- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression
- Vol. VI
Copy of document 3729-PS
Excerpts from Testimony of Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht
taken at Nurnberg, Germany, 17 October 1945, 1145-1630
hours by Lt. Col. Murray Gurfein, AUS, OUSCC
Also present: S/Sgt. Horace M. Levy, Court Reporter.
[Pages I to 191]
Q. Now, I want to go back to something that interested me a little
Doctor Schacht, and 1 never quite got it clear in my mind. You made a
statement some time ago, when you repeated, that after Munich, Hitler
said that he was annoyed at Chamberlain for having deprived him of a
military march into Prague; do you remember that?
Q. I wonder it you can tell me what the context of that was? It just
stands in the record, as a statement in the air.
A. I think he was not satisfied with the Munich agreement at all; and I
heard it simply standing in a crowd of his entourage; I don’t remember
who they were, perhaps, all these people, Borinann, Himmler, and others;
and by some chance I was near, and I heard him saying that. My f eeling
at that time was that he wanted some glory.
Q. Well, how soon after Munich was it? Was it a sort of celebration
A. I don’t think so, no.
Q. Well, what was the occasion? That is what I don’t have clear in the
record. I just don’t like to leave it that way.
Q. Was it at the Chancellery, or where was it?
A. Most probably — no, not in the Chancellery, not in the new building.
I can’t tell you, but somewhere in Berlin.
Q. It was in Berlin. Now, was it a reception; can you refresh your
A. No, it was no reception, no; it was just — I had to do something, I
don’t.know, and he was in his entourage then.
Q. Well now, I wasn’t there, but it would seem that a remark would have
been made very shortly after the event.
A. Yes, certainly, shortly after Munich, a few days after Munich, it
must have been.
Q. In other words, you place it there as the beginning of October, 1938.
Munich was about the 1st of October, 31st of September.
A. It must have been in those days.
Q. In those days!
Q. Now, did you draw any implication from the remark at the time, as you
A. I — Did 1?
Q. Draw any implication or any inference from it?
A. Just to see his mood, I mean, to see what he thought of the whole
thing, which, of course, displeased me very much.
Q. Yes, but now, as you tell it, and I want to see if you get it clearly
in your memory, the thing he was objecting to, was the preventing by
Chamberlain of his marching into Prague, as you have told us several
times. I take it that sticks in your mind.
A. Yes, I think he was not satisfied with the peaceful settlement, as it
had the appearance in Munich.
A. And that he wanted something by which he could show the world that he
was a great man and a victor, and so on.
Q. Yes. Now, as I see it, there were two implications from that; one was
the one that you just mentioned, obviously, that he wanted some military
glory; and the other might have been that he was not satisfied with the
territorial settlement, but would have preferred to go into Prague.
A. No, I had not that impression at that time. That wasn’t anything
which came into my mind at that time.
Q. Well now, obviously, if he said he would have marched into Prague,
didn’t that bring to your mind that that was the goal at the time which
had been stopped by a compromise, to wit, the Munich Agreement?
A. Yes, certainly.
Q. So that, by that time then, in October, 1938, right after Munich,
there was at least the implication that Hitler was not
wholly satisted with the territorial achievement that he had obtained
through Munich, and that he wished to go further.
A. That was not my impression.
Q. Now, I think you told us, though, the other day, did you not, that
about that time, you already had begun to have misgivings with respect
to his goals, and so forth?
A. Oh, I would even go further than that.
Q. in point of time, we are now talking about October of 1938.
Q. And you expressed yourself, I think, quite strongly, did you not,
that by that time it was obvious to you that Hitler’s intentions were
certainly not peaceful?
A. I was very afraid that whatever he had in his mind, he was not trying
his best to avoid a military complication, and that he might abuse his
Army for things which might become dreadful.
Q. And that feeling you had had not only as late as October, 1938, I
think you said, but also from the time of the dismissal of Fritsch.
A. Yes, it grew within these months.
Q. Yes. Now, going back to another subject for a moment, in March 1937,
you made an agreement with Hitler for the furnishing to him of three
billions of Reichsmarks, by way of indirect credit from the Reichsbank.
Q. Which, in substance. was to expire in about March of 1938.
Q. In other words, at that time, in 1937, contrary to your usual
practice, you fixed a time limit as well as an amount limit; is that
Q. So that it was determined in advance, that by April 1, 1938, the
method of financing armaments.
A. Yes, if he intended to continue.
Q. Yes, if he intended to continue, certainly.
A. Which I hoped at that time he wouldn’t.
Q. Now, would you tell us what gave you that hope at that time, Doctor
Schacht? I am interested in that.
A. Oh, certainly, from my standpoint, the financial question in the
forerank; and then the general development of Germany’s position, I
mean, our economic position was much better than years before, and there
was no need for any further arming.
Q. Well, now, you knew indid you not, that one of the goals of Hitler
Q. And I believe you stated in November to Ambassador Bullitt, that
Hitler intended to have Austria; do You remember that?
A. Maybe to Bullitt.
Q. You wouldn’t deny that fact?
A. Yes, maybe. I don’t know when it has been, but I remember that I met
Bullitt at the American Embassy once in Berlin.
Q. That is correct; and You had a fairly extended conversation with him
about the situation; is that right?
Q. And to refresh your recollection, I will tell you that that was in
November of 1937. You don’t doubt that, do you?
A. No, I don’t doubt it at all.
Q. Nor do you doubt the conversation. And in that conversation with
Ambassador Bullitt, you further said that Hitler was interested in
receiving the problem of the Sudeten Germans as well.
A. That may be.
Q. So that in 1937, you knew that Hitler’s plans for expansion to the
East had not yet been fulfilled; isn’t that correct?
