The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/14

Q. You have now contended that you knew about the Plot of
20th July on Hitler's life?

A. I knew about it.

Q. You knew that Gisevius says you did not know about it?

A. I stated yesterday that I was told not only of
Goerdeler's efforts, but that I was thoroughly informed by
General Lindemann, and the evidence of Colonel Gronau has
been read here. I also stated that I did not inform my
friends about this because there was a mutual agreement
between us that we should not tell anyone anything which
might bring him into an embarrassing situation in case he
were tortured by the Gestapo.

Q. Do you recall that Gisevius said that there were only
three civilians that knew about that plot which was
carefully kept within military personnel?

A. You see that even Gisevius was not informed on every
detail. Naturally, he cannot testify to more than what he
knew.

Q. And so, Dr. Schacht, we are to weigh your testimony in
the light of the fact that you preferred, over a long period
of time, a course of sabotage of your government's policy by
treason against the head of the State, rather than open
resignation from his Cabinet?

A. You constantly refer to my resignation. I have told you
and proven that no resignation was possible. Consequently
your conclusion is wrong.

Q. All right! Now, in your interrogation on 16th October,
1945, Exhibit USA 636, some questions were asked you about
the generals of the Army, and I ask you if you were not
asked these questions and if you did not give these answers.

  "Question: Suppose you were Chief of the General Staff,
  and Hitler decided to attack Austria, would you say you
  had the right to withdraw?
  
  "Answer: I would have said, 'Withdraw me, sir.'
  
  "Question: You would have said that?
  
  "Answer: Yes.
  
  "Question: So you take the position that any official
  could at way time withdraw if he thought that the moral
  obligation was such that he felt he could not go on?"
  
  "Answer: Quite.
  
  "Question: In other words, you feel that the members of
  the General Staff of the Wehrmacht who were responsible
  for carrying into execution Hitler's plan are equally
  guilty with him?
  
                                                   [Page 69]
  
  "Answer: That is a very difficult question you put to me,
  sir, and I answer, yes."

You gave those answers, did you not? Did you give those
answers?

A. Yes, and I should like to give an explanation of this, if
the Tribunal permits it. If Hitler ever had given me a
doubtful order, I should have refused to execute it. That is
what I said about the generals also, and I am committed to
this statement which you have just read.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have finished with him, your Honour,
except that I would like to note the exhibit numbers. The
petition to Hindenburg referred to yesterday is 3901-PS, and
will become Exhibit USA 837. The von Blomberg interrogation
of October, 1945, is Exhibit USA 838.

DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I request that the following testimony of the
defendant Schacht, which, as such, became part of the
minutes, be taken out of the record. The question, as I
understood it, was whether he considered the General Staff
to be just as guilty as Hitler. This question was answered
in the affirmative by the defendant Schacht in this
examination.

The question and the answer - the question to begin with is
inadmissible and likewise the answer because a witness
cannot pass judgement. That is the task of the Tribunal. And
for this reason I request that this testimony should not be
included in the record.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal, I do not,
of course, offer this opinion of Schacht's as evidence
against the General Staff or against any individual soldier
on trial. The evidence, I think, was as to the credibility
of Schacht and as to his position. I do not think that his
opinion regarding the guilt of anybody else would be
evidence against that other person; I think that his opinion
on this matter is evidence against himself in the matter of
credibility.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Dix.

DR. DIX: The question by Justice Jackson was not whether
Schacht considered the Generals guilty, but the question was
whether it was correct that Schacht, in an interrogation
previous to the trial, had given certain answers to certain
questions. In other words, it was a question about an actual
occurrence which took place in the past, and not a question
about an opinion or a judgement which he was to give here.
As Schacht's counsel, I am interested in not having this
passage taken from the record only to the extent that these
words remain:

  "I, Schacht, would never have executed a doubtful order
  and questionable demand by Hitler." So far as the rest of
  this answer of Schacht is concerned, I, as his defence
  counsel, declare that it is a matter of indifference to
  me.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, after the declaration of
Justice Jackson, I withdraw my objection.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, may I begin my cross-
examination?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. Defendant Schacht, when answering the questions put to
you by your counsel, you informed us of the circumstances
under which you first became acquainted with Hitler and
Goering. You even remembered a detail such as the pea soup
with lard which was served for supper at Goering's home.

