The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/04

But the Germans did not lose time in violating their
promises and in levying, on their account, in spite of the
Danish protest, sums infinitely greater than the needs of
the army of occupation.

According to the information given by the Danish Government,
the Germans levied, per month,

   43 million crowns in 1940;
   37 million crowns in 1941;
   39 million crowns in 1942;
   83 million crowns in 1943;
   157 million crowns in 1944;
   187 million crowns in 1945.

The total of these levies amounts, according to the Danish
Government, to 4,830,000,000 crowns.

I submit, as Exhibit RF 115, the financial report of the
Danish Government concerning this, a report to which I shall
refer in the course of this statement.

The information given by the Danish Government is
corroborated by a German document discovered by the United
States Army, EC-96, Page 11, which I submit to the Tribunal
as Exhibit RF 116.

This is a secret report of the 10th of October 1944, written
by the labour staff for foreign countries, and which
concerns the conscription of funds in occupied territories.

On Page 11 it is said that "Denmark is not considered as
occupied territory, and therefore does not pay occupation
expenses. The means of payments necessary to the German
troops are put at the disposal of the high administration of
the Reichskreditkasse by the Central Danish Bank, by the
channels of ordinary credit. Anyway, total levies are
assured by Denmark."

The writer of this report says that the levies to the 31st
of March 1944, for occupation expenses, amount to:

                                                   [Page 15]
   
   1940-1941, 531 million crowns;
   1941-1942, 437 million crowns;
   1942-1943, 612 million crowns;
   1943-1944, 1,391 million crowns;
this represents, up to the 31st of March 1944, 2,971 million
crowns. This corresponds to the information given by the
Danish Government for approximately the same period,
2,723,000,000 crowns.

The same German report shows that the rate of exchange for
the mark, as compared to the rate of exchange for the crown,
had been fixed by the occupying powers from 47.7 to 53.1
marks per hundred crowns.

Even though the Germans pretended, against all evidence,
that Denmark was not an occupied territory, they levied in
this country the total sum of 4,830,000,000 crowns, an
enormous sum, seeing the number of inhabitants and the
resources of the country. In reality, this was nothing other
than a war tribute which the Germans imposed under the
pretext of furnishing means of payment to her army, which
was stationed in Denmark.

The maintenance of the army necessary to the occupying of
Denmark did not necessitate such heavy expenses. It is
evident that the Germans used, as in other countries, the
majority of the funds extorted in this manner from Denmark
to finance their war effort.

SECOND CHAPTER: CLEARING:

In 1931 Germany was up against financial difficulties, which
she used as a pretext to declare a general moratorium on all
her foreign obligations.

Nevertheless, to be able to continue, to a certain extent,
her commercial operations with foreign countries, she
concluded, with a majority of the other nations, agreements
permitting the payment of her commercial debts, and even of
certain financial debts, on the basis of a system of
compensation called "clearing."

Ever since the beginning of the occupation - the 9th of
April 1940 - and for its duration, the Danish authorities
did everything they could but to counteract the German
activity in this domain, but in vain, Under the pressure of
occupying forces Denmark could not prevent her credit for
the clearing balance from constantly increasing, owing to
the German purchases being made without the furnishing of
any compensating counterpart.

According to the Danish Government, the credit balance of
the account progressed in the following way:

   31 December 1940, 388,800,000 crowns;
   31 December 1941, 784,400,000 crowns;
   31 December 1942, 1,062,200,000 crowns;
   31 December 1943, 1,915,800,000 crowns;
   31 December 1944, 2,694,000,000 crowns;
   30 April 1945, 2,900,000,000 crowns;

These data are corroborated by the German report which I
submitted a few minutes ago as Exhibit RF 116, and according
to which, on the 31st of March, 1944, the Germans had
procured for themselves means of payment, through clearing,
amounting to a total sum of 2,243,000,000 crowns.

