The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Dr. Schacht we spoke of the letter dated 30th November,
1942, to Goering. Did that letter have any consequences?

A. Yes, the letter had very considerable consequences. It
had the result that, on the 22nd of January, I did at last
receive my long hoped for release from my position of a
nominal Minister without portfolio. The reason given for it,
however, was less pleasant. I believe the letter is already
in the files of the Tribunal. It is a letter attached to the
official document of release from Lammers.

Q. Yes, very well. We put a question on that subject during
Lammer's hearing.

A. Yes. But I should like only to refer to the statement
which says: "In view of your entire conduct in the present
fateful struggle of the German nation," -so that was my
whole attitude -

DR. DIX: Gentlemen of the Tribunal, it is No. 26 of the
Document Book. It is on Page 76 of the English text and on
Page 69 of the German text.


Q. Please continue.

A. It was, therefore, my entire attitude during this war
which led to my dismissal, and the letter of dismissal also
contained the statement that I would be dismissed for the
time being. According to Lammer's statement, as we have
heard, this expression "for the time being" was included in
the letter on the Fuehrer's initiative. I was very conscious
of the significance of this expression when I received the
letter. Two days later I was removed from the Prussian State
Council, of which I was a member - a body, incidentally,
which had not met for at least eight years. At any rate, I
was not at the meetings. Perhaps it was six years, I do not
know. The text of that decision was communicated to me by
the chairman of that State Council, Hermann Goering, and,
because of its almost amusing contents, I still recollect it
very clearly. It stated:-

  "My answer to your defeatist letter, undermining the
  power of resistance of the German people, is that I
  remove you from the Prussian State Council."

                                                   [Page 10]

I say it was amusing because a sealed letter written by me
to Goering could not possibly shake the power of resistance
of the German people. A further result was that Party Leader
Bormann demanded from me the return of the golden Party
badge, and I did that at once. In addition, the subsequent
days, I was particularly closely watched by the Gestapo. I
gave up my residence in Berlin immediately, within twenty-
four hours, and for the whole day the Gestapo spies followed
me all over Berlin, both on foot and by car. Then I quietly
retired to my estate in the country.

Q. Now, since the trial brief has mentioned material and
pecuniary reasons for the decisions which you made, it
appears to me justified and necessary to ask, what was the
position regarding your property and your income after 1933?
In your reply please take into consideration that it is a
striking fact that in 1942 there was an increase in your

A. A few months ago, apparently with the approval of the
Military Government, there appeared in the Press a list of
donations which the Party leaders and Ministers in Germany
received and, in that connection, of their income and their
property. I was also listed, not under "donations", but it
was stated that in 1942 I had an unusually high income. This
list is incorrect, since it is a gross figure which is
mentioned and it does not take into consideration the fact
that the war profit tax was later deducted from it. When
that list was compiled the tax was not yet determined, so
that about eighty per cent must be deducted from the sum
which is given there. The income is then no longer striking
in any way. In regard to my property, the list shows that by
comparison, covering a period of ten years, that it has
hardly changed, and, I want to emphasize here particularly
that, in the last twenty years, my property remained
approximately the same and did not increase.

Q. If I remember rightly you reduced your own salary as
President of the Reichsbank at a certain time on your own

A. When, on Hitler's suggestion, President Hindenburg, in
March of 1933, appointed me again to the position of
President of the Reichsbank, Hitler left it to me to fix my
own income. At that time, I voluntarily reduced my income to
less than twenty-five per cent of my former income from the

Q. Did you ever receive presents or donations from Hitler,
either in money or in valuables?

A. As I have just mentioned, I have never received any kind
of donation from Hitler, and I think he would hardly have
risked offering me one. I did, indeed, receive one present
from Hitler, on the occasion of my sixtieth birthday. He
gave me a picture, which certainly had the value of about
20,000 marks. It was an oil painting by a German painter,
Spitzweg; and would have been worth approximately 200,000
marks if it had been genuine. As soon as the picture was
brought into my room I recognized it as a forgery, but I
succeeded about three months later in tracing the original.
I started proceedings on the subject of the genuineness of
the picture, and the forgery was established before a court.

THE PRESIDENT: It is not appropriate for the Tribunal to
listen to this.


Q. Did Hitler ever bestow on you the right to wear a uniform
or give you any kind of decoration or military rank?

A. If the Tribunal will permit me I would like to say that I
returned the forgery and it was never replaced; so that I
have received no presents from Hitler.

