The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/11

Q. Now, passing further in the discussion, I call your
attention to this warning from Heydrich about the measures
which had been discussed:

  "Goering: Once we have a ghetto we could determine what
  stores ought to be there and we would be able to say,
  'You, Jew so-and-so, together with so-and-so, shall take
  care of the delivery of goods,' then a German wholesale
  firm would be ordered to deliver the goods for this
  Jewish store. The store would then not be a retail shop
  but a co-operative store, a co-operative society for
  Jews.
  
  Heydrich: All these measures will eventually lead to the
  institution of the ghetto. I must say: one should not set
  up a ghetto, but these measures, if carried through as
  outlined here, will automatically drive the Jews into a
  ghetto."

Did Heydrich give that warning?

A. Here it says so, yes, but it can be seen from the
following discussion that I said: "Now comes that which
Goebbels mentioned before, 'compulsory renting.' Now the
Jewish tenants come together." It was a question of the
Jewish tenants moving together in order to avoid
disagreeable results of reciprocal sub-letting.

Q. You have omitted that Funk also remarked at this point
that "Jew's will have to move quite close together. What are
three million? Every one will have to stand up for the next
fellow. Alone he will starve."

Can you find that?

A. Yes. But in another part of these minutes it is stated
very clearly: "One cannot let the Jews starve, and therefore
the necessary measures must be taken."

Q. Toward the close of that meeting you said the following,
did you not?

  "I demand that German Jewry as a whole shall, as a
  punishment for the abominable crimes, etc., make a
  contribution of one billion marks. That will work. The
  pigs will think twice hereafter. Incidentally, I would
  like to say again that I would not like to be a Jew in
  Germany."

A. That was correct, yes.

Q. Were you joking about that, too?

A. I have told you exactly what led to the fine of one
billion.

Q. You pointed out that the chauffeurs of Gauleiters must be
prevented from enriching themselves through Aryanisation of
Jewish property. Is that right?

                                                  [Page 267]

A. Yes.

Q. We will now take up the subject of art.

I call your attention to Document 141-PS, Exhibit USA 308.
That is the decree establishing priorities on the claim for
Jewish art property. Do you recall that?

A. That has been handled several times and I have recently
spoken about it in detail.

Q. The order was issued as here stated, was it not?

A. Yes, indeed. I emphasised that.

Q. In paragraph 5 reference is made to works of art that
were suitable to be given to French museums, and which were
to be sold by auction. The profit from this auction was to
be given to the French State for the benefit of war widows
and children. You say that this was never done?

A. I did not say that this never happened. That was my
intention in that decree.

Q. Well, I am asking you if it was ever done.

A. As far as paragraph 5 is concerned, I cannot say. I can
only refer to the payments mentioned in paragraph 2, the
things that I pointed out, which I had had determined after
an estimate, and I said the other day that this amount was
kept in readiness and that I repeatedly asked in which
account it should be deposited. I had every single item
among the objects destined to go into the collection which I
was to make, appraised.

Q. Where was this amount kept?

A. In my bank, under the name "Art Fund."

Q. In what bank?

A. It was - I cannot say for sure, there were several banks
- in which bank exactly the "Art Fund" was deposited I
cannot say. I would have to have the documents here for
that.

Q. In the several interrogations you have never been able to
point out where that fund is, have you?

A. I cannot say, but you would only have to question my
secretary who kept account of all the funds; she can tell
you quite accurately.

Q. This order, Document 141-PS, was carried out by the
Rosenberg Special Operation Staff (Einsatzstab), was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know who carried it out, who actually was there?
Did you know Turner?

A. I did not get the name.

Q. Did you know Herr Turner?

A. I know a certain Turner, who, however, had nothing to do
with the Einsatzstab, the Special Staff of Rosenberg, and
who, as far as I know, was in Yugoslavia.

Q. Was not State Counsellor Turner in Paris in connection
with the art collections?

A. Turner - I do not know whether he had anything to do with
Rosenberg's Einsatzstab.

Q. But you knew him, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And did you know a Dr. Bunjes?

A. Yes.

Q. He had to do with captured or confiscated Jewish art
treasures, did he not?

A . I do not believe that Dr. Bunjes had anything to do with
that. He was in charge of a different field of art, but the
Rosenberg Einsatzstab and certain departments of the
military administration had something to do with it.