It has not been possible to establish the use which the
occupants made of the sum of 7,730,000,000 crowns, which
they procured fraudulently and to the detriment of Denmark,
with the help of the indemnity of occupation and of
clearing.

                                                   [Page 16]

The information which we have up to now does not enable us
to estimate the extent of the operations carried out by the
Germans on the black market. Nevertheless, the writer of the
report of the 10th of October 1944, which I have presented
previously, indicates:

   "We must put aside all attempts to estimate the sums
   which were spent in the black market. Nevertheless, it
   must be admitted that members of the Wehrmacht used to
   buy, at top prices, butter and other products in
   Denmark. But it is impossible to fix these sums even
   approximately, for the black market seems to be less
   vast and less well co-ordinated than in the other
   occupied territories of the West, and is closer to the
   structure of the German black market, with its rather
   confused prices. Nevertheless, the prices of the Danish
   black market can generally be considered as much lower
   than the German prices. It is, therefore, not possible
   to speak of an average price, of an average high price,
   as in France, Belgium and Holland."

What should be remembered is that the Germans, and
especially members of the Wehrmacht, used to operate on the
black market in Denmark, and that the paying of expenses was
done with funds extorted from Denmark.

Concerning the acquisitions, which seemed to be regular, we
lack the necessary information to be able to give precise
indications. Nevertheless, according to a report of the 9th
of October 1944, addressed by the German office of the
Economic Staff of Germany to their superiors in Frankfurt an
der Oder - a document discovered by the United States Army,
and which I submit as Exhibit RF 117 - the following goods
were levied by his department:

From January to July, 1943, 30,000 tons of turf.

May 1944, 6,000 cubic metres of wood.

(The writer adds that they tried to push this production to
10,000 cubic metres per month).

   September 1944, 5,785 cubic metres of cut timbers 1, 110
   metres of uncut timber;
   
   1,050 square metres of plywood;
   
   119 tons of paint for ships; and special wood for the
   navy.

Gentlemen, this is but an enumeration of the levies which
just one German section
happened to make within a short time.

Denmark had to furnish important quantities of cement.
Germans furnished her, in exchange, with the coal necessary
for this production.

According to this report which I have mentioned, in August
1944, the Germans spent, in Denmark, over 8,312,278 crowns
on foodstuffs.

These numbers are below the truth. According to the last
information we have received from the Danish Government, the
levies of agricultural things alone amounted, on the
average, to 70 million crowns per month; which represents,
for 60 months of occupation, levies of a value of
4,700,000,000 crowns.

THIRD CHAPTER: LEVIES NOT FOLLOWED BY PAYMENT:

In addition to all that they managed to buy with the help of
crowns which were deposited in their accounts under the
pretext of the maintenance of the army of occupation and of
clearing, the Germans appropriated an important quantity of
goods without having paid for them in any regular manner.

It was in this way that they appropriated goods of the
Danish Army and Navy; lorries, horses, means of
transportation, furniture, clothes, which up to date have
been estimated at about 850 million crowns.

Many requisitions and secret, and even apparent, purchases,
have not yet been exactly estimated.

                                                   [Page 17]

In this report the Danish Government estimates -

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing): Where do these figures come
from?

M. GERTHOFFER: These figures come from the report of the
Danish Government, Exhibit RF 115.

The same report, contains, on the part of the Danish
Government, an estimate which is rather approximate and
provisional, of the damages sustained by Denmark and of the
German plundering, which is assessed as 11,600,000,000
crowns.

The information which we have to date does not permit me to
give any more particulars concerning Denmark.

I will, therefore, if the Tribunal will permit me, begin
with particulars in the case about Norway.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you submitting a document book with this?

(The document books were submitted).

M. GERTHOFFER: The Economic Plundering of Norway:

The German troops had only just arrived in Norway when
Hitler declared, on the 18th of April, 1940, that they
should proceed to the economic exploitation of this country
which, for this reason, must be considered as an "enemy
State."

