The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-14/tgmwc-14-130.02

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-14/tgmwc-14-130.02
Last-Modified: 2000/03/14

Q. Now, will you give details about the discussions which
the defendant Funk had with you regarding the SS deposits.
And may I ask you to consider your replies and search your
memory very carefully before answering my questions.
Naturally I allow you time.

First of all, what did you and the defendant Funk discuss
when you talked about these deposits of the SS for the first

                                                   [Page 45]

A. I refer here to my affidavit of 3rd May. I had a very
simple talk with Herr Funk. It turned on the request of the
SS to make use of our bank installations by depositing
valuables for which - it was said - there was not sufficient
protection in the cellars of the SS building. Perhaps, for
the sake of completeness, I may add that "SS", in this
connection, always means the "Economic Department of the

Q. What did the defendant Funk speak of at the time? Did he
specify exactly what should be accepted for safekeeping?

A. He mentioned valuables which the SS had brought from the
Eastern Territories, which were now in their cellars, and
which, above all, they requested us to keep in safety.

Q. But did the defendant Funk tell you in detail what these
valuables were?

A. No, not in detail, but he said, that in general, they
were gold, foreign currency, silver and jewellery.

Q. Gold, foreign currency, silver, jewellery -

A. To which I may add that gold and foreign currency had of
course, to be surrendered to the Reichsbank at any rate.

Q. Gold, foreign currency, silver and jewellery?

A. Yes.

Q. And that was supposed to have been confiscated in the
Eastern Territories?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the defendant Funk tell you at the time why these
confiscations had been made, or who had been affected by

A. No, that was not stated; the talk, as I have said, was

Q. And what was your reply?

A. I said that this sort of business with the SS would be
inconvenient for us, if nothing more, and I voiced
objections to it. I may add that we, as the Reichsbank, were
always very cautious in these matters, for example, when
valuables were offered us by foreign exchange departments,
customs offices, and the like.

Q. What was the actual reason for your objections in the
case of the SS?

A. Because one could not know what inconvenient consequences
a business connection of this sort might produce.

Q. Witness, that answer does not satisfy me. Did you or the
defendant Funk not wish to have anything to do with the SS
at all, or was there some other reason for your objections?

A. The first part of your question I answer with "no". There
was no objection on principle, and could not be; for, after
all, every German organization or institution had the legal
right to enjoy the services of the Reichsbank.

The circumstances arising out of this confiscation were
uncomfortable, like the confiscations of the foreign
exchange departments, etc., which I mentioned, because one
never knew what difficulties might result.

Q. So that, if I understand you well - please correct me if
I interpret it wrongly - you voiced objections because these
business affairs might be somewhat uncomfortable for the
Reichsbank, they fell outside the normal scope of business,
and were as little welcome to you as, for instance, deposits
of the customs authorities or the foreign exchange
authorities, and so forth? Only for this reason?

A. Yes. But I have to add something; we were asked whether
we would assist the SS in handling these deposits. It was
immediately clear, of course, and also expressly stated,
that these deposits included foreign currency, and also
securities and all sorts of gold coins, etc., and that the
SS people did not quite know how to deal with these things.

Q. Did these things arrive afterwards?

A. Yes. But something else happened before that. After this
conversation the head of the economic department of the SS,
whose name was Pohl, Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, contacted me.
I asked him to come to my office, and there he repeated,
what I already knew, namely that he would welcome it if we
would take over these valuables as soon as possible.

                                                   [Page 46]

Q. What was your answer?

A. I confirmed what we had arranged and said: "If you will
designate officials from your department, I shall inform our
department, and together they can discuss the technical

Q. And, if this gap can be filled now, what did the
defendant Funk say when you explained during your first
conversation with him that you would not willingly take over
those things because one often had a lot of trouble with
such matters?

A. My objections were subordinated to the broader
consideration of assisting the SS. All the more so, and this
must be emphasized, because these things were for the
account of the Reich.

