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The Passion of Max von Oppenheim

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Lionel Gossman

III. “The Kaiser’s Spy” under National Socialism; “Leben Im ns-Staat, 1933–1945”

11. Waldemar and Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim during the National Socialist Regime

Texte intégral

  • 1 See James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Nazi persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans (L (...)
  • 2 On the emigration question, see, for instance, Stürmer, Teichmann and Treue, Wägen und Wagen, pp. (...)
  • 3 It is not perhaps as widely known as it might be that a fair number of Jews who had emigrated imme (...)
  • 4 See, for instance, George Grosz, An Autobiography, trans. Nora Hodges (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U (...)

1The Oppenheims themselves, all of whom, like the vast majority of so-called Mischlinge [persons of mixed race], survived the Nazi regime,1 have come under scrutiny and the well-documented studies produced under Oppenheim auspices have not held back from confronting obvious questions about their decision not to emigrate and about the character of their lives during the years of National Socialism.2 For one thing, it hardly needs to be emphasized, emigration was not something undertaken lightly, especially by families who, like the Oppenheims or the Warburgs, had a massive economic, social, and psychological investment in Germany. In addition to the huge financial sacrifice involved because of the taxes levied on émigrés and the virtual impossibility for them of expatriating their assets, there was the uncertainty of life in a foreign land3 and the wrenching separation from one′s entire world. There was also the hope—as it turned out, the illusion—that the Nazi regime would change its ways; or, as many believed, would not last or would be replaced by a rightwing government dominated by traditional conservative nationalists;4 or, at very worst, that ″Mischlinge,″ especially ″Mischlinge zweiten Grades″ or ″three-quarters Aryan,″ as Waldemar and Friedrich von Oppenheim both were, would be seen as German and escape the fate of full Jews.

  • 5 Quoted by Reinhard Rürup, ″Das Ende der Emanzipation,″ in Arnold Paucker, ed., Die Juden im Nation (...)
  • 6 For an example of how slow (and perhaps loth) well-established and highly assimilated German Jews (...)
  • 7 In Last Waltz in Vienna: The Destruction of a Family 1842-1942 (London: Mamillan, 1981), the Vienn (...)
  • 8 On the German Jews′ familiarity with anti-Semitism as an impediment to their grasping the signific (...)
  • 9 Words reported by his longtime Jewish disciple Ernst Morwitz; see Ulrich Raulff, Kreis ohne Meiste (...)
  • 10 The End and the Beginning: The Book of My Life, trans. and ed. L. Gossman (Cambridge: Open Book Pu (...)

2Such considerations were not altogether unreasonable at the time. Many writers have noted both the deliberately unsystematic manner in which anti-Jewish measures were introduced and applied by the Nazis—even as the process as a whole proceeded relentlessly—and the relative slowness of most German Jews to respond to them and grasp their full significance. A change in civil status was at first not perceived as simply the first step toward a ″reinliche Scheidung zwischen den Juden und allem, was deutsch ist″ [″a clearcut removal of the Jews from everything German″], as the Party′s aim was defined in some notes for a speech by the Interior Minister in late 1938,5 much less as the first step toward the total extermination of the Jews.6 One scholar has argued plausibly that it was the very endemic nature of anti-Semitism in Germany, even after emancipation in 1869, that led German Jews—especially the large number of highly assimilated and well established Jews, many of whom had little or no contact with either their religion or any organized Jewish community, and felt far more German than Jewish, or indeed not Jewish at all—to underestimate the significance of Hitler′s coming to power and to imagine, at least up until the state-sponsored Kristallnacht made nonsense of any such illusions, that some sort of more or less tolerable life would still be possible for them in Germany.7 Outbursts of popular anti-Semitism were, after all, not unknown and the Jews had survived them. It was not completely nonsensical to associate the hooliganism of the Nazi street gangs with the Hep Hep riots of 1819—or with similar events in the late 1870s and early 1890s or with the Scheunenviertel riot in Berlin as recently as 1923—all of which, after all, had passed.8 Then there was the idea that, having used demagogic means to gain power, Hitler would abandon them once firmly settled in power. The poet Stefan George, for instance, expressed the view that ″right now there is total confusion and we feel helpless; but if these people [the Nazis] were to come to power, they would immediately speak a different language and drop their marketplace yelling and screaming.″9 In order to govern, many believed, the NSDAP would have to yield to the usual social, political, and economic pressures. ″Auch Hitler wird mit Wasser kochen″ [″Like anybody else, Hitler will use water to cook with″], the Austrian writer Hermynia Zur Mühlen later recalled, was a common reaction.10 For Mischlinge especially, the thought that the situation would stabilize and that they would not be subject to whatever restrictions might be imposed on full Jews must have been hard to resist.

  • 11 Jeremy Noakes, ″The Development of Nazi Policy toward the German-Jewish ′Mischlinge′ 1933-1945,″ L (...)
  • 12 Karl A. Schleunes ed., Carol Scherer trans., Legislating the Holocaust: The Berhard Loesener Memoi (...)

3Estimates of the numbers of Mischlinge in Germany, of both first and second degree, vary widely between 750,000, according to the Reich Ministry of the Interior on 3 April 1935, and 80,679 (52,005 of the first degree, i.e. with two Jewish grandparents, and 32,669 of the second degree, i.e. with only one Jewish grandparent), according to the census of 17 May 1939.11 Policy toward them was uneven, but became increasingly harsh around the time of the Wannsee Conference (January 1942) and dangerously so after the attempt on Hitler′s life in 1944—as both Oppenheim brothers were to find out. A significant faction at the Interior Ministry aimed to exclude Mischlinge from the strictures applied to Jews by distinguishing them carefully from individuals defined as Jews. In a memorandum of 30 October 1933 to Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, Bernhard Loesener, the official placed in charge of Jewish affairs, while agreeing that ″special rigor is called for to cleanse the German professional civil service of all foreign influence,″ argued against any general application of a Supplementary Decree (11 April 1933) to Paragraph 3 of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, passed four days earlier, which required that ″all civil servants who are not of Aryan extraction are to be retired.″ The Supplementary Decree defined ″a non-Aryan [...] as any person who descends from non-Aryan, and especially Jewish parents or grandparents. It suffices if one of the four grandparents is non-Aryan.″ Loesener pointed out in his memo that while the legislation affected full Jews economically and emotionally by depriving them of their livelihood and their social position, ″the children [.] and particularly the grandchildren of mixed marriages face both these difficulties and the emotional burden of being placed in the same category as Jews. In other words, they feel defamed and forcibly deprived of their German national identity [deutsches Volkstum], even though they feel they belong exclusively to the German nation.″ Moreover, the provisions of the Decree were being applied far beyond the civil service, resulting in the exclusion of people who had only one Jewish grandparent from ″professions demanding a university degree, [.] even athletics and all kinds of physical activity (labour service, military associations, civil air defence, even tennis clubs, rowing clubs, etc.).″ Thus ″German-Jewish Mischlinge and their children become social outcasts. This affects them emotionally more than full Jews, especially since most Mischlinge are, unfortunately, found in families whose members are in the military officer corps or have a high number of university degrees. Given their current scope, the Aryan provisions will also remove from the national community [Volksgemeinschaft] descendants of men who have rendered great service to German science or to the renewal of Germany.″12

  • 13 Legislating the Holocaust: The Bernhard Loesener Memoirs, pp. 57-58.
  • 14 ″In broad circles at that time, these laws were not viewed as something unprecedented and new, or (...)
  • 15 Richard L. Miller, Nazi Justiz, p. 19. See also Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz, (...)

4Summarising his view that ″it is harmful for the principles of paragraph 3 of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, the so-called ′Aryan Paragaph′ [...] to be extended to areas for which they were never intended,″ Loesener noted that ″the provisions regarding Mischlinge primarily affect those who otherwise stand firmly on the side of the government [italics added], and whose upbringing and intelligence make them valuable to the German nation″ and that ″the enormous pressure on the persons in question, which for now is expressed only in petitions [for exemption from the provisions of the law], must gradually lead to more forceful reactions [that] would present an additional burden if not danger [to the state].″ As Loesener noted elsewhere ″the completely loyal attitude of half-Jews [.] would come to an end″ and result in the ″creation of a large number of new opponents [...] of half-Germanic heredity″; in addition, ″as each half-Jew has one Aryan parent, thus Aryan relatives and friends,″ all of those Aryan relatives and friends ″would inevitably turn into enemies of the state″; the equivalent of two divisions of soldiers would be lost; the German economy would be weakened; families would be torn apart; and an ″unfavorable new impression″ would be created abroad.13 Loesener′s later claim that the Nuremberg Laws, which he helped to draft, were not the point at which Nazi persecution of the Jews really took off, the cause of ″all the misery, all the murders and other atrocities committed against the Jews,″ but were in fact intended to introduced some stability into a volatile situation and, in particular, establish the status and rights of Mischlinge, seems not entirely self-serving.14 ″Half-Jews″ and even more so, ″quarter-Jews″ like the Oppenheim brothers, could well have found a degree of reassurance in the new laws, even if, as one scholar rightly insists, survival in Nazi Germany could not be ensured by insisting on one′s rights and ″in reality, the regulations only guaranteed that certain persons would be targeted as victims, not that the remainder were safe.″15

  • 16 Bryan Rigg, Hitler′s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Desce (...)
  • 17 See Rigg, Hitler′s Jewish Soldiers, pp. 29-30; Samuel W. Mitcham Jr., Men of the Luftwaffe (Novato (...)
  • 18 At a secret meeting (6 July 1942) attended by Speer and Rosenberg among others, Göring complained (...)
  • 19 Testimony cited in Beate Meyer, Jüdische Mischlinge, pp. 215-26, Chapter entitled ″Der ′Halbarier′ (...)

5The historian Bryan Rigg′s study of non-Aryans in the military throws some light on the situation of the Mischlinge. Rigg calculates that ″at least 150,000″ Mischlinge served in Hitler′s armies; he notes that many were decorated for bravery and that a fair number were committed Nazis.16 Mischlinge were to be found at the very highest levels of the armed forces. Erhard Milch, who was appointed state secretary of the Aviation Ministry in 1933, directly answerable to Göring, and in that capacity was chiefly responsible for establishing and building up the Luftwaffe, was at least a Mischling of the first degree, possibly even a full Jew.17 It was with reference to him that Göring, his friend, protector, and at times rival, is said to have made his notorious statement: ″Wer Jude ist, bestimme ich″ [″I decide who is a Jew″].18 Equally, by lying low and accommodating as much as possible to the situation, it was possible for a Mischling to get through the entire period of the war unscathed, as the example of the ″half-Jew″ Rudolf Petersen, the director of a major Hamburg import-export business, demonstrates. (His mother, from the Jewish banking family of Behrens, converted only at the time of her marriage to his father.) Though he had to give up some highly visible positions and, in general, live a prudently secluded life, Petersen, despite being classified a Mischling of the first degree, kept his company running under Nazi rule and in 1945, as a notable local businessman untainted by Nazi associations, was appointed the first post-war mayor of Hamburg by the British occupation authorities. In his own words: ″Even though I was much disturbed from the beginning by the conduct of the Nazis, they won favour in my eyes because of their opposition to the communists. I did not discern the danger lurking in Nazidom or foresee how it would subsequently develop. In particular, I did not take the Jewish question too seriously. I understood it when my brother had to resign as mayor in 1933. [...] Naturally, I lived through many hard times during the war. Being deprived of my civil rights was extremely painful to me. Yet I did not suffer any interference in the firm and, even during the Nazi period, we were able to carry on the business. When I reflect that leading citizens always behaved in a friendly manner toward me, and that I never said ′Heil Hitler,′ I cannot reasonably say that I had to bear a special burden of misfortune.″19 As Mischlinge of the second degee, the Oppenheims could well have felt that they could get by.

