Schacht, Hjalmar Horace Greeley

ECONOMIST, BANKER (GERMANY)
BORN 22 Jan 1877, Tingleff, Schleswig-Holstein - DIED 3 Jun 1970, München
GRAVE LOCATION München, Bayern: Ostfriedhof (55-19-7)

Hjalmar Schacht was born in Tingleff, then part of the German Empire, now part of Denmark. His father had lived in the USA and his mother was a Danish baroness. He studied medicine in Kiel, philology in Munich and political science in Berlin, but he took a degree in economics in 1899.

In 1903 he joined the Dresdner Bank where he was depety director fromn 1908 to 1915. In 1905 he had met J.P. Morgan and president Roosevelt during a trip to the US. During the First World War he was a financial consultant for General von Lumm, who sacked him after he found out that Schacht used the services of his former employer Dresdner Bank.

In 1923 he became currency commissioner for the Weimar Republic and he helped fighting the inflation. In the same year he was appointed president of the Reichsbank. He was a member of the small German Democratic Party, but he left it in 1926. He read "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler and developed connections with the nazi´s before they came to power, but he never joined the party. In 1930 he gave up his position at the Reichsbank.

In 1932 he helped organising the petition in which industrials asked Von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor of the Reich. After Hitler came to power he returned as president of the Reichsbank and he toured the USA, where he made speeches in which he claimed that Hitler would soon return to democracy. In 1934 Hitler appointed him minister of economics. Influenced by Roosevelt's New Deal he encouraged Hitler to create of program of public works, among them the German Autobahn.

Schacht was an anti-semite, but he opposed the violence against the German Jews and speeched against Streicher in 1935. He warned Hitler that the country should reduce its military spending. After it was decided to implement a four year plan by Göring, Schacht's position weakened and he resigned in 1937 as minister of Economics. Hitler removved him in 1939 as president of the Reichsbank. In 1944 he was sent to camp Flossenburg on suspicion of participating in the attempt on Hitler's life on 20 Jun. He was transferred to Dachau and when the allies liberated this camp they imprisoned him and put him to trial for war crimes in Nürnberg. Schacht was acquitted, but he was arrested again and after a denazification trial he was sentenced to eight years work camp.

He was released in 1948 and he started the Düsseldorfer Außenhandelsbank Schacht & Co. He also became a financial advisor to developing countries, including Nassar's Egypt.

Sources
Biografisch Worterbuch zur Deutsche Geschichte, Francke Verlag, München, 1975
• Scheibmayr, Erich, Wer? Wann? Wo?, Persönlichkeiten in Münchner Friedhöfen, Verlag Erich Scheibmayr, München, 1989
Hjalmar Schacht - Wikipedia

Images

The grave of Hjalmar Schacht at the Ostfriedhof, Munich.
Picture by Androom (19 Jan 2004)

 


Schadow, Johann Gottfried

Published: 27 Jul 2008
Last update: 26 Sep 2010