                                                  [Page 268]

Q. I will ask to have you shown, so that you can follow me,
to refresh your memory, Document 2523-PS, Exhibit USA 783, a
letter from Dr. Bunjes, and ask you if this refreshes your
recollection of certain events.

  "On Tuesday, 4th February, 1941, at 18.30 hours, I was
  ordered for the first time to report to the Reich Marshal
  at the Quai d'Orsay. Field-Commander von Behr of the
  Special Purpose Staff Rosenberg was also present. It is,
  of course, difficult to describe in words the cordial
  atmosphere in which the conversation was held."

Do you recall such a meeting?

A. No, it was not important enough for me to remember it,
but I do not deny it, in any case.

Q. We will see if this refreshes your memory:

  "The Reich Marshal dropped the subject for the time being
  and asked for the report of the present state of the
  seizure of Jewish art property in the occupied Western
  territories. On this occasion he gave Commander von Behr
  the photographs of those works of art that the Fuehrer
  wanted to obtain. In addition, he gave Commander von Behr
  the photographs of those objects of art that the Reich
  Marshal wanted to acquire for himself."

A. I cannot follow here.

Q. You mean you do not find these words, or you do not
recall the events?

A. No, I have not found the passage yet, and I would like to
have a little time to see the context of this letter which
was neither written by me nor addressed to me.

Q. Let me call your attention to a further paragraph of it
and see if it does not refresh your memory:

  "On Wednesday, 5th February, 1941, 1 was ordered to the
  'Jeu de Paume' by the Reich Marshal. At 15.00 hours, the
  Reich Marshal, accompanied by General Hannese, Herr
  Angerer, and Herr Hofer, visited the exhibit of Jewish
  art treasures newly set up there."

A. Yes, I have already stated before that at Jeu de Paume I
selected the art treasures which were exhibited there. That
is right.

Q. That is right; now we are getting there.

  "Then, with myself as his guide, the Reich Marshal
  inspected the exhibit of art treasures and made a
  selection of those which were to go to the Fuehrer and
  those which were to be placed in his own collection.
  
  During this confidential conversation, I again called the
  Reich Marshal's attention to the fact that a note of
  protest had been received from the French Government
  against the activity of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, with
  reference to The Hague Rules on Land Warfare recognised
  by Germany at the Armistice of Compiegne, and I pointed
  out that General von Stulpnagel's interpretation of the
  manner in which the confiscated Jewish art treasures are
  to be treated was apparently contrary to the Reich
  Marshal's interpretation. Thereupon, the Reich Marshal
  asked for a detailed explanation and gave the following
  orders:
  
  'First, it is my orders that you have to follow. You will
  act directly according to my orders. The works of art
  collected in the Jeu de Paume are to be loaded on a
  special train immediately and taken to Germany by order
  of the Reich Marshal. Those which are to go into the
  Fuehrer's possession and those which the Reich Marshal
  claims for himself will be loaded on two railway cars
  which will be attached to the Reich Marshal's special
  train, and upon his departure for Germany, at the
  beginning of next week, will be taken along to Berlin.
  Feldfuehrer von Behr will accompany the Reich Marshal in
  his special train on the trip to Berlin.'
  
                                                  [Page 269]
  
  When I made the objection that the jurists would probably
  be of a different opinion and that protests would most
  likely be made by the military commander in France, the
  Reich Marshal answered, saying word for word as follows,
  'Dear Bunjes, let me worry about that; I am the highest
  jurist in the State.'
  
  The Reich Marshal promised to send from his headquarters
  by courier to the Chief of the Paris Military
  Administrative District on Thursday, 6th February, the
  written order for the transfer to Germany of the
  confiscated Jewish art treasures."

Now, does that refresh your memory?

A. Not in the least, but it is not at all in contradiction
to what I have said with respect to the art treasures, with
the exception of one sentence. It is pure nonsense that I
should have said that I was the highest jurist in the State
because that, thank God, I was not. That is something which
Dr. Bunjes said, and I cannot be held responsible for every
statement which anyone may have made to somebody else
without my having any possibility of correcting it. As for
the rest it corresponds to the statement I made recently.

