Second interrogation of Alexander Schmorell
Secret State Police [Gestapo] – Munich, February 26, 1943
State Police Headquarters Munich
II A/Sond. [Special Commission]
Continuation of proceedings:
Led forth from prison, Alexander Schmorell stated the following:
If I am accused of wishing to forcibly change the constitution of the Reich through the publication and distribution of my flyers, then I will state the following:
To begin with, I would like to again emphasize that that I am more Russian than German according to my thoughts and feelings. However, I would like for it to be considered that I do not equate Russia with Bolshevism. On the contrary, I am an open enemy of Bolshevism.
The current war with Russia put me in a quandary, because it was important to me that Bolshevism should be eradicated and that Russia should lose as little land as possible. When the Germans penetrated so deep into Russian territory, I saw that as a very dangerous situation for Russia. I therefore pondered how I could face this danger for Russia. Because ultimately, I also am part German, and that part of me is being destroyed wholesale by the current war.
Therefore there were two factors that caused me to undertake something, on the one hand to protect the German nation from the dangers of a major conquest [Note 1] and from additional wars, and on the other hand to spare Russia a great loss of land. I wished to make my train of thought – or better put, my idea – known to the masses of the German people [Volk] through the leaflets that were later published. From the very beginning, it was clear to me that the German people would not be able to absolutely subscribe to my opinions as long as they were led by Adolf Hitler. And that explains my opposition to National Socialism. These days, I could not be content to be a silent opponent of National Socialism. Rather, because of my concerns about the fate of two nations I saw myself duty bound to do my part to change the constitution of the Reich.
In Scholl, I recognized a man who had unreservedly subscribed to my idea. Therefore the two of us sought to point out to the German people by means of the publication and distribution of our flyers that it was possible to shorten the war. When we called for sabotage in our leaflets, our aim was to force German soldiers to retreat. We saw this as the best possible solution for both sides (for Germany and for Russia). We did not think at all about the possibility that we were aiding and abetting the enemy in war, or that the military might of the Reich would suffer any particular detriment.
Notwithstanding, we clearly knew that the publication of treasonous flyers represented an action against the National Socialist regime, which would lead to the harshest possible punishment should we be discovered. I was not unaware of what I did, but rather I counted on losing my life should I be discovered. I simply disregarded all of that, because my inner duty to act against the National Socialist regime took precedence.
Now I will return to February 18, 1943, when Hans Scholl was taken into custody at the university for suspicion of distributing treasonous leaflets. As I have already stated, Scholl and I spoke a day or two earlier about setting out the remaining leaflets, perhaps at the University of Munich. We did not make any more specific plans regarding when this was to take place or who should carry it out.
I was therefore very surprised when I arrived at the university by streetcar around noon on February 18, 1943. By chance I ran into a medical student named Eichhorn. He told me that apparently two [male] students had just been arrested inside the university for distributing treasonous flyers. But Eichhorn did not know the names of the students who had been arrested. Nevertheless, I immediately thought of Hans Scholl and tried to call him from a public telephone. But I could not get through. Further attempts to reach Scholl were likewise unsuccessful. When I called Scholl around 3 p.m., an unknown man answered the phone and told me that Hans was not home. To me, this confirmed that something had to have happened to him.
There was nothing left for me to do but leave Munich. That Thursday, I roamed aimlessly around Munich and did not dare go home. In the end, I spent the night in the English Gardens. On Thursday when I called my parents’ home, the maid named Maria Kiermeier answered the phone. When I asked if anyone had been asking about me, she said no. On February 19, 1943, I called home again and this time was able to speak with my mother. My mother told me on the telephone that the police were there and that it would be good if I would voluntarily turn myself in. I told my mother I would, but in reality there was no way I could even consider that.
That same day, because I did not know where I should go, I twice looked up the Bulgarian student Nikolai Nikolaeff (he lives at Isabella Str. 26, Munich). The second time, Nikolaeff allowed me to wait in his room for a short time. I used the opportunity to steal Nikolaeff’s passport, so I would have another form of identification for my flight. I thought about stealing Nikolaeff’s passport because the drawer of a chest in Nikolaeff’s room was slightly open and I could see the passport inside. I therefore was able to steal the passport without any difficulty.
Before I left Nikolaeff’s residence and as a precaution, I asked him to give me cash, because I figured it would do me some good if I could get a little more than the RM 300 [$2,400] I had on me. In addition, I told Nikolaeff that I was planning to take a trip and that a windbreaker would be better for what I had planned. Nikolaeff agreed to my unreasonable demands and handed over his gray windbreaker in exchange for my winter coat. I did not tell Nikolaeff the real reasons for my request, that is, my flight from Munich. I therefore ask that in consideration for the fact that Nikolaeff acted in good faith, that the sum of RM 50 [$400] out of the RM 340.41 [$2,723.28] I had on me, as well as the gray windbreaker, be returned to him. I would not wish to see Nikolaeff suffer harm because of his willingness to oblige.
