The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/14

Q. Are you a free man?

A. Yes, I am free.

Q. Did you receive the summons in writing?

A. No. I was asked verbally yesterday in Frankfurt to come
to Nuremberg.

Q. Frankfurt? Are you living in Frankfurt at the moment?

A. Yes.

Q. Herr Toms, where were you living on the 8th of May? That
is a week ago today?

A. On the 8th of May this year?

Q. You are Herr Toms, are you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Yes, on the 8th of May, a week ago today.

A. In Frankfurt.

Q. You were interrogated there were you not?

A. That is quite right. I was interrogated at Frankfurt.

Q. That is the affidavit which the prosecutor has just put
to you?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you come to make the affidavit? Did you volunteer
as a witness, or how did this happen?

A. I want to point out to you that even a year ago when I
was working at Frankfurt, I voluntarily gave the American
officials the details of the transactions which were known
to me in the matter of the gold of the Reichsbank.

Q. I see. So as early as last year you offered yourself as a

A. I would not say as a witness in this matter. I merely
placed myself at their disposal for the clarification of
Reichsbank affairs for American purposes.

Q. Yes. Did you ever discuss this matter with the President
of the Reichsbank, Funk?

                                                   [Page 71]

A. No. During my length of service, I never had an
opportunity of talking to Minister Funk.

Q. Have you any positive knowledge, perhaps from some other
source, as to whether President of the Reichsbank Funk had
exact knowledge of these things, or is that also unknown to

A. I cannot say anything about that either, because these
matters happened on a higher level, on which I could not
give an opinion of any value.

Q. Then I would be interested in hearing something about
this deposit, or whatever you call it, which was under the
name "Melmer".

A. I want to point out that this was not a deposit, but that
these were things which were delivered under the name
"Melmer". In so far as the transactions were those which the
Reichsbank had to deal with, the Reichsbank took over these
deliveries directly, and in so far as it was a question of
matters not pertaining to the bank, the Reichsbank to a
certain extent was the Trustee for their conversion.

Q. More slowly, more slowly. Why was this matter, whether we
call it a deposit or anything else, not dealt with under the
name "SS", why was it given the name "MELMER"? Did you ask
anybody about that, Witness?

A. I have already mentioned at the beginning of the
examination that this was a particularly secret affair in
connection with which the name of the depositor was not to
appear. In this case, therefore, it was Vice-President Puhl
who had to decide the way this affair was to be dealt with,
and he wished and ordered this secrecy.

Q. Did only officials of the Reichsbank come to the
strongroom, where these things were kept, or did other
persons also have access to it, for instance, people who had
a safe in the strongroom?

A. The Reichsbank did not have any private depositors, that
is to say, we did not have any locked deposits which
belonged to customers of the Reichsbank - at least not in
those vaults. Deposits from private customers were in
another vault so that there was no contact between the
deposits of the bank and the deposits of the customers.

Q. But quite a number of officials went down there. You have
already said that.

There is one thing I am not clear about: On the one hand you
have told us that these articles were lying about openly on
tables so that everybody could see them, and on the other
hand, you said previously towards the end of your statement
that these things were kept locked in boxes and trunks. How
does that tally?

A. I have stated that these things were delivered in closed
boxes and trunks, and stored in them. When from time to time
the deliveries were inventoried, the delivery which was to
be dealt with naturally had to be opened, and the contents
counted, examined and re-weighed. That, of course, could
only be done by spreading out the contents, counting them,
checking the weight and then locking them in new containers.

Q. Did you perhaps, on your own initiative tell Herr Puhl -
after all, you are a bank councillor, therefore a high
official - that you had misgivings about the whole business?
Please think over the question and give your answer very
carefully, because you are under oath.

