The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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This evaluation does not include the destruction resulting
from military operations, which ranges around 300 million

The Germans proceeded to make requisitions and wholesale
purchases of agricultural produce and livestock. A final
estimate of these levies, amounting to a minimum of
300,000,000 Guilders is as yet impossible.

To give an idea of their magnitude we point out that, at the
end of the year 1943, the Germans had seized 600,000 hogs,
275,000 cows and 30,000 tons of preserved meats.

The data is given in the testimony of the representative of
the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Exhibit RF

In passing I point out - although this question will be
taken up again by my colleague in his presentation of War
Crimes against persons - that on 17th April 1944, without
any apparent strategic reason, twenty hectares of cultivated
lands were flooded at Wieringermeer.

Transports and Communications :

The Germans made enormous levies on material, transport and
communication. It is not yet possible to draw up an exact
inventory of them. Nevertheless, the information given by
the Netherlands Government makes it possible to form an idea
of the magnitude of these spoliations.

I submit, as Exhibit RF 134, information given by the
representative of the Netherlands Government concerning
transport and communication. This is a summary:

   (a) Railways
   Of 890 locomotives 490 were requisitioned.
   Of 30,000 railway cars 28,950 were requisitioned
   Of 1,750 passenger cars 1,466 were requisitioned.
   Of 300 electric trains 215 were requisitioned.
   Of 37 Diesel engined trains 36 were requisitioned.

   In general, the little material left by the Germans was
   badly damaged by wear and tear, by military operations
   and by sabotage.
                                                   [Page 32]
   In addition to rolling stock, the Germans sent to the
   Reich considerable quantities of rails, signals, cranes,
   turn-tables, repair cars, etc.
   (b) The equipment was removed from the Hague and
   Rotterdam to German cities. Thus, for example, some 50
   motor trams and 42 trailer cars were sent to Bremen and
   A considerable amount of rails, cables and other
   accessories were removed and transported to Germany.
   The motor buses of the street car companies were
   likewise taken by the occupying power.
   (c) The Germans seized the greater part of the
   automobiles, motorcycles and about one million bicycles.
   They left the population only those machines which would
   not run.
   (d) Navigation: The Germans seized a considerable number
   of barges and river boats, as well as a considerable
   part of the merchant fleet, totalling about
   1,500,000 tons.
   (e) Postal Equipment: The Germans seized a great number
   of telephone and telegraph apparatus, cables and other
   accessories, which has not yet been computed. 600,000
   radio sets were confiscated.

I now come to Chapter 4: Miscellaneous spoliation:

Forced labour for the occupier: From information given by
the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Exhibit RF
135, a great number of Dutch workers were obliged to work
either in Holland or in Germany. About 550,000 were deported
to the Reich, which represents a considerable number of man-
hours lost to the national production of the Netherlands.

Plunder of the Royal Palaces:

The furniture, private archives, the stables and carriages
and wine cellars of the royal house were plundered by the
Germans. In particular, the Palace of Norrdeinde was
completely looted of the movable contents, including
furniture, linen, silverware, paintings, tapestries, art
treasures and household utensils. A certain number of these
were removed from the Palace of Het Loo and were to be used
in a convalescent home for German generals.

The archives of the royal family likewise were stripped.
This is manifest from a report given by the representative
of the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Exhibit RF

Pillage of the city of Arnhem.

Besides numerous cases of individual looting, which are not
the matter of the present subject, there was systematically
organised pillage of entire cities. In this manner the town
of Arnhem was despoiled in October and November 1944.

The Germans brought miners in from Essen who, under military
orders, proceeded, in specialised gangs, to dismantle all
the removable furniture, and send it with goods of all kinds
to Germany. This is manifest in the testimony given by the
representative of the Netherlands Government, which I submit
as Exhibit RF 137.

The consequences of economic plundering in the Netherlands
are considerable. We shall just mention that the enormous
decrease in the national capital will have, as corollary, a
production inferior to the needs of the country, for many
years yet to come.

But the gravest consequence is that affecting the public
health, which is irreparable. The excessive rationing, over
many years, of food, clothing, and fuel, ordered by the
occupant to increase the amount of spoliation, had brought
about a debilitation of the population.

The average calory consumption by the inhabitants, which
varied between 2,800 and 3,000 dropped in large proportions
to about 1,800 calories, finally to fall in April 1945 as
low as 400.

