My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX
Nürnberg Prison

SO far as humane treatment of prisoners was concerned, the Nürnberg prison was the worst. Not on account of the accommodation or the food--both were much the same as in the other prisons--but on account of the actual personal treatment. Here we were spoken to not as prisoners undergoing examination but as condemned criminals. All the regulations proclaimed a grotesquely bureaucratic narrow-mindedness which surpassed even the treatment I had experienced in Hitler's concentration camps.

Among the Nürnberg prisoners there were indeed some criminal elements, but there were also many honourable men, some of whom had been caught up in the Hitler system against their will, or had even defied Hitler at the risk of their lives.

In Kransberg, at the end of August, we heard over the radio which Germans were to appear before the International Military Tribunal at the forthcoming War Criminal trials. To my great surprise I heard my name included among others. Besides Speer and myself none of the accused were in Kransberg. Up to now we had both assumed that no charge would be preferred against us.

While in Kransberg I had been questioned on several occasions by British and American officers, among them an American Jew who went out of his way to be as beastly as possible. Major Tilley, a Britisher, conducted the enquiry searchingly enough but on strictly correct lines. At the end of the first hearing he ordered me to set down in writing a full and coherent account of my attitude towards Hitler. After he had read it he opened the second enquiry, saying:

"At our first encounter, Herr Schacht, my feeling towards you was one of most profound mistrust. Since reading your statement I have completely changed my opinion."

When I was moved from Kransberg in mid-September and our fellow-prisoners gathered round to say good-bye, Major Tilley came up to me, held out his hand, and said:

"I hope I shall see you again."

By way of a foretaste of Nürnberg, I was taken for three weeks to a camp near Oberursel, generally and appropriately known as

15*

-449-

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