Third interrogation of Manfred Eickemeyer
Continuation of the Interrogation on April 9, 1943:
Eickemeyer declares the following:
I will now relate several incidents that I witnessed during my employment with the Generalgouvernement that I did not think were right and about which I possibly spoke in the presence of Scholl et al in Munich.
In 1940 or 1941 (both years come into question), about 180 workers of the Wilhelm Offenbeck
Corporation Construction Company wanted to go on strike because of low wages and inadequate provisions. Although we immediately took steps to remedy this deplorable state of affairs with the German authorities, nothing much was done to improve the social living conditions of these workers. As a result, these Polish workers did not become supporters of Germany, but rather now passively seek to oppose German interests.
It is also possible that I told about resettlements and shootings of Jews in the Generalgouvernement. I always emphasized that I did not personally witness these events, but rather that I knew about them from hearsay. I also admit that I criticized one or the other German measures taken in the Generalgouvernement in Scholl’s circle etc.
Question: The “White Rose” leaflet Series II Paragraph 2 says that since Poland was conquered, three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in a bestial manner. The support for this statement supposedly came from you. What do you have to say to this?
Answer: No matter what, I must insist that I did not tell either Scholl or Schmorell about the shooting of a specific number of Jews. I did not name the number “30,000” [sic], nor could I name that figure, because I had no reason to do so.
In addition, I did not know that Scholl and Schmorell were already involved with the publication and distribution of the seditious leaflet “White Rose” and that they would use my tales for such a purpose. I cannot explain how the two of them came to such a misuse and twisting of facts.
It is possible that when Scholl and Schmorell asked me how many Jews lived in a county or a city, and I answered them, that they used my answer as the basis for their seditious leaflet. I therefore can see that I was misused by these people, even though from the very beginning I kept a natural distance from them in personal matters.
Question: In the meantime, have you thought about when you left Munich for Cracow in the summer of 1942 and when you beforehand took part in a so-called farewell party in your studio?
Answer: As best as I can recall, it was the end of June or the beginning of July 1942. Anything more specific would have to come from the correspondence that is located in my studio.
When I am asked who invited people to this farewell party or who served tea and possibly pastries to the participants, I would have to say it was primarily Hans Scholl.
I can still recall that I was rather surprised by the large number of participants and also a little annoyed. From the things Scholl had said, I had assumed it would be only a few people. No matter how hard I try, I cannot give any further details regarding the number of the participants. As far as I know, Sophie Scholl brought black tea. And if pastries truly were provided, then those had to have come from me.
Question: What would you like to state today regarding details of the topics of conversation that took place at this so-called farewell party?
Answer: In the meantime I have thought about this evening more and now can explain that if there were to have been conversations detrimental to the State among the other participants, I did not participate [in these conversations] mentally. It is far more the case that it is impossible that Hans Scholl as the mouthpiece declared himself to be an open opponent of the regime. If that had been the case, I would have tried to convince the participants otherwise or I would have asked the participants to leave my studio.
I myself remember this farewell party as having been completely harmless, where at most one of the students expressed his concerns about cultural matters or religious viewpoints.
I am surprised to hear that the participants had already decided to seek out a circle of persons opposing the regime and to consider how one could eliminate the National Socialist State.
I can only imagine this true behavior thusly: The Scholl siblings at the head did not let me in on this matter, rather they were only trying to draw me into this circle or get my studio as a suitable meeting place. The Scholl siblings and their accomplices must have had second thoughts about including me in their plans, because neither during the farewell party in question nor on any other occasion did they show me one of the leaflets they had published nor did they drop any hints that would give me cause to believe that they were involved with the production and distribution of such leaflets.
Therefore while I was in Cracow I did not give a second thought to this circle of persons. I had no idea what could happen in my studio and its attached basement during the following time.
In the time between the summer of 1942 and October 1942 (when I came to Munich for 10-12 days), my studio could not be entered by anyone other than Mr. Mayer, the janitor. During this time, I gave no one permission to hang around in my studio or to meet there.
Only at the beginning of January 1943 when I met Wilhelm Geyer and after Hans Scholl had asked that I make my studio available to Geyer for the remainder of his local work (approximately 8 weeks) was there even the possibility that besides me and Mr. Mayer the janitor a third party could enter my studio.
Around January 10 or 11, 1943 I gave Geyer the key to my studio. We agreed that he could live and work there, and that he could invite small groups of people to view his pictures in the studio. Neither Hans Scholl nor Wilhelm Geyer told me when I handed over the keys that they intended to use the studio for political meetings.