                                                   [Page 33]

Starting from the summer of 1944, the food situation became
more and more serious. The commissar of the Reich, Seyss-
Inquart, forbade the transport of food stuffs between the
Southern and Northern zones of the country. This measure,
which was not justified by any military operation, seems
only to have been dictated by hatred for the population,
only to oppress and intimidate them, weaken them, terrorise

Not until March 1945 was this inhuman measure lifted; but it
was too late. The famine had already become general. The
death rate in the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Leyden,
Delft and Gouda increased considerably, rising from 19 to 60
per cent. Diseases which had almost been eliminated from
these regions, reappeared. Such a situation will have
irreparable consequences for the future of the population.

These facts are manifest in two reports which I submit as
Exhibits RF139 and 140.

By ordering such severe rationing measures to get for
themselves products indispensable to the existence of the
Dutch, an act which was contrary to all principles of
International Law, I may say that the German leaders
committed one of their gravest crimes.

My explanations concerning Holland are concluded. My
colleague, M. Delpech, will now state the case for Belgium.

M. DELPECH: Mr. President, gentlemen, I have the honour of
presenting to the Tribunal a statement on the economic
plundering of Belgium.

As early as 1940 the National Socialist leaders intended to
invade Belgium, Holland and Northern France. They knew that
they would find there raw materials, equipment, and the
factories which would enable them to increase their war

As soon as Belgium had been occupied, the German military
administration did its best to reap the maximum benefit. To
this end the German leaders took a series of measures to
block all existing resources and to seize all means of
payment. Important supplies built up during the years 1936
to 1938 were the object of enormous requisition. The
machines and equipment of numerous factories were dismantled
and sent to Germany, bringing about the closing down of many
of them and in many sectors their forced consolidation.

Given the highly industrial character of this country, the
occupying authorities imposed a very heavy tribute upon
Belgian industries. Nor was agriculture spared.

The third part of the French economic expose deals with a
study of all these measures. This will be the subject of
four chapters. Chapter I deals with the German seizure of
the means of payment. The second chapter will treat the
clandestine purchases and an exposition of the black market.
Chapter 3 will deal with the purchases of apparent
regularity. The fourth chapter will concern impressment. In
the fifth chapter the acquisition of Belgian investments in
foreign concerns will be presented to the Tribunal, before
concluding and emphasising the effect on the public health
of the German intrusion. Finally, a few remarks will be
presented concerning the conduct of the Germans after they
had annexed the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

CHAPTER I: German seizure of means of payment. To enslave
the country from an economic point of view, the most simple
procedure was to secure the possession of the largest part
of the means of payment and to make impossible the export of
currency and valuables of all kinds.

There is an order of 17 June, 1940, which forbids the export
of currency and valuables of all kinds. This order was
published in the 'Verordnungsblatt' for Belgium, Northern
France and Luxembourg and will hereafter be called by its
usual abbreviated form 'V.O.B.E.L.' This order was published
in 'V.O.B.E.L. No. 2' and is submitted as Exhibit RF 98. In
the 'V.O.B.E.L.' of the same date appeared a notice dated 9
May, 1940, which regulated the

                                                   [Page 34]

issuing of occupation marks to provide the occupation troops
with legal tender.

By this means the Germans could buy, without furnishing any
compensating consideration, all they desired in a country
which had products of all kinds, without the inhabitants
being able to protect their possessions against the invader.

The occupants used, in addition, three other methods for
obtaining the largest part of the means of payment. These
three methods were; the creation of a bank of issue; the
imposition of war tribute under the pretext of maintaining
occupation troops; and a system of clearing, functioning to
their own profit. These measures will be treated in three
sections to be hereafter developed.

Section I: Establishment of a Bank of Issue. As soon as they
arrived in Belgium the Germans established an office for
supervising banks, entrusted at the same time with the
control of the National Bank of Belgium. This was ordered on
14 June, 1940, (V.O.B.E.L. No. 2) which is submitted as
Exhibit RF 141.

At this time the directorate of the National Bank of Belgium
was outside the occupied territories. On the other hand, the
amount of notes on hand would be insufficient to insure
normal circulation, as a great number of Belgians had fled
before the invasion, taking with them an important quantity
of paper money.

