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A Table Talk Puzzle

tabletalk [1]2,286 words

There is a brief, interesting reminiscence in Hitler’s Table Talk [2] dated February 21, 1942, titled “A rich Jewish couple.” I suspect the heading was added by an editor; the puzzle is whether or not the couple discussed really was Jewish. It’s easy to discern from Hitler’s description of their ostentatious lifestyle why an editor would assume they were.

Hitler had known the man and woman personally. He identified the husband only as “Consul Scharrer” (it is unclear what the title “Consul” stood for); the wife is categorically referred to as a “Jewess.”

Hitler ridiculed Mrs. Scharrer’s plumpness: “She looked like a ball. Nobody ever checked up whether she was wider or taller,” and so forth. He described her hands as “laden with rings which were so big that she couldn’t move her fingers. She was the sort of Jewess one sees in caricatures.”

A little checking in Hitler biographies (for the entry itself is woefully lacking in adequate detail) reveals that the Führer was referring to a former German military officer named Edward A. Scharrer and his American-born wife. The time period was around 1922–1923, the early days of the NSDAP—prior even to the Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923.

“Werlin,” Hitler said, “showed me Scharrer’s car.” The radiator “was plated, not in nickel, but in gold. It furthermore contained a thousand little articles of everyday use, starting with a lavatory, all in gold.”

Though not identified, “Werlin” is Jakob Werlin, a Benz Motor dealer in Munich who made Hitler’s acquaintance around 1923. Werlin’s dealership was located next to the office of the Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter. After selling a Benz to Hitler for Party use, Werlin subsequently sold more limousines to the Party. After the Daimler-Benz merger in 1926, Werlin became head of the company’s local subsidiary, and started a Mercedes dealership in the city. Despite Werlin being placed in an American concentration camp after WWII, Daimler-Benz gave him a Mercedes dealership after the war because he had shielded the Jewish wife of Wilhelm Haspel, Daimler-Benz chief from 1942–1952. Jakob Werlin died in 1965.

Mrs. Haspel is not the only ultra-privileged Jew who thrived in the heart of Germany at the highest levels of society during the Hitler era. Former Freikorps member Ernst von Salomon, a scriptwriter for the German film industry, likewise sheltered his Jewish lover, who dropped him like a hot potato as soon as the war ended and her protector was tossed into an Allied concentration camp.

Scharrer was “a great devotee of the turf. His wife and his horses were his only preoccupations.” The couple’s estate—where, Hitler observed, white peacocks were kept—was located at Bernried in Bavaria.

Bavaria, a province in southern Germany bordering Austria whose capital is Munich, was National Socialism’s initial support base in the 1920s. “Although he received Prussian princes in his house,” Hitler noted, “in the depths of his heart Scharrer was a Bavarian autonomist [separatist]. A parrot of genius one day made the unforgivable blunder of crying, amidst this brilliant assembly: ‘Prussian swine!'”

Prussia, long Germany’s dominant province, was located in the northern part of the country. With other German states it was effectively merged into the new, highly centralized regime in the 1930s. Nevertheless, Hermann Göring officially served as Prussian Prime Minister from 1933–1945 (though the Reichsmarshall was born in Bavaria, his father was Prussian). At the Potsdam Conference in 1945, large sections of Prussia, including East Prussia, were handed over to the Soviet Union and its newly Communized satellite, Poland. What remained of historic Prussia was abolished by the Allied Control Council on March 1, 1947.

Two Hitler biographers mention a significant meeting between Edward Scharrer and the 33-year-old Hitler in December 1922. Hitler at the time was honing his skills as an orator [3] in a frenetic series of speeches delivered before huge audiences in Munich beer halls. On November 30, 1922, five NSDAP mass meetings were held simultaneously in five beer halls. At each site a program of Nazi speakers was arranged and interrupted when Hitler arrived. After finishing his speech, it was on to the next meeting. On December 13, 1922, Hitler spoke in the same manner to ten NSDAP meetings throughout the city between 8:30 PM and midnight.

Scharrer was then the co-owner of one of southern Germany’s largest newspapers, the Munich-based Münchner Neueste Nachrichten which, three years earlier, had served as the organ of the Revolutionary Central Council of the Bavarian Soviet Republic during the German Communist Revolution of 1918–1919. On December 21, 1922, Scharrer, Hitler, and Prince Wrede held a secret meeting in the plush Regina Palace hotel in Munich.