  • 20 See Stürmer, Teichmann and Treue, Wägen und Wagen, pp. 394, 403-04; Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankh (...)

6Nonetheless, it appears that Waldemar von Oppenheim′s wife, Gabriele Goldschmidt-Hergenhahn, a distant descendant of another Jewish banking family, and probably ″half-Jewish″ herself, repeatedly urged her husband to emigrate, for the sake of their children. He, however, refused, citing his commitment both to the bank, as the elder of the two Oppenheim partners (Eberhard von Oppenheim and Harold von Oppenheim, the two oldest of Simon Alfred′s four sons, had shown little interest in banking and were no longer partners in the firm), and to the family′s celebrated stud farm at Schlenderhan. Waldemar′s younger brother Friedrich Carl appears also to have reached the conclusion that he should not leave Germany. When war with Britain and France broke out, he and his wife Ruth, Freiin von Zedlitz, who was descended from a very old German noble family, were in the United States visiting relatives. Ruth immediately returned to Cologne, crossing the Atlantic on a Dutch liner, in order to be with their three young children. Friedrich Carl, who was thirty-nine at the time and hoping to avoid being called up to serve in a war judged inopportune and foolhardy in the conservative nationalist circles to which he belonged (and perhaps also fearing an intensification of anti-Semitic regulations in Germany) stayed on in America. Soon, however, he was receiving urgent calls from Ruth to return to Germany, as the Party had threatened her with retaliatory action and confiscation of the couple′s assets if he stayed away. To get back, he had to travel to the U.S. West Coast, take ship for Japan, and cross Russia by the trans-Siberian railway, returning to Germany only in February 1940.20

7Of the lives of the four Oppenheim brothers, the sons of Max von Oppenheim′s cousin Simon Alfred, during the years of National Socialism it is hard to form an accurate idea. Only a few pieces of information, of varying degrees of certainty, are available.

  • 21 Ambassador Dodd′s Diary 1933-1938, ed. William E. Dodd and Martha Dodd (New York: Harcourt Brace, (...)

8About Eberhard, the oldest, born in 1890, we know very little. An entry in the diary of U.S. Ambassador William Dodd for 19 January 1934 records that the ambassador′s wife and family ″attended a party of Eberhard von Oppenheim who is a Jew still living in style near us. Many Nazi Germans were present. It is reported that Oppenheim has given the Nazi Party 200,000 marks and has been given a special Party dispensation which declared him an Aryan.″ By 1934 Eberhard was no longer a partner in the bank. He had ceased to be one in 1931 when Pferdmenges was brought in and appears to have been something of a playboy, more interested in raising and riding racehorses than in running a bank. In the late 1920s he had been President of the Cologne Riding and Hunting Association. If Dodd′s report is true, was Eberhard trying to buy his way out of trouble, or did he actually sympathize with at least certain aspects of the new regime? Like his ″uncle″ Max, he remained unmolested throughout the entire period of National Socialism and died sixteen years after the end of the Second World War, aged over 70. The rest of the family appears to have had little to do with him.21

  • 22 See Brendan G. Carroll, The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (Portland, OR: Am (...)

9Not much is known either about Simon Alfred′s second son Harold (born 1892), except that he had a career as a singer and entertainer. There is a recording by him of a Schubert song (″Ständchen,″ no. 4 of the ″Schwanengesang″ cycle) on the pre-War German Clangor label (record no. M9628) and he also recorded one of Tamino′s arias from The Magic Flute. In fact, he appears to have enjoyed some success as an opera and operetta singer and in February 1933 sang the leading male role in the premiere of Erich Korngold′s adaptation of Leo Fall′s 1908 operetta Die geschiedene Frau at the Theater am Nollendorfplatz in Berlin, under the baton of Korngold himself.22 A few years earlier The New York Times (28 April 1928) had reported favourably on his debut recital of German Lieder, French and English songs, and some Italian opera arias at Steinway Hall in New York, declaring that he had ″a true, ringing tenor voice.″ Unlike his younger brothers, Harold von Oppenheim does seem to have made the decision to emigrate, first to New York and then, soon afterwards, to Mexico City, where he appears to have been part-operator of a club known as ″7-11.″ A report in the entertainment news magazine The Billboard (8 April 1942) tells of his being held for questioning by the Mexican authorities regarding spy activities. It seems that the activities in question were not, however, on behalf of Nazi Germany, but on behalf of—probably rightwing—opponents of then current Mexican President Manuel Avila Camecho. ″The Baron,″ according to the report, ″was reputed to be an ex-patriated Austrian [sic] nobleman who found it better to flee the Hitler regime than to remain in his homeland. [...] He is being held so that more information can be learned of the activities of Mrs. Elizabeth Pitt De Almazan, a German-born suspect arrested early this week. Von Oppenheim landed here [i.e. in New York] from Le Havre with Mrs. Almazan in 1939 and shortly afterwards they appeared in Mexico City. They are said to have moved in circles whose loyalty to the government is considered doubtful.″ Harold von Oppenheim was married briefly (1923-1926) to a Spanish woman, Manuela de Rivera, by whom he had a son and a daughter, who in turn produced several children. Perhaps ″Mrs. Almazan″ was his mistress at the time of their leaving Germany, and, though Almazan is not an uncommon name, she may have been related to General Juan Andreu Almazan (1891-1965), a one-time Mexican revolutionary and supporter of Zapata. In the 1930s Almazan turned to the right. In 1940 he ran for President of Mexico and lost, whereupon he left Mexico crying fraud and planning to build support for an insurrection against President Manuel Avila Camecho. He soon returned to Mexico, however, and attended Camecho′s inauguration. In all probability he and those near to him were under constant surveillance by the authorities thereafter. Harold von Oppenheim appears to have led a very different life from his brothers in the bank and there is not much evidence that he was in close touch with them. Max von Oppenheim does, however, seem to have maintained some contact with his cousin′s most wayward son, as we shall see.

10Friedrich Carl, the youngest of the four brothers, who at age fifteen had volunteered as a cadet in World War I and at age seventeen had seen two months′ service on the Eastern Front, joined the Stahlhelm, the notorious paramilitary association of right-wing, nationalist veterans, in January 1932. He was followed in July 1932 by his brother Waldemar, who, being a few years older, had served as an officer in the Prussian Zieten Hussar regiment in France during the War and been decorated with the Iron Cross First and Second Class, as well as the Cross of the Order of the House of Hohenzollern. What could have induced the two brothers to join such an organization—at a relatively late date besides?

  • 23 Hermann Beck, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933 — The ′Machtergreifung′ (...)
  • 24 Theodor Duesterberg, Der Stahlhelm und Hitler (Wolfenbüttel and Hannover: Wolfenbüttler Verlagsans (...)
  • 25 Volker R. Berghahn, Der Stahlhelm. Bund der Frontsoldaten 1918-1935 (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1966), pp (...)
  • 26 Duesterberg, Der Stahlhelm und Hitler, p. 35. Of the movement in general, Duesterberg declared tha (...)

11It is worth recalling that, though on several occasions it collaborated with the Nazis, the Stahlhelm was also fiercely attached to its independence and that this in the end led to some serious run-ins with the Nazis and ultimately to a take-over of the entire organization by the SA.23 In addition, the membership, rightwing and nationalistic as it was, may have been less monolithically anti-Semitic than it is usually reputed to have been. The founders of the organization, it is said, had wanted it to mirror the situation at the front: membership was to be open to all, irrespective of social class or religious affiliation. An early proposal by anti-Semitic elements to impose restrictions on membership was rejected in 1922, the leadership having argued strongly that members were ″neither Jews nor non-Jews, but Stahlhelm men.″ There is thus some very modest support for the claim made—after 1945—by one of the movement′s two leaders that ″the majority of the former frontline soldiers rejected the sickly hatred of Jews preached by Hitler.″24 In 1924, however, the proposal was renewed, this time with the support of Theodor Duesterberg, one of the leaders, and this time it passed. Jews were excluded from membership.25 Those Jews who had joined before that date gradually left the movement and the anti-Semitic element gained ground. The anti-Semitism of the movement at this point may still have been of the old-fashioned variety common among conservatives, however, and not yet radically racist, so that Mischlinge like the Oppenheims (and perhaps converted Jews too) could still be admitted. When Duesterberg himself, having agreed to be the candidate of the German National People′s Party (DNVP) and to run against Hitler for the Presidency of Germany in the fall of 1932, was denounced in the Nazi press as racially contaminated on account of a Jewish grandfather that the Nazis had unearthed and as a result felt constrained to step down from his leadership position, ″countless old comrades stayed loyal to [him],″ he claimed. ″My case forced all the members of the great Stahlhelm movement to take a clear, unambiguous, personal stand on the race issue. The overwhelming majority stood up for a Christian, humane, and just worldview, to which they remained faithful even during the Hitler years.″26

  • 27 In his own speeches, for instance, Hugenberg appears not to have sought to exploit anti-Semitic fe (...)
  • 28 On Hitler′s outmanoeuvering of Hugenberg, see Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, pp. 419-23, 4 (...)

12Most important perhaps, the Stahlhelm was closely tied to the German National People′s Party (DNVP)—itself a coalition of the German Conservative Party, the Free Conservative Party and a segment of the pre-War National Liberals. In October 1931, just before the Oppenheim brothers joined it, the Stahlhelm allied itself with the DNVP and the NSDAP (the National Socialists), to form the so-called Harzburger Front under the leadership of the far-right press magnate Alfred Hugenberg, a co-founder in 1891 of the Pan-German League and sometime financial adviser to the Krupp company. Hugenberg favoured an authoritarian state—at first through a return to the monarchy, later in the form of a fascist republic. Encouraged by a close associate and confidant, Reinhold Quaatz (who advocated tactical collaboration of the DNVP with the Nazi Party and pursuit of a populist, völkisch, and—albeit his own mother was Jewish—anti-Semitic line) Hugenberg supported the NSDAP in the many newspapers he controlled, even though his extreme right-wing conservatism remained distinct from National Socialism.27 The Harzburger Front collapsed at the time of the February 1932 elections. Nevertheless, Hugenberg continued to believe, along with many right-wing conservatives, that Hitler could be used as a tool and that, when the time was ripe, it would be easy to ″push him so far into a corner that he′ll squeak,″ as Franz von Papen put it. As we know, the reverse happened: it was Hitler who successfully exploited the rightwing conservatives to give his movement respectability.28

  • 29 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 24-25, 29. On the DNVP, see the (...)
  • 30 Leonidas E. Hill, ″The Pre-War National Conservative Opposition,″ in Francis R. Nicosia and Lawren (...)
  • 31 In an essay dated March 1933 the Jewish rightwinger Hans-Joachim Schoeps, who, like other champion (...)

13The Oppenheim brothers, like some others, may well have believed that joining the Stahlhelm and throwing their weight behind the extreme right, nationalist conservatives was not only a way of confirming their German national credentials but the best way of dealing with Hitler and National Socialism, inasmuch as the DNVP—despite having a strong anti-Semitic strain itself (full Jews were not admitted to party membership and there was disagreement about admitting baptized Jews and ″half-Jews″)—remained in principle committed to the Rechtsstaat, the rule of law and due process, and was strongly opposed to populist disorders and violence. It was indeed the only party left to represent a ″law and order″ position.29 It is also highly likely that the brothers sympathized with the politics of the national conservatives, especially the strong anti-Bolshevism that inspired both the National Socialists and those conservatives who were later to plot the overthrow and, finally, the assassination of Hitler. It was not without reason that, as one historian observed, ″the British mistakenly believed that the national-conservatives scarcely differed from Hitler and the Nazis.″30 In November 1935, however, both Oppenheim brothers withdrew from the Stahlhelm. They had to. As Hitler was not about to permit the existence of a powerful, independent paramilitary organization, no matter how supportive of Nazi policies and objectives it had shown itself to be, the Stahlhelm was integrated in that month into the SA.31 In consequence, the Oppenheim brothers were now, even though only quarter-Jews, excluded from membership.