Q. Now, the works of art then were loaded on cars and
shipped to Berlin, were they not?

A. A part of them, yes.

Q. I now call your attention to, and ask to have you shown,
Document 014-PS, Exhibit USA 784. Now, I ask you to refresh
your memory by following this report to the Fuehrer with me,
and tell me if this conforms with your testimony:

  "I report the arrival - "

A. (interposing) I would like to point out that this report
did not come from me.

Q. I understand that. I am asking if it is right or wrong.

  "I report the arrival of the principal shipment of
  ownerless Jewish art treasures at the salvage point
  Neuschwanstein by special train on Saturday the 15th of
  this month. It was secured by my Staff for Special
  Purposes (Einsatzstab) in Paris. The special train,
  arranged for by Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, comprised
  25 express baggage cars filled with the most valuable
  paintings, furniture, tapestries, works of artistic
  craftsmanship and ornaments. The shipment consisted
  mainly of the most important parts of the collections of
  Rothschild, Seligman" - and half a dozen others. Have you
  found that and is it correct?

A. I do not know whether this is correct, since the report
did not come from me. The only thing which I can remember is
that I was asked by the Einsatzstab to see to it that a
sufficient number of special cars, box cars, were put at
their disposal to ship the art treasures, since Jeu de Paume
was not a safe place in case of air attacks. Neuschwanstein
lies South of Munich. We were concerned with objects
destined for the Fuehrer.

I should like, however, to refer to the next sentence of
this document, which was not written by me. It goes as
follows:

  "The confiscation measures of my Einsatzstab were put
  into effect in October, 1940, in Paris, according to your
  order, my Fuehrer."

That coincides with what I have said in my previous
statements.

Q. And would you care to read further?

A. You mean where it says:

  "Apart from this special train, the principal works
  selected by the Reich Marshal, coming mainly from the
  Rothschild collection, had previously been shipped in two
  special cars to Munich and were there put into the air-
  raid shelter of the Fuehrer Building."

                                                  [Page 270]

They were those most precious works of art which I bad
designated for the Fuehrer, and which were to be sent, at
the wish of the Fuehrer, to the air-raid shelter. This had
nothing to do directly with my affairs, but I did not
dispute the fact and I have explained it in detail.

Q. When you were examined by the American Foreign Assets
Commission, you estimated your art treasures as having a
value, at the time you turned them over to the Government,
of fifty million Reichsmark, as I recall it. Am I right?

A. That is not quite correct. The Commission insisted on
appraisal and the discussion continued for a long time. I
expressly told the Commission that I could not assess the
value because I did not have the objects in hand nor a list
of them, and I could not quote them from memory;
furthermore, that the estimates were subject to fluctuation
depending on the one hand upon the prices that art lovers
might pay and, on the other, upon the actual market value.
Since I did not see a copy of the minutes in spite of my
pleas, and especially since minutes of this nature often
give rise to misunderstandings, I can only acknowledge the
records which I have undersigned.

Q. Well, do you question the following? "When I gave the
news to the Minister of Finance I estimated the value at
that time at fifty million Reichsmark." Did you say that or
did you not?

A. I cannot estimate the value. I only told the Finance
Minister that my entire collection, including my own, would
be turned over to the State, and since I knew my passion for
collecting, I thought that it was quite possible that
something could suddenly happen to me and that, since I had
put my entire fortune into these works of art, the entire
collection might become State, that is, public property, and
that my family would thus be deprived of every means of
subsistence. I therefore asked him to provide for a pension
or some compensation for my family. That was the negotiation
with the Finance Minister, to which he can testify.

Q. What proportion of your art collection was acquired after
1933?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. What proportion of your art collection was acquired after
1933?

A. That I could not say in detail - quite a number of
pictures and statues.

Q. Now, you have claimed that some part of your art
collection you bought?

A. Certainly.

Q. And in connection with that some inquiry was made into
your financial transactions, was it not?

A. I do not know. Who made the inquiries?

Q. Well, you were asked, were you not, about your receipt of
7,276,000 Reichsmark from the Reemtsma Cigarette Factory?

A. No, I was never asked about that.

Q. You were never asked about it?

A. No, neither about the amount nor about the cigarette
factory, nor anything else.

Q. Let me refresh your memory about that. Did you not tell
them, and did you not tell Colonel Amen in interrogations,
that this money was given to you by this cigarette factory
and that their back taxes were cancelled?

A. No, I even denied that their back taxes were ever
cancelled. I remember now that the question was put to me in
a different connection. A sum of money was set aside for the
so-called Adolf Hitler Fund, and this amount the Fuehrer put
at my disposal for general cultural tasks.


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