Q. Did you discuss whether these things, particularly gold,
should be converted by the Reichsbank or melted down?

A. No, not in detail; it was merely said that the officials
of the Reichsbank should offer their good services to the

Q. I do not quite understand. The good services of the
Reichsbank officials consist in receiving these valuables
into safe-keeping and locking them up?

A. Yes.

Q. Were the services of your officials to go beyond that?

A. Yes, in as much as the SS people could come and remove
from the containers whatever had been deposited.

Q. For instance, gold coins, foreign currency, etc.?

A. Yes.

Q. Then did you see - to come back to the question already
put - did you see what arrived, what the SS delivered?

A. No, not personally. This happened far away from my
office, in quite a different building, downstairs in the
strong-rooms which I, as vice-president of the Reichsbank
would not normally enter without a special reason.

Q. Did you, as vice-president, visit these strong-rooms

A. It was a habit of mine, sometimes at an interval of three
months or even more, to go through the strong-rooms; or if
there was some occasion for it, for instance, when there was
a visitor to be conducted or some new installation to be
discussed, or when there was something of importance beyond
mere attendance on the safes and the clients.

Q. But, of course, as vice-president, you had nothing to do
with attending to the customers?

A. No.

Q. And I should like to put the same question to you with
regard to the defendant Funk. Did the defendant Funk, who
moreover belonged to the Reichsbank only in part, go to the
strong-rooms often?

If so, how often and for what reason? And did he see what
had been handed in by the SS?

A. The answer is that Funk, too, went to the strong-rooms on
special occasions, for example, when there were foreign
visitors. Naturally, I cannot know how often, nor whether he
saw the SS deposits. That depends on whether the strong-room
officials who were conducting him pointed them out to him.

Q. Did you, witness, see the things which came from the SS,
did you see them yourself?

A. No, never.

Q. Never?

A. Never.

Q. Do you think that the defendant Funk saw them?

A. I cannot know that, of course; it depends on whether the
strong-room officials pointed out specifically the deposit
of the SS.

Q. Then, I presume, you cannot give us any information on
how these things of the SS were actually kept or how they
were packed?

A. No.

Q. Whether in boxes or - ?

                                                   [Page 47]

A. No, I do not know that.

Q, Did you talk again about this whole affair of the SS
deposits with the
defendant Funk?

A. Hardly at all, as far as I can remember. But I must
certainly have talked to him a second time, after Herr Pohl
had visited me, since it was, of course, my task and my duty
to keep Funk informed of everything.

Q. Did the members of the Reichsbank directorate, the board
of directors, attach a special significance to this whole
matter so that there might have been occasion to discuss it
more frequently, or was it regarded as just an unpleasant
but necessary sort of business?

A. No. At the beginning there was probably a report on it to
the meeting of the Directorate, but then it was not
mentioned again.

Q. You cannot recollect having later again talked of the
matter with Funk, but it is possible, if I understood you
correctly, that after the settlement with SS
Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, you may have referred briefly to it
again? Did I understand you correctly?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, witness, in your affidavit under (5), you say that
among the articles deposited by the SS were jewellery,
watches, spectacle frames, gold fillings - apparently these
were dental fillings - and other articles in large
quantities, which the SS had taken away from Jews and
concentration camp victims and other persons. How do you
know that?

A. I know that from my interrogations at Frankfurt.

Q. You were told about these things during your
interrogations in Frankfurt after your arrest?

A. And they were shown to me.

Q. You had no knowledge of them while you were free and
administered the Reichsbank as vice-president?

A. No, because, I repeat it again, we never discussed this
in the Directorate, since it was of no basic significance
for currency or banking policy or in any other respect.

Q. Witness, if at that time in 1942 you had known that these
were articles which the SS had taken away from many
concentration camp victims, would you have received them
into safekeeping?