  • 32 For a detailed account of the recruitment of Waldemar von Oppeneim to the Bremen branch of the Abw (...)
  • 33 On 4 February 1938, Hitler dismissed War Minister Generaloberst Werner von Blomberg, on the ground (...)
  • 34 On Oster, see Joachim Fest, Plotting Hitler′s Death: The Story of the German Resistance (New York: (...)
  • 35 When he heard of Heydrich′s efforts to speed up mass killings of Polish Jews, along with the Polis (...)
  • 36 See especially Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 230-41. In the competition among the variou (...)

14During the Second World War, the two younger brothers continued to be associated with right-wing conservative circles and interests, this time in the form of the ambiguous national conservative ″resistance″ to Hitler. In October 1941 Waldemar was recruited for service in the Abwehr, the counter-intelligence service of the German armed forces High Command under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who had been appointed to head the agency on 1 January 1935.32 Canaris seems to have been a convinced supporter of National Socialism around the time of his appointment, but the Fritsch and Blomberg affairs, experienced by senior military officers as a deliberately planned effort on the part of the Nazi Party to humiliate the professional armed forces and put them in their place, began a process of partial disaffection, which was aggravated by what many in the top ranks of the military felt were Hitler′s reckless foreign policy provocations.33 Canaris was involved in several of the military′s poorly organized and uncoordinated attempts to obstruct the Fuhrer′s plans, which were deemed premature and ill-conceived, and even to displace him altogether. His chief of staff at the Abwehr, Colonel (as of December 1941, Major-General) Hans Oster, was one of the most consistent and courageous leaders of the secret resistance to Hitler.34 Even though Canaris may well have shared to some extent the endemic anti-Semitism of German (as of many European) conservative circles, he was not a racial anti-Semite and was in no way supportive of either the street violence of Nazi fanatics or the severe anti-Jewish measures imposed by the Party.35 In fact, he employed a number of Jews in the Abwehr, including some ″full Jews,″ and resisted pressure from Himmler and others to dismiss them, insisting that they had proved useful, productive, and reliable. In this way he and Oster deliberately arranged for some Jews to get out of Germany and provided a degree of protection for others, such as Waldemar von Oppenheim, who, as Mischlinge, might otherwise have been subject to harassment and intimidation.36

  • 37 According to Canaris′s biogapher, Michael Mueller, Oppenheim ″between the autumns of 1941 and 1942 (...)
  • 38 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., Appendix 8 and p. 24. See also on t (...)
  • 39 Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 249-50. Plans for the invasion of North Africa were also d (...)

15Waldemar was charged with collecting intelligence for the Abwehr about the armaments industries in Britain and the U.S, and, in particular, intelligence of interest to the German navy about the two countries′ shipbuilding industries. In a memorandum from Admiral Gottlieb Burkner, representing Canaris, he is said to have produced ″very useful information.″37 Thirty-one of his reports on ″U.S. oil tanker production, U.S. aircraft production, U.S. merchant shipbuilding capacity, the training of convoy crews, flying schools in Canada, the tonnage of British ships transporting supplies across the Atlantic, the tonnage of Norwegian ships in enemy service, and U.S. aid to Russia″ had been judged of sufficient interest to be passed along to other government agencies. In addition, he had travelled to Stockholm and been instrumental in negotiating an order for forty-five ″fishing boats″ that the Hugo Stinnes company had placed with Swedish shipbuilders on behalf of the OKM (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine, i.e. Navy High Command). This Waldemar had managed to do in the autumn of 1942 in the face of vehement objections from the British and American governments to the government of Sweden. The latter conceded that the vessels could indeed be used for purposes other than fishing, but refused to prohibit the deal unless it could be demonstrated that they could not be used for fishing. In fact, the ″fishing boats″ were used by the Germans as escort vessels in convoys between Stavanger and Bergen in Norway and then as flakships in the anti-aircraft defence of German harbours.38 For his part, Canaris himself told Himmler that his agent 2048 (pseudonym: ″Baron″)—i.e. Waldemar—who was being kept under surveillance by the Gestapo because he was one quarter Jewish, had also provided invaluable information about long-term Allied war plans: in a report to the Abwehr he had provided information about a conference held in Washington between December 22, 1941 and January 14, 1942 and code-named ″Arcadia,″ at which Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to adopt a ″Europe first″ strategy, that is, to concentrate their efforts on the war in Europe before turning to the Far East.39

  • 40 This was probably due not only to his frequent trips to Berlin and his activity as a facilitator o (...)
  • 41 Klemens von Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 343-4 (...)
  • 42 See note 40 above. See also Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, p. 177, and a report (dated 17 Aug (...)

16Waldemar von Oppenheim made several trips to neutral countries in the service of the Abwehr in the years 1939-1944, most frequently to Stockholm, where he was a personal friend of the Wallenberg brothers Jacob (1892-1980) and Marcus (1899-1982), who headed the Wallenberg family bank, Stockholms Enskilda Bank. (He was also related to the Wallenbergs through the marriage of Count Ferdinand Arco-Valley [1893-1968], a son of his cousin Emmy von Oppenheim, to Gertrud Wallenberg, a sister of Jacob and Marcus.) Marcus Wallenberg had for many years been connected with his banking counterparts and with politicians in London, while Jacob, the Managing Director of the bank since 1927, maintained close relations with German financial and government circles. During the banking crisis of 1931, for instance, Jacob had been brought in as an adviser to the German government on the reconstruction of the German banks and had been in correspondence at that time with many leading bankers in Germany—including, in all probability, the Oppenheims. Jacob Wallenberg has been described as Sweden′s main negotiator on trade with Germany and in that capacity made frequent trips to Berlin, both before the War and during the War, between December 1939 and December 1943. The Americans even considered him a German sympathizer.40 In fact, he was in close contact with the so-called German Resistance and in particular with one of its leaders, Carl Goerdeler, a former Mayor of Leipzig, with whom he met eleven times, either in Berlin or in Stockholm, between the outbreak of war and November 1943.41 In September 1939 Goerdeler, who was then employed by the Robert Bosch engineering company of Stuttgart, travelled to Stockholm to seek Jacob Wallenberg′s help in finding a Swedish buyer for the Bosch company′s foreign subsidiaries. Bosch, though a longtime advocate of Franco-German reconciliation and peace among the European powers and not a Nazi supporter—in fact he did what he could to assist persecuted German Jews—was nonetheless anxious to prevent the seizure of his company′s foreign subsidiaries by Germany′s enemies in the event that war did break out. Wallenberg arranged for the Enskilda Bank to purchase the subsidiaries; but a secret clause committed the bank to sell them back to Bosch once the war was over. The Wallenbergs′ bank thus served as a safe haven for Bosch′s foreign assets. Waldemar von Oppenheim assisted Goerdeler in the negotiations with Wallenberg.42

  • 43 On Goerdeler′s negotiations, through Jacob and Markus Wallenberg, with representatives of the Brit (...)

17Goerdeler subsequently tried to get Wallenberg, who had come to know many of the members of the conservative ″resistance″ in the course of his visits to Berlin, to act as an intermediary between the conservative opposition to Hitler and the British. Long convinced that Britain and Germany had a common interest in combating Russian Bolshevism and should never have gone to war with each other, Goerdeler visited Stockholm several times, notably in the summer and fall of 1943, with secret peace proposals that he asked Wallenberg to communicate to the representatives of the British government. Mostly these involved the replacement of Hitler as German Chancellor, a return to the 1939 status quo in Europe and British support for an all-out German offensive against Bolshevist Russia. (Later, in November 1944, after he had been arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned, Goerdeler drafted a letter to Jacob Wallenberg, in which he begged him to persuade the Allies that it was in their interest to accept and make peace with National Socialist Germany in order to defend Europe against Russian domination, and to make pardoning him and a few others, who he claimed would be indispensable intermediaries in the negotiations, a condition of entering into such negotiations.)43

  • 44 In the considerable literature on this topic, see, for example, Ingeborg Fleischhauer, Die Chance (...)
  • 45 See Winfied Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, p. 519, endnote 12, citing documents at the Press Section o (...)

18Stockholm was inevitably a hotbed of intrigue during the war, with peace feelers being put out to both the Russians and the Western powers from the secret German opposition and, as Germany′s situation grew increasingly dire, from some high-placed Nazi officials.44 Waldemar von Oppenheim was at the centre of one of those intrigues. On 13 April 1942 under the heading ″Renewed Peace Proposals from Hitler?″ various international news agencies, citing reports current in Washington, claimed that a ″German banker presently in Stockholm is trying to make contact with representatives of Great Britain in order to communicate to the Allies Hitler′s definitive conditions for peace. These include giving Germany a free hand to achieve the destruction of Russia, making concessions to the occupied countries, and restraining Japanese imperialism, the successes of which are said to have much troubled Hitler.″ A Reuter′s report to this effect, entitled ″Hitler′s ′Final Terms′—Agent sent to Stockholm?″, appeared, for instance, in the Manchester Guardian. The reports were seemingly taken with some seriousness for Sumner Welles, the U.S. Foreign Minister at the time, was asked about them—and replied that they were of no interest to the U.S. Government.45 Not surprisingly, they caused considerable irritation at Ribbentrop′s Auswärtiges Amt.

  • 46 Ibid., endnote 13. It is not clear in which Daily News Hewins′ report appeared—the Chicago Daily N (...)

19A further news agency report on 16 April aggravated the situation. According to a note in the political section of the Auswärtiges Amt, ″the Stockholm correspondent of the Daily News, Ralph Hewins, reports that Hitler has sent a peace negotiator to Sweden and that the latter is seeking to establish contact with British circles. Hewins adds that the representative is a banker from Cologne who has contributed a great deal of money to the Nazi Party and is a friend of von Papen.″46 On the basis of this information, the agent was identified in American radio broadcasts as the Cologne banker Kurt von Schröder, who had indeed been an active supporter of Hitler from an early date and who on 4 January 1933 had hosted at his villa in Cologne-Lindenthal the momentous meeting between Hitler and von Papen that facilitated Hitler′s assumption of power. (As it happens, as head of the J.H. Stein bank in Cologne and President of the Industrie und Handelskammer [Chamber of Industry and Trade], Schröder had done what he could after 1933 to create difficulties for the Oppenheims.) In the meantime the Auswärtiges Amt and the Reichssicherheitshauptamt—the umbrella security organization under Himmler, of which the Gestapo constituted section IV—had been apprised that the Cologne banker Waldemar von Oppenheim, active since 1941 in the Bremen branch of the Abwehr under the code name ″Baron,″ might well be the alleged agent, not Schröder. The German Embassy in Stockholm sent a secret message to Berlin confirming, after careful inquiries, that Schroder′s name had not in fact figured for some time in Sweden′s register of incoming travellers, but that ″Baron Waldemar von Oppenheim had indeed been present in Stockholm″ and, according to the banker Jacob Wallenberg, had ″been in negotiations with Swedish companies about the financing of a German order for 80 [sic] motorized fishing boats to be built by Swedish yards.″ It had not been possible, however, to confirm the rumours circulating in the international press. These had not, moreover, been picked up by the Swedish press, which had reported only that Oppenheim had booked into the Grand Hotel.

