Did you personally interrogate Goering?
No. I didn't want to personally interrogate him. A Greek captain interrogated him and gave him champagne, and we let that be known and they broke this Greek captain. He had no business serving champagne to Goering when he came in.
Did you have the opportunity to interrogate Baldur von Schirach ?
Yes, I interrogated Baldur von Schirach. I interrogated the entire German staff as you can see in the book with their pictures. I showed them the pictures that I took in Buchenwald so that they could see what was done by the Germans. They were all prisoners.
Why didn't you want to be the one?
It wasn't my field. I was not in Gestapo. A friend of mine was in Gestapo. He warned Mrs. von Kohler. He said, "tomorrow, you're going to be interviewed by our most severe interviewer." She came with all perfumed with silk stockings and she tried a big décolleté. She was very apprehensive; she didn't know what I was going to do to her. She was sent to me because of Romania. Very few people had been in Romania and the American army, and so they gave me—Mrs. Von Kohler was assigned to me as a prisoner. But for other things like Gestapo, there were specialists that would speak to her about the Gestapo and what she knew about it. Other interrogators had other specialties.
What was the most significant piece of information that you picked up as an interrogator that you passed on?
I had one prisoner who told me that the head of the SD—that was the Sicherheitsdienst, the chief of police in Prague, German-imposed chief of police—was walking around in a village at the border, and I took him with me in the Jeep and then we captured the man, and I took him into camp. I was very excited to have found him. Himmler had just killed himself. I don't know if you know enough about the war, but the high officials had cyanide pills in their mouths, so that if they were captured and they wanted to, they could bite on the pill and die. That's what Himmler did. When I captured this guy and I opened up his jaw, he says, "I don't have the courage to use the pill." He knew why I was doing it. This man, under false papers—the prisoner had told me that he was walking around in plain clothes, in this village. When I captured him and brought him in, I forgot to sign him in. Because if we had 500 prisoners, they were all signed into a book.
I had about five days or so to interrogate him, and my phone rang and they said, "Your points are up and you can go home." Here I was with this enormous guy, and I knew that we were not going do—as Americans—very much to him, in the long run. So I called up the Czechs and it was right at the border. In five minutes they were there, and I gave them over to them. I said, "Here, my gift to you." They took him away, they probably strung him up on the first tree that—I don't know. I never heard what happened to him, but I got rid of him because I had not registered him in. I could let him go because he wasn't missing. That was really my own personal revenge—my own personal war on the Germans. They took away the guy, and were very happy and thanked me a lot. That was the end of it. It was at the time that it was all very free. The war had just ended, and these prisoners, we had them by the thousands. In the end, many of them were reinstated by the American occupation government.
In Iraq, we didn't do this. In Germany, we used the Germans. They administrated right away the country. Here in Iraq, we didn't do that and look what happened. We are not a nation that is able to take revenge, we are very kind people, very friendly, and we are not looking to harm anybody. When this feeling of American indulgence into—there was no feeling of revenge in the American army, including the highest professionals. General Patton had a German girlfriend in the end, that was really his undoing. None of you have asked me ever what happened to him.