A. I would not call that “expansion to the East", because Austria was
certainly not a profit to Germany from an economic standpoint, only
partly, because of the tourist traffic, and so on; and the Sudetenland
was certainly nothing which could help Germany in any way out of her
Q. No, but let’s leave out for a moment, if you will, Doctor Schacht, my
phrase about “expansion to the East.”
Q. In 1937, was it not brought home to your knowledge that Hitler still
had at least limited goals, to wit, Austria and the Sudetenland?
Q. Now, did that feeling or that knowledge come to you during the year
1937, or were you also of that opinion in March of 1937, when you had
the conversation with Hitler about advancing another three billions of
A. I have never considered the Sudeten problem as a real serious problem
because I have never thought that this could be done otherwise than by
some understanding with Czechoslovakia, on an economic basis, and as I
told you before, I wanted Czechoslovakia, one day, by voluntary and
peaceful and friendly under-
standing, to come into the customs union of what you may call “Middle
Europe,” or whatever it might be.
Q. Well, what I want to make clear to you, Doctor Schacht, is that I am
not now probing for your views, which you have stated; I am now asking
you for the views that you entertained with respect to what Hitler
intended. You see, there is quite a difference, possibly, I don’t know.
A. I had no notice that Hitler had other methods in his mind.
Q. No, when you made the statement to Ambassador Bullitt, for example,
what was the intention of that statement? What did you seek to convey to
the United States?
A. That they might help in some arrangement with Czechoslovakia.
Q. Well, was it not a statement — whether or not you agree with it, we
won’t discuss at the moment — to the effect that the United States had
better be forewarned that Hitler had a specific objective in mind, and
that it would be well to go along with him? Was that not the
A. I don’t quite understand what you mean by that. The United States
could only help in, say, fostering the general feeling, nothing else, I
mean, no political influence whatever.
Q. By letting Hitler have a free hand, as it were.
A. No, not by letting him have a free hand, but to help in some
understanding with Czechoslovakia.
Q. Well, let’s put it in that form then.
A. That is not a free hand.
Q. That the United States might act as a mediator, or as one---
A. As helpful.
Q. Or one of a concert of powers, or as helpful, with a clear
understanding conveyed by you that Hitler was intent on his goal.
A. Yes, you may put it that way.
Q. So that, if Hitler did not have his way by diplomatic means, there
was always the implication that he would stay fixed to that goal which
he had set.
A. I had not the impression at that time that he would do anything
forceful or illegal or unfriendly in reaching this goal.
Q. In other words, you, in effect, deny the fair implication of the
statement to Bullitt, and Hitler had, by that time, established himself
as a man who more or less got what he wanted; and I think you have so
said frequently., have you not?
A. I didn’t hope he would get everything that he wanted.
Q. No, but I am talking now of a description of the personality.
A. He was a very energetic--
Q. Very energetic?
A. Energetic fellow; yes, certainly.
Q. And when you stated the goal of a man like that, knowing the sequence
of German history from the time he took power, there must have been at
least an implication in your mind that he would set out to get what he
wanted; isn’t that correct?
A. If he could reach it by normal means.
Q. Now, that is what I want to ask you: Have you anything to suggest as
to why you thought Hitler would be limited to achieve his goals only by
A. I had hoped so.
Q. No, but have you anything concrete to offer in support of that
statement then? That was, what he was after, in any event.
A. Only his permanent assurance that he would maintain peace, which he
stated at every public occasion, and privately in our conversations,
Q. Well now, this was all during the time when these preparations were
being made with respect to armaments.
Q. Preparations were being made, with respect to the event of
Q. Secret papers were being passed.
Q. Secret papers were being passed about from one minister to another,
with respect to the event of war.
Q. There was at that time already a tetision in Europe, I think, as we
had discussed yesterday; was there not?
Q. There were statements and declarations by the powers, with respect to
guaranteeing integrities, and all the implications that we knew from the
last war, that were a prelude to setting the stage.
Q. I just want to refresh your recollection on that. At that time that
you spoke to Mr. Bullitt in the Fall of 1937, all those things must have
been very much in your mind and consciousness.
Q. Now, this meeting that you had after Munich-just to come back to it
for a moment — this attendance that you had, was that a voluntary
attendance on Hitler, do you recall? Were you still doing busines. with
A. it was an occasion. I don’t know what you mean by “voluntary.” I
happened to be there for some other matters, I don’t know what it was,
an ordinary routine matter.
Q. Routine matter?
Q. in other words, as late as October, '38 — I just want to get this
thing clear — you were still seeing Hitler on business matters, that
is, affecting your position?
Q.And that also went into January, 1939, the month of your dismissal
from the Reichsbank.the last time.
A. To the 2nd of January, 1939; that was the last time.
Q. Now, you don’t mean to imply, Doctor Schacht, that was the last time
you saw Hitler, on the 2nd of January, 1939?
A. I have seen Hitler during the war once, I think, when I intended to
marry again; and I came to him in order to facilitate the formalities of
my marriage. That must have been — I know, because I have married — in
February '41. Since that time, I have never seen Hitler again.
Q. Now, what discussion did you have w was at Munich, was it not?
A. Pardon me?
Q. You went to see him at Munich or Berchtesgaden?
A. Before Berchtesgaden? in '41.
Q. No, I say, where did you go to see him in `41.
A. That was in '41, in the Chancellery.
Q. At the time you went to discuss your marriage.
Q. Well now, you also went to see the Fuelirer in Munich, in February of
Q. According to records of the Fuehrer.
A. No, no, no. I have seen him in '4I in Berlin. What do you allude to?
Q. To a trip you made to Munich to see Hitler in 1941.
A. I don’t remember. Will you please help me?
Q. Well, I can help you, but the point is, you will have to refresh your
recollection; but there is a record rnade of it in writing. That is all
I can tell you, that you went to see the Fuehrer in Munich in February
A. At what occasion?
A. I don’t remember. I don’t remember.
Q. Well now, you say you went to him solely for the purpose of getting
your marriage fixed up?