20A secret Russian communication, dated 13 April, however, contained the information that ″the banker Baron Waldemar von Oppenheim arrived in Stockholm on 8 April″ and that

he had with him about 20 kilograms of diplomatic mail for two addresses: the German Legation in Stockholm and secondly the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The correspondent of the English ″Daily Telegraph″ reported that he had two meetings with the Swedish banker Wallenberg, whom he asked to get into touch with English financiers on the question of concluding an Anglo-German peace based on a return to the position up to 1939 and on the question of launching a joint attack on the USSR with the aim of destroying it totally. Wallenberg, according to our information, declined this proposal and recommended applying directly to the British Legation. It is characteristic that other British and American correspondents who know about this do not want to say anything, but in conversation among themselves point out that this information should go straight to the Prime Minister and secondly that Swedish censorship did not permit them to write anything about his arrival in Stockholm. Oppenheim on 12 April flew by special plane to Berlin.47

21The British and American intelligence agents who subsequently got hold of and decoded this Russian communication identified the individuals involved as best they could. The recipient was ″possibly Captain 1st Rank Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vorontsov,″ the sender was probably Aleksandr A. Pavlov, the Soviet news agency TASS′s correspondent in Stockholm; Wallenberg ″probably″ referred to ″Jacob Wallenberg and his brother Marcus Wallenberg Jr. bank directors,″ of whom it was noted that they were ″both involved in peace talks at different times.″ At first, Baron Waldemar von Oppenheim was marked ″not traced,″ but a later addendum to the British and American agents′ decipherment and translation of the Russian communication provided the following information about Waldemar: ″It was later stated that his purpose was to make unofficial contact with the British Commercial Attaché on behalf of the German Government and through the agency of Swedish business connections; and rumoured that he was to present Hitler′s peace offer to the British.″ It was further noted that he was ″again in Stockholm in August 1943, also in March 1944, when he visited Jacob Wallenberg.″48

22The proposals Oppenheim is alleged to have planned to present to the British are strikingly similar to those usually attributed to Goerdeler. At the same time, rumour apparently had it that he was the bearer of ″Hitler′s″ final peace offer. While it is difficult determine on whose behalf he might have been acting, the most likely candidates are Goerdeler or elements in the Abwehr that were party to the schemes of the national conservative ″resistance″—not excluding Canaris himself, adept as he may have been at not exposing himself.

  • 49 Note (dated 14 April 1942) by Frank Kenyon Roberts, Central Department, British Foreign Office, ci (...)
  • 50 Precisely for that reason, the Foreign Office advised its representatives in the U.S., the Soviet (...)

23What apparently provoked the flurry of reports, rumours, and speculations were some casual, unguarded dinner table comments allegedly made by Waldemar von Oppenheim about the insanity of Britain and Germany being at war with each other when both were under threat from Bolshevism. Referring to his pre-War contacts with the British banker Charles Jocelyn Hambro (1893-1967) (who in 1942 was in charge of the Scandinavian operations of the Special Operations Executive [SOE] set up by Churchill to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and aid local resistance movements), Oppenheim is supposed to have said that it would be easy to negotiate a peace agreement ″if only he and Sir Charles could sit down at a table together and talk things over.″49 Oppenheim′s comments were taken by diplomatic observers and journalists in Stockholm as indicating an interest in meeting with official representatives of the British Government, and in the international press it was assumed that Oppenheim was the bearer of a new peace initiative from Hitler.50 The rumours, together with information that he had met people ″with Anglo-American connections″ at Marcus Wallenberg′s estate in Malmvik and at an auction of racehorses at Ulriksdal, led to his being summoned to Berlin immediately on his return to Cologne and accused of having abused the Fuhrer′s name and engaged in unauthorized manoeuvres detrimental to German interests. He was placed under house arrest and on 17 April was interrogated by the Gestapo about his recent trip to Stockholm.

  • 51 Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 248-49; documentation on p. 520, endnote 20.
  • 52 See the relevant documents in Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., Appen (...)
  • 53 Ladislas Farago, The Game of the Foxes, pp. 535-36.

24Oppenheim insisted that he had spent time only with the Wallenbergs, with whom, having been partly trained at the Enskilda Bank many years before, he was on friendly terms; that his business had been of a purely economic nature; and that it concerned the interests of the German Navy, which had forbidden him to speak of it with anybody. The rumours about his bearing peace proposals might have arisen, he explained, as a result of his having visited a night club where a celebrated Chilean singer was performing. She was signing autographs and must have noticed his name when he gave her his card to sign. He could only assume that she was the source of the rumours. He himself had in no way contributed to them and was fully aware that, as a quarter Jew, he had to exercise particular caution.51 Oppenheim was kept under arrest for a while and his passport was withdrawn. Various representations by Canaris and the Bremen branch of the Abwehr convinced Himmler—to whose Waffen-SS Oppenheim had agreed, under a good deal of pressure, to sell the family′s valuable horse-breeding stables at Schlenderhan and who had responded in September 1942 with a letter to the effect that this ″co-operation″ had earned him the gratitude and regard of the Reichsfuhrer-SS52—that the baron′s services were genuinely useful, but Ribbentrop and the Foreign Office remained suspicious, refused to return his passport and relented only several months later. In the last week of July, however, it has been claimed, Waldemar was permitted to make a trip to Paris to negotiate the transfer to the Wallenbergs of foreign stocks and bonds sequestered by the Germans. He thus allegedly acted as an intermediary between the German government and the Wallenbergs in the sale to the latter of looted stocks.53

  • 54 Wilhelm Treue speculates on the reasons for the Abwehr′s no longer using his services. ″Had he com (...)
  • 55 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., p. 38 and appendices 6b and 7.
  • 56 James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust, pp. 138-50.
  • 57 On the experiences of Waldemar von Oppenheim and his family in hiding, see Treue, Das Schicksal de (...)

25Waldemar von Oppenheim′s connection with the Abwehr appears to have ceased, however, by the end of 1942,54 and in 1944, following Stauffenberg′s failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on 20 July, he was among the thousands of people arrested, along with many leaders of the conservative ″resistance,″ including Canaris, Oster, and Goerdeler. He was taken to the Gestapo prison in Cologne, where for three weeks he was detained incommunicado and subjected to intense daily interrogation, from which he returned, according to his wife, ″broken in spirit.″ In addition, though an official Nazi Party document issued by the local Cologne authorities in 1940 had certified the Oppenheim brothers as ″Mischlinge of the second degree [zweiten Grades], according to the Nuremberg Laws″ and thus ″not subject to any economic disadvantage,″ a secret Gestapo report from the end of July 1944, declared that they should be reclassified as Mischlinge of the first degree, since it had been reported that their mother, née Florence Hutchins, had been baptised shortly before her marriage and could therefore be presumed to have been Jewish. Indeed, the document continued threateningly if no less implausibly, it is not impossible that the brothers had in fact three Jewish grandparents—one on their father′s side and now possibly two on their mother′s side—and were therefore to be considered as Jews.55 The document also accused them of having met with other Jews abroad (the author of the document includes the Wallenbergs among these!) while Friedrich is said to have helped several German Jews who had left for Holland to get out of Holland in 1940 when that country was invaded. Though Waldemar had been instructed to report back to the Gestapo two days after his release, he was advised by longtime friends—wisely, as it turned out—to go into hiding. By 1944 it had become impossible not to observe that the status of Mischlinge, which had always been uncertain and subject to review, had deteriorated significantly and that more and more were being rounded up and sent off to work camps.56 With his wife and children, Waldemar moved from one hiding place to another until the Allies entered Cologne in March 1945. One writer claims, however, that Himmler and Walter Schellenberg, Himmler′s personal aide and head of foreign intelligence following the abolition of the Abwehr in 1944, looked up his file in February 1945 (when he had already gone underground) with a view to employing him to present Himmler′s peace proposals to Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden.57

26Though he stayed in Germany throughout the war and did significant intelligence work for the German armed forces, Waldemar von Oppenheim was clearly no Nazi. An anecdote about him in the memoirs of one of Hitler′s would-be assassins, Rudolf Christoph von Gersdorff, leaves little doubt about that. Gersdorff describes how, having miscalculated the timing of an encounter he was to have with Hitler, he had to go quickly to the toilet to defuse the bomb that he had intended for the Führer:

  • 58 Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, Soldat im Untergang (Frankfurt, Berlin and Vienna: Ullste (...)

Without waiting for the march past of the honour battalions I went to the Union-Klub in Schadowstrasse, hoping that I would find myself alone there around that time. However, I ran into another member of the club, Baron Waldemar von Oppenheim, the Cologne banker and owner of Schlenderhan, the best pure breed stud farm in Germany. To my surprise he said to me shortly after we had greeted each other: ′I could have done Adolf in today. He was in an open car being driven very slowly past my ground floor room at the Bristol Hotel. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to throw a hand grenade over the sidewalk at him.′ But he had not known exactly when Hitler was to drive by and he did not have an appropriate explosive device with him. Though Oppenheim knew me and could easily guess my political position, his speaking out was an act of great courage. I said nothing of what I myself had just been up to, in good part so as not to burden him with the knowledge of it.58

  • 59 See Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 37, 38, and appendix 6b, p. (...)

27Like Canaris and Goerdeler, or for that matter Gersdorff himself, who continued to serve in the Wehrmacht after his aborted assassination attempt and received multiple decorations for bravery and a promotion near the very end of the War to the rank of Major-General, Waldemar von Oppenheim appears to have been a German nationalist of the old school—″vor der Machtübernahme [...] deutsch-national eingestellt,″ [″a supporter of the DNVP before our take-over″] as a Gestapo document of 4 August 1944 put it—in short, the kind of conservative from the aristocracy, the top echelons of finance and industry, and the higher ranks of the military, with whom he mixed at Berlin′s elite Union-Klub. It is not surprising that he felt sufficiently confident in Gersdorff to say what he reportedly said to him. The membership of the Union-Klub was on the whole repelled by the populist violence of the Nazis and was in turn regarded with distrust by the latter. Not surprisingly, all the members fell under suspicion in the wake of the 20 July conspiracy.59

28Most of what is known about the activities of Waldemar′s brother, Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim, during the years of National Socialism concerns the efforts to save Jews that earned him a place, in 1996, among the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and Memorial in Israel. According to his story on the Yad Vashem website, he too was ″inducted, after the outbreak of war, into Canaris′ Abwehr,″ which entitled him to ″a special pass and virtually unrestricted travel abroad.″60 If Friedrich Carl did perform services for the Abwehr, however, he appears to have contributed far less to its work than his brother. The literature and the documents concerning him deal almost exclusively with his actions on behalf of Jewish employees of the Oppenheim bank, on behalf of the Jewish families Lissauer and Griessmann, owners of a firm—Lissauer & Co. of Cologne, one of the largest metal traders in Germany—with which the Oppenheims and their bank were closely connected, and on behalf of the predominantly Jewish employees of the Lissauer company. When pressure was put on the Oppenheims to fire their own key non-Aryan employees, including an old school friend of Friedrich′s who worked in the securities department of the bank, Oppenheim at first resisted, claiming that the entire department would then have to be closed down and that that would result not only in losses to the bank but in laying off many Aryan employees. Forced in the end to yield, he succeeded in finding a job for his friend, even though the latter had no expertise in the Lissauer′s primary business, at a branch of the Lissauer firm in Antwerp. Likewise, he was able to find employment with Lissauer for another Jewish friend, an assistant judge in Cologne, who had lost his position in March 1933. Though he himself, as already noted, returned to Germany from the United States after the outbreak of World War II, he urged the Lissauer and Griessmann families to move to Holland in 1937 and helped them transfer their business, along with most of their employees (over one hundred), to their Dutch subsidiary Oxyde N.V. in Amsterdam. With the invasion of Holland in May 1940 the families were again in danger. Friedrich von Oppenheim travelled to Holland and seems to have won support from Helmut Wohlthat—a protégé of Schacht who in 1939 had negotiated the Rublee-Wohlthat agreement establishing financial conditions for the emigration of Jews from Germany and who had been named commissioner for the Dutch Central Bank—for his argument that it was in Germany′s interest to allow the Lissauers to emigrate to the U.S. As an American law had been passed prohibiting any resident of Germany or German-occupied territory from disposing of funds in the U.S. and as a good part of the Lissauer company′s assets were in the U.S., the company could meet its obligations to the Oppenheim bank, to which it owed a great deal of money, only if the Lissauers were located in the U.S. This would benefit Germany inasmuch as payments would be made in much needed foreign currency. Despite fierce opposition from the SS, the necessary visas were finally issued for eleven members of the Lissauer and Griessmann families, and in September 1940 the two families left the Netherlands for Hendaye on the Franco-Spanish border in a bus accompanied by a Wehrmacht escort. From there they reached Lisbon and sailed to South America.61

  • 62 Gabriele Teichmann, ″Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim: A Case Study of a Gentile Rescuer,″ p. 84.

