in February of 1941 ...

Q. Pardon my interruption. So that we can avoid all
misunderstandings, if Hitler had given you permission so
that you could have gone to America, just what would your
activities have been? Tell us very briefly. I want no

A. First of all, I had not proposed going myself; I rather
made a general suggestion. But, naturally, I would have been
very glad to go to America for I saw a possibility -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not think it is material to
know what he would have done if something had happened which
did not happen.

DR. DIX: I just wanted to preclude any misunderstanding. I
said that misunderstandings ... Well, let us drop the


Q. Then, let us go on to your second visit.

A. In 1941, in February, I called on Hitler once more
regarding a private matter. The year before, my wife had
died and now I intended to remarry. As minister without
portfolio, which I still was, I naturally had to inform the
Reichschancellor and the head of the State of my intention,
and I called on him for that reason. There was no political
discussion on this occasion. As I was going to the door, he
asked me, "At one time you had the intention, or you advised
me, that some one should go to America. It's probably too
late for that, now." I replied immediately, "Of course, it
is too late for that now." And that was the only remark of a
political nature made. The conversation dealt mainly with my
marriage, and after that I did not see Hitler any more.

Q. And now your relationship with Goering?

A. I did not see Goering either after 1939.

Q. Now, I am turning to a point which has been repeatedly
stressed by the prosecution, that is, the propaganda value
of your participation at Party rallies, and I would like to
remind you of that which Mr. Justice Jackson has already
mentioned in his opening speech. I am translating from the
English because I have no German text:-

  "Does anyone believe that Hjalmar Schacht, seated in the
  first row of the Nazi Party Rally of 1935, and wearing
  the Party emblem, was only included in the film for the
  purpose of making an artistic effect? This great thinker,
  in lending his name to this threadbare undertaking, gave
  it respectability in the eyes of every hesitating

Will you please give me your statement?

A. First of all, I'd like to make a few minor corrections.
In 1935, I did not have a Party emblem. Secondly, Germans
who were hesitating were no longer of any importance in
1935, for Hitler's domination had been firmly established by
1935. There were only those people who were turning away
from Hitler but none who were still coming to him. And then,
I must really consider it as a compliment that I am called a
figure of importance, a great thinker and so forth; but I
believe that the reasons for my being and working in the

                                                  [Page 407]

cabinet have been set forth by me in sufficient detail, so
that I need not go into that any more.

The fact that in the first years, especially, I could not
very well absent myself from the Party rallies is
understandable, I believe, for they were Hitler's principal
display of show and ostentation for the outside world, and
not only did his ministers participate in the Party rallies
but also many other representative guests.

May I add just a few more words?

I stayed away from the later Party Rallies. For example, the
Party Rally of 1935 mentioned by the Chief Prosecutor. That
was the Party Rally - and this is why I happen to remember
it - at which the Nuremberg Laws against the Jews were
proclaimed, and at the time I wasn't even in Nuremberg.

I attended the Party Rally in 1933 and in 1934. I am not
certain whether I attended it in 1936 or 1937, I rather
believe that I attended in 1936. I was decidedly not at the
later rallies and the last visit that I made at the Party
Rally, which I have just mentioned, I attended only on the
"Day of the Wehrmacht" ("Tag der Wehrmacht").

Q. At these Party Rallies were the prominent foreigners ...
you already mentioned that. Was the Diplomatic Corps

A. I believe that with the exception of the Soviet
Ambassador and of the American Ambassador, in the course of
time all other leading diplomats attended the Party Rally,
and I must say, in large numbers, with great ostentation,
and seated in the first rows.

Q. How did you explain that? The Diplomatic Corps only
really takes part in functions of State and this was a
purely Party matter? How was this participation explained?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If it please the Tribunal, I am in a
position to object, because I am not embarrassed by it if
there is any embarrassment, but for this witness to explain
the conduct of the ambassadors of other countries seems
utterly beyond probative value, his opinion of what the
ambassadors were doing. Why they attended a Party Rally
which he was lending his name does not seem to me to have
any probative value. The fact that they attended I do not
object to, but it seems to me that for him to probe, unless
he has some fact - and I want to make clear I do not object
to any facts that this witness knows, and I have not
objected to most of his opinions, which we have been getting
at great length - but I think for him to characterise the
action of foreign representatives is going beyond the pale
of relevant and material evidence.

THE WITNESS: May I make just one remark in reply?

THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better pass on, Dr. Dix.

DR. DIX: Yes, of course. However, I would ask to be given
the permission to answer Mr. Justice Jackson briefly, not
because I want to be stubborn, but I believe that if I
answer now I can avoid later discussions and can save time
thereby. I did not ask the defendant for his opinion; of
course Mr. Justice Jackson is right in saying that he is not
here to give opinions about the customs of the Diplomatic
Corps. But I asked him about a fact: How this participation
on the part of the Diplomatic Corps, which is significant,
was explained at that time. I consider this relevant, as
will be seen more than once in the course of my questioning,
and that is why I am saying it now, that throughout his and
his co-thinkers' oppositional activities, it is of prime
importance to know who gave them moral, spiritual or any
other support, and who did not support them. And thereby, of
course, the outward demeanour of the official
representatives of foreign countries during the whole period
is of tremendous importance, with regard to the capacity to
act on the part of the opposition group. One can support
such a group; one can be neutral to it, or one can also
combat it from abroad. That is the only reason why I put my
question, and I consider myself obliged to consider this
angle of the problem also in the future.

