The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. DIX: I interpreted the decision of the High Tribunal
barring quotations from Lord Rothermere from the document
book - to mean and there were also reasons for this
interpretation in the Indictment - that this was a matter
for argument which should not be submitted in evidence as a
fact, and that it would be irrelevant in the hearing of the
evidence that Rothermere and others were of this opinion;
and from this I drew the conclusion - and I am still of the
opinion today that this conclusion is correct - that in the
course of my argument, that is, in the course of my
appraisal of the evidence, I could cite passages from the
literature of the entire world, in so far as it is known, in
order to support a train of thought. That Rothermere said
that is not a fact which I want to submit to the Tribunal as
evidence, but only in support of the assertion in the course
of my argument that not only Schacht, but also other
intelligent and prominent people, even outside of Germany,
at first had the same opinion of Hitler's personality

THE PRESIDENT: Dr: Dix, the Tribunal has already indicated
its refusal to allow this to be used as evidence, because it
does not pay any attention to the

                                                  [Page 374]

opinions expressed by this author. Therefore, we think it
would be better if y went on to some other part of your

DR. DIX: Then I ask - the Tribunal surely has a translation
of my final, speech before it - that I be allowed to quote a
short passage from Summer Welles and then a passage which
seems very important to me from the book written by the last
ambassador. I should be very grateful if I could quote both
of these two passages, for if one wants to prove that even
an intelligent man can hold a certain opinion and is
entitled to hold it, then I do not know but what the most
obvious and convincing proof for that is the fact that other
intelligent and completely objective people also held the
same view. I shall lose an important point of my argument if
I am not permitted to quote the two short passages, and I
should like to ask that it be heard briefly; it is only the
quotations from Sumner Welles and Henderson.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not said anything about Sumner Welles.
It was only because we had expressly excluded the writings
on this subject of Lord Rothermere that we thought it was
inappropriate that you should quote him. I do not think we
excluded these other books to which you here refer in your
speech, therefore we thought you might go on to that.

DR. DIX: I quote from Sumner Welles's book, Time for
Decision, published in New York in 1944:

  "Economic circles in each of the Western European
  democracies and the New World welcomed Hitlerism."                       `

And it is correct, when Great Britain's last ambassador in
Berlin, even during, the war, states on Page 25 of his book:

  "It would be highly unjust not to recognize that a great
  number of those who joined Hitler and worked for him and
  his Nazi regime were hones idealists."

Farther on he makes the interesting remark:

  "It is possible Hitler was an idealist himself in the

And the Government of Great Britain would surely never have
concluded a naval agreement with Hitler Germany in April,
1935, and therewith have contributed in a proper way to a
modification of the Versailles Treaty, if it had not had
entire confidence in Hitler and his Government. Finally, the
same holds true for all the international treaties concluded
by Hitler, including the treaty with Russia concluded in
August, 1939. And there is still something deeply affecting
today about the fact that such an intelligent man, of such
high ethical standing, as the late British Prime Minister
Chamberlain still declared in a speech in January, 1939 - at
a time when Schacht had already long been treading the dark
paths of conspiracy against Hitler, and in spite of the
events of the year 1938 - that he gained the definite
impression from Hitler's previous speech that it was not the
speech of a man who was making preparations to plunge Europe
into another war. I do not doubt that these words were not
spoken as a matter of tactics, but reflected the speaker's
true opinion. Such examples could be quoted in great number.
Would you now deny that in 1933 and the following years a
German had the right to hold the same opinion about Hitler
in good faith? This is not inconsistent with the fact that
Schacht did not enter office as Minister Economics until
after 30th June, 1934. Only in retrospect does the full
monstrosity of these events become clear. In June, 1934, we
were still in the midst of a revolutionary movement and
history will be able to show similar occurrences in any
revolution of this kind. I do not have to give detailed
proof of this, nor do I want to do so. The events of 30th
June were no more, or even less, a reason for Schacht to
turn away from Hitler with disgust than they were enough to
prevent the governments in the world from not only
continuing diplomatic relations with Hitler in full
confidence, but also rendering him great honours and
allowing him to score important successes in foreign policy,
especially after 1934.

                                                  [Page 375]

If Schacht, however, cannot be criminally charged with the
fact that he placed himself at the disposal of Hitler's
Government, it would be completely superfluous, indeed, it
would be of minor importance, to attempt to make long
statements in excuse of individual acts, such as his
petition addressed to the Reich President in 1932 or his
letter to Hitler in the same year. Anybody who knows life
can see a thoroughly natural explanation for them in this
fundamental attitude of Schacht. If this attitude is proved
to be unobjectionable from the point of view of criminal law
and the rules of evidence, then no such documents can be
used against Schacht in argument. All that matters is what
is fundamental. The same holds true for Schacht's
participation in the so-called meeting of industrialists. On
this subject I should only like to remark by way of
correction (see Schnitzler affidavit) that Schacht neither
directed this meeting nor administered these funds
exclusively for the National Socialist Party.

Now a witness here has passed judgement on Schacht's
attitude towards the seizure and consolidation of power
during this very period: "Schacht was an untrustworthy
fellow," he said. "Schacht betrayed the cause of democracy
at that time. I (the witness) therefore refused in 1943 to
join a government that intended to overthrow Hitler with
Schacht's participation."