29Friedrich von Oppenheim intervened again in 1942-1943 in an effort to protect the Jewish workers at Oxyde N.V. At the start of the deportation of the Jews of Holland in June 1942, a proviso in the deportation policy allowed for deferring the deportation of Jewish metal traders in view of their importance to the German war effort. As usual, there was a different response to this proviso from the SS Reichssicherheitshauptamt, which was relentless in its anti-Jewish policy, and Wehrmacht-run institutions like the Reichsbüro für Nichteisenmetalle (Reich Agency for Non-ferrous metals), which took a more pragmatic view. 2,300 metal workers obtained deferments. In November 1942, however, Hitler himself ordered that all Jews should be removed from Holland by May 1943, so that by early 1943 the number of employees with deferments had been reduced by 500. There was a danger that the company would simply be liquidated. Realizing that it served as a life raft for most of its employees, Oppenheim moved to take it over and put it under the control of the Pferdmenges (formerly Oppenheim) Bank, but the ″Aryanisation″ office in The Hague rejected his plan on the grounds that the bank lacked the necessary expertise. Oppenheim then approached the German metal trading company Possehl and a new company, Possehl-Oxyde, was formed in which the bank had a 25% interest. The new company could now be classified as ′Aryanized′ and a clause in the founding document stated that Oxyde had to place a number of its Jewish experts at the disposal of the new company for the initial period of transition ″as they are essential to wind up the business and to train Aryan personnel.″ Oppenheim made many visits to Holland, the purpose of which appears to have been to do whatever he could to save the former Oxyde employees from deportation. In the end, very few survived the Holocaust. Nevertheless, ″working for Oxyde, for those who did not go underground, provided temporary respite from deportation and helped increase the chance of survival in the camps.″62 Oppenheim′s frequent trips to Holland, however, had not gone unnoticed by the Gestapo. In April 1944 the local Gestapo, which issued his exit visas, banned any further foreign travel and in the summer of 1944 he was summoned to Berlin to be interrogated.

  • 63 See Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 38^3.

30As we have seen, Friedrich was included in the secret Gestapo report of July 1944 proposing a change in status for the two brothers from Mischlinge of the second to Mischlinge of the first degree. It was also stated that there was ″a strong suspicion that Waldemar and Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim had used their journeys abroad to conduct murky affairs.″ Friedrich in particular, it was noted, had helped several Jews to emigrate to Holland and then to escape from there to other places. Soon after Waldemar had been arrested, imprisoned, and, on his release, gone into hiding, Friedrich and his family left Cologne for Ast, the country estate he had been allowed to purchase near Landshut in Bavaria at the time of the sale of Schlenderhan to the SS. A month later he was denounced by the estate manager and his wife for having made ″defeatist″ comments about the way the war was going and for having declared openly that if he had been Stauffenberg he would not have chosen to use a bomb but would have shot at close range. On 4 September he was arrested by the Regensburg branch of the Gestapo and imprisoned. A few days later, his wife Ruth was also imprisoned for making negative comments about the state, but was released on 8 December for lack of evidence. Fortunately for Friedrich, the prosecutor was apparently willing and able to delay the case′s coming to court—long enough for Friedrich von Oppenheim to be liberated by the advancing Americans on 1 May 1945.63

31Friedrich′s relation to the Nazi regime seems in sum to have been less compromised by the—perhaps, in the circumstances, unavoidable—complicity and collaboration that characterize Waldemar′s relation to it, as well as that of many other members of the conservative ″resistance.″ Perhaps this is accounted for by his being the junior of the two, and reputedly less ″serious″ than his brother. He, however, had been the first to join the Stahlhelm and there is no reason to think that his basic political views were in any significant way different from those of his brother.

  • 64 Emmy′s other son, Ferdinand von Arco auf Valley, married Gertrud Wallenberg, thus reinforcing the (...)

32Compared to Eberhard, Waldemar, and probably Friedrich, one other member of the Oppenheim clan has even more impeccable rightwing credentials. This is Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley (1897-1945), the son of Simon Alfred von Oppenheim′s sister Emmy (1869-1957) and her husband Maximilian Graf von Arco auf Valley, a descendant of a long line of Catholic noblemen. Anton von Arco auf Valley was thus a first cousin of Waldemar and Friedrich von Oppenheim and the son of Max von Oppenheim′s cousin Emmy.64 He has gone down in history as the fanatically rightwing student who assassinated Kurt Eisner, the first president of the revolutionary Bavarian Republic in February 1919. Eisner was a socialist and a Jew, albeit a non-practising one. Anton von Arco auf Valley had served in a Bavarian regiment in the last year of the First World War, and as an aristocrat, monarchist, German nationalist and professed anti-Semite (despite—or because of—his own part-Jewish ancestry), detested Eisner and all he stood for. He came up behind Eisner, as the latter was walking from the Foreign Ministry in Munich to the opening session of the newly elected Landtag, and fired two shots point blank at him, hitting him in the head and the back and killing him instantly. Arco himself was then shot several times by one of Eisner′s bodyguards and gravely wounded, but he survived. The night before, he had left a note explaining and justifying the action he was about to carry out:

33I. Eisner. 1: His hidden objective is anarchy. 2: He is a Bolshevist. 3: He is a Jew. 4: He is no German. 5: He does not feel as a German does. 6: He undermines every patriotic thought and feeling. 7: He has betrayed the country. The entire Bavarian people cries out: Away with him. But he does not leave. Hence!!!

  • 65 Quoted in Friedrich Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco. Das Attentat auf Kurt Eisner und die Schüsse im Landt (...)

34II. My motives! I hate Bolshevism! I am and I think as a German! I hate Jews! I love the real people of Bavaria! I am a true monarchist unto death! I am a true Catholic!65

  • 66 Die verratene Revolution. Deutschland 1918/19 (Bern, Munich and Vienna: Scherz, 1969), p. 184.
  • 67 Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler kam (Munich, 1934), p. 82, cit. Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco, p. (...)
  • 68 Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco, pp. 397-98; Fishman, ″The Assassination of Kurt Eisner,″ p. 151.

35In his moving book on the German Revolution of 1918-1919 Sebastian Haffner describes Arco as a ″half-Jewish Nazi.″66 In fact, he was by Nazi standards a quarter Jew, since Emmy von Oppenheim′s father had married into an old Cologne Christian family and had himself converted and Emmy′s husband was a Catholic. But that quarter had been enough to get him excluded from the extreme rightwing occultist and racist Thule Gesellschaft, one of the seedbeds from which the National Socialist German Worker′s Party (NSDAP) grew. In the words of Rudolf von Sebottendorf, a founder of the Thule Gesellschaft, Arco ″had Jewish blood in his veins from his mother (born Oppenheim), he is a Judling [a Yid] and was thus admitted to neither the Thule Society nor the Kampfbund [a league of rightwing German ″patriotic″ societies]. He wanted to show that a half-Jew could also perform a heroic act″67—i.e. an act of which, in the circles Arco frequented, only authentic Germans were considered capable. Finally brought to trial in 1920, Arco was sentenced to death, but was widely hailed in reactionary post-Revolutionary Munich as a hero and in court was praised for having committed a noble rather than an ignoble act. The day after the trial closed, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In fact, he was released on 13 April 1924 (his cell being immediately occupied by Adolf Hitler after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch) and in 1927 he was pardoned. Testimony to Arco′s good standing with the National Socialist regime was an order bearing the seal of the Chief Prosecutor of the High Court of Berlin that was sent to the office of the Public Prosecutor in Munich on 3 May 1941, with instructions from the State Minister of Justice that Arco′s death sentence of 16 January 1920 should be stricken from the court records.68

  • 69 Michael Stürmer, Gabriele Teichmann, Wilhelm Treue, Wägen und Wagen. Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie. Ges (...)

36It is instructive that on 30 November 1918, a few months before Arco′s assassination of Eisner, his uncle Simon Alfred von Oppenheim, the head of the bank and the patriarch of the family at the time, had written to him from Cologne that ″it is unheard of that a land like Bavaria should let itself be led by an idiot like Kurt Eisner and in general that the Bavarian people should let itself be led, or more accurately terrorized, by the Munich workers. In the long run this situation is obviously unsustainable.″ Monarchist and conservative like his nephew—″Alles fur Konig und Vaterland!″ the latter had exclaimed in his note—but no less a defender of law and order, Simon Alfred did not approve of his nephew′s subsequent action. Nevertheless, he saw Arco as a ″Heldensohn″ [″young hero″], expressed much compassion for him, and in a letter to a friend dated 18 March 1919 implicitly compared his killing of Eisner to the murder of Marat at the time of the Jacobin Terror: ″About poor Tony we have only scraps of news, the latest not encouraging at all. The way things look now, the best one can wish for him is a quick end, for there is almost no hope of extricating him from the clutches of the Spartacus supporters. They will place him under the guillotine if possible as the murderer of their ′Saint′ Eisner. Should he, against all expectations, survive and be rescued, he would spend the rest of his life, I am told, as a pathetic cripple. In addition to a bullet in the head and two in the chest, he was also hit, after all, in the marrow of his spine, and that has left him at this time completely disabled.″69

  • 70 Ibid., p. 372.

37Arco was likewise the relative evoked by Max von Oppenheim in the letter of 4 December 1935 to Waldemar von Oppenheim, referred to earlier in this chapter, in which the older Oppenheim declared that he had always been ″proud to have been an Oppenheim″ and considered with satisfaction the contribution the Oppenheims had made to ″the economic and cultural development of the western provinces of Prussia.″ ″Oppenheim family members have also done much for Germany,″ he went on. ″I need point only to Toni Arco who is rightly celebrated as the saviour of Bavaria.″70

Notes

1 See James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Nazi persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003), pp. 2, 14, 16 et passim. Tent shows that while harassment of Mischlinge increased constantly and the threat of total extermination became more acute as the war raged on, it was almost exclusively Mischlinge who had chosen to identify as Jews that were murdered, whereas the 90% who identified as Christians survived.

2 On the emigration question, see, for instance, Stürmer, Teichmann and Treue, Wägen und Wagen, pp. 371, 394, 403.

3 It is not perhaps as widely known as it might be that a fair number of Jews who had emigrated immediately after the Nazi takeover failed to establish themselves in their country of refuge and returned to Germany. This appears to have been especially the case in 1934, when persecution seemed to have abated somewhat.

4 See, for instance, George Grosz, An Autobiography, trans. Nora Hodges (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 287-89: ″Thomas Mann was of the opinion that Hitler could not possibly last more than six months, an opinion shared at that time by many well-informed people. [...] Not only [the shrewd Dorothy Thompson] but other experts on Germany, many influential industrialists, bankers, economists, journalists, many unusually skeptical diplomats and professional politicians the world over predicted only a short rule for him.″

5 Quoted by Reinhard Rürup, ″Das Ende der Emanzipation,″ in Arnold Paucker, ed., Die Juden im Nationalsozialistischen Deutschland 1933-1943, p. 100. On the ″unsystematic and fitful″ process of ″disemancipation,″ see Peter Pulzer, ″The Beginning of the End″ in Arnold Paucker, ed., Die Juden im Nationalsozialistischen Deutschland 1933-1943, pp. 17-27 (pp. 24-26).

