The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. DIX: Gentlemen of the Tribunal, in this connection, may
I call your attention to Exhibit No. 6 of my document book.
If the Tribunal agrees, I

                                                  [Page 374]

should like, in order to shorten the presentation of
documents during the examination of the witness, to call
your attention to those documents which are in direct
connection with the questions with which the witness is
dealing. I believe that this arrangement will be agreeable
to the Tribunal since it will shorten the presentation of
documents. It is Exhibit No. 6, on Page 12 of the German
copy of my document book, and on Page 8 of the English copy,
your Lordship, Exhibit No. 6. That is a record of the
statements made by Dr. Schacht during the session of the sub-
committee for monetary and credit matters on 21 October,
1926. I believe it is not necessary for me to read these
statements. They refer to the foreign debts which Dr.
Schacht has just mentioned, and contain the same thoughts
which Dr. Schacht has just expressed before the Tribunal,
and are proof that these thoughts are not views ex post
facto. Therefore, without my reading it, I ask the Tribunal
to take judicial notice of the whole of this document. I
shall return to my examination.


Q. You had resigned your office as Reichsbankpresident. What
did you do then?

A. I went to the small estate which I owned in the country
and lived there as a private citizen. Then during 1930 I
made a trip to the United States. Shortly after the
Reichstag elections of September, 1930, I departed and went
to New York, via London. There I lectured for about two
months on questions which were presented to me by American

Q. When did you first come in touch with the National
Socialist ideology, with the Party, and with Hitler
personally, and when, in particular, did you read the Party
programme and Hitler's "Mein Kampf"?

A. With the exception of a single occasion I have never in
my life concerned myself with party politics. Already at the
age of twenty-six I was offered a safe electoral district in
the Reichstag, which I did not accept since I have never
been interested in party politics. My interest always lay in
the field of economics and financial policy but, of course,
for public affairs I always had a general interest, arising
from a concern for the future of my country and my people.
Therefore, in 1919, I participated in the foundation of the
democratic party.

May I say a few words here about my background and spiritual
upbringing? My father, throughout his life, adhered to
democratic ideals. He was a Freemason. He was a
cosmopolitan. I had, and I still have, numerous relatives on
my mother's side in Denmark, on my father's side in the
United States, and to this day I am on friendly terms with
them. I grew up among these ideas and I have never departed
from these basic conceptions of freemasonry and democracy
and humanitarian and cosmopolitan ideals. Later I always
remained in very close contact with foreign countries. I
travelled much, and, with the exception of Ireland and
Finland there is no country in Europe which I have not
visited. I know Asia down to India, Ceylon, and Burma. I
went to North America frequently and, just before the second
world war broke out, I intended to travel to South America.

I want to emphasise this in order to show that I was never
interested in party politics. Nevertheless, when in the
elections of September, 1930, Hitler's party suddenly and
surprisingly obtained 109 seats, I began to take an interest
in the phenomenon; and on board ship going to the United
States I read "Mein Kampf", and, of course, also the Party
programme. When I arrived on the other side, the first
question was what my opinion was about Hitler and the Party,
because naturally everyone was talking about this event in
Germany. In my first publication at that time - it was an
interview - I uttered an unequivocal warning and said, "If
you people abroad do not change your policy towards Germany,
then you will soon have very many more adherents of Hitler
in Germany than there are now." Throughout that period of
two months

                                                  [Page 375]

I spoke about fifty times in public meetings, and I always
encountered understanding for the question of reparations,
the mistakes of the Versailles Treaty, and the economic
difficulties of Germany, and I returned with the impression
that the whole American attitude, the attitude of the
American people towards us, was indeed rather friendly. Not
on my initiative but by coincidence, I came in touch later
with the adherents of the National Socialist Party: a friend
of mine, a bank director, invited me at the beginning of
December, 1930, to dine with him at his house and to meet
Hermann Goering there. I did that, and gained no really
definite impression from Goering's statements and conduct.
He was in every respect reserved, modest, and well-mannered,
and he invited me to his house in order to meet Hitler. At
the beginning of January my wife and I dined with Goering
and his wife one evening at their home, and on that occasion
Fritz Thyssen was also invited. It had been planned that
Hitler should come also and talk with us. I say again now
that Goering's apartment was extremely modestly and simply
styled. Particularly Goering's first wife made an excellent
impression. After supper Hitler appeared, and the ensuing
conversation was conducted in such a way that, let us say,
five per cent. of it was contributed by us, and 95 per cent.
by Hitler. What he said concerned national questions, in
which he agreed absolutely with us. No extravagant demands
were stated, but, on the other hand, the national
necessities of Germany were definitely emphasised. In social
matters Hitler expressed a number of good ideas; he was
especially intent on avoiding class struggle, strikes, lock-
outs and wage disputes by decisive intervention of the State
in labour relations and the direction of economic affairs.
There was no demand for abolishing private enterprise, but
merely for influence on its conduct. It seemed to us these
ideas were quite reasonable and acceptable. Besides that, he
revealed practically no knowledge in the field of economy
and financial policy, though on that evening he did not
claim to know anything about these subjects. He merely asked
that we, as representatives of economy, should have
understanding for his ideas, and give him factual advice.
That was the purpose of that evening.

