The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/14

Q. Then, in the course of the cross-examination, there came
up the question of your willingness or unwillingness to give
up the office of Plenipotentiary for War Economy, and in
order to prove your statement that General von Blomberg did
not wish you to give up that office, you referred to a
document which has been submitted by the prosecution. I am
referring to Document EC-244 and it is a letter from the
Reichswehr Minister, von Blomberg, to Hitler, of 22nd
February, 1937. It has already been read, so there is no
need to do so again. May I only point out that in the last
paragraph Blomberg expressed the desire that the Fuehrer
would direct or get the Reichsbank president to remain in
office, so that covers the statement made by Schacht.
Furthermore, in the course of cross-examination by Mr.
Justice Jackson, mention was made of your credibility
concerning the statement on your colonial aspirations and
from the point of view of colonial policy without mastery of
the sea - Germany had not the mastery of the sea - can
Germany have any colonial problems? That was the question;
and in that connection I would like to ask you: Did Germany
have colonies before 1914?

A. Yes.

Q. Before?

A. Before 1914.

                                                   [Page 77]

Q. Between 1884 and 1914, that is, the time when Germany had
colonial possessions, did Germany have mastery of the sea,
especially as compared to Great Britain?

A. No, in no way.

Q. That covers it. Then there is another problem from the
point of view of the credibility of your statements: Mention
has been made of the ethical conflicts concerning your oath
to Hitler, as head of the State, as you say, and the
intentions which you have revealed to overthrow Hitler, even
to kill him. Do you not know of many cases in history where
persons holding high office in a State attempted to
overthrow the head of the State to whom they had sworn
allegiance?

A. I believe you find these examples in the history of all
nations.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, we are not concerned with past
history, are we? You do not think the question of whether
there are historical instances is a legitimate question to
put to this witness?

DR. DIX: Then I will not pursue that point any further, it
is argumentation and maybe I can use it later in my final
pleadings.

Q. Now, returning to the question of colonies, is it not
correct that, apart from your personal colonial aspirations,
Germany under the German Reich Government, had prepared
officially for the acquisition of her colonies and later
their administration; and was there not a colonial policy
department until 1942 or 1943 or thereabouts?

A. Well, it is set out explicitly in the Party Programme
that the colonial demands are part of the Party Programme.
Of course, the Foreign Office also concerned itself with it,
and I believe, also, in the Party there was a colonial
policy department.

Q. There was a colonial policy department under Ritter von
Epp?

A. Yes, under Ritter von Epp.

Q. Then concerning the question of the MEFO bills, I ask you
only this, and then I have finished. Did you mean to imply
that the MEFO bills were to serve as a brake on rearmament,
because the signature of the Reich to these bills, that is,
of the Reich government, was binding for their repayment?

A. You see, I said very clearly, that the limitation of the
MEFO bills to five years and making them mature in five
years would automatically put a brake on armament.

Q. Furthermore, Mr. Justice Jackson dealt with the point
that the name of Schacht, when he retained the office as
Minister without Portfolio, had a propaganda value in favour
of the Nazi regime abroad and therefore served the
aggressive intentions and their execution. In this
connection and in order to shorten the presentation of my
documents, may I read from Document Book Exhibit 37; that
is, the English text is on Page 157 and the German on Page
149. On Page 5 of that long affidavit Hulse states:

  "The foreign Press drew from the dismissal" - that is,
  the dismissal as Reichsbank President in 1939 - "the
  correct conclusions and interpreted it as a warning
  signal. In this connection in repeated conversations,
  even at the end of 1938, and in agreement with Dr.
  Schacht, I spoke with representatives of foreign issuing
  banks, whom I had met at board meetings of the Bank for
  International Settlement, and I informed them that the
  resignation of Schacht and individual members of the
  Reichsbank Directorate meant that things in Germany were
  following a dangerous path."