6 For an example of how slow (and perhaps loth) well-established and highly assimilated German Jews were to acknowledge the dangers of National Socialism, not only before the Machtergreifung in January 1933, but after it and even after the March 1933 election, see Avraham Barkai, Oscar Wassermann und die Deutsche Bank (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2005), pp. 3-64. In 1931, Kurt Blumenfeld, a longtime friend, warned Wassermann, who was then director of the important Bamberg-based Bankhaus A.E. Wassermann and a member of the board of the Deutsche Bank, of the danger posed to Jews by the rise of National Socialism. Wassermann retorted angrily that Blumenfeld was one of those people who smelled anti-Semitism everywhere and reacted immediately to every story of a ritual murder (p. 63).

7 In Last Waltz in Vienna: The Destruction of a Family 1842-1942 (London: Mamillan, 1981), the Viennese George Clare (Klaar) describes his surprise, as an adolescent, on reaching Berlin from newly annexed Vienna, where there had been an explosion of popular anti-Semitism, to discover that Jews there, just prior to Kristallnacht, were leading, superficially at least, a ″normal″ life. ″What would you like to do this evening,″ his slightly older German cousin asks him. ″D′you want to go to a cinema, the theatre or just for a drive round Berlin?″ ″But how can we?″ Clare asks. ″We′re Jews.″ ″Yes and don′t I know it,″ his cousin replies. ″But what′s that got to do with it?″ ″It seemed incredible to me,″ the mature George Clare continues in his memoir, ″but it was perfectly true—in Berlin, in the capital of the Third Reich, in the very lion′s den, Jews were still allowed in September 1938 to visit places of entertainment, coffee houses; some even still owned patisseries, they could own cars and shop where they pleased. On the whole of the Kurfurstendamm, one of the city′s most elegant streets, I saw only one shop with the sign ′No Jewish customers,′ so universally displayed in Vienna. Indeed, many Kurfurstendamm shops were still run by their Jewish proprietors. [...] Nor, as I could see for myself, did the ′Aryan′ German customers keep away from those shops. [...] Later that evening, when we drove back to our hotel, through crowded, busy streets, brighly lit by many-coloured neon lights, [.] I sensed the invigorating pace and intensity of Berlin. [.] I was overwhelmed by that city and also breathed more freely there than I had in Vienna during the previous six months. With every additional day my impression grew stronger, and it was shared by my parents, that after Nazi Vienna, one felt in Berlin almost as if one had emigrated and escaped from Hitler′s rule″ (p. 209). These are, of course, an adult′s memories of his experiences as a youth. In addition, Berlin should probably not be taken as characteristic of Germany as a whole. Nonetheless, the testimony is worth noting.

8 On the German Jews′ familiarity with anti-Semitism as an impediment to their grasping the significance of National Socialist anti-Semitism, see the stimulating essay by Peter Pulzer, ″The Beginning of the End,″ in Arnold Paucker, ed., Die Juden im Nationalsozialistischen Deutschland 1933-1943, pp. 17-27. Pulzer cites (pp. 23-24) from George Clare′s memoir (see note 7 above): ″We knew about anti-Semitic tirades, of course; we knew about the 1933 anti-Jewish boycott, but [.] having used anti-Semitism to help him achieve power, like so many demagogues before him, did Hitler have any choice but to allow his storm-troopers their field-day? Had we not been there before? What about Lueger′s anti-Semitic speeches? They had sounded just like Hitler′s. [.] Had one Jew ever been physically harmed under Lueger? Hitler was a rabble-rouser, just like the young Lueger. Would he, now that he had achieved his ambition, behave any differently? In any case, Germany′s powerful and traditional conservatives were bound to make him toe the line. [.] The sound and fury of the early days could not last for ever. Even Hitler would have to mellow in the end. Political realities [.] would see to it.″

9 Words reported by his longtime Jewish disciple Ernst Morwitz; see Ulrich Raulff, Kreis ohne Meister: Stefan Georges Nachleben (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2009), p. 282.

10 The End and the Beginning: The Book of My Life, trans. and ed. L. Gossman (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2010), p. 160. Carl Goerdeler, for instance, considered it not unlikely that ″under pressure from the practical domestic and foreign problems that had to be resolved, the National Socialists would be ready to follow a constructive policy. He was guided in this view by his own experiences in November 1918. [...] The assumption that in confronting the practical problems of government, the new men and groups would sober up and be led to call in experienced advisers was not mistaken at the time. Even in January 1933, it was not aberrant to work for such an outcome.″ (Ines Reich, Carl-Friedrich Goerdeler. Ein Oberbürgermeister gegen den SS-Staat [Cologne, Weimar, Vienna: Böhlau, 1997], p. 161). Similarly, the diplomat Hans von Herwarth, whose grandmother was Jewish, was urged by his superior, Rudolf Nadolny, the German ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1933, not to give up his job in the German Embassy in Moscow. ″He did this, I believe,″ Herwarth wrote later, ″out of the optimistic conviction that the National Socialist regime would either have to change or that it would collapse. [...] I had shared Nadolny′s view that Hitler′s party must somehow evolve and thus avert disaster. This hope was fed by our readings in the works of historians and scholars, who pointed out that no movement is able to maintain its ideological zeal for long″ (Hans von Herwarth, Against Two Evils [London: William Collins, 1981], p. 101). See also Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy toward German Jews 1933-1939 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970), p. 187: ″The most basic impediment to emigration was the deep attachment most German Jews felt for their country. Germany was their fatherland. The Jewish emancipation in Germany had coincided with the developing nationalism of the nineteenth century. Jews had shared in Germany′s growth and died in her defense in World War I. Their deepest political allegiance was to Germany. [.] In their own image they were German and all of Hitler′s fulminations could not shake the foundations of that image. Hitler′s attacks were vicious but they were also patent nonsense. Given a choice between staying in Germany or accepting the insecurities of emigration, most of them preferred to stay in Germany. [...] The hope that ′all this Hitler business′ would end the way of a bad dream undoubtedly shaped much of their thinking. In the meantime they would have to ride out the storm, as Jews had ridden out other storms in their history. Indeed, after the initial shock of 1933, there were those who thought the storm was past.″

11 Jeremy Noakes, ″The Development of Nazi Policy toward the German-Jewish ′Mischlinge′ 1933-1945,″ Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, 34 (1989), pp. 291-354; Beate Meyer, ″Jüdische Mischlinge.″ Rassenpolitik und Verfolgungserfahrung 1933-1945 (Hamburg: Dölling und Galitz, 1999), pp. 96-107, 162-64. However, Maria von der Heydt gives the figures for the 17 May 1939 census as 72,738 ″half-Jews″ and 42,811 ″quarter-Jews″ (″Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Auswanderung von jüdischen Mischlingen, 1938-1941,″ in ″Wer bleibt opfert seine Jahre, vielleicht sein Leben.″ Deutsche Juden 1938-1941, ed. Susanne Heim, Beate Meyer, Francis R. Nicosia [Göttingen: Wallstein, 2010], pp. 77-95); those are also the figures given by James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Nazi Persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003), pp. 2, 103. Some estimates were far higher than even the Interior Ministry′s; see Richard Lawrence Miller, Nazi Justiz: Law of the Holocaust (Westport, CT and London, 1995), p. 18. The sharp decline from 1935 to 1939 is hard to explain by emigration.

12 Karl A. Schleunes ed., Carol Scherer trans., Legislating the Holocaust: The Berhard Loesener Memoirs and Supporting Documents (Boulder, CO and Oxford: Westview Press, 2001), pp. 40-43, 154. For the purposes of ″dejudaizing the state bureaucracy,″ ″it is enough,″ in order to be classified as non-Aryan, according to a 1939 compilation put out by the notorious Julius Streicher, ″for one parent or one grandparent to be non-Aryan″; ″A grandparent is non-Aryan when his or her parents were not Aryan″ (Peter Deeg, Die Judengesetze Grossdeutschlands [Nuremberg: Verlag Der Stürmer, 1939], pp. 71-72, 83).

13 Legislating the Holocaust: The Bernhard Loesener Memoirs, pp. 57-58.

14 ″In broad circles at that time, these laws were not viewed as something unprecedented and new, or the beginning of a more severe anti-Semitic harassment, but rather as the conclusion of an epoch of particularly vile harassment [italics in text]. This conclusion, moreover, had turned out to be much milder than had been feared. Evil Party demands had been kept out of the law, including the demand for the classification of one-eighth Jewish Mischlinge as Jews, the sterilization or the death penalty for ′violators of German blood′ (Blutschänder), the sterilization of all Jews and half Jews, and the compulsory dissolution of racially mixed marriages. Here, after all, was a law, announced and signed by Hitler himself [.]; as vile as it was, it at least provided something to hold on to, a solid foundation for the future.″ It was not so viewed outside Germany, Loesener acknowledges, but that was because ″there was less awareness there of developments prior to the promulgation of the laws.″ ″[I]t is a misjudgement of historical truth,″ he concludes, ″to see all the misery, all the murders and other atrocities committed against the Jews, as simply the result of the Nuremberg Laws — as though they had, in a manner of speaking, unleashed everything Hitler′s Germany has on its conscience, or that without them none of this would have happened. [.] For me, given my knowledge of the facts, [.] it is a simple statement of fact to point out the following: the completely hellish form of the persecution of the Jews in later years became horrible reality not as a result of, but rather despite the Nuremberg Laws [italics in text]. [...] The prohibition of marriage between Jews and those of ′German blood′; the prohibition of extramarital sexual relations between them, the prohibition upon Jews to employ female domestic servants of German blood under the age of 45, and the prohibition [.] for Jews to fly the German flag [.] were meant to bring order into what had become a chaotic situation and to mark the end of the persecution of the Jews″ (Legislating the Holocaust: The Bernhard Loesener Memoirs, pp. 54-56). On Hitler′s intention, through the Nuremberg Laws, of ensuring control of anti-Jewish measures, cracking down on undisciplined individual acts of violence, and neutralizing the extreme radicals in the Party, see Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1888-1936. Hubris (London: Allen Lane, 1998), pp. 562-71: ″The Nuremberg Laws served their purpose in dampening the wild attacks on the Jews which had punctuated the summer. Most ordinary Germans not among the ranks of the party fanatics had disapproved of the violence, but not of the aims of anti-Jewish policy—the exclusion of Jews from German society, and ultimately their removal from Germany itself. They mainly approved now of the legal framework to separate Jews and Germans as offering a permanent basis for discrimination without the unseemly violence. Hitler had associated himself with the search for a ′legal′ solution″ (p. 571). See also Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, vol. 1, The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 (New York: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 147.

15 Richard L. Miller, Nazi Justiz, p. 19. See also Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz, pp. 130-31.

16 Bryan Rigg, Hitler′s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002), p. 51. According to Peter Deeg, ″it suffices to have one non-Aryan grandparent″ to be excluded from service in the Wehrmacht. However ″by the law of 25 July 1935 exception can be made for non-Aryans who have no more than two fully non-Aryan grandparents″ (Deeg, Die Judengesetze Grossdeutschlands, pp. 82, 83). Rigg claims that those Mischlinge who were admitted or drafted into the Wehrmacht could not rise even to the rank of NCO (Rigg, Hitler′s Jewish Soldiers, p. 23), though here too exceptions were made.