Q. I shall refer to this first conversation with Adolf
Hitler later, but I should like to return now to the
question I have put before, concerning your attitude to the
Party programme and the ideology developed in the book "Mein
Kampf". I am stressing this because, as you have heard, the
gentlemen of the prosecution are of the opinion that certain
parts of the Party Programme and also parts of the book
"Mein Kampf" are of a criminal character, and their criminal
character was recognisable immediately upon their
publication. Therefore I should like to ask you to explain
in detail your attitude at the time, and possibly also your
attitude today, toward the Party Programme and the ideology
of National Socialism as it appears in the book "Mein Kampf

A. From the proceedings in this Court so far I have not
gained the impression that the opinion of the prosecution
concerning the criminal character of the Party Programme is
a uniform one. I am unable to see in the Party Programme as
such any sign of criminal intentions.

Federation of all Germans, which always plays a great role,
is always claimed only on the basis of the right for self-
determination. A position for Germany in foreign politics is
demanded as constituting equality of the German nation with
the other nations; that this involved the abolition of the
discriminations which were imposed upon the German people by
the Versailles Treaty is quite clear.

Land and soil was demanded for the nutrition of our people
and the settlement of our excess population. I cannot see
any crime in that, because after land and soil was expressly
added in brackets the word "colonies". I have always
considered that as a demand for colonies, which I myself
supported a long time before National Socialism came into
existence. Rather strange and, in my opinion, going somewhat
beyond the limits were the points concerning the

                                                  [Page 376]

exclusion of Jews from civil rights, but, on the other hand,
I considered it satisfactory that the Jews should be under
the protection of the Aliens' Law, that is, subject to the
same laws which applied to foreigners in Germany. I would
have wished and always demanded that this legal protection
should, under all circumstances, be given to the Jews.
Unfortunately they were not given that protection. For the
rest - it was emphasised - all citizens should have equal
rights and duties.

Promotion of popular education was stressed as being
beneficial, and also gymnastics and sports were demanded for
the improvement of public health. The fight against
intentional political lies was demanded, which Goebbels
afterwards conducted very energetically. And, above all,
demand was made for the freedom of all religious
denominations and for the principle of positive

That is, in essence, the content of the National Socialist
Party's programme, and I cannot see anything criminal in it.
It would, indeed, have been quite peculiar if, had this been
a criminal party programme, the world had maintained
continuous political and cultural contact with Germany for
two decades, and with the National Socialists for one

As far as the book "Mein Kampf," is concerned, there my
judgement has always been the same from the very beginning
and as it is today. It is a book written in the most
inferior kind of German, propaganda of a man who was
strongly interested in politics, not to say a fanatical,
half-educated man, which to me Hitler has always been. In
the book "Mein Kampf," and in part also in the Party
Programme, there was one point which worried me a great
deal, and that was the absolute lack of understanding of all
economic problems. The Party Programme contained a few
slogans, such as "Community interests come before private
interests," and so on, and then the breaking up of
subjection to financial interests and similar phases which
could not possibly signify anything sensible. The same held
true for "Mein Kampf," which is quite uninteresting from the
point of view of economic policy and was consequently quite
uninteresting for me.

On the other hand, as regards foreign policy "Mein Kampf"
contained, in my opinion, a great many mistakes, because it
always toyed with the idea that within the continent of
Europe the living space for Germany ought to be extended.
And if, nevertheless, I did co-operate later on with a
National Socialist Reich Chancellor, then it was for the
very simple reason that expansion of the German space toward
the East was in the book made specifically dependent upon
the approval of the British Government. Therefore, to me,
who believed I knew British policy very well, it seemed
Utopian and quite unnecessary to consider these theoretical
extravagances of Hitler any more seriously than I did. It
was clear to me that every territorial change one European
territory attempted by force would be impossible for
Germany, and would not be approved by the other nations.

Besides that, "Mein Kampf" had a number of very silly and
verbose statements, but on the other hand, it had many a
reasonable idea, too; I want to point out that I liked two
especially: firstly, that anyone who differs from the
government in political matters is obliged to state his
opinion to the government; and secondly, that, though the
democratic or rather parliamentary government ought to be
replaced by a Fuehrer government, nevertheless the Fuehrer
could only remain if he was sure of the approval of the
entire people, in other words, that a Fuehrer also depended
on plebiscites of a democratic nature.