Furthermore, the Prosecutor. for the Soviet Union has
accused Dr. Schacht, because in the biography of Reuter it
is stated expressly that Schacht assisted the regime during
the stage of the struggle for power. At any rate, that is
the substance. That is correct, as written in Reuter's book,
but there is something else. I believe we still have to
submit Exhibit 35, Page 133 of the English text and 125

                                                   [Page 78]

of the German, and there we find on the second page of that
long affidavit the following sentences, which limits the
authenticity of that biography and proves it to be a
tendentious piece of writing. Reuter says in this affidavit,
and I quote:

  "I had a biography of Dr. Schacht published twice, first
  at the end of 1933 by the R. Kittler Publishing House in
  Berlin, and at the end of 1936 by the German Publishing
  Institute in Stuttgart. Besides its being a factual
  presentation of his life and his work, it also served the
  purpose of shielding him from his attackers. Therefore
  the principles of purely objective historical research
  are not applicable to this publication, because defensive
  views required by the situation at the time had to be
  taken into consideration."

This must be known and read before one can estimate the
evidentiary value of that biography.

And that concludes my questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant can then retire.

DR. Dix: I now call the witness Vocke with your Lordship's
permission.

BY THE PRESIDENT:

Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Wilhelm Vocke.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth, and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY DR. DIX:

Q. Herr Vocke, you were a member of the Directorate of the
Reichsbank. When did you enter the Reichsbank Directorate,
and when did you resign from it?

A. Reich President Ebert appointed me a member of the
Reichsbank Directorate in 1919, and Hitler dismissed me from
office on 1st February, 1939. Therefore, I was for about
twenty years a member of the Reichsbank Directorate, and for
ten of these years I was under Schacht.

Q. Excuse me, but I must ask you, were you a member of the
Party?

A. No.

Q. Were you a member of the SA?

A. No.

Q. Were you a member of the SS?

A. No.

Q. Were you a sponsoring member of the SA or SS?

A. No.

Q. You had no connection with the Party?

A. No.

Q. When did you meet Schacht?

A. In 1915. I merely made his acquaintance then, but it was
not until he became Reichsbank Kommissar and Reichsbank
President, that I came to know him better.

Q. I come now to the period of the First Reichsbank
presidency of Schacht, that is, the year 1923. At that time
what was the attitude of the Reichsbank Directorate to the
candidature of Schacht as Reichsbank President?

A. A disapproving attitude.

Q. And for what reason?

A. The reasons were we wanted Helferich as candidate for the
presidency of the Reichsbank, because Helferich, in close co-
operation with the Reichsbank, had created the Rentenmark
and stabilisation of currency.

                                                   [Page 79]

But as a reason for our disapproval of Schacht, we mentioned
im incident contained in Schacht's dossier which referred to
his activity under Herr von Jung in 1915. According to this
Schacht, who had come front the Dresdner Bank, had rendered
assistance to the Dresdner Bank which von Jung did not
consider quite correct, and therefore he dismissed Schacht
as that time.

The Reich Government, however, did not heed the criticism
which we made against Schacht, and as Minister Severing told
me recently, he followed the proverb, "It is not the worst
fruit which is eaten by worms," and Schacht was appointed
President.

Q. So that Schacht came to you as President, and he must
have known that the Directorate did not want him, or at any
rate wanted somebody else. Therefore, I assume the question
is in order as to what the relations were among that group,
that is, the Reichsbank Directorate and the new President.

A. Schacht took up his office in January, 1924. He called us
all to a meeting in which he spoke very frankly about the
situation, and this was the substance of what he said:

  "Well, you disapproved of me for President because I
  stole silver spoons, but now I am your President, and I
  hope that we will work together, and come safely to
  port."

That was the expression used by Schacht. "However, if one or
other of you feel that he cannot work with me, well, then he
will have to take the consequences, and I will gladly assist
him to find another position."

Our relations with Schacht soon became good and we worked
together successfully. It was very good to work with
Schacht. We quickly recognized that he was an unrivalled
expert in his and our branch, and also in other respects his
conduct was beyond reproach. He was clean in his dealings
and there was no nepotism. Neither did he bring with him any
men whom he wanted to favour. Also he was a man who at all
times, tolerated controversy and differing opinions - he
even welcomed them. He had no use for colleagues who were
"yes men."

