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Flight from Terror
                                 by Otto Strasser

Since this entire regiment had taken the Red oath as a 
matter of course, it is inconceivable that this young 
corporal did not do likewise. He was either a turncoat 
who now pointed the finger of guilt at his ex-comrades 
in arms in order to save his own skin through prosecution's 
evidence, or he was a spy who had joined the Reds at the 
bidding of Captain Roehm. The job he performed as witness 
was the very lowest in the moral scale.

       Yet there was something about the manner in which he 
gave his testimony that was arresting. Perhaps divining the 
unfavorable position he was in, he used, knowingly or by 
instinct, a shrewd psychological device to extricate himself. 
Instead of shrinking back with shamefaced apology, he puffed 
out his chest, thrust out his chin and tore into each defendant 
with barely suppressed fury. There was venom and vindictiveness 
in his bitter, damning words--and those words he cast into the 
silence of the courtroom with all the deadly earnestness of a 
savage stoning a hated enemy. His black hair fell over his forehead 
with the intensity of his charges; his dark eyes flashed spite, and 
shone with the light of a crusader, while his comic mustache 
wriggled and danced as he spoke. He was more prosecutor than 
witness; and even Captain Roehm, hating the Communists though 
he did, several times had to caution him that this was a witness 
stand, not a soap box.

       After some minutes of listening to this prosecution 
witness, two facts dawned on me with stunning clarity: The 
first was that this odd-looking little corporal had an amazing 
power with words when he addressed an audience. He used words 
much as a tennis player uses the ball in tournament play. He 
exhausted his opponents with the sheer brilliance of his play; 
he rarely used gentleness, and then only for deception and effect. 
Most of his verbal attacks were violent, powerful, overwhelming; 
and in the end he crashed forward for a smashing stroke to win his 
point. That is the only way I can think of to express this strange 
man's power over an audience--and those who were there that 
night will agree with me. I know that, because I could see them 
about me--engrossed, tautly attentive, slack-mouthed, breathless.

 Thee second fact I saw that night explained the soldier's strange 
fury and aggressiveness toward the defendants. It was compounded, 
in part, of a deep-rooted, almost insane hatred of Communism, and 
in part of a sheer intoxication with his own ability with words; as 
though he became drunk, like his audience, with the emotional appeal 
of his own oratory. And that last speaks of an exaggerated vanity, a 
self-centered age that comes close to outright madness. It is a 
dangerous egomania.

(p. 24-25)

00010654.GIF  Page 2

The figure he cut was ludicrous--but no one laughed. In the spell 
his oratory created that odd little bedraggled form faded into the 
background; there was only the sweeping power of the shouted 
words that rolled out to engulf us all.
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 26)

       As a result of the services he had rendered Captain Roehm 
in the past, Corporal Hitler enjoyed high favor--even admiration-- 
from his superior. Now, in this moment of crisis, Hitler again 
came to the captain's rescue, this time with a plan that was 
perhaps a bit too astute for either of his superiors to see through; 
for Adolf Hitler, ragged and unknown, was even now dreaming 
majestically of the future for himself which he believed predestined.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 30)

       Hitler, standing beside the General, seemed to pale into 
insignificance. He wore a single-breasted blue suit and a high 
stiff collar, and his hollow cheeks and the pallor of his face 
seemed to indicate a lack of fresh air and physical exercise.
Gregor's wife, Elsa, announced that luncheon was served, and 
we all took our places at the table in the dining room. We drank 
a toast in wine to the regeneration of Germany. But I noticed 
that Hitler's glass contained only a colorless fluid--and afterward 
Gregor explained that Hitler was a teetotaler and a vegetarian.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 41-42)

Gregor looked up quickly at her and in this manner tried to convey 
to her that Hitler was a vegetarian. Hitler made no attempt to 
reach for a helping.

       "I know"--and Else heavily accented the word "know"--"that 
Herr Hitler will not offend me by refusing my cooking."

