The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-13/tgmwc-13-122.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-13/tgmwc-13-122.04
Last-Modified: 2000/02/23

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, but are there any other witnesses at all?

DR. SAUTER: One witness, Dr. Heidler, but for other matters.

THE PRESIDENT: And presumably the defendant will be cross-


THE PRESIDENT: These documents will be translated by then.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President, if you so desire, then I
will have to submit that document later, separately.



Q. Dr. Funk, I come now to an accusation which, according to
my knowledge, has not been mentioned in the trial brief yet;
it concerns the problem

                                                  [Page 127]

of the occupied territories, that is, the plundering of the
occupied territories, costs of occupation, clearing systems,
stabilisation of currency and the like. The prosecution
asserts that you actively participated in the programme of
criminal exploitation in the occupied territories. That can
be found on Page 1 of the record of the proceedings on 11
January, 1946. That accusation is not further specified, but
in the session of 21 February, Page 4770 of the German
transcript, there is a mere reference to a decree of the
Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, the
defendant Rosenberg. That decree was submitted by the
prosecution as Document 1015-PS; it is a decree by the
Minister for the East, Rosenberg, to the Reich Commissars in
the Occupied Eastern Territories. The decree informs the
Commissars of the task of "Special Staff Rosenberg" - it has
already been mentioned here on several occasions - namely
that of safeguarding objects of cultural value. I think I
may assume that the Reich Ministry of Economics had nothing
to do with art treasures as such. But - and that is very
peculiar - it appears from Rosenberg's letter of 7 April,
1942, that a copy of it went not only to various other
offices but also to you; that is to say, to the Reich
Ministry of Economics. And from that fact - apparently from
that fact alone - the Soviet Prosecutor has deduced the
charge that you actively participated in the plunder of the
occupied territories. I had to explain the connection in
such detail in order to show exactly with what we are
dealing. Can you speak quite briefly about it?

A. Up to the time of this trial I did not even know what the
"Special Staff Rosenberg" was, what its task was, what it
was doing. I have no knowledge that the Ministry of
Economics had anything at all to do with the safeguarding of
art treasures. I cannot say anything about it.

Q. You cannot say anything about this?

A. No, not with regard to the "Special Staff Rosenberg."
About the policy in the occupied territories, I can say a
great deal.

Q. That does not interest us now.

A. But you will probably want to hear that later.

Q. Then, Dr. Funk, in the interrogatory sent to Dr.
Landfried which I have mentioned before, I asked five or six
questions concerning your attitude to the economic policies
in the occupied territories. I also put questions to him on
whether you had given directives to the military commanders
or the Reich Commissars for the occupied territories, or the
heads of the civil administration in Alsace-Lorraine, and so
on. Furthermore, I asked whether it is correct that economic
directives also for the occupied territories did not come
from you as Reich Minister of Economics but from the
Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan. Then I asked about
your attitude to the question of exploitation of occupied
territories, particularly in the West, the black market,
devaluation of currency, and the like.

I cannot read the statements of the witness Landfried at
this moment, because, through an error in the office, the
answers from Landfried arrived only last Saturday. Since
your personal testimony is now being heard, do you yourself
wish to add anything to these questions, or would you just
like to underline what I shall submit to the Tribunal as
soon as I have received the translation?

I put this question because it is practically the last
opportunity for you to refer to these subjects.

A. I should like to state my position on various matters,
but the details of these problems can naturally be better
explained by the State Secretaries than by myself.

Concerning the directives to occupied territories, the
Reichsmarshal, as well as Reich Minister Lammers, have
stated here that I, as Reich Minister for Economy, had no
authority to issue instructions. The Reichsmarshal, during
his testimony here, stated - and I marked it down:

                                                  [Page 128]

  "For the directives and the economic policies carried out
  by the Minister of Economics and Reichsbank President
  Funk, the responsibility is fully and exclusively mine."

And concerning the occupied territories, he also said that
if I had special instructions in the course of official
business between the Ministry and the administrative offices
in the occupied territories, then they derived from the
general directives of the Reichsmarshal and, as he said,
were always based on his personal responsibility.