A. In Berlin, yes.
Q. You had to go to Hitler for that, personally?
A. He had to give an order to the Minister of the Interior to do away
with the formalities. You see, if one wants to marry, then the names
have to be published for some weeks, and so on; and I wanted to do away
with these formalities; and he granted that.
Q. How long did you see him on that occasion?
A. Quarter of an hour.
Q. Well, obviously, you must have discussed something with him?
A. No, nothing.
Q. You came in the midst of a war?
Q. I say, you came in the midst of a war?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. You were still the Minister without Portfolio?
Q. And you discussed nothing?
A. No, I didn’t.
Q. Did he ask your views about the economic situation?
A. No, he didn’t.
Q. Did you offer any views of any kind?
Q. Now, was that the only time you saw Hitler, from the 5th of January,
A. From the 2nd of January, '39, I have seen him once in '40; that must
have been in February or March or January, one of the months in '40, and
also in Berlin.
Q. And in what connection was that?
A. I had received from America two invitations to state to the American
public the views of Germany about the whole situation. One came, I
think, from “Foreign Affairs Magazine,” and one came from the “Atlantic
Monthly,” which I think is a magazine of the 'Thristian Science
Monitor,” connected with it, the same group. When I got the first from
the “Foreign Affairs Magazine,” I did not want to do anything, of
course, being a Minister without Portfolio; and in wartime, I did not
want to write anything of which my Government had no knowledge; so I
telephone, or I don’t know how it was, but anyhow, I addressed the
Foreign Minister, telling him that I had this invitation, and that I
wanted to write that article, that I wanted to inform him about that;
and after some days I got an answer, a written answer, I think, from him
-- no, I told him that.I wanted a conversation with him about this
matter, and then he said he didn’t — he didn’t mention that
conversation which I had asked for, but he sirnply wrote me that he was
agreed to my writing that article, on the condition that I showed the
manuscript to him before I sent it. And that, of course, I didn’t want;
I didn’t want any censorship. Either they had the confidence in me that
I would write the good thing, nothing which would hurt Germany, or I
wouldn’t write the article; and so 1 dropped this thing. I didn’t refer
to that; and I think that I wrote to the magazine that I wasn’t able to
do that, to write the article; but then came the second demand from the
"Atlaijtic Monthly,” and again I personally had a wish to write the
article; and so I wrote to the Fuehrer, and told him the story of the
first demand and of the second demand, and said I wanted the
conversation — I would like to have a conversation with Hitler; and so
he asked me to come, and that, as I say, must have been sometime in
February, or so, about that time; and when I saw him, I explained things
to him, and said that my view was that it would not be sufficient just
to write one article, but that somebody should go over to the United
States, and try to inform the United States about the ideas prevailing
in Germany; and he agreed to chat. I didn’t say that I would go, but
that somebody should go; and that he agreed to that, and said, “I want
to talk that over.” He wanted to talk that over with Ribbentrop; and
that was all I have heard until months later. I had then the occasion,
once, to talk about this matter with Funk; and I said that also from an
economic standpoint it would be essential to do something like that; and
Funk said to me that he would take up the matter again with Ribbentrop;
and some weeks or months later — took some time — he told me that he
had asked Ribbentrop, and that Ribbentrop had written to him that. he
did not agree: that “It was too early,” as Ribbentrop said, “to do that”
and so I dropped the matter.
Q. Well now, “too early to do that.” Was there some political---
A. I don’t know.
Q. Political deal that you had in mind?
A. Not I, he.
Q. Well, we have had this version before, Doctor Schacht, but in a
somewhat different way, that you volunteered to go to the United States,
to try and convince the President or the Powers that be in America, to
stop giving as much aid to Britain, and to see the German point of view
a little more clearly; isn’t that the implication?
A. What do you mean by “implication"? I mean, that was the real
implication, I mean.
Q. That is what you wanted to do.
A. To try to get the United States out of the war.
Q. Yes, so that at that time despite your conflicts with Hitler, which
you have described here at length, you were still sufficiently with him
to try to see a successful termination of the war for Germany.
A. I was not — I don’t know his ideas, but I was of the idea that
everything which would be done to shorten the war, and to avoid further
conflicts, would be helpful.
Q. And a shortening of the war, with respect to your mission, if it had
been successful, would have caused a German victory.
A. No, but it should mean an international understanding.
Q. Well, with the fruits of Czechoslovakia.
A. No, no.
Q. Of Austria and of Poland.
A. No, Austria was recognized and accepted, so that was no goal, any
more, and as to Czechoslovakia, I had not the slightest goal to include
this country into German authority.
Q. No, but by the time that you were still willing to undertake the
trip, according to the chronology you gave, it was after the Fall of
France, and after the invasion of the Low Countries.
A. No, I suggested that trip, as you will take from my statement, in the
beginning of '40.
Q. Right, but the final discussion with Funk---
A. And wait a minute; just correct that. The Fall of France was only in
A. So it was before France fell.
Q. No, but you said that months went by, the first time, and the second
time, and the third time.
A. But the second time — he asked me the second time — I remember it
well now-whether I could still go in '41. I said, “Now, it is too late.”
I wouldn’t go.
Q. Well, let’s place, if you will, now, the approximate date of the
conversation you had with Funk, when you sent him to Rib-
bentrop with the suggestion that you would go to the United States; when
would you say that was?
A. Perhaps in May, or something; perhaps the letter is there from
Q. I just want to get your recollection. You say definitely that that
was before the invasion of France, or the attack on France?
A. At least before the fall of France.
A. That I had the conversation with Funk.
Q. Now, did you again renew that situation in 1941?
A. No, he asked me at that occasion, when I spoke about my marriage,
whether I would still think it possible or feasible or wise to send
somebody to America.