This was former minister Severing who, according to his own
statement, left his ministerial seat and room on 20th July,
1932, when the Berlin Chief of Police and two police
officers called on him, demanding his removal with the
assertion that they had been authorized to do so by the
Reich President. Severing left the field, as he said
himself, to avoid bloodshed. In spite of the great respect
which I feel. towards Severing's clean political character,
I am forced, to my regret, to deny him any right to pass
competent judgement on statesmen who, unlike him and his
government coalition, did not remain lethargically passive.
Severing and his political friends, indeed, bear a far
greater responsibility than Hjalmar Schacht for Adolf
Hitler's seizure of power, because of their indecision and,
finally, their lack of political ideas, but they do not have
to answer for this to any judge except history. The witness,
indeed, makes the claim that at that time he had already
recognized that Hitler's accession to power meant war. But
for this very reason, if one believes that he possessed this
correct political intuition, his responsibility and that of
his political friends must be regarded as all the greater
because of their passivity on that and later occasions, and
this again makes their responsibility far greater than that
of Hjalmar Schacht. Our German workers, however, are really
no more cowardly than the Dutch. Our hearts rejoiced to hear
a witness here describe the manly courage of Dutch workers,
who dared to strike under the very bayonets of the invading
army. The followers whom Severing and his political friends
deservedly had in the German working class might perhaps
have induced our German workers not to watch the dissolution
of the trade unions with such dull passivity as was the case
in 1933, if their natural leaders, such as Severing and his
colleagues, had been a little more daring and exposed
themselves. Finally, as is known, the Kapp revolt in 1923
was overcome by the general strike of the workers. The
Hitler regime was not so strong in 1933 that it did not have
to fear the truth of the poet's words addressed to the
workers: "All wheels stand still at your strong arm's will."
The National Socialist Government at that time was quite
well informed about this, and was consequently apprehensive.
This is also apparent from Goering's interrogation on 13th
October, 1945, the transcript of which was quoted and
submitted by Professor Kempner on 16th January, 1946.
Goering said: "You must consider that at that time the
activity of the Communists was extraordinarily strong and
that our new government as such was not very secure." But
even this strong arm which I have just mentioned required a
guidance which remained denied to the working class, and
which would have been the natural vocation of men like
Severing. In all justice, they will have to account for
their passivity, not before the judge in a criminal court,
but before history. I do not presume to make a final
judgement. I restrict myself to revealing this problem and
to attributing a strong and painful measure of self-
righteousness to

                                                  [Page 376]

the witness Severing, although I respect him as a man, if he
feels himself call upon to accuse others when studying the
question as to who, from the viewpoint of history, is guilty
of the seizure and consolidation of power by Nazism, instead
of submitting himself with humility to the judgement of
history, relying on his undoubtedly decent views and his
undoubtedly pure intentions; especially as ho claims, in
contrast to Schacht, he intuitively foresaw the later
evolution of Hitler.

We always want to bear in mind, in the interest of
historical truth, that especially at the beginning of the
Nazi rule there were only two power groups, with they
exception of foreign intervention, which could perhaps have
liberated Germany Army and the working class, provided, of
course, that both were under the proper leadership.

I had to be so detailed on this point because such a
detrimental remark by such a blameless and distinguished man
as Severing carries with it the danger of unjust deductions
regarding my client. It would have been agreeable to me if I
could have been spared this discussion of Severing's
incriminating testimony. Severing has further brought the
charge of political opportunism against Schacht. In
politics, to be sure, the boundary between opportunism and
statesmanlike conduct dictated by expediency is very fluid.
Before appraising Schacht's conduct in 1932 and 1933 as
opportunistic, his past history should have been examined:
After 1923, this past was lived in complete publicity. It
has partly been a subject of these proceedings, it is partly
already known to the Tribunal. This past speaks rather for
the fact that Schacht does what he judges to be right, not
only with a great disregard of consequences, but also with
great courage. Indeed, he has proved this courage as a
conspirator against Hitler, as was clearly shown from an
examination of his activity as conspirator, and from the
description of him given by Gisevius here.

But let us go back with Schacht to the year 1923. At that
time he stabilised the mark against all parties interested
in inflation; in 1924 he blocked credit against all hoarders
of foreign currency; in 1927 he deprived the exchange
speculators of the credit basis for their exchange
manipulations. From 1925 to 1929 he fought against the debt
and expenditure policy of the municipalities and thereby
incurred the enmity of all the mayors. In 1929 he signed the
Young Plan, and thus defied the opposition of the heavy
industry circles, and continuing this policy he fought
openly from 1934 against the perversities and abuses of the
Nazi ideology and never personally carried out a plan or an
order which was contrary to his conscience or his sense of

Every statesman must make certain concessions during a
period of fanaticism. Certain sticklers for morality - of
whom there are many today - who demand a steely hardness for
the protection of principles, should not forget that steel
has two qualities, not only solidity, but also flexibility.

