The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I did use these words once in connection with this
action.

Q. You coined the phrase.

A. Because much was shattered.

Q. You are the fellow who started that expression. You are
the man, aren't you; that was your expression?

A. Yes, I used it.

Q. And you were using it because you made this Frankfurter
Zeitung speech?

A. I once characterised that action with that term, it is
true, because much had been shattered.

Q. Now, let us proceed further to the well-known meeting of
12th November, when Goering and Goebbels and all of the
other people made their remarks about the Jews, and you said
you were present. You did not make any objection that day to
anything that was said, did you?

A. No. I merely attempted to have certain things put through
in order to save something for the Jews, for example, their
securities and stocks. Then I managed to have the stores
reopened, and I did more, too.

Q. I understand that, but I thought this morning you were
really rather sensitive about the terrible things that had
happened to the Jews, and you remember some of the
suggestions that were made that day by Goering and Goebbels;
they were rather nasty things, weren't they?

A. Yes, I openly admitted that I was much shaken -

Q. Were you? Well -

A. And that my conscience bothered me.

Q. All right. You went further after that and made your
Frankfurter Zeitung speech and you carried out these
decrees, even though your conscience was worrying you; is
that so?

A. But the decrees had to be issued. I have already
emphasized that several times here. I had no pangs of
conscience because the decrees were issued. I had pangs of
conscience because of the reasons for them. But the decrees
themselves -

Q. That is what I'm asking you about.

A. But the decrees had to be issued. The reasons therefore,
yes, I admit that.

Q. You know Schacht said on the witness stand that if he had
been the Minister of Economics he did not think that those
things would have happened? Do you remember him saying that
here the other day, do you?

A. Yes. He would have had to have very powerful and
influential connections in the Party, otherwise he could not
have been successful.

Q. You did not have these connections in the Party, did you?
You were not in the Party, you were a Minister?

A. No, I did not have these connections and I could not
prevent these outrageous actions.

Q. Well, we'll see about that. Your counsel has submitted on
your behalf an affidavit from one Oeser, O-E-S-E-R; do you
remember that man? O-E-S-E-R, do you remember him?

                                                  [Page 144]

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember him

A. Yes.

Q. And his affidavit - interrogatory, I believe it was -

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, we'll adjourn for a bare ten
minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

BY MR. DODD:

Q. Witness, I was inquiring about this man, Oeser, when we
recessed - O-E-S-E-R; do you recall him? He was one of your
employees in the Frankfurter Zeitung, was he not?

A. Yes, he was the chief of the Berlin Administration Office
of the Frankfurter Zeitung, a well-known journalist.

Q. Yes. You know, don't you, that you have an interrogatory
or an affidavit from him, which you are submitting to this
Tribunal; it is in your Document Book?

A. He volunteered to do that.

Q. Well, I am not asking you whether he did or not; I just
wanted to establish that you know that he did.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in that affidavit, as I read it, Oeser maintains
that you were really being quite decent about Jews in that
newspaper. Is that not so? Is that not the sense of it; that
you saved them from dismissal and so on, you put them under
the exceptions provided in the decrees?

A. Yes.

Q. All right.

A. I allowed quite a number of editors to come under these
exceptions.

Q. Yes, I know. Now I want to ask you this: There was a real
reason, other than decency towards Jews, for your conduct
with reference to that particular paper, wasn't there?

A. No.

Q. Well, now, wait a minute.

A. I did not know these people personally.

Q. I do not say that you knew the people personally. I say
that there was a reason, other than your feeling for Jews as
a people, but which you have not told the Tribunal about
yet, another reason maybe.

A. In the case of the editors of the Frankfurter Zeitung?

Q. Yes.

A. No.

Q. Now, is it not a fact that you and probably Hitler, and
certainly Goebbels, and some of the other higher officials
of the Nazi Party, decided that that paper should be left in
statu quo because of its vast influence abroad? Isn't that
true?

A. We did not talk about that at that time. That issue came
up later. It came up when the Fuehrer demanded that almost
all leading daily newspapers should either be taken over by
the Party or merged with Party papers. And on that occasion
I succeeded in having exception made for the Frankfurter
Zeitung, and the Frankfurter Zeitung continued to exist for
a long time. But that was much later. Here, in fact, the
only reason was to help a few Jewish editors.

Q. Well

A. It was a purely humane reason.

Q. You can answer this. I just wanted to get your answer
recorded, because I'll have more to say about it later. Do I
understand you to deny that it was your established policy
to preserve the status quo of the Frankfurter Zeitung
because of its influence abroad?

A. No, it was always my opinion that the Frankfurter Zeitung
should remain as it was.

                                                  [Page 145]

Q. Well, was it for the reason that I suggest, because these
people were well known in the financial world abroad, and
you did not want to impair the usefulness of that paper
abroad? That's what I'm getting at, and I say that that is
why you kept them on, and not because you felt deeply about
their plight as Jews.

A. No, not in this case. In this case that was not the
reason.

Q. Very well; now, with respect to your activities as the
Plenipotentiary for Economy and their relationship to the
wars waged against Poland and the other powers, I have some
questions that I would like to ask you. Now I will tell you
what it is about first, so you will be aware. You are not
maintaining, are you, that your position as Plenipotentiary
for Economy did not have much to do with the affairs of the
Wehrmacht?

A. Yes, I assert that. With the Wehrmacht -

Q. Now, I have in my hand here a letter which von Blomberg
wrote to Goering. Do you remember that letter? It is a new
document and you have not seen it in this trial but do you
remember any such letter?

A. No.

Q. Well, I ask you to be handed Document EC-255.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, this becomes Exhibit USA 839.