The position was that directives to the occupied
territories, in the economic field, could only be given by
the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan. The carrying out
of economic policy was the task of the military commanders
or the Reich Commissars who were directly subordinate to the
Fuehrer. The military commanders, as well as the Reich
Commissars, had under them officials from the various
departments, among them, of course, also officials from the
Ministry of Economics and the Reichsbank; and even private
enterprise was represented. There was, of course, close co-
operation between the offices of the military
Plenipotentiaries and the Reich Commissars and the
representatives of the various home departments, with the
exception of occupied territories in Russia, where the Reich
Commissars were subordinate to a special minister, that is,
the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.
This was an exception, but if we as a Ministry wanted to
have anything done by the military commanders or the Reich
Commissars, we had to make a request, or we had to procure
an order from the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan.

The same applies to the heads of the civil administration in
Alsace-Lorraine, and in other territories where a civil
administration had been set up. Here also, the numerous
departments of the Ministry of Economics and the Reichsbank
had no direct authority to issue directives.

However, I emphasize again that of course close official
contact existed between the authorities in the occupied
territories and the respective departments in Germany.

I myself - and witnesses will confirm this in
interrogatories still outstanding, or in person - made the
greatest efforts to protect the occupied territories from
exploitation. I fought a virtually desperate struggle
throughout the years for the maintenance of a stable
currency in these territories, because again and again it
was suggested to me that I should reduce the exchange rate
in the occupied territories so that Germany could buy more
easily and more cheaply in these countries; I did everything
that could be thought of to maintain economic order in these

In one case, in Denmark, I even succeeded, in the face of
opposition from all other departments, in raising the value
of the Danish kroner, because the Danish National Bank and
the Danish Government requested it for justifiable reasons.

I opposed the increase of the cost of occupation in France
in 1942 as well as in 1944. The memorandum of the Reichsbank
which I authorized was quoted here by the American

The occupation costs were determined not by the Minister of
Economics and the President of the Reichsbank, but by the
Minister of Finance, the Quartermaster General, in other
words, by the highest Wehrmacht commands and in the case of
France, Denmark and other countries, also the Minister for
Foreign Affairs.

Therefore, I did whatever I could possibly do - whatever was
within my power - to keep the economy of the occupied
territories in good order. I was successful, finally, in
persuading the Reichsmarshal to issue a decree which
prohibited all German personnel from buying on the black
market; but that happened only after many abuses in this
respect had already occurred.

I want to emphasize also that I considered it necessary, for
the maintenance of order in the occupied territories, that
the social life there should not be disturbed, and that,
therefore, as a matter of principle, I was always against

                                                  [Page 129]

forced or excessive deportation of foreign workers from the
occupied territories to Germany.

I also expressed this view in a conference with Lammers,
which has been mentioned here. My State Secretaries can
confirm that. On the other hand it was naturally clear to me
that Sauckel was in a very difficult, indeed desperate,
situation: again and again manpower for German economy was
demanded of him. But, particularly after I had turned over
the entire civil production to Speer and engaged in central
planning, it was not only not to my advantage, from the
point of view of my work, that manpower was brought to
Germany from abroad, but, indeed it was in my interest that
the workers should remain in the occupied territories, since
the production of consumer goods had been transferred, to a
large degree, to these territories; for, as the Minister
responsible for providing consumer goods to the population,
I had a great interest in seeing that orderly work be done
in the occupied territories and that no economic or social
disturbances should occur.

I believe, however, that it will be more to the point if my
two State Secretaries and the Vice-President of the
Reichsbank, the acting director of the Reichsbank, Pohl,
make detailed statements on these problems, because they
were more closely connected than I with putting matters into

If the accusation is made against me that with the aid of
the clearing arrangements we plundered occupied territories
and foreign countries, I can only say that the clearing
arrangement was not introduced by us at first in our
dealings with the occupied territories or during the war,
but that it was the normal method of trade between Germany
and her business partners; it was a system which had been
forced upon us - and that has been pointed out by Schacht -
when other nations resorted to using the proceeds of German
exports for the payment and amortisation of German debts.