17 See Rigg, Hitler′s Jewish Soldiers, pp. 29-30; Samuel W. Mitcham Jr., Men of the Luftwaffe (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1988), pp. 4-14; Bernt Engelmann, Deutschland ohne Juden: eine Bilanz (Munich: Schneekluth, 1970), pp. 212, 238; for a brief summary,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhard_Milch. In his admiring biography of Milch, David Irving accepts the story invented by Göring that Milch was actually the son of his mother′s lover and not the son of the ″racially″ Jewish Navy pharmacist Anton Milch, who in fact appears to have been a patriotic subject of the Kaiser far more than he was a Jew (The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe: The Life of Erhard Milch [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973], pp. 327-29). It was not uncommon at the time for Mischlinge to try to escape their classificiation by claiming that an Aryan lover, rather than the father of record, the Jewish husband of their mother, was their real father. A bureaucracy was instituted (the Reichssippenamt) to deal with such appeals, said to have numbered more than 52,000, of which only about 4,000 were successful (Jürgen Matthäus, ″Evading Persecution,″ in Jewish Life in Nazi Germany, Dilemmas and Responses, ed. Francis R. Nicosia and David Scrase [New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010], pp. 47-70 [p. 52]).

18 At a secret meeting (6 July 1942) attended by Speer and Rosenberg among others, Göring complained that bureaucratic application of the racial laws was hampering the war effort. He gave an example: ″Yes, this is a very useful product, extremely useful; it could do us a power of good. We cannot adopt it, however, because it happens that the fellow is married to a Jewess or is a half-Jew.″ In response to such mindless judgments, Göring noted that ″at this moment we have hired a Jew in Vienna and another who is an expert in photography because they have know-how that we need. It would be madness to say: ′He has to go! He did great research work, has a fantastic brain, but his wife is a Jewess and so he can′t work at a university. In such cases the Führer has allowed exceptions, even in the field of operetta.″ (Quoted in Englemann, Deutschland ohne Juden, p. 238).

19 Testimony cited in Beate Meyer, Jüdische Mischlinge, pp. 215-26, Chapter entitled ″Der ′Halbarier′ Rudolf Petersen (1878-1962)—Durch Anpassung und kaufmännische Tüchtigkeit unbehelligt″ [″The half-Aryan Rudolf Petersen (1878-1962)—Unmolested, thanks to accommodation and business skills″]. Petersen may have exaggerated somewhat the ″friendly manner of the leading citizens toward me.″ His aim in the post-war period was to promote reconciliation and forgiveness and get the city of Hamburg back on its feet again.

20 See Stürmer, Teichmann and Treue, Wägen und Wagen, pp. 394, 403-04; Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 24-25, 29.

21 Ambassador Dodd′s Diary 1933-1938, ed. William E. Dodd and Martha Dodd (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1941), p. 73. Eberhard was, of course, not ″a Jew.″ According to the Nuremberg Laws, he would have been a quarter-Jew or ″Mischling″ of the second degree. Did Dodd′s referring to him as a Jew reflect a general public perception of Eberhard von Oppenheim, indeed of all Oppenheims, or does it tell something about Dodd′s way of thinking—once a Jew, always a Jew, especially if you are from the world of finance? As for the ″special dispensation″ declaring him an Aryan, this was never more than a rumour. Such rumours were not infrequent (Max von Oppenheim was the subject of a similar rumour) and probably reflect the popular anti-Semitic cliché that rich Jews always find a way to pull strings in their favour. It does appear, however, that Eberhard was well disposed toward the National Socialists. According to another story about him, he tried to join the Party but was turned down because of his part-Jewish ancestry.

22 See Brendan G. Carroll, The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1997), p. 222. According to Carroll, the production of the operetta ran into financial difficulty and was made possible only by an advance of 30,000 marks by Harold′s banker father, Simon Alfred von Oppenheim; it was, moreover, ″the unknown″ Harold von Oppenheim′s ″one and only leading role″ and ″his only stage appearance″; allegedly, ″he ended his days in South America singing in cheap bars. A tragic figure, he died from drug addiction″ (note 12 to Chapter 15, p. 387; no evidence is provided for this assertion). One witness of the 1933 production wrote that ″der füllige Herr von Oppenheim tenorisiert seine Rolle recht sympathisch; er gefiel auch mit einer Solo-Nummer, ist aber für das Genre doch viel zu schwer: er opert″ [″the ample Herr von Oppenheim sings his tenor role most engagingly; he was also a success in a solo number, but he is too heavy for the genre of operetta: he performs as if it were an opera″]. (Edwin Neruda, cit. In Arne Stollberg, ed., Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Wunderkind der Moderne oder letzter Romantiker [Munich: edition text+ kritik, 2008], p. 254).

23 Hermann Beck, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933 — The ′Machtergreifung′ in a New Light (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008), pp. 270-74.

24 Theodor Duesterberg, Der Stahlhelm und Hitler (Wolfenbüttel and Hannover: Wolfenbüttler Verlagsanstalt, 1949), p. 13. This text, however, is unreliable. Written after the War, it aimed to exculpate not only the Stahlhelm organization but, above all, the book′s author, Duesterberg. The founder and co-leader of the organization, Franz Seldte, emerges from the book as the villain who pushed for collaboration with the Nazis, while Duesterberg constantly tried to prevent it. It is true that Duesterberg agreed to run against Hitler in 1932 and that Seldte, in contrast, joined the NSDAP in 1933 and served as Minister of Labour under Hitler. Nevertheless, in the 1920′s it appears to have been Seldte who, extreme conservative as he was, gave formal support to the republic and resisted pressure from anti-Semitic elements to exclude Jews from the organization, whereas Duesterberg represented an ″openly anti-republican, völkish, and anti-Semitic tendency″ (Irmgard Götz von Olenhusen, ″Vom Jungstahlhelm zur SA,″ in Wolfgang R. Krabbe, ed., Politische Jugend in der Weimarer Republik [Bochum: Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, 1993], pp. 146-82 [p. 156]).

25 Volker R. Berghahn, Der Stahlhelm. Bund der Frontsoldaten 1918-1935 (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1966), pp. 65-67.

26 Duesterberg, Der Stahlhelm und Hitler, p. 35. Of the movement in general, Duesterberg declared that in the 1920s it stood against the ″Hitlerwahn″ which resulted, in his view, from the harsh provisions of the Versailles treaty, the high rate of unemployment and general spiritual and material impoverishment: ″The Stahlhelm stood like a rock against this mass delusion″ (p. 13).

27 In his own speeches, for instance, Hugenberg appears not to have sought to exploit anti-Semitic feelings in his audiences. (Hermann Beck, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933, p. 180). On Quaatz′s anti-Semitism and advocacy of co-operation with the National Socialists, see Die Deutschnationalen und die Zerstörung der Weimarer Republik: Aus dem Tagebuch von Reihnold Quaatz 1928-1933, ed. Hermann Weiss and Paul Hoser (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1989), Introduction, pp. 19-21.

28 On Hitler′s outmanoeuvering of Hugenberg, see Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, pp. 419-23, 477-78; see also Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, trans. Michael Bullock (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; New York: Pantheon Books, 1970), pp. 33, 156-58; Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship, trans. Jean Steinberg (New York: Praeger, 1970), pp. 86, 190, 194-96, 202; Hermann Beck, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933, pp. 83-113 et passim.

29 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 24-25, 29. On the DNVP, see the excellent pages in Hermann Beck, The Fateful Alliance, Ch. 5. Beck demonstrates convincingly that, in the matter of anti-Semitism at least, the DNVP did not live up to hopes that might have been placed in it by conservative and nationalist Jews and part-Jews. While local Party organizations tended to consider each individual application for membership by baptized Jews or part-Jews on its merits, the Party headquarters in Berlin was anxious to fend off the charge of being ″judenfreundlich″ [Jew-friendly] made by the Nazis, who claimed, for instance, that the DNVP had only reluctantly supported the boycott of Jewish businesses. In Beck′s words, ″the party that, more than any other, had been the standard-bearer of the conservative German establishment, the embodiment of the values of the Empire, the bureaucracy, and the traditions of the old Prussian Rechtsstaat, had failed abysmally when put to the text″ (p. 216).

30 Leonidas E. Hill, ″The Pre-War National Conservative Opposition,″ in Francis R. Nicosia and Lawrence D. Stokes, Germans against Nazism: Nonconformity, Opposition and Resistance in the Third Reich (Oxford and New York: Berg, 1990), pp. 221-52 (p. 241). Hill notes that while the National Conservatives later ″objected to the arbitrary use of police power and the incarceration of opponents in concentration camps, [...] few of them criticised this practice in the early years of the [National Socialist] regime, when their special enemies, the Communists and the Social Democrats, were persecuted″ (p. 231). See also the short essay by Hans Mommsen, ″Bourgeois (National Conservative) Resistance,″ in Wolfgang Benz and Walter H. Pehle, Encyclopedia of German Resistance to the Nazi Movement (New York: Continuum, 1997), pp. 35-44. Mommsen emphasizes the anti-democratic character of the National Conservative resistance to the Nazi regime, the unwillingness of its leaders to form a covert organization within the country, and their focus on ″revolution from above.″

31 In an essay dated March 1933 the Jewish rightwinger Hans-Joachim Schoeps, who, like other champions of a ″conservative revolution,″ had been generally supportive of a ″national renewal″ of Germany and for that reason by no means unsympathetically disposed toward National Socialism, expressed alarm at the introduction, as a result of the events of 30 January and the vote of 5 March, of a totalitarian (as distinct from an authoritarian) political order and the suppression of all independent opinions and positions. Schoeps warned that ″the fact that a magical spell comes today only from the S.A., whereas the the Stahlhelm and the image of man behind it now have far less power to impress, at least as far as the urban masses are concerned, throws a shadow over the prospects of conservatism″ (″Die Gegenwart,″ in ″Bereit für Deutschland″: Der Patriotismus deutscher Juden und der Nationalsozialismus. Frühe Schriften 1930 bis 1939 [Berlin: Haude & Spenersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1970], pp. 91-92).

32 For a detailed account of the recruitment of Waldemar von Oppeneim to the Bremen branch of the Abwehr, see the well-documented study of Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben: Eine Rettungsaktion für vom Holocaust Bedrohte aus dem Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Frankfurt a. M.: Anton Haim, 1993), pp. 173-77. Oppenheim was approached in June 1941. Doubtless hoping to achieve maximum protection for his family, however, he had at first made acceptance of the invitation to serve as an agent of the Abwehr conditional on his reinstatement as an officer in the Wehrmacht, the higher ranks of which were officially closed to non-Aryans, Mischlinge as well as full Jews. When Bremen would not or could not meet this condition, Oppenheim offered his services to the Hamburg branch of the Abwehr and accepted the offer from Bremen only when Hamburg also failed to deliver on his demand.

33 On 4 February 1938, Hitler dismissed War Minister Generaloberst Werner von Blomberg, on the grounds that his newly wed wife had been a prostitute, and Army C-in-C Generaloberst Werner von Fritsch on a trumped up charge of homosexuality, prepared by Himmler and the Gestapo. This provoked great resentment in the army and drove a wedge between the army and the Party that encouraged various moves on the part of the military top brass to undermine Hitler′s foreign policy designs and ultimately his very authority. On the Fritsch and Blomberg affairs and moves by army leaders to counter Hitler′s plans, see Michael Mueller, Canaris: The Life and Death of Hitler′s Spymaster, trans. Geoffrey Brooks (London: Chatham Publishing, Lionel Leventhal; Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007; orig. German 2006), pp. 113-58. On Canaris′s employment of Jews, ibid., p. 214. On the ineffectiveness of plans to thwart Hitler and even arrest him, see also Bracher, The German Dictatorship, pp. 391-99, 433-44.

