In general we respected Jewish combat veterans of World War I. We even had some Jewish SS men who had taken part in the early struggles of the Nazis - almost 50 of them in Germany and Austria. I remember giving my personal attention to a Jewish SS sergeant, a good man, who wanted to leave for Switzerland. I had instructed the border control to let him pass, but when he reached the Swiss border he apparently thought something had gone wrong. He tried to cross illegally through the woods and he was shot. He was a 100% Jew, a man of the most honorable outlook.
Through all this period I saw the Jewish problem as a question to be solved politically. So did Himmler and the entire Gestapo. It was not a matter of emotion. My SS comrades and I rejected the crude devices of burning temples, robbing Jewish stores and maltreating Jews on the streets. We wanted no violence. On of my former officers was expelled from the SS for beating up four or five Jews in the cellar of our offices. Barring such exceptions, each of us, as an individual, had no wish to harm the individual Jew personally.
For the sake of the truth I cannot refrain from mentioning a small incident in which I myself violated this code of correctness. On day I called in Dr. Löwenherz, whom I appointed director of the Jewish community in Vienna. He answered my questions with evasions and, I belive, untruth. Owing to a temporary lack of self-control, I hit him in the face. I mentioned this affair to Dr. Löwenherz later in the presence of some of my subordinates and expressed my regrets to him over the matter.
As late as 1940, after we beat the French, we were devising plans for further mass emigration of the Jews to Madagascar. I had my legal experts draft a complete law covering the resettlement of the Jews there on territory which was to be declared Jewish. They would live there without restraint except, of course, they would be under the protectorate of the German Reich. Unfortunately, by the time the obstacles created by bureaucracy for this plan had been overcome, the scales of victory were balanced in such a way that Madagascar was out of our grasp.
May 31, 1998