Alles Recht ist dahin in Hindenburg‘s Namen, was an entry in the diary of Engelbert Krebs, a priest, philanthropist, and professor of theology at Freiburg’s University, on July 21, 1933. Needless to write that under the Nazi regime Krebs lost his venia legendi in 1936 and was forced into retirement in 1937.
The above citation was contained in the most interesting slide that physicist Professor Werner Heiland showed during his talk at the Stube (parlor) of the Breisgau Geschichtsverein (historical society) Schau-ins-Land last Monday, although the catch title of Heiland’s presentation was “Engelbert Krebs and the atomic bomb.”
In fact, the physicist Karl Wirz was Krebs’ nephew who had after the war sent a letter to his uncle morally condemning the bomb. For me, it is still a mystery that the US should not have known that the German efforts to build a bomb were null. In fact, a conspiracy theory claims that this information was well known but deliberately withheld from the scientists working at the Manhattan Project. The aim was to keep them on board in particular because many project members had moral scruples in building the US atomic bomb.
Instead of the bomb Professor Heiland who wrote a biography about Engelbert Krebs talked in extenso about the family and non-family relations Krebs maintained before and during the Third Reich.
Krebs associated with the Zentrum, the Catholic party in the Weimar Republic, was extremely bitter about Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen’s treachery that he called a putsch with the consent of Hindenburg, the president of the Reich. Although Krebs named the Nazis somehow belittlingly Hitlerianer they had already seized full power by the month of June 1933. So it is strange when on Juli 21, Krebs was still referring to World War I hero Hindenburg, an old man of 86, when he writes,“The saber rules, the lie of betrayal - in the name of Hindenburg! The worst thing that has come over Germany since 1918! Oh, God!“
The worst? The worst was still to come.