My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTY
The Denazification Tribunals

IMMEDIATELY after the conclusion of my trial at Nürnberg, as described in the two preceding chapters, the psychoanalyst Gilbert paid me his customary visit in order to check up on my mental condition. He could find precious little abnormal about me. Instead, we drifted into conversation in the course of which I asked:

"Why doesn't the American Prosecutor withdraw the charge against me? After all, there was no question of a conviction; that was incontestably established at the trial."

Gilbert shrugged his shoulders, but did not answer.

"You might pass the suggestion on to Jackson, anyway", I insisted.

The psychoanalyst from Vienna with the American name promised to do so. Presumably he kept his word and mentioned my proposal to Jackson; but the American Prosecutor declined.

I was frequently reminded of this conversation when, years afterwards, I experienced in my own person the desperate efforts of a group of helpless Americans to bring about a subsequent verdict of "Guilty" against me. Not until later was I to learn the actual ins and outs of that business.

Four weeks elapsed between the trial and the verdict, during which we waited and did nothing. A humane feature of this Tribunal was that they allowed us to see our families.

Only someone who has been behind prison bars and in concentration camps will understand how I felt when I stood face to face with my wife and my two daughters, Konstanze and Cordula, for the first time in more than two years. Konstanze, very like her mother in appearance, was five years old and could only remember me vaguely. Cordula--always called "Bee"--was a year younger than her sister, a typical Schacht; she had no idea what her father was like for she was exactly one and a half years old when the Gestapo arrested me.

Our meeting took place in the same room where we prisoners held consultations with our lawyers. That is to say, we were separated from our families by wire netting and glass partitions, with a stern-faced American Military Policeman seated in attendance, loaded pistol in hand.

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