On Friday February 19, 1943, I left Nikolaeff’s residence and took a walk through downtown Munich. Towards evening, I went to Thalkirchen on Streetcar 8. From there, I walked along the Isar [River] to Ebenhausen. It was probably 3 a.m. when I arrived there on foot. From Ebenhausen, I took the train to Kochel, and then walked to Walchensee. My only luggage was my briefcase. The night of February 20 / 21, 1943, I spent the night at Pension Edeltraud [Note 2] in Walchensee. I filled out the registration card with the name Nikolai Nikolaeff. Before I forged this name, I had torn the photograph out of my student identification card and crudely pasted it inside Nikolaeff’s Bulgarian passport. I destroyed Nikolaeff’s photograph.
So I would not be recognized at a police checkpoint, I destroyed my student identification card, my pay book, and my savings account book during my flight.
On Sunday February 21, 1943, I walked to Krün, and from there on to Elmau, where I hoped to meet up with an acquaintance named Ingrid Mesirca. When I called her, I learned that she was ill and therefore I did not go to her residence. I called Dr. Kleeblatt in Tegernsee from Elmau and asked about Christoph Probst. This woman (Probst’s mother) could not tell me the whereabouts of her son. I asked because I wanted to reassure myself that the police had not undertaken anything against Probst in connection with the arrest of Scholl. Yesterday I already explained why I inquired about Probst’s well-being.
The night of Sunday to Monday [February 21 / 22, 1943], I slept in a haystack near the town of Krünn. On Monday, I returned to Elmau. I must correct that. I did not go back to Elmau, I went on to Mittenwald. Around evening, I met a farmhand named Micha, whom I knew. I rode with him to Elmau under the assumption that I perhaps could spend the night there. But when Micha said he would not let me do so, I left Elmau so I could sleep in a nearby haystack (the night of February 22 / 23, 1943). On February 23, 1943, I returned to Elmau, where I was stopped by two policemen. I showed Nikolai Nikolaeff’s identification. Although the policemen expressed their doubts about my identity, they did not take me into custody, so I was able to continue on to Kochel. I walked all night long and arrived in Kochel around 6 a.m.
In the days before all this, I had found and secured a blanket and taken it along, so I could have some cover while I slept in haystacks.
On February 24, 1943, I spent the day loitering around Kochel. At 7 p.m., I took a passenger train out of Kochel, the Isar Valley Train to Munich. I had reached this decision, because I thought that after the police checkpoint things were getting too hot for me. [Note 3] I thought it would be easier to escape detection in Munich.
I arrived at the Munich-Thalkirchen train station on February 24, 1943 around 10 p.m. and took the streetcar from there to Kurfürstenplatz. Once I arrived, I thought about Dr. Uppleger; she lives at Schönererplatz 2. I wanted to ask this woman if I could spend the night at her house. But before I could reach her property, I was surprised by an air raid alarm. I had no other choice than to look up Dr. Uppleger in the air raid shelter in the basement of her house. Once there, I asked her to come with me to the entrance, so I could speak with her alone. Unexpectedly, a man about 45 years old emerged from the air raid shelter wearing a railroad uniform. He came up to me and took me into custody. Although I tried to escape, several men running by in uniforms overpowered me and handed me over to the police.
I bought the Russian-style revolver that was found in my parents’ residence along with 50 bullets from a student named Anton Wagner (residence unknown). I must correct this. Actually, Wagner sold this revolver to Hans Scholl, who gave me the revolver about 8 days before his arrest. I do not know of any specific purpose for his giving me the revolver. I never particularly considered making use of this weapon if I were to be prosecuted [Note 4] for the publication and distribution of treasonous flyers. That is why I did not have the weapon on me; rather, I kept it in my room in my parents’ residence.
The stencils and absorbent paper that were discovered there after Scholl’s arrest were from our inventory of supplies used to publish our treasonous leaflets. I cannot say for certain whether the stamps that were seized were purchased before my service on the Eastern Front and then kept in my room, or whether they were left over from the mailing of our flyers. In contrast, I can say with certainty that the receipt dated January 28, 1943 that was also seized, receipt from Kaut-Bullinger and Company, confirms the purchase of stencils.
Regarding the transfer notice, I can state: In 1933, I briefly belonged to the “Jung Stahlhelm” [Note 5]. I was then transferred to the SA [Storm Troopers]. Since I was too young, I was transferred to Hitler Youth on March 1, 1934. I belonged to Hitler Youth for a very short time. I was transferred to the SA Reiterkorps [cavalry], which I also belonged to for a very short time. I requested my own discharge after a relatively short time, because I was disappointed in the cavalry [Reiterei].
