University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Germany,   pp. 319-405 PDF (32.6 MB)

Page 405

  (1) American Government authorities were never officially in-
formed exact provisions of the law under which Hirsch was con-
victed but the German press announcement published after his exe-
cution stated that it was section 83 of the penal code. For a trans-
lation of this paragraph the Department is referred to the Embassy's
despatch number 864 of May 23, 1934.16
  (2) As to Hirsch's admission of guilt there is the statement of the
German Ministry of Justice that he confessed. Then there are the
circumstantial inferences to be drawn from the Berlin Consul Gen-
eral's interview with him as well as from Hirsch's letter to his family
(see Consul General's despatch number 1537 of May 1216). There
is also the testimony set forth on page 6 of despatch number- 819 of
April 1916 from the Consul General in Stuttgart. The understand-
ing upon which the Consul General Berlin was permitted to see
Hirsch, namely, that the interview should take place for purely "hu-
manitarian" purposes precluded a discussion of the case with Hirsch
himself. Conversations with Hirsch's attorney proved to be of little
value in clarifying the case.
  (3) Please see last paragraph of my telegram 131, June 4, 3 p.m.
We feel strongly that it would be inadvisable to leave the Hirsch case
without indicating to the German Government certain aspects of the
matter with special reference to having the record clear for the future.
Quite apart from the technicality of Hirsch's citizenship and the
apparent legality of his trial and conviction we consider that the
developments of the few days prior to Hirsch's execution showed a
failure on the part of Hitler to understand and act in accordance with
the procedure and usage to be expected in normal relations between
  As has frequently happened in the past in international dealings
with Germany the point of view here differs radically from that in
the United States and other countries. It is believed that the interven-
tion of American officials in the Hirsch case has been deeply resented
by the German authorities. From their point of view he was a "trai-
tor" and his name to be execrated. Having acted with considerable
energy in carrying out the Department's instructions the Embassy
may well find itself embarrassed unless our Government brings its own
point of view with special reference to the question of postponement
of execution and availability of evidence formally and vigorously to
the attention of the German Government.'7
  Not printed.
  No further representations were made to the German Government.

Go up to Top of Page