The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/24


Q. Now, Witness, having heard this affidavit from your close
associate and your brother director of the Board of
Directors of the Reichsbank, and the man who, you admitted
yesterday, was a credible and truthful man, what do you now
say to this Tribunal about your knowledge of what was going
on between your bank and the SS?

A. I declare that this affidavit by Herr Puhl is not true. I
spoke to Herr Puhl about the entire question of these gold
deposits, as I have repeatedly stated, three times at most,
but I believe it was only twice. I never exchanged a word
with Puhl regarding precious stones and jewellery. It is
incredible to me that a man who most certainly also carried
out certain functions in his agreements with the SS - that
is, with Herr Pohl - now tries to put the blame on me. On no
account will I take this responsibility, and I request that
Herr Puhl be called here, and that in my presence he may
declare in all detail when, where, and how he has spoken to
me about these different items, and to what extent I told
him what to do.

I repeat my statement, that I knew nothing about jewellery
and other deliveries from concentration camps, that I have
never spoken to Herr Puhl about these things. I can only say
again what I said at the beginning, that Herr Puhl once told
me that a gold deposit had arrived from the SS. I remember
it now, I had forgotten, as I did not pay too much attention
to the whole question. I remember that, urged by him, I
spoke to the Reichsfuehrer as to whether the Reichsbank
could utilize these items. He said yes. But at no time did I
speak to the Reichsfuehrer about jewellery and precious
stones and watches and such things. I only spoke of gold.
Concerning what Puhl states about a financing - I believe
that goes back a number of years - I know Herr Puhl came to
me one day and said that he was supposed to give a credit
for certain factories of the SS and somebody was negotiating
with him about the matter. I asked him, "Is this credit
secure? Do we get interest?" He said, "Yes, up till now they
have had a credit from the Dresdner Bank, and it must now be
repaid." I said, "Very well, do that." After that I never
heard anything more about this matter. It is news to me that
this credit is so large, that it was made by the Golddiscont
Bank. I don't remember it, but it is quite possible.
However, I never heard any more about this credit, which
Herr Puhl had given to certain factories. He always spoke
about factories, about businesses, it was a bank credit
which had previously been given by a private bank. I
remember I asked him once, "Has this credit been repaid?"
That was some considerable time later - . He said, "No, it
has not been repaid yet." That is all I know about these

Q. All right. Now, what do you know about this - one part of
the affidavit you have not covered. What do you know about
the last part that says you established a fund for the SS
for the building of factories near the concentration camps?
Do you remember that? I read it to you. Puhl says: "The
Reichsbank, at the direction of Funk, established a fund
which finally reached ten to twelve million Reichsmark for
the use of the economic section of the SS to finance
production of materials by concentration camp labour in
factories run by the SS." Do you admit that you did that?

                                                  [Page 161]

A. Yes, that is what I just mentioned, that Herr Puhl told
me one day, I believe in 1939 or 1940, that some gentlemen
from the economic section of the SS had spoken to him
regarding a credit, which until that time had been granted
by the Dresdner Bank and which they would now like to have
from the Reichsbank. I asked Herr Puhl, "Will we get
interest, is the credit secure?" He said "Yes." So I said
"Give them this credit," and later on I said just what I
said before - that's all I know about the matter. I know
nothing more.

Q. Now, you also got a fee for handling these materials that
you saw in the film, didn't you, from the SS? The bank was
paid for carrying on its part of this operation?

A. I did not understand that.

Q. I say, is it not a fact that you received payment over
this period of more than three years from the SS, for
handling these materials which they turned over to you?

A. I do not know about that.

Q. Well, you would know, would you not, as President of the
Bank, if you did receive payment? How could you help not

A. These were probably such small payments that no one ever
reported them to me. I do not know anything about any
payment from the SS.

Q. What would you say if I tell you that Herr Puhl said that
the Bank did receive payment during these years, and that
there were altogether some 77 shipments of materials such as
you saw here this morning? Do you say that is untrue, or do
you agree with it?

A. That might be quite true, but I was never informed about
these things. I know nothing about it.

Q. Is it conceivable that you, as President of the
Reichsbank, could not know about 77 such shipments and about
a transaction that you were being paid to handle? Do you
think that is a likely story?

A. If the Board of Directors did not report to me about
these things, I cannot have known about them, and I declare
again, quite definitely, that I was not informed about these
details. On one occasion I was told about a gold deposit of
the SS which was brought to us. Later on it transpired that
it was a delivery from the SS. And then I knew about this
credit transaction. That is all I know about these matters.