A. No. In that case we should have come to some decision on
the attitude which the bank as a whole should adopt toward
this problem.

Q. Who would have had the decisive word?

A. The decision would have been made by the directorate of
the Reichsbank as an executive group, as a corporate body,
and then it would have been submitted to the president for

Q. Earlier - I must fill in this gap in connection with your
affidavit, - you expressed yourself in a rather misleading
way. You stated earlier: "This was brought to our knowledge,
because the SS personnel attempted to convert this material
into cash." And today you say that you heard of it only
after your arrest. Apparently, if I understand you
correctly, there must be -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, I do not understand why you say
'earlier'. It is the sentence which followed the sentence
which you put to him.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you say 'earlier' then? Why do you say

DR. SAUTER: In his affidavit - if the wording of the
affidavit is correct and there is no misunderstanding - the
witness said -

THE PRESIDENT: What I am pointing out to you is that the
first sentence reads like this: "The material deposited by
the SS included all these items taken from Jews,
concentration camp victims, and other persons by the SS."
And it then goes on, "This was brought to our knowledge by
the SS personnel who

                                                   [Page 48]

attempted to convert this material into cash." What you are
now putting to him is that that acceptance was put to him
earlier. At least that is what I understood you to say.

DR. SAUTER: No; the witness said today, he was told only
during his interrogations in Frankfurt-on-Main that these
articles had been taken from concentration camp victims,
etc. The affidavit, however, can and must be interpreted, in
my opinion, as saying that he had received this information
before his arrest, through the SS personnel, and that
apparently is not true. For that reason I asked the witness
whether this expression in the affidavit is not a


Q. Now, witness, if I may repeat this: You first heard that
these articles belonged to concentration camp victims at
your interrogation?

A. Yes.

Q. And when did you learn what was contained in this
deposit, when did you know that, to pick out one example,
gold teeth were contained in it?

A. Never while I was in office. No details of this
transaction were  submitted to the Directorate by the strong-
room or safe officials -

Q. So of this, too, you heard only after your arrest?

A. Of the details, yes.

Q. Good. Now, you speak of an agreement which, according to
the statement of Funk, Himmler, the Reichsfuehrer of the SS,
is said to have made with the Reich Minister of Finance.
What do you know about this agreement?

A. That is the agreement I have already mentioned. It was
clear from the beginning that the value of the things
deposited with us was to be credited to the Ministry of

Q. Not to the SS?

A. No, not to the SS?

Q. Why not? The SS were the depositors, were they not?

A. Yes, but they maintained that their actions were carried
out in the name and on behalf of the Reich and its accounts.

Q. Witness, do you know whether these valuables, which in
some way had been confiscated or looted by the SS in the
East were placed, as a matter of principle, at the disposal
of the Reich Ministry of Finance?

A. I did not quite understand the question. Are you
referring to these articles or to confiscated articles,
valuables in general?

Q. To all valuables. I am speaking of gold, foreign currency
and so forth, all the valuables acquired by the SS in the
East; were they all to be placed at the disposal of the
Reich Ministry of Finance, and not of the Reichsbank?

A. The equivalent value?

Q. Yes, the equivalent value.

A. The equivalent value was credited to the Reich Ministry
of Finance.

Q. In this connection, witness, may I show you two accounts.
I do not know, whether you have seen them. They are two
accounts of the chief cashier's office of your bank. I
should like you to look at them, and to tell me whether you
have seen them before, and what you know about them?

A. I saw these two copies - photostatic copies - during my

Q. But not earlier?

A. No, not earlier. And from these photostatic copies it is
clear - we have just discussed it - that the equivalent
value was to be credited to the Reich Chief Cashier's
Office, as it says here; the Reich Chief Cashier's Office
was a part of the Ministry of Finance.

Q. So apparently it is connected with this agreement, of
which you heard, that finally all these things belonged to
the Reich Ministry of Finance, to the Reich.

A. Yes.

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