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 11 of 12)

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

[Page 40]

Q. Well -

A. May I finish?

Q. Yes.

A. In regard to the principle of the dominating Jewish influence in government, legal and cultural questions I have always said that I did not consider this influence to be of advantage either to the German people or Germany, which was a Christian State and based on Christian conceptions, or to the Jews, since it increased the animosity against them. For this reason I was always in favour of

[Page 41]

limiting Jewish participation in those fields not actually according to the population, but nevertheless limiting them to a certain percentage.

Q. Well, let's go on with the interrogation. The interrogations are always so much briefer than the answers made in Court where the Press is present, if I may say so.

Did you not give these answers:

Now, with respect to civil service.

"Question: There was this aryan clause that was put in. Did you agree with that legislation?

"Answer: With the same limitation.

"Question: Now, did you ever express yourself in the Cabinet or else, where on the point that you wanted these restrictions put in, restrictions you have been talking about?

"Answer: I don't think so; useless to do it.

"Question You say 'useless to do it'?

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: I thought you said at one time or another that the reason you stayed in is because you thought you might have some influence on policy.

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: You didn't consider this as an important enough matter to take a position on it?

"Answer: Not an important enough matter to risk a break."

A. To break, that's right.

Q. Then, you were asked this:

"You certainly signed a law with respect to the prohibition against Jews receiving licences to deal in foreign currencies."
Do you remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. "Answer: Yes, may be.

"Question: You were in favour of that?

"Answer: I don't remember the details of that question.

"Question: Well, it is not a matter of details. The question is a matter of discrimination.

"Answer: Yes."

You said that?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. Were you in favour of that legislation, or were you not?

A. Is that the question now or from the - .

Q. I am asking you now.

A. Yes, I agreed to it. Yes.

Q. You were in favour of it. Well, you were not when you were interrogated.

A. You can see how difficult it is.

Q. The question then was, were you in favour of it, and you said "I wasn't in favour, but I had to sign it.

"Question: Well, you were the only one who signed it. You were the Reich Minister of Economics.

"Answer: Yes."

Q. "Question: And, obviously, it was a Bill which was put in by your Ministry, was it not?

"Answer: Yes."

Is that correct?

A. Yes, I assume so; You see, in these matters it was a question of degrees. I have just explained the principles of my policy. The extent to which these individual laws went, is a question of politics. Today, you can say what you like about it.

[Page 42]

Q. Now, you also favoured the law and signed the law prohibiting all Jews from being admitted to examinations for public economic advisors for co-operatives, for example.

A. Yes, possibly. I don't remember but probably it is right.

Q. And you also approved a law imposing the death penalty on German subjects who transferred German property abroad or left German property abroad.

A. Yes.

Q. And of course you knew that that affected, chiefly and most seriously, the Jews who were moving abroad.

A. I hope that the Jews did not cheat any more than the Christians.

Q. Well, the death penalty on German subjects for transferring German property abroad was your idea of a just law?

A. I don't understand. My idea?

Q. Yes.

A. It was an idea of the Minister of Finance, and I signed it.

Q. Now, the question was then asked you after these were recited" "Well, now, was there a matter of conscience involved or was there not? " And you answered: "To some extent, yes, but not important enough to risk a break."

A. Yes.

Q. And the question: "Yes. In other words, you had quite another objective which was more important."

A. Yes.

Q. "Well what was that objective, Dr. Schacht?" I am still reading. It saves time.

A. Oh, pardon me.

Q. "Answer: Well, the objective was to stay in power and to help carry this through in an ordinary and reasonable way.

"Question: That is to say, the restoration of the German economy.

"Answer: Quite.

"Question,: And the completion of the armament programme.

"Answer: The completion of the International equality, the political equality of Germany.

"Question: By means of armament, as you yourself have said.

"Answer: Also by means of armament."