At all times, however, I have emphasized that the clearing
debts were real debts for merchandise, and that is
important. I have said again and again that this clearing
debt is a genuine debt of the Reich and will be repaid at
the rate, the purchase value which was in force at the time
when we entered into these obligations. I especially stated
that, in detail and as clearly as possible, in my last
speeches in Vienna, in March, 1944, and in Konigsberg, in
July, 1944.

Beyond that, in July, I made the suggestion that after the
war the clearing debt should be transformed into a European
loan, so that it should not remain on the narrow plain of a
bilateral exchange of goods but be effectively
commercialised; from this it can be seen distinctly that I
always considered that clearing debt a genuine German debt
so that the nations in the occupied territories who had such
demands on Germany could and would be satisfied after the
war, and as I constantly emphasized, at the same rates that
existed at the time when the debt was incurred. If, however,
the countries would have had to pay reparations on the basis
of peace treaties, then these reparations of course, quite
reasonably, could only have been paid in goods; and then,
equally reasonably, it would have been possible to create a
balance between German debts and German demands.

But I never left any doubt about the fact that the clearing
debt was to be considered as a true debt. Therefore, I have
to reject the accusation that, with the aid of the clearing
system, we exploited the occupied territories. And I have to
reject even more strongly the accusation that I share
responsibility for the burden of unbearable expenses,
particularly occupation costs and other outlays of money,
which were imposed on the occupied territories. It can be
proved that I always objected to excessive financial
burdening of the occupied territories. The witnesses will
later testify and confirm this.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, the defendant has referred to two
speeches which he made in Vienna and in Konigsberg. These
are two addresses which deal in part with the subject of
clearing debts, and in part also with the defendant's

                                                  [Page 130]

favourite subject of a European economic union between
Germany and her neighbour nations, that is to say, an
economic union on the basis of full equality.

In the interest of time, may I just ask that judicial notice
be taken of these speeches, the essential content of which
has been stated partly by the defendant and partly by me:
The speech of the defendant at Vienna on 10 March, 1944, No.
10 in my Document Book, and the speech in Konigsberg on the
occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of the University
of his home province, on 7 July, 1944, No. 11 in my Document

MR. DODD: Mr. President, if this Document No. 11 is offered
by the defence for the purpose of showing what this
defendant's policy was toward the occupied countries, then I
think it is proper for me to point out that the speech did
not refer to the occupied countries but rather to the
satellite States of Germany.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I also call attention to
Document 3819-PS, which has already been submitted by the
prosecution. That is the record, which the defendant has
mentioned, of the meeting with Minister Lammers on 11 July,

According to this record, the defendant Funk was present at
that meeting, and mention is made of him in one sentence
only; I quote from Page 8 at the bottom:

  "Reich Minister Funk expects considerable interruptions
  of production in non-German territories in case of
  ruthless raids."

This sentence, if taken from its context, is difficult to
understand, but viewed in its proper connection, it makes
clear that the defendant Funk wanted to warn against violent
action in the recruitment of foreign workers for German
production and for German armaments. He warned against any
violent measures in making raids, as they are called in the
protocol, because thereby, in his opinion, production in the
occupied territories would be disturbed.

Then, Mr. President, may I mention another Document: it is
Document 2149-PS, and it contains the following:

A statement of the Reichsbank, dated 7 December, 1942,
"concerning the question of increasing French contributions
to occupation costs."

May I say in advance that the cost of occupation in France
was increased, but - not upon the suggestion of the
defendant Funk and not with his approval, but in spite of
his protest, and this statement to which the defendant Funk
has referred, and which I have just quoted - it is dated 11
December, 1942 - lists in detail the reasons why Funk and
his Reichsbank very definitely protested against any
increase in the cost of occupation.

In this connection, may I be permitted to question the
defendant Dr. Funk on the cost of occupation in Greece?


Q. Did you hear the testimony of the witness Dr. Neubacher,
who was Ambassador in Rumania and Greece, and who confirmed
that there, also, you tried to reduce the cost of

THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to be much longer?

DR. SAUTER: Yes, I believe, Mr. President, it would be
better if we adjourned now. I still have to put a few

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.