"Goering, Himmler, Goebbels - as I knew them"

January 28, 1951

Moscow

Translation from German

Hitler was surrounded by two categories of people. Some were completely devoted to him, while others sought power and influence during Hitler's life and dreamed of seizing all power into their own hands after death.

I include Rem, Göring, Goebbels, Himmler and Bormann. I have never seen the latter, and I have heard very little about him. This person is unclear to me. Between the first four there was a struggle from the very beginning, even when they were temporarily united in order to eliminate the third opponent. So, Goering with Himmler against Rem, presumably also against Blomberg, possibly against Fritsche and generally against the old generals.

If I set out my personal impressions about Goering, Himmler and Goebbels, then after the Nuremberg process, the results of which are known to me only with regard to OKW and the General Staff and organizations, these will be just small episodes.

Goering I first saw the 29.1.1933 year. Schleicher resigned on January 25th. There was a question: "What next?". I sat in the central lodge in Deutschlandhalle at an all-imperial tournament next to Secretary of State Meisner and his wife, with whom I was familiar. Suddenly Hermann Goering appeared in a worn yellow leather coat. He walked along the long aisle between the side boxes and the rows of chairs straight to us. Now it became clear that some negotiations were taking place between Hindenburg and Hitler, since Meisner was always engaged in the formation of new offices.

For the second time, I met with Goering in Breslavl during the process of setting the Reichstag on fire. I was invited by Heins for breakfast, which he gave with his SA-Fuhrer in honor of Goering. I sat across from Goring. He talked with his neighbors about the burning of the Reichstag and resolutely denied his involvement in this matter. I noticed that the conversation was conducted specifically for me, and this caused me to suspect that Goering, probably, was himself involved in this matter. In the years that followed, I repeatedly saw Goering. So, 1. V.1934, I met him at the Oberpresident in Breslau. We talked about building a new city theater in Breslau.

In 1935 - in the castle in Breslau, where I sat with him at a small table. We talked about the reservoirs of Turavy, and how it may affect the climate. During another meeting we talked about hunting. We greeted each other with a “hunting greeting.”

The most powerful of the aforementioned persons seemed to me was Himmler. If one traced the path of his ascent from 1934, when he was still subordinate to Rem, to the end, one would expect to find in him a new Fouche, a sophisticated intriguer, a large organizer with a great working capacity. But so I did not know him. Himmler seemed stupid to me. I searched for a long time for the man who led him on the occasion, but could not find him. Wasn’t it Hitler himself?

I first met Himmler in 1933 in Schwanewitz in Silesia for breakfast. We sat at the big round table. Suddenly, he turned to his neighbor, the Silesian, and asked him: “Am I not like a rural teacher?” The one to whom he addressed froze with his mouth open, and it was obvious that “yes” was ready to break from his tongue. "You see - this is my strength," said Himmler. Maybe his stupid behavior, which I heard about, was only a disguise? I can't believe it.

Later I saw Himmler several times, but I did not have long conversations with him. In early 1934, during my struggle in Haynes, we met again in a narrow circle. He made me understand that he was on my side in this struggle. Then Himmler was still subordinate to Rem, and his Silesian SAs obeyed Haynes. But after this, he extended the conversation, stating that he intended to create seven first-class infantry divisions from trained men. The Reichswehr had, in addition to the three cavalry divisions, also only seven infantry divisions. In the event of war, part of his (Himmler) divisions should remain in the country to prevent the possibility of revolution, while he was ready to hand over the rest to the military command at the front.

Of course, he wanted to ensure that they were not sent to the most dangerous areas, and systematically changed the composition. This was declared to me by my new ally, who was aware that my struggle with Haynes ultimately boiled down to fighting "for one army"! “Stupid Utopia” - I thought. But Himmler continued to keep to this thought expressed by him and develop it.

In the following years, I also repeatedly met Himmler, for example, at imperial party congresses. I was visiting him in his huge camping tent in the SS camp, where foreign representatives, diplomats, senior economic leaders crowded together — all a select society. Himmler was then a powerful man. He wanted to be accepted as a king, but was only a village teacher.

Then I met Himmler two more times during the war. In the winter of 1941- [19] 42 years old, on the way to leybshtandart, he drove me to Mariupol on a plate of pea soup. We talked about supply difficulties and bad roads during the rainy season. “Ah, this is very easy to help,” said Himmler, “I’ll just build a hard road from Dnepropetrovsk to Taganrog. The stones are mine with the Carpathians, and the labor is from the villages along the road. ”

It remains only to grab his head. Carry stones when the railways did not have time to bring ammunition and food. Labor force from the village when it was not enough to process the fields. Stupid.

The last time I saw him in early 1944. Keitel gave dinner to a wide range of generals. When everyone had gone, Manshtein and I were left alone at the table. Suddenly, Himmler approached us and said: "Now the war has been won." We look at him, puzzled. “Yes, the Russians have already mobilized everyone, to the last person, I have completely accurate information, they can no longer.” To declare it to us, the old front-line soldiers, was just insolence. This, perhaps, was believed by Hitler, because he wanted to believe. Since 1942, I have repeatedly heard of such statements by Himmler, which we considered impossible. Now we heard it from himself. Stupid!

Goebbels, without a doubt the most intelligent of Hitler’s entourage, hated by Goering and Himmler, could not count on seizing power after Hitler alone. Hitler will disappear, Goebbels will not be. It is possible that under a new, unexpectedly formed political situation, the power could seize another, which, like Hitler, would require the mind and word of Goebbels, which he would need.

I met Goebbels personally in early 1934. The relations between me and SA-führer Haynes were greatly aggravated, and this was spoken of not only in Breslau. At this time, Goebbels offered his services to make a report for the officer corps of the Breslavl standard. Very significant.

I met him at the airport. The representative of the SA-Führer also arrived there, who, on the instructions of Haynes, asked the minister to visit him too. Goebbels briefly and decisively rejected the invitation. Together we went to the building where my headquarters was located, and there, in the large hall, Goebbels made a report to the officers. He talked about what the soldier wanted to hear then. He called the Reichswehr those powerful braces that had restrained the empire from 1918 to 1933, the faithful bearer of all the valuable traditions of the old glorious army of world war. He spoke of the Reichswehr as the only army called upon to defend German soil.

When I began to thank him after the report, he told me at the exit a little sarcastically: "I, of course, could have said the opposite with the same success." He meant the performance before the SA. Then he, along with those who accompanied him, one Gauleiter and several other persons, was at a cup of tea at my wife, where he showed himself to be a very dexterous and amiable conversationalist. I too often saw him later, but did not talk to him. At the festival of singers, I sat between him and Papen on the podium near Hitler, by which groups of singers passed.

When I was appointed commander-in-chief of the army group, he sent me a parcel for Christmas 1942- [19] 43. One time it was a book, another time an eternal pen. I thanked him and wrote: “It is neither smart nor noble to insult a brave adversary. A soldier who respects his opponent respects himself. " He replied: “I really want to talk to you. If you are in Berlin, please come to me. ” I did not get to him.

I saw Frau Goebbels on February 15, 1945, when she came to ruined Dresden. She said then: "If the end comes, I will take poison with the children." And all the higher SS-Fuhrers received already from Himmler pills of potassium cyanide.

Von cleist

Indications selected:

Pom [mince] nach [el] 5 departments of the Sledotdela 2 Ch. [Avny] Directorate of the MGB of the USSR major SOLOVOV

Translated:

Translator of the Sledotdela 2 of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of State Security of the USSR senior lieutenant SHILOV

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