The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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...The memorable day was Tuesday, December 19, 1939. 
Shortly before one o'clock in the afternoon, a shining 
limousine drew up in front of the Hotel Adlon and a 
handsome young officer in dove-gray Foreign Office 
uniform ushered me to the waiting car... the car slowed 
before the Chancellery and blew a peculiar noise on its 
horn....In response to the summons, however, the entrance 
opened immediately and the car drove slowly inside.

What a contrast to the main exterior! I found myself in 
a large paved courtyard. Opposite the gate was a [unreadable] 
flight of stone steps flanked by two impressive gray 
tone figures. The flight led up to an entrance. On the 
steps stood several lackeys in blue and silver liveries, 
while near the entrance doorway was a knot of high 
officers in regulation gray-green uniforms. Through the 
entrance I glimpsed a foyer ablaze with electric light 
from crystal chandeliers.

Emerging from my car, I walked up the steps, to bows 
and salutes, and entered the foyer, where more lackeys 
took charge of my hat and overcoat. I was here greeted 
by a high official with whom I walked through the foyer 
into a magnificent hall, without windows but electrically 
lighted from above. This lofty hall, done in light red marble 
inlaid with elaborate patterns, reminded me somehow of 
an ancient Egyptian temple. At its further end, more steps 
led up to an enormously long gallery of mirrors lighted by 
numerous sconces on the left-hand wall. Since this gallery 
was set at a slight angle, the effect upon me was of intense 
brilliance; much more so than a straight perspective would 
have afforded.

About half-way down the long gallery I observed a door 
on the right-hand side, before which stood a pair of 
lackeys. Through this door I passed, to find myself in 
a large room which, I was told, was the ante-chamber 
to the Fuehrer's study. In it were about a dozen high 
officers to whom I was introduced and with some of 
whom I chatted for some moments.

The whole build-up thus far had been so magnificent 
and the attendant psychic atmosphere so impressive 
that by this time I really did not know what to expect. 
I had the feeling that I was being ushered into the 
presence of a Roman Emperor or even an Oriental 
Potentate. The absurd thought crossed my mind that 
I might find Der Fuehrer seated on a throne surrounded 
by flaming swastikas.
At that moment I was bidden to the presence. Turning 
left, I passed through double doors and entered another 
large room.

p. 203-205, L. Stoddard, Into the Darkness

TO my right hand, near the doorway, was an upholstered 
sofa and several chairs. At the far end of the room was 
a flat-topped desk from behind which a figure rose as I 
entered and came towards me. I saw a man of medium 
height, clad in a plain officer's tunic with no decorations 
save the Iron Cross, black trousers, andregulation [sic] 
military boots. Walking up to where i had halted near the 
doorway, he gave me a firm handshake and a pleasant 
smile, It was the Fuehrer.

For an instant I was taken aback by the astounding 
contrast between his simple, natural greeting and 
the heavy magnificence through which I had just 
passed. Pulling myself together, I expressed in my 
best German my appreciation of the honor that was 
being shown me, calling him Excellency as foreigners 
are supposed to do. Hitler smiled again at my little 
speech, motioned to the sofa, and said: "Won't you sit 
down?" himself taking the nearest chair about a yard 
away from me. My German evidently made a good 
impression, for he complimented me upon my accent, 
from which he inferred that I had been to Germany 
before. I assured him that was correct. but went on 
to say that this was my first view of the Third Reich. 
p. 205-L.Stoddard- Into the Darkness

00010651.GIF  page 2

To which he replied with a slight shake of the head: 
"A pity you couldn't have seen it in peacetime."
The conversation of about twenty minutes which 
followed these preliminaries cannot be repeated, 
since I had given my word to that effect. Hitler, 
however, told me no deep, dark secrets-heads of 
states don't do that sort of thing with foreign visitors. 
I think it is no breach of my agreement to say that much 
of his talk dealt neither with neither the army nor 
politics but with great rebuilding plans which the war 
had constrained him temporarily to lay aside. His regretful 
interest in those matters seemed to show that he still had 
them very much in mind.