THE PRESIDENT: There is neither any charge nor any issue
about this.

DR. DIX: That is quite correct, your Lordship, but I thought
it would be helpful to touch upon these things, but we are
now at the end, and will come to the Reichsbank presidency
from 1933 on.

BY DR. DIX:

Q. After his short period of retirement Schacht again became
President of the Reichsbank in 1933. Did you have any
conversations with him about his relations to Hitler and to
the Party?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you like to describe to the Tribunal the kind of
statements Schacht expressed to you?

A. First, I would like to mention two conversations which I
remember almost word for word. During the period when
Schacht was not in office, that is about three years, I
hardly ever saw him, maybe three or four times at functions
at the Wilhelmstift. He never visited me, nor did I visit
him: only once, when Schacht came into the bank - maybe he
had some business there - and he visited me in my office.

Q. When was that?

A. That must have been in 1932, a comparatively short time
before the seizure of power. We immediately began to speak
about political questions and his relations with Hitler. I
used that opportunity to put Schacht seriously on his guard
against Hitler and the Nazis. Schacht said to me, "Herr
Vocke, one must give this man or these people a chance. If
they are no good, they will disappear. They will be cleared
out in the same way as their predecessors."

I told Schacht, "Yes, but it may be that the harm done to
the German people in the meantime will be so great that it
can never be repaired."

                                                   [Page 80]

Schacht did not take that very seriously, and with some
light remark, such as "You are an old pessimist" or
something like that, he left.

The second conversation about which I want to report took
place shortly after Schacht's re-entry into the Bank. It was
probably in March, 1933, or the beginning of April. Schacht
at that time showed a kind of ostentatious enthusiasm, and I
talked to him about his relation to the Party. I assumed
that Schacht was a member of the Party. I told him that I
had not the intention of becoming a member of the Party, and
Schacht said to me, "You do not have to. You are not
supposed to. What do you think? I would not even dream of
becoming a member of the Party. Can you imagine me bending
under the Party yoke, accepting the Party discipline? And
then, think of it, when I speak to Hitler I should have to
click my heels and say 'Mein Fuehrer,' or when I write to
him address him as 'Mein Fuehrer.' That is quite out of the
question for me. I am and remain a free man."

That conversation took place and those words were spoken by
Schacht at a time when he was well launched on the way to
his approach to Hitler, and many a time I have thought about
it, whether it was true, and remained true, that Schacht was
a free man.

As things turned our after a few years Schacht was forced to
realize to his sorrow that he had lost a great deal of his
freedom, that he could not change the course of the
armaments financing scheme, upon which he had embarked, when
he wished to do so; that it had become a chain in the hands
of Hitler and that it would take years of filing and tugging
to break it.

But, in spite of that, his words were true, inasmuch, as
they reflected the inner attitude of Schacht towards Hitler.
Schacht never was a blind follower. It was incompatible with
his character, to sign himself away to somebody, to sell
himself, and follow with blind devotion.

If one should seek to characterise Schacht's attitude to
Hitler thus: "My Fuehrer, you command, I follow." And if the
Fuehrer ordered him to prepare an armament programme; "I
will finance an armament programme. It is for the Fuehrer to
decide to what use it shall be put, whether for war or
peace,"
that would be incompatible with Schacht's attitude and
character. He was not a man who thought along subaltern
lines or who would throw away his liberty; in that Schacht
differed fundamentally from a great many men in leading
political and military positions in Germany.

Schacht's attitude, as I came to know it from his character
and from his statements, could be explained somewhat as
follows: Schacht admired the tremendous dynamism of this man
which he found was being directed towards national aims and
he took this man into his reckoning hoping to use him as a
tool for his own plans, Schacht's plans for a peaceful
political and economic reconstruction and strengthening of
Germany. That is what Schacht thought and believed, and I
take that from many statements made by Schacht.


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