According to a book called The Gestapo [4] (1964) by Jacques Delarue, Prince Wrede was a cavalry officer who participated the following year in the Beer Hall Putsch, and was jailed with Hitler at Landsberg Prison. Following the seizure of power in 1933 he was incarcerated by the Nazis because he was a leader of the Bavarian People’s Party, which was forced to disband.

Quoting and summarizing “a hitherto unpublished record” of the meeting transcribed by Scharrer’s stenographer, David Irving devotes five pages of Hitler’s War to a detailed summary of what was said by Hitler with “startling frankness” in his “remarkable discourse.” This despite the fact that Irving ordinarily displays little interest in Hitler’s rise to power or German domestic affairs generally during the Weimar and Third Reich eras. (“Between 1920 and his seizure of power in 1933,” the author writes in his thousand-page biography, “the events need only to be sketched in.”)

Irving does not supply any background information about Scharrer or Prince Wrede, not even their full names, identifying them only as “two of [the] Party’s financial backers.” Scharrer is identified as “Consul General Scharrer,” again with no indication of what the title meant. In general the term means a representative of one government to another state or government, but what it signified specifically in Scharrer’s case I could not ascertain.

Irving summarizes and quotes extensively from the stenographic record, providing a detailed account of Hitler’s strategic thinking at that early date. Among other topics, the politician discussed the path to power, Communism, German expansion in the East, and Russia.

Lastly, and at length, Hitler dealt with the Jewish problem in an uncompromising manner. (Despite the Table Talk heading, he did not explicitly say in 1942 that Scharrer was Jewish; just his wife.)

Jews, Hitler said, were “unquestionably noxious.” “They are methodically poisoning our people. I always used to regard antisemitism as inhumane; but now my own experiences have converted me into the most fanatical enemy of Judaism: apropos of which, I combat Jewry not as a religion, but as a race.”

The lion is a predatory animal. It can’t help it—it’s in its nature. [For an elaboration of this theme see “Why Do They Hate Us?” [5]] Man is not bound however to let himself be mauled by the lion. He must save his skin as best he can, even if the lion comes to harm. A solution of the Jewish problem must be arrived at. If the problem can be arrived at by common sense, then so much the better all around. If not, then there are two possibilities—either a bloody conflict, or an Armenianization.

A few weeks later, on February 23, 1923, Irving writes, “the Munich branch of the Nazi Party received a one-million-Reichsmark donation from Consul General Scharrer.” With the exception of this donation, financial backing from Scharrer or Prince Wrede, if any, is unknown.

Adolf Hitler in 1922 [6]

Adolf Hitler in 1922

Charles Bracelen Flood in Hitler: The Path to Power [7] (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989) adds important information that Irving omits: “By agreement, his interview was recorded by a stenographer; what is not known is whether Hitler realized that his views would be sent by Scharrer to [German] Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno in Berlin. Labeled a “secret report,” it paraphrased some of Hitler’s remarks, but his characteristic thrust, and impatience with democratic niceties, were present in every line.”

So, despite the gold automobile fixtures (including lavatory), Bavarian estate, status, and other luxuries, the evidence militates against Edward Scharrer being Jewish. Would Hitler have wasted two seconds speaking so frankly and hostilely in private to a Jewish media boss? It seems highly unlikely.

But what about Scharrer’s wife, whom Hitler unequivocally identified as a Jewess in his 1942 Table Talk? It is not the sort of fact one would expect him to get wrong.

Scharrer’s wealth, Hitler said, was entirely the result of his marriage. Unfortunately, Scharrer took a lover, and his wife found out. Furious, she “threw him out of the house. He died in poverty.” As in the Edward Everett Horton-narrated “Fractured Fairy Tales” segment of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show (1959–1964), Hitler discerned a moral in this: “It’s a painful situation for a husband to be so dependent on a wife as rich as Croesus.”

We can identify Scharrer’s wife thanks to Hitler’s observation that she “was a daughter of the big brewer, Busch, who had made his fortune in the United States.” Hitler’s actual assumption, apparently, was that Mrs. Scharrer was half-Jewish, for he adds: “He [Busch] must have been some worthy Bavarian, who by chance married a Jewess.”

The Busch in question was Adolphus Busch I (1839–1913), co-founder with his father-in-law Eberhard Anheuser (1805–1880) of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch brewery, the maker of Budweiser, Michelob, and Busch beers. Until 2008 the company was headed by August Busch IV (b. 1964), the great-great-grandson of Adolphus Busch and great-great-great grandson of Eberhard Anheuser. Against his will, Busch was forced to sell the company to a multinational Belgian-Brazilian corporation now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev. It is today the world’s largest brewer, with nearly 25% global market share. August Busch IV still serves on Anheuser-Busch InBev’s board of directors, though he and his family do not own or run the company.