A. All correct, and I stand by that today.

Q. Yes. So the armament question was so important that you didn't want to risk any break about the Jews.

A. Not the armament question but the equality of Germany.

Q. Well, now, I just asked you "by means of armament, as you yourself have said."

A. And I say, also by means of armament. That is one of the means.

Q. And it is the only one that was used ultimately, wasn't it?

A. No, it wasn't. There were other ones.

Q. We will get to that in time.

Now, isn't it a fact that you also approved the law dismissing all Jewish officials and notaries public?

A. That is possible.

Q. And you wrote to Blomberg on the 24th of December, 1935, giving your motives, did you not, saying this:

"The economic and illegal treatment of the Jews, the anti- Church movement of certain Party Organizations, and the lawlessness which centres in the Gestapo, are a detriment to our rearmament task, which could be considerably lessened through the application of more respectable methods, without abandoning the goals in the least."
You wrote that, did you not?

A. Yes. I quoted it myself yesterday.

[Page 43]

Now, as to the rearmament programme, you participated in that from three separate offices, did you not?

A. I don't know which offices you mean, but please go ahead.

Q. I will help you to list them. In the first place, you were Plenipotentiary for War.

A. Yes.

Q. That was the secret office at first.

A. Yes.

Q. You were President of the Reichsbank. That was the financial office.

A. Yes.

Q. And you were Minister of Economics, in which position you had control of the Ministries for the general economic situation.

A. Yes. This word "control" is such a general term that I cannot confirm your statement without question, but I was Minister of Economics.

Q. Now, let us take up first this position of Plenipotentiary for War. You have testified that this position was created for two purposes:

"(a) Preparation for war. (b) Control of the economy in event of war."
Is that correct?

A. That means preliminary planning in the event that there should be a war, and the direction of economy in the event of the outbreak of war. In other words a preparatory period and a later period in the event of war.

Q. And you were asked about your functions and gave these answers, did you not?

"As the Chief of Staff provides for mobilization from a military point of view" - so you were concerned with it from the economic point of view.
A. Yes.

Q. You answered "certainly." And your office as Plenipotentiary for War was of equal rank with the War Ministry, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And, as you told us, those charged with responsibility in event of war were, first, the Minister of War and the Chief of the General Staff of the Wehrmacht; and, secondly, on an equal footing, Dr. Schacht, as Plenipotentiary for War. Is that correct?

A. I assume so, yes.

Q. And in January of 1937 you wrote this, did you not

"I am entrusted with the preparation of the war economy, according to the principle that our economic war organization must be so organized in time of peace that the war economy can be directly applied in case of emergency, and necessary organizations be ready at the outbreak of war."
A. I assume that that is correct.

Q. And who was your deputy in that office? Wohltat?

A. I think Wohltat.

Q. Now, those being your functions as Plenipotentiary for the War Economy, let's turn to your functions as President of the Reichsbank.

You have said that the carrying out of the armament programme was the principal task of the German policy of 1935, have you not?

A. Undoubtedly.

Q. There is no doubt that you voluntarily assumed the responsibility for finding financial and economic means for doing that thing.

A. No doubt.

Q. And you were the financial and economic administrator in charge of developing the armament industry of Germany.

A. No.

Q. You were not?

A. No, in no way.

Q. Well, I may have misunderstood you.

[Page 44]

"Question: Now in connection with this development" - I am referring to your interrogation of 16th October, 1945, Exhibit USA 636, Page 44.

"Now in connection with this development of the armament industry, you considered yourself the financial and economic administrator of it."

Nodding your head.

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Nodding your head.

A. Yes.

Q. "You considered yourself" - I will ask the whole question so you will get it.

A. Yes.

Q. "Now, in connection with this development of the armament industry, you considered yourself the financial and economic administrator of it."

The record says that you nodded your head.

The next question was: "And in that connection you took various steps. Would you be good enough to describe for us the larger steps which you took with reference to this goal of rearmament, first, internally, and, second, with respect to foreign nations?

"Answer: Internally I tried to collect all money available for financing the MEFO bills. Externally I tried to maintain foreign commerce as much as possible."

Did you make those answers, and are they correct?

A. I am sure that you are correct.

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