The Man Hitler Couldn't Kill
NO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT
By CAPTAIN ERNST WINKLER, Former Officer of the German Luftwaffe
Delivered before the Executives Club, Chicago, Ill., May 21, 1943
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 570-576.
JANUARY 13, 1933, was one of the darkest days in the history of mankind. You know it today, and hundreds of millions know it today. At 11:30 that morning Paul von Hindenburg, the last President of the German Republic, signed a paper which gave a paper-hanger the right to take over.
Adolf Schickelgruber became Chancellor of Germany. At this very moment there were very few inside Germany and inside Europe who realized the danger. At this moment I belonged to the German Army and thought 1 had every reason to be proud of my uniform. It was the uniform of an army whose existence was based upon our constitution, and the constitution of the free will of all people. That is what we thought.
Two months later we young officers found out how double-crossed we were. Adolph von Stupnagel, today in charge of the Army of Occupation in France, came to our barracks, and asked every young officer whether he intended to join the new Nazi Army, or resign. The same thing happened all over Germany, and it is very little known in this country that about 2,400 young officers resigned. The greater part of them went over to Chiang Kai-shek to organize the Chinese armies for the Chungking government.
Under the leadership of General Frudecker who later came back to Germany and was murdered, another party went over to Jugoslavia and Russia to organize their armies. The rest remained inside Germany and hoped to be strong enough one day to overthrow Hitler and his gangster government, but were betrayed.
I am sure you all remember January 30, 1934. You have all read of the blood purge of that day when Roehm and several other German Generals, and many Nazi leaders were killed, but you did not read that during the next forty-eight hours about 68,000 men died in Germany and that the firing squads of SS, SA, and the Gestapo worked twenty-four hours a day.
Now Hitler thought he had won the fight inside Germany, and decided to dissolve all the trade unions, fraternities, clubs and other organizations. He thought he could start the persecution of the churches, and immediately started his persecution of the Jews. He was badly surprised because he found a new bloc of opposition, this time created by church leaders, the Cardinals of Munich, Berlin, Westphalia, and other parts of Germany. They tried to form a new bloc, but it was too little and it was too late.
At this very moment they asked me whether I wantedto take over the Catholic youth of Silesia. I knew what that meant. Hitler was waiting for our actions, and it was Rosenberg, the philosopher of the party who immediately attacked the Christian churches. He published his book: "The Might of the 20th Century."
Shortly after that we had our struggles with the SS, and the SA in the streets. We had riots and street fighting, and our boys died by the bullets of the Gestapo and the SA and SS gangsters. But nobody inside or outside of Germany was interested.
When Hitler saw that, Goebbels, Himmler, Hitler & Company immediately dissolved every organization of Catholic or Protestant character. They immediately dissolved our schools, our monasteries, but still our priests lived and the ministers lived.
Goebbels told the German people that they had to put them in jail because the priests and ministers of the Christian churches became criminals at the moment when they broke the laws concerning the exportation of money from Germany. But Goebbels saw the reaction because everybody inside Germany smiled. And we smiled because we knew Our ministers and priests would have been delighted to import money and they never had enough to export.
Then they found a new reason and they accused the priests and ministers of breaking the laws concerning morals. That was an awful serious charge. The Gestapo acted quickly, and 2,800 priests were arrested in one night. Nobody ever told you here in this country that the leadership of the Catholic church was wiped out in one night; thirty-eight leading personalities were murdered, including Dr. Klausner, Dr. Probst, Dr. Schmidt, and so on. Nobody spoke about that outside Germany. It was not interesting. In fact, five days latex Hitler apologized to the Catholic part of Germany telling everybody who wanted to know that the Catholic leaders were killed by accident and by mistake. Now he thought he had won the fight inside Germany, and he immediately started to persecute the Jews. I will tell you frankly, gentlemen, I have never been a friend of the Jews; I have never been an enemy of the Jews; I did not know there was a problem with the Jews. But I began to understand, and I became a friend of the Jews the day when I saw them dying, murdered in the streets by the SA and the SS.
When Hitler started to open persecution of the Jews something new came up, something nobody spoke about, something nobody saw, and something that everybody wasafraid to mention, but something the Gestapo and the Nazi gangsters feared like death because it was death for them; the underground. It was the first time in the history of the German nation that everybody learned to understand the other fellow; that professors and workers, physicians, and employees in offices, mine workers, and everybody collaborated and worked together in one movement; the underground.
