The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Dissenting Soviet Opinion:
(Part 1 of 2)

[Page 132]

DISSENTING OPINION of the Soviet Member of the International Military Tribunal, Major General Jurisprudence I.T. Nikitchenko on the Judgment concerning defendants Schacht, von Papen, Fritzsche and Hess and the accused organisations Reichscabinet, General Staff, and OKW.

The Tribunal decided:

a) To acquit the Defendants Hjalmar Schacht, Franz von Papen and Hans Fritzsche;

b) To sentence the defendant Rudolf Hess to life imprisonment;

c) Not to declare criminal the following organisations: the Reichscabinet, General Staff, and OKW.

In this respect I can not agree with the decision adopted by the Tribunal as it does not correspond to the facts of the case and is based on incorrect conclusions.

I. The unfounded acquittal of defendant Schacht.

The evidence, submitted to the Tribunal in the case of Schacht, confirms the following facts:

(a) Schacht established contact with Goering in December, 1930, and with Hitler at the beginning of 1931. He subsequently established contact between the leadership of the Nazi Party and the foremost representatives of the German industrial and financial circles. This, in particular, is confirmed by the testimony of Witness Severing (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 23rd May, 1946; US- 615).

(b) In July, 1932 Schacht demanded that von Papen resign his post as Reich Chancellor in favor of Hitler. This fact is confirmed by von Papen's testimony at the preliminary interrogation and by Schacht's own testimony in Court (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 2nd May, 1946).

(c) In November, 1932, Schacht collected signatures of German industrialists urging them to come out for Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor. On 12th November, 1932 Schacht wrote to Hitler:

"I have no doubt that the way we are directing the course of events can only lead to your appointment as Reich Chancellor. We are trying to secure a large number of signatures among the industrial circles to ensure your appointment to this post." (EC-456, US-773; PS-3901, US-837)

(d) In February, 1933, Schacht organized the financing of the pre-election campaign conducted by the Nazi Party, and demanded at the conference of Hitler and Goering with the industrialists that the latter provide three million marks (D-203). Schacht admitted in Court that he had pointed out the necessity for providing the Nazi leaders with this sum (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 3rd May, 1946), while the defendant Funk and the former member of the management of "I. G. Farbenindustrie" Schnitzler, who were present at this conference, both confirmed that it was Schacht who was the initiator of the financing of the pre-election campaign (Transcript, 4th July, 1946; EC-439, US-618).

(e) Utilizing his prestige, Schacht also repeatedly admitted in his public statements that he asked for the support in the elections of both the Nazi Party and of Hitler (US-615; Transcript, Afternoon Session, 2nd May, 1946).

On 29th August, 1932, Schacht wrote to Hitler:

"No matter where my activities lead me in the near future, even if some day you see me imprisoned in a fortress, you can always depend on me as your loyal aide" (EC-457, US-619).

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Thus, Schacht consciously and deliberately supported the Nazi Party and actively aided in the seizure of power in Germany by the Fascists. Even prior to his appointment as Plenipotentiary for War Economy, and immediately after the seizure of power by the Nazis Schacht led in planning and developing the German armaments, as follows:

(a) On 17th March, 1933, Schacht was appointed President of the Reichsbank (PS-3021, US-ll), and as he himself stated in a speech before his Reichsbank colleagues on 21st March, 1938, the Reichsbank under his management was "none other than a National Socialist institution" (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 3rd May, 1946).

(b) In August, 1934, Schacht was appointed Reich Minister of Economy (PS-3021, US-ll). His Ministry "was given the task of carrying out the economic preparation for war" (EC-128, US-623). A special decree granted Schacht, in his capacity of Reich Minister of Economy, unlimited authority in the field of economy ("Reichsgesetzblatt" for 1934, Part I, p. 565).

(c) Making use of these powers in 1934 Schacht launched upon the execution of the "new program" developed by him ("Reichsgesetzblatt" 1934, Part I, p. 826), and, as Schacht himself noted in his speech of 29th November, 1938, this organisation played a tremendous part in the course of Germany's rearmament (EC-611, US-62).

(d) For the purpose of the most effective execution of this "new program" Schacht used the property and means of those political enemies of the Nazi regime, who either became the victims of terror or were forced to emigrate (Schacht's note to Hitler of 3rd May, 1939; PS-1168, US-137).

Schacht used swindler's tactics and coercion in an effort to acquire raw material and foreign currency for armaments (Affidavit of Vice-President of the Reichsbank, Puhl EC-437, US-624).

(e) During the first days of his association with the Reichsbank, Schacht issued a series of decrees (27th October, 1933, 23rd March, 1934, 19th February, 1935), which in the long run helped realize the broad program of the financing of armaments, developed by him, and with the aid of which, as he testified, he "had found the way to finance the rearmament program.

The Unfounded Acquittal of defendant Schacht

In his speech in Leipzig on 4th March, 1935, Schacht, while summing up his preceding economic and financial activities, announced "everything that I say and do has the Fuehrer's full agreement and I shall not do or say anything which is not approved by the Fuehrer" (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 3rd May, 1946).

Having become the Plenipotentiary General for War Economy, Schacht unified under himself the leadership of the entire German economy and through his efforts the establishment of the Hitlerite war machine was accomplished.

(a) The secret law of 21st May, 1935, which appointed Schacht the Plenipotentiary General for War Economy, states as follows: "The task of the Plenipotentiary General for War Economy is to place all the economic resources in the service of warfare. The Plenipotentiary General for War Economy within the framework of his functions is given the right to issue legal orders, deviating from the existing laws. He is the responsible head for financing wars through the Reich Ministry and the Reichsbank" (PS-2261, US-24).

(b) Schacht financed German armaments through the Mefo system of promissory notes, which was a swindling venture on a national scale that has no precedent, and the success of which was dependent upon the realization of the aggressive plans of the Hitlerites. It was because of this that Schacht set 1942 as the date when the Mefo notes were to mature, and he pointed

[Page 134]

out in his speech of 29th November, 1938 the relation between "the daring credit policy" of the Reichsbank and the aims of the Hitlerite foreign policy (EC-611, US-622).

(c) Having made full use of his plenary powers, Schacht carefully developed and carried out a broad program of economic mobilization which allowed the Hitlerite leaders to wage war at any time considered most favorable. In particular, from the report of Schacht's deputy, Wohltat, "the preparation for mobilization carried out by the Plenipotentiary for War Economy" shows that Schacht provided to the last detail for the system of exploitation of the German economy in war time, all the way from the utilization of industrial enterprises, of raw material resources and manpower down to the distribution of 80,000,000 ration cards (EC-258, US-625). It is significant that this report was drawn up a month after Hitler's statement at the conference of 5th November, 1937, at which Hitler set forth this concrete plan of aggression (PS-386, US-25).

Summarizing his past activity, Schacht wrote in January, 1937: "I worked out the preparation for war in accordance with the principle that the plan of our war economy must be built in peace time in such a way that there will be no necessity for any reorganisation in case of war" Schacht confirmed his statement in court (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 2nd May, 1946).

Schacht consciously and deliberately prepared Germany for war.

(d) The former Minister of War von Blomberg testified that: "Schacht was fully cognizant of the plans for development and increase of the German Armed Forces, since he was constantly informed ..of all the financing necessary for the development of the German armed forces" (US-838).

On 31st August, 1936, von Blomberg informed Schacht that: "The establishment of all the Air Force units must be completed by 1st April, 1937, and therefore large expenditures must be entailed in 1936 . . ." (PS-1301, US- 123).

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