The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XIII
Germanization & Spoliation
The Western Occupied Countries
(Part 3 of 9)

The actual purchases were made by several corporations, including Pimetex, an agency of the Speer Ministry of Armament and Munitions. The goods were distributed through Roges according to directives of the Central Planning Board (Speer, Koerner, Milch) and in appropriate cases by the German Ministry of Economics and the Reichsstellen (ECH-7). Black market operations were finally abolished by order of Goering dated 2 April 1943, confirmed in Belgium by circular of the Military Commander of 19 June 1943. (ECH-9)

Certain of the purchases made through the black market while under the direction of Col. Veltjens are of special interest:

Christmas Drive. On 22 September 1942, Goering ordered a special drive in the Western occupied countries to purchase present for the civil population in Germany for the coming Christmas. The Roges Company effected the distribution of the articles in Germany.

Special Drive WABO. This drive was pursuant to Hitler's order to Speer to procure Christmas packages for the soldiers. The O. Todt Cantine accepted offers of sale on the black market and Pimetex did the buying.

Special Drive LOWA (Degenkolb locomotive program). The purchase were made by Pimetex. (ECH-7)

As of 15 January 1943, black market purchases totaled approximately 1,100,000,000 RM, including:

RM 929,100,000 in France, RM 103,881,929 in Belgium, and RM 73,685,162.64 in Holland. (1765-PS)

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Payment in France was made out of occupation funds, in Belgium out of such funds and through the clearing, and in Holland through "normal bank transactions" (1765-PS; ECR-132). As appears very clearly from the report of Col. Veltjens of 15 January 1943, substantially all the goods so purchased were shipped to the Reich. (1765-PS)

(3) The Nazi conspirators compelled the nationals of the occupied countries to produce and distribute materials and equipment in accordance with the German general war requirements. The "stripping" and "buying-out" phases of the Nazi spoliation were both gradually superseded by a regulated program for the utilization of the industrial plant of the occupied areas and the transfer of orders (subcontracting) to local concerns. The Nazi conspirators established comprehensive rationing controls under which essential raw materials were made available only to those who produced in the German interest; those reluctant to produce on German order were placed under compulsory administration. "This," Keitel noted in commenting on the controls established in France, "is *** booty of the victor". (EC-613)

The means employed in Belgium were typical. Production quotas for coal, iron and steel, textiles and leather, and other products were fixed by the Ministry of Economics and its Reichsstellen, in some cases after consultation with the Reich Minister (Funk). (ECH-2)

Comprehensive production controls were established in Belgium to assure the fulfillment of these quotas. Pursuant to plans developed in advance of the invasion (EC-155), a decree was issued by the Military Commander on 27 May 1940, creating so-called "Goods Offices," endowed with authority to issue general and special orders to Belgian firms requiring production of designated products, and the sale thereof to designated buyers, and with the further power to prohibit production or sale without license (3604-PS). By decree of the Military Commander of 29 April 1941, the appointment of a commissar to direct operations of private plants was authorized. (3610-PS)

The German Goods Offices (ECH-3) were transferred to similar units established by Belgian decree of 3 September 1940. (Whether this decree was issued on German order or suggestion does not appear.) The Germans supervised the Belgian Goods Offices and adopted as German orders both the Belgian decree establishing the Offices and the orders issued thereunder, and

[Page 1059]

prescribed punishment by fine and imprisonment for violations. (3609-PS)

For the first two years of the occupation, German control was exercised mainly through prohibitions and restrictions, that is, by a priority system (ECH-4), although even then important sectors of the Belgian economy, notably textiles and leather products, were controlled by "positive" orders directing the amount in kind to be produced and the persons to whom distribution must be made (ECH-4; ECH-2). During this period the Military Commander issued instructions to the Goods Offices through "command channels," that is, through the Belgian Minister of Economics. (ECH-3)

On 6 August 1942, the Military Commander, however, published a decree reaffirming explicitly the power to compel production of designated articles (3612-PS), a signal for the introduction of "positive" controls. In 1943, on instructions from the Reich Ministry of Economics, German representatives selected from the Reichsstellen were attached directly to the Belgian Goods Offices (ECH-3). At the end of 1943, the office of the "Ruestungsobmann" of the Speer Ministry for Armaments and War Production began issuing "positive orders" for production to individual concerns directly, without clearing with the Goods Offices, pursuant to decree of the Minister for Armaments and War Production (Speer). (ECH-3)

Production facilities in Belgium which were not deemed to serve the German interest were shut down. By order of 30 March 1942, the Military Commander prohibited the enlargement of existing plants and the construction of new ones without German authorization, and provided for the closing down of factories at his discretion (3616-PS). In the iron and metal industry alone at least 400 plants "not important for the war effort" had been closed down by 15 April 1943 (EC-335). By the end of the occupation, 1360 out of a total of 2164 plants in the textile industry had been closed down. (ECH-19)

France and Holland

Substantially the same system was put into effect in France and Holland. German Goods Offices were established in Occupied France at the same time as in Belgium (3604-PS). These were subsequently abolished in November, 1940, however, when the Vichy Government, at the "suggestion" of the Nazis, created raw material rationing boards, on which delegates of the German Military Administration served as technical advisers (EC-613; EC-616). In the Netherlands, controls were exercised by the

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local German Armament Inspectorate (EC-471; EC-472-A), who, it is believed, made use of the rationing boards set up in Holland before the outbreak of war.

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