What I am interested in now are some other particulars,
rather more relevant to the case, of your relations with
Hitler and Goering. Tell me, on whose initiative did your
first meeting with Hitler and Goering take place?

A. I have already stated that my friend, Bank Director von
Strauss, invited me to spend an evening in his home, in
order that I might meet Goering there.

                                                   [Page 70]

The meeting with Hitler then took place when Goering asked
me to come to his home - that is, Goering's home - to meet
Hitler.

Q. For what reasons did you, at that time, accept the
invitation to meet Hitler and Goering?

A. The National Socialist Party at that time was one of the
strongest parties in the Reichstag with 108 seats, and the
National Socialist movement, throughout the country, was
extremely active. Consequently, I was more or less
interested in making the acquaintance of the leading men of
this movement whom up to then I did not know at all.

Q. But you declared that you were invited by Goering
himself. Why did Goering especially invite you?

A. Please ask Goering that.

Q. Did you not ask him yourself?

A. Goering wished me to meet Hitler, or Hitler to meet me.

Q. What for? With what aim in mind?

A. That you must ask Goering.

Q. Don't you think that Hitler and Goering intended - and
not unsuccessfully at that - to inveigle you into
participating in the Nazi movement, knowing that in Germany
you were a prominent worker both in the economic and
financial field, and one who shared their views?

A. I was uninformed about the intentions of these two
gentlemen at that time; however, I can imagine that it was
just as much a matter of interest for these gentlemen to
meet Herr Schacht as it was for me to meet Herr Hitler and
Herr Goering.

Q. Then it was a matter of purely personal interest; or were
there other considerations involved, of a political nature?
You yourself understood that your participation in the Nazi
movement would be profitable to Hitler, inasmuch as you were
a well-known man in your own country?

A. As far as I was concerned, I was only interested in
seeing what kind of people they were; what motives these two
gentlemen had, as I have already stated, is unknown to me.
My collaboration in the Nazi movement was entirely out of
the question, and it was not given, either.

Q. Tell me, please ...

A. Please let me finish. My collaboration was not given
before the July, elections of 1932. As I have stated here,
the acquaintance was made in January 1931, which was one and
a half years before these elections. Throughout these one
and a half years, no collaboration took place.

Q. Tell me, was your acquaintance with Hitler and Goering
exclusively limited to these meetings, or had you already
met them before Hitler came into power?

A. Until July, 1932, I saw Hitler and Goering, each of them,
perhaps once, twice or three times. I cannot recall any
other occasions, in these one and a half years; however,
there is no question of any frequent meetings.

Q. Then, how do you explain your letter to Hitler of 29th
August, 1932, in which you offered your services to Hitler?
You remember this letter?

A. Yes.

Q. How do you explain it?

A. I have spoken about this repeatedly. Will you be so kind
as to read it in the record?

Q. Please repeat it once more, briefly?

THE PRESIDENT: If he has been over it once, that is
sufficient.

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. When, and by whom were you first invited to participate
in the future Hitlerite Government and promised the post of
Director of the Reichsbank?

A. The President of the Reichsbank did not hold a position
in the government, but was a high official outside the
government. The first time that there was

                                                   [Page 71]

any talk in my presence about this post was on 30th January,
1933, when I accidentally ran into Goering in the lobby of
the Kaiserhof Hotel, and he said to me: "Ah, here comes our
future President of the Reichsbank."

Q. When answering the questions of your Counsel, you
declared that the Nazi theory of race supremacy was sheer
nonsense, that the Nazi world-outlook was no world-outlook
at all, that you were opposed to the solution of the
"Lebensraum" problem by the seizure of fresh territories,
that you were opposed to the Leadership Principle within the
Nazi Party, and even made a speech on this subject in the
Academy of Law, and that you were opposed to the Nazi policy
of exterminating the Jews.

