The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Second Day: Friday, January 11th, 1946
(Part 5 of 9)

[Page 199]

Soon after the passage of the decree of 12th November defendant Funk delivered a speech on the Jewish question. He made it clear that the programme of economic persecution was part of the larger programme of extermination, and he boasted of the fact that the new programme ensured the complete elimination of Jews from the Germany economy. I offer in evidence Document No. 3545-PS as Exhibit USA 659. This document, which is found on Page 76 of the document book, is a certified photostatic copy of Page 2 of the "Frankfurter Zeitung" of 17th November, 1938. I quote a brief portion of that