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 6 of 12)

[Page 22]


Q. I remind you that in 1935, the delegate of the Labour Party, Alan Hartwood -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that you ought to put the question in the general way in which I put it to you and not go into the details of each visit or the details of each number of visits.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If your Honour please, I want to object to it as generalities because it already appears that the United States did not participate in this, and I tried to keep the European politics out of this case, and this is the thin end of the wedge. Now, I don't want to get into this sort of thing. I think it is entirely irrelevant that some foreigner, deceived by the appearance which the defendant Schacht was assisting in putting up, didn't start opposition earlier. This thing is entirely irrelevant. The United States has desired to keep this sort of thing out of this case because it is endless if we go into it. It seems to me, if Herr Schacht wants to put the responsibility for his conduct on some foreigner, that foreigner should be named. He has already said that the United States representatives, Mr. Messersmith and Mr. Dodd, had no part in it because they were always against the regime. Now, it gets into a situation here which seems to me impossible before this Tribunal and I cannot understand how it constituted any defence for mitigation for Schacht to show that the foreign powers maintained intercourse with Germany, even at a period of its degeneration.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the question is relevant but should be put without detail.

DR. DIX: I will put the question without detail, and I would like to say that I cannot, of course, compare myself to America, but I, too, am trying to avoid foreign politics. However, my question does not concern foreign politics.


Q. Here is one question: What influence did the honours, which were showered upon the Nazi regime by foreign countries in a manner well-known to you, have on the work of your group of conspirators?

A [Hjalmar Schacht]. Throughout the years from 1935, up to and including 1938, numerous statesmen from almost all other nations came to Berlin to visit Hitler, including some crowned heads. From America, for instance, there was Under Secretary of State Phillips.

Q. Do not mention any names.

A. I said that only because names were expressly mentioned here. It is not limited to Europe. I do not intend to make any political explanations, I merely say that there were so many visitors which meant not only recognition, but distinction for Hitler, so that he appeared a very great man in the eyes of the German people. I still remember that in 1925, I believe, the King of Afghanistan, Amanulla, appeared in Berlin. He was the first foreigner to visit the Social Democratic Government, and there was a celebration because at last a great man from another country visited us. In Hitler's case, starting with 1935 there was one visitor after another, and Hitler went from one foreign political success to

[Page 23]

another, which made it extremely difficult to enlighten the German people and made it impossible to work along those lines within the German nation.

Q. And now, two final questions.

You have heard the speech by the British Chief Prosecutor, Sir Hartley Shawcross, who said that there should have been a point where the servants of Hitler ought to have refused to follow him. We want to accept that point of view, and I ask you: Do you believe that you yourself acted in accord with that postulate of the Chief of the British Delegation?

A. I not only accept it, but I fully approve of it. From the very moment when I recognized what a harmful individual Hitler was, what a threat to world peace, I broke all ties with him, not only secretly, but publicly and personally.

Q. So you are of the opinion that when you realised the truth you did everything humanly possible to try to save humanity from the disaster of this war, and bring it to an end once it had started.

A. I know of no one in Germany who would have done more in that respect than I did. I warned against excessive armament. I impeded, and if you like, sabotaged effective armament through my economic policy. I resigned from the Ministry of Economy against the will of Hitler; I publicly protested to Hitler against all the abuses of the Party; I continuously warned people abroad and gave them information; I attempted to influence the policy of other nations with respect to the colonial question in order to achieve a more peaceful atmosphere. Credits for continued armaments -

THE PRESIDENT: I think we have heard this more than once, you know.

DR. DIX: Yes.

THE WITNESS: May I be permitted one sentence: I blocked Hitler's credits and I finally tried to remove him.

DR. DIX: Gentlemen, I am now at the end of my presentation of evidence for Schacht, and I have only one request. During the last few days, I have received a large number of letters and also affidavits from well-known people who knew Schacht. I will examine them, and if I should decide that any of the affidavits are relevant, I will get in touch with the prosecution and discuss with them whether they have any objection to having them translated so that, perhaps, we can submit them to the Tribunal, not to have them read, but merely to have them put in evidence. May I request that I be granted this right? At the end of my entire presentation, I will briefly submit my documents, this has been done only partially.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions?

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for defendant von Neurath): I have only a few questions to Dr. Schacht.


Q. How long have you known Herr von Neurath, Dr. Schacht?

A. I can not state the exact year, but at any rate for a very long time, for many, many years.

Q. For some time, for about four years, you were both Ministers in the government. During that time, did you have any contact with him other than in a purely official capacity?

A. Unfortunately not enough, but of course I saw him from time to time. I would have liked to have seen him more often.

Q. But from conversations with him, or from what you heard about him, you certainly formed an opinion about his political views.

A. I was well acquainted with his views.

Q. And what was the trend of his political thought?

[Page 24]

A. I had the impression that, basically, von Neurath believed in a conservative policy, but could be convinced in favour of progressive measures. He was, above all, in favour of peaceful international co-operation.

Q. Do you consider it possible, or do you have any reason to believe, that under certain circumstances he would also resort to belligerent methods or that he would even consider them, if the peaceful understanding which he desired was quite impossible?

