GHDI logo

Georg von Schnitzler on Hitler’s Appeal to Leading German Industrialists on February 20, 1933 (Affidavit, November 10, 1945)

Hitler did not intend to share his power with coalition partners. After the dissolution of the Reichstag, he hoped to win an absolute majority for the NSDAP with a massive election campaign. To finance the electoral battle, he sought support from Germany’s leading industrialists. In a meeting held on February 20, 1933, Hitler and Hermann Göring (1893-1946) explained the benefits that industry leaders would derive from an NSDAP victory: political stability, the complete elimination of the Communist threat and, not least, a lucrative rearmament policy.

Among those present at the meeting was George von Schnitzler, a board member of I.G. Farben, then the world’s largest chemical conglomerate. (I.G. Farben would eventually go on to produce the Zyklon B gas used in Nazi death camps). In the following affidavit, given in English on November 10, 1945, Schnitzler describes the purpose of the meeting and provides the names of others in attendance that day.

Schnitzler, who in his later capacity as Chairman of the company’s Chemical Committee [Chemikalienausschuss] was responsible for exploiting the Polish and French chemical industries, was sentenced to a five-year prison term at the I.G. Farben Trial of 1947-48. He was released after one year, however.

print version     return to document list previous document      next document

page 1 of 2

Affidavit of Georg von Schnitzler

I, Georg von Schnitzler, a member of the Vorstand of I.G. Farben, make the following deposition under oath:

At the end of February 1933, 4 members of the Vorstand of I.G. Farben including Dr. Bosch, the head of the Vorstand, and myself were asked by the office of the president of the Reichstag to attend a meeting in his house. The purpose of which was not given. I do not remember the two other colleagues of mine who were also invited. I believe the invitation reached me during one of my business trips to Berlin. I went to the meeting which was attended by about 20 persons who I believe were mostly leading industrialists from the Ruhr.

Among those present I remember:

Dr. Schacht, who at that time was not yet head of the Reichsbank again and not yet Minister of Economics.

Krupp von Bohlen, who in the beginning of 1933 presided the Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie which later on was changed in the semi-official organization "Reichsgruppe Industrie".

Dr. Albert Vogler, the leading man of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke.

Von Lowenfeld from an industrial work in Essen.

Dr. Stein, head of the Gewerkschaft Auguste Victoria, a mine which belongs to the I.G. Dr. Stein was an active member of the Deutsche Volkspartei.

I remember that Dr. Schacht acted as a kind of host.

While I had expected the appearance of Göring, Hitler entered the room, shook hands with everybody and took a seat at the top of the table. In a long speech he talked mainly about the danger of communism over which he pretended that he had just won a decisive victory.

first page < previous   |   next > last page