The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf//oss-papers/text/oss-sb-hohenlohe


00011016.gif

Interview with Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe

June 28, 1943 at Alien Detention Camp, Seagoville, Texas.

        The Princess spent a great deal of the interview in 
explaining her relationship to Lord Rothmere, English 
newspaper owner. These have nothing to do with the 
present study except insofar as she acted as Lord Rothmere's 
personal representative in his dealings with many European 
statesmen. This position she held for a period of seven years 
and during that time she was called upon to interview 
Hitler several times as well as Goering, Ribbentrop and 
other leading Nazis. According to her story, all of these 
contacts were in her official capacity. During all of 
these interviews she felt that Hitler was on his very 
best behavior and was doing his utmost to make a 
favorable impression on her in order that he might 
win the active collaboration of Lord Rothmere in 
England and the extensive publicity his chain of 
newspapers could provide.

         This differs markedly from the Hanfstaengl account 
of the relationship. According to him the Princess was 
frequently in Germany and was one of Hitler's favorites--
in fact so much so that Hanfstaengl had to caution him 
about his association with her on the grounds that it 
might start embarrassing gossip and complications 
because the Princess was half Jewish (her maiden 
name was Richter). Hanfstaengl says that Hitler 
refused to believe this and promised he would have 
her family investigated. Later when the subject came 
up again, Hitler said that the investigation showed that 
everything concerning her family was "in order." Hanfstaengl 
becomes very emotional when speaking of the Princess and 
was obviously jealous of her relationship with Hitler, 
whatever that might have been.

No other account has been obtainable and we have our 
choice of believing Hanfstaengl who ranks it with 
Hitler's "affairs" or the Princess who claims that it 
was only of an official nature. The truth probably lies 
between them. The Princess does not deny her intimate 
friendship with Captain Wiedemann, who was Hitler's 
lieutenant during the war and later became his adjutant. 
Hanfstaengl claims that Wiedemann met the Princess 
at one of Hitler's parties and fell in love with her. 
When Hitler learned of this he became insanely jealous 
and sent Wiedemann to San Francisco as consul in order 
to punish him and get him out of the way. The Princess 
claims that she has known Wiedemann and his family 
for a great many years and that he facilitated some of 
her contacts with Hitler. Under theses circumstances, 
it seems reasonable to suppose that her contact with 
Hitler had a social as well as an official side. How far 
the social went is difficult to say unless further 
evidence is uncovered.

        In any case she claims that most of her information 
about Hitler has come to her through Wiedemann whose 
confidante she was. Taken by and large, it corroborates 
much of the material gained from numerous other sources. 
A few incidents she related may, however, throw further 
light on his character.


00011017.gif

One of the most interesting of these is the peculiar 
relationship which existed as late as 1938 between 
Hitler and Goering. During one of her interviews, early 
in 1938, Hitler had occasion to mention Goering. Apropos 
of nothing he launched into a lengthy description of 
Goering's work, his undying loyalty and devotion. As 
he spoke the tears welled up in his eyes. "What would 
I ever do without him", he said, shuddering at the very 
thought and then added. "He had to promise me not to 
drive his car too wildly a long while ago and now I 
made him give up flying. It would be too dreadful to 
think..." there he broke off and shook his head as if 
to cast off a terrible vision which he could not endure.

         Some time later the Princess had occasion to tell 
Goering in private some of the compliments that Hitler 
had showered upon him. Goering was thrilled to the core. 
The Field Marshall's radiance and delight showed that 
such words from such lips meant more to him than even 
uniforms and jewels. He reciprocated wildly. It was a 
veritable explosion of loyalty, devotion and hero-worship. 
Hitler was undoubtedly the greatest German who ever 
lived. The Bavarian braggart and brute disappeared and 
a proud little boy came to the surface.

        The Princess is of the opinion that there are 
probably no other two men in the world who appreciate 
each other more ardently and sincerely and then added 
that although they are so vociferous as individuals 
they are probably tongue-tied when they try to say to 
each other what they think of each other.

         The relationship is even more peculiar when we 
remember that Goering is one of the first hundred 
registered members of the party; that he was an 
outstanding ace in the last war, comes from a 
respected family, was awarded the Pour le merite, 
etc. Yet he came under the domination of an unknown 
lance corporal without family or fame. And yet Goering 
tells us that although he was reluctant to hear Hitler 
speak and only did so to oblige some friends who wanted 
to go, that first speech completely captivated him and 
without hesitation the proud captain became the 
unconditional follower of the unknown lance corporal.

