The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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All the Norwegian protestations were vain, in the face of
German exigencies. The constant threat of the new issuing of
notes of the Reichskreditkasse as instruments of obligatory
payment next to the Norwegian currency, obliged the local
financial authorities to accept the system of levies in
account without actual counter value, which was less
dangerous than the issuing of paper money, over the
circulation of which the Norwegian administration had no
power of control.

This is most clearly shown by the secret letter sent on 17th
June 1941 by General von Falkenhorst, commander in Norway,
to the commander of the Reich, Reichsleiter Terboven, a copy
of which was found not so long ago in Norway and which I
submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 119.

In this document, after having stated that one could not
reduce the expenses of the Wehrmacht in Norway, von
Falkenhorst writes:

   "I am nevertheless of the opinion that the problem
   cannot at all be solved in this manner. The only remedy
   is to abandon completely the
   
                                                   [Page 19]
   
   actual monetary system; that is to say, to introduce
   Reich currency. But, of course, this does not belong to
   my domain. That is why I also regret not being able to
   offer you any other remedies, even though I am perfectly
   conscious of the seriousness of the situation in which
   you find yourself."

To the indemnities for the pretended maintenance of the army
of occupation must be added a sum of 360,000,000 crowns paid
by the Norwegian Treasury for the billeting of the German
troops. This information comes to us from a report from the
Norwegian Government, which I submit as Exhibit RF 120.

From the sum of approximately 12,000,000 crowns levied for
the pretended maintenance of the occupation troops, a great
part was used for other things; notably, for the expenses of
the police and propaganda the occupant spent 900,000,000
crowns.

This comes from a second report of the Norwegian Government,
which I submit as Exhibit RF 121.

Second: Clearing:

The clearing agreement of 1937 for the barter of goods
between Norway and Germany remained in force during the
occupation, but it was the Bank of Norway which had to
advance the necessary funds for the Norwegian exporters.

The Germans also concluded clearing agreements in the name
of Norway with other occupied countries, neutral countries,
and with Italy.

At the liberation, the creditor balance of the Norwegian
clearing amounted to 90,000,000 crowns, but this balance
does not show up the actual situation, for:

1. The imports destined to the German military needs in
Norway were handled through the clearing in a very abusive
manner;

2. For certain goods-skins, furs, and fish, the Germans had
decided that the exportation should be made into the Reich.
Then they sold these products in other countries, especially
Italy as far as the fish was concerned;

3. The Germans, who were the masters, and upon whom depended
the fixing of prices, systematically raised the price of all
raw products imported into Norway, and these were used for
the great part for the military needs of the occupiers. On
the other hand, they systematically drove down the prices of
the products exported from Norway.

In spite of all their efforts and all of their sacrifices,
and owing to the fraudulent operations of the occupiers, the
Norwegian authorities could not hinder a very dangerous
inflation.

From the report of the Norwegian Government, which I
submitted as Exhibit RF 120 a few moments ago, it is seen
that the fiscal circulation, which in April 1940 amounted to
712,000,000 crowns, rose progressively to reach, on 7th May
1945, 3,039,000,000 crowns. An inflation of this extent,
which is the consequence of the activities of the occupiers,
enables us to measure the impoverishment of this country.

The same report indicates that the Germans did not manage to
seize the gold of the Norwegian Bank, as this had been
hidden in good time.

Let us now, gentlemen, examine the levies in detail.

The Germans proceeded in Norway to numerous requisitions
which were or were not followed by so-called regular
payments.