      Adolf Hitler ate meat that afternoon. I know of no other 
occasion since then when he has done so.
During the early part of the meal Hitler maintained a 
discreet silence. His attitude toward the General was 
obsequious; he was in agreement with everything Ludendorff said.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 42)

  00010655.GIF  Page 3     

Hitler bowed slightly. "Exactly, Your Excellency! That is what our 
National Socialist Party is trying to do. We shall gather the 
support of the common people before we make our bid for power. 
We shall wipe  out the Jew, who has brought the Communist peril 
to this world!"
I smiled at that statement, realizing the inadequacy of Hitler's 
scholarship. I learned during this discussion that Hitler is at a 
terrible disadvantage when he attempts to argue with a single 
individual. Whereas he could mouth fine-sounding theories, he 
was often at a loss if he tried to explain them. Unlike the 
intellectual, he reasoned from the emotional to the factual, 
twisting facts to suit and prove the emotion that had prompted 
his thought. When he was then confronted by contradictory facts, 
he was left floundering.
Now Hitler drew himself erect and by the far-away look in his 
eyes showed plainly that he was not speaking merely to me; he 
was addressing an imaginary audience that stretched far beyond 
these walls of the living room.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 45-44)

        The moment I entered the room, Hitler came to his feet and 
strode forward to meet me, greeting me warmly as we shook 
hands, his soft palm gripping mine firmly enough. I noticed then, 
as in the future, that his palm was clammy and moist, which is 
probably a sign of his nervous inner tension and emotional excitability.

(Flight from Terror-Strasssr-p., 48)

        "But there are many large industrialists who are interested 
in the Nazi movement, also", I reminded him.
        Surprisingly enough, Hitler's temper didn't flare up again; 
instead-in a manner characteristic of the man--he went to the 
opposite extreme and became the soul of agreeability and soft sincerity.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 49)

       Hitler, the speaker, was always sure of himself; of that 
there could be no doubt in anyone's mind. In those days he rarely 
prepared a speech, but stood looking out over his audience until 
the words welled up within him. On this occasion his slimness 
was accentuated by a dark suit, his right hand was held stiffly 
across his abdomen, the palm pressed tightly against his body. As 
he surveyed the audience and stood silently waiting for the words 
to come, a brilliant light grew in his eyes.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 51)

00010656.GIF  Page 4

He started speaking slowly, gradually increasing the smooth rhythm 
and volume of his voice until he was shouting in bitter anger..... Most 
novelists write stories in which there is a strong central character; 
the reader identifies himself with the hero, and as he reads through 
the story suffers the trials and misfortunes of that fictional 
character. So it was with Hitler's audience. They seemed to 
identify themselves with his voice, to lose themselves in it, 
casting aside their own weakness and blind groping to adopt its 
strength and sureness. It was not the voice of Hitler speaking out 
to them; it was their own voice, the voice of Germany.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 51-52)

Adolf Hitler paced a jittery path before his lieutenants, 
occasionally removing his steel helmet to wipe the rivulets of 
perspiration from his face and forehead, gazing often and long toward 
Munich, the scene-to-be of his great triumph--much as Napoleon 
may have gazed from the shores of Elba toward a distant France. 
But no word came.
Then, shortly after eleven, a strong Reichswehr detachment 
swung into view, flanked right and left by the green-uniformed 
forces of the police. At sight of them Hitler's face contorted 
with rage; his body crouched forward, as though he would spring 
at those men who interfered with his destiny and whip them single-
handed. For a moment I thought he was at the point of a hysterical 
fit, and then he saw Captain Ernst Roehm, at this time a member of 
the Reichswehr's officer staff.

