The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 156]

               HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THIRD DAY
                 TUESDAY, 7th MAY, 1946

WALTER FUNK - Resumed.

CROSS EXAMINATION - Continued.

BY MR. DODD:

Q. Witness, you had a conference with Dr. Sauter last night
after the Tribunal adjourned, did you not, for about an
hour?

A. Yes.

Q. Now we were talking yesterday when the Tribunal rose,
about the gold deposits in the Reichsbank, and I had asked
you when you started to do business with the SS, and, as I
recall, you said you did not do any business with the SS.
And then we went along a little further and you said that
the SS did deposit some materials, some property belonging
to people in concentration camps. Do I properly understand
your testimony to have been, in substance, as I have stated
it?

A. No. I said that Herr Puhl - I do not remember in what
year - told me one day that a gold deposit had arrived from
the SS, and he also told me - and he said it somewhat
ironically - it would be better not to try to ascertain what
this deposit was. As I said yesterday, it was impossible in
any case, to ascertain what was deposited. When something
was deposited, the Reichsbank had no right to enquire as to
its nature. Only later, when Herr Puhl made another report
to me, I did realize that when he used the word "deposit,"
it was a wrong term; it was not a deposit, but it was a
delivery of gold. There is of course a great difference. I
personally assumed that it concerned a gold deposit, that
this gold consisted of gold coins or other foreign currency
or small bars of gold, or something similar, which had been
collected from the inmates of the concentration camps -
everybody in Germany had to hand such things over - and that
it was being handed to the Reichsbank, which would use it.
Since you mentioned this matter, I remember another fact of
which I was not aware until now. I was asked about it during
my interrogation, and during this interrogation I could not
say yes to it because at that time I did not remember it. I
was asked during my interrogation whether I had the
agreement of the Fuehrer of the Reich, that the gold which
was delivered to the Reichsbank should be utilised by the
Reichsbank. I said I did not remember. However, if Herr Puhl
makes such a statement under oath, I will not and cannot
dispute it. It is an understood thing that, if gold is
delivered which belongs to the Reichsbank, then the
Reichsbank had the right to utilize such gold. I certainly
never spoke more than twice or, at most, three times to Herr
Puhl about this matter. What these deposits or these
deliveries consisted of and what was done with these
deliveries, how they were utilised, I do not know. Herr Puhl
never informed me about that either.

Q. You were not ordinarily in the habit, in the Reichsbank,
of accepting jewels, eye-glasses, spectacles, watches,
cigarette cases, pearls, diamonds, gold dentures, were you?
You ordinarily accepted that sort of material for deposit in
your bank?

                                                  [Page 157]

A. No; there could be no question, in my opinion, whether
the bank had a right to do that, because these things were
supposed to be delivered to an entirely different place. If
I am correctly informed about the legal position, these
things were supposed to be delivered to the Office for
Precious Metals, and not to the Reichsbank. Diamonds, jewels
and precious stones were not the concern of the Reichsbank,
because it was not a place of sale for these things. And in
my opinion, if the Reichsbank did that, then it was
unlawful.

Q. That is exactly right.

A. If that happened, then the Reichsbank committed an
illegal act. The Reichsbank was not authorized to do that.

Q. And is it your statement that if it was done you did not
know anything about it?

A. No.

Q. You did not know?

A. No.

Q. You were frequently in the vaults of the Reichsbank,
weren't you? As a matter of fact, you liked to take visitors
through there. I say, you were frequently in the vaults of
the bank yourself?

A. Yes, I was, where the gold bars were kept.

Q. I will come to the gold bars in a minute. I just want to
establish that you were in the vaults frequently, and your
answer, as I understand it, is yes, that you were?

A. It was the usual thing if someone came to visit us,
particularly foreign visitors, to show them the rooms where
the gold was kept, and we always showed them the gold bars,
and there was always the usual joke as to whether one could
lift a gold bar or not. But I never saw anything else there
than gold bars.

