Schacht Plan

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SCHACHT PLAN , Nazi plan to finance Jewish emigration from Germany, conceived in the wake of the *Kristallnacht by Hjalmar Schacht, minister of economics and president of the Reichsbank, and Hans Fishboeck, state secretary in the Reich Ministry of Finance. The plan was in consonance with two major goals of German policy prior to the "Final Solution" – the forced emigration of Jews and the expropriation of their property. This plan was not the first suggestion of a policy of mutual interest, beneficial to both the German state and to a significantly lesser extent to the Jews – though the possibility of emigration was of inestimable value the longer the Nazis were in power. In 1933, the *Haavara agreement was struck, enabling Jews to leave Germany and go to Palestine with at least some assets. Under the Schacht plan, those German Jews wishing to emigrate could not take their property with them, for it had been confiscated by the Reich authorities, who compensated them with government bonds at the lowest interest. The planners tried to capitalize on the concern shown by foreign Jewish bodies and international refugee organizations and link the facility of transfer of Jewish assets to the promotion of German exports. They wanted foreign Jewish bodies to raise a loan of rm 1,500,000 in foreign currency (then equivalent to $600,000) to enable the resettlement of emigrants. Other essentials of the plan called for placing 25% of the Jewish property in Germany and Austria in a trust fund. The assets were to be gradually converted into cash and transferred only if Germany's foreign exchange would permit, or sooner in the form of "supplementary" exports. The remaining 75% was to remain at Germany's disposal to be used to maintain Jews before their emigration or those unable to emigrate. This fund was to finance the emigration of 150,000 able-bodied Jews and 250,000 dependents in the course of three years. Schacht claimed that *Hitler and *Goering had assented to his plan. *Ribbentrop opposed it for personal and political reasons and did his best to frustrate it. To implement it, Schacht negotiated with George Rublee, the director of the Intergovernmental Committee of Refugees, who had formerly conceived his own plan for linking emigration to German exports, with the Reich as the debtor of the foreign loan, but agreed to the emigrants being the debtors. Rublee's committee planned to proceed through two committees, one on a governmental level and the second of private individuals. Jewish leaders approached by Rublee opposed the second committee, to give the lie to the Nazi propaganda of a world Jewish financial body. They believed that the whole problem should he considered by governments exclusively. The experts of the governments concerned with Jewish immigration objected to making confiscated Jewish property the basis for increasing German exports. Rublee ran into further difficulty in finding governments that were ready to accept Jewish immigrants in great numbers. Schacht was dismissed at the beginning of 1939, but the Nazis continued the negotiations. Rublee, who sincerely believed in the plan as a means to help the Jews, resigned because of the difficulties he encountered. The negotiations between his successors and the Nazi government dragged on until their disruption with the outbreak of World War ii, when emigration became impossible.


Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918–1945, series D, vol. 5 (1953), 900–940; J. Tenenbaum in: Yad Vashem Studies (1958), 70–77; A.D. Morse, While 6 Million Died (1967), 197–203; L.L. Strauss, Man and Decisions (1963), 103–9; D.A. Cheson, Morning and Noon (1965), 126–30.

[Yehuda Reshef /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]