The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XIII
Germanization & Spoliation
The Western Occupied Countries
(Part 6 of 9)


Occupation charges were fixed at about 100,000,000 gulden a month (ECR-174; EC-86). (100 RM = 75 gulden, approximately (EC-468)).

Expenditures were divided between "occupation" purposes and "nonoccupation" purposes, according to whether "the products purchased or produced on orders of the armed forces of the Netherlands remain in the Netherlands (occupation cost) or leave the Netherlands (nonoccupation cost)" (ECR-174). During the 20-month period from March 1941 to October 1942, inclusive (the only period for which figures are available), out of the total

[Page 1067]

occupation charges of 1,545,500,000 gulden, 433,800,000 gulden were expended for "nonoccupation" purposes (ECR-175- 193). A large part of the "pure" occupation expenditure, moreover, was for general war expenses, including the construction of fortifications and airfields, and the letting of shipbuilding contracts. (ECR-180, 181,183,187,191)

In theory, only the "occupation" costs were supposed to be charged to the Netherlands (ECR-174); until April 1941, the "nonoccupation" expenditures were returned to the Military Commander in the Netherlands (ECR-175). The claim of the Netherlands to the sums "returned," however, was rejected. Moreover, as appears from the above cited reports (ECR-175- 193), nonoccupation expenditure continued even after April 1941, when reimbursements ceased. (ECR-176)

During the first year of the occupation Germany exacted an additional levy from the Netherlands under the heading of "external occupation costs," amounting to 500,000,000 RM (ECR-194). Of this sum, 100,000,000 RM was paid in gold; the remainder was paid by a transfer of the clearing balance of the Netherlands Bank at the Verrechnungskasse to the German Ministry of Finance, that is, was used to reduce a credit which arose by reason of exports to the Reich. (ECR-194)

In April 1942, "at the instigation of the Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart," the Netherlands began to pay a "voluntary contribution to the war against Bolshevism" of 50,000,000 guilders per month, retroactive to 1 July 1941, of which 10,000,000 per month was paid in gold (ECR-195). By 31 March 1944, this "contribution" amounted to 2,150,000,000 RM. (EC- 86)

It is immaterial whether this "contribution" was made at the direction of Seyss-Inquart or was in fact the "voluntary" act of the then President of the Netherlands Bank and Treasurer in the Ministry of Finance, Van Tonningen. Van Tonningen was appointed by Seyss-Inquart and acted in the German interest. His acts, like that of civilian administrators in occupied territories generally, must be charged to the occupant. (See infra, Conclusion.) The spirit in which he discharged his duties is sympathetically described by the German Commissar at the Netherlands Bank as follows:

"The new President of the Netherlands Bank, Mr. Rost van Tonningen, is, in contrast to a large part of the leadership, penetrated in his movements and his official acts by the greater German thought, and convinced of the necessity o the creation of a greater European economic space. This ideological attitude in itself gives him the correct position

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on financial and monetary policy questions for his country in relation to the greater German economic space. Furthermore, it makes easier cooperation with my office, a fact which deserves special mention in consideration of the frequently observed passive conduct of the Netherlands agencies before the entrance into office of the new President. I consider as a fortunate solution the fact that the Reichskommissar for the Occupied Dutch Areas has also entrusted Mr. Rost van Tonningen with the Treasury of the Ministry of Finance (Schatzamt des Finanzminsteriums). Mr. Rost van Tonningen took over this office at the end of the month of April. Thus there is a guarantee that the financial and monetary policy of the country will be conducted according to unified points of view." (ECR-196)

(2) The Nazi conspirators financed exports from the occupied countries to German by means of forced loans under the guise of clearing agreements.


The principle of the clearing system is as follows:

The importer makes a deposit of the purchase price in his own currency at the national clearing agency of his country, which places the same amount to the credit of the clearing agency of the exporting country. The latter institution then pays the exporter in his own currency. Thus if trade between two countries is unequal the clearing agency of one acquires a claim against the agency of the other which, however, is satisfied only when a shift in the balance of trade gives rise to an offsetting claim.

