The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. SIEMERS: I believe I have been misunderstood, your
Honour. I have already stated very clearly why I need these
documents for my presentation of evidence regarding the
Norway action. Beyond that I said merely that, if these

                                                  [Page 432]

documents are not granted me, then I cannot present any
evidence. I asked the Tribunal merely to take into
consideration the fact that the documents from London, which
I had originally reckoned on, are not at my disposal. And I
do not know why the request, which I am submitting to the
Tribunal and which is only in explanation of my previous
statements, is being taken amiss by the

THE PRESIDENT: Is that all you have to say?

DR. SIEMERS: I have now finished, your Honours. It is not at
all my intention to read all these documents or to spend too
much time on them. I believe that, if I am granted these
documents, the presentation of evidence will be much easier,
for these are groups of documents which show the
chronological development of certain plans, and if I have
the fifth, sixth or seventh document then I need not read
each one. But, if I am granted just one document, I will be
put in an extremely difficult position and will have to
speak in greater detail than I would if I could simply refer
to these documents.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider it.

Now, Dr. Dix.



BY DR. DIX (Counsel for the defendant Schacht):

Q. Now, we come to the whole question of your alleged
knowledge of the direct war objectives of Hitler. You have
already mentioned in a general way that Hitler never spoke
about war to you. Have you anything to add to this?

A. No.

Q. You also touched upon the question of the sincerity of
his peaceful assurances and his disarmament proposals. Have
you anything to add to that?

A. No, at the beginning I believed that.

Q. And the various members of the cabinet, did they ever
speak to you about warlike intentions?

A. Never did I hear anything from any of my fellow
colleagues in the cabinet which could lead me to believe
that anyone had the intention of going to war or would
welcome it if Germany were to start a war.

Q. Now, we turn to your own attitude towards the war. You
already indicated your general attitude when you spoke about
your philosophy as a pacifist. I believe, therefore, that it
is more expedient if I read from my document book the
opinion of a third party, a party who knows you very well;
namely, the former member of the Reichsbahn directorate,
Huelse. It is the Schacht Document Book 37-C, Page 160 of
the German text, and 168 of the English text. It is an
affidavit. And there, beginning with paragraph 2, Huelse

  "I recall several chance talks with Dr. Schacht during
  the years 1935 to 1939 about war and rearmament. In these
  talks he always expressed his aversion to any war and any
  war-like conduct. He held the firm opinion that even to
  the winner war brings only disadvantages, and that a new
  European war would be a crime against culture and
  humanity. He hoped for a long period of peace for
  Germany, as she needed it more than other countries in
  order to improve and stabilise her unstable economic
  To my knowledge, until the beginning of 1938, Dr.
  Schacht, at meetings of the Reichsbank Board of Directors
  and in private conversations on the subject of armament,
  always spoke only of defence measures. I believe I can
  recall that he told me in the middle of 1938 that
  Hitler's provocative action against Austria and the
  Sudeten country, from the military point of view, was
  worse than indiscreet.
  "He said that Germany had undertaken only a defensive
                                                  [Page 433]
  which would prove absolutely inadequate as a defence in
  case of attack by one of the big powers, a possibility
  with which Hitler had to reckon. He said that he had
  never heard that the Wehrmacht was in any way designed or
  armed for an aggressive war.
  When the war did break out and spread more and more, he
  said repeatedly that he had erred in his judgement of
  Hitler's personality; he had hoped for a long time that
  Hitler would develop into a real statesman who, after the
  experience of the first World War, would avoid any war. "

Q. You have already touched upon the question of an
annexation of Austria and given your general opinion. I ask
you now to make a concrete statement about the Anschluss
after it had actually taken place, and especially about the
manner in which this Anschluss was carried out.

A. That this Anschluss would come at some time we Germans
all knew. As for the various political negotiations which
took place between Hitler, Schuschnigg and others, I,
naturally, was as little informed as were the other cabinet
ministers, with the probable exception of Goering and von
Ribbentrop and, perhaps, one or two more. The actual
Anschluss in March was a complete surprise to us, not the
fact but the date. A complete surprise, at any rate, to my
acquaintances and myself.

Q. How did you judge the manner, the nature and shape of the

A. I believe that much can be said about the manner. What we
heard subsequently and what I have learned in these
proceedings is certainly not very gratifying, but I believe
that it would have had very little practical influence on
the Anschluss itself and the course of events. The whole
thing was more of a demonstration to the outside world,
similar perhaps to the marching into the Rhineland, but it
had no great effect, in my opinion, on the course of the
negotiations. I am speaking now of the marching in of the
troops. This march was more or less a festive reception.

Q. The prosecution has pointed out that in March, 1938, you
regulated the relation of the schilling to the mark for the
event of a possible Anschluss, and by this the prosecution
obviously wants to prove that you had previous knowledge of
this action. Will you tell us your position as to this?

A. The fact to which the prosecution refers is a
communication from a Lieutenant Colonel Wiedemann. On the
11th, in the afternoon about three o'clock - I believe I
remember that, but I cannot say whether it was by telephone
or in person - someone - it may have been Lieutenant Colonel
Wiedemann - inquired of me how the purchasing power for the
troops in Austria was to be regulated if German troops
should march into Austria - purely a matter of currency
policy, whether it was necessary to have prescribed
regulations. I told him that, of course, everything had to
be paid for, everything that the troops might buy there, and
that the rate of exchange, if they paid in schillings and
not in marks, would be one mark to two schillings. That was
the rate which ruled at the time, which remained fairly
steady and was the recognised ratio of the schilling to the

The fact that in the afternoon of the 11th I was approached
about this matter is the best proof that I had no previous
knowledge of these matters.