I am nineteen months in this country now and during those nineteen months I have found many movies and pictures, and have read many books and articles about this. I always had to smile because all those pictures, books and articles have always showed that the underground is victorious, and it is always the Gestapo which is fooled. That is not true. We have never been victorious. We may fool them from time to time. We can carry on our fight, and we can die, but we have never been victorious.
But you may ask me: "Why underground? Why don't you go along with Hitler?" I will tell you why. Because of our youth.
I wish you would see our boys and girls today in Germany. I wish you would have seen them in 1933 and 1934, boys seven and eight years old who did not believe in God or in religion any more; boys who would tell you that religion is a Jewish invention which has to be exterminated; boys who will tell you there is a difference between Planeta and Christ. Planeta was the man who murdered the Austrian Chancellor, Dolfuss, and I assume you know who Christ is.
And if you asked such a young boy: "What is the difference?" He will tell you that Planeta died shouting: "Heil Hitler," and he died like a martyr, but that Christ was a dirty Jewish coward who died whimpering on the cross.
That is our youth today. Our boys, thirteen and fourteen years old, members of the Hitler Youth were educated to be spies on their parents, and they will tell you who ruled the home. They will tell you what you should do as fathers. And today in New York City at Fordham University there is a friend of mine teaching, one of the greatest leaders we had in our fight against Hitler.
One of his friends came home one day who was the father of a 13-year-old boy. He said to his boy: "Listen here, you are working for the Hitler Youth five days a week. Now why don't you work for the school at least one day?" This 13-year-old boy told his father: "You shut up: I have been toiling five days for the party and my country, and two days are for my fun, and now I go to the movies. Heil Hitler."
The father told him: "No, you stop. You will stay home and work for the school." And the boy told him: "By the way, I am a member of the Hitler Youth, and you are an enemy of the Government, don't you know that." The father said: "What do you mean by that?" "Well, I'll tell you, father, if you don't stop now the Gestapo will get you tonight."
And, gentlemen, everybody inside Germany, and I include my neighbor countries, who hear the words "the Gestapo will get you tonight," become terror-stricken. The father asked the boy: "What do you mean by that?" He said: "I'll tell you what I mean." And he brought out of his pocket a book, and opened it and told his father this: "You remember that you said on June 14th here to your friends: 'Goering caused the fire in the Reichstag.' Didn't you say so? And what did you say on May 25th: 'The Hitler gangsters are preparing for a new war.' Didn't you say that? And what did you say about the people's welfare money, the money collected for people's welfare going into airplanes and tanks? Didn't you say that?"
"Now, I go to the movies. Heil Hitler." And the boy went to the movies, and the father didn't have the right tosay one word more because he knew exactly that the boy would be down in the headquarters of the Hitler Youth, or he will talk to his Fuehrer, the leader of his group, and the next day two cars will be there, the Gestapo and the SS, and the father disappears and the mother disappears, or one of them. And maybe his mother five or six days later will get an invitation to come into the headquarters of the Gestapo. Every woman will rush down thinking they will see their husband, hoping to hear something from him. When she comes down she gets a bill to pay the expenses for the cremation.
We have hundreds of proofs of this kind where the father was betrayed by his own son, and he died in a concentration camp prison or in the streets, thanks to his own child.
And our girls today, and our girls in 1935, the State mothers. I wish you would see those girls, mere babes in arms, and I hope you never will go through what our fathers and mothers went through. They were afraid to talk to their girls and tell them what it means to be a mother at fourteen or fifteen years, because they knew exactly if they said one word too much something would happen to them. That is our youth.
And then there was the persecution of the Jews. I told you about the Jews, and I wish every decent American would have the chance just one day to live in a ghetto, just to see what Hitler was doing there, just to go through the ghetto in the morning at 7:00 or 8:00 o'clock and to collect the corpses there thrown out of the houses by their own family members because they did not have any possibility to dig a grave, and to see what it means to live without fresh vegetables, foods, or fresh bread, with no medical assistance, no telephone, no street car, no taxies—nothing is permitted the Jews.
The one thing they have is the yellow star of David, and they can go out of the ghettos between 10:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon and try to get something to eat for their families. Very often they do not get anything. It is the task of the underground to bring those Jews of the ghetto food which they do in thousands and thousands of pounds collected during the daytime. It is up to the underground movement to smuggle this food into the ghettos, and not only food, but medical equipment, medicine, and physicians.
I am very proud to tell you this now. It was a secret until now but I have the right to speak about it: since a few months ago thousands of dollars collected by organizations in this country are going into the underground movement in Europe.