The information which we have on the economic plundering of
Norway is rather brief, but it is, nevertheless, sufficient
to enable us to estimate the German activity in that country
during the time of the occupation.

Norway was subjected to a regime of most severe rationing.
As soon as they entered this country, the Germans tried -
and this was contrary to the most elementary principles of
International Law - to draw from Norway the maximum of
resources possible.

In a document discovered by the United States Army, EC-384,
and which I submit as Exhibit RF 116-a document which is
made up by the Journal De Marche of Economic and Armament
Service in Norway, written in May 1940-we have excerpts of
the directives relative to the administration and to the
economy in the occupied territories. Here are some of these
excerpts

   "Directive of Armament Economy:
   
   The Norwegian industry, to the extent to which it does
   not directly supply the population, has, in its
   essential branches, a particular importance for the
   German war industry. That is why its production must be
   put, as soon as possible, at the disposal of the German
   armament industry, if this has not already been done.
   The industry consists, on the one hand, of 'intermediate
   products' which demand a certain amount of time to be
   transformed into finished, useful products; and, on the
   other hand, of raw materials - such as aluminium, for
   example - which can be used whilst we wait for our own
   factories, which are being built, to be in a position to
   produce.
   
   In this connection we must, above all, take into
   consideration the following industries;
   
   The production of copper, zinc, nickel, iron with a
   titanium base, wolfram, molybdenum, silver, and pyretic.
   
   Metallurgical factories for the production of aluminium
   alumina, copper, nickel, zinc.
   
   Chemical industries for the production of explosives,
   synthetic nitrogen, calcium nitrate, super-phosphate,
   carbonate of calcium and soda base products.
   
   Armament industries, naval dockyards.
   
   Industries for power supply; especially for supplying
   electric energy furnishing electric current, on which
   depend all the industrial branches enumerated above.
   
                                                   [Page 18]
   
   The production capacities of these industries must be
   maintained, for the duration of the occupation, at the
   highest possible levels.
   
   Certain help coming from the Reich is, from time to
   time, necessary to surmount the difficulties of seizing
   English imports, or those coming from overseas.
   
   It is most important to ensure this aid as far as the
   industries of raw materials are concerned, the
   production of which is based essentially on the imports
   coming from overseas.
   
   We cannot for a moment overlook the question of the
   imports of bauxite coming from the German stocks and
   which can be used by the metallurgical factories of
   aluminium."

As soon as the troops entered Norway, Germany issued notes
of the Reichskreditkasse which were legal only in Norway,
and could not be used in Germany. As in the other occupied
countries, this was a means of pressure to obtain financial
advantages, which were supposedly freely accorded by these
brutally enslaved countries.

The Germans did their best to become masters of the means of
payment and of Norwegian credit by two classic methods;
imposition of war tribute on the pretext of the maintenance
of the occupational army, and also by the functioning of a
clearing system which was to their profit.

GERMAN SEIZURE OF ALL THE MEANS OF PAYMENT

First: Indemnities for the maintenance of the army of
occupation.

At the beginning of the occupation, the Germans used to
purchase with notes of the Reichskreditkasse. The Norwegians
who had this paper money used to change it at the Bank of
Norway, but this financial institution could not obtain from
the Reichskreditkasse any real counter-value.

In July 1940 the Bank of Norway had to absorb Rm 135,000,000
which came from the Reichskreditkasse.

To avoid losing control over the money calculation, the Bank
of Norway was obliged to put the Norwegian notes at the
disposal of the Germans. They used to draw cheques on the
Reichskreditkasse which the Bank of Norway was obliged to
endorse.

The debt account of the Bank of Norway, following the German
levies, amounts to:

   1,450,000,000 crowns at the end of 1940;
   3,000,000,000 crowns at the end of 1941;
   6,300,000,000 crowns at the end of August 1942;
   8,700,000,000 crowns at the end of 1943;
   11,676,000,000 crowns at the liberation of this country.


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