34 On Oster, see Joachim Fest, Plotting Hitler′s Death: The Story of the German Resistance (New York: Henry Holt, 1996; orig. German 1994); Klemens von Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1992); Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben; Roger Moorhouse, Killing Hitler (New York: Bantam Dell [Random House], 2006]; Romedio Graf von Thun-Hohenstein, ″Widerstand und Landesverrat am Beispiel des Generalmajors Hans Oster,″ in Jürgen Schmädcke and Peter Steinbach, eds., Der Widerstand gegen den Nationalsozialismus (Munich and Zurich: Piper, 1985), pp. 751-62.

35 When he heard of Heydrich′s efforts to speed up mass killings of Polish Jews, along with the Polish nobility and Catholic clergy, Canaris expressed his horror: ″For these methods the world will hold the Wehrmacht responsible,″ he warned General Keitel, head of the armed forces high command (Mark Mazower, Hitler′s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe [London: Allen Lane, 2008], p. 70). See also the remarks on the ″traditional anti-Semitism″ of Carl Goerdeler, another key figure of the so-called Widerstand or German resistance to Hitler, in Ines Reich, Carl-Friedrich Goerdeler: Ein Oberbürgermeister gegen den SS-Staat, pp. 155-60, 203-07.

36 See especially Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 230-41. In the competition among the various Nazi secret services, the Abwehr and its chief, Admiral Canaris, were often accused by the Gestapo of ″Jew-friendly actions″ [″judenfreundiche Praxis″]. According to one report, at a meeting with Hitler in February 1942, Himmler denounced Canaris: ″It was well known,″ Himmler claimed, ″that, on account of his positive attitude to Jews, the head of the Abwehr used the services of countless Jewish contact men and intermediaries both in Germany itself and abroad″ (cit. pp. 239-40). Hitler is said to have flown into a rage and ordered General Wilhelm Keitel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, to suspend Canaris immediately. It was a full week before the Admiral was able to arrange a meeting with Hitler and get himself reinstated (Michael Mueller, Canaris, p. 214). In his memoirs, written after the War, Ernst von Weizsäcker, appointed Secretary of State at the Auswärtiges Amt in 1938, paints a fine, short portrait of Canaris, confirming that the Abwehr ″knew not a little of what Himmler was up to, and was able to help many who would otherwise have fallen into the hands of the Gestapo″ (Memoirs of Ernst von Weizsäcker, trans. John Andres [London: Victor Gollancz, 1951], pp. 143-44).

37 According to Canaris′s biogapher, Michael Mueller, Oppenheim ″between the autumns of 1941 and 1942 was one of the most important informers on the American armaments industry″ (Michael Mueller, Canaris, p. 214).

38 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., Appendix 8 and p. 24. See also on the ″fishing boats,″ Gerard Aalders and Cees Wiebes, The Art of Cloaking Ownership. The Secret Collaboration and Protection of the German War Industry by the Neutrals. The Case of Sweden (Amsterdam University Press/Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, 1996), pp. 128-31.

39 Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 249-50. Plans for the invasion of North Africa were also discussed at the ″Acadia″ conference.

40 This was probably due not only to his frequent trips to Berlin and his activity as a facilitator of trade relations between Sweden and Germany during the War years but to his role in the complicated Bosch affair. The U.S. government considered the ownership of the Bosch subsidiary in the U.S. unclear and seized it as enemy property in May 1942. The discovery of the secret provision in the Bosch archives after the War confirmed American suspicions that a dummy ownership had been set up during the War. The issue was ultimately settled out of court, but the Enskilda bank suffered a considerable loss of reputation as a result. See Gerard Aalders and Cees Wiebes, The Art of Cloaking Ownership, pp. 37-53, 127-52.

41 Klemens von Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 343-49.

42 See note 40 above. See also Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, p. 177, and a report (dated 17 August 1944) to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, outlining some of the results of an investigation into the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler (Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, ″Spiegelbild einer Verschwörung.″ Die Opposition gegen Hitler und der Staatsstreich vom 20 Juli 1944 in der SD-Berichterstattung. Geheime Dokumente aus dem ehemaligen Reichssicherheitshauptamt [Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1984], 2 vols., vol. 1, p. 246). The first part of this document, which deals mostly with Goerdeler and his relations with the Wallenbergs, refers to the 1939 negotiations between Jacob Wallenberg and Goerdeler concerning the Bosch foreign subsidiaries, ″wobei zeitweise auch der Kölner Bankier Waldemar von Oppenheim (Bankhaus Pferdmenges) als entfernter Verwandter Wallenbergs eingeschaltet war″ [in the course of which at times the Cologne banker Waldemar von Oppenheim (Pferdmenges Bank), as a distant relative of Wallenberg, was brought in]. On Robert Bosch′s assistance to persecuted Jews, see Peter Hoffmann, Carl Goerdeler and the Jewish Question 1933-1942 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 56 et passim; also Gerhard Ritter, trans. R.J. Clark, The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler′s Struggle against Tyranny (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1958), pp. 80-81.

43 On Goerdeler′s negotiations, through Jacob and Markus Wallenberg, with representatives of the British government, see the full text of the 17 August 1944 report to Kaltenbrunner, in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, ″Spiegelbild einer Verschwörung,″ vol. 1, pp. 246-49; also Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler, pp. 342-44, 394-95. On Goerdeler′s peace proposals, see the ″position paper″ for the British Government drawn up by Goerdeler and dated 19/20 May 1943 in Sabine Gillmann and Hans Mommsen, eds., Politische Schriften und Briefe Carl Friedrich Goerdelers (Munich: K.G. Saur, 2003), vol. 2, pp. 944-49; also Appendix 2 of the 17 August 1944 report to Kaltenbrunner in ″Spiegelbild einer Verschwörung,″ vol. 1, p. 249. Goerdeler′s letter of 8 November 1944 to Wallenberg is in Politische Schriften und Briefe Carl Friedrich Goerdelers, vol. 2, pp. 1192-95.

44 In the considerable literature on this topic, see, for example, Ingeborg Fleischhauer, Die Chance des Sonderfriedens: Deutsch-sowjetische Geheimgespräche 1941-1945 (Berlin: Siedler Verlag, 1986), especially pp. 81-85; Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler, pp. 370-73; Reinhard R. Doerries, Hitler′s Intelligence Chief Walter Schellenberg (New York: Enigma Books, 2009), pp. 105-09, 148-51, 193-95; L. Bezymensky, ″Himmler′s Secret Plan,″ International Affairs, 3 (March 1961): 72-77.

45 See Winfied Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, p. 519, endnote 12, citing documents at the Press Section of the Auswärtiges Amt and the U.K. Public Record Office (now National Archives).

46 Ibid., endnote 13. It is not clear in which Daily News Hewins′ report appeared—the Chicago Daily News or the New York Daily News. It is also possible that the newspaper in question was actually the London Daily Mail, as suggested by Ladislas Farago, The Game of the Foxes: The Untold Story of German Espionage in the United States and Great Britain During World War II (New York: David McKay, 1971), p. 534. In the 1930s Hewins had been a reporter for the British paper, which at the time, under Rothermere, was favorably inclined toward Hitler and Mussolini and, in its early stages, toward Moseley′s British Union of Fascists. After the war Hewins wrote biographies of Count Folke Bernadotte (1950) and Quisling (1965). The former had an anti-Jewish slant; the latter was greeted with dismay in Norway because of its relatively sympathetic portrayal of Quisling, the Norwegian collaborator with the Nazis.

47 http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/venona/1942/13apr_waldemar_von_oppenheim.http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/venona/1942/13apr_waldmer_von_oppenheim_correction.pdf

48 http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/venona/1942/13apr_waldmer_von_oppenheim_correction.pdf The documents are from the Venona Project, a collaboration of the British and American intelligence services initiated in 1943, under orders from the deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Carter W. Clarke, who distrusted Stalin and feared that the Soviet Union would sign a separate peace with the Third Reich and thus allow Germany to focus its military forces against Great Britain and the United States. The task of Venona was to intercept and decode secret Russian communications. It is striking that the Soviets, on their side, feared that Germany would conclude a separate peace with the British and Americans.

49 Note (dated 14 April 1942) by Frank Kenyon Roberts, Central Department, British Foreign Office, cit. Winfied Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, endnote 17.

50 Precisely for that reason, the Foreign Office advised its representatives in the U.S., the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Switzerland that rumours of a German peace initiative in Stockholm had not been followed up and were of no interest to the government in London (ibid., endnote 19, coded Foreign Office message, dated 19 April 1942).

51 Winfried Meyer, Unternehmen Sieben, pp. 248-49; documentation on p. 520, endnote 20.

52 See the relevant documents in Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., Appendix 13.

53 Ladislas Farago, The Game of the Foxes, pp. 535-36.

54 Wilhelm Treue speculates on the reasons for the Abwehr′s no longer using his services. ″Had he come under suspicion? Had the military people also decided to steer clear of him?″ (Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., p. 28). It may not be irrelevant that by 1942 official policy toward Mischlinge was becoming more and more oppressive; see James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust, pp. 138-50; Konrad Kwiet, ″Without Neighbors: Daily Living in Judenhäuser,″ in Jewish Life in Nazi Germany, Dilemmas and Responses, ed. Francis R. Nicosia and David Scrase, pp. 117-48 (pp. 133-34).

55 Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., p. 38 and appendices 6b and 7.

56 James F. Tent, In the Shadow of the Holocaust, pp. 138-50.

57 On the experiences of Waldemar von Oppenheim and his family in hiding, see Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 35-36; on the alleged plans of Himmler and Schellenberg, see Ladislas Farago, The Game of the Foxes, p. 536. Some egregious errors in Farago′s book and the complete lack of documentation in it have led professional historians to question its general reliability.

58 Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, Soldat im Untergang (Frankfurt, Berlin and Vienna: Ullstein, 1977), pp. 132-33. On Gersdorff′s planned assassination attempt, see Michael C. Thomsett, The German Opposition to Hitler (Jefferson, N.C. and London: McFarland, 1997), pp. 176-79.

59 See Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 37, 38, and appendix 6b, p. 68.

60 http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/oppenheim.asp Other sources, such as Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie. and Gabrielle Teichmann, ″Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim: A Case Study of a Gentile Rescuer,″ Journal of Holocaust Education, 7 (1998): 67-88, make no reference to his having been inducted into the Abwehr.

61 Gabriele Teichmann, ″Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim: A Case Study of a Gentile Rescuer,″ pp. 71-73. Teichmann points out that, in fact, ″the foreign currency benefits that had served as justification for their emigration never materialised.″

62 Gabriele Teichmann, ″Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim: A Case Study of a Gentile Rescuer,″ p. 84.

63 See Treue, Das Schicksal des Bankhauses Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie., pp. 38^3.

64 Emmy′s other son, Ferdinand von Arco auf Valley, married Gertrud Wallenberg, thus reinforcing the business connections of the Cologne Oppenheims and the Stockholm Wallenbergs.

65 Quoted in Friedrich Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco. Das Attentat auf Kurt Eisner und die Schüsse im Landtag (Munich: Knesebeck & Schuler, 1988), pp. 391-92. A facsimile of the note is provided on the front and back endpapers of the book.

66 Die verratene Revolution. Deutschland 1918/19 (Bern, Munich and Vienna: Scherz, 1969), p. 184.

67 Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler kam (Munich, 1934), p. 82, cit. Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco, p. 391. See also Sterling Fishman, ″The Assassination of Kurt Eisner,″ in Klaus L. Berghahn, ed., The German Jewish Dialogue Reconsidered: A Symposium in Honor of George L. Mosse (New York: Peter Lang, 1996), pp. 141-54.

68 Hitzer, Anton Graf Arco, pp. 397-98; Fishman, ″The Assassination of Kurt Eisner,″ p. 151.

69 Michael Stürmer, Gabriele Teichmann, Wilhelm Treue, Wägen und Wagen. Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie. Geschichte einer Bank und einer Familie, pp. 332-33.

70 Ibid., p. 372.

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