Is that right? Did you say that when answering the questions
put by your
Counsel?

A. Yes, we both heard it.

0. Well, then tell me, what led you to National Socialism
and to co-operation with Hitler?

A. Nothing at all led me to National Socialism; I have never
been a Nazi.

Q. Then what induced you to co-operate with Hitler since you
had adopted a negative attitude toward his theories and the
theories of German National Socialism?

THE PRESIDENT: General Alexandrov, he has told us what he
says led him to co-operate with Hitler. I think you must
have heard him.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: But it did, in fact, take place?

BY GENERAL ALEXANDROV:

Q. In reply to a question by your Counsel as to why you did
not emigrate, you stated that you did not wish to be a
simple martyr. Tell me, did you not know the fate which
befell Germany's outstanding personages, personages who held
democratic and progressive ideas, when Hitler came to power?
Do you know that they were all exiled or sent to
concentration camps?

A. There is a confusion here. I did not answer that I did
not want to be a martyr to the question of whether I wanted
to emigrate, but I said, "Emigrants - that is, voluntary
emigrants - never did any service to their country"; and I
did not want to safeguard my own life, but I wanted to
continue to work for the welfare of my country.

The martyr point was in connection with a question
following, as to whether I expected any good to have
resulted for my country if I had died as a martyr. To that I
replied that martyrs are of use to their country only if
their sacrifice becomes known.

Q. You told me that somewhat differently. I shall,
nevertheless, repeat my question.

THE PRESIDENT: I would be very grateful if you would repeat
the question.

Q. Do you know the fate which befell the foremost men of
Germany, men who held progressive and democratic ideas when
Hitler came to power? You know that all these people were
either exiled or sent to concentration camps?

A. I expressly stated here, when I spoke of emigrants, of
those who were in exile, not having left the country under
compulsion, but having left voluntarily - those are the ones
I was speaking about. The individual fates of the others are
not known to me. If you ask me about individual persons, I
will tell you regarding each one of these people, whether I
know his fate or not.

Q. The fate of these great men is universally known. You,
one of the few outstanding statesmen in democratic Germany,
co-operated with Hitler. Do You admit this?

A. No.

Q. You testified - and I am obliged to refer once again to
the same question - that the entry in the Goebbels' diary of
21st November, 1932, was a forgery. Once again I remind you
of this entry which G6bbels wrote, and I quote:

                                                   [Page 72]

  "In a conversation with Dr. Schacht, I found that he
  fully reflects our view-point. He is one of the few who
  fully agrees with the Fuehrer's position."

Do you continue to say that this entry does not conform to
reality I have just asked you this question.

A. I have never claimed that this entry was false. I only
claimed that Goebbels, was labouring under a false
impression.

Q. But, according to your statement, this entry does not
conform to reality, to your attitude toward Hitler's regime.
Is that the case or not?

A. In the general way in which Goebbels represents it there,
it is wrong, it is not correct.

Q. Why did you not lodge a protest? After all, Goebbels'
diary, including this entry, was published.

A. If I had protested against all the inaccuracies which
were printed about me, I would not have remained sane.

Q. But do you not see, this is not exactly an ordinary
excerpt from Goebbels' diary - and he was rather an
outstanding statesman in Nazi Germany - for he describes
your political views, and if you were not in agreement with
him you might, somehow or other, have reacted to this
statement.

A. Permit me to say something regarding this. Either you ask
me ... I say that the diary of Goebbels was an unusually
commonplace manuscript.

Q. The witness, Franz Reuter, your biographer and a close
friend, in his written affidavits of 6th February, 1946,
presented to the Tribunal by your Counsel as No. 35,
testified to the following:-

  "Schacht joined Hitler in the early 'thirties and helped
  him to power ..."

Do you consider these affidavits of the witness, Franz
Reuter, as untrue, or do you confirm them?

A. I consider them wrong.


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