Q. That is, Hitler did.
A. Hitler did; Hitler did. He asked me whether I thought it wise, and I
said, “It is too late now,” because then the Lend and Lease agreement
was already made a law.
Q. At least there was one subject in the conversation that you had with
Hitler at the time, besides your marriage?
A. Yes, quite. I remember well, that is the one.
Q. Now, when you started to discuss Lend Lease with him, that discussion
must have led to something else.
A. I didn’t start any discussion about Lend and Lease. I just said, when
he asked me, and he did it while I was going out of the room. Already,
he said, “By the way, what about your thought of going or sending
somebody to America?” And I said, “That is too late now,” and then 1
dropped out, and there was no discussion whatever, neither about Lend or
Lease, or about anything which had to do with politics, or economics, or
Q. Well now, did you, in Switzerland, in about '41 or '42---
A. '41, I was in Switzerland. I made my marriage trip to Switzerland. I
asked him about that trip, too. I needed his permission to go to
Q. Yes. Now, when you were in Switzerland, did you tell anybody that you
were still seeing Hitler from time to time, advising him generally; that
at times your advice was taken, and at times it was not?
A. I don’t remember, but if I did it was certainly wrong, because since
February '41, I have not seen him; I have not seen him later.
Q. Let’s go into that for a minute. You say it was certainly wrong. Why
would you intentionally mislead anybody at that time?
A. I don’t think I did. It may be that I advised some Swiss people, that
I intended to see Hitler.
Q. No, I just want to get your recollection on the record, that if we
ever conflict, we know what we are doing. I ask you now, did you say to
anybody in Switzerland, in 1941, that you were were still seeing Hitler,
not regularly, but from time to time, and that you were giving him
advice from time to time, some of which was accepted, and some of which
A. Not at that time anymore. It might have been formerly, but not at
Q. No, speaking as of that time.
.4. No, I don’t remember.
Q. Well now, do you remember seeing Hitler? It is just a question of
"Yes” or “No.”
A. I remember having seen Hitler for the last time in my life in '41,
February, or March, or January, I don’t know, but in the beginning of
'41, just a few weeks before my marriage.
Q. Now, going back then to the year of 1940, did you see Hitler at all
during that period?
A. I think I have seen Hitler only at that one occasion, about those
articles for American magazines, not in Munich or elsewhere.
Q. Then, of course, you saw him when you attended the reception at the
railroad station when he came back from Compiegne.
A. Oh, yes, I told you.
Q. Did you have any conversation with him on that occasion?
A. No — yes, just he, said to me, “What do you say now, Doctor
Schacht?” before all the crowd; and I said the only thing I could say,
"May God protect you.” That was my answer.
[Pages 31 to 34]
Q. Well now, we discussed yesterday, too, the business of the raw
materials that you were able to bring in under your “new plan,” so
Q. And the relationship of the materials thus selected to the needs of
the armament program; you remember that?
A. I didn’t select any commodities coming in.
Q. Well, didn’t you have these offices that you created under the
Ministry of Economics?
Q. With respect to the control of foreign exchange, for example ?
Q. Wasn’t that your own idea and your own creation?
Q. And wasn’t it the function of those offices to determine for what
purposes foreign exchange would be made available for imports ?
A. No, no. I mean, for what? I have explained that so often already.
They couldn’t know for what purposes these commodities came in.
Q. No, but they knew very well whether the license was for the import.
of iron, for example, or rubber, or foodstuffs.
Q. And do you say you did not have a coordinated policy, with respect to
what imports should be pressed, with respect to the granting of licenses
for foreign exchange?
A. Just those that you mentioned.
Q. In other words, you were, by a coordinated system of control,
controlling the flow of foreign exchange for the purchase of imports,
which were required for certain purposes.
A. Until April '36.
Q. When Goering took it over.
Q. What I am talking about is the creation of this new. plan for which
you take full credit, I take it.
Q. The system, in effect, was a centralized system which would enable
the Reich, actually yourself, as Minister of Economics, to control the
flow of foreign exchange, and thus determine the quality and quantity of
the products that would be imported.
Q. Now, I ask you, generally, then, whether the main purpose of the
importation of these raw materials was not the armament program, taking
into view also the fact that you had to feed the population in order to
continue the economy, and indeed to continue the rearmament itself.
A. I can only refer to my, yesterday’s statement about these statements.
Q. It is preliminary again, but what is your answer again?
A. The answer is that I had to feed the people, and I had to maintain
the economic life, and especially the exporting industries
in Germany, and certainly the raw materials for armaments were among
these raw materials which I got.
Q. Right, but you do not take back the statement, which you made in the
memorandum to Hitler on the 3rd of May 1935, as I understand it, that
the primary goal of your economic set-up was rearmament.
A. Not of the economic; I said the political aim, the political goal is
Q. The main purpose?
Q. All right. Now, just to look at some situations and some figures: In
1934 to 1937, is it correct to say that the imports by Germany of
manufactured goods decreased?
Q. And is it correct to say that they decreased by 63%?
A. I don’t know the figure, but yes, that might be right.
Q. And is it also true to say that the imports of iron ores increased ?
A. I guess.
Q. Don’t you remember?
A. No, but I should say so.
Q. And would it be correct to say that the imports of ores increased by
A. I hope you took it from the statistics. I haven’t the figures in my
Q. Well, it doesn’t shock you especially?
A. No, not at all.
Q. And that grain increased by 102%?
Q. Oil by 116%?
Q. Copper by 71%?
A. Maybe, I hope that all these figures are correct.
Q. I will show you the figures in a moment.
A. I don’t doubt it.
Q. You are the author of the figures; that is why I want to show them to
A. In my own speech, perhaps.
Q. In your own speech.
A. That’s right.
[Pages 40 to 62]
Q. Let’s get back for a moment to the first thing. You have raised the
question of the Jews. We hadn’t discussed that. What
did you think, at the time you subscribed to National Socialism, was the
program with respect to the Jews?