Q. Now, let me tell you something that may help you a
little. As a matter of fact, your Bank sent memoranda to
people concerning this material from time to time, and I
think you know about it, don't you? You wrote memoranda
stating what you had on hand and whom you were transferring
it to. Are you familiar with any such memoranda?

A. No.

Q. Well, then you had better look at a document 3948-PS,
Exhibit USA 847, and see if it refreshes your memory. That
is Document 3948-PS.

Now, this document is a memorandum apparently addressed to
the Municipal Pawn Broker in Berlin, and it is dated 15th
September, 1942. Now, I am not going to read all of it,
although it is a very interesting document, but as you can
see, the memorandum says "We submit to you the following
valuables with the request for the best possible
utilization."  Then you list 247 platinum and silver rings,
154 gold watches, 207 ear-rings, 1,601 gold ear-rings, 13
brooches with stones. I am just giving a few items. I am not
reading all of them. 324 silver wrist watches, 12 silver
candlesticks, goblets, spoons, forks and knives, and then,
further on, diverse pieces of jewellery and watch casings,
187 pearls, four stones said to be diamonds. And that is
signed "Deutsche Reichsbank, Hauptkasse," and the signature
is illegible. Perhaps, if you look at the original, you
might tell us who signed that.

A. No, I do not know who signed it.

Q. You have the original?

A. I do not know.

                                                  [Page 162]

Q. Well, look at the signature there and see if you
recognize it as the signature of one of your staff.

A. It says ... somebody from our cashier's office signed it.
I do not know the signature.

Q. Somebody from your Bank, was it not?

A. Yes, from the cashier's department. I don't know the

Q. Do you want this Tribunal to believe that employees and
people in your Bank were sending lists out to municipal
pawnbrokers without it ever coming to your attention?

A. I know nothing at all about these events. They can only
be explained in this manner, that things were apparently
delivered to the Reichsbank which they were not supposed to
keep. That is obvious.

Q. Well, I would also like you to look at Document 3949-PS,
which is dated four days later, 19th September, 1942,
Exhibit USA 848. Now, you will see this is a memorandum
concerning the conversion of notes, gold, silver and
jewellery, in favour of the Reich Minister of Finance, and
it also says that it is "a partial statement" of valuables
received by our "Precious Metal" (Edelmetall) Department.
Again I think it is unnecessary to read it all. You can look
at it and read it, but the last two paragraphs, after
specifying what the shipments contained as they arrived on
26th of August, 1942, the last two paragraphs say:

  "Before we remit the total proceeds, to date RM
  1,184,345.59 to the Reichshauptkasse for account of the
  Reich Minister of Finance, we beg to be informed under
  what reference number this amount and subsequent proceeds
  should be transferred.
  "It might further be of advantage to call the attention
  of the responsible office of the Reich Ministry of
  Finance in good time to the amounts to be transferred
  from the Deutsche Reichsbank."

And again that is signed "Deutsche Reichsbank, Hauptkasse,"
and there is a stamp on there that says, "Paid by cheque,
Berlin, October 27, 1942, Hauptkasse."

A. For this document, that is, this advice to the Reich
Finance Minister, I believe I am able to give an
explanation, and that is on the basis of testimony given
here by witnesses who came from concentration camps. The
witness Ohlendorf, if I remember correctly, and another one,
have testified that the valuables which had been taken from
the inmates of concentration camps had to be turned over and
were delivered to the Reich Finance Minister. Now, I assume
that the technical procedure was that these things were
first brought to the Reichsbank by mistake. The Reichsbank,
however, and I keep repeating it, could do nothing with the
pearls, jewellery, and similar items which are mentioned
here, and therefore turned over these items to the Reich
Finance Minister or they were used for the account of the
Reich Finance Minister. That is apparent from this document.
In other words, this merely is a statement of account sent
by the Reichsbank for the Reich Finance Minister. That is, I
believe, the meaning of this document.

Q. Well, indeed, you did hear Ohlendorf say that these
unfortunate people who were exterminated in these camps had
their possessions turned over to the Reich Finance Minister.
I believe he testified to that effect here. Now, you also -

A. That is what I heard here. These things were news to me.
However, I did not know that the Reichsbank -

Q. You have told us that twice already.

A. - that the Reichsbank dealt with these matters in such

Q. Are you telling us that you did not know they dealt with
them in such detail, or you did not know they dealt with
them at all? I think that is important. What is your answer,
that you didn't know they went into them in such detail or
that you didn't know anything about it?

