The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. But - can you perhaps tell us in a few words?

                                                  [Page 104]

A. First of all, work was difficult to find. It was
absolutely necessary to have an extensive road-building
programme in Germany; it was necessary to revitalise the
engineering industry, especially the automobile industry,
which, of course, had to be appropriately protected. An
extensive programme was needed; hundreds of thousands of
houses were required -

Q. In short -

A. Agriculture required to be put on a technical and
mechanised basis. I should like to give here, however, only
two examples which throw light on the whole situation. Up to
the war two-thirds of Germany's total production went for
private consumption and only one-third for public needs. Up
to that point, therefore, the armament industry did not play
a decisive role.

Q. Dr. Funk, now we will turn to another chapter.

You will remember that the prosecution contended in their
trial brief that the evidence against you was largely
circumstantial. I assume, therefore, that it was based upon
your functions rather than your actions. For this reason I
should be interested to know which Party offices you held
during the period that followed.

A. At only one time, in the year 1932 -

Q. (interposing). Party offices, not government offices.

A. I understand. Only in the year 1932, and then for only a
few months, did I receive Party assignments; because Gregor
Strasser wanted to set up for me an office of my own for
private economy. This office, however, was dissolved a few
months later when he himself resigned from the Party and
from his offices. Then in December, 1932, I was instructed
to take charge of a commission for economy.

Q. In December, 1932?

A. Yes. And in February, 1933, that is, two months
afterwards, I gave up this office, too. Both assignments
were trivial and never really got going in the short time
they lasted. All the gentlemen in the dock who were in
leading positions in the Party at that time can confirm
this. I never had any other Party office so that after 1933
I received no further assignments from the Party; and no
Party office either.

Q. Then this so-called Office for Private Economy (Amt fur
Privatwirtschaft), if I understood you correctly, existed
for just a few months in the year 1932, but did not actually
function. You were made head of the other, the Commission
for Economic Policy, in December, 1932. Then a month later,
in January, 1933  -

A. February, 1933 -

Q. February, 1933, shortly after the seizure of power, you
gave up this so-called office. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Now for your connection with the Party. Were you a member
of any organization of the Party - SA, SS, or any other
affiliation of the Party?

A. I never belonged to any organization of the Party,
neither SA nor SS, nor any other organization, and, as I
have already said, I did not belong to the Corps of
Political Leaders.

Q. You did not belong to the Corps of Political Leaders?

A. No.

Q. You know, Dr. Funk, that the Party functionaries, that is
the Old Guard, and so forth, met annually in November at
Munich. You have yourself seen a film showing these
functions. Were you ever invited to these gatherings on 8th
and 9th November?

A. I do not know if I was invited. It is possible. But I was
never present at such a gathering, for these gatherings were
specially intended for old Party members and the Old Guard.
They were in memory of the March on the Feldherrnhalle. I
never attended these gatherings. I did not attend large
gatherings willingly in any case. During the whole of this
period, I only attended a Party

                                                  [Page 105]

rally once and went to one or two functions. Mass gatherings
always caused me physical pain.

Q. Defendant, did you receive the Party Golden Emblem, when
you became Minister for Economics?

A. No; I received that when I was Press chief under the
Reich government.

Q. You did not get it as Minister?

A. No.

Q. How long had you been a National Socialist deputy of the

A. For just a few months.

Q. From when and to when?

A. From July, 1932, to February, 1933, I was not re-elected,
for the Chairman of the Reichstag Organization, Dr. Frick,
said that in accordance with a directive of the Fuehrer,
only the old Party members would receive mandates; and in
the meantime I had received a State position.

Q. Then with regard to these laws, the laws which are
especially important in this trial, such as the Enabling Act
(Ermachtigungsgesetz) which for all practical purposes
eliminated the Reichstag, or the law forbidding political
parties, or the law for the unity of party and State - as
regards all the laws which were in preparation for later
developments, were you still a member of the Reichstag at
that time, or had you already ceased to be one?

A. I was no longer a Reichstag deputy. But even so, I
considered these laws necessary.

Q. That is another question. But you were no longer a
Reichstag deputy?

A. No; and I was not a member of the Cabinet, either.

Q. Dr. Funk, we have frequently seen and heard of an
affidavit by the American Consul-General, Messersmith, dated
28th August, 1945, Document 176o-PS. He says in the passage
which concerns you: "Funk was on the editorial staff of one
of the leading Berlin financial papers before it was taken
over by the Nazis, and showed very little open sympathy for
them"-that is, the Nazis - "while they were in power."

He goes on to say: "Later on, he became an enthusiastic
National Socialist and one of the most effective tools of
the Party on account of his undoubted capabilities in
various spheres."

That is what the American Consul-General, Messersmith, says
about you. I should like to remind you of another passage
from the book by Dr. Ostreich, which I have already
mentioned and which has the title "Walter Funk, A life for
Economy." That is Document 3505-PS, which has already been
used and submitted in these proceedings.