A. When did I what?
Q. When you subscribed.
A. To what?
Q. When you became an adherent to National Socialism.
A. I was never an adherent to National Socialism as a Party.
Q. At the time you came into relationship with Hitler; that was as early
as the beginning of 1931.
A. What I thought, about the Jewish problem?
Q. Not what you thought, What you thought the National Socialists
A. The National Socialists, as I took it from the program, intended to
not having such a great percentage of Jews in the governmental and
cultural positions of Germany, with which I agreed.
Q. What else?
A. That is all; and under the second paragraph, I think, it is paragraph
5, or Article 5 of the program, it said that also there would be some
restrictions by Article 4. The Jews should get legal protection and a
law for them, under which they would be able to live.
Q. That is the law as subjects, but not as citizens; is that what you
A. Not a full citizen.
Q. Not as citizens.
A. Not as citizens, but not with all the rights of the Christian
Q. But you know that Article 4 certainly did specifically prescribe that
they were not to have the rights as citizens of the Reich.
A. Yes, but the rights of citizens; there are lots of rights.
Q. Well now, let’s go after that. Did you agree with that part of the
A . Yes, I did.
Q. Now, you stayed in office as a member of the Cabinet during the years
1939, 1934, 1935, 6, 7, 8, did anything happen during these years, by
way of legislation or decrees, concerning the Jews with which you did
Q. Did you nevertheless--
A. Not — wait a minute — not as regards laws, but as regards behavior
of the Party.
Q. Now, let’s get that clear. May we then take it that you subscribed
fully with all the laws that were passed during the period I have
mentioned, with respect to the Jewish question?
A. Well, I would say, to the so-called “Nurnberg Laws,” I would not have
Q. Well now, were not the Nurnberg Laws, in effect, always a basic tenet
of National Socialist Doctrine?
A. I had not assumed that before.
Q. Well now, you had read “Mein Kampf,” had you not?
Q. And you knew the views of Hitler on the Jewish question, did you not?
Q. And did you not understand that he would, as he promised, liquidate
this question, in effect?
A. Yes, but not the way he did afterwards.
Q. Well, let me ask you your expectations; how did you expect him to do
A . I just told you, not allowing such an enormous percentage of Jews to
enter into either of the Government’s or cultural decisions; owning a
great percentage of the theatres; of films; music; and literature, and
all these things. I thought that in a Christian state, the Jewish people
should not maintain so many of these positions.
Q. Well now, during your time as Reichminister, statutes were passed,
were they not, prohibiting all Jewish lawyers, for example, from
practicing in the court.
A. Yes, that is just what I said.
Q. Did you agree with that?
Q. That is all.. that wasn’t a limitation; that was a complete
A. I didn’t agree with the complete exclusion. I would have accorded the
Jews in a percentage, a percentage of population, the right to keep some
Q. Now, with respect to civil servants, there was this Aryan clause,
busines., that was put in; did you agree with that legislation ?
A. With the same restriction, with the same limitation.
Q. Now, did you ever express yourself, in the cabinet or elsewhere, to
the point that you wanted these restrictions put in?
A. I don’t think so: useless to do it.
Q. You say, “useless to do it?”
Q. 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?
Q. You didn’t consider this as important a matter to take a position on
A. Not important enough matter to break.
Q. You signed some of these things yourself, didn’t you, Doctor Schacht,
these laws about Jews?
A. I don’t remember what law I have signed.
Q. Well, for example, about lawyers.
A. Yes, maybe.
Q. You certainly signed a law with respect to the prohibition against
Jews receiving licenses to deal in foreign currencies — do you
A. Yes, maybe.
Q. Were you in favor of that ?
A. I don’t remernber what the details were of that question.
Q. Well, it is not a matter of details; the question is a matter of
Q. You in favor of it?
A. I wasn’t in favor, but I had to sign it.
Q. Well, vou were the only one who signed it; you were the
Reichsrninister of Economies.
Q. And obviously, it is a bill which was put in by your Ministry ; was
Q. So You take full responsibilty, do you not?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Now, with respect to the public economic advisors for co-operatives,
Q. Did you also sign a law prohibiting Jews from being admitted--
Q. To the examination for that?
A. Now, did you also go so far as to approve a law, imposing the death
penalty on German subjects who transferred German property abroad, or to
protTer or leave property abroad?
A. What property?
Q. Who transferred property abroad, or left property abroad?
A. Yes, maybe. I don’t remember that; but certainly, too, if it is
Q. Were you in favor of it?
A. I had to do all this whether I was in favor or not, I didn’t discuss
it at that time.
Q. Well, who forced you to do it?
Q. You mean that Hitler personally sat up at night thinking out these
laws? It is impossible.
A. If I would have declined to sign these laws, that would have meant a
break with Hitler.
Q. Well now, was there a matter of conscience involved, or was there
A. To some extent, yes, but not important enough to risk a break, to run
Q. Yes. In other words, you had quite another objective which was more
Q. And what was that objective, Doctor Schacht?
A. Well, the objective was to stay in power, and to help carry this
thing through in an ordinary and reasonable way.
Q. That is to say, the restoration of the German economy.
Q. And the completion of the armament program.
A. The completion of the international equality, political equality of
Q. By means of armament, as you yourself have said.
A. Also by means of armament.
Q. Now then, there is one about the dismissal of Jewish officials and
Q. Which you also approved of.
A. It is all in the same thing.
Q. It is all in the same framework?
Q. Now, was there anything about this Jewish legislation that
particularly shocked you; do you recall?