Q. How heavy were these gold bars that you had in the
vaults?

A. They were the usual gold bars which were used in commerce
between banks. I think they varied in weight. I think the
gold bars weighed about 20 kilograms. Of course, you can
figure it out. If one -

Q. That is satisfactory. When you were in the vaults you
never saw any of the materials that I mentioned a few
minutes ago - jewels, cigarette-cases, watches, etc.

A. Never, never. I was in the vaults, at the most, four or
five times, and then only to show this very interesting
spectacle to visitors.

Q. Only four or five times from 1941 to 1945?

A. I assume so. It wasn't more often. I only went down there
with visitors, particularly foreign visitors.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that as head of the
Reichsbank you never made an inspection, so to speak, of the
vaults, never took a look at the security? Didn't you ever
make an inspection before you made your certifications as to
what was on hand? Certainly every responsible banker does
that regularly, doesn't he? What is your answer?

A. No, never. The business of the Reichsbank was not
conducted by the President. It was conducted by the
Directorate. I never bothered about individual transactions,
not even gold transactions, or even about slight variations
in the individual gold reserves, etc. If large deliveries of
gold were expected, the Directorate reported to me. The
Directorate conducted the business, and I believe the
detailed transactions were probably known only to the
director responsible for that particular department.

Q. Now, did you ever do any business with pawnshops?

A. With what?

Q. Pawnshops. Don't you know what a pawnshop is? There must
be a German word for that.

A. Pfandleihe.

Q. Whatever it is, you know what they are, don't you?

A. Where you pawn something?

                                                  [Page 158]

Q. Yes.

A. No, I never did any -

Q. All right, we will get to that a little later, too.

Since you don't seem to recall that you ever had any or saw
any such materials as I have described in your vaults, I ask
that we have an opportunity to show you a film which was
taken of some materials in your vaults when the Allied
Forces arrived there.

(To the President) I would ask, Mr. President, that the
defendant be permitted to step down, where he can watch the
film, so that his memory will be properly refreshed.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you may have him brought down.

(The defendant Funk was led to a seat near his Counsel, Dr.
Sauter. The film was shown, after which the defendant Funk
resumed his regular seat in the witness-box.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, at some stage, I take it, you will
offer evidence as to where that film was made.

MR. DODD: Yes, I will. There will be an affidavit as to the
circumstances under which the film was made, who was
present, and why; but, for the information of the Tribunal,
it was taken in Frankfurt when the Allied Forces captured
that city and went into the Reichsbank vaults.

BY MR. DODD:

Q. Now, witness, having seen this film of materials that
were found in your Reichsbank vaults a year ago, or a little
earlier than a year ago, you now recall that you did have
such material on hand over a period of four or five years,
three or four years, three years - I think actually a little
more than three years?

A. I have never seen anything of this sort. I also have the
impression that a large part of these things which were
shown in the film came from deposits, because people,
thousands of them, had locked deposits which they delivered
to the Reichsbank, in which they put their jewels and other
valuables, such as we have just seen. Probably some were
hidden valuables, which they should have given up, such as
foreign money, foreign exchange, gold coins, etc. As far as
I know, we had thousands of closed deposits into which the
Reichsbank could not look. I never saw a single item such as
these shown in the film, and I cannot imagine where these
things came from, to whom they belonged, and to what use
they were put.

Q. Well, that's an interesting answer. I asked you
yesterday, and I ask you again, did you ever hear of anybody
depositing his gold dentures in a bank for safe keeping?

A. (No response.)

Q. You saw that film, and you saw the gold dental plates,
did you not, and the other dental work? Certainly nobody
ever deposited that with a bank. Isn't that a fact?

A. As far as the teeth are concerned, this is a special
case. Where these teeth came from I do not know. It was not
reported to me, nor do I know what was done with those
teeth. I am convinced that items of this sort, when they
were delivered to the Reichsbank, had to be turned over to
the Office for Precious Metals, for the Reichsbank was not a
place where such gold was handled. Neither do I know whether
the Reichsbank even had the technical facilities for handing
this metal. I don't know about that.

Q. And not only did people not deposit gold teeth, but they
never deposited eyeglass rims, did they, such as you saw in
the film?