In the order establishing the German-Belgium clearing, the Belgium clearing agency was the National Bank of Belgium (608-PS). The administration of the clearing was shortly thereafter transferred to Emission Bank, an organization originally incorporated by Belgian interests pursuant to order of the Military Commander of 27 June 1940 (ECR-24). The change was one in name only, however, since at this time the management of the two banks was substantially identical and the Emission Bank obtained its currency by loan from the National Bank. The Emission Bank was, by its charter terms, subject to orders of the Commissar at the National Bank; the Commissar obtained the same powers over the National Bank by German order of 116 February 1940. (ECR-24)

The Belgian total "credit" under the clearing, as of 31 July 1944, amounted to 60,837,000,000 bfrs = 4,867,000,000 RM, of

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which 54,993,000,000 bfrs = 4,399,000,000 RM arose from the Belgian-German clearing for goods and services. (ECR-173)

The continued increase in the Belgian "credit" was due mainly to "the increasing Belgian export to Germany for which there are only small imports from Germany on the other side of the account." (ECR-149)

The entire Belgian credit under the clearing constitutes a forced loan, largely for nonoccupation purposes:

(a) The Belgian-German clearing was established by circular of the Reichs Minister of Economics, 4 July 1940 (ECH-6), which was published to the Belgians by proclamation of the Military Commander of 10 July 1940 (EC-604; 608-PS).

(b) "Since it was to be foreseen that as the result of the increased deliveries from Belgium to the Reich, which were not matched by opposite accounts, particularly in the early period, the clearing status would develop to the favor of the Emission Bank" (ECR-24), an agreement was signed by the Emission Bank and the German Reichsbank on 16/17 August 1940 under which each undertook to pay out clearing transfers immediately (ECR-24; ECH-5).

(c) This agreement did not prescribe what must be financed through the clearing; it merely provided for immediate payment of claim arising thereunder without waiting until the account should be balanced by equalizing of imports and exports. As the Military Commander stated, the German- Belgian clearing was "not regulated by an agreement, but has been regulated unilaterally by my proclamation of 10 July 1940" (EC-604). The Military Commander made clear the absolute power asserted by the German authorities over the Belgian Note Banks (as the Germans described the Emission and National Banks). He stated:

"*** The claim made to the Commissar that the Emission Bank is entitled to ask in every case for detailed explanation of compensation payments coming from Germany is incorrect. The clearing activities between Germany and Belgium are not regulated by an agreement but have been regulated unilaterally by my proclamation on 10 July 1940 and are not subject to any Belgian control. Inter-alia the transfer of all payments which have been specially authorized by the Reich Ministry of Economy has been expressly permitted ***." (EC-604)

(d) The Commissar freely invoked his directive power over the Note Banks.

1. When, in April 1941, the clearing balance of the Emis-

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sion Bank exceeded 1,500,000 bfrs the Emission Bank refused to pay out several large sums arising by virtue of German-Belgian "capital" transactions. Thereupon, the Commissar issued an order directing the bank to make the payment. (ECR-24)

2. In December 1941, the Emission Bank refused to pay out a sum of 43,256,000 RM transferred from Paris. The Commissar thereupon issued an order directing the bank to do so. (ECR-172)

3. In October 1942, the Emission Bank refused to pay out certain amounts expended for purchases on the Belgian black market. The military administrator, however, "held down the increasing resistance of the Note Banks which culminated at the end of October of this year in a public threat of resignation by the Governor of the National Bank by the heaviest pressure, and forced the Note Banks, while emphasizing his willingness to negotiate on certain Belgian proposals, again to take up the global clearing transfers for German procurement agencies which were cut off for a period" (ECR-132). The nature of this pressure is explicitly shown in the following communication from the Commissar to the President of the Emission Bank dated 29 October 1942:

"The Military Commander has ordered me to inform you of the following:

"The requested extension of time for the resumption of business relations with the Armed Forces Clearing Institute (Wehrmachtverrechnungskasse) and for the payment of the arrears of RM 60 million have been denied. An official will determine tomorrow at 10 a.m. whether payment has been made.

"Severest measures against you and all responsible parties must be expected in case of failure to pay.

"If acts of sabotage occur on the equipment and the values of the National Bank or the Emission Bank, you and the gentlemen designated on the enclosed list will be held responsible personally and your property will be seized. Your liability is a joint one." (EC-605)

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