In this book the author says that the assignments given you
by the Party, even if they covered a period of a few months
only, might be regarded as having special importance.

What can you tell us about these two quotations?

A. I have already stated that I declared myself on the side
of the Party and took up my Party work with enthusiasm. I
never belonged to the propaganda organizations, as asserted
by Mr. Messersmith. I cannot remember that I ever knew Mr.
Messersmith at all. I do not remember discussing Austria
with him, as he also asserts.

Q. Nor the annexation of Austria by Germany?

A. I cannot remember that, although of course I considered
the union of Germany and Austria necessary; but I do not
recall discussing it with Mr. Messersmith.

As far as Dr. Paul Ostreich's book is concerned, I am sorry
that the prosecution has used this book as a source of
information. Mistakes have arisen which could have been
avoided and which I would not have to refute here and now.

Ostreich was a man who was quite outside the Party.

                                                  [Page 106]

Q. What was he?

A. He owned a German newspaper in Chile, and for some years
he was political editor of the Berliner Borsenzeitung.

Q. Political editor?

A. First of all, he naturally wanted to secure a market for
his book, and for that reason he exaggerated the importance
of my position in the Party; he may have thought that in
this way he would do me a particular favour. In any case, he
does not give an accurate description in his book.

Q. Defendant, in Document 3S63-PS, submitted by the
prosecution there is a statement to the effect, that you,
Dr. Funk, were described in several publications as Hitler's
economic and political adviser; and in another passage you
are said to be Hitler's "Wirtschaftsbeauftragter " (Economic
Plenipotentiary). Was this a Party office, or what precisely
was meant by this term? What functions is it supposed to

A. It was neither a Party office nor a Party title. The
Press frequently gave me this title, on account of my
activity on behalf of the Party in 1932, and it was
obviously adopted by writers from the newspapers. But it was
neither an office nor a title. It seems to me nonsensical to
make out that these activities were of such importance; for
if they had really been of importance I should certainly
have retained those offices, when the Party came to power.

The Reich Minister of Food was also a Reichsleiter; State
Secretary Reinhardt, of the Finance Ministry, was the head
of the Department for Financial Policy in the Reichsleitung,
etc. But there never was a Reich Leader for Economy
(Reichsleiter fur die Wirtschaft). When the Party came to
power I left the Reichstag and all Party organizations.

Q. Dr. Funk, a Reich Economic Council of the Party
(Reichswirtschaftsrat der Partei) - I repeat the term: Reich
Economic Council of the Party - has been mentioned once or
twice in the course of this trial. What do you know about
your relationship to this Party instrument?

A. I had to think for a long time before I could remember
this group at all, especially as neither Hess, Rosenberg nor
Frank remembered anything of the kind. Dr. Gottfried Feder
had a circle of people whom he used to call in for
consultation and to which he gave the rather pompous name of
"Reich Economic Council of the Party " (Reichswirtschaftsrat
der Partei). When the Party came into power this group
ceased to exist. I never attended any of the sessions, and I
was very much surprised to learn from the indictment that I
was supposed to have been the Deputy Chairman of this group.
This group was of no importance whatsoever.

Q. You mentioned Gottfried Feder.

A. He was responsible for the economic programme and creed
of the Party from its establishment until it came to power.

Q. So he was the economic theorist of the Party from its
establishment until it came to power?

A. Yes. Dr. Wagner, and Keppler overshadowed him later on.
Keppler was always given the title of "Economic Counsellor
to the Fuehrer" (Wirtschaftsberater des Fuehrers) in public.

Q. Dr. Funk, if I understood you correctly, the
personalities which you mentioned just now are those who
might be described as the economic advisers of Hitler?

A. No, that is wrong.

Q. Well?

A. Hitler did not allow anyone to advise him, especially in
economic matters. These were the men who dealt with problems
of economic policy in the Party leadership, both before and
after my time.

Q. Also from the publicity angle, like Dr. Feder?

A. He did a good deal of writing; he dealt with the problem
of the lowering of the rate of interest, for example, in
great detail.

                                                  [Page 107]

Q. Dr. Funk, those were your real or supposed Party offices.
Now I turn to
your State offices.

After the assumption of power - that is, at the end of
January, 1933 - you became Press Chief under the Reich
Government. In March, 1933, when the Propaganda Ministry was
created - that being a State Ministry - you became Secretary
in this Propaganda Ministry under Minister Goebbels. How did
that come about?

A. May I give a short connected account of these matters?

Q. One moment.

A. It would be much quicker than if you asked each question

Q. Then I would ask you to consider at the same time the
question of why you entered the Propaganda Ministry and were
made Press Chief under the Reich Government, although you
had otherwise always dealt with economic questions.

