The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd May to 13th May, 1946

One Hundred Ninteenth Day: Thursday, 2nd May, 1946
(Part 10 of 12)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of Hjalmar Schacht]

[Page 37]

Q. Now let us go on:
"The goal at which these people aim at is generally correct and good. There is no place in the Third Reich for secret societies, regardless of how harmless they are. The priest and ministers should take care of the souls, and not meddle in politics. The Jews must realize that their influence is gone for all time."
That was also a part of that speech, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you pointed out in that speech that on the "Jewish problem," as you called it, legislation is being prepared and must be awaited?

A. Yes, I had hoped so.

Q. You assured them so, did you not?

A. I beg your pardon? Yes, that was. the intention and the object as I gathered from my conversation with Hitler.

Q. And you knew that the laws on the Jewish subject were on their way?

A. Not the laws which were passed later. I always urged Hitler to give legal protection to the Jews. I wanted to see this law enacted and I assumed that it would be done, but instead, the Racial Laws of November or September, no, November, 1935, were passed.

Q. I have quoted from Exhibit USA 832, which is Document 433- EC, and you say the laws you were forecasting and promising were laws for the protection of the Jews?

A. Yes.

Q. We will get to that later.

You gave your reasons, which you said were reasons of principle, to the Tribunal for not becoming a Party member?

A. Yes.

Q. Yesterday in court, do you recall that?

A. Yes.

Q. Now isn't it a fact that you have told the United States Prosecution Staff that you asked Hitler whether to join the Party, and that to your great relief, Hitler told you not to?

A. Yes. Before I co-operated with him I wanted to find out whether he demanded that I become a member of the Party. I was most relieved when he said "No."

Q. So you remained out of the Party with Hitler's consent and approval?

A. Yes, of course. I think that is just another reason which will prove that I have never been a member of the Party.

[Page 38]

Q. But you didn't mention that to the Tribunal when you were giving your reasons for keeping out of the Party, that Hitler had given permission?

A. No, I thought the Tribunal would believe me, anyway.

Q. When you received the Party Golden Emblem, you stated that it was the greatest honour that could be conferred by the Third Reich, did you not?

A. I did, yes.

Q. And while you didn't wear it in your ordinary daily life, you did wear it on official occasions, you stated, did you not?

A. Yes. It was very convenient on railway journeys, when ordering a car, etc.

Q. From 1933 to 1942, you contributed a thousand Reichsmarks a year to the Nazi Party?

A. No. Yes, I beg your pardon; from 1937 to 1942.

Q. Didn't you say on interrogation that it was from 1933 to 1942?

A. No, that is an error. From 1937, after I had received the Emblem. Evidently that is a misunderstanding. After I had received it I thought "it would be proper to give the people a thousand marks a year, and that was all."

Q. For upwards of ten years, not quite ten years, you accepted and held office of one kind or another under this regime, did you not?

A. From the 17th of March, 1933, to the 21st of January, 1943.

Q. And as I understand you, that during this time, at least a part of the time, Hitler deceived you and all the time you deceived Hitler.

A. No, oh no.

Q. I have misunderstood you?

A. Yes.

Q. Well now -

A. I believe that in the first years, at least, I didn't deceive Hitler. I not only believe so, I know it. I only started to deceive him in 1938. Until then, I always told him my honest opinion. I didn't cheat him at all; on the contrary.

Q. What becomes then of your explanation that you entered his government in order to put brakes on his programme? Did you tell him that?

A. Oh, no. I should hardly have done that, or he would never have admitted me into the government. But I didn't deceive him about it.

Q. Did he know your purpose in joining his government was to defeat his programme by sabotage?

A. I didn't say that I wanted to defeat his programme. I said that I wanted to direct it into orderly channels.

Q. Well, you have said that you wanted to put brakes on it. You used that expression.

A. Yes.

Q. Which meant slow down? Didn't it?

A. Yes.

Q. And he wanted to speed it up, isn't that right?

A. Yes, perhaps.

Q. You never allowed him to know that you had entered his government for the purpose of slowing down his rearmament programme, did you?

A. It was not necessary to tell him what I was thinking. I did not deceive him. I made no false statements, but I would hardly tell him what I actually thought and wanted. He didn't tell me his innermost thoughts either, and you don't tell them to your political opponents either. I never deceived Hitler except after 1938.

Q. I dare say, I am not asking you about a political opponent. I am asking you about the man into whose government you entered and became a part.

A. Yes.

Q. You don't tell your opponents, but is it customary in Germany that members of the government enter for the purpose of defeating the head of the governments programme.

[Page 39]

A. I have already told you that the word "defeat" is incorrect. I did not intend to defeat him. I intended to slow his programme down, and that is indeed the custom, for that is how every coalition government is constructed. If you enter into a coalition government, you must discuss certain matters with your neighbouring parties and come to an agreement about them, and you must use your influence to check certain projects of the other party. This is not a deception, it is an attempt at a compromise solution.