Even more interesting than what Hitler said was 
his whole manner and appearance. Here I was, in 
private audience with the Master of Greater Germany, 
and able to study him at close range. Needless to say, 
I watched intently his every [unreadable] with equal 
intentness to his voice. Let me try to depict as clearly 
as possible what I observed.
There are certain details of Hitler's appearance which 
one cannot surmise from photographs. His complexion 
is medium, with blond-brown hair of natural shade 
which shows no sign of gray. His eyes are very dark-blue. 
Incidentally, he no longer wears a cartoonist's mustache. 
It is now the usual "tooth-brush" type, in both size and 
length. As already remarked, his uniform is severely plain 
and seemingly of stock materials.

In ordinary conversation, Hitler's voice is clear and well-
modulated. Throughout the audience he spoke somewhat 
rapidly, yet never hurriedly, and in an even tone. Only 
occasionally did I detect a trace of his native Austro-
Bavarian accent. The audience was not a monologue. 
Although naturally he did most of the talking, Hitler 
gave me plenty of chances to ask questions and put in 
my say. He did not at any time sharply raise his voice. 
Only when discussing the war did it become vibrant with 
emotion; but then he dropped his voice almost to an 
intimate whisper. He made practically no resting [sic]  
on the arm of his chair and the other lying relaxed in his 
Hitler's whole appearance was that of a man in good 
health. He certainly did not look a day older than his 
fifty years. His color was good, his skin clear and 
unwrinkled, his body fit and not over-weight. He showed 
no visible signs of nervous strain, such as [unreadable] 
eyes, haggard liens, or twitching physical reactions. On 
the contrary, appearance, voice, and manner combined to 
give an impression of calmness and poise. I am well 
aware that this description tallies neither with current 
ideas nor with reports of other persons who have seen 
and talked to him. Very likely those reports are just as 
true as mine, since Hitler is said to be a man of many 
moods. Perhaps I saw him on one of his good days; 
perhaps he intended to make a particular impression 
upon me. All I can do is to describe accurately what 
I myself saw and heard.
Three other persons were present during this audience. 
First of all, there was Herr Schmidt...This time his 
services were not needed, so Herr Schmidt sat quietly 
beside me on the sofa without uttering a word the entire 
time. Equally silent were the other two, who sat in chairs 
some distance away. They were Foreign Minister von 
Ribbentrop and Herr Hewel, who had done much to bring 
the audience about. Hitler terminated the conversation 
by rising, shaking hands again, and wishing me success 
in the balance of my stay in Germany. He then turned 
back to his desk, whither von Ribbentrop had already 
gone and where two other men were standing. At some 
point during the interview a photograph had been taken 
of Hitler and myself in conversation. So unobtrusively 
was this done that I was not aware of it at the moment. 
The first thing I knew about it was when a copy was 
presented to me with the Fuehrer's compliments as a 
souvenir of the occasion.
P. 206-08- L. Stoddard, Into the Darkness.

00010652.GIF Page 3

...From this audience emerge two outstanding contrasts. 
First, as already indicated, that between the 
magnificently [unreadable] and the simple, undramatic, 
almost matter-of-fact meeting with the man himself. 
Very likely this contrast [unreadable]. Anyhow, it made 
a striking effect.
The second notable contrast which occurred to me was 
that of this audience with Hitler and one I had years 
ago with his fellow-dictator Mussolini...There isn't 
much stage setting in reaching Mussolini at the Palazzo 
Venezia. The dramatic build-up really begins when you 
go through a little ante-chamber door and find yourself 
in an immense room, darkened by half-closed blinds, and 
with no furniture except a desk and a couple of chairs 
at the far end of the room. From behind that desk rises 
Mussolini, just like Hitler, but there the resemblance 
abruptly ends; for instance [unreadable].
Nothing like that with Hitler. Though always pleasant 
and courteous, he makes an obvious attempt to impress 
or [unreadable]

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