Q. Dr. Schacht, you have now described the impression which
you gained from your first conversation with Adolf Hitler,
from a study of the Party Programme and "Mein Kampf". Did
you believe that you would be able to work with Adolf Hitler
and what practical conclusions did you derive from that
first conversation with Hitler?

                                                  [Page 377]

A. To work with Adolf Hitler was out of the question for me
personally since I was a private citizen and not interested
in party politics and consequently, after that conversation,
I did nothing at all to create for myself any personal
relations with the Hitler circles. I went quickly back to my
farm and I continued to live there as a private citizen. I
have said already that naturally I had the future of my
country at heart. After that conversation I repeatedly spoke
emphatically to Reich Chancellor Bruening and implored him,
when forming and heading the cabinet, to include the
National Socialists in it, because I believed that only in
this way the tremendous impetus, the tremendous
propagandistic fervour which I had noticed in Hitler could
be caught and harnessed, by putting the National Socialists
to practical governmental work. One should not leave them in
opposition where they could only become more dangerous, but
one should take them into the government and see what they
could achieve, and whether they would not acquire polish
within the government. That was the suggestion and the very
urgent request I made to Bruening, and I might say that
according to my impression Hitler would, at that time, have
been quite ready to do that. Bruening however could under no
circumstances be won over to such a policy and in
consequence was later crushed.

Q. Let us stop for a moment and deal with the Party. The
Indictment states that you were a Party member. Now, Goering
has already said that Hitler conferred the Golden Party
Emblem only as a sort of decoration. Have you anything new
to add to that statement made by Goering?

A. I do not know whether it has been mentioned here: The
Golden Party Emblem was, in January, 1937, given to all
ministers and also to all military personalities in the
cabinet. The latter could not become Party members at any
rate, therefore the award of the Party emblem did not entail
membership. On the rest I think Goering has testified from
the witness stand. I might mention one more thing. If I had
been a Party member, then doubtlessly, when I was ousted
from my position as minister without portfolio in January,
1943, the Party Court would have gone into action, since a
case of insubordination to Hitler would have been evident. I
have never been summoned before the Party Court and even
when, on the occasion of my dismissal, the return of the
Golden Party Emblem was demanded from me, I was not told
that I was being dismissed from the Party since I was not in
the Party. I was only told, "return the Golden Emblem of the
Party which was conferred upon you," and I promptly
complied. I believe I could not add anything else to the
statements already made.

Q. Then the Indictment is wrong in this point?

A. Yes; in this point it is absolutely wrong.

Q. Why did you not become a Party member?

A. Excuse me, but I was at odds with quite a number of
points of the National Socialist ideology. I do not believe
that it would have been compatible with my entirely
democratic attitude to change over to a different party
programme, and one which, not in its wording but through its
execution by the Party has certainly not, in the course of
time, gained any more favour with me.

Q. Therefore, you did not become a Party member for reasons
of principle?

A. Yes, for reasons of principle.

Q. Now, a biography of you was published by one Dr. Reuther
in 1937. There, also, it is correctly stated that you were
not a Party member; but the biographer gives different, more
tactical reasons, for your refusing the join the Party, and
he mentions the possibility of being more influential from
outside the Party, and so on. Maybe it is advisable, since
the biography has been referred to in the course of the
proceedings, that you shortly state your views on this

A. I believe that at the time Hitler had the impression that
I could be useful to him outside the Party and it may be
that Dr. Reuther got knowledge of

                                                  [Page 378]

this. But I would rather not be made responsible for the
writings of Dr. Reuther; and, in particular, I should like
to object to the fact that the prosecutor, who presented the
brief against me, described this book by Dr. Reuther as an
official publication. Of course, this book is the private
work of a journalist for whom I have respect, but who
certainly states his own opinions and ideas.

Q. Did you speak in public on behalf of Hitler before the
July elections in 1932?

A. Before the July elections of 1932, which brought that
tremendous success for Hitler, I was never active either
publicly or privately on behalf of Hitler, except once,
perhaps, or twice - I remember now, it happened once -
Hitler sent a Party member to me who had plans on economic,
financial, or currency policies; Hitler may have told him
that he should consult me as to whether or not these plans
could be put into practice. I might tell the story briefly.
It was Gauleiter Roewer, of Oldenburg; he was, before 1932
... In Oldenburg the Nazis had already come to power before
1932 and he was the Prime Minister there. He wanted to
introduce an Oldenburg currency of its own, a consequence of
which would have been that Saxony would have introduced its
own Saxon currency, Wurttemberg would have introduced its
own currency and Baden would have had its own currency, and
so on. I ridiculed the whole thing at the time and sent a
telegram to Hitler, saying that with such miracles the
economic needs of the German Reich could not be cured. If I
disregard this case, which might have constituted some sort
of private connection, then I may say that neither privately
nor publicly, neither in speeches nor in writing, have I at
all been concerned with Hitler or his Party and in no way
have I recommended the Party.

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