A. That is right. These things are of course no regular
deposits. That goes without saying.

                                                  [Page 159]

Q. And you saw there were some objects that obviously were
in the process of being melted down. Practically the last
scene in that film showed something that looked as if it had
been in the process of being melted, did it not? You saw it?
Well, will you answer me, please, yes or no? Did you see it?

A. I cannot say that exactly. I do not know whether they
were melting it down. I have no knowledge of these technical
matters. Certainly, I see quite clearly what was not known
to me until now, that the Reichsbank did the technical work
of melting down gold articles.

Q. Well, now, let us see what your assistant, Herr Puhl,
says about that, the man who you told us yesterday was a
credible gentleman, and whom you asked the Tribunal to call
as a witness on your behalf. I am holding in my hand an
affidavit executed by him on the 3rd May, 1946, at Baden-
Baden, Germany. Emil Puhl, being duly sworn, deposes and
says:-

  "(1) My name is Emil Puhl. I was born on28th August,
  1889, in Berlin, Germany. I was appointed a member of the
  Board of Directors of the Reichsbank in 1935, and Vice-
  President of the Reichsbank in 1939, and served in these
  positions continually until the surrender of Germany.
  
  "(2) In the summer of 1942,Walter Funk, President of the
  Reichsbank and Reich Minister of Economics, had a
  conversation with me and later with Herr Friedrich
  Wilhelm, who was a member of the Board of Directors of
  the Reichsbank. Funk told me that he had arranged with
  Reichsfuehrer Himmler to have the Reichsbank receive in
  safe custody, gold and jewels for the SS. Funk directed
  that I should work out the arrangements with Pohl who, as
  head of the Economic Section of the SS, administered the
  Economic side of the concentration camps.
  
  "(3) I asked Funk what the source was of the gold,
  jewels, banknotes and other articles to be delivered by
  the SS. Funk replied that it was confiscated property
  from the Eastern Occupied Territories, and that I should
  ask no further questions. I protested against the
  Reichsbank handling this material. Funk stated that we
  were to go ahead with the arrangements for handling the
  material, and that we were to keep the matter absolutely
  secret.
  
  "(4) I then made the necessary arrangements with one of
  the responsible officials in charge of the cash and safes
  department for receiving the material, and reported the
  matter to the Board of Directors of the Reichsbank at its
  next meeting. On the same day, Pohl, of the Economic
  Section of the SS, telephoned me and asked if I had been
  advised of the matter. I said I would not discuss it by
  telephone. He then came to see me and reported that the
  SS had some jewellery for delivery to the Reichsbank for
  safe keeping. I arranged with him for delivery and, from
  then on, deliveries were made from time to time, from
  August, 1942, throughout the following years.
  
  "(5) The material deposited by the SS included jewellery,
  watches, eye-glass frames, dental gold and other gold
  articles in large quantities, taken by the SS from Jews,
  concentration camp victims and other persons. This was
  brought to our knowledge by SS personnel who attempted to
  convert this material into cash, and who were helped in
  this by the Reichsbank personnel with Funk's approval and
  knowledge. In addition to jewels and gold and other such
  items, the SS also delivered banknotes, foreign currency
  and securities to the Reichsbank, to be handled by the
  usual legal procedure established for such items. As far
  as the jewellery and gold were concerned, Funk told me
  that Himmler and von Krosigk, the Reich Minister of
  Finance, had reached an agreement according to which the
  gold and similar articles were on deposit for the account
  of the State, and that the proceeds resulting from the
  sale thereof would be credited to the Reich Treasury.
  
  "(6) From time to time, in the course of my duties, I
  visited the vaults of the Reichsbank and observed what
  was in storage. Funk also visited the vaults from time to
  time.
  
                                                  [Page 160]
  
  "(7) The Golddiscont Bank, at the direction of Funk, also
  established a fund which finally reached 10 to 12 million
  Reichsmarks 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.
  
  "I am conversant with the English language, and declare
  that the statements made herein are true to the best of
  my knowledge and belief."
  
  Document No- 3944-PS-
  
  It is signed by Emil Puhl and duly witnessed.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I would like to offer this
affidavit as Exhibit USA 846, and the film as Exhibit USA
845.


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