Sigrid Schultz office was stationed at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, on the green to the Reichstag parliamentary building, where she witnessed the rise of the country’s National Socialism (Nazi) Party and was acutely aware of the danger its leader, Hitler, posed to the world. In 1930 she developed an acquaintance with Herman Göring, Hitler’s second-in-command, through her German assistant Alex von Schimpf—who himself would join the Nazi party.
Göring was a well-known war hero in the Luftwaffe, the German air force. At parties after their initial meeting Göring would boast of his greatest achievements—cutting through French soldiers at the start of World War I—leaving Schultz increasingly convinced of the party officials’ stance on violence.
Through the access of high-ranking Nazi’s, including Göring and Ernst Hanfstaengl, head of the Foreign Press Bureau in Berlin, Schultz was introduced to Hitler in the Hotel Kaiserhof lobby. She recalled “Hitler grabbed my hand in both of his hands and tried to look soulfully into my eyes, which made me shudder, and Hitler sensed it.”
In 1932 Schultz met Hitler again, with a small group of journalists interviewing the Führer—the same year Schultz wrote to McCormick about death threats she had received after criticizing Franz von Papen, Hitler’s vice chancellor. Though the group was able to get good answers to their questions Schultz felt ever warier of the man and his political party—she continued to report in detail about the events she saw unfolding in Germany and the rest of Europe.
Schultz read reports on the opening of Dachau, the first concentration camp, in 1933 and witnessed first-hand the destruction on Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass—in which Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues were targeted for destruction and 30,000 Jewish citizens were arrested and sent to the concentration camps. Understanding that war was on the horizon, in 1938 Schultz sent her mother and family dog, to their home in Westport. That year she also began transmitting radio broadcasts for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
Between 1933 and 1939 Schultz returned over 1,700 reports to the Tribune about the Nazis before media censorship in Germany grew tighter. Though she continued to file reports under her name, beginning in mid-1930s Schultz wrote articles filed from various European cities under the pseudonym John Dickson so as not to jeopardize her entrée behind the scenes of the Third Reich as World War II began.