But at the moment when that fight began we were fighting alone and we were hopelessly alone. We tried to get some help from outside but nobody was interested.
Then there is a third point of the underground fighting that is a most serious one: To kill or be killed. The SA, the SS, and the Gestapo know exactly that if they surprise the underground work they can't get away with just arresting them because every man and every woman in the danger of arrest will fight to the last moment. It is a fight of extermination between the underground movement and the Gestapo. Every man and woman who joins us today knows that on one of the 365 days of the year they will be lost when they once get into the hands of the Gestapo, and their last prayer will always be: "My God, let it be a quick death and not a slow one," because they know what it means to die a slow death at the hands of the Gestapo.
Despite this fact hundreds of thousands have joined us and the underground movement in Europe grows stronger and stronger. When I told you that every one of us know that one day out of 365 days will be the day of arrest, I knew that, too.
Gentlemen, please, when I tell you now my own story, don't believe that I am alone. I am just one of hundreds of thousands who felt the same thing in the same way: Arrest by the Gestapo, concentration camp, and death. I am an exception because I am still alive and here in America. But who made me an exception? I have to be thankful to flyers of the United States Army and Navy. I have to be thankful to the diplomatic corps of the United States. And I have to be thankful to the newspapermen of the New York Times, and to a Commander of the Navy today in Washington, D. C. Those men made me an exception. Those men helped me to escape, and those men brought me to the United States of America; otherwise I would not be here.
The Gestapo came one morning. They did not want to arrest me. No. They had only three questions to ask, and to ask me those three questions they brought thirty-five men along. They occupied our building; eight men in my bedroom. And the questions were:
One. The list of your members. Two. Who are your leaders? And, three. Where are your workers hidden? They said: "We know all about your underground activities." I told them I did not know anything about the underground; I do not have any list of members; and I do not have any leaders; I do not have any workers. They gave me three minutes' time to remember those things. And, gentlemen, you may believe me, or not, three minutes can be awfully long in your life especially if you are standing in the middle of eight blackshirts, eight SS men at 4:00 o'clock in the morning, and know exactly what will happen if you do not speak and you know what will happen if you speak.
The three minutes were up, and they started to whip me, and they whipped me for seven hours. I lost consciousness, then I came to and again the questions. At 11:00 o'clock in the morning they decided finally to bring me to jail. I was a wreck; twenty-nine teeth knocked out, my jaw twice broken, and covered with blood. I did not know how I could stand it any longer. I was for twenty-four hours in prison and then came Prince Albrecht Street, and I hope that you here in this God-blessed country will never know what it means to be in Prince Albrecht Street.
Prince Albrecht Street means the Gestapo headquarters building, and when we enter this building we know we will never be free again. But you did not know how greatly a human being can suffer. We stood outside in the yard for about five hours facing the wall, hands behind our head, waiting for a room, and every two or three minutes a young fellow will pass the line behind you and knock your face against the wall because you do not stand upright enough.
And then we got our room, a room large enough for two, and we were nine in it.
Then the next day came the questioning. I got the first, blows before I entered the room because I forgot to say "Heil Hitler," as I could not speak any more. My face was entirely swollen. So I had to go out and write on a piece of paper: "Heil Hitler," and go in again, and then they started questioning with the same questions, and the same treatment as before for two hours.
After two hours they brought me back in my room, and I couldn't stand upright any more. I couldn't lay down. I couldn't sit down any more. Gentlemen, I don't know whether you ever read one of my books or articles, or whether you ever heard one of my talks, but you will always find that I mention two memories of two young boys which I will never forget. Their memories will live with me as long as I live, because when I entered my room those two boys gave me a lesson in brotherhood, and a better lesson
I was naked when I entered the room. There were some Communists in there, men I hated, and I fought them outside. One of them gave me his shirt, took his coat off and gave me his shirt because I was naked; and the other took pieces of my pajamas and cleaned my body. I had to get some rest because the Gestapo promised to be back at 5:00 o'clock, and to get some rest I had to kneel down and put my face against the wall. Those two young boys knelt down with me for five long hours and supported me in their arms. Both were shot the same evening. Their memories will live with me as long as I breathe.
The Gestapo came back at 5:00 o'clock in the same room, with the same questions, the same treatment. Fortunately enough I lost consciousness immediately, and I came to when they burned the middle finger of my left hand and when they poured salt water in my eyes to see whether I am still alive. When they saw I was still alive the head of the gang said: "Put this swine on the chair; he is still alive."
