The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/04

THE PRESIDENT: One moment, some of the copies which you have
just submitted to us do not seem to be accurate, and the
passage which you have just been reading is omitted from
some of them. (Another copy is presented to the President).

I now have another copy of the document which you have read
out - two copies which have been handed up, and they appear
to be wrongly copied in some way. I will hand them down
again.

M. GERTHOFFER: The document has possibly been improperly
numbered. There are two Exhibits RF 126; they should have
been indicated as 126(I) and 126 (II). The representative of
the Government of the Netherlands certifies the accuracy of
the translation of the first copy; and in the second "126"
document the same representative of the Netherlands
Government certifies the existence of the copy of the answer
from the Headquarters of the Fuehrer.

THE PRESIDENT: Just hand up the document again, the one I
have handed down, will you? The first document is the one
you have just read out. The second document begins with the
words, "J'ai soumis aujourdhui." Is that the second document
to which you are referring? Perhaps you had better look at
it. Look at that and see whether that is it.

M. GERTHOFFER: It is the second document.

THE PRESIDENT: Could we see the originals? They are two
different documents, are they? but they both begin in
exactly the same way.

M. GERTHOFFER: The two documents have been submitted by the
Netherlands Government. The representative of the Government
of the Netherlands, who has delivered them, certifies that
these two documents were found in the Netherlands among
German papers.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Go on.

M. GERTHOFFER: The Dutch Government was obliged to make
important payments to the German account and in, the reports
submitted as Exhibit RF 123, there is clearly presented

First: The Germans required that a sum of 360,000,000
guilders, which was written to the credit of the Bank of the
Netherlands, be used for the needs of its army of occupation
outside the Netherlands and that a sum of 76,800,000
guilders in gold be deposited for the same use. The total
which the Netherlands hid to pay under this pretext, namely,
the maintenance of armies of occupation in other countries,
was 376,800,000 guilders.

Second: From June 1941 on, the Netherlands was obliged to
pay, as a contribution to the expenses of the war against
Russia, a monthly sum of 37,500 guilders, of which a part
was payable in gold. The total of the sum that Germany
raised under this heading is 1,696,000,000 guilders.

Third: The Bank of the Netherlands was obliged to assume
charge of redeeming occupation marks to the sum of
133,600,000 guilders.

Fourth: The expenses of the German civil government in
Holland were charged to this country and amounted to
173,800,000 guilders.

Fifth: The Dutch Treasury was, moreover, obliged to pay
414,500,000 guilders to the account of the Reich, covering
divers expenses, such as wages of Dutch workers deported to
Germany, the costs of evacuation of certain regions, costs
of the demolition of fortifications, so-called costs for
guarding railroads, funds, placed at the disposal of the
Reich Commissar, and for various industries utilised by the
Germans.

Sixth: The Germans in July 1940, seized 816 bars of gold
bullion belonging to the Bank of the Netherlands, which were
in the wreck of a Dutch ship sunk

                                                   [Page 28]

in Rotterdam and which represented, including costs of
recovery, 21,100,000 guilders.

Seventh: The Government of the Netherlands was obliged to
bear annual expenses of 1,713,000,000 guilders to assure the
financing of new administrative services imposed on Holland
by the occupying power.

In this way, Holland lost a total of 8,565,000,000 guilders,
including the raising of the gold from a ship sunk in the
Meuse. The effective payments made to Germany amount to
11,380,800,000 guilders. If these costs are added to the
costs of occupation and clearing, the total of the financial
charges imposed on Holland during occupation, amounts to the
sum of 22,224,800,000 guilders.

These operations had serious consequences for the economy of
the Netherlands. Indeed, the gold supply which, on 1st
April, 1940, amounted to 1,236,000,000 guilders, had, by the
1st April, 1945, fallen to 932,000,000 guilders.

The currency in circulation, on the contrary, had risen from
1,127,000,000 guilders on the 1st April, 1940, to
5,468,000,000 guilders on 1st April, 1945.

When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, a great portion
of the gold of the Bank of the Netherlands had been
evacuated abroad. However, the Germans under various
pretexts seized all the gold that was found in the vaults of
the bank. I recall that, under the heading of indemnity for
occupation, they collected 75,000,000 gold guilders; and for
the forced contribution of the Netherlands in the war
against Russia, they demanded around 140,000,000 gold
guilders,

Rost von Tonningen, Secretary-General of Finance and
President of the Netherlands, appointed by the Germans, on
18th December 1943, wrote to the Reich Commissar that there
had not been any gold in Holland since the preceding March.