My Lord, I have now finished one particular section; the
next one would take longer. I certainly will not finish it
until after one o'clock. I should grateful if your Lordship
would call the noon recess now. I am now coming to Enclosure
No. 1 -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I think you had better go on until
one o'clock.

DR. DIX: Your Honours, in the translated copy which you have
before you there are two enclosures at the end, two annexes.
I had to employ this device because the matters dealt with
in this annex happened after I had given my speech to be
translated. Therefore, I had to work in my comments on this
subject somehow, and could only do it by way of an annex.

And so I now come to the reading of Annex 1, which is at the
back, and to the opinion on the testimony of Gisevius
expressed by my colleague, Dr. Nelte, since I am here
concerned with evaluating the testimony of witnesses.

In so far as my colleague Dr. Nelte criticized the objective
reliability of the testimony of Gisevius regarding his
statements incriminating the defendant

                                                  [Page 377]

Keitel, Goering, and so on, I refrain from any statements.
The prosecution may take any standpoint it desires. This is
not my task.

But now Dr. Nelte has also attacked the subjective
credibility of Gisevius and the personal character of this
witness and thus also indirectly the reliability of his
testimony concerning Dr. Schacht. This demands a statement
of my opinion, and a statement of a very fundamental nature.

Your Honours, it is here where we mentally differ. An
unbridgeable gap opens up between Schacht's standpoint and
the standpoint of all those who adopt the train of thought
with which Dr. Nelte attempts to discredit the character of
Gisevius, the deceased Canaris, Oster, Nebe, and others. I
most certainly owe it to my client, Dr. Schacht, to state
the following fundamental point very clearly and

Patriotism means loyalty to one's fatherland and people, and
war to the knife against anyone who criminally leads one's
fatherland and one's own people into misery and destruction.
Such a leader is an enemy of the fatherland; his actions are
many times more dangerous than those of any enemy in war.
Every means, even "a corsaire, corsaire et demi," are
justified against such a criminal State leadership.

High treason against such a State leadership is true and
genuine patriotism and, as such, highly moral, even during
war. Who could still entertain the slightest doubt after the
findings of this trial, and finally after the testimony of
Speer about Hitler's cynical remarks, regarding the
destruction of the German people, that Adolf Hitler was the
greatest enemy of his people, in short, a criminal toward
his people, and that to remove him any means were justified,
and any, yes any, deed committed toward that end was
patriotic? Worlds separate Schacht from everyone in the
defendants' dock who does not recognize this.

I had to say this in order to clear the atmosphere. After
this fundamental clarification, I can refrain from refuting
details in Dr. Nelte's attacks against Dr. Gisevius. In so
far as Dr. Nelte fails to see any willingness for active
service amongst members of these resistance groups to which
Dr. Schacht belonged, I need only point to the many hundreds
who were hanged after the 20th of July, that Schacht is one
of the very few survivors, and that he, too, was to be
liquidated in Flossenburg. I point to the dead victims of
the political judiciary of the Hitlerian State whose numbers
run into thousands. Truly, the waging of a war by
conspirators against Hitler, and the necessity for cunning
and dissimulation in connection with this, were not less
dangerous to life and limb than exposing one's self at the

During his cross-examination by my colleague, Dr. Kubuschok,
Gisevius immediately admitted his mistake, resulting from
the ban on publication, in the affair of Papen's
resignation. I do not have to say anything more about this.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

DR. DIX: May it please the, Tribunal, I had concluded with
the consideration of the probative value of the statements
made here by the witnesses Severing and Gisevius.

Now, on concluding the evaluation of Schacht's conduct up to
about 1935 and entering the period from 1935 to 1937, I
emphasize once more that, in order to save time, I will not
repeat the arguments which were presented to the Tribunal in
detail during the cross-examination, as; for instance, the
non-participation of Schacht in the legislation which led to
the abrogation of International Law, because this took place
before his entry into the Cabinet. The decisive event for
the stabilisation of Hitler's power, the merging of the
offices of the Reich President and of the Chancellor of the
Reich in the person of Hitler, also lay outside his co-
operation and responsibility. According to this decree, the
Army took their oath to Hitler. The Chancellor of the Reich
had not only the authority over the police as heretofore,
but also authority over the Army. It is not my task to

                                                  [Page 378]

who is to bear the political responsibility and thus the
historic guilt for this law; in any case, it is not Schacht.
All the basic anti-Jewish laws were also enacted before he
took office as a minister. He was completely surprised by
the later Nuremberg laws. 

The decree dealing with the
exclusion of the Jews from German economic life, dated 12th
November; 1938, and the ordinance concerning the use of
Jewish property and possessions of 3rd December, 1938, were
issued after he had left his post as Minister of Economics,
and thus without his active collaboration. The same applies
to the decree excluding Jews from the Reichsarbeitsdienst,
which moreover probably hardly affected them. The law
providing for the death penalty for undisclosed reserves of
foreign exchange, the so-called law of betrayal of the
people, was not directed specifically against the Jews, but
solely against big industry and high finance; that also was
not within or under Schacht's supervision, but under that of
the Minister of Finance. Schacht did not want to cause a
breach of relations on account of such laws, because he
believed it was his duty to perform a more important task.

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