A. According to my understanding of Neurath, I think that he was entirely averse to any aggressive policy.

Q. You witnessed the various -

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Dr. Luedinghausen, will you kindly put the earphones on; the Tribunal thinks these questions are not questions which can properly be put because of their general nature.

Q. Did you have the impression that in everything that he achieved, particularly in the occupation of the Rhineland, Neurath -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): Dr. Luedinghausen, this is not a proper question to put to a witness, "Did you have an impression about him?" You can ask him what he said and what he did; what did von Neurath do and what did he say?

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: Yes, then, I will not put this question. I have only one last question.


Q. You know that, on the 4th of February, 1938, von Neurath resigned as Foreign Minister. What did you and your immediate circle say to the resignation of von Neurath from foreign politics? What impression did it make upon you?

A. I believe I have already said, in the course of the interrogation, that I considered von Neurath's resignation a very bad sign for it meant departing from the previous policy of understanding in foreign politics.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Any other defendants' counsel want to ask questions?

Does the prosecution desire to cross-examine?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think it might save time, your Honour, if we could take our recess at this time. It is a little early, I know, but it takes some time to arrange our material.


(A recess was taken.)



Q. Dr. Schacht, according to the transcript of the testimony, at Page 401, Part 12, you said that in 1938 you told a certain lady while you were dining, "My dear lady, we have fallen into the hands of criminals. How could I ever have suspected that!" You recall that testimony?

A. It was not I who gave that testimony; it came from an affidavit submitted here by my defence Counsel, but it is correct.

Q. I am sure you want to help the Tribunal by telling us who those criminals were.

A. Hitler and his confederates.

Q. Well, you were there; you knew who the confederates were. I am asking you to name all that you put in that category of criminals with Hitler. Hitler, you know, is dead.

[Page 25]

A. Mr. Justice Jackson, it is very difficult for me to answer that question fully because I do not know who was in that close conspiracy with Hitler. The defendant Goering has told us here that he considers himself one of that group. There were Himmler and Bormann, but I do not know who else there was in the small circle of men who were trusted by Hitler.

Q. You have only named three men. Let me put it this way, you named four men as criminals, three of whom are dead and one of whom you say admitted -

A. I can add one more, if you will permit me. I assume that the Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop was also always acquainted with Hitler's plans. I must assume that, I cannot prove it.

Q. Whom else did you include when you were talking to the lady?

A. On that evening I did not mention any names.

Q. But whom did you have in mind? You surely were not making charges against your own people, who were in charge of your own Government, without having definite names in mind.

A. I have taken the liberty of mentioning the names to you.

Q. Are those all?

A. I don't know, but I assume that there were more. I would add without hesitation, Heydrich. But I cannot know with whom -

Q. Heydrich is a dead man.

A. I regret that these people are dead, I would have liked to see them die some other way; but -

Q. Well, are those the only people that you included?

A. I have no proof of the fact that there was anyone else in this conspiracy about whom I could say that there is proof that he was a conspirator.

Q. Now, Dr. Schacht, at the time the Nazis seized power you had a world-wide acquaintance, and very great standing, as a leading banker in Germany and in the world, did you not?

A. I do not know whether that is so, but if that is your opinion I do not wish to contradict you.

Q. Well, at least you would admit that? Wouldn't you?

A. I do not contradict.

Q. And yet as we understand it, you made public appearances in Germany before the German people in support of the Nazi regime, alongside of characters such as Streicher and Bormann.

A. Mr. Justice Jackson, I have taken the liberty to explain here that until July, 1932, I did not in any way come forward publicly for Hitler or the Party and that, on the contrary, in America, for instance, I warned the people against Hitler. At that time I ... the name Bormann was, of course, unknown to me at the time, and Streicher's paper Der Sturmer, was just as revolting to me before that time as afterwards. I did not think that I had anything in common with Herr Streicher.

Q. Well, I didn't either, but that is why I wondered about your appearing with him publicly before the German people after 1933, when the Nazi regime was consolidating its power. You did that, didn't you?

A. (something not heard). What did I do, Mr. justice Jackson?

Q. I spoke of your appearances, publicly, before the German people with Streicher and Bormann in support of the Nazi programme after the seizure of power.

A. I do not think so. I was never seen publicly with Herr Streicher or Herr Bormann - certainly not at that time. It is quite possible that he attended the same Party rallies as I, or that I sat next to him, but at any rate in 1933 I was never seen publicly either with Streicher or with Bormann.

Q. I'll ask to have you shown the photograph from the Hoffmann collection, marked No. 10. You have no difficulty recognising yourself in that, do you?

A. No.

[Page 26]

Q. And on the right sits Bormann?

A. Yes.

Q. And next to him the Minister of Labour?

A. Yes.

Q. And on the other side of you is Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. And beyond him, Streicher?

A. I do not recognize him; I don't know whether it is Streicher, but perhaps it is.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I will offer the photograph in evidence. And perhaps the identification will be sufficient.

Q. And also Frick is in that picture?

A. Yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This becomes Exhibit USA 829.

Q. I will ask to have you shown -

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, what is the date of that photograph?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There is no date given on the photographs. Perhaps the witness can tell us.

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