A. First of all, I have to say that I belonged to the group
of officials of middle rank, but that is quite in passing.
Then, of course - or let me put it this way: If an official
has worked for thirty years or longer for a concern, and if
throughout the long years of his career he has always had
the feeling that the directors were irreproachable, then, I
believe, he could have no misgivings if in a special case he
is instructed to keep silent about a certain transaction. He
would not object to carrying out this order. I have already
said that the term "booty" was not unknown to us officials
in the Reichsbank, because there was the order that all
booty which came in from the Army was to be delivered
directly to the Treasury, that is the Treasury of the Reich
Government, and we in the Bank thought of course, that the
booty from the SS troops was to go through the Reichsbank.
An official of the Reichsbank cannot very well oppose such
an order. If the Directors

                                                   [Page 72]

of the Bank give him instructions, then he has to carry them
out, because of the oath which he has sworn.

Q. So that, witness, if I understand you correctly, you are
telling us that at the beginning, at any rate, you
considered that the matter was in order, and there was
nothing wrong with it?

A. At the beginning? As a matter of fact, I considered it
correct that it should be carried right through.

Q. Did you ever have any doubts that this might be, let us
say, criminal?

A. Certainly I would have had doubts if I had had the
knowledge and experience then, which I have today.

Q. This is the same with everyone.

A. Yes, quite right.

As far as that is concerned, I must suppress any doubts; I
cannot admit any doubts, because the affair was not known
only to me, it was known to the Reichsbank Directorate and
in the administration office of the Main Treasury. The
valuables in the strong-room were checked every night by a
deputy director of the Main Treasury, so that I was
responsible only for the technical carrying out of this
business, and the responsibility for the correctness of this
transaction was not within my competence.

Q. I do not know about responsibility, but, witness, I asked
you, did you ever have any doubts, and at what precise
moment did you consider the whole affair criminal? Did you
consider it criminal?

A. We assumed that these were goods which the SS - after
they had partly burned down towns in the East, particularly
in the battle for Warsaw - we thought that these were goods
which they had looted from the houses after the battle and
then delivered to our Bank.

Q. As booty?

A. Yes. If a military department delivers booty it does not
follow that an official, who is entrusted with the handling
of, these things, would have to consider these deliveries as
being criminal.

Q. When taking over these articles, did you think, or did
the Vice-president Puhl tell you, or at least hint to you,
that these gold articles might have been taken from victims
in concentration camps?

A. No.

Q. You did not think of that, did you?

A. No.

Q. Not at all?

A. Once we saw the name "Auschwitz", and another time the
name "Lublin", on some slip's of paper which we found. I
said that in connection with Lublin we found this
inscription on some packets of banknotes which came in to be
dealt with, and which were then returned to the Polish Bank
to be cashed. Strangely enough, the same packets came back
later after they had been dealt with by the bank.
Consequently, here the explanation was that these could not
be deliveries from a concentration camp, since they had come
to us through official bank channels. As regards the camp at
Auschwitz - well, I cannot say today with what sort of
deliveries these slips of paper were found, but it is
possible that they were slips attached to some notes, and
perhaps they may have been deliveries of foreign banknotes
from the concentration camps. But then there were
arrangements according to which prisoners of war, or other
prisoners, could exchange their notes for other money in the
camp, so that such deliveries could have been made through
legal channels.

Q. If I understand you correctly, witness, then, the meaning
of what you have just told us is that you still considered
the matter legal or lawful even when in 1943 you saw the
inscription "Auschwitz" and "Lublin" on some items. Even
then you considered the matter legal, did you not?

A. Yes.

                                                   [Page 73]

Q. Well, then, why did you in your affidavit of the 8th of
May, 1946 it is true it is not a sworn affidavit - tell the
story somewhat differently? Perhaps I can read the sentence
to you

A. Please, do.

Q. - and you can then tell me if I misunderstood you or
whether the official took it down incorrectly. It says
there, after first of all saying that you considered the
matter to be legal:

  "One of the first indications of the origin of these
  articles was when it was noticed that a packet of bills,
  presumably bonds" -

A. No, they were bank-notes.

Q. " - were stamped 'Lublin.'"

A. This occurred early in 1943

Q. "Another indication was the fact that some articles bore
the stamp 'Auschwitz'. We all knew these places were the
sites of concentration camps. In connection with the tenth
delivery in November, 1942" - that is, previously - "gold
teeth appeared, and the quantity of gold teeth grew to an
unusual extent."