A. Well, I thought the Nurnberg Laws were shocking to some extent.
Q. Well, those laws you knew about before they were promulgated, did you
A. I got them from the papers.
Q. You made a speech just a month before the Nurnberg Laws, Doctor
Schacht, in which you predicted their passage; do you remember that
A. No, I don’t. Will you please show it to me?
Q. I will try to. I haven’t got it with me, unfortunately, but you did
make a speech just a month before the Nurnberg Laws were promulgated, in
which you said, “Laws are in preparation now.”
A. Oh, I made the speech, I remember that very well, in Koenigsberg.
Q. Koenigsberg, that’s right.
A. Yes, the Koenigsberg speech. In that speech, the intention was just
to the contrary. I said,-- I blamed the Party people in that speech for
attacking the Jews, and what would you call it, and torturing them, and
so on; and I said that they should stop that because the laws were in
Q. Yes, so that you did know that laws were in preparation.
A. Oh, all the time, I was expecting something on that line.
Q. And specifically, the Nurnberg Laws, I take it.
A. No, I have not seen any contents of these laws before Nurnberg, nor
of any law regarding the Jews, except these ordinances.
Q. Now, of course, the Nurnberg Laws, were promulgated in legal form, in
a Reichstag session; were they not?
Q. You were a participant, as a member of the government, were you not?
A. I wasn’t present.
Q. You would have voted for them, had you been, I suppose.
Q. You would have voted for them.
A. That I can’t answer today.
Q. Did you sign anything in connection with that, as a Minister?
A. I have never signed any laws.
Q. Did the Cabinet ever do that, do you know?
A. The Cabinet, that I don’t know. The Cabinet, as far as I remember,
was summoned to Nurnberg, and I have not been there. I did not
Q. But in the light of your other answers to the questions, you do not
take the position, as I understand it, that you would not have gone
along, as you did with all the other legislation?
A. I say, I doubt it, whether I would have stood that or not. I don’t
want to now, afterward, to formulate any opinion about that.
Q. Yes, well now, let’s take that up for a moment, Doctor Schacht, as
your signature on a piece of paper would not have meant anything,
because there would have been others to sign it, would there not?
A. Quite so.
Q. So that when you say that you doubt that you would have signed it-
A. That would have meant the break.
Q. That would have been as a protest.
Q. Well, the laws themselves actually were promulgated by the Cabinet
and by the Reich.
A. Yes, I did not draw any consequence from that.
Q. And you remained?
A. But I have uttered my opinion afterwards at a meeting which was held
by Minister Frick, when the question came up about how to treat the
so-called mixed half-Jewish, half-Christian or half-Aryan; and in that
meeting which was held in the Ministry of Frick, I was asked-I was
invited to attend-and I was asked about this whole problem; and there I
have stated my views about this. Do you want to hear them?
A. But I can tell you that tliey were against the whole idea of the
racial policy of Hitler.
Q. That policy, however, was promulgated in the law which you made
mention of, not in the Nurnberg Laws; and yet you felt, in conscience,
that you could remain in that Cabinet and give further aid to Mr.
A. I did.
Q. Well now, your objections are very interesting, in connection with
the Jewish question and how it was to be treated. Your objections, as I
read them in substance, Nvere primarily based upon the bad effect that
these acts were having outside of Germany, and the consequent
disturbance of Your foreign trade, is, that correct?
A. I don’t catch what you mean.
COL. GURFEIN TO REPORTER: Would you mind reading that question.
A. Would you please explain it? I catch your words, but not the meaning.
Q. All right, for every suggestion that you made, you generally have a
reason, being a logical and a normal man.
A. Thank you.
Q. The objection that you raised, with respect to the treatment of the
Jews by the Party, was based upon some reason.
Q. I suggest to you, on the basis of what you have written, that the
reason why you were opposed to certain excesses of the Party, if you
will, was because you felt that the repercussions abroad, particularly
in the United States, were such as to intefere with your trade policy.
A. No, that was not my reason. My leason was the-that I objected to the
racial point ol attacking the Jewish problem.
Q. Well, I will go even futher with you, Doctor Schacht, and say that
you objected to it because it interfered with your rearmament task.
Q. You say, “No"?
Q. Well now, do you remember writing to General von Blomberg, on the
24th of December, 1933?
A. 24th of December '35?
A. I think it was '36.
Q. Well, I have got it down as '35.
A. Is that a long letter?
Q. It is a long letter.
A. Yes, but I think I only wrote one letter to Blornberg about the whole
Q. Well we can find the letter later. It doesn’t matter, but I have got
it down as 1935; but in any event, you do remember writing a letter to
him on that subject.
A. I don’t know what subject.
Q. On the subject of rearmament. We have discussed that before.
A. I think it was '36. I didn’t know it was as early as '35.
Q. To refresh your recollection to start with, the burden of your letter
was the difficulties you were experiencing in obtaining the foreign
exchange required for the rearmament program.
A. Not only for the armament program, but amongst others; also for the
armament program; and certainly, to the Minister of War I have
emphasized the armament program.
Q. And do you remember stating in that letter as follows — this is the
translation of course-"The picture of the burdening of my trade and
foreign exchange policy would not be complete, however, if I did not,
again, note the cultural, political obstruction which in the whole world
militates against commercial relations with us"?
Q. You remember that?
A. Well, it is certainly in, because you quote from the letter.
Q. I go further: “The economic and illegal treatment of the Jews, the
anti-church movement of certain Party organizations, and the
lawlessness, which centers in the Gestapo, create an injury to our
Q. You remember saying that?
Q. “Which could be considerably lessened through the application of more
respectable methods,” do you remember saying that?
Q. “Without abandonment of the goals in the least,” do you remember
Q. Did you mean that when you said it?
A. I have not only stated that in this letter, but I have said that in
the second memorandum, the 3rd of May, '35, which I gave Hitler, of
which you showed me one of the two memoranda yesterday.
Q. Now, I ask you whether you meant what you said-
A. Certainly. certainly.
Q. When you wrote that you favored certain changes in method “Without
abandonment of the goals in the least"?