In front of the table was a chair without arms and without a back. I could not sit upright alone any more and two blackshirts SS men got the order to keep me upright. My whole body was swaying up and down. I couldn't understand anybody any more and I didn't realize what he was asking, but I do remember that he asked me whether I wanted to sign a confession. No human being would have been able to sign anything under those circumstances. And he finally decided to finish the story.
Gentlemen, what comes to me is not courage of my heart. Every physician in this country, in Switzerland, and in Spain, later on told me that it was the last instinct of a cornered animal, whatever it was. When I heard the click of the Mauser, when he gave the order for the two boys to jump aside, and he came up with his Mauser towards my heart, I did something for which I am not responsible. I jumped and I had my hands on his throat, and four men tried to take me off his throat and they couldn't.
Then came night. Everything went out. Six days later I came to in a hospital, the Traffic Police Hospital. I did not know what happened to me; I did not know how I came into this hospital; I didn't remember anything. My face was all battered out of shape and my back was all gashed, and I was laying in water. This arm was in bandages, and my left leg the same thing. Out of my body came so many pieces of glass and rubber that I did not understand.
Dr. Schuessler, the head of the Traffic Police Hospital told me five weeks later what happened. This gangster decided to finish me quickly but he was afraid to shoot, the coward, because he thought he would hit his own men. So they decided to finish the job with daggers. They lifted my feet up and they worked with daggers, and they finally thought I was dead so they threw me in the corner with all the other corpses to be burned the next day. During the trip from the Gestapo headquarters to the crematorium an old Republican policeman found I was still alive, found I was still breathing, and he brought me into the police hospital, and I spent six months and four days in this hospital without moving out of my bed.
After six months and four days Dr. Schuessler told me I was his best experiment he ever had in his life. He told me I will never fly again, and I will never be able to drive a car again, or to swim, or go horseback riding again. I am happy to tell you today, gentlemen, I have my American log book, and I am flying again; I am swimming again; I am driving my car again; I am horseback riding again. But when I was told that I believed it.
Let me tell you why. There was a bullet in my left leg; one dagger stab opened the right side entirely and a part of my intestines had to be removed; I have two dagger stabsin the abdomen left. My left side was opened entirely, and the muscles were cut into the kidneys. Two dagger stabs in my stomach. The right elbow was entirely broken and splintered. My skull was fractured; twenty-nine teeth out, and my jaw twice broken.
That was the result of questioning by the Gestapo. That was the way I was treated by the Gestapo and the Nazi party after I had been in the armed forces for seven years and six months.
Well, I thought then that that was bad enough but I did not know the Gestapo. First I went to a concentration camp where I was kept in total darkness for forty-two days and nights in chains, without seeing sunshine or light, without having any clothes, and without being able to wash myself. I was tortured by the SS. They called it education and all that. And they beat me because I refused to eat beans as I cannot eat beans, with my stomach. But it wasn't the worst thing to be left there bloody and dirty. No, the worse is to be there night after night and day after day. You did not know when the night was and when the day was, and you would hear sometimes the opening of doors and the last shouts of men who did not want to die; sometimes boys seventeen and eighteen years crying: "Mother, I don't want to die," and then the shots, and then again deadly silence. And you know another one is gone. And you are waiting wondering whether the next door will be your door, or not.
Forty-two days and nights of that kind of existence can be forty-two eternities. It was there I found a piece of glass. Whenever I wash my hands I look at those scars on my left hand. I took this glass in my mouth but the chains were not long enough so I did not get it deep enough in my wrist otherwise I would have opened my veins.
After this concentration camp came Dachau. You have heard of Dachau. It was here where I got my greatest decorations, decorations which Fifth Columnists and Nazi sympathizers in this country do not like to see on my body because they will stay on my body as long as I live as signs of Hitler's new order, signs of Hitler's new culture and civilization.
Dr. Schumacher, the head of the Gestapo in Munich, and Commander Roedel, one of the most notorious gangsters in Germany, today Commander of the 14th Infantry, brought me to Munich and questioned me about a young Catholic fellow whose name was Prator. I refused to know him. I told them I never heard his name and I never had anything to do with him. I told them that I did not know what they are speaking about. When I refused to know him they brought him in. I looked at his body and said: "No, I don't know him," but I felt like a traitor because he was a good friend of mine before.