A. I personally had nothing to do with it at all.

Q. Did you know about it?

                                                  [Page 163]

A. No.

Q. You never heard of it?

A. I did not know at all that any jewellery, watches,
cigarette-cases and so on, were delivered to the Reichsbank,
that is news to me.

Q. Did you know that anything came from concentration camps
to the Reichsbank? Anything at all?

A. Yes, the gold, of course. I already said that.

Q. Gold teeth?

A. I have said that - No.

Q. What gold from the concentration camps?

A. The gold about which Herr Puhl had reported to me, and I
assumed that these were coins and other gold which had to be
deposited at the Reichsbank anyway, and which the Reichsbank
could utilize according to the legal regulations. Otherwise,
I know nothing about it.

Q. Just what did Himmler say to you and what did you say to
Himmler when you had this conversation, as you tell us,
about this gold from the concentration camp victims? I think
the Tribunal might be interested in that conversation. What
did he say, and what did you say, and where was the
conversation held?

A. I do not remember now where the conversation was held. I
saw Himmler very rarely, perhaps once or twice. I assume
that it was on the occasion of a visit in the field quarters
of Lammers, where Himmler's field quarters were also
located. It must have been there. On that occasion we spoke
very, very briefly.

Q. Wait just a minute. Will you also tell us when it was?

A. Possibly during the year 1943; it might have been 1944, I
don't remember.

Q. All right.

A. I attached no importance whatsoever to this matter. In
the course of the conversation I put the question, "There is
a gold deposit from you, from the SS, which we have at the
Reichsbank. The members of the Board of Directors have asked
me whether the Reichsbank can utilize that." And he said
"Yes." I did not say a word about jewellery or things of
that kind, or gold teeth or anything of that sort. The
entire conversation referred only very briefly to this

Q. Do you mean to tell us that an arrangement was made with
your Bank independently of you and Himmler, but by somebody
in the SS and somebody in your Bank; that you were not the
original person who arranged the matter?

A. That is right. It wasn't I.

Q. Who in your Bank made that arrangement?

A. Possibly it was Herr Puhl or maybe somebody else from the
Reichsbank directorate who made the arrangement with one of
the gentlemen of the Economic Section in the SS. And I was
only informed of it by Herr Puhl very briefly.

Q. Did you know Herr Pohl, P-o-h-l, of the SS?

A. I imagine it was he. Herr Pohl never spoke to me about

Q. You don't know the man?

A. I must certainly have seen him at some time, but Herr
Pohl never spoke to me about these matters, I never spoke to

Q. Where did you see him, in the Bank?

A. Yes, I saw him once in the bank when he spoke to Puhl and
other gentlemen of the Board of Directors during a luncheon.
I walked through the room and I saw him sitting there, but I
personally never spoke with Herr Pohl about these questions.
This is all news to me, the whole matter.

Q. Well, do you recall the testimony of the witness Hoess in
this Court Room not so long ago? You remember the man? He
sat where you are sitting now. He said that he exterminated
between 2 1/2 and 3 million Jews and other people at
Auschwitz. Now, before I ask you the next question I want
you to recall that testimony and I will point something out
to you about it that may help you. You recall that he said
that Himmler sent for him in June, 1941, and that Himmler
told him, the final solution of the Jewish problem was at
hand, and that he was to conduct these exterminations.

                                                  [Page 164]

Do you recall that he went back and looked over the
facilities in one camp in Poland and found it wasn't big
enough to kill the number of people involved, and he had to
construct gas chambers that would hold 2,000 people at a
time, and so his extermination programme could not have
fully operated until pretty late in '41, and you observe
that your assistant and credible friend Puhl says it was in
1942 that these shipments began to arrive from the SS?

A. No, I know nothing about the date. I don't know when
these things happened. I had nothing to do with them. It is
all news to me, that the Reichsbank was concerned with these
things to this extent.

Q. Then I take it, you want to stand on an absolute denial
that at any time you had any knowledge of any kind about
these transactions with the SS or their relationship to the
victims of the concentration camps. After seeing this film,
after hearing Puhl's affidavit, you absolutely deny any
knowledge at all.

A. Only as far as I have mentioned it here.

Q. I understand that there was some deposit of gold made
once, but no more than that. That is your statement. Let me
ask you something, Dr. Funk -

A. Yes. That these things happened consistently is all news
to me.

Q. All right. You know you did on one occasion at least, and
possibly two, break down and weep when you were being
interrogated, you recall, and you did say you were a guilty
man; and you gave an explanation of that yesterday. You
remember those tears. I am just asking you now, I am sure
you do. I am just trying to establish the basis here for
another question. You remember that happened?

A. Yes.

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