The copy of this letter is submitted as Exhibit RF 127 and
comes from a document discovered by the US Army, listed as
ECR 174, which I submit as Exhibit RF 128, a document
consisting of a report of the Commissar of the Bank of
Belgium, of 12 June 1941, who also points out that the gold
stock of the Bank of the Netherlands amounted on 12 June
1941, to 1,021,800,000 guilders, of which only 134,600,000
guilders were in Holland, the rest being either in England,
South Africa or the United States.

The same report specifies that all the gold of Holland had
been removed.

Not only did the Germans seize the gold of the Bank of the
Netherlands, but they also placed a tax on the gold and
other means of payment which were in foreign countries and
owned by Netherlanders, The occupying power obliged private
individuals to deposit gold which was in their possession
with the Bank of the Netherlands, after which this gold was
requisitioned and handed over to the Reichsbank. A sum of
approximately 71,000,000 guilders was thus paid to the
public in exchange for the requisitioned gold.

It was thus, also, that the Germans bought, from the public,
various foreign stocks to a sum of 13,234,000 guilders and
Swedish Government securities to a sum of 4,623,100
guilders.

With important financial means which they had at their
disposal, the Germans proceeded to make important
acquisitions in Holland. Such acquisitions, made through
funds extorted from the Netherlands, cannot be considered as
an exchange in a real equivalent, but as realised only by
fictitious payments.

The Germans, in addition to numerous cases of requisitions
which were followed by no kind of settlement, had
clandestine dealings in the black market, and other dealings
which only appeared to be regular. They thus procured a
quantity of things of all kinds, leaving to the population
only a minimum of products insufficient to ensure their
vital needs.

In the second chapter of this presentation we shall examine
the clandestine
                                                   [Page 29]

purchases on the black market; and in a third chapter, the
acquisitions that were carried out in seemingly regular
ways.

THE BLACK MARKET

In Holland, as in all other occupied countries, the Germans
seized considerable quantities of merchandise on the black
market, in violation of the legislation on rationing which
they themselves had imposed.

It has not been possible, in view of the clandestine nature
of the operations, to determine even approximately the
quantities of all kinds of objects which the Germans seized
by this dishonest means. However, the secret report of the
German Colonel Veltjens, which I had the honour of
submitting this morning as Exhibit RF 112, gives us for a
period of five months, from July to the end of November,
some indications of the scope of the German acquisitions. I
quote a passage from the Veltjens report :

In the Netherlands, since the beginning of the 'action' the
following purchases were made and paid for by ordinary bank
remittances

                                   Reichsmark
  Non-ferrous metals                6,706,744
  Textiles                         55,285,568
  Wool                                753,878
  Leather skins and hides           4,723,130
  Casks                               254,928
  Furniture                           272,990
  Necessaries and luxuries            590,859
  Chemical and cosmetic products      152,191
  Various iron and steel wares      3,792,166
  Rags                                543,416
  Motor oil                            52,284
  Uncut diamonds                       25,064
  Sundries                            531,890
  
  Total for a period of five month 73,685,162

These purchases were paid for by bank cheques. A large
quantity of other merchandise which has not been possible to
determine was paid for by cash with guilders coming from the
so-called occupation indemnity.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

M. GERTHOFFER: As to Chapter 3 which deals with the economic
plundering of the Netherlands, we will treat the question of
dealings of outward regularity from information provided us
by the Government of the Netherlands.

Industrial production: From testimony given by the
Representative of the Government of the Netherlands, which I
submit as Exhibit RF 129, it is clear that the Germans
utilised to their own profit the largest part of the
industrial potential of the Netherlands; all important
stocks which were in the factories were thus absorbed. The
value of those stocks was not less than 800,000,000
guilders; moreover, the occupants proceeded to large-scale
removal of machinery. In certain cases these removals were
not followed by even fictitious settlements. It has not yet
been possible to establish a balance sheet of these
spoliations, which often included all the machine equipment
of an industry.

As an example, we may indicate that, on a requisition order
of 4 March 1943, coming from the Reich Commissar, all the
machinery and technical equipment, including the designs and
blue prints of all the work shops and

                                                   [Page 30]

accessories of the blast furnaces of an important factory,
were removed without any indemnity, and transported to the
vicinity of Brunswick for the Hermann Goering Works. This is
manifest in the document I submit as Exhibit RF 130.