A. The Reichsmarschall has already stated in his testimony;
firstly, that he never knew that I had been active in the
Party at all before 1933, and secondly, that, as he himself
believed - correctly - my appointment as Chief under the
Reich Government came as a complete surprise to me.

On 29th January, 1933, the Fuehrer told me that lie had no
one among the old Party members with a good knowledge of the
Press, and that he, therefore, wanted to ask me to take over
the position of Press Chief, especially as this appointment
involved regular interviews with the Reich President. The
Reich President knew me and, as I may mention again later
on, very much liked me. I was often a guest at his home and
was on friendly terms with his family.

Q. That is, Hindenburg?

A. Yes, Hindenburg.

These were the reasons which prompted Hitler to make me
Press Chief under the Reich Government. The Press Chief
under the Reich Government was also a ministerial director
in the Reich Chancellery, and I did not like the idea of
suddenly becoming a civil servant, for I had no ambitions in
that direction. But I accepted the appointment, influenced
by the universal enthusiasm of that period and in obedience
to the Fuehrer's summons.

I had regular Press interviews with him, in the presence of
Lammers. These conferences went on for only a year and a
half, until the death of the Reich President, after which
they stopped. The Fuehrer issued instructions to the Press
through the Reich Press Chief of the Party, Dr. Dietrich,
who was later also made a State Secretary in the Propaganda

When the Propaganda Ministry was founded the Fuehrer asked
me to organize this ministry, so that Goebbels would not
have to deal with problems of administration,  organization
and finance. Then the Press Department of the Reich
Government, of which I had so far been in charge, was
incorporated in the Propaganda Ministry and placed under the
direct control of Goebbels. It also had its own special

From that time on - i.e., after only six weeks activity as
Press Chief of the Reich Government - my activities of
informing and instructing the Press came to an end. Goebbels
himself looked after that. Generally speaking, he set
himself to draw a sharp dividing line between the political
and administrative tasks of the Ministry; he brought with
him his old collaborators from the propaganda leadership of
the Party to look after propaganda.

My services were not required for political propaganda.
Goebbels took care of it through the Party organization, of
which I was not a member. I bad, for instance, as Chairman
of the Supervisory Council, to be responsible for the
finances of the German Broadcasting Corporation
(Relchsrundftinkgesellschaft) - a matter of a hundred
million - but I never broadcast propaganda speeches. Nor did
I speak at any of the big State or Party rallies. Naturally,
I fully appreciated the importance of propaganda for State
leadership and admired the absolute genius

                                                  [Page 108]

with which Goebbels conducted his propaganda; but I myself
played no part in active propaganda.

Q. Then, if I understood you correctly, your functions in
the Propaganda Ministry, which was, of course, a State
ministry, were of a purely administrative and organisational
nature; and you left the actual propaganda to the Minister,
Dr. Goebbels, and the people he brought into the Ministry
from the Party propaganda organization. Is that correct?

A. Yes. Goebbels naturally claimed the exclusive right of
disposal over all propaganda material. I did not compare
with him in the field of propaganda at all; and other
considerable restrictions were imposed on my position as
State Secretary by the fact that many assignments, looked
after in other ministries by the State Secretary, were in
this case taken care of by Goebbels' expert, Hancke, who was
later made State Secretary and Gauleiter.

Q. Hancke?

A. Yes. I do not believe that during the entire period of my
activity in the Propaganda Ministry I signed even three
times as Goebbels' deputy. One of these signatures has been
brought in by the prosecution. It is a signature appended to
an order for the execution of a directive, and fixing the
date on which it is to come into force.

Q. What kind of directive was that?

A. The law in connection with the Reich Chamber of Culture
(Reichskulturekammer). The Reich Cabinet decreed legislation
in connection with the Reich Chamber of Culture. I was not a
member of the Reich Cabinet, but as State Secretary to the
Propaganda Ministry, I was, of course, formally responsible,
and naturally I promoted propaganda, as did everyone else
who occupied a leading position in the official or the
intellectual life of Germany. The entire cultural life of
the nation was permeated with this propaganda in a measure
appropriate to the overwhelming, fundamental significance
which was rightly attached to propaganda in the National-
Socialist State.

Q. Dr. Funk, the prosecution has held you responsible for
laws decreed during your term of office as Press Chief under
the Reichsregierung. I refer, for instance, to the laws
submitted under Documents 2962 and 2963. These are the laws
well known to you and which concern the abolition of civil
rights in Germany and the abolition of the parliamentary
form of government. What did you have to do with these laws?
Did you as Press Chief under the Reich Government, have any
influence on the contents and promulgation of these laws?

A. No. This question has already been answered in the
negative by both the Reichsmarschall and Dr. Lammers. All I
had to do was to pass on the contents of these laws to the
Press, in accordance with instructions given me by the

Q. So you were present at the sessions of the Reich Cabinet?

A. Yes.

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