                                                  [Page 408]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I don't think Mr. Justice Jackson's
objection was to the fact that the diplomatic
representatives were there but to comment upon the reasons
why they were there. If all you want to prove is the fact
that they were there, then I do not think Mr. Justice
Jackson was objecting to that. What the defendant was
continuing to give was his opinion of why the diplomatic
representatives were there.

DR. DIX: I believe I do not need to make a further reply. He
has already said that he does not wish to give an
explanation, but if your Lordship will permit me, I shall

Q. About that time, you certainly came into contact with
prominent foreigners both officially and privately. What
position did they take toward the trend of events at the
time the National Socialists consolidated their power? And
how did their attitude influence your own attitude and

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal! I dislike
to interrupt with objections, but I cannot see how it
exonerates or aids this defendant that prominent foreigners
may have been deceived by a regime for which he was
furnishing the window dressings with his own name and
prestige. Undoubtedly there were foreigners, I am willing to
stipulate there were foreigners, like Dahlerus, who were
deceived by this set-up of which he was a prominent and
slightly respectable part. But it does seem to me that if we
go into the attitude of foreigners who are not indicted
here, or accused, that we approach endless questions.

I see no relevance in this sort of testimony.

The question is here, as I have tried to point out to Dr.
Dix, the sole thing that is charged against this defendant
is that he participated in the conspiracy to put this nation
into war and to carry out the War Crimes and Crimes Against
Humanity incidental to it.

Now, I cannot see how the attitude of foreigners either
exonerates or helps the Tribunal to decide that question. If
it does, of course I do not object to it, but I cannot see
the importance of it at this stage.

DR. DIX: I do believe that Mr. Justice Jackson ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute, Dr. Dix, what exactly was the
question that you were asking at that moment? What had it
reference to?

DR. DIX: I asked the defendant what the attitude was, that
was taken by prominent foreigners with whom he came into
contact at that time, officially and privately during the
period that the regime consolidated its power. Did they
reject the regime, or were they sympathetic to it - in other
words, just how far did they influence him and his thinking?
And may I ...

THE PRESIDENT: I think you know, Dr. Dix, that to ask one
witness what the attitude of other people is is a very much
too general form of question. Attitude - what does the word
mean? It is far too general, and I do not understand exactly
what you are trying to prove.

DR. DIX: I will make the question more precise.


Q. How, Dr. Schacht, through your exchange of thoughts with
foreigners, was your personal attitude influenced? How was
your attitude and your activity influenced through the
attitude of these foreigners?

DR. DIX: That is something which Dr. Schacht can testify to
alone, because it is of an intimate nature and personal to
Schacht. Your Lordship, I want to state openly the point to
be proved which seems very relevant to the defence and on
which this question is based. I do not wish to conceal

I, the Defence, maintain that this oppositional group -
about which Gisevius has already spoken, and of which
Schacht was a prominent member - that this group not only
received no support from abroad, but that foreigners

                                                  [Page 409]

the opposition more difficult. That is not a criticism that
is levelled towards foreign governments.

There is no doubt that the representatives of these
countries took that attitude in good faith and with a sense
of duty in the service of their countries. But it was of
decisive value for this oppositional group to know the
position of foreign countries to this regime, whether they
respected or whether they supported it by precedence given
its representatives, socially, or through caution and
reserve showed their disinclination to it, thereby
strengthening this oppositional group.

This evidence is of the utmost importance to me in carrying
on the defence. I have openly stated it, and, as far as I
can, I will fight for this piece of evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, the Tribunal has considered the
argument which you have presented to it and they think that
the investigation of these facts is a waste of time and is
irrelevant. They will, therefore, ask you to go on with the
further examination of the defendant.


Q. Dr. Schacht, you financed the rearmament through the
Reichsbank. Why did you do that?

A. I considered that Germany absolutely had to have
political equality with other nations, and I am of the same
opinion today; and in order to reach this state, it was
necessary that either the general disarmament, which had
been promised by the Allied powers, should come into effect
or that if equal rights were to be obtained, Germany would
have to re-arm on a corresponding scale.

Q. Was this financial help by the Reichsbank your work
alone, or was that decreed through the directorate of the

A. In the Reichsbank, the leadership principle
(Fuehrerprinzip) never applied; I rejected the leadership
principle for the Reichsbank. The Reichsbank was governed by
a group of men all of whom had an equal power to vote, and
if there was a "tie", the vote of the chairman was the
decisive vote, and beyond that the chairman had no rights in
this group.

Q. You are familiar with the affidavit of the former
Reichsbank Director Puhl. Did - I put the question taking
into consideration the contents of this affidavit with which
the Tribunal is acquainted - did Puhl also participate in
giving financial help from the Reichsbank for rearmament?

A. Herr Puhl participated in all decisions which were made
by the Reichsbank directorate on this question and not once
did he oppose the decision reached.

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