My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Member of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council

ONE of the most incredible chapters of my life is entitled: "Dr. Hjalmar Schacht--Member of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council", and the scene is laid in Zehlendorf.

The Revolution in Zehlendorf started with the Gemeindevorsteher (chairman of the parish council) sending out invitations to the inhabitants to attend a meeting in the big hall of the grammar school. There he made a speech which for sheer crass bumbledom beat anything I have ever heard. The parish council, he said, had prepared a cheap popular lunch in an open-air restaurant situated on the borders of Zehlendorf, right on the arterial road from Berlin. When the revolutionary hordes came pouring out of Berlin they would be attracted by this cheap lunch, appease their hunger and by the time they entered Zehlendorf itself would be as tame, so to speak, as lions in a state of repletion.

The idea that Berlin "Reds" would come dashing out to Zehlendorf with fifty Pfennig in their pockets in order to partake of a popular lunch tickled me immensely. Needless to say, not a soul came haring out to the place. The city's large, well-heated assembly rooms proved far more attractive to the crowds than a popular-price lunch in a suburb.

Someone else, however, did turn up--actually during the chairman's speech. His name was Göhre and he was one of the Social- Democrat members of the Reichstag. With a movement of the hand he dismissed the chairman from his position at the table, took his place and announced in a loud voice:

"Now--it's our turn!"

The meeting was struck dumb. The chairman made himself scarce, the voices died away. I watched the proceedings, not without a certain irony. The people of Germany have never been able to resist a man who forces his way on to the platform.

Now Göhre was anything but a man of violence. I knew him personally: he was what is known as a bit of a softy, a good-natured juggins--a theologian, clergyman, and a man of high principles who had joined the Socialist movement as far back as 1890 by way of the Naumann set and their National Social enterprise. He was fifty-seven years old and a member of the German Socialist

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