        But in spite of all this the two have never reached 
the intimate stage of bruderschaft where they address 
each other with the familiar "du." Goering was always 
very jealous because Hess had this privilege and held 
the title "Stellvertreter', but in spite of all his efforts 
he has not been rewarded with either. The Princess 
claims that there is only one Nazi besides Hess who 
has been granted that privilege and that, of all people, 
is Julius Streicher, editor of _Der Stuermer._ This, too, 
is a most peculiar relationship about which we know very 
little. It is quite certain that Streicher is one of the most 
hated of all the Nazis by all the other Nazis and yet Hitler 
has steadfastly resisted all pressure to remove or demote 
him. A strange bond seems to hold these two together.

00011018.gif

        In speaking of the inexplicable spell which Hitler 
threw over Goering the Princess remarked that she could 
never understand the magnetism of Hitler's oratory about 
which so many people have spoken. She described his 
voice as rasping, uncultured and displeasing to the ear. 
His diction and enunciation are unnatural and stilted, 
doubtless as a result of his effort to conceal the accent 
and dialect typical for Austrians of poor breeding and 
low estate.

         At another talk, shortly after the United States had 
cut off the supply of helium to Germany, Hitler was exuberant. 
The United States had played directly into his hands and had 
done him a great favor. It seems that Hitler was opposed to 
the Zeppelin as an instrument in modern warfare but had 
permitted some of his military men to work on its development 
partly to keep them quiet and partly because he was still 
restricted by the Versailles Treaty. In the course of the 
conversation, referring to the Zeppelin, he said: "If 
Almighty God wanted a sausage to fly he would have 
created one without our help." The refusal of the United 
States to supply Germany with helium gave him the 
excuse to drop the Zeppelin and develop the aeroplane 
more openly.

         The Princess believes, and one has the impression 
that this comes from Wiedemann, that Hitler is afraid of 
Roosevelt more than he is of Churchill. Hitler feels that 
he understands Churchill and can predict with a fair 
degree of accuracy what he will do under any given 
circumstances (as one gangster understands another). 
Roosevelt, however, is an enigma. He is a challenge to 
Hitler because he cannot understand his quiet, gentlemanly 
way of going about things. That he doesn't shout and call 
names is something Hitler cannot understand, especially 
since Roosevelt manages to sway public opinion with 
these tactics. She is under the impression that this 
challenge expresses itself in part in a competition with 
America. That Germany must have the biggest stadiums, 
the biggest buildings, etc. That Hitler was terribly 
envious when the biggest bridge in the world was built 
in San Francisco and he had no place in which to build a 
bigger one. The result was that he decided to build the 
widest bridge in the world in Hamburg (?) in order to 
soothe his hurt pride.

        According to the Princess Hitler plans everything 
to the last detail; that he would spend endless hours 
working out the decorations for the Party Congresses 
in Nurnberg--the size of the pillars, their positions, 
the kind of Nazi banner they should display, the stage 
and all its settings, etc. The same is true in all other 
matters of importance to him. Everything is planned 
to make the greatest possible impression on the person 
or group he wants to impress at the moment. He seems 
to take a particular delight in doing work of this kind. 
He is never content until the last detail is worked out 
to his complete satisfaction and then he waits in 
anxious anticipation to see whether it produces the 
effect in reality that he imagined it would in fantasy.

00011019.gif

         The following information is almost wholly 
from Captain Wiedemann. He told the Princess that 
Hitler was not the hot-headed, implacable and 
stubborn individual that he tried to make himself 
out to be. That his technique was to size the situation 
up very carefully beforehand and then make the 
decision that was expected of him or that he was 
reasonably sure he could get away with, and then 
put up the stubborn front. For example: Before Munich 
Hitler and Ribbentrop were bent on war while Goering, 
von Neurath and Wiedmann were opposed. Hitler ordered 
mobilization, nevertheless, and arranged it so that the 
troops would have to pass the Wilhelmstrasse under 
the windows and the famous balcony of Hitler. He had 
expected that the population would go wild in their 
enthusiasm. Hoffman, the official photographer, was 
there with all his equipment and it was planned that 
in the midst of the cheering Hitler would step out on 
the balcony and raise the pitch of the people even 
higher while Hoffman took pictures to be distributed 
to the domestic and foreign press. Hitler stood behind 
the curtain of his windows for
hours awaiting the psychological moment to step 
out on the balcony. But the call never came. The 
crowds were stubbornly quiet, unenthusiastic and 
sullen. Hitler went into a rage. The crowd had not 
responded to his setting as he had planned and he 
could not make his pronouncement.

         The following day Goering received an urgent 
message from the British Ambassador. He rushed to 
the Reichskanzlei and was joined by von Neurath and 
with the aid of Wiedemann they forced their entrance 
into Hitler's presence. There Goering informed him of 
the British Ambassador's telephone call. Since Hitler 
did not comment Goering asked him to tell them what 
his intentions really were. At this point von Neurath 
interrupted and asked point blank: "Mein Fuehrer, do 
you want war? If you do, just tell us so!"

        Hitler was taken off guard by the bluntness of 
the question and answered very reluctantly, rubbing 
his hands as he often does when he is embarrassed: 
"No--no--!"

        Goering seized the opportunity and asked with 
great skill: "Why not call Poncet (the French Ambassador) 
and Attolico (the Italian Ambassador) and talk it over?" 
They were called and both came at once. The latter 
proposed and succeeded in establishing telephonic 
contact between Hitler and Mussolini. The Duce 
immediately declared himself willing to come 
himself. Goering, seeing that Hitler was flattered 
and pleased about Mussolini's willingness, then suggested:

"Why not invite Daladier and Chamberlain as well?" 
To which Hitler replied: "Yes. why not?" Within an 
hour or two the invitations had gone out and were 
accepted. Around noon the news swept the globe 
that Hitler had consented to postpone general 
mobilization for forty-eight hours. This was all 
very dramatic and the German people received the 
news with wild enthusiasm. After Munich Hitler 
made his famous speech prophesying a long peace 
which it was clear that the German


00011020.gif

people wanted. Had the crowd cheered the troops 
wildly or shown any enthusiasm the day Hitler stood 
behind his window the Munich Pact presumably never 
would have been signed.

Another example of how he was influenced in his decisions: 
As the Danzig question became hotter several important 
generals were opposed to Hitler's course, fearing that it 
might lead to war before the army was really ready. 
Several times they sought an audience with Hitler 
and were refused rather brusquely. As the situation 
developed they became more and more disturbed and 
one day three of them arrived together and demanded 
an immediate audience. When Wiedemann informed 
Hitler he received them at once in his most gracious 
manner, practically told them what was in their minds 
and why they had come and assured them that their 
errand was unnecessary
because he had no such intentions. That this was 
all psychological warfare and that he was sure 
that by his present tactics he could get Danzig 
without the intervention of the army. Nevertheless, 
he ordered a slowing down of the propaganda until 
the army could be more thoroughly prepared.

A few other items are of interest. Wiedemann is of 
the opinion that Hitler is fundamentally courageous. 
Even in the case of the Putsch he always defended 
Hitler's courage and insisted that he had no choice; 
that he did not fall down when the bullets began to 
fly but that he was literally
dragged down by his bodyguard who received 
several bullets through the head and died. By 
the time Hitler succeeded in extricating himself 
from the dead man the situation was already out 
of hand and there was nothing he could do except 
to escape as best he could. In the army during the last
war he was considered courageous and Wiedemann 
is sure that the Iron Cross 1st class was awarded 
to him, although he cannot remember for what.

On the other hand, Wiedemann could never understand 
why Hitler never attended a single Regimental Reunion 
although after he came to power all kinds of special 
invitations were sent to him and all kinds of inducements 
were offered to him. This is rather amazing especially 
in view of the fact that he called both Wiedemann and 
Amann to his aid and assigned them responsible positions 
in his growing movement.

Hitler, according to Wiedemann, is attracted mostly if 
not entirely to young women who are slight and blonde. 
According to the same source Effie Braun was the real 
object of his affections and that she often spent the 
night in Hitler's bedroom. What transpired behind the 
closed doors he did not know. Also Hitler bought Effie 
a beautiful house outside Munich where he frequently 
visited and she was also a frequent visitor at Berchtesgaden.

There was nothing much to the Unity Mitford relationship. 
Hitler was somewhat fascinated by her because she was 
English and because she had an extreme case of hero-worship. 
He played up to her because of her English connections and 
hoped to influence public opinion in


00011021.gif

England through his association with her, The Princess 
is sure that he sent Unity away when the war broke out 
and that she shot herself out of disappointment.

         He also says that Hitler prepares all of his own 
speeches and that nobody sees then or has a chance to 
make suggestions before they are delivered. Hitler only 
seldom intimates directly what the topic or substance 
of the speech will be. Sometimes, however, he would 
dictate an important speech to one of the female 
secretaries and then read it off into a dictaphone or 
recording machine. He would then have it played back 
and make corrections in the script while also practicing 
the effect of different intonations.

Despite his bold mien he has a great fear of the press 
and constantly checks up to see what they are saying 
about him. Often he will interrupt an important 
conference while he glances through the latest paper.

He is very tender-hearted when it comes to animals 
and will figuratively weep over the fate of a fly while 
he is sacrificing untold numbers of humans. Nevertheless, 
he has s secret fear of people and on occasion has 
commissioned somebody else to discharge a person 
with whom he has just had lunch or an interview.

According to the same source it was Hitler and not 
Goebbels who planned and instituted the November 
pogrom. He looked forward to it with the greatest 
relish and expected it would be a howling success 
among the German people and attract the attention 
of the entire world. When he discovered that the 
attention was not nearly as favorable as he had 
expected he gave the impression that it was Goebbels' 
doing and Goebbels could do nothing but accept the 
responsibility to a large degree.





Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.