However, I thought that it would not matter because he would never be able again to recognize me as he was dying, but I was wrong. The Commander of the Gestapo there told me: "We don't want to soil our hands with your dirty blood. We will bring you back to Dachau and the SS in Dachau will make you talk."
Roedel brought us back to Dachau, and about 1:00 o'clock in the morning they took us out of our rooms and they put whips in our hands and ordered us to whip each other until one of us would confess. Well, I wouldn't whip him, and he would not whip me, so they whipped us for ten minutes. I thought the story would be over now. But it was not.
Commander Roedel himself with four men came in my room the next day and they brought me on the X-table in the prison. It is called the X-table because they cross your hands and legs and bind them under the table in an X-form and they will start whipping you and whipping you and asking you questions. If you do not answer those questionsthen they put two wooden balls on your back and they whip always between those two wooden balls, the same spot, and believe me every time the whip touches your body you think you are going to come apart.
If any of you gentlemen should be in such a position one day I can give you a nice bit of consolation. Let them whip you for ten or fifteen minutes. You will think you will die. But after fifteen minutes they can continue to whip you for hours and hours and you do not have any pains any more. I do not know why. But the brain does not register any more and you do not feel anything. Nobody knew that better than Commander Roedel who brought out his pocket-knife and who sat down on the table and he said: "If you don't answer my questions now, you dirty black swine, I will sign you for the rest of your life." Whenever he asked me a question and he didn't get an answer he made a cross in my back, and today I have about twenty crosses on my back, and I am awfully proud of my decorations.
How often Fifth Columnists in this country tell me it is a lie, it is a dirty American lie, dirty American propaganda, dirty British propaganda, dirty Jewish propaganda, and even dirty Russian propaganda, but then I take off my clothes, and they stop talking about that.
Dr. Schumacher, the Commander in Munich, ordered me transferred to Estenauer, the concentration camp in the swamps. You have heard about the camp in the swamps. Very few ever come back from there. And it was here that I lived through the darkest day in the history of the German people.
You have read, I am sure, about November 10. 1938, when the young Jew whose name was Greenspahn, killed von Roth, the German diplomat in Paris. I wish you would have seen what happened in Germany this day. Every Jewish temple was blown up. Forty-two Catholic and Protestant churches went the same way, were blown up or burned down, because they did not know the difference. Every Jew was arrested the next day. Thousands and thousands died in the streets under the knives of Hitler Youth, SA and SS men. They later called it: "The night of the long knives," you remember.
We got fifty of those Jews at Camp Estenauer. They arrived at 3:00 o'clock. I do not want to tell you what they suffered between 3:00 and 5:00, but at 5:00 o'clock von Richtofen, a member of one of the oldest families in Germany, gave the order that every dirty Jew still able to dig his own grave has to start digging. Everybody who was still able to dig started digging, and forty-five minutes later the machine-guns in the towers and the rifles of the SA and SS finished the job.
And that was the first time that the Nazi gangsters dared to shoot 150 innocent hostages in ten minutes. And nobody outside of Germany was interested. Nobody inside Europe realized the danger.
Oh, you could do business with Hitler, couldn't you? And it could not happen in France, Holland, in Norway, in Belgium, in Poland; it could never happen.
Then came the day I was free. We escaped into Switzerland, my father-in-law, four friends of mine, and myself. We crossed the border, we crossed the mine fields, we crossed the block houses, and then we were in Switzerland. Once in Switzerland we thought we were safe now. We thought that every decent human being outside of Germany would be a natural enemy of Schickelgruber and his gang, but in fact we were badly fooled. Why? Because Goebbel's propaganda and Goebbel's agents were much stronger than we were, and thousands of them were sent around in Europe with hundreds and thousands of dollars at their disposal, and they prepared the peoples of Europe for their conquests.
I had a most interesting conversation on August 27, 1939. The British Ambassador in Berne, Switzerland, gave a cocktail party for one of the best known Generals there who had come back from India. He was to be honored as a guest at this party and I had the honor also to be there. I asked his excellency whether he knows what is going on in Germany since this morning. It was August 27th. He told me: "Of course we know. Hitler is just preparing a new bluff. He will not be able to do anything in Europe with his 400 airplanes and 600 tanks."
Yes, but four times twenty-four hours later Hitler told them what he had. September 1st at 4:00 o'clock in the morning he started the war and he told them. He attacked Poland with about 10,000 tanks and 12,000 airplanes. You know what happened in Poland. The Polish people believed Goebbel's propaganda, and Poland eighteen days later saw their last Polish soldier disarmed. Do not permit anyone to tell you that those were normal successes of a normally strong German army. No, gentlemen. I saw it happen. It was a success of the enormously strong Goebbel's propaganda, and the enormous quantity of propagandists and Fifth Columnists in Poland. It was their victory in collaboration with the German army.