On December 3, 1936, I received the SA sports medal. On November 8, 1938, I received the Medal of Remembrance for March 13, 1938 as a gunner of the Seventh Artillery Regiment. I took part as a soldier in the return of the Ostmark [Austria] to the Great German Reich. I also received the Medal of Remembrance for October 1, 1938. When I was 15 – 16 years old and belonged to Jungvolk and Hitler Youth, I was even excited about these things. But this interest abated more and more.
To return once again to the possession of the revolver that was seized [from my residence]: I expressly declare that I did not carry this [revolver] during our graffiti operations, because I did not even own it at that time. The medical student named Anton Wagner will be able to give more details about precisely when he gave it to me. He gave it to me at the Bergmannschule. However, Wagner does not live there. As far as I know, only Hans Scholl carried a firearm during the graffiti operations, and /added by hand: he/ would have made use of it had we been caught. I do not know whether Willy Graf carried a firearm.
By chance I had cash in the amount of RM 340.41 [$2,723.28] on me when I by chance [Note 6] learned of the arrests of two [male] students, because I did not return to my parents’ residence. It has long been my custom to carry all of my money with me.
To the question regarding the connections to and the political attitudes of Prof. Muth of Solln, I can answer as follows:
Hans Scholl has known Prof. Muth for many years. I myself met Prof. Muth about a year ago in Solln through Hans Scholl. Prof. Muth occupies himself with religious literature. I do not know anything about his other attitudes toward National Socialism. I would have no reason to believe that Prof. Muth is engaged in any treasonous activity. Prof. Muth has absolutely nothing to do with my crime. I do not even believe that Hans Scholl dared to initiate Prof. Muth into our plans. I cannot say anything negative about Prof. Muth. The one and only time I visited Prof. Muth, we talked about the circle around Stephan George, whom Prof. Muth opposes.
I will now give details regarding how our conversation with Prof. Huber of the University of Munich came about. I met Prof. Huber about 1 year ago in Scholl’s residence. I must correct that. It is possible that the first meeting took place on the street. Before that, I had heard nothing from Scholl to indicate that the two of them knew each other well. Since then, I have gotten together with Prof. Huber perhaps three times. One time, Prof. Huber came to my residence to discuss literary matters with me. This meeting served no political end at all. Hans Scholl was also present in my residence during this visit. I believe I can recall that this meeting took place in the summer of 1942.
Since I returned from serving on the Eastern Front, I have met Prof. Huber twice in Scholl’s residence. At these meetings, we naturally spoke about military and political matters. We could determine that Prof. Huber does not agree with many current National Socialist issues. Recognizing this led us to hint to Prof. Huber that back in the summer of 1942, we had published and distributed the treasonous “White Rose” leaflet. In this context, we were able to speak about the publication and distribution of treasonous leaflets in general terms, without telling Prof. Huber that at that very moment, we were beginning once again to occupy ourselves with the publication and distribution of such leaflets.
Although we did not expressly state this at the time, Prof. Huber could infer that when new treasonous leaflets should appear, Hans Scholl and I were the publishers and distributors thereof. In any case, Prof. Huber responded to our hints by pointing to the dangers associated with the publication and distribution of treasonous leaflets and warned us about it. Hans Scholl and I were certain that Prof. Huber would keep silent about the hints we had dropped. This meeting in Scholl’s residence took place about 4 weeks ago.
I have been advised that Willi Graf, who has just been placed opposite me, says he had nothing to do with the publication and distribution of our last leaflet “Fellow Students!”, or rather that he did not participate in our graffiti operations. I stand by what I said about Graf yesterday fully and completely.
I know nothing about the leaflet “10 Years of National Socialism”. Till now, I have known nothing about the existence of such a leaflet and therefore I cannot make any useful statements regarding the publisher and distributor of this treasonous flyer.
I am being shown a yellow envelope bearing the handwritten address: “Dr. Halm, Munich 1, Bavarian National Library, Ludwig Str.” When I am told that the treasonous “White Rose” leaflet was mailed in this envelope on July 3, 1942, I still cannot give any additional information regarding it.
To the remonstrance that I am guilty of having torn down a recruiting poster for the SS at the Menterschwaige streetcar stop in mid-February, I can only say that in this case I am not the perpetrator. The last 18 months I have not traveled by bicycle, but rather by streetcar. This is because the front wheel of my bicycle was stolen. This statement can be verified at any time by speaking with my parents or household staff. However in this context, I must state that Russian is almost the only language spoken in the household.
I do not know Prof. Martin at all.
I did not know that there was a warrant out for my arrest when I returned to Munich on February 24, 1943. I do not know where Christoph Probst or the Scholl siblings could be staying at present.
