The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Walter Funk

(Part 3 of 9)

[Page 719]

The control of the Ministry of Propaganda was based in part on the requirement that persons engaged in so-called "cultural activities" belong to the appropriate Chamber (1933 Reichsgesetzblatt, I p. 797). Decrees were then passed which prescribed standards of admission to these Chambers, which automatically excluded Jews. For example, in the field of journalism, "only persons who were of Aryan descent and not married to a person of non-Aryan descent" were permitted to be so-called Schriftleiter, that is, to perform any work relating to the contents a newspaper or a political magazine (2083-PS).

Similarly, newspaper publishers had to submit proof tracing their Aryan descent (and that of their spouses) as far back as the year 1800 (Decree 24 April 1935, issued by the President of the Reich Press Chamber, Article 1, 3 and Article II, 1(f) and 2, reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber in "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, pp. 109-112; Decrees 15 April 1936 and 2 May 1936 issued by the President of Reich Press Chamber reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 4, 1936, pp. 101-102, 120-122; see also: Decree 17 September 1934 reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber's "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, p. 79).

In view of Funk's official positions and the policies which he advanced it is natural that Nazi writers have stressed his contribution to the perversion of German culture. Thus Oestreich's biography of Funk states:

"Besides, Funk had a special duty from his Ministry received the task to take care of the cultural life. In this position he organized quietly a tremendous concern which represented an investment of many hundreds of millions. In close co-operation with the Reich Leader of the Press, Max Amann, the economic fundamentals of the German

[Page 720]

press were reconstructed according to the political necessities. The same took place in the film industry and in other cultural fields."

The reconstruction of "the economic fundamentals of the German press * ** and other cultural fields" was a biographer's euphemism for the elimination of Jews and dissidents from the field of literature, music, theater, journalism, broadcasting, and the arts.

The completeness with which the policy of cultural extermination was carried out is made clear by a pamphlet entitled "The Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda", by Georg Wilhelm Mueller, an official of the Ministry of Propaganda, which was published by the German Academy for Politics as part of a series on the organization of the Nazi Government. That pamphlet states:

"The Department Special Cultural Tasks (a department within the Ministry of Propaganda) serves mainly the purpose to remove the Jews from cultural professions. It reviews the political attitude of all artistic or cultural workers and cultural economic enterprise that are members of the seven individual chambers of the Reich Chamber of Culture (except the Reich Chamber of the Press), it has to supervise the removal of Jews in the entire field of the seven individual chambers and settles as highest authority all complaints and appeals of cultural workers whose membership was rejected by the Chamber because of lack of proof of Aryan descent. At the same time, it is the task of this department to supervise the activities of non-Aryans in the intellectual and entire cultural field, therefore, also the supervision of the only Jewish organization in the cultural field in the entire Reich territory, that is, the 'Jewish Kulturbund' (Jewish Cultural Association).

"In this way this department also cooperates with all other professional departments of the Ministry or the Chambers by consulting the local officials of the party, the State police offices, etc, and when supervising the Jewish 'cultural work' with the political police.

"It is mainly the merit of this department to 1937 a department in the Managing Office of the Reich Chamber of Culturethat the purge of the entire German cultural life from Jewish or other non-German influences was completely accomplished according to the assignments of the Minister." (Das Reichsministerim fuer Volksafklaerung und Propa-

[Page 721]

ganda (Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) pp. 30-31).

Funk contributed to the achievement of the Nazi propaganda program in other capacities. Thus, in 1933, Goebbels appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reich Broadcasting Company (3505-PS). That company was the coordinating authority for all German radio broadcasting and supervised all German radio stations, with a view to insuring that radio serve the political purposes of the Nazi State (Das Deutsche Fuehrerlexikon, 1934-193, p. 139; 3505-PS). Moreover, in 1933, Funk also was appointed Vice-president of the Filmkreditbank. The Filmkreditbank was a government-controlled financing corporation which influenced film production in the interests of the Nazi program by granting financial assistance in connection with only those films deemed desirable from the Nazi point of view (Seager, "Der Film im Nationalsocialistischen Staat" ("The Film in the National-Socialist State"), in Frank: "Nationalsozialistisches Handbuch fuer Recht und Gesetzgebung" ("National Socialist Handbook for Law and Legislation"), 1935, 2nd edition, p. 512). It is lear from the foregoing that Funk was from 1933 until the end of 1937 a versatile and key figure in the propaganda field. His activities ranged from daily conferences with the Fuehrer and the organization of a new large Ministry vital to the Nazi program to depriving the most humble Jewish artist of his power to earn a livelihood. Funk appears to have been what Goebbels said he was: Goebbels' "most effective man" (3501-PS).

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