Q. You claim you entered as a coalitionist?

A. Yes. I explained that in a distinct and comprehensive manner.

Q. You used the word yourself today, in describing your activities as sabotaging his rearmament programme, did you not?

A. Yes, I did so, shall we say, after 1936. But he noticed it. That was not a deception.

Q. You take some part of the responsibility, I take it, for the loss of the war by Germany.

A. That is a most remarkable question. Please forgive me if I say that I assume no responsibility. Since I am not responsible for the fact that the war started, I cannot assume any responsibility for the fact that it was lost. I didn't want the war.

Q. And when did your doubts about Hitler as a man, his integrity, first arise?

A. I have explained that in such detail during the examination that I don't believe that I have to repeat it.

Q. Did that occur - I'll put it in the terms of your interrogation, since your interrogation is a little clearer.

"In 1934" - so your interrogation runs - "he killed many people without having any juridical substance, or had them killed, and a few days after, in the Reichstag, he said 'He was the highest judge in Germany.' He was certainly not, and for the first time I was shaken by his conception. It seemed to me absolutely immoral and inhuman."
Is that correct?

A. I said that here yesterday or the day before; exactly the same thing.

Q. Well, I want to fix these dates, Dr. Schacht. You see, your purpose in this trial and mine aren't exactly the same.

A. No, no, I know that.

Q. Now, you also received full information about the operation of the Gestapo from Gisevius in 1934 or 193S, as he testified, did you not?

A. No, he did not say that. He said that he knew about these matters. He didn't tell me everything, but I admitted earlier today - this morning - that he did inform me of certain things and from that I drew my conclusions. At the beginning of May, 1935, I had already discussed this matter with Hitler.

Q. You were informed about the Gestapo terrorism, Reichstag Fire -

A. The Reichstag Fire?

Q. the falsity of the purge claim -

A. One moment, please. May I take them in order? I was not told about the Reichstag Fire until years later by the late Count Helldorf who has been mentioned by Gisevius.

Q. You mean Gisevius never told you about that?

A. I think I heard it from Helldorf. I may have heard it from Gisevius, but I think it was Helldorf. At any rate, it was after 1935 that I heard about it. Until then, I did not think it was possible.

Q. You never doubted Gisevius' word when he told you in 1934 or 1935 as he testified, did you?

A. One moment. He told me this either in 1934 or 1935, but not 1934 and 1935, and if he did tell me, well, if Gisevius said so, I assume that it is true.

Q. It was then that you knew about the persecution of the churches and the destruction of the labour unions, wasn't it?

A. The destruction of the labour unions took place as early as May, 1933.

[Page 40]

Q. You knew all about that, didn't you?

A. I didn't know everything, only what was generally known. I knew exactly what every other German knew about it, and what the labour unions themselves knew.

Q. As a matter of fact, that was one of the reasons for the contributions by yourself and other industrialists to the Nazi Party, wasn't it?

A. Oh, no; oh, no. There was never any question of that,

Q. You mean that meetings of industrialists were held and as important a thing to industry as the destruction of the labour unions was never mentioned in your conferences?

A. I know nothing about it. Will you please remind me of something definite.

Q. Confiscation of the properties, the putting of labour union leaders into concentration camps.

A. I heard about that - one moment. I don't know exactly who was put into the concentration camps. I was informed about the confiscation of property because that was publicly announced but, if I understand you correctly, I don't know what the meetings of industrialists had to do with it.

Q. Now, you also knew very early about the persecution of the Jews, didn't you?

A. I explained yesterday exactly what I knew about the persecution of the Jews, how I acted in connection with the persecution of the Jews, and I stated that as long as I was Minister I did everything to prevent these things.

Q. I understand your generality, and I am trying to get at a little more detail about it, Dr. Schacht. Did you not testify as follows, on your interrogation on the 17th of October, 1945:

"The National Socialists, as I understood from their programme, intended to have a smaller percentage of Jews in the governmental and cultural positions of Germany, with which I agreed."
A. Yes.
Q. "Question: Well, now, you had read Mein Kampf, had you not?

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: And you knew the views of Hitler on the Jewish question, did you not?

"Answer: Yes."

You so testified, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. "Question: Well now, during your time as Reichminister, statutes were passed, were they not, prohibiting all Jewish lawyers, for example, from practising in the courts?

"Answer: Yes, that is what I said.

"Question: Did you agree with that?

"Answer: Yes."

Did you say that?

A. Yes.

Q. And you did agree with excluding - .

A. Yes, I always agreed with that principle.

Q. Yes. And you also agreed with the principle of excluding all Jews from civil service positions, did you not?

A. No. I want to emphasize in this connection -

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