The Germans had set up in all the occupied countries a
certain number of organisations specially charged with the
pillaging of machines. They had given them the name of
"Machine Pool Office." These organisations, which were under
the armament inspection, received demands of the German
industry for means of production and had to fulfil these
demands by requisitions on the occupied countries.

Moreover, gangs of technicians were charged with locating,
dismantling and transporting the machines to Germany. The
organisation of these official gangs of pillagers can be
learned from German documents which are to be brought to
your knowledge when the specific case of Belgium will be
outlined to you.

We learned from the report of 1st March 1944, addressed to
the military commandant, that the Machine Pool Office of the
Hague could satisfy only a small proportion of the demands.
Thus, under date of 1st January 1944, these demands totalled
677,000,000 Reichsmark, whereas in the month of January only
61,000,000 Reichsmark worth of machines had been delivered
as against the new demands of 87,000,000, which made a total
demand for machines amounting to 703,000,000 Reichsmark at
the end of January.

This is Exhibit RF 131.

Before leaving the Netherlands the Germans effected large-
scale destruction with, they said, a strategic purpose, but
above all with the desire to do damage When they demolished
factories, they removed beforehand and transported to
Germany all the machinery which they could dismantle, as
well as the raw materials. They acted in this manner,
notably in the case of the Philipps Plants in Eindhoven,
Hilversum and Bussum; the oil dumps of Amsterdam and
Pernisse; and the armament factories of Breda, Tilburg, Berg-
op-Zoom and Dordrecht. These facts are treated in the report
of the economic officer attached to the German military
commander in Holland, under date 9 October 1944, which I
submit as Exhibit RF 132.

The same report gives some information on the organisations
of German looters who were specialists in the removal of
machines. I give here some extracts:

   "The Philipps Works at Eindhoven was the first and the
   most important military objective to be dealt with."

A little farther on the writer continues:

   "Before the arrival of the enemy we succeeded in
   destroying these important continental works for the
   fabrication of radio valves and lamps and the production
   of information apparatus, after the volunteer commando
   (Fwi. Kdo 7) had previously sent off the most precious
   metals and all special machines.

Farther on he writes :

   "As early as 7 September a Commando unit transported in
   trucks to the Reich, most important non-ferrous metals,
   (wolfram, manganese, copper) and very valuable apparatus
   from the Philipps Works. In addition, the Fwi-Kdo 7 took
   part in the transfer of finished and semi-finished
   products as well as machines from Philipps. Following
   the enemy's occupation of Eindhoven, the removal was
   stopped. They then proceeded to evacuate the branch
   factories of Philipps at Hilversum and Bussum. Here it
   was possible to remove completely all the stocks of non-
   ferrous metal products, finished and semi-finished
   goods, machinery and the blue prints and designs
   necessary for production.
   
   At the same time removal commandos were detailed to the
   heads of
   
                                                   [Page 31]
   
   various provincial branch offices under the
   representative of the Reich  Ministry of Armaments and
   War Production in the Netherlands.
   
   In agreement with the forementioned services and the
   competent civil offices, these commandos carried through
   the removal of important raw materials and products as
   well as machinery. Through the unswerving and
   commendable attitude of officers, officials,
   Sonderfuehrer, and enlisted men it was possible during
   the month of September to remove to the Reich
   considerable stocks of raw materials and products or to
   supply the troops with suitable material. This action
   was initiated and directed in the Western and Southern
   districts of the Netherlands by the Fwi-O-Netherland.
   
   For the task of evacuation and for the preparation of
   the ARLZ measures within the area of the Army High
   Command 15, and at the same time as liaison with the
   staff quartermaster with the Army High Command 15, a
   squad under the command of Captain Rieder was detached
   by Fwi-Kd 7. Here, too, in close co-operation with the
   civil officers, and the Department IVa of the Army High
   Command 15, a valuable job was done concerning the
   removal of raw materials and rare goods as well as
   machinery. These actions commenced only at the end of
   the month covered by this report."

Along with the removal of machinery the Government of the
Netherlands gives us exact figures on the stocks of raw
materials and manufactured articles. Apart from the stocks
located in the factories, the Germans acquired considerable
quantities of raw materials and manufactured articles
amounting to not less than one billion guilders.


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