       A soft cry sounded behind Hitler's clenched teeth and he leaped 
toward Roehm like a maniac, seizing him by tunic with trembling 
hands. "Have you betrayed us?" he screamed in a frenzy. "Explain! 
Why are you with these traitors? What has happened?"
By that time the demonstrators of the Oberwiesenfeld had been 
surrounded by the military; the situation was already hopeless. 
Roehm seemed unimpressed with Hitler's fury. He looked at him 
coldly, and took his time before he said in a superior manner:

"Control yourself. The time is not yet ripe."
The two men gazed into each other's eyes, and Hitler was the one 
to give way. Perhaps the ingrained military training of years, his 
subconscious acceptance of their corporal-and-captain relationship, 
had something to do with it. In a moment his hands fell from Roehm's 
uniform and Hitler dropped his eyes. He turned away.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 61)

       I am convinced now that the deep rancor Hitler nourished 
against Captain Ernst Roehm dates from that very moment on 
the field at Oberwiesenfeld.
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 63)

00010677,GIF Page 5       

Ludendorff and von Epp were furious; Roehm, who saw his 
power and influence at an end, was livid with fear; while 
Hitler' s reaction was typical of him when crossed--his 
hysterical, demoniacal rage brought him to the verge of utter 
collapse. Gregor, however, always the man of action, counseled 
immediate countermeasures rather than emotional acrobatics. 
And he had his way.

(Flight from Terror-Strssser-p. 64)

How incongruous that Iron Cross must have seemed to those 
old-school army men as it dangled from Hitler's breast in that 
moment. It the first occasion on which I had seen Hitler wearing 
that supreme decoration, and where he "won" the medal is a 
mystery he has never cleared up. Certain it is, however, that 
it wasn't for any single-handed victory. One will note that the 
only shot he had fired so far that evening was aimed et the ceiling.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 73)

What might have been an immediate deadlock for other politicians 
did not find Hitler at a loss. Always quick of wit in a tight place, 
his ingenuity did not fail him now. Hitler immediately struck an 
attitude. "That is precisely what I am, an agent for His Majesty, 
and in common with you three gentlemen, also seek to bring about 
the restoration!"

( Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 75)

Hitler, the vegetarian and teetotaler, had drunk a full stein of 
beer in his unthinking ecstasy! It was, undoubtedly, one of the 
few alcoholic drinks he'd had in his lifetime--and he probably 
never remembered drinking it!

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 76)

His face went deathly pale. Instinctively, he threw wide his 
arms to halt the column; then, as quickly, started forward again.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 82)

00010658.GIF  Page 6

      Hitler, of course, was in the direct line of fire, but Ulrich 
Graf, a Brown Shirt in the front ranks of the marchers, threw 
himself in front of Hitler and with his own body protected the 
Nazi Fuehrer. A slug caught Graf in the side and he fell bleeding--
and Hitler flung himself flat on the ground, allowing Goering and 
the aged Ludendorff to continue marching into the hail of death. 
All the versions that say anything else are false. Adolf Hitler in 
his cowardice flung himself ignominiously to the ground. Goering, 
on his left, was hit in the thigh by a bullet and he staggered after 
Hitler, who was now crawling as fast as possible toward safety. 
But General Luddendoff, head held proudly erect, marched directly 
toward those blazing ranks of guns.
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 83-84)

Certain questions were not to be put to the defendants at all, 
since the answers to them might prove highly embarrassing to 
von Kahr and his cohorts.  For instance, should Hitler decide to 
tell from the witness stand, in answer to a direct question, the 
circumstances concerning the intrigue that preceded the _putsch,_ 
the central government in Berlin would almost certainly become 
most displeased. In view of this situation, there is little wonder 
that what should have been a serious and dignified judicial 
proceeding degenerated into a farce. It was a case of criminal 
prosecuting criminal for a crime that neither wanted aired 
publicly, and of which each side was equally guilty.
On the whole, Hitler enjoyed the trial immensely, for it placed 
him in the limelight and gave him a chance to orate about himself 
and his aims-subjects that always held first place in his affections. 
People who had never heard his name before were now listening to, 
and reading of, the fine principles for which he swore he was ready 
to die.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 89)

Ordinarily, Hitler was not prone to accept the suggestions of others 
on party policy; he preferred to keep all such credit solely for himself, 
and, if necessary, would veto a good suggestion and later revive it 
as his own idea. But at this point in party history Hitler was just 
another man very anxious to get out off prison as quickly as possible.