Hitler offered me a uniform. He said I could have any
uniform I desired but I only raised my hands in refusal and
did not accept any, not even the uniform of an official,
because I did not wish to have a uniform.

Q. Now, another subject: Did you know anything about the
concentration camps?

                                                   [Page 11]

A. Already in the year 1933, when Goering established
concentration camps, I heard, indeed several times, that
political opponents and other disliked or inconvenient
persons were taken away to concentration camps. That these
people were deprived of their liberty perturbed me very much
at the time, of course, and I continuously demanded, as far
as I was in a position to do so during conversations, that
the arrest and removal to concentration camps should be
followed soon after by a proper legal proceeding before a
Court, with full liberty for defence. At that early time,
Reichsminister of the interior Frick also protested
energetically along the same lines. Subsequently this type
of imprisonment became less known to the public, and in
consequence I assumed that things were slowly abating. Only
much later - let us say the second half of 1934 and 1935 -

Q. When you met Gisevius, you mean?

A. Yes, when I met Gisevius - I heard on repeated occasions
that not only were people still being deprived of their
liberty, but that sometimes they were being ill-treated,
that beatings, etc., took place. I have already said before
this Tribunal that as a result, as early as May 1935, I
personally took the opportunity of drawing Hitler's
attention to these conditions, and that I told him at the
time that such a system was causing the whole world to
despise us and must cease. I have mentioned that I
repeatedly took a stand against all these things publicly,
whenever there was a possibility of doing so.

But I never heard anything of the serious ill-treatment and
outrages - murder and the like - which started later.
Probably because, firstly, these conditions did not begin
until after the war, after the outbreak of war, and because
from 1939 onwards I led a very retired life. I only heard
here, in prison, of the dreadful things which happened.
However, I did hear, as early as 1938 and after, of the
deportation of Jews. Individual cases were brought to my
notice and I ascertained that there were deportations to
Theresienstadt, where, allegedly, there was an assembly camp
for Jews, where Jews were accommodated until a later date,
when the Jewish problem was to be dealt with again. Any
physical ill treatment, not to speak of killing or the like,
never come to my knowledge.

Q. Did you ever take a look at a concentration camp?

A. I had an opportunity of acquainting myself with several
concentration camps when, on the 23rd of July, 1944, I
myself was dragged into a concentration camp. Before that
date I did not visit a single concentration camp at any
time, but came to know not only the ordinary concentration
camps but also the extermination camp in Flossenburg.

Q. Did you not, while in Flossenburg, receive a visit from a
"comrade in ideas", if I may say so?

A. I know of this matter only from a letter which this
gentleman sent to you or to this Tribunal, I believe, in
which he describes that visit. I can only, on my own
observation -

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think it is improper to give the
contents of a letter from a person unidentified. I have said
to this Tribunal before that these letters which come from
unidentified persons - if he is identified, it has not been
done in evidence - come to all of us. I am sure members of
the Tribunal get a great many of them. If that is evidence,
then the prosecution should reopen its case, because I have
baskets of them. I think it is highly improper to take
communications and put them in evidence directly, and it is
even more improper to relate them by oral testimony when the
document is not produced. I think this kind of evidence has
no probative value and I object to it.

DR. DIX: May I be permitted to say that I would never do
anything improper nor have I done it. I do not intend in any
way to submit this very harmless, jocular letter to the
Tribunal as evidence. But this letter, which reached me
through quite regular channels, informed Dr. Schacht and
myself that there existed a plan to murder him in
Flossenburg. That is why I also questioned the

                                                   [Page 12]

witness Kaltenbrunner on this matter. The only reason why I
am asking Dr. Schacht is, I expect him to inform the
Tribunal that there was in fact, at that time, an order to
murder him. This fact, not the letter, is not without some
significance, because if a regime wants to kill a man then,
that is at least proof of the fact that it is not
particularly well-disposed toward him. That is the only
reason why I asked that this letter be submitted, and it is,
of course, also at Mr. Justice Jackson's disposal. It is
really quite an amusing letter, written by a simple man.

But I would never have considered submitting this letter as
a document in evidence. If the Tribunal has objections to
hearing the matter, a matter which was also discussed when
Kaltenbrunner was examined, then I shall willingly omit it.
I am quite astonished that the matter should be given so
much significance.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, the Tribunal thinks that the letter
isn't being offered in evidence, and therefore you ought not
to refer to it. Well then, don't refer to it.

DR. DIX: All right, we will leave it.