Then you know what happened in Norway and Denmark. He promised the King of Denmark that he will never attack Denmark. When he signed the non-aggression pact he promised the King of Norway the same thing. At the same time they were making this pact, the German Ship Altmark was attacked by the Royal Air Force in Norwegian waters. You know what happened in Norway. Instead of refusing the protest of the German government the Norwegian government gave orders to the Norwegian navy to put every ship under steam, and protect every German merchant vessel going to Narvik for iron ore. They trusted the word of Hitler and his gangsters. They did not know that the Norwegian navy, the Norwegian battleships, cruisers and torpedo boats protected the German army going up to Norway, which they did on March 10, 1940. It was the Norwegian navy which brought the German ships there, and those German ships were crowded with thousands of soldiers under decks.
When they arrived on March 10, 1940, at 7:00 o'clock in the morning they started the war with Norway. Again we see the preparations of Goebbels and Himmler. We see the Quislings coming out. We see the civilians suddenly appearing with Swastikas on their arms and with submachineguns under their arms, with pockets full of hand-grenades, occupying roofs, broadcasting stations, railroad stations, and all other installations. You know what happened in Norway. It was the end of Norway.
Again they promised the King of Belgium and the Queen of the Netherlands: "I do not have any intention to attack you"—until May 10th. And then came May 10th and the western part of Europe slept the deepest sleep any government could sleep, hut on May 10th they woke up in a hurry and it was too late. On May 10th in the morning Hitler took the Netherlands, and again we see those Fifth Columnists, suddenly appearing on the roofs with Swastikas and sub-machineguns. We see the Fifth Columnists coming down in parachutes from airplanes, and being led into the cities from every direction.
You know that Rotterdam was taken long before the German army reached the outskirts of Rotterdam. The same thing happened in Belgium.
And then came June 14, 1940, the occupation of Paris and the end of Europe.
It took him exactly thirty-four days, thirty-four days toknock out three of the greatest armies in Europe, the Belgium army, the Dutch army, and the French army.
I wish you would have seen the French army pouring into Switzerland, as I have seen it, one division after another, hundreds of brand new tanks, with the crews sitting on top of those tanks singing and drinking and saying that the war was over for them. Everybody thought that Hitler would keep his promise to take back the German army of occupation two weeks from then. Well, they are still there.
Then came the day that the Gestapo did not like me any more in Switzerland. They did not like me or my broadcasts, and the Swiss police recommended that I leave Switzerland because hundreds had been kidnapped from Switzerland and brought over to Germany and executed immediately after their arrival. I had to leave Switzerland. I went over to France, and from France into Spain. Once in Spain I thought now I can stay here because Spain is a Catholic country, and I had so many recommendation letters to the highest American diplomats and the highest British diplomats and the highest church authorities.
After I delivered my last letter, Commander Easton of the British Embassy called me into his office and he said, "Captain, do you know that you are being double-crossed again? Do you know that the German Gestapo in Spain has their own concentration camp; that there is a German concentration camp in Madrid with its own prison, and the German Gestapo has two airplanes going every day to Stuttgart with prisoners? Do you know that you are going to leave Madrid immediately?
I did not know how to manage that. I couldn't take a train, I couldn't take a plane. In Seville I had American friends, and I am delighted to give you today all their names and all their addresses and organizations because all of them are back in this good country.
Tom Hamilton was the one who saved my life, the same Tom Hamilton who is now in Washington in the Navy Department. Director Greer of the United States Red Cross brought me to Seville in his automobile together with two other American citizens, one a correspondent of the New York Times in Spain.
And so I got to Seville, but there we found that the Gestapo were all over the city and we had to leave. Back to Madrid where I could not spend more than twenty-four hours without having a Corps Diplomatique card. I did not know what to do. I decided to see the British Ambassador. By this time I was a nervous wreck and again it was Tom and Ethel Hamilton who invited me to stay with them. I stayed with them more than two months.
Then the Commander of the British Intelligence said that I had forty-eight hours to leave Spain because in forty-eight hours the German Gestapo will know where you are. I had no passports, no visas, no tickets, no American money, and you have to have good American money if you want to leave Spain for America. They do not accept Spanish money any more. But I had American friends.
