PK- What do you think of Rudolph Hess and his flight to England? Was he crazy?
WG- He was more in the background. He had friends in England. He honestly thought if he personally flies to England, he can arrange an armistice between England and Germany. Impossible, and then Hitler started bombing and that was the end of it. And he survived the war, in Spandau prison in Berlin.
PK- There was just on the news the other day, they were looking for an escaped SS man in South America to this day.
WG- Yeah possible. That is a bitter lesson, the real rats survived, the higher the rank, well they stole gold and silver, new identity, many times they said we came from East Prussia, we were overrun by Russians and we lost all our papers. My name is not Fritz Sauter but my name is Hans Schimdt. So they had a new passport….proof that they were SS, I did not know that they were tattooed. When I was prisoner of war, the first thing they did was check for tattoo, ah not SS. I didn’t even know that…..I saw in Berlin as a teenager the big fat Goering, he was quite popular. He was one of the few who could smile and enjoyed good living and a good drink with his fellow officers, but under his friendly skin was a brutal guy who did not hesitate to murder and have somebody killed.
PK- I’ve always thought that one of the worst characters was Himmler, the head of the SS.
WG- Himmler? Yeah, because he was not too smart. He was a blind follower, and the rotten thing about him, at the very end, he had a list of so-called protection Jews, you know. Because he saw the end coming, and he said oh if I surrender to the Allied forces, look I was not involved in this, I have a list of Jews that I protected. It didn’t work. He took poison.
PK- He was one of the most for killing Jews right? He was very into all the racial stuff.
WG- Oh sure, but the worst was Heydrich. Heydrich was the brain power behind Himmler. They even ridiculed Himmler a little bit, the naïve slave of Hitler, always clicking and bowing. But the brain power was Heydrich who was killed in Czechoslovakia. And that is from my friend, who was turned into SS, because he came and visited his class, Heydrich. He said oh he’s a great guy, very nice, oh you good man, ha ha, you must do that, you are a good man, we want you, you don’t have to take the final exam. You get right away diploma, you sign up, your parents don’t have to know, you’re only 17 years old, you can act on your own. So everybody signed up, how wonderful, no final exam. And my friend was one of them. He said Heydrich was a very nice man to meet, and very persuasive. How can you judge, you’re 17 years old? Awww Heydrich is coming! He was the brain power of the SS. Himmler did everything he was told.
PK- I read about the Nuremberg trials, some interviews with prisoners, Goering and some other big Nazis….
WG- I respect him a little bit, Goering, because he did not cave in. He did not use cheap excuses, he said yeah I did this, and I would do it exactly the same once more. I know you want to shoot me, I hope they shoot me. By the way, would you like a beer?