Hans Grimm, the proudly independent and distinguished German writer who died in 1959, has written far and away the best book on Hitler's ideas and program to date: Warum -- Woher -- Aber Wohin? (Why -- From-What -- To What Purpose?, Lippoldsberg, 1954). It would seem both fair and fitting in this lengthy treatment of dreadful charges brought against Germany to present the essence of his thought on the subject of Hitler, Germany, and the Jews. Grimm delayed his work for many years after Hitler's death until he was convinced, through sustained contemplation and greater perspective, that he had arrived at a detached judgment of the deceased German leader. Above all, he came to recognize in Hitler the man who had created the miracle of the truly German national community. The vestigial class conflicts of the feudal period, and the more modern ones exploited by Karl Marx, were largely overcome.
Grimm met Hitler for the first time in 1928. He recognized that Hitler had an abiding faith in the crucial importance of a lasting Anglo-German agreement. Hitler in those days was still looking for the man to lead Germany from the platform in the movement of which be himself was the prophet.
Grimm maintained an independent attitude toward Hitler and his work at all times. He voted "No" in the 1934 election to combine the German presidential and chancellor offices on the grounds that Hitler did not deserve to have so much power concentrated in his own hands. Hitler by that time had decided that he would have to lead Germany in her hour of supreme crisis, because the more able and highly-qualified personality for whom he had waited had failed to appear. Grimm's distrust of Hitler remained undiminished until the end of World War II. He was, nevertheless, disgusted by the vile details of Sftauffenberg's July 20, 1944, assassination attempt against Hitler in which the would-be assassin, a German officer, merely placed a bomb certain to kill other people as part of an effort to save his own life.
Grimm was opposed to Hitler's anti-Jewish policy, but he admitted that throughout the world he himself had encountered the proverbial disloyalty toward Germany of the so-called German Jews (Ibid., pp. 53-54). Hitler had told Grimm in 1929 that the permanent disintegration of Germany would be a disaster for western civilization, and that he was convinced that the salvation of Europe and America depended upon the salvation of Germany. Hitler's basic pro-American attitude was also confirmed by Ernst Hanfstaengl, Unheard Witness (Philadelphia, 1957, pp. 183ff.). Hanfstaengl noted that Hitler had little difficulty on the on the basis of the facts in making his charges stick about the ruthless exploitation of Weimar Germany by the Jews. Indeed, the Jewish economic position in Germany was far more impressive and extensive than in either Great Britain or the United States (Ibid., pp. 35ff.).
Grimm noted that Hitler and Goebbels, whom he also saw frequently after 1931, favored a separate state for the Jews. This indicated that their thinking on the Jewish question was not limited to the merely negative factor of ridding Germany of her Jews, but that it followed a positive approach along the lines of modern Zionism.
Hitler saw in Jewry a conscious obstacle to the creation of a German national community. Grimm noted that Hitler was striving for a truly democratic German community without the conventional parliamentary basis which had served Germany so poorly in the past. The tremendous enthusiasm which Hitler aroused among the German people in 1933 lasted well into the war period, until it was recognized that Germany's foes, after all, would be able to deny and cancel the hopes and dreams of the entire German people. Grimm himself did not fully recognize the tragedy of this situation until after Hitler's death. Grimm noted that in 1945 he encountered many healthy former inmates of those German concentration camps which had been pictured by an unbridled atrocity propaganda as unexceptionable dens of hell and death.
Grimm denounced the demonstrations against the Jews which were organized by Goebbels on November 10, 1938, but be rightly noted that they were no worse than the treatment of Germans abroad during World War I, including the United States. That this observation about the American treatment of Germans during World War I was really an understatement has been amply proved by H. C. Peterson and G. C. Fite in their Opponents of War, 1917-1918 (Madison, Wisconsin, 1957) which deals in detail with what happened in the United States. In this context, and in view of the American record of mistreating Germans in 1917-1918, it was extremely ironical when President Roosevelt told an American press conference on November 14, 1938, that he could scarcely believe such things as the November, 1938, demonstrations in Germany could happen in a civilized country. The American Zionist leader, Samuel Untermeyer, had been conducting his boycott and holy war against the Germans for more than five years by that time.
Hitler was personally shocked by the November 1938 measures launched by Goebbels and even declared that these events could have ruined National Socialist Germany permanently. The British diplomat, Ogilvie-Forbes, reported his conviction to London from Berlin that nothing of the sort would ever be attempted again.
