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Herbert Steinschneider


Phil Steinschneider

Page 15

"But Hitler will triumph. Maria Paudler cried suddenly.

"Lights! Put on the lights!" someone else shouted. It was then quiet in the big room.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Hanussen said when Maria Paudler came out from her trance, "we want to keep quiet about this part of our séance, don't we? You have to promise me that, won't you?"

On the night of February 27, 1933 the Reichstag was partially destroyed by fire.

All those who attended the party in Hanussen's villa realized now what the prediction meant. Hanussen had triumphed again. For the last time. Those who were intimates of Helldorf and Ernst, the SA-leaders, knew very well about the plans for burning the Reichstag and using the incident to destroy the final vestiges of civil liberties in Germany (the freedom of speech and press were abolished the next day throughout the Reich.) Hanussen was an intimate friend of the arsonists; they made no secret to him of their plans. It was Hanussen who suggested to Maria Paudler the "vision" during the trance. But the story of Hanussen's séance could not be kept within the four walls of the luxurious villa. Rumours and whispers spread rapidly.

And somebody somewhere pressed a button. Hanussen knew too much. Hanussen was a Jew. Hanussen had abused the confidence that had made him an "honorary Aryan."  

*        *       *

Kriminalrat Möders succeeded in piecing together the story of the last hours in the clairvoyant's life - at least up to the point where he disappeared. Much later, after the collapse of the "thousand-year Third Reich" others added the final details.

On that morning in March, 1933, Hanussen woke up in excellent mood. At eleven he visited his bank. He was publishing an astrological newspaper which sold well. Now he wanted to expand - to use his Nazi connections in order to buy several newspapers and magazines.

The great Mosse newspaper organisation was in trouble. Its owner had left Germany, leaving his deputy in nominal charge. The real master, however, was the commissioner whom the Nazis had installed. His name was Ohst. Hanussen went to see Herr Vetter, the temporary, and nominal managing director. He asked him bluntly how much the "Berliner Tageblatt", the once flourishing liberal daily of the Mosse Verlag would cost? Herr Vetter smiled and told him: "I have great esteem for you, Hanussen. But I think you overestimate yourself."