The Meeting

In Hitler’s Henchmen Dr. Henk van Capelle and Dr. Peter van de Bovenkamp tell how Henriette von Schirach in 1943 was invited to the Netherlands by friends in the German occupation forces. She witnessed a frightful scene in Amsterdam: a crowd of scared Jewish women with bundles brutally being rounded up for deportation.

She was shocked and asked her friends for an explanation. She later recalled: “I was told that Jewish women were being deported and didn’t I know about it? .. My friends advised me to take the matter up with Hitler himself ..”

Henriette broke off her visit to the Netherlands, and telephoned the Berghof to make an appointment with Hitler: “It was a splendid, somewhat sultry fall evening when we joined the regular company by the large open fire at the Berghof. I was still confused and had thought out no plan for the manner in which I would approach Hitler .. Long after midnight Hitler turned to me and asked in a friendly tone: You have just come back from Holland, have you not?”

Henriette presumed on her long friendship with Hitler to describe what she had witnessed in Amsterdam: “Although I had already had a double cognac, the moment still came totally unexpectedly. I took a deep breath and answered: Yes, that is why I am here. I wanted to speak to you about some terrible things I saw; I cannot believe that you know about them. Helpless women were being rounded up and driven together to be sent off to a concentration camp and I think that they will never return.”

Adolf Hitler

“A painful stillness fell; all color had left Hitler’s face. His face looked like a death mask in the light of the flames. He looked at me aghast and at the same time surprised and said: We are at war. He very cautiously stood up .. At that moment he screamed at me: You are sentimental, Frau von Schirach! You have to learn to hate! What have Jewish women in Holland got to do with you?”

“The rest of the company were quite as mice. Nobody looked at me. I walked out of the room and once in the vestibule I began to run. One of Hitler’s adjutants came running after me. The F├╝hrer was furious. I was asked to leave the Obersalzberg immediately.”

Henriette von Schirach and her husband were never invited again …