2Q2 RUDOLF HESS TRICKS POLICE 139 5th February 1942, midday A raid on the Brown House—The Munich putsch— Imprisoned Ministers One day the police made a raid on the Brown House. I had in my strong-box some documents of the highest importance. One of the keys I had on me, and I happened to be in Berlin. The other was in Hess's possession. The police demanded that he should open the strong-box. He excused himself for not being able to do so, pleading that I was absent and it was I who had the key. The police therefore had to content themselves with putting seals on the box and waiting for my return. Hess had informed me by telephone of this search. Two days later, he told me I could return. The fact was, he had noticed that it was possible to unscrew the handles on which the seals had been placed. Very cleverly, Hess had himself performed this operation, had opened the box with his own key, and had shut it again (replacing the seals), after having emptied it of compromising documents. On my return, the police presented themselves for the opening of the strong-box. I protested very energetically, in order to induce them to threaten me that they'd resort to force. I then decided to unlock the box. The lid was opened, the box contained nothing. Their discomfited expressions were a pleasure to behold. On another occasion, I was present when the police took the Brown House by storm. The crowd in the street hurled insults at the policemen who were straddling over the railings. At the windows of the Nuncio's palace, on the other side of the street, where one never saw anyone, there were gloating faces of fat ecclesiastics. The search, which was unfruitful, went on until the middle of the night. What a struggle there was before we could obtain the right to hoist our flag over the Brown House! The police were against it but they were not themselves in agreement on the subject, and they even brought us in to be present at their disputes. For once, our luck lay in the immeasurable stupidity of the lawyers. Our skill triumphed over their arguments. This detail shows
ARREST OF MINISTERS 293 that one should in no circumstances put one's trust in lawyers. They certainly won't defend our régime any better then they defended its predecessor. Little by little, there was a revulsion in our favour. Now and then a policeman would come and whisper into our ears that he was at heart on our side. More and more we could count on genuine supporters amongst them, who did not hesitate to compromise themselves for the Party, and through whom we learnt whatever was afoot. A particularly repulsive individual was Hermann in 1923. He was one of the chiefs of the criminal police. Believing in our success, he put himself at our disposal as soon as we'd proceeded to the arrest of members of the Government, offering us his help in laying our hands on those who'd escaped our net. When the affair had turned out badly, we knew that he'd be one of the chief witnesses for the prosecution, and we were very curious to see how he'd behave. We were ready, according to what he said, to shut his mouth by saying to him: "Wasn't it you, Hermann, who handed Wutzelhofer over to us?" But he was as dumb as a carp. It was Weber who opened up for us, unknown to the proprietor, the Villa Lehmann, in which we locked up the members of the Government. We'd threatened them that if a single one of them attempted to flee, we'd shoot them all. Their panic was so great that they remained shut up for two days, though the revolution had come to an end long before. When Lehmann returned to his house, he was quite surprised to discover this brilliant assemblage. A few days later, Lehmann even had the surprise of receiving a visit from a daughter of one of the Ministers. She'd come to fetch a signet-ring that her father claimed to have forgotten between the pages of a book he had taken from the library. Instead of a signet-ring, what she was looking for was a pile of foreign bank-notes that the father had slipped into a book by the poet Storm!