It seemed obvious to me that Geyer, who was known to the Scholl siblings, would allow these two entry to the studio on occasion. I tacitly believed that Hans Scholl’s entry into my studio – and he was interested in both my and Geyer’s work – would not be of any significance.
I am alarmed by the revelation that Hans Scholl misused my kindness to Geyer in such a rude fashion. In no case did I ever give Geyer or Scholl or any other person permission to take green enamel paint from my studio (which Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf used to paint the slogan “Down with Hitler!”) or to store other objects for the production of their seditious leaflets in my basement. Incidentally it is correct that I had stored several cans of green enamel paint in my studio for my personal use.
Question: [Note 1] What were the conditions under which you gave Geyer the keys to your studio in mid-January 1943? What did you agree with him regarding when and where you would take possession of these keys once again?
Answer: I gave the keys to my studio only – only – to Geyer. I told him that I would advise him in writing when I intended to return to Munich, so that he could leave the keys with my acquaintance named Mrs. Geiger, who lives at Franz Josef Str. 3 / 2. In any case I did not agree and also did not assume that Geyer would leave the keys with Scholl whenever he left Munich. If Geyer did not keep the keys to the studio on his person at all times in accordance with our agreement, and instead left them in Scholl’s apartment for the greatest part of the time, then he acted without my consent and permission.
Question: In your judgment, what were the political viewpoints of Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, the artist Wilhelm Geyer, the physiotherapist Harald Dohrn, and the medical students Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf?
Answer: Hans Scholl definitely was not a disciple of National Socialism. I could see in him clear antagonism to National Socialist ideology, but I never could see that he was thinking about ways to overthrow the National Socialist government or eliminate its leaders. He had a very impassioned manner of speaking and championed decidedly Protestant [religious] views. I never would have believed him capable of treasonous activities punishable by death.
I knew his sister Sophie Scholl as a very quiet student [Note 2]. I could see that religion was a particular problem for her. She is the last person I would ever have suspected of treasonous activity.
I believe the artist Wilhelm Geyer is a completely apolitical person. From the very beginning, I trusted him implicitly. He believes himself to be a good Catholic. From what he has told me, I gather that he had no credible knowledge of any treasonous activity of the Scholl siblings etc.
In my opinion, Harald Dohrn is a man who views life skeptically and represents no firm political point of view. However, everything interests him. He is also a fanatical Catholic. I do not consider him either capable of or willing to undertake actions aimed against the current regime.
With regards to the two medical students Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf I cannot make any judgments about their political viewpoints. I believe Schmorell is half-Russian. Christoph Probst made a good impression on me. I never would have believed him capable of treasonous activities punishable by death.
Question: Do you believe that you are guilty of being an accessory or accomplice in a highly treasonous undertaking or do you assume that you are not legally connected to this act?
Answer: I must unequivocally give a negative answer to this question. I knew nothing about the existence, production, or distribution of these seditious leaflets until I returned to Munich (March 24, 1943), nor did I have anything to do with them. As long as I met with Hans Scholl, he never mentioned one word of this to me; he never said that he and his sister were considering ways to overthrow the current regime.
I can only recall that he once said to me that he would like to see the same kind of government [here] as they have in Switzerland. This statement alone was enough to convince me that Scholl’s views were childish and youthful.
That’s also why I enjoyed
Scholl’s the open, free nature of the circle of persons around Scholl and why I welcomed their friendship. In comparison to the people around him, Scholl was far more reserved. Recently Geyer told me the same thing about Scholl and added that a certain personal vanity was at play in his (Scholl’s) life.
I considered everything that happened in my presence and in my studio to be harmless and never considered that any of it could have legal consequences. For this reason, I am sure that I am not legally responsible for the treasonous behavior of Hans Scholl etc. If Wilhelm Geyer gave the keys to the studio to Scholl in my absence and Scholl then stored various objects in my basement, Geyer is answerable for that.
I have now spoken the whole truth and have nothing to add to my statements. If it were possible I would ask you to consider whether I could not be released as I have taken on an important defense construction project in Cracow and may not be absent from there much longer. I would make myself available to the police in Cracow at all times and I am also prepared to appear in court as a witness.
Recorded by: /Signed: Schmauβ/, Crim. Secr.
Read aloud and signed by: /Signed: Manfred Eickemeyer/
Present: /Signed: Schuster?/ Administrative Employee
Note 1: At this point, Agent Schmauß likely got a new clerk or secretary, because the format of the transcript changes.
Note 2: Studentin, not Schülerin. In other words, he used the proper terminology, nothing insulting.
Source: Eickemeyer/Grimminger (12 – 17)