According to the report of the Norwegian Government, here is
the list of requisitioned goods

   Meat                            30,000 tons
   Milk, eggs, etc.                61,000 tons
   Fish                            26,000 tons
   Fruit and vegetables            68,000 tons
   Potatoes                       500,000 tons
   Vinegar and allied products    112,000 tons
   
                                                   [Page 20]
   
   Fats                            10,000 tons
   Wheat, flour                     3,000 tons
   Other items                      5,000 tons
   Hay and straw                   30,000 tons
   Other articles of same nature   13,000 tons
   Soap                             8,000 tons
   
But this statement which I have just read to the Tribunal
only includes the official purchases which were made with
Norwegian currency or which were paid for through clearing;
it does not include the secret purchases. It is not yet
possible to determine or to appreciate the total extent of
these. We can, however say that the export of fish, which
went to Germany, in the majority of cases, for one year only
(1942) came to about 202,400 tons, whereas the official
requisitions during the whole occupation did not go beyond
26,000 tons.

As in other occupied territories, the Germans forced the
continuance of work under threat of arrest.

The greatest part of the fleet was hidden from the Germans;
nevertheless they requisitioned all ships which they could,
notably, the majority of the fishing fleet.

If the occupier could not seize all railway rolling stock,
tramways were transported to Germany, as well as about
30,000 motor cars.

If we refer to the report of 10th October 1944 of the German
Economic Services, which I submitted as Exhibit RF 116, we
will see that the writer of the report himself estimates
that the effort demanded from Norway was above her
possibilities, and he writes:

   "The Norwegian economy is seriously undermined by the
   exactions of the occupiers. It is for this reason that
   we had to limit the cost of occupation to part only of
   the expenses of the Wehrmacht."

After having mentioned that the cost of occupation which had
been calculated to January 1943 amounted to 7,535,000,000
crowns, which corroborates the data given by the Norwegian
Government, the writer of the German report says:

   "This sum of over Rm 5,000,000,000 is very high for
   Norway. Much richer countries, as for example, Belgium,
   pay expenses which are hardly higher, and Denmark does
   not furnish even half of this sum. These huge levies are
   only made possible through advances which were consented
   to by Germany. It is, therefore not surprising that the
   exterior German-Norwegian commerce should have a very
   active character for Germany. That is to say, that it
   consists of advances. Norway, owing to her very small
   population, can hardly put labour at the disposal of the
   German war economy. She is therefore one of the few
   countries which are our debtors in the clearing."

Further on the writer adds:

   "If we can deduct from these Rm 140,000,000 - the
   expenses of occupation and various credits calculated
   for after - we arrive at a very high figure for
   Norwegian levies; that is to say, approximately
   4,900,000,00 Rm."

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that would be a good time to break
off.

(A recess was taken).

M. GERTHOFFER: We continue with the expose of economic
pillage in Norway. I had the honour, this morning, of
relating to you how the occupants were able to exact great
quantities of means of payment from Norway. We shall now
see, from the first data which has been given us, the use to
which the occupants put these payments. The Germans seized,
as in the other occupied countries, considerable private

                                                   [Page 21]

property, on some pretext or other-that it was property
belonging to Jews, Freemasons, Scout associations, et
cetera. It has been impossible, thus far, to establish a
very direct evaluation of these spoliations. We can give
some indications of them, at this time, only from memory.
According to the report of the Norwegian Government, in 1941
the Germans seized all the radio sets...

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any evidence to support the facts
you are stating now?

M. GERTHOFFER: They are based on indications contained in
the report of the Norwegian Government which I have
submitted as Exhibit RF 121.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

M. GERTHOFFER: According to the same report, in 1941 the
Germans seized almost all the radios belonging to private
individuals. The value of these radio sets was approximately
120,000,000 kronen. The Germans imposed heavy fines on the
Norwegian communities under the most varied pretexts,
notably Allied bombing raids and acts of sabotage.

In their report the Norwegian Government gives two or three
examples of these collective fines: On March 4th, 1941,
after a raid on Lofoten, the population of the small
community of Ostvagey had to pay 100,000 kronen. Communities
also had to support German families and families of Quisling
supporters.

On 25 September 1942, after a British raid on Oslo, one
hundred citizens were obliged to pay 3,500,000 kronen.

In January 1941, Trondheim, Stavanger and Vest-Opland had to
pay 60,000 50,000 and 100,000 kronen, respectively.