Grimm himself concluded after World War II that the old Jewish nation, which had been landless for 2,000 years, was exploiting the confusion and uncertainty of the younger modern nations in an attempt to dominate the world. The creation of a Zionist Jewish state would be of no adequate service in averting this danger unless it was carried through on a comprehensive scale which would enable it to embrace most of the Jews of the world.
Osward Pirow, the South African Defense Minister, approached Hitler in November 1938 with a plan for the creation of a fund to solve the problem of Jewish emigration from Europe. The entire scheme was to be carried through on an international basis with 2.5 billion dollars provided from German-Jewish and other Jewish sources. The proposals were greeted with approval by Hitler but were blocked in London. The same was true of Pirow's proposal for an agreement between Germany and the West which would give Germany a free hand in Eastern Europe.
In May 1939, an elaborate, conspiracy to assassinate Hitler was organized and financed by the English Jew, George Russel Strauss, at a time when England and Germany were at peace. The various would-be assassins who tried to win the reward money from Strauss were unsuccessful, but their efforts continued long after England and Germany were at war. Grimm emphasized that these efforts had no influence on Hitler's policy toward the Jews, although Hitler knew that conspiracies of this kind had been organized against him from abroad.
Grimm correctly called, attention to the fact that the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials was absolutely determined to prevent any introduction of factual material which would expose the gigantic fraud to the effect that six million Jews had been exterminated by the National Socialist government during the war. The defense attorneys were not allowed to question the allegation by means of cross-examination, although, despite this arbitrary limitation, they did make several impressive attempts to do so through flank attacks. None of the numerous Jewish acquaintances of Grimm in Germany had been liquidated; on the contrary, all had survived the war. But economic and political pressures were exerted by occupation authorities in Germany after 1945 to prevent a free investigation of these atrocity charges by reputable scholars and they have been continued by the Adenauer government at Bonn.
Hitler hoped to create an effective German dam against the inroads from the East in line with the traditions of European history. He hoped to create a comradely international league of nationalisms among the nations of Europe. Jewish spokesmen, such as Untermeyer and Weizmann, took the same adamant position as the Soviet Marxists in seeking to undermine all such ideas. The September 30, 1938, Anglo-German friendship agreement seemed to offer great hope that Europe was facing a better future, but, within a few days, the pressure from the "anti-Munichers" within the Tory Party took the initiative for friendship with Germany out of Chamberlain's hands. Grimm believed that Hitler had fully and properly recognized the dangers of this situation in his speech criticizing the anti-Munich English group at Saarbrücken on October 9, 1938. The English succeeded in stirring up the Poles in 1939, and the Germans of Poland had suffered day and night for many months before September, 1939, what the Jews of Germany had experienced on the single date of November 10, 1938. There was little sympathy in the international press for these Gennans of Poland. They were not Jews.
Grimm recognized Hitler's interest in adequate economic access to the raw materials of Eastern Europe, and he was convinced that Hitler would have been content under normal conditions to satisfy Germany's need within the context of the German-Russian non-aggression pact of August 23, 1939. When Hitler said at the Nuremberg Party Congress, in 1936, that Germany would swim in plenty if she had the resources of the Urals, the German leader was not saying that Germany should have the Urals or intended to take them. All he meant was that the Germans could do a better job of exploiting natural resources than was true of the Soviet masters of Russia at that time. Grimm believed that the months from November, 1938, until September, 1939, were the most difficult personal period for Hitler prior to 1944. His desire for a rational reorganization of Europe was threatened by the machinations of British fanatics on the balance of power tradition.
World War II came, and with it the spread of Communism and suffering for all Europe. Grimm, after 1945, discussed the fate of Jewry during World War II with experts on statistics and population throughout Germany, and also with numerous Germans who had personal experiences with the German concentration camp system. Grimm noted the general consensus, based on Red Cross estimates, that the number of Jewish and all other minority victims of German policies throughout World War II could not have exceeded 350,000, and many of these died from allied bombings and natural causes (Ibid., p. 290). This would leave scant room for the alleged mass operation of the gas chambers.
Grimm was quick to deplore the mistreatment of any Jews wherever they occurred, but he did not believe for one moment that Jewish misfortune surpassed German suffering during a war which ended in unprecedented disaster for Germany and unparalleled triumph for the Jews. Nevertheless, Grimm concluded that there would continue to be a Jewish question as well as a German question until a homeland could be created for most of the Jews (Ibid., p. 561). Grimm's book constituted a courageous and conscientious attempt to defend his country from undeserved slander and defamation.