BY MR. DODD:

Q. Now, in this letter from von Blomberg, I am only
concerned now with the last sentence, really. You will
notice that von Blomberg, in this letter, refers to the fact
that Schacht had been appointed, but the last sentence says,
or in the next to the last paragraph, first urges that you
be appointed immediately, and that is underlined in his
letter; and in the last paragraph he says:

  "The urgency of unified further work on all preparations
  for the conduct of he war does not admit of this office
  being inoperative until 15th January, 1938."

This letter, by the way, was written on 29th November, 1937.
Certainly von Blomberg thought that the job that he was
suggesting you for would have some very great effect upon
the conduct of the war, didn't he?

A. That may be, but in the first place, I do not know about
that letter and, secondly, I was not immediately appointed
Plenipotentiary for Economy but only in the course of 1938.
Quite some time after I had been appointed Minister for
Economics I asked Lammers why my appointment as
Plenipotentiary for Economy had taken so long; he replied
that my relationship to the Plenipotentiary for the Four-
Year Plan had to be cleared up first. That was the reason
why several months passed before I became Plenipotentiary
for Economy, because it had to be ascertained that Goering
had the decisive authority for war economy -

Q. You really do not need to go into all that.

A. I do not know about that letter, and I have never spoken
to Blomberg about the affair.

Q. All right. You do recall perhaps that the OKW, after you
were appointed, made some objection about the amount of
authority that you had. Do you remember that?

A. No.

Q. Now, I am holding here another new Document, EC-270,
which I will ask that you be shown, which will become
Exhibit USA 840. While you are waiting for it, I will tell
you that it is a letter written on 27th April, 1938. You
will notice that in the first paragraph of this letter from
the OKW, that the interpretation which has been put on the
decree of the Fuehrer - the decree of 4th February, 1938,
does not correspond to the necessities of total warfare.

And then you go down to the third paragraph on that first
page and you will find other objections with respect to your
authority. Apparently at this time the OKW thought you had
too much to do with what would be the war effort, and
finally on the last page, witness, if you will look at this
paragraph you will

                                                  [Page 146]

see this sentence on the last page of the English, anyway;
near the end of the letter this sentence appears: "The war
economy, which is subordinated to the Plenipotentiary
General, represents the stage in armaments reached by the
armaments industry." And I want you to carefully observe
those words "armaments industry."

And then it goes on to say: "If this stage fails, the
striking power of the Armed Forces becomes questionable."

I ask that you pay attention to the words "armaments
industry" because I recall that this morning you said you
had absolutely nothing to do with the armaments industry,
but apparently the OKW thought that you did, on 27th April,
1938. Isn't that so?

A. I do not recognize this letter either. I do not know the
attitude of the OKW but I do know this; the OKW, especially
the co-defendant Field Marshal Keitel, was of the opinion at
that time that I, as General Plenipotentiary for Economy,
should assume the authority and competence of Schacht; but
there was a conversation between the Reichsmarshal and Field
Marshal Keitel - Keitel confirmed this to me -in which the
Reichsmarshal unambiguously declared, "The war economy will
not be turned over to Funk." I can honestly and sincerely
say that I did not have the slightest idea of all these
things. I did not know what kind of position the OKW
intended me to have. I never had that function because the
administration for the armaments industry was never included
in the Ministry of Economics. I do not remember the matter.

Q. All right. That is your answer. I suppose at the time you
were also aware, as you told the Tribunal, that you were
really subordinate to Goering and in a very inferior
position about all of these things. Is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. I am going to ask you to look at another Document, EC-
271, which will become Exhibit USA 841, and this Document
consists of a letter which you wrote to Lammers, a letter
which Lammers wrote to the Chief of the High Command, Field
Marshal Keitel, and one or two other letters not pertinent
for the purposes of this present inquiry. It was written on
31st March, 1938, and I want you to turn to the second page
because that is where your letter appears. The first page is
just a letter from Lammers to Keitel, but let us look at the
second page. Have you got it?

A. Yes.

Q. You are writing to Lammers and you say - I am not going
to read the whole letter but the second paragraph. You wrote
to Lammers and you say among other things: "On the occasion
of a trip to Austria I have, among other matters, also
talked to General Field Marshal Goering about the position
of the Plenipotentiary for War Economy. I pointed out in
this conversation that, contrary to the attitude of the OKW,
of which I was informed, the decree of 4th February, 1938,
concerning the leadership of the Wehrmacht did not change
the position of the Plenipotentiary for War Economy."

And you go on to say that, apart from the fact that the
decree applied exclusively to the command of the armed
forces, and so on, and that especially the last paragraph of
that decree stated that you were dependent upon instructions
of the Fuehrer....

Then you go on to say: "Moreover, among the instructions of
the Fuehrer is included the decision of the Reich Government
of 21st May, 1935, according to which the Plenipotentiary
for War Economy, in his sphere of duty as supreme Reich
authority, is immediately subordinated to the Fuehrer.

General Field Marshal Goering assured me that my
interpretation, as mentioned above, was correct in every
respect and also corresponds with the Fuehrer's opinion.
Thereupon I asked him to give me a brief written
confirmation. General Field Marshal Goering promised to
grant this request."

Now, you wrote that letter to Lammers, didn't you, on 31st
March, 1938? Yes or no?

                                                  [Page 147]

A. Certainly.

Q. All right. You were trying to obtain supreme authority
and make yourself answerable only to the Fuehrer and that is
what this contest was about, and that is what Document EC-
271 referred to, and this is your answer to the OKW's
objection that you had too much power. This does not
indicate that you were an unimportant man, does it, Witness?

A. Yes. I wanted to clarify the position, but later it was
not clarified in that sense but in the sense that I was
dependent upon the directives of the Reichsmarshal. I wrote
this letter in order to try to obtain a clarification, but I
do not remember this letter in detail.

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