In September 1941, the municipality of Stavanger was obliged
to pay 2 million kronen for an alleged sabotage of telegraph
lines.

In August 1941, Rogaland had to pay 500,000 kronen, and
Alesund 100,000 kronen.

It can thus be stated as a fact that, by various procedures
which differed hardly from those employed in other
countries, the Germans, during the occupation of Norway, not
only exhausted all the financial resources of that country
but placed it considerably in debt.

It has not been possible to furnish a detailed account of
German exactions be they made after requisitions which were
followed or not followed by indemnities, or be they made by
purchase, apparently conducted by mutual agreement,
fictitiously regulated by those very means of payments
extorted from Norway.

In the report which I have submitted as Exhibit RF 121, the
Norwegian Government tabulated the damages and losses
suffered by its country. I shall give a summary of this
report to the Tribunal.

The Norwegian Government estimates that the damage and
losses undergone by industry and commerce amounted to a
total of 440 million kronen, of which the Germans have made
settlement, fictitiously to be sure, only up to 7 million
kronen.

Other losses were:

   merchant vessels, having a value of 1 billion 773
   million kronen, for which the German Government has made
   no settlement;
   
   on ports and installations the sum is 74 million kronen,
   for which the German Government has fictitiously settled
   only to the extent of 1 million;
   
   on railroads, canals, airports, and other installations
   the spoliation can be represented by the sum of 947
   million kronen, for which Germany has fictitiously
   settled with 490 million kronen;
   
   roads and bridges, 199 million kronen, for which the
   settlement amounts to 67 million.
   
   Spoliation of agriculture reached 242 million kronen,
   for which settlement amounts to only 46 million;
   
   personal property, 239 million for which no settlement
   has been made.
   
                                                   [Page 22]
   

   Various requisitions, not included in the preceding
   categories, amount to 1 billion, 566 million kronen, for
   which the occupant, fictitiously, has settled to the
   amount of 1 billion, 154 million kronen.

The Norwegian Government estimates that the years of man-
labour applied to the German war effort represent a sum of
226 million kronen. It estimates, on the other hand, that
the years of man-labour lost to the national economy by
deportation to Germany and forced labour on the order of
Germany amounts to 3 billion, 122 million kronen.

Forced payments to German institutions amount to 11 billion,
54 million kronen, for which Germany has made no settlement
whatsoever. The grand total, according to the Norwegian
Government, is 21 billion kronen, which represents more than
4 billion 700 million dollars.

Norway suffered in particular during the German occupation.
Indeed, though its resources are considerable, notably the
timber of its forests, minerals, such as nickel, wolfram,
molybdenum, zinc, copper and aluminium, nevertheless, it
must import consumer goods of prime necessity for feeding
its population.

As the Germans had absolute control over maritime traffic,
nothing could come into Norway without their consent. They
could therefore, by pressure, as they had to do in France by
means of the line of demarcation between the two zones,
impose their exactions more easily. The rations, as fixed by
the occupiers, were insufficient to ensure the subsistence
of the Norwegian population. The continued undernourishment
over a period of years entailed the most malignant
consequences: disease multiplied, mortality likewise
increased, and the future of the population has been
compromised by the physical deficiencies which its younger
elements had to endure.

These are the few observations which I had to make on the
subject of Norway. I shall, if the Tribunal will permit, now
deal with the aspect of the subject which relates to the
Netherlands.

Economic pillage of the Netherlands:

In invading the Netherlands in contravention of all the
principles of the law of nations, the Germans installed
themselves in a country abundantly provided with the most
varied wealth, in a country in which the inhabitants were
the best nourished of Europe, and which, in proportion to
the population, was one of the wealthiest in the world. The
gold reserve of Holland exceeded the amount of bills in
circulation. Four years later, when the Allies liberated
this country, they found the population afflicted by a
veritable famine, and apart from the destructions consequent
to military operations, a country almost entirely ruined by
the spoliations of the occupants.


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