(Flight From Terror-Strasser-p. 97)

To Adolf Hitler, two men constituted a sufficient--if not 
satisfactory--audience, and once again his tireless repetition 
soon outstripped the fascination of his fiery eloquence.
(Might from Terror-Strasser-p- 98)

00010659.GIF  Page 7

In its original version, _Mein Kampf_ was a rambling, almost 
incoherent expression of political commonplaces and hackneyed 
socialist theory lifted from the philosophies of a dozen minor 
politicians and obscure statesmen. There were passages taken 
from Houston S. Chamberlain and Lagerde, men whom Dietrich 
Eckhart used to quote in conversation and writing. The finished 
manuscript was given to Father Staempfle, a priest of brilliant 
intellectual attainment who was also the editor of a newspaper 
at Miesbach, and he twice rewrote it for Hitler, editing it 
extensively and making it both coherent and readable.
Hitler chose a typical way to repay this debt to a man of the 
cloth. He ordered Father Staempfle put to death--murdered--
on the night of the "blood purge."

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 99)

It was during this period that we came to know one another 
more intimately, and we often met in the home of Herr Bechstein, 
the famous Berlin piano maker. Frau Bechstein, who was twenty 
years older than Hitler, lavished maternal affection on him. Hitler, 
seated at her feet, would lay his head against her while she 
stroked his hair tenderly and murmured, _"Mein Wolfchen"_  
(My little wolf).

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 111)

In spite of his faults Hitler had a strength of which I never lost 
sight. His muddled thinking, his [unreadable] vanity and pride, 
his fear of making decisions, his continued deceit--these never 
kept me from recognizing his instinctive genius. His skill as a 
public speaker is without parallel. He responds to the [unreadable] 
vibrations of the human: heart with the delicacy of a lie-detector. 
He absorbs through every pore of his body the hidden intricacies of 
his listeners. It is, perhaps, some psychic power that even Hitler 
cannot comprehend and may not even be aware of; it is simply there.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 112)

These things are instinctive with him. He can cry on the public 
platform and the tears are real. In a speech, he can fall into an 
uncontrollable rage and storm hysterically for an hour--not 
because he mounted the platform with those emotions within 
him, or even that under ordinary circumstances he would feel 
anger about the things he now storms at; but because he knew 
beforehand his listeners felt that way, and consequently he has 
talked himself, has _willed_ himself into a very real and true 
fury. As I have said before, Hitler loses himself completely in a 
speech, forgets himself utterly. Thus, once he has determined 
the emotional and mental "vibrations" of his audience, the rest, 
for him, is easy. It is as though he could assume any character, 
any mental outlook, at will, living it completely during his oration.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 112)

00010660.GIF  Page 8

Hitler is a physical coward, yet he has moments of seeming 
great courage. He hates to be contradicted, and bad news, even 
of a most trivial nature, sends him into a raging fury; yet 
somehow he manages to take the sharpest blows of adversity 
and overcome them after his emotional explosion.
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 112-113)

He likes to think of himself as an acetic. This is not altogether 
accurate, since the real ascetic renounces the pleasures of the 
flesh because of an ideal. Hitler's reasons for eschewing mundane 
joys are more materialistic. Meat, he feels, is harmful; liquor is a 
drug that dulls the senses; while normal relations with women are 
impossible for him for physical reasons.
The man is humorless, yet on occasion he will tell a joke. Invariably 
this occurs when everything is going his way and he is feeling benign 
and fatherly to those about him.
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 113)

"He locked me up again," she said between sobs. "He locks me up 
every time I don't agree with what he says."

She wanted to tell the story to someone sympathetic; of her own 
accord she poured out the details of it. Like other party members 
close to private sources of information, I had heard all about the 
eccentric practices to which Fraulein Hofmann was alleged to 
have lent herself, but I had sincerely felt that the photographer's 
daughter was naturally a little hysterical and had a predisposition 
to invent enormous lies for the sheer fun of it. But not Gely. Further, 
she was completely ignorant of her uncle's former affair--yet now 
she confirmed it through her own experiences, as she poured forth 
incident after incident.
To all practical purposes, her uncle kept her isolated from the 
outside world; she was rarely allowed to see a man.  So one 
evening, almost out of her mind through this treatment, she 
had yielded to the importunities of Emile Maurice, Hitler's 
chauffeur. Hitler had surprised them and afterward, through 
the door behind which they were closeted, Gely heard the angry 
words of the two men.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 133)