Q. Well, now, at last you were released. What did you do

A. After that time I did nothing more apart from continuing
my efforts towards the removal of Hitler. That was my only
political activity. For the rest, I was living on my estate.

Q. Did you not go on a journey in the spring of 1939?

A. Excuse me, you are speaking of the time after my
dismissal as President of the Reichsbank. I thought you
meant as minister. I was just talking of 1943.

Q. No. No.

A. You are going back to the year 1939. I have already
mentioned that, after the dismissal in January, 1939, Hitler
suggested to me that I should go on an extensive journey
abroad, and at the time I went to India by way of
Switzerland, where I again saw my friend.

Q. Were you in any way politically active in India?

A. In India I merely travelled as a tourist. I was not
politically active but, of course, I visited several
governors and I spent three days as the Viceroy's guest in
his house in Simla.

Q. Did you not have political connections with Chinese
statesmen in Rangoon?

A. When I was in Burma, after leaving India, I received a
visit in Rangoon from a Chinese friend who had visited me
before in Berlin on occasions, and who had been commissioned
by his government to talk to me about the situation of

Q. That is Chiang Kai-Shek's China?

A. Chiang Kai-Shek's China, which was already at war with
Japan at the time. The other China did not then exist and
this gentleman asked me upon the request of Chiang Kai-Shek
and the Chinese Cabinet...

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I can't see the slightest relevancy in
this. In the first place, we heard it once before and
secondly, after we had heard it, it had no relevancy to the
case. We have no charge against him that he did anything in
China and we will stipulate that he was as pure as snow all
the time he was in China. We haven't a thing to do with
that, and it is taking time here and gets us nowhere, and is
keeping us away from the real charge in the case.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal quite understands that you say
it is irrelevant. Why do you say it is relevant?

DR. DIX: I regret that Mr. Justice Jackson and I understand
each other too little. The matter is relevant in the
following connection: In this testimony and also in an
affidavit which has been read...

                                                   [Page 13]

THE PRESIDENT: I think we heard three times that the
defendant Schacht went to India. Three times in his evidence
he dealt with the fact that he went to India and China. How
is it relevant?

DR. DIX: I am not speaking of the journey to India. It had
to be mentioned only briefly to explain the connection of
time. I put a question, referring to Schacht's negotiations
in Rangoon with the envoy from Chiang Kai-Shek, and at that
point Mr. Justice Jackson raised his objection. But the fact
that Schacht maintained friendly connections with Chiang Kai-
Shek's government and gave support to it, that fact is
relevant. And for the same reason for which I attached
importance to the fact that it became clear here that, in
regard to the Union of Soviet Republics also, Schacht
pursued a pro-Soviet line in his economic policy during the
years when Hitler was conducting a political campaign again
t Russia. Here we have a second instance, in which he is
demanding relations which were contrary to the principles of
Hitler's policy: that is relations with Chiang Kai-Shek, and
so against Hitler's ally, Japan. It is in this connection,
that the negotiations with the Chinese are of significance.
They will take only a moment's time, at most. They were
merely to be mentioned in passing.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that if you consider his
relations with China of any importance, it can be stated in
one sentence.

DR. DIX: I am of the same opinion.

THE WITNESS: I will sum it up in one sentence. In a written
memorandum, I advised Chiang Kai-Shek's government to
continue holding out against Japan, giving as reason that
the economic resources of China would last longer than the
economic resources of Japan; and I advised Chiang Kai-Shek
to rely primarily on the United States of America in his
foreign policy.

Q. Then upon your return from India, that is, in August,
1939, you found a situation which must have appeared quite
tense to someone who was just coming back. Did you not then
attempt to contact the cabinet or Hitler in order to discuss
this situation?

A. Of course I found a very tense situation with regard to
Poland, and I used my return as an occasion for writing a
letter to Hitler, a letter to Goering, and a letter to
Ribbentrop; that is to say, to the three leading men, in
order to inform them that I had come back from India,
expecting that at least one of them would ask me for an
account of my experiences. Then I should have had an
opportunity of talking to the leading men once again. To my
very great surprise, I did not get an answer from Hitler at
all, I received no reply from Goering; and Herr von
Ribbentrop answered me that he had taken note of my letter.
There was therefore no other way for me but to make my own
inquiries regarding the real state of affairs in respect to
Poland, and when things became critical, I took the well-
known step, which has already been described here by Herr
Gisevius, namely the attempt to gain access to the Fuehrer's

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