These are, at any rate, the reasons which the Germans put
forward for establishing the Bank of Issue, as of the
ordinance of the 27th of June, 1940, published in
'V.O.B.E.L. No. 4 and 5', which I submit as Exhibit RF 142.

By virtue of this last ordinance, 21 June 1940, the new Bank
of Issue with a capital of 150,000,000 Belgian francs, 20
per cent of which had been issued in cash, received the
monopoly for issuing paper money in Belgian francs. As a
matter of fact, the National Bank of Belgium no longer had
the right to issue money. The issue of this bank was not
backed by gold but:

1. By credits from discount operations and loans granted in
conformity with article 8 of the new statutes.

2. By claims of the National Bank of Belgium as well as coin
which was in circulation for the account of the public

3. Finally, by the third device: by circulation in foreign
currency and francs particularly, German money which
comprised occupation marks as well as assets of the
Reichsbank at the Office of Compensation for the Reich and
the Reich Credit Bank.

The German Commissar, who had been appointed by decree of 26
June, 1940, became the controller of the bank of issue. The
decree of 26 June, 1940, was published in 'V.O.B.E.L.,' No.
3, Page 88, and is submitted as Exhibit RF 143.

After the return to Belgium of the directors of the National
Bank on 10 July, 1940, an agreement between this bank and
the new Bank of Issue was effected by the nomination of the
head of the new issuing bank to the position of director of
the National Bank of Belgium.

The Bank of Issue proceeded to put out a large amount of
notes. On 8 May, 1940, the currency in circulation amounted
to 29,800,000,000 Belgian francs. On 29 December, 1943, it
amounted to 93,200,000,000 Belgian francs, and on 31 August,
1944, it was 100,200,000,000 Belgian francs, that is to say,
an increase of 235 per cent.

The Bank of Issue worked, but not without certain
difficulties, either with the military government, its own
staff, or with the National Bank of Belgium. Actually,
besides its function of issuing, the new bank had, as a
principle function, the operations relating to postal checks
and to currency; as well as

                                                   [Page 35]

the operations with German authorities, notably as concerned
the indemnity for occupation and the clearing.

The National Bank of Belgium lost its right to issue paper
money, but resumed its traditional operations of private as
well as State accounts, notably transactions on the open

These data, gentlemen, are corroborated by the final report
of the German military administration in Belgium, 9th part,
treating of currency and finances. This final report of the
German military administration in Belgium was discovered by
the U.S. Army, and it is a document to which we shall refer
many times. It is No. E.C.H.5, and is submitted to the
Tribunal as Exhibit RF 144.

The 9th part, which is of interest here, was written by
three chiefs of the administration section of Brussels,
Wetter, Hofrichter and Jost.

In spite of the establishment of the bank of issue, the
occupation marks were valid in Belgium until August 1942,
but it was the National Bank of Belgium that was obliged to
absorb these notes in September 1944, and, owing to this,
the Belgian economy underwent a loss of 3,567,000,000
Belgian francs. (This number is given by Wetter in the
foregoing report, Page 112, excerpt of the report, which is
submitted as Exhibit RF 145.)

Moreover, from information given by the Belgian Government,
the issuing bank had in hand at the moment of liberation of
the territory, a sum totalling 664,000,000 in occupation
marks, drawn up in Reichsmark, and further, it had assets in
a transfer account of 12 million Reichsmark on the books of
the Reich Credit Bank, that is to say, a total loss of
656,000,000 Belgian francs. (This number is given in a
report of the Belgian Government which is deposed in the
archives of the Tribunal under Exhibit RF 146.)

Let us now treat the occupation costs. Article 49 of the
Hague Convention stipulates that, if the occupant takes
contributions in cash, it will only be for the needs of the
army of occupation or for the administration of the
territory. The occupant can, therefore, deduct a
contribution for the maintenance of his army, but this must
not exceed the sum strictly necessary. On the other hand,
the words "needs of the army of occupation" do not mean the
expenses of armament and equipment, but solely the normal
costs of billeting, food, and pay, which exclude in all
cases luxury expenses.

Moreover, Article 52 authorises the occupying authority to
exact, for the use of its army, requisitions in kind and in
service, on the express condition that they shall be
proportionate to the resources of the country, and that they
should not involve the population with the obligation to
take part in military operations against their own country.
The same Article 52 stipulates, moreover, that levies in
kind will be, as far as possible, paid in cash.

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