Ernst Hanfstaengl

Nazi businessman, art dealer (1887-1975)

Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl (February 2, 1887November 6, 1975) was a German-American businessman and intimate friend of Adolf Hitler. He eventually fell out of favour with Hitler, however, and defected from Nazi Germany to the United States. He later worked for Franklin D. Roosevelt and was once engaged to the author Djuna Barnes.

Democracy has no convictions for which people would be willing to stake their lives.


Tell him the Reichstag is burning.
  • The Jews who already have been ousted were put out because they were morally and politically unfit to safeguard German interests.
    • Quoted in "The Riot at Christie Pits" - Page 61 - by Cyril Levitt, William Shaffir - 1987
  • In the last 14 years Jewry has achieved positions of influence which it has grossly misused morally, financially and politically in an unheard-of manner, with the result that the German people crumbled morally, financially, and politically.
    • Quoted in "Nazis in the News" - Mar 5, 1933
  • The same Jewry now is seeking to smirch Germany's renaissance.
    • Quoted in "Nazis in the News" - Mar 5, 1933
  • Anti-Semitism is not based on strictly religious grounds and is not directed against the Jewish faith as such. However, all German Christians resent and denounce the fact that the Jews have been the chief advocates of atheism. They have influenced the workers' children through the Communist youth organizations, of which they are the leading spirit...
    • Quoted in "Nazis in the News" - Mar 5, 1933
  • If we had wanted to conduct a pogrom against the Jews, it would all have been over now.
    • Quoted in "Nazis in the News" - Mar 5, 1933
  • Tell him the Reichstag is burning.
What Hitler was able to do to a crowd in two and a half hours will never be repeated in 10,000 years. Because of his miraculous throat construction, he was able to create a rhapsody of hysteria. In time, he became the living unknown soldier of Germany.
  • The place looks like a delicatessen... You could have opened up a flower and fruit and wine shop with all the stuff stacked there. People were sending presents from all over Germany and Hitler had grown visibly fatter on the proceeds.
    • After visiting Hitler. Quoted in "The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler" - Page 215 - by Robert George Leeson Waite - History - 1993
  • I had by this time heard a number of his public speeches and was beginning to understand the pattern of their appeal. The first secret lay in his choice of words. Every generation develops its own vocabulary of catchwords and phrases, and these date thoughts and utterances. My own father talked like a contemporary of Bismarck, the people of my own age bore the stamp of Wilhelm II, but Hitler had caught the casual camaraderie of the trenches, and without stooping to slang, except for special effects, managed to talk like a member of his audience. In describing the difficulties of the housewife without enough money to buy the buy the food her family needed in the Viktualien Market he would produce just the phrases she would have used herself to describe her difficulties, if she had been able to formulate them. Where other national orators gave the painful impression of talking down to their audience, he had his priceless gift of expressing exactly their own thoughts.
    • Quoted in "Hitler: The Missing Years" - Page 67 - by Ernst Hanfstaengl, John Toland - 1994

About Hanfstaengl

  • An eccentric, gangling man, whose sardonic wit somewhat compensated for his shallow mind.

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