From NA: RG.332, entry ETO MIS-Y Sect., Box 73: optically scanned. Please report obvious scanning errors. [Report]
SAIC/X/5 dated 24.5.1945
AMERICAN OFFICER: When was the last time that you personally saw Hitler alive?
GÖRING: On the evening of April 20, around half past eight. We raced away.
AMERICAN: To get away that same evening?
GÖRING: Yes, yes. Afterwards he retracted his order that I was to go South -- in his usual manner -- and ordered me to be at his Bunker on the following day. The room was very small. He sat at a large table and we all stood around it, about twenty of us. . . You should have seen him. His whole body shook violently. And he grew more vicious with every moment. . .
Himmler said [to me] that Count Bernadotte [a Swedish diplomat] had come to see him [at Hohenlychen in April 1945]. He told me, "You know, he must have been the man Eisenhower sent as a negotiator."
I replied: "I can't believe that. Don't take offence, but I doubt whether they will accept you as a negotiator."
Then he retorted, "Sorry to contradict you, but I have undeniable proof that I am considered abroad to be the only person who can maintain peace and order." . . And I thought he might have more proof than I, and restrained myself; so I said, "I just can't picture that."
And he kept coming back to the same thing. "If anything should happen to the Führer, and you are unable to take over -- after all, that might happen -- can I say such and such?" That occurred at least ten times during those two or three hours. I kept wondering, "Why should I be unable to take over? Why should I be cut off?"
Then it suddenly dawned upon me. . [ ] Popitz [ehem. Preuß. Finanzminister, nach dem 20. Juli hingerichtet] already had mentioned something like that. . . And when I mentioned that to him [Himmler] he said, "Well maybe Popitz may have said something like that. He might claim to know something. But as far as I am concerned it is an unheard-of impertinence."
I wanted to talk with Popitz again, and was told, "Of course, of course!" And when I asked when our talk could be arranged, they told me: "It may not be possible to arrange it today, but the day after tomorrow. " . . . Then I heard one day that the Führer had ordered Popitz sentenced to death.*
This Himmler, he really startled me during this last conversation of ours [on 21. April]. He made the ridiculous suggestion that I nominate him as Chancellor upon my becoming Hitler's successor. I replied to him: "I cannot do that, because according to our constitution the offices of Chancellor and President are combined." Then he said, "Sir, if anything should prevent you from becoming the successor, can I have the job then?"
There I replied, "My dear Himmler, we'll have to wait and see. . . I can't see what should prevent me from taking the office. What could stop me?" (And that happened in our last conversation at least ten times.)
As I sat there [arrested at Berchtesgaden on 23. April] I pleaded with him. All he would have to do would be to say just one word to his S.S. men and I would be free. But he dodged the question, and said that unfortunately my detention had been ordered by the Führer. He was sure it had been just a mistake. Everything would be cleared up shortly. So he just let me sit there.
* Zu den "Widerstands"-Verhandlungen zwischen Popitz und Himmler über den Rechtsanwalt Langbehn im September 1943 vgl. Peter Hoffmann, Widerstand Staatsstreich Attentat ( ).
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