The Busches were among a large number of wealthy and successful German American brewers, including the producers of Blatz, Coors, Hamm’s, Leinenkugel, Miller Beer, Pabst, Schlitz, and Stroh’s, among others.

Adolphus Busch, born in the Grand Duchy of Hesse (not, as Hitler wishfully speculated, Bavaria), was the son of Ulrich Busch and Barbara Pfeiffer, who were in the winery and brewery supplies business. He was one of 22 children. He emigrated to St. Louis, Missouri in 1857.

Adolphus married 17-year-old Lilly Anheuser, daughter of St. Louis brewer Eberhard Anheuser, in an 1861 double wedding with his brother Ulrich, who married Lilly’s older sister Anna.

Eberhard Anheuser had been born in Bad Kreuznach in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Kreuznach had supported a substantial Jewish community for centuries—the Jewish founder of Communism, Karl Marx, married Prussian aristocrat Jenny von Westphalen there in 1843. (Jenny additionally had noble Scottish and English blood.) Apart from Hitler’s suggestive statement, however, I discovered no tangible evidence that Anheuser was in fact Jewish.

Adolphus and Lilly Busch had 13 children, 8 sons and 5 daughters, one of whom, Wilhelmina Busch, married Edward Scharrer, a German lieutenant. The March 4, 1906 edition of the Los Angeles Herald published a long account of their lavish Episcopalian wedding ceremony at the Church of the Angels near Pasadena, California, where Adolphus maintained one of his mansions, including photos of the bride and groom, which can be read online [8]. The first of several Busch Gardens (Pasadena, 1905–1937 [9]), still in the incipient stage, is also described in detail. Hollywood films containing scenes later shot there include Frankenstein (1931), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and Gone With the Wind (1939). Scharrer and Wilhelmina later moved to Germany, where they maintained the large estate mentioned by Hitler.

In addition to homes in Pasadena and St. Louis, and large real estate holdings in Dallas, Adolphus and Lilly Busch often traveled to Germany, where they maintained a mansion named for Mrs. Busch, the Villa Lilly, in Lindschied near Langenschwalbach, in present-day Bad Schwalbach, Hesse (the province where Adolphus was born). The St. Louis brewer died there while on vacation in 1913.

Another hint that Hitler may have been correct in identifying Wilhelmina Scharrer as Jewish was dropped by Stephen Birmingham, chronicler of America’s ethnic rich in several books about WASPs, Jews, Irish, and Negroes. He noted that “for some reason” a rumor circulated in St. Louis that the Busches were originally Jewish—”though there is absolutely no evidence to support it.” (America’s Secret Aristocracy [10], 1987)

As far as Birmingham could ascertain, the rumor had to do with the fact that a later head of the company, August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr. [11], “had to build his own country club” because, supposedly, the St. Louis Country Club refused to accept him as a member.

In sum, the available evidence suggests that Consul General Edward A. Scharrer was not Jewish, and that if his American-born wife Wilhelmina, née Busch, had Jewish ancestry (which is not confirmed), it was probably through her maternal grandparents, the Eberhard Anheusers. Of course, the Busch-Anheuser-Orthwein family was until recently a large clan, and since Jews gravitate to Gentile wealth and power, and genetically intertwine themselves with it, the odds are high that Jewish blood has penetrated the family over the decades, distorting and diluting its whiteness.

In recent years Anheuser-Busch has given money lavishly to Jewish organizations, but whether this signifies a special affinity for the race, or reflects the behavior of big corporations generally—perhaps they all do it?—remains unclear. Between 1994 and 2006, the brewer—a public company—gave more than $1.2 million of its stockholders’ money to the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and $4.5 million to Jewish agencies nationwide. (Jewish Federation of St. Louis, “Anheuser-Busch Presents $100,000 Check to Jewish Federation [12]“)

Ultra-weird though it is, Jews, the wealthiest and most powerful ethnic group on the face of the planet, are the beneficiaries of endless, unearned largesse and special privileges—perhaps I should say tribute—from every source imaginable.


Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941–1944: His Private Conversations [2], trans. from German by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens and introduced by H. R. Trevor-Roper (London: 1953).