I got there
at a quarter to ten - just forty minutes after the first alarm had
been given…An excited policeman told me, "They've got one
of them who did it, a man with nothing but his trousers on. He
seems to have used his coat and shirt to start the fire. But there
must be others still inside. They're looking for them there."
…two black Mercedes cars drove through the police
cordon. I knew those cars. "That's Hitler, I'll bet!" I
said to a man beside me. I ducked under the rope the police had
just put up to keep spectators back and rushed across to check up.
I got to the Reichstag entrance Portal Two, it was just as Hitler
jumped out and dashed up the steps two at a time, the tails of his
trench coat flying, his floppy black artist's hat pulled down
over his head. Goebbels and the bodyguard were behind him…
the entrance stood Goering, massive in a camel hair coat, his legs
astride like some Frederician guardsman in a UFA film. His soft
brown hat was turned up in front in what was called 'Potsdam'
fashion. He was very red in the face and glared disapprovingly at
me. How he would have loved to have thrown me out. But Hitler had
just said "Evening , Herr Delmer," and that was my
ticket of admission.
made his report to Hitler, while Goebbels and I stood at their
side listening avidly. "Without a doubt this is the work of
the Communists, Herr Chancellor," Göring said. "A
number of Communist deputies were present here in the Reichstag
twenty minutes before the fire broke out. We have succeeded in
arresting one of the incendiaries."
picked a piece of rag off the floor near one of the charred
curtains. "Here, you can see for yourself Herr Chancellor how
they started the fire," he said. "They hung cloths
soaked in petrol over the furniture and set it alight."
the 'they'. 'They' did this, 'they' did that. For Göring there
was no question that more than one incendiary must have been at
work. It had to be more than one to fit in with his conviction
that the fire was the result of a Communist conspiracy. There had
to be a gang of incendiaries. But as I looked at the rags and the
other evidence, I could see nothing that one man could not have
done on his own…
Delmer, Trail Sinister Martin Secker & Warburg,