My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FORTY-SIX
The Königsberg Speech

MY first public criticism of the Party's policy occurred at the opening of the Fair at Königsberg. To all appearances the speech started innocently enough. The occasion was the so-called Ostmesse in Königsberg at which several other neighbouring countries, notably from Eastern Europe, were represented. It was the custom to open this Fair with a speech by a member of the Ministry for Economic Affairs. This time I decided to go myself, but told no one what I intended to say, although every word of the speech had been most carefully prepared beforehand. Since nearly all my speeches were printed in the Reichsbank's own printing works, I already had a printed copy ready for Königsberg.

It was no surprise to me that the opening speech should be picked up and broadcast by Deutschlandsender. That was the rule at such events. No one expected anything sensational.

I spoke clearly and distinctly, and had already begun to express disapproval of the Party's attacks on Freemasons and Jews when Chief Group-Leader Bach-Zelewski and two companions in full uniform arose from their seats in the audience and clattered towards the exit. I glanced up and was just about to say: "Corridor, please, second door on the right," when I remembered I was speaking into the microphone. So I held my peace while the gentlemen walked out, and finished my speech without any alteration. As I left the platform to return to my seat my neighbour, Gauleiter Erich Koch, remarked:

"Brother, brother, you've a hard road ahead of you." (Mönchlein, Mönchlein, du gehst einen schweren Gang.)

I shrugged my shoulders and consoled myself with the thought that with Martin Luther I was in good company. But at the same moment I realized that from now on I was identified as an open adversary of the Party.

Immediately after the opening ceremony I dictated a letter to Himmler, national head of the S.S., protesting in the strongest possible terms against the behaviour of his Obergruppenführer in the presence of an officiating Minister of the Reich, and demanding that he be dismissed. Many weeks later I had the satisfaction of

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