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Translation of Tape Recorded interview of Colonel Nicholas von Below (Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant, 1937-1945), May 18, 1968

David Irving: One more question. You were with Hitler in his home when the news of the Reichskristallnacht arrived there in Munich, and he was rather surprised by that. Can you depict that? Who else was there?

Colonel von Below: I remember only [Julius] Schaub, and a servant and a doctor certainly, and a personal adjutant, a military adjutant, an SS orderly, a doctor, a secretary. [Theo] Morell was at that time not yet the duty physician. You must always make a distinction between a duty physician and Prof. Morell. Prof. Morell was the senior doctor for certain things, while the duty doctor was always one of the three surgeons, [Karl] Brandt, [Hanskarl von] Hasselbach or [Hans] Haase. Morell just had to be in the same town as Hitler, i.e. Munich, Obersalzberg, Berlin, or wherever he happened to be, at that time; but in other words he had to be in Munich, within reach. But the duty doctor always had to be right there, where Hitler was. He had to accompany him when he drove around in the city, when he was eating, etc. Prof. Morell was allowed to make up his own mind whether to take part, mostly he was so interested himself that he journeyed with us. At the top level official things Morell was not actually there.

Irving: But at the tea evenings, etc?

Below: Yes, then there was often talk about the things that had happened, and he took that in naturally.

Irving: Back to the Reichskristallnacht.

Below: The first thing that came to us was a phone call from the Four Seasons Hotel, - those of us who were on duty with Hitler always lived at that time in the Hotel Four Seasons and on this day we were billeted in rooms that were quite high up. The staff phoned us, to say we ought to come right over and pack our bags, as in a neighbouring building the synagogue was on fire and the sparks were flying right over the building. It was just a matter of security. [Dr] Brandt always lived in that hotel too. He said, "Ought we to drive over or not?" Somebody said then, "Well one of us ought at least to go and take a look." Whether anybody did drive over, I don't know now. Then further reports came, I don't know on the basis of what facts, whether it was [Julius] Schaub asking or the fire-brigade or the Gau headquarters. Shortly after that it became known that the synagogue had not caught fire by itself, but had been set on fire and that there was a demonstration going on. Thereupon that was immediately passed on by Schaub to Hitler. Thereupon the Police President of Munich, [Baron Friedrich] von Eberstein, was immediately sent for. Herr von Eberstein then appeared soon after at the Führer's residence, he was an SS Obergruppenführer. He was now interrogated by Hitler. Then there was a conversation between Hitler and Goebbels by phone about the situation.

Irving: Was he remaining in Munich?

Below: I don't know. The people were probably all in Munich because of the eight and ninth of November.

Irving: What was Hitler's reaction to the first news reports?

Below: Well: "What's going on, please find out, I have to know what the game is." It was my impression that we all, and even Hitler himself, were totally in the dark [Muspott], nobody knew anything about anything. I can only say, from my many years with Hitler and on his staff, if that had been organised by Hitler and with Hitler's knowledge - a charade on that scale would have been impossible! I wouldn't put it past Goebbels, absolutely not. Then Hitler became angry and raised his voice quite loudly to Eberstein and said, "I demand that order is restored at once!" That was however limited just to Munich. I overheard that, because the conversation took place as I was on the way out. What happened with regard to the directive to Goebbels or to Himmler for the rest of the Reich territory, that I do not know. I spoke once more with Eberstein about this business in Nuremberg prison in 1948, and I asked him, "Did you know anything about it before you came to Hitler's?" He described it to me just as I had it in my own recollection. He was every bit as surprised by the whole events when he came to Hitler, and he was horrified at the development in his own patch, Munich.

The topic occupied us actively ever after. Who was the real originator of this affair? We did not learn that at the time either. We suspected that the SA was behind it, but who in the SA had given the order, I never learned that either.

Irving: When Hitler then learned that it had been done in conjunction with Goebbels, did he condone the thing?

Below: I don't know, I don't think so. I just learned the sequel with the famous fine of one million, or whatever the Jews had to pay up. It was ordered at the time that the Jews had to pay a huge sum. That was all connected with Vom Rath and the like, the Reichskristallnacht. I only know that on the various points Göring once came to Hitler - that was later, in Berlin, I think - and that he was frightfully agitated about the fact that so many plate glass windows had been smashed, which we would have to replace with costly foreign currency purchases. That was completely new to me, and it's still a bit of puzzle to me today. Any way I know that Göring was in a rage because this Reichskristallnacht had cost him so much hard currency. Quite apart from the fact that Göring had a totally different attitude toward the Jews that the Party gentry like Goebbels, Himmler, etc. He considered this topic was particularly effective, which was right. This problem is naturally a very important and decisive one in the whole field of the Third Reich. But naturally through the depiction after the war the depiction of it has been completely distorted, which is understandable enough but which has not exactly helped to clarify what happened. The most radical of all the Nazi leaders was, from the very outset, Goebbels, as I saw for myself at that time, and that is why it was rather remarkable, in the last days in Berlin, that it was he of all people who had a substantial role in the way things had gone, that it was Goebbels who was now the Last Paladin at Hitler's side, - that was just a little bit macabre. Because he had not really done Hitler any favours. For a long time Hitler did not really place much trust in him, but then after a while he began to in matters of importance, because Goebbels had the knack or putting forward his things in a very logical and penetrating manner. Hitler was in some way a sucker for this whole kind of act [Masche], there's no doubt about that. ...

[Death of] Roosevelt, then Goebbels suddenly turned up and said, "That's the death of Czarina Catherine!", just like at the time of Frederick the Great.

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