Oral History

Joseph Maier escribes Hjalmar Schacht at the Nuremberg trial

Joseph immigrated to the United States in 1933 after finishing university in Leipzig. His parents and brother had left Germany earlier for the United States. Joseph attended Columbia University. From 1940 to 1943 he was assistant editor for a New York German-Jewish newspaper. In 1944, he worked in the American embassy in Britain as a propaganda analyst. He went to Nuremberg, Germany, as an interpreter in 1946. He analyzed materials and transcripts, and participated in many interrogations for the Nuremberg trials.


The whole lot of them, with one exception, made the same impression on me. A very sad, drab impression. The one exception because he had an ex...an extraordinary IQ was Hjalmar Schacht, the former Reichsbank [German state bank] president. He had an I...very good IQ. Yes, but you know what the strange thing is, he wanted to be interrogated, as he was eventually, by a colonel who went...who eventually, uh, was, uh, became a, uh, a U.S. District Court Justice. He was up on economics and he wanted to be, uh, interrogated on his economic brilliance and specialties and all that sort, and insisted on having an interrogator to whom he could really disclose what was, what his contribution was to both the building up and the undermining, boring from within the, uh, Nazi government until he was booted out. This highly intelligent, the only man with a superior IQ, who impressed me as such, sat there in the dock of the open Military Tribunal as by mistake on our part, he was associated with the wrong kind of club. He said..."as if, uh, the whole thing didn't concern me, it concerned just this motley crew over there. Rightly so, rightly so. But I shouldn't [be] associated with them." He was acquitted eventually.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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