I never saw Gely again. She died of a gunshot would in her 
uncle's house in 1931. The events surrounding the shooting 
were very mysterious and the aftermath suspicious. It was 
not until 1935 that I learned the full details.
My brother Paul--now Father Bernhard, a Benedictine monk 
(his name having been changed, as is the custom of that order)--
and I met in Austria in the spring of 1935. During a conversation 
that took place one day, Paul happened to say half to himself:
"And to think that Gregor once stopped Hitler from commuting suicide!"

"On what occasion was that?" I asked.
"After Hitler murdered his niece Gely."
The statement astounded me. "Did Gregor tell you that?"
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 134)

00010661.GIF  Page 9

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 134 cont.)

 Paul nodded. "I swore to keep it a secret," he began 
hesitantly, "but it should be told. Gregor spent three days 
and nights with Hitler, who was like a madman. It was 
during a quarrel that he shot Gely, so perhaps he didn't 
realize what he was doing. Immediately afterward, he 
wanted to commit suicide but Gregor prevented him.

I asked for further details.
"After Gely was found dead by violence, an inquest was 
opened in Munich. The public prosecutor, who has lived 
abroad since Hitler's accession to power, wished to charge 
him with murder, but Gurtner, the Bavarian Minister of 
Justice, stopped the case. It was announced that Gely 
committed suicide."

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 134)

To make this accusation even stronger, I want to report 
one incident that happened in Paris in 1939, where I was 
writing articles for _Le Journal,_ and when I happened to 
mention Gely's death, charging Hitler directly with the guilt. 
Three days later the editor of the _Courier d'Austriche_ 
called my rooms.

"Do you know Father Pant?" he asked.
"No." I told him, "not personally; but I know that he lived in 
Munich, and that he was the brother of the [unreadable] and 
Senator Pant, the former leader of the anti-Nazis in Poland."

"That's the man," he said. Father Pant is now in exile, but he 
asks me to send you the following message, which I repeat verbatim:

"'It was I who buried Angela Raubel, the little Gely of whom 
Otto Strasser wrote. They pretended that she committed 
suicide; but I should never have allowed a suicide to be buried 
in consecrated ground. From the fact that I gave her Christian 
burial you can draw conclusions which I cannot communicate to you.'"

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 135)

Bruno Fricke and I, with four others, roamed the streets of 
Berlin for the rest of that night, hoping to pick up Hitler's 
trail again. It was a hopeless mission--though we didn't know 
that--for, as we learned later, Hitler had been so unnerved by 
his close escape from the beer hall that he fled immediately 
back to Munich.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 178)

00010662.GIF  Page 10

Hitler's slight figure paled into insignificance in the same 
room with the giant von Hindenburg. The frock-coated Fields 
Marshal arose as his visitors entered and stood behind his 
desk, slightly bowed, supported by a heavy walking stick. 
In his presence, as ever  Hitler found himself embarrassed 
and unsure. He shifted uneasily on his feet, and cleared his 

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p- 204)

In the silent night hours of solitude Hitler reached his 
decision; he would lift himself by his political bootstraps 
through uncompromising "diplomacy by liquidation." Next 
day, Hitler was no longer the wavering, indecisive politician; 
he became a man of action with an inexhaustible store of 
energy that was fed by a fanatical belief in the righteousness 
of his cause. He had a task to perform--somewhat distrustful, 
perhaps, since it involved the coldblooded murder of many of 
his comrades-in-arms who had fought at his side since the 
early days of the movement--but whatever his feelings, he 
never swerved from what he considered his "duty" once his 
mind was made up. Such abstract considerations as gratitude, 
friendship, fair play and loyalty were signs of weakness and 
(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 242-243)

During the drive, he had all but collapsed, and Hitler himself 
had taken the wheel--something that he frequently did on any 
long drive.

(Flight from Terror-Strasser-p. 320)

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