Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, the son of the merchant William Leonhard Ludwig Maximillian Schacht born in Tingleff in North Schleswig on 22-01-1877. His mother was Baroness Constanze Justine Sophie von Eggersund; she came from a Danish family, born 22-01-1887 in Tinglev. His father had lived in the United States and named his son after the radical journalist, Horace Greeley he died age 61, on 29-11-1872 and a prominent campaigner in America against slavery. Schacht studied medicine in Kiel, philology in Munich and political science Berlin before taking a degree in economics in 1899. he joined the Dresdner Bank and during the First World War was financial consultant for the German occupation government in Belgium. In 1916 he became a director of the German National Bank. In 1923 he became Reich currency commissioner and was praised for bringing Germany’s inflation under control. Schacht was rewarded by being appointed president of the Reichsbank. In 1929 he headed the German delegation that negotiated the Young Plan. Schacht developed right-wing political ideas and in 1930 was converted to fascism after reading Mein Kampf . In January, 1931 Hermann Goering (did you know) (see Goering-Fock) arranged a meeting with Adolf Hitler (see Hitler parents) . Schacht agreed to raise funds for the Nazi Party. Schacht, who had good contacts with Germany’s industrialists persuaded Albert Voegler, United Steel Works, Gustav Krupp and Alfried Krupp to join people such as
Fritz Thyssen Emile Kirdorf Carl Bechstei and Hugo Bruckmann in providing money for the party. In November, 1932, Schacht organized the letter signed by Germany’s leading industrialists that urged Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Adolf Hitler (see Alois Hitler) as chancellor. This was successful and on 20-02-1933, Schacht arranged a meeting of the Association of German Industrialists that raised 3 million marks for the Nazi Party in the forthcoming election. After Adolf Hitler (see Hitler Paula)
. passed his Enabling Bill Schacht toured the United States where he made forty speeches, appeared on radio and wrote several articles for American newsletters where he claimed that Hitler would soon return Germany to democracy. He met Franklin Delano Roosevelt but made a bad impression on the president who later described him as “extremely arrogant”. In August, 1934, Hitler appointed Schacht as his minister of economics. Deeply influenced by the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes, he died of heart problems, age 62, on 21-04-1946 and Roosevelt’s New Deal, Schacht encouraged Hitler to introduce a programme of public works, including the building of the Autobahnen. Schacht also introduced the New Plan which rigorously controlled everything that was imported into Germany. This involved negotiating a series of bilateral trade agreements including one with the Soviet Union in 1935. Like other Nazis Schacht was extremely hostile to Germany’s Jewish population. In one speech he argued that “the Jews must realize that their influence in Germany has disappeared for all time.” In 1934 he arranged with the World Zionist Organization , a deal where German Jews could pay 15.000 Reichmarks to emigrate to Palestine. It is estimated that over the next four years over 170.000 reached Palestine under this agreement. Schacht disagreed with what he called “unlawful activities” against Jews and in August, 1935 made a speech denouncing Julius Streicher, he is hanged 16-10-1946 and the articles he had been writing in Der Stürmer . He pointed out that Jews had fought bravely in the German Army in the First World War and deserved to be treated fairly. Schacht also had doubts about the large amounts of money being spent on armaments. He warned Hitler that he was building armed forces far beyond the country’s economic capacity. He found it increasingly difficult working under Hermann Goering (see Goering Peter) who fully supported the government’s policy on military spending. As Goering (see Emmy Goering)
told Schacht “If the Führer wishes it then two times two are five.” In November, 1937, Schacht resigned as minister of economics. However, he remained as President of the Reichsbank where he continued to oppose excessive expenditures for armaments. Schacht’s secretary, Fraulein Steffeck, described his work as currency commissioner: What did he do? He sat on his chair and smoked in his little dark room, which still smelled of old floor cloths. Did he read letters? No, he read no letters. Did he write letters? No, he wrote no letters. He telephoned a great deal: he telephoned in every direction, and to every German or foreign place that had anything to do with money and foreign exchange, as well as with the Reichsbank, and the Finance Minister. And he smoked. We did not eat much during that time. We usually went home late, often by the last suburban train, travelling third class. Apart from that he did nothing. Hitler eventually removed Schacht from power in January, 1939. During World War II he was approached by Hans Dohnanyi, Hans Dohnanyi, the son of an Hungarian pianist, was born in Vienna, on 01-01-1902 sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Dohnanyi was murdered on 08-04-1945, age 43
Grave Dohnanyi. Hans Dohnanyi. Erwin von Witzleben.
and Erwin von Witzleben, he was hanged by a piano wire, on 08-08-1944, age 62, the torture was filmed and Hitler, Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels (did you know) and other watched the movie at the Berghof, as untertaining, to become involved in plots against Hitler. Schacht refused but in 1944 he was arrested and charged with being involved in the July Plot. He was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp but was still alive at the end of the war. Arrested by the Allies he was accused of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. He was found not guilty but the German government had him re-arrested and charged him with other offences. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment but he was freed on 02-09-1948. Schacht’s son Jens Hjalmar
, born 14-10-1910, died in a Russian prison camp, age 34, in June 1945. On his release he formed his own bank in Dusseldorf. He also advised several foreign governments including Gamal Nasser in Egypt.
Death and burial ground of Schacht, Hjalmar Horace Greeley.
Hjalmar Schacht died in Munich on 04-06-1970, old age 93 and is buried on the Ostfriedhof of Munich, close to the graves of Hitler’s oldest secretary Johanna Wolf and Hitler’s WWI sergeant Max Amann. Schacht is buried opposite the crematorium of the East Cemetery, where his Nurnburg colleagues, who were less lucky, were cremated. Goering committed suicide hours before his hanging, .