The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Walter Funk

(Part 4 of 9)

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The systematic anti-Jewish program of the Nazi conspirators is discussed in Chapter XII. The evidence discussed below shows that Funk, by virtue of his activities as Minister of Economics, is responsible for the planning and execution of the program to exclude the Jews from the German economy.

The first record of Funk's anti-Jewish activities as Minister of Economics consists of a series of decrees which he signed and which were designed to exclude the Jews from various occupations, such as real estate business, auctioneering, etc. Reference will be made to only a few of these decrees (Decree amending trade code of 6 July 1938, 1988 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 832; de-

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cree concerning occupation of auctioneers, 12 February 1938, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I p. 202). Moreover, on 14 June 1938 Funk signed a decree providing for the registration of 'Jewish enterprises" (1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 627). This decree was part of a system of economic persecution which obliterated Jewish ownership in all commercial, financial and industrial

In 1938, the death of von Rath in Paris was exploited by the Nazis as a pretext for intensifying the persecution of the Jews. Their new anti-Jewish policy called for the complete elimination of Jews from the economic life of Germany. Funk took a significant part in both the formulation and execution of this policy.

Thus, he was present at the meeting of 12 November 1938, where, with Goering as the leading spirit, the basis for a more drastic policy against the Jews was established (1816-PS). Goering described the meeting as a decisive one, and demanded "that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, coordinated and solved, one way or another." (1816-PS). Funk came to the meeting with a draft law which he had prepared, and which he submitted with the following explanation:

"I have prepared a law elaborating that, effective 1 January 1939, Jews shall be prohibited to operate retail stores and wholesale establishments, as well as independent artisan shops. They shall further be prohibited from keeping employees or offering any ready products on the market. Wherever a Jewish shop is operated, the police shall shut it down. From 1 January 1939, a Jew can no longer be employed as an enterpriser, as stipulated in the law for the Organization of National Labor from 20 January 1934. If a Jew holds a leading position in an establishment without being the enterpriser, his contract may be declared void within 6 weeks by the enterpriser. With the expiration of the contract, all claims of the employee, including all claims to maintenance become obliterated. That is always very disagreeable and a great danger. A Jew cannot be a member of a corporation; Jewish members of corporations shall have to be retired by 31 December /1939. A special authorization is unnecessary. The competent Ministers of the Reich are being authorized to issue the provision necessary for the execution of this law." (1816-PS)

The substance of Funk's draft law promptly found its way into the Reichsgesetzblatt. On 12 November 1938, Goering signed a

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decree entitled "For the Elimination of Jews from the German Economic Life" (1662-PS)

An examination of the provisions of the decree will reveal how well it deserved its title. Thus, Jews were forbidden to operate retail stores or mail order houses, or to engage independently in any handicraft, to offer goods or services at markets, or to take orders therefor (Section I): or to be "leaders" of any industrial enterprise. That decree also provided that any Jew in an executive position of an industrial enterprise was subject to notice of dismissal (Section 2), and that Jews should be excluded from membership in cooperative organizations (Section 3). Funk was expressly authorized in Section 4 of the decree to issue the regulations necessary for implementing its provisions (1662-PS).

Funk was also authorized to issue the regulations in connection with another anti-Jewish decree, also issued on 12 November 1938. This decree provided that all damage done to Jewish enterprises and apartments during the riots of 8, 9, and 10 November, was to be repaired by the Jewish owners out of their own pockets, and that claims by German Jews against insurance companies were to be confiscated in favor of the German Government (1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 1581).

Soon after the passage of the decree of 12 November, Funk, in a speech which he delivered on the Jewish question, made it clear that the program of economic persecution was a part of the larger program of extermination and boasted of the fact that the new -program insured the complete elimination of the Jews from the German economy. In the course of this speech, Funk stated:

"The state and the economy constitute a unity. They must be directed according to the same principles. The best proof thereof has been rendered by the most recent development of the Jewish problem in Germany. One cannot exclude the Jews from the political life, but let them live and work in the economic sphere. The fact that the last violent explosion of the disgust of the German people, because of a criminal Jewish attack against the German people, took place at a time when we were standing just before the termination of the economic measures for the elimination of the Jews from the German economythis fact is a result of the other fact that in the last years we had not handled this problem sufficiently early and consistently. In any event, the basis of a complete elimination of the Jews also from the economy had already been laid by the decrees of the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, General Field Marshal Goering, who was the first

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to undertake the solution of this problem. In the meantime by means of Aryanization, performed under governmental supervision, the Jews had already been excluded completely from the stock exchanges and the banks and almost completely from the large businesses and all important industrial enterprises. According to estimates, of the net property of approximately 7 billion marks, determined pursuant to the decree for the registration of Jewish property, 2 billion marks have already been transferred into German possession." (3545-PS).

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