I have nothing to add to the statements I have already made regarding this matter. I have told the whole truth and am not able to name additional persons who had anything to do with my crime or who participated therein. I was not recruited or influenced by anyone to publish treasonous leaflets, or to distribute them, or to paint graffiti such as “Down with Hitler” or “Freedom” on buildings in Munich. I will not name Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Sophie Scholl, or Willi Graf as the persons who played a greater role in the publication and distribution of our treasonous leaflets. Rather I openly confess that Hans Scholl and I were the ringleaders.
The assumption that I maintain contact with Russian persons or agencies for the purpose of passing along information is unfounded. I must certainly defend myself against such an accusation, because there is no basis for it. The photograph of a Russian pilot and the address of a Russian POW that were found during the search have no meaning in this context, because I found the photographs on the occasion of my service on the Eastern Front. I did not know the pilot who had crashed. I met the Russian POW named Andrejeff at Field Hospital Plankenhorn. I talked with him often and as a precaution had his address written down so we could look one another up after the war. We have not corresponded.
I confess to treason, but deny that I acted treasonously. [Note 7]
Recorded by: /Signature: Schmauß/ Crim. Secr.
Read, approved, and signed by: /Signature: Schmorell/
Present [as witness]: /Signature: Ammon/ Employee of the Department
Note 1: Conquest of land, not peoples.
Note 2: This hotel still exists (2006).
Note 3: “Der Boden wurde mir zu heiß.”
Note 4: Or pursued (“verfolgt”).
Note 5: Jung-Stahlhelm, referring to the steel helmets worn by soldiers. During the Nuremberg Trials on August 29, 1946, the question of membership in one of the Stahlhelm organizations arose: Did that membership alone constitute a prosecutable offense? Following excerpt from trial transcripts elucidates Alex’s position. It has been reiterated time and again that the prosecution are anxious to obtain a declaration of criminality only against those who bear a major responsibility for the crimes that have been committed. In view of this, and in view of the evidence that has been presented to you since February, we desire respectfully to recommend certain additional exclusions from among the general membership of this organization. … Secondly, we believe that we are also justified in asking for the exclusion of certain sections of the Stahlhelm. So that you may understand the grounds for this recommendation, it may be of assistance if I briefly remind you of the structure and history of that organization. It was composed of: 1. The Scharnhorst, which was the Stahlhelm youth organization for boys under 14, with a strength of about 500,000. 2. The Wehr Stahlhelm, which included the Jung Stahlhelm (boys from 14-24 years of age) and the Stahlhelm sports formations (men from 24-35 years of age). The total strength of the Wehr Stahlhelm was 500,000. 3. The Kern Stahlhelm, which consisted of men between 36 and 45 years of age. Its strength has been given as 450,000. The total strength of the Stahlhelm was therefore approximately 1,500,000 men and boys. In 1933 the Stahlhelm was placed under the control of the Nazi Party. The Scharnhorst was transferred to the Hitler Jugend; the Wehr Stahlhelm to the SA proper; and the Kern Stahlhelm to the SA Reserve. Since we have already excluded the SA Reserve we are left to consider only that part of the Stahlhelm which was incorporated into the SA proper – 500,000 members of the Wehr Stahlhelm. You have evidence both from witnesses and from documents contained in the defence document book that many of these 500,000 Stahlhelm members were opposed to their transfer to the SA and to the policies and aims of the SA and the Nazi Party. Many, including the witness von Waldenfels, refused to join the SA. It is a possible hypothesis that many more, although opposed to the policies of the SA, were prepared to join, in view of the assurance that was given to them that they would retain their independent character, identity and leaders in the same way as did the Reiterkorps, and that they would never be called actively to associate themselves with the SA proper. On the other hand, there can be no doubt whatsoever that many wholeheartedly joined the SA and participated to the fullest extent in its criminal activities. Juettner himself is an example, and he declared that he was by no means the only one. You will remember his evidence: “Numerous SA men came to me in the first few months, who had formerly belonged to the Stahlhelm; like myself, they felt regret that their fine old organization was no longer in existence. But together with me they hailed the fact that they were now permitted to participate in this large community of the SA.” Speaking of his own district, he said: “Really, after 1935 the nucleus of the SA was my old Stahlhelm organization; therefore many Stahlhelm men remained in the SA.” To exclude the whole of the Stahlhelm would entail the exclusion of men like Juettner and many other Stahlhelm members who were to form the nucleus of the SA. For more information, see: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-22/tgmwc-22-214-05.shtml.
Note 6: “Zufällig” (coincidentally or by chance) is repeated, once about the cash, and once about learning of Hans and Sophie’s arrest.
Note 7: Ich bekenne mich zum Hochverrat, lehne es aber ab, mich auch landesverräterisch betätigt zu haben. Too important a sentence… Interpreted by the Holocaust education group in Orenburg, Russia, to mean that he had not betrayed his real country, Russia. But it has so many nuances!
Source: RGWA (16 – 22)