Q. The prosecution further considers it an accusation
against you that in your speech to the Austrian National
Bank after the marching in of the troops you used decidedly
National Socialist phraseology and thus welcomed the

Perhaps we can use this opportunity to save time and reply
to the accusation made repeatedly by the prosecution that in
speeches, petitions, etc., you sometimes thought fit to
adopt a tone, of which it could perhaps be said that it
exuded National Socialist ideas. That has been used as
circumstantial evidence against you. Will you please define
your position to those arguments and give your reasons for
this attitude of yours?

                                                  [Page 434]

A. If I did so in the first few years, I did so only in
order to remind Party circles and the people of the original
programme of the National Socialist Party, to which the
actual attitude of the Party members and functionaries stood
in downright contrast. I also tried to show that the
principles which I upheld in many political matters agreed
completely with the principles of the National Socialist
programme as they were stated in the Party programme,
namely, equal rights for all, the dignity of the individual,
esteem for the church, and so forth.

In the later years I also repeatedly used National Socialist
phraseology, because from the time of my speech at
Konigsberg, the contrast between my views and Hitler's views
on the side of the Party was entirely clear. And gradually
within the Party I got the reputation of being an enemy of
the Party, a man whose views were contrary to those of the
Party. From that moment on, not only the possibility of my
co-operation, but also my very existence was endangered, and
in such moments, when I saw my activity, my freedom and my
life seriously threatened by the Party, I utilised these
moments to show by means of an emphatically National
Socialist phraseology that I was working entirely within the
framework of the traditional policies and that my activity
was in agreement with these policies, in order to protect
myself against these attacks.

Q. In other words, recalling the testimony of the witness
Gisevius about a remark of Goerdeler, you used Talleyrand
methods in this case?

A. I am not entirely familiar with Talleyrand's methods, but
at any rate I did camouflage myself.

Q. In this connection I should like to read a passage from
the affidavit of Schniewind which has been quoted
repeatedly. It is Exhibit 34. I have often indicated this
page. It is Page 118 of the German, Page 126 of the English
text. Schniewind says:-

  "If Schacht on the other hand occasionally made
  statements, oral or written, which could be construed as
  signifying that he went a long way in identifying himself
  with the Hitler regime, these statements were naturally
  known to us, but what Schacht thought in reality was
  known to almost every official in the Reichsbank and in
  the Reich Ministry of Economics, above all, of course, to
  his closest colleagues.
  On many occasions we asked Dr. Schacht if he had not gone
  too far in these statements. He always replied that he
  was under such heavy fire from the Party and the S.S.
  that he could camouflage himself only by making furtive

I might explain that Schniewind was a high official in the
Ministry of Economics, and worked directly under Schacht and
with him.

The prosecution has also referred to an affidavit by Tilly
to the effect that you admitted that you thought Hitler
capable of aggressive intentions. Will you make a statement
about that?

A. That affidavit of the British Major Tilly is entirely
correct. I told Major Tilly during the preliminary
interrogation that in 1938, during the events of the Fritsch
affair and afterwards, I had become convinced that Hitler,
at any rate, would not avoid a war at all costs and that
possibly he even sought to bring about a war. Looking back I
pondered over a number of statements by Hitler and asked
myself the reason why he, in the course of the years, had
reached the point where he might not avoid a war. And I told
Major Tilly that the only reason which I could think of was
that, looking back, I had the impression that Hitler had
fallen into the role which necessarily falls to each and
every dictator who fails to relinquish his power in time,
namely, that of having to supply his people with some sort
of victor's glory - that that was probably the development
of Hitler's thought.

Q. That is the same explanation as given by Prince
Metternich about Napoleon?

You have already remarked, in parenthesis, that you first
became suspicious

                                                  [Page 435]

during the Fritsch affair. The witness Gisevius has
described the Fritsch affair to the Tribunal in detail. We
do not wish to repeat anything. Therefore, I am asking you
only to state in regard to the Fritsch affair anything you
might have to say to supplement or to amend Gisevius's
testimony. If that is going to take a long time - which I
cannot judge - then I might suggest to the Tribunal that we
have the recess now, if the Tribunal wishes.

A. I have just a brief remark to make.

DR. DIX: A brief remark. Then answer the question briefly.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, if he can do it briefly, we had better
have it now.

A. It is just a single remark that I should like to add. The
account given by Gisevius of the development of the Fritsch
affair is, according to my knowledge and my own experience
completely correct in every detail. I have nothing to add to
that. I can only confirm it. On the other hand, I should
like to refer to a speech of Hitler's on 20 February, 1938,
in the Reichstag, which contains a remark which even at that
time aroused my attention. He said - and I quote this speech
from "Die Dokumente der Deutschen Politik", of which all
copies were available here:

  "The changes in the Reich Cabinet and in the military
  administration on 4 February" - that is changes which
  were made following the Fritsch and Blomberg affair -
  "were for the purpose of achieving within the shortest
  time that intensification of our military means of power,
  which the general conditions of the present time indicate
  as advisable."

This remark also confirmed my opinion that the change from a
peaceful to a military policy on Hitler's part was becoming
obvious; I did not wish to omit reference to this remark, in
order to complete the account given by Gisevius.

DR. DIX: This is Exhibit 28 of our document book, Page 81 of
the English text, Page 74 of the German text. There this
passage is quoted.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn now for ten

(A recess was taken.)

BY DR. DIX (Counsel for defendant Schacht):

Q. Several meetings have been discussed here, during which
Hitler is said to have spoken directly or indirectly about
his war intentions. Did you participate in any such

A. No, not in a single one.

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