282 LEGAL FORM OF NSDAP amongst the former masons, there were many who felt a sense of relief at the idea that we'd freed them from this chain. Not only has there always been an incompatibility between membership of a Lodge and membership of the Party, but the fact of having been a Freemason forbids access to the Party. Of course, there are men who are so stupid that one knows very well that it was only from stupidity that they became masons. The very rare cases in which an exception can be made come exclusively under my authority. And I grant absolution only to men whose entire lives bear witness to their indisputably nationalist feelings. We were obliged to call a general meeting of the Party each year to elect the Directing Committee. The result of the vote, recorded in a minute, had to appear in the Register of Societies, But for this formality, the Party would have lost its juridical personality and accompanying rights. This annual meeting had something of farce about it. I would offer my resignation. Two accountants, in the space of two hours, would succeed in checking a balance for a total movement of funds of six hundred and fifty millions. The President of the Assembly, elected ad hoc, would conduct the debates and proceed to the election of the new Committee. Voting was by a show of hands. "Who is for, who is against?" he would ask. His silly questions would arouse storms of mirth. I would then present myself to the Registry of the Court to have our documents registered. The anti-democratic parties, just like the democratic parties, had to go through these grotesque ceremonies. The other parties had practically no paying members. We, with our two and a half million members, banked two and a half million marks every month. Many members paid more than the subscription demanded (at first it was fifty pfennig a month, then it was raised to a mark). Fräulein Schleifer, from the post-office, used to pay ten marks a month, for example. Thus, the Party disposed of considerable sums. Schwarz was very open-handed when it was a question of large matters, but extremely thrifty in small ones. He was the perfect mixture of parsimony and generosity.
ELECTION VAGARIES — MUSIC 283 It was necessary to have a minimum of sixty thousand votes in a district to be entitled to a mandate. Our base was in Bavaria. Here we had six mandates, to start with, which gave us an equal number of delegates to the Reichstag. There were some extraordinary parties in that Republic. The most incredible was Häusser's. I happened to be passing through Stuttgart. This was in 1922 or 1923. Frau Waldschmidt suggested that I should go and see this phenomenon, without committing myself. I'm fairly sure Hausser was an Alsatian. If my memory is correct, he addressed his audience more or less as follows: "You, you filthy rabble . . .". And it went on in the same tone, consisting solely of insults. In the Munich district, he got a greater number of votes than Stresemann. As for us, we had all the difficulty in the world to have Epp elected. What scatter-brains we sometimes had opposed to us ! Let's not complain about it too much—it mustn't be forgotten that one day Bismarck was beaten by a cobbler. 137 Night of3rd~4th February 1942 Memories of Bayreuth—The automobile craze—Leaving Landsberg—Reconstitution of the Party—The world will recapture its sense of joy. I've been lucky that I never had an accident while travelling. You know the story of the Hound of the Baskervilles. On a sinister, stormy night I was going to Bayreuth through the Fichtelgebirge. I'd just been saying to Maurice: "Look out on the bend!" I'd scarcely spoken when a huge black dog hurled itself on our car. The collision knocked it into the distance. For a long time we could still hear it howling in the night. I'd settled down with the Bechsteins, within a few yards of Wahnfried. On the morning of my arrival, Cosima Wagner paid me a visit, which I returned in the course of the day. Siegfried was there. Bayreuth exerted its full charm upon me. I was thirty-six years old, and life was delightful. I had all the