American Ambassador Wedell, and Mrs. Virginia Wedell, and Commander Bryant, a Commander in the United States Navy today in Washington, D. C., and all the other members of the United States Embassy, and the British Embassy helped me. We worked forty-eight hours and after forty-eight hours I had a country where I could go to, and I had my visas, and I had my tickets, and I had $3,600 collected in cash by my American friends to pay for the tickets.
But I couldn't leave Spain because at the last moment a new order came out that every alien residing in Spain more than twenty-four hours had to have a safe-conduct permit before he leaves Spain. That meant that if you wereof Italian, German, or Spanish nationality you would have to see those Ambassadors and get permission to leave. Of course I knew that the German Ambassador, Baron von Stoerrer, would have been delighted to give me a paper saying that I had never been wanted in Germany. After that I would have to see the head of the German Embassy, Dr. Lawrence, and Dr. Lawrence, of course, would have done me the favor immediately; and after that I would have to see the head of the Spanish Embassy, and he would have signed this paper, too.
I knew it would be very hard for me to get these papers, but I had American and British friends. This time I can't give you names, but between you and me I think at least one of those gentlemen was an expert in the imitation of signatures because about two hours later I had this paper signed by the German Ambassador, Baron von Stoerrer, signed by Dr. Lawrence, signed by the Spanish authorities, with all the stamps necessary for me to leave Spain.
We went to Seville, took a steamer, and we arrived in this country. Gentlemen, I wish every American man, woman and child would know what you have in this country, would know where you live and what you enjoy; would know what it means to come out of darkness, persecution and hell, to a country like this.
I walked around in New York for days and was always afraid if two gentlemen came toward me because I was still living under the dread of the Gestapo. In looking in the faces of the people I discovered something here. Everybody in Europe has an expression of fear and distress on his face. You do not have it here. You can speak in your family in the presence of your children. You are not afraid that your children will go to the Gestapo. You do not distrust your wife. You know she does not go to the Gestapo. You know there is no Gestapo in this country.
Now, gentlemen, you have another thing, and thousands of Americans do not appreciate it, and that is lights: Just electric lights in the streets. I wish when you go down through the streets tonight, you look up to your electric lights and say: "God, I thank you that our lights are still burning," because as long as your lights are burning in your streets during the night you do not have to be afraid of Gestapo terror. You do not have to be afraid of machinegun bullets, of bombs, and other things, as long as the lights are burning all over America.
And then whenever I start talking and tell my American friends about Fifth Columnists here, they do not believe one word. This can't happen in America. American Fifth Columnists organization? It is impossible. It is true that you have the cooperation of the police force and the F.B.I., and I think those boys of the F.B.I. do a wonderful job.
Oftentimes you do not know what they do because they do not boast, but I will tell you just at the moment when the Fifth Column here was ready to prepare to go to work the F.B.I. captured more than 4,000 firearms and sub-machineguns; more than 360,000 rounds of ammunition which came into your country; more than fourteen shortwave transmitters in that organization.
You know what happened to all those propagandists. One of the main leaders of the Fifth Column was in your country, a lady of breeding and culture who was sent over to your country to divide and prepare you for conquering. She said she was here just to enjoy the American way of life. She came to your country with hundreds of thousands of dollars at her disposal, and she went from one country club to another, from one group to another, telling you how wonderful Hitler was, and that he never has any intention of attacking America.
As to the submarine danger she said he just has threesubmarines which are used for parade purposes. After some time the F.B.I. caught her. If you want to know her name and address I am delighted to give it to you. It is Princess Stephanie Hohenlohe, and her address for at least the duration, and I hope ten years longer than that, is the prison at Ellis Island.
Then after Baron von Opel and 2,800 leaders of the Fifth Column were arrested by the F.B.I. nothing was ever published of it. If I told you about the preparation of saboteurs in this country you would not believe it. But I was in the German armed forces and General Ludendorf was one of our teachers.
You can go into the libraries and look up the book written by General Ludendorf on total warfare. General Ludendorf promised to blow up your department stores, your churches, and theaters at the moment when they were crowded, so as to break the morale of the people. He promised that ten years ago, and nobody believed it.
Then something happened in New York, something funny. A gentleman was crossing 42nd Street and Broadway and he was not quick enough. He was supposed to be a Spanish gentleman. He was fatally injured, and they took him to a hospital where he died a half hour later. Shortly thereafter four distinguished gentlemen appeared at the hospital and inquired about him. They were not interested in his corpse but were just interested in his clothes.