Q. Now, in other words, the goals which you were subscribing, were
apparently the persecution or the mistreatment of the Jews-
A. Also, yes.
Q. And the church policy?
A. Yes, and the Gestapo.
Q. No, perhaps you misunderstood me, I say the goals to which you were
still subscribing were discriminatory legislation against the Jews --
you were still in favor of that by other methods.
Q. The church policy, but by other methods.
A. There was no legal attack on the church, as far as I understand;
never has been; but that was simply the attack of the Party.
Q. Well, regardless of what it was, it was one of the goals, to which
you still subscribed?
Q. So that I take it, there was not much, as far as I have been able to
discover, of the policies and practices of the Hitler Government, during
the time that you were a Minister, that you objected to in principle;
your objections were solely as to method?
A. As far as I understood the principles.
Q. And your objections as to method were based largely on the
interference with the heavy task that you had of trade, and
particularly, export trade?
A. And others. You see, amongst others. In the Jewish problem, I have
always been against the racial, or the anti, or the racial conception of
Hitler; and I have always maintained the Christian conception.
Q. But what I am trying to get to, so that we can get it definitely, and
get your views, if we can. Let’s say, your views were that you were
opposed to the treatment of the Jews as an inferior class, if you will-
Q. Because it interfered with your foreign trade policy.
A. No, not because it interfered, but because I was against, in
principle, I was against racial discrimination.
Q. But you stated, did you not, in a letter to Blomberg, which I have
just quoted, that the goals could still be achieved, do you remember
A. Yes, amongst — aside of that principle, of that racial principle,
which I did not accept, I said it was also hindering the policy.
Q. Let me understand the limitations of that, so that we can get your
mind cleared up. Your only objection, then, I take it,
was that racial Jews, who were Christian by religion, should be
Q. Now, after the Sudetenland was taken over by the Munich agreement,
did you as the President of the Reichsbank, do anything about the
A. I think we took over the affiliations of the Czech Bank of Issues.
Q. And you also arranged for the currency conversion, did you not ?
Q. Now, going back to a memorandum that you told us about, that the
Reich.,bank Directors had written to Hitler at the end of 1938-
Q. Beginning of 1939.
A. No, it was the 7th or 8th of January, 1939.
Q. Who was the author of that memorandum? Would you tell us ?
A. The author, it was the concept, or what you call — it was Vocke.
Q. Vocke, and how long had he been working on that; do you remember ?
A. Only after I came back from Berchtesgaden: that means, between the
2nd and the 7th of January.
Q. That is your conception?
A. Yes, except that, of course, we had a lot of discussions within the
Directorium before that time. that we had to stop things.
Q. Well now. who was in favor of stopping, and who was not in favor of
A. We were all in favor of stopping.
Q. Well now there is testimony, Doctor Schacht — I want to see what you
say about it-by several Directors of the Reichsbank, to the effect that
they pressed you for months to tell Hitler that the Reichsbank couldn’t
go any further, and that you kept putting them off from time to time.
A. Yes, I said, “Wait for the suitable moment.”
Q. So that you agree that that testimony is correct?
Q. Now, certain other Directors, for example, Hulse, says that as far as
1938, he opposed the Mefo financing, on the ground that it was reckless.
Q. And would only lead to trouble; was that correct?
Q. I am trying to get the responsibility for the Mefo financing.
Q. And you take that solely on yourself, do you?
A. No, the whole Directorium was responsible for that.
Q. That is what I am asking you; was there opposition within the
Directorium to that financing?
A. We have never reached, as long as I have been President of the
Reichsbank, to my recollection, any measure, which was not approved by
all the Directors.
Q. After discussion?
A. After discussion.
Q. And you, of course. as, President, were the foremost in position at
Q. So that your views went a long way with the Board.
A. (Witness shrugs shoulders.)
Q. I mean, aside from your own personality, as President it would.
Q. What I am trying to get at is, did you receive personally any
suggestion, or warnings as early as. 1936, by any of the Directors of
the Reichsbank, against this policy of financing the Reich for armament?
A. Oh, we have discussed that many times.
Q. So that you knew that there were people who doubted the wisdom or the
desirability, as early as 1938, of going along with Hitler.
A. No, of financing the Mefo bills.
Q. There was such opposition.
A. Oh, there were always doubts and considerations.
Q. Now, you know Wohltat very well, don’t you?
Q. I was a bit surprised the other day, I must say when I showed you a
paper signed with WohItat’s name; and I got the impression that you
didn’t seem to remember much about him; is that what you tried to
A. I hadn’t recalled that he was the man whom I put into the position of
representing me as Plenipotentiary for War, for Economics in case of
Q. Do you remember that now?
Q. You have refreshed your recollection about it?
Q. So I take it that we may have it established then, that you did have
a sort of oflice which dealt with the execution of your functions, as
Plenipotentiary for the War Economy.
A. Yes, I thought it was Doctor Bade, but I remember now it was Wohltat
that was on top of that office.
Q. And Wohltat, in effect, was your deputy?
Q. Now, do you remember the other name of the other man, Worbs, who
appeared on the letter?
A. Worbs, I didn’t remember, but I think that Doctor Bade was also. I
don’t know how it comes to my mind that Bade was in, but I didn’t
remember the other ones.
Q. Well now, it is obvious that since there was no war at that time, the
functions that these men performed for you were preparations for the
event of war; is that correct?
A. Yes, in the ordinary routine of the General Staff, and the Minister
Q. So that, in effect, your outfit, with Wohltat as your deputy and
yourself as Chief, were working together with the General Staff for the
contingency of (a) mobilization, and (b) The event of war from the
A. Yes, mobilization also in the case of war or threat of war.
Q. Now, I want to ask you briefly about a subject upon which I don’t
think I ever have touched with you, perhaps others have, and that goes
back to the early days before the taking over of power by Hitler. When
did you first become associated with the Nazis, or Nazi Leaders?