So much for the quotation from your unsworn statement of the
8th of May, 1946. Now, will you please tell us: Does that
mean tile same as you said a little earlier, or does it mean
something different in your opinion?

A. That in my opinion tallies with my statement. We could
not assume that deliveries which came through the
concentration camp had to be absolutely illegal. We only
observed that gradually these deliveries became larger. A
delivery of notes from a concentration camp need not
necessarily be illegal. It might have been an official
calling in; especially as we did not know the regulations
applicable to concentration camps. It would be perfectly
possible that these people had the right to sell the
articles in their possession or give them in payment.

Q. The dollar notes which you have also seen in that film
would hardly be sold by anybody.

A. May I point out to you that I was not of the opinion that
these notes necessarily came from concentration camps. I
merely said that the word "Lublin" was on some of the
packets of bank notes. That might have pointed to their
having come from a concentration camp, but it did not
necessarily mean that these particular notes came from that
concentration camp, and the same applies to Auschwitz. The
name Auschwitz cropped up. There may have been a certain
suspicion, but we had not any proof, and we did not feel
that we were in anyway called upon to object to these
deliveries of the SS.

Q. Consequently, witness, apparently because you put this
construction on it, you did not use occasion to make a
report to Vice-president Puhl or the directorate, or to
voice any doubts; you did not feel there was any cause for

A. I called Vice-President Puhl's attention to the
composition of these deliveries as early as a few months
after the arrival of the first one. Therefore, the general
character of these deliveries was known to Herr Puhl. If any
objections were to be raised in connection with these
deliveries, then they should have come from President Puhl.
He knew the contents.

Q. But you told us earlier that the character of these
deliveries did not seem peculiar to you. You considered that
it was booty. And now you want to say that you called Vice-
President Puhl's attention to it and that he must have
noticed something peculiar.

A. I did not say that. I did not say that Herr Puhl I must
have noticed something peculiar. I merely said that, if any
objections were to be raised, then they would have to come
from Herr Puhl, since he was as well aware of the character
of these deliveries as I was. And, if there was any
suspicion, then Herr Puhl's suspicion would probably have
been aroused more strongly than mine.

Q. Witness, you told us earlier that special secrecy was
ordered in this connection, but at the same time you
mentioned that quite apart from this SS affair, there were
also other business matters which apparently had to be
handled with special secrecy. Is that true?

                                                   [Page 74]

A. Yes.

Q. You need not give us any names, but I would only like to
know what the other affairs were?

A. These were matters which had to do with the conduct of
the war. There were transactions in gold, and perhaps also
in foreign currency, etc.

Q. They were not criminal affairs, therefore?

A. No, not criminal.

Q. Then, witness -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal thinks that this is
getting too far away from the point really to ask him about
other deliveries.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, but the question is already answered, Mr.


Q. Witness, because of this secrecy in connection with the
SS deliveries which reached the Reichsbank, I should be
interested in knowing, in so far as they were realised by
the Reichsbank, whether any accounts were rendered, as I
assume to be the case from the documents before us?

A. Yes.

Q. By your Main Treasury?

A. Yes.

Q. To whom were these accounts sent?

A. They were sent to the Reichsfuehrer SS office direct;
that is to say, they were collected by Melmer directly from
the bank.

Q. Did they not go to any other offices?

A. And then they were officially passed on to the foreign
currency department.

Q. To the foreign currency department, that is, to a State

A. No, that is a department of the Reichsbank which in turn
is the link with the directorate.

Q. Were not these accounts also transmitted or did not they
go to the Reich Ministry of Finance?

A. The liaison man, Melmer, always received two accounts,
that is, in duplicate. Whether the Reichsfuehrer's office
sent one copy to the Reich Ministry of Finance, I do not

Q. Were these accounts really treated confidentially, that
is, kept secret?

A.. Yes.

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