One of the nurses was very clever. She thought there was something queer, so she notified the F.B.I. You know, the F.B.I. are very curious sometimes. They looked at this man's clothes and they even looked inside of the clothes. When they looked inside of the clothes they found a list of thirty-eight leading saboteurs who were placed in the country. They found the location of a most powerful short-wavetransmitter which was in permanent contact with the German Gestapo in Hamburg.
The F.B.I. took over the short-wave transmitter in Long Island and contacted the Gestapo in Hamburg. They remained in permanent contact with the Gestapo in Hamburg who were thrilled at the good work of their spies in Long Island. To show their satisfaction they sent $25,000 to Long Island.
Gentlemen, between you and me, I think that was the first and last time that the F.B.I. of the United States was paid by the Gestapo in Germany.
They are still working in your midst. Six weeks ago here in Chicago there was a pamphlet posted on the walls which said: "Why are you sacrificing, you Americans? Why are you sacrificing your coffee; why are you sacrificing your fine boys to the dirty Bolsheviks, the dirty Jews, and the dirty English?"
In England they have the same thing. I am sure many of you have had the paper put in your hands which said: "Who was the first man to sink a Jap battleship; who was the first man to arrive in Africa; who was the first man in the Solomons; who was the first man who got four new tires for his car? The Jew." That, gentlemen, would have been a joke, it would have been a funny joke if the German short wave would not have broadcast this four weeks before it was ever printed in your country. That is a proof that they have an organization, a wonderful one. There is another story about that concerning a broadcast from Germany to America. It is a long poem which ends up saying that there will come a day for the capitalist and the dirty Jew here in the United States. This poem was collected in Boston, in New Orleans, San Francisco, in New York and in Chicago on the same day, the same afternoon. Does that prove something? It proves that they have an organization and they are still working.
"Divide, confuse, and we will win." You will see German prisoners very soon here around Chicago and in the middlewest and you will have an opportunity to talk to them. You will be surprised how sure they are that you can't take a war; how sure they are that Hitler will win the war. Hitler said that he had $45,000,000 to spend in propaganda in America, and he said that he knows he will be victorious because he will divide and conquer.
Gentlemen, every boy who is living today, every one of your friends in the Army and Navy and the Marines, every single father, sister, mother, and brother, all of them behind the lines should always keep their eyes open and never say anything to stab our servicemen in the back. I hope you do not fall for the same tricks that every other people in Europe fell for. Those boys are fighting out there knowing they can count on you, and why? Because they know you are Americans.
Sometimes I am surprised if I hear ladies complaining that they do not have any silk stockings any more, or that they do not have a car to drive them to a bridge party and they have to take the street car. Gentlemen, I have only one wish,—to take those ladies over with me to Europe at this very moment and give them a chance to talk to the people in Greece, in Holland, in Belgium, and France, and to ask them: "When did you have the last time silk stockings? When did you sit the last time in an automobile? And what would you do to be free again?" I can tell you what they would say. They would sacrifice the last boy to fight, and they would sacrifice the last cent they have to be free again. But they know it is too late. And knowing it is too late they are looking toward you Americans.
I do not exaggerate when I tell you that millions and millions are looking towards you; millions and hundreds of millions are praying in every language for you, that God may give you the strength to bring them back to freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
I know there will be such a day, the last day of this war. Gentlemen, the last day of this war you will go down to your monuments and you will see your boys, boys who never will come back again, boys who died somewhere outside that you may live free and happy inside of this God-blessed country. And you will tell those boys in those shadows how you appreciate their death, and you will thank them and tell them that they did not die in vain; that you will continue to live free of slavery and the Gestapo and terror.
And, gentlemen, I think the same day I will have the right to speak to millions over in Europe, and I will have the right to speak to those millions of innocent killed Jews, and to those hundreds of thousands of innocent killed hostages over there. I will have the right to speak to my 142 hoys i have lost in my organization. And I will have the right to tell them that they did not die in vain either. Their death and their sacrifice was preparation for the victory of today. And I will tell them that we are free again all over the world, thanks to them, and to the people of the United States of America.
Gentlemen, I am sure of one thing: If one of those underground fighters could speak, one, just one of my 142 boys, they would send me back into your country thanking you for everything which you have done because you made their death worth while, and bless you. And they would send you a message,—a message which burns today in the heart of every man and woman who loves freedom and happiness.
This message is: "God bless America."