A. My first personal touch with them — and I had none whatever, no
touch whatever before — my first meeting was with Goering, in December
1930. My first meeting with Hitler was on the 5th of January, 1931. I
remember that date because it is written down in the little Book of the
sister-in-law of Goering, and therefore I remember it.
Q. Yes, and at that time you became a supporter, I take it--
A. In the course--
Q. Of Hitler’s coming to power.
A. Especially in the course of the years 1931 and 1932.
Q. Yes, did you go to America in 1931, do you remember?
A. No, in 1930.
Q. In 1930, rather?
Q. And did you at that time give the impression wherever you went that
Hitler was the coming man for Germany?
A. No, I don’t think so. The statement, which I made at some occasion,
was that if the AIlies didn’t find some means to treat Germany in
another way, and then to see to the German situation, then there would
be still more Hitlerites, which means, partisans of Hitler.
Q. Well, that included yourself; did it not?
A. I didn’t state that.
Q. No, but obviously it did, because you were for Hitler at that time,
were you not?
A. No, I wasn’t.
Q. When did you become interested in becoming a co-worker of Hitler?
A. I'd say in the years of '31, '32.
Q. And that was when you saw that he had a mass movement that was likely
to take power.
A. Quite, that was increasing every time.
Q. And did you publicly record your support for Hitler in those years?
A. I think I made a statement in December, '30, once coming back from
America, at the Bavarian People’s Party, where I said that there was a
choice for any future German Government, either to hold against 25%
socialists, or against 20% National Socialists.
Q. But what I mean — to make it very brief indeed — did you lend the
prestige of your name to help Hitler come to power?
A. I have publicly stated that I expected Hitler to come into power, for
the first time that I remember, in November '32.
Q. And you know, or perhaps you don’t that Goebbels in his diary records
with great affection-
Q. The help that you gave him at the time.
A. Yes, I know that.
Q. November, 1932.
A. “From the Kaiserhof to the Chancellery and back!”
Q. That’s right; you have read that?
Q. And you don’t deny that Goebbels was right?
A. I think his impression was, that was correct at that time.
Q. It was. Now, you knew at the time, that you stood as a conservative
financier in the eyes of the world.
A. Yes, I hope so.
Q. A man who had formerly, been President of the Reichsbank.
Q. And a man who had been active in connection with international
Q. And a man who had been a German representative, I believe on the Bank
of International Settlements; certainly in your capacity as President of
A. As long as I was President, yes.
Q. As long as you were President.
Q. And that the words that you uttered would logically be expected to
have a soothing effect on the finariciers, bankers, business men of the
Q. Now, you knew at the time, that if you made a public declaration in
favor of Hitler then, that the conservative circles abroad, who might
fear the excesses of such a Party as the Nazi Party, would in all
likelihood be reassured by Doctor Schacht, as a personality, standing up
A. That maybe.
Q. Well, I mean, it is a fact, isn’t it?
A. I don’t know.
Q. I am talking about your intention now.
A. My intention.
A. I had nothing of that kind in mind.
Q. Well, certainly, you know the effect of what you were saying.
A. I didn’t consider that at the time, but I say it might be.
Q. It may be?
Q. Now, I just want to ask you to look at this record so that we can
finish up. This is an article that was written in the 16th of January,
1937, or thereabout, which appeared in the “Mili
taerische Wochenblatt,- and I would like you to run through it and see
if, in all modesty, you can admit that that article is a correct
description of your activities and you [handing to witness] ?
A. As I see it for the first time in my life.
Q. Do you accept it as correct?
A. I wouldn’t say so — yes — but it was circulated as all research
Q. On the whole, you accept it as true?
A. I would say the underlying conception is certainly true.
Q. In other words, in effect, you are not taking the position that you
were not largely responsible for the rearming of the German Army.
A. Oh, no, I never did.
Q. You have always been proud of the fact, I take it.
A. 1 wouldn’t say, proud, but satisfied.
Q. Now, I just wonder — I didn’t identify several of these documents
which I showed you the other day, and I am just wondering if your
recollection is refreshed as to the point where you remember them any
more, these letters, signed by Worbs and also signed by Wohltat?
A. I don’t but it must certainly be correct, because it is from my
Q. Let me ask you a general question then: Do you take the
responsibility, as the Plenipotentiary for the War Economy, for the
writitigs that were made, and the actiops that were done by Wohltat and
A. I have to.
[Pages 7I to 72]
Q. Well now, let’s go back for a moment to something else vou said the
other day which interests me. That is, with respect to the position of
the Wehi.macht, in relation to the Anschluss, and in relation to the
taking over of the Sudetenland. The position you took, as 1 understand
it, was that the Wefirmacht was important not so much as an aggressive
weapon against strong countries, Austria and Czechoslovakia, as against
or vis-a-vis, if you will, the larger powers, the concert of nations in
Europe; that is what you state.
A. My statement was that the armament of Germany has changed the
attitude of the Allied powers.
Q. So that they would not be likely to intervene as they did in the case
of the attempted Customs Union Ariscliluss of 1931.
A. For instance--
Q. That means, that a stalemate would be createcl by virtue of the Armed
might of Germany, which would tend to prevent the foreign powers, that
is, Britain, France, Russia, from interfering in the plans of the new
A. Not the plans of the new Reich, but it would give Germany the equal
position in international negotiations.
Q. The equal position being something as follows: That if Hitler decided
to negotiate with Schuschnigg — see if I am right — that he would be
able to negotiate with Schuschnigg with free hand, because he had a
Wehrmacht, whereas if he didn’t, England and France could intervene, as
they did in 1931?
A. Yes, I may state it that way.
COLONEL GURFEIN: That is all.
(Whereupon, at 1630, 17 October 1945, the hearing was adjourned.)