The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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


Interview with Staudinger
New York City, April 23, 1943

        Dr. Staudinger was Prussian Minister of Finance 
prior to Hitler's accession to power. It was his policy 
to assist private industries with government funds in 
exchange for nominal control. Hitler was opposed to this 
and in 1932 while  Staudinger was manipulating the 
stocks of a large Prussian power company, Hitler took 
the occasion to visit him and voice his objections. 
According to Staudinger the transaction in question was 
a paper manipulation which was designed to save the 
solvency of the company in question and had nothing to 
do with the fundamental nature of the company. Nevertheless, 
Hitler objected violently to it on the grounds that it would 
sacrifice one of the traditions on which German life was 
based. According to him, the consequence of this transaction 
would be that all the natives of the district would be forced 
to leave the land which their ancestors had occupied for 
generations. Staudinger tried to point out that it was 
designed to do just the opposite, namely, to keep the 
company in business and save these people from being 
thrown out of work.

Hitler brushed all of this aside and launched into a lengthy 
monologue. The gist of this was that Germany was based on 
the premise that peasants should remain peasants, miners 
remain miners, merchants remain merchants, and so on, and 
that it was the duty of the government to safeguard this state 
of affairs. Staudinger attempted to point out to Hitler the 
financial necessity behind the transaction but these were 
unavailing. He got the impression that Hitler knew nothing 
of this phase of business and didn't want to know anything 
about it. That his chief reason for coming was to appear in 
the role of the protector of the rights of the people and to 
give Staudinger a lesson for the future.

Staudinger spoke at great length about the strange influence 
that Hitler had over people. This was not confined to the lowly 
and unintelligent but reached up into the highest ranks of the 
intellectuals. Many of his former assistants who were, on a 
rational level, completely opposed to Hitler and his theories 
and practices, succumbed, on an emotional level. Staudinger 
believes that this is partly due to Hitler's ability to discover 
the other person's "soft spots" and work on these through 
emotional appeals. He seems to have a gift for divining these 
in many people on very short acquaintanceship. When he first 
meets a person he tends to hold back in the hope that the other 
person will reveal a weakness which will be to his advantage.

As an example, he quoted the case of a former associate 
who became an assistant to Schacht in the Reichsbank. Hitler

00011150.gif page 2

was in one of his building manias and submitted a request 
for a tremendous sum of money for the purpose of rebuilding 
a part of Berlin. The Reichsbank decided that the condition of 
the Treasury was so precarious that they could not possibly 
furnish the money for this purpose. It fell to Staudinger's 
assistant to notify Hitler of this decision. Hitler refused to 
accept this decision as final and sent a new request which 
was again rejected. Hitler requested that this person present 
himself at the Chancellery in order that they might discuss 
the project and the ways and means of raising the money. He 
knew of Hitler's reputation of swaying people and went to the 
Chancellor with the firm conviction that he must stand his 
ground and deny the request at all costs. When he reached 
the Chancellery he was shown to a second floor room. When 
the door opened there was Hitler lying on the floor with a 
number of toy buildings carefully arranged in front of him. 
These were the Berlin he fancied about. Hitler did not arise 
when his guest was announced but invited his guest to join 
him on the floor. His first remark was, "Isn't this beautiful? 
We must make Berlin the most beautiful city in the world." 
The finance officer agreed that it was beautiful but 
maintained that its realization at the moment was 
impossible because the Treasury could not possibly 
stand the outlay of money such a scheme would involve 
and had no way of raising it. Hitler became quite impetuous 
at this point, saying, "I know we haven;t got the money but 
there must be a way of raising it if you people will only look. 
Ever since I started the [unreadable} I have had to listen to 
the same story. Every time I want to do something they told 
me that we haven;t the necessary money and have no way of 
getting it and every time I insisted on going through with 
the plan on the grounds that it would be such a success that 
the money would be forthcoming to pat for it; then, sure 
enough, each time they succeeded in getting the money 
needed somewhere." The Finance Officer was unimpressed 
and tried to point out that this was a somewhat different 
matter from his Party undertakings. In the first place this 
involved a fabulous amount of money and in the second place, 
the Treasury had no means of obtaining money except through 
taxation and that taxation had just about reached the limit 
which the people could bear. Hitler raised other points but 
the Treasury official stood pat and produced figures to show 
that all these approaches were not feasible in the present 
situation. But Hitler was not defeated. He lay flat on his 
stomach staring at the models for a considerable period 
in silence. Suddenly he turned to his visitor and said, 
like a little child with tears in his voice, "But you can't 
take this away from me. I will be so unhappy. You must 
let me have it." He had struck his visitor's most vulnerable 
point. Unable to think of an answer to this appeal he tried 
to evade it by saying that he would see what could be done. 
Hitler knew that he had scored and followed up his advantage. 
He immediately became overjoyed, jumped up and thanked 
his visitor and regarded the matter closed.


Another one of Staudinger's assistants who was converted 
and was placed in a high post in the government told him 
that he was far from agreeing with all of Hitler's views 
but that he felt that Hitler was good for the German people 
and good for Germany. That he was the only man he knew 
who could put a [unreadable] to their spirit and that this 
is what they needed if Germany was to be saved.  However, 
he added, the time will probably come when we will have 
to kill him for the good of Germany.

Another assistant became a devoted disciple of Hitler 
personally. When Staudinger asked him what in the world 
he could see in Hitler since he lacked education, background, 
experience, etc., his former assistant replied, "He is amazing. 
No matter how difficult a situation may be or how impossible 
it might look, Hitler always finds a solution (unreadable - 
German text). Usually his solutions are simple and practical 
and yet nobody else seemed to be able to think of them."

Another former assistant, in speaking of Hitler, commented 
on the fact that he always managed to think up some solution 
to a difficult problem. He added, however, that on these 
occasions two dangers were always involved; first, that 
Hitler might talk others into believing that this was the 
only right solution, and second, which was far graver, that 
he might talk himself into believing it. This according to 
the informant he does over and over again and created a 
situation which was extremely difficult to deal with.

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.