From PRO file WO.208/4364.
C. S. D. I. C. (U.K.)
Report on information obtained from Senior Officer PW on 18-19 Nov 44
The following are the names and secret numbers of the PW referred to in this report:-
CS/648 SS Oberführer MEYER (Comd., 12 Pz. Div. Hitler Jugend) Captured near Liege 7 Sep 44
CS/631 Generalmajor EBERDING (Comd., 64 ID) Captured Knocke 2 Nov 44
BY C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
M.I.19.a War Office
I. PW SS OBERFÜHRER MEYER
[not copied here]
II. THE WAR SITUATION
[not copied here]
III. HITLER AND HIS ENTOURAGE
1. SS Oberführer Meyer and General Major Eberding discussed Hitler and his immediate entourage in the following conversation: (German text: Appendix (e))
Meyer: The Führer has around him only people who have never been at the front, people who have commanded a single front-line operation throughout the war years of 1939-1943. His Adjutant Engel [Major Gerhard Engel], for example, whom I know from the Rostock days when he was a 'Bataillons-Adjutant', first came out in 1943 and then took over a 'Regiment'. But he never commanded a 'Kompanie', he became a 'Bataillons-Adjutant' in 1932 and then went to the Führer's HQ in 1936. He's never been to the front once during the whole time. Schmundt [Generaloberst Rudolf Schmundt] has never been to the front.
Eberding: Yes, I know Schmundt personally. He always wanted to go. He's an extraordinary decent fellow.
Meyer: And he works. I know Schmundt wanted to go to the front, but he never got away. Then there's Keitel [Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel]; in my opinion Keitel is the biggest liability amongst those immediately surrounding the Führer . . . that he in no way influences the Führer, that he never gives the Führer purely objective and expert advice, that on principle he considers any idea of the Führer's good and says: "Certainly, my Führer!", that he knows how to strangle at birth anything savouring of youth or clear-thinking which manages to force its way from the front.
Eberding: He really is an unpleasant swine.
Meyer: I was present at one conversation which took place on 3rd January 1942. It was a question of the heavy infantry weapons. The Führer maintained, and I did too, that the 'Grenadier-Regimenter' definitely need heavy infantry weapons in the shape of heavy infantry gun 'Batterien' -- a heavy infantry gun 'Zug'. The light infantry gun 'Zug' should go and should be replaced by the heavy infantry gun 'Zug' and the 'Kompanie' -- the light mortars should go and be replaced by the heavy type. The Führer was completely in agreement and affirmed everything, namely that the 'Kompanie' should have the heavy mortar, the 'Bataillon' the heavy infantry gun 'Zug' and the 'Regiment', a heavy infantry gun 'Kompanie', to consist of six guns. Keitel then put his spoke in: "That will make the infantry unmanoeuvreable, it's madness, moreover the infantry will then encroach on the preserves of the artillery."
Eberding: There was no finer gun than the heavy infantry gun.
Meyer: Yes, we had six for each 'Kompanie'. Near Falaise a heavy infantry gun, 'Kompanie' succeeded in taking up their position actually in an ammunition depot. There were several 'Bunker', and the heavy infantry gun 'Kompanie' took up their position right in this chain of 'Bunker'. They fired like madmen; they fired several hundred rounds in a day. Not one of them was killed, although attacks were constantly launched by the English and were completely beaten off by the fire from the heavy infantry guns.
Eberding: It really is a wonderful gun. It beats me how a man like Keitel, who has never been to the front, is allowed any say at all.
Meyer: It is a recognised fact amongst all the army leaders too, the man isn't respected at all. Then there's Puttkamer [Konteradmiral Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer] up there, the naval man; he's a harmless fellow, but he always speaks the truth. He was at the front once, but he won't get there again. Then there's Scherff (?), who has also not been at the front but who has a say in everything. He's the writer who is writing the history there. He's still there. That's all of them.
2. The 'Hitler mystery' was discussed by Meyer and Eberding in the following conversation: (German text: Appendix (f))
Meyer: There were a whole lot of 'Feldmarschälle' who knew it was intended to depose the Führer, in the same sense that they wanted to get hold of his person so that they could act according to military requirements. The interesting point was that when I was interrogated he (IO) [original; der Jude] very definitely wanted to know whether I was of the opinion that Hitler has been put aside and whether the army is going to be directed by Himmler. At the same time he said to me: "The Führer didn't speak on the 9th November, it was Himmler who did so."
Eberding: A report from Switzerland then appeared in one English newspaper saying that he had been operated on by a Viennese doctor as far back as September.
Meyer: I haven't discussed it with any 'Generale', I haven't spoken to a soul who has been with the Führer anywhere in the last few weeks. Normally when I received a decoration I was summoned to his presence within a few days, but not the last time. Formerly Dietrich was thee, too. He no longer appears amongst the GOCs.
Eberding: Perhaps they want to get contact in some way with Himmler.
Meyer: The Allies can no longer do that politically, because they have named him the Butcher of the Third Reich, because the whole hatred for the SS can be traced back to Himmler's own propaganda.
5. MEYER gave the following description of HIMMLER and GOEBBELS, in conversation with EBERDING.(German text: Appendix (i))
MEYER: As regards decorations, HIMMLER imposed very severe condition also with regard to the truth of reports etc. The body of officers got the hell of a ticking off and was punished, and thoroughly too. Even today you can crash from divisional commander to private in no time. Contrary to enemy propaganda and contrary to some gentlemen's views I feel bound to say that HIMMLER is a very just, although severe judge of the officer corps. Despite his severity he is a good hearted men who looks after the dependants.
EBERDING: Yes, I'm convinced he is one of our most efficient men.
MEYER: One thing is certain. The man really works from morning till night. The last time I met him was in March, after he had inspected the 'Division'; GUDERIAN was still there at the time; HIMMLER worked until four in the morning; the following morning he spoke to a 'Regiment' and in the afternoon he lectured the officers' corps of all the garrisons in the neighbourhood; he left in the evening in order to make use of the darkness to reach COLOGNE.
EBERDING: Yes, many a general stood about all day doing nothing at all. This personal contact with the men is one of the most important factors; it is sadly neglected nowadays because the 'Kompaniechefs' change once a week.
MEYER: One of our basic rules laid down by HIMMLER, was that all 'Kompanieführer' should speak to their 'Kompanie' at least five or ten minutes every morning; it was not to be in the form of instruction, but he was to use the occasion to express his ideas concerning his duty and to communicate them to the men. He didn't ask them to give philosophical [talks?] but he did demand that the 'Kompanieführer' should occupy themselves with their men during so-called breaks outside the barrack room, He demanded that the 'Bataillonskommandeure' should speak to their 'Bataillone' at least once a fortnight; he expected 'Regimentskommandeure' to speak to their officers at least once a week and he gave much more scope to occupational training. What we lacked was a minister or war.
EBERDING: Perhaps HIMMLER would have made a very good one. (Quoting from Sunday paper): 'Göring may be Himmler's next victim.'
MEYER: Foreign countries have fully realized that HIMMLER is the greatest power in the Reich. Göring is just a child. The thing I admire most in HIMMLER is his restraint in personal matters. Even the enemy press doesn't write a single line about a dissolute or luxurious life on the part of HIMMLER; he wears no decorations except the decoration commemorating the 1923 'Putsch'; he doesn't wear the 'Verdienstkreuz' or anything.
Once, during an inspection, HIMMLER asked me the names and ages of my children. After a week my wife wrote me: "On such-and-such a date the administrative staff of the 'Reichsführer' telephoned and enquired after the names and ages of the children. What does that mean?"
Three weeks later my wife wrote: 'Today I received a marvellous parcel from the "Reichsführer", containing a china candlestick with name and date of birth of each child stamped on them and several candles to go with them. At the foot of each candlestick was a dedication from the 'Reichsführer.' I asked my comrades and discovered that he had done the same to all old SS 'Führer'; and that he cares for the dependants of those killed with the greatest friendship; that he details officers especially to look after those dependants and that, despite the atmosphere of hardness which he creates, he is a warm-hearted fellow.
© Focal Point 2003 write to David Irving