The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Walter Funk

(Part 5 of 9)

[Page 724]

On 3 December 1938, Funk again advanced the policy of economic extermination by signing a decree which carried out the promise of the more severe anti-Jewish policy implied in his above speech (1409-PS). This decree imposed additional and drastic economic disabilities upon Jews and subjected their property to confiscation and forced liquidation. It provided that: owners of Jewish enterprises could be ordered to sell or liquidate their enterprises (Section 1); trustees could be appointed for such enterprises, with the expenses of trusteeship borne by the owner of the enterprise (Section 2); Jews could be ordered to sell their property (real estate, etc.) (Section 6); Jews were prohibited from acquiring any real estate (Section 7); governmental consent was required for any disposition of real estate (Section 8); Jews were forced to deposit all stocks, mining shares, bonds, and other securities with specially designated banks, and accounts had to be marked "Jewish" (Section 11); Jews were forbidden to acquire, to give as security, or to sell objects made of gold, platinum, or silver, precious stones, or pearls, etc. (Section 14); and Jews could be required to make certain payments to the Reich before receiving the consent necessary for the transfer of their property (Section 15). (1409-PS).

In addition, many other decrees aiming at the economic ruin of the Jews were promulgated over the signature of the Minister of Economics. For example:

Decree, 23 November 1938,198 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 162, signed by Brinkmann acting for Funk and containing detailed rules for the liquidation of Jewish retail stores, etc.;

Decree, 14 December 1938,1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1902, also signed by Brinkmann acting for Funk, and providing detailed rules for the elimination of Jews from industrial enterprises;

Decree, 8 May 1939,1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 895, signed

[Page 725]

by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, excluding Jews from the occupation of travel agents;

Decree, 4 May 1940, 1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 730, also signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, concerning registration of transfers of Jewish property;

Decree, 14 November 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1520, also signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, establishing a procedure for setting aside financial arrangements which Jews, discharged from executive positions of industrial enterprises prior to 12 November 1938, had made with their companies.

Extending certain of the above-described decrees to Austria, see, e.g.:

Decree, 22 August 1942, 1942 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 537, signed by von Hanneken, acting for Funk;

Decree, 4 December 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1564, signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk.

Funk had important responsibilities, not only in the formulation of anti-Jewish policy and in the drafting of anti-Jewish legislation, but also in the administration of the conspirators' anti-Jewish measures. Funk was the person to whom appeals were made concerning action taken by subordinate officials in the administration of the anti-Jewish economic program. In fact, he as the paramount authority in this field; his decisions were final and conclusive. For example, he had the final voice in the administrative hierarchy set up for deciding whether an enterprise was a Jewish enterprise within the meaning of the decree requiring the registration of such enterprises (Decree of 14 June 1938, Section 9, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 628; see also decree of 3 December 1938, section 19, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1711; decree, 14 November 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1520).

Nazi publications have recognized the significant contribution made by Funk to the anti-Jewish program. Thus Hans Queeke, an official of the German Ministry of Economies, in describing the work of the Ministry during Funk's incumbency, stated:

"A task of special political significance and economic importance arose as an absolute necessity out of the National Socialist conception of state and economy, namely, the eradication of Jewish influence from the economy. In this connection, a wealth of legislative and administrative work, though temporary, was created for the Ministry. The steps

[Page 726]

of the work were as follows: definitions of the term 'Jewish enterprise', registration of Jewish property, securing the 'deployment' of such property in accordance with the interests of the German economy, exclusion of Jewish employees from executive positions, and, finally, re-examination of steps taken in the de- Judaization of enterprises with a view to ordering payments to the Reich for the unjust profits secured in the process of de-Judaization. That task can now be considered as practically completed in the field of the industrial economy." (Building of the Third Reich (Das Dritte Reich in Aufbau) Vol. 5, pp. 318-319 (1941)).

Moreover, Funk himself, in the course of administering this program, emphasized the importance of his new role. For example, on 6 February 1939, he issued a circular in connection with the administration of the decree of 3 December 1938 which, as indicated, he himself signed. In that circular, which was published in the Ministerial Gazette of the Reich and Prussian Ministry of the Interior ("Ministerialblatt des Reichsund Preussischen Minsteriums des Inneern"), for 1939, No. 7, p. 265, Funk stressed (at p. 265) "the great political and economic importance" of the anti-Jewish program and stated with respect to the broad powers conferred by the decree of 3 December 1938, that:

"*** The extent and speed with which they [the powers] will be utilized, is dependent upon my orders, to be given under the general direction of Goering."

In the same circular (at p. 265) Funk also emphasized the importance of the laws for de-Judaization, stating:

"The execution of the laws for the economic de- Judaization will, for a time, impose extraordinary burdens upon the administrative organization. However, it is expected that the officers charged with the execution, in view of the great political and economic importance of the tasks assigned to them, will bend all their efforts to assure a most rapid, efficient, and in every way faultless execution of the de-Judaization."

Funk, in an interrogation dated 22 October 1945, admitted and deplored his responsibility for the economic persecution of the Jews:

"Q. All the decrees excluding the Jews from industry were yours, were they not?

"A. *** So far as my participation in this Jewish affair is concerned, that was my responsibility and I have regretted it later on that I ever did participate. The Party had

[Page 727]

always brought pressure to bear on me previously to make me agree to the confiscation of Jewish property, and I had refused repeatedly. But later on, when the anti-Jewish measures and the force used against the Jews came into force, something legal had to be done to prevent the looting and confiscation of all Jewish property.

"Q. You know that the looting and all that was done at the instigation of the Party, don't you?

"(Here witness weeps)

"A. Yes, most certainly. That is when I should have left in 1938, of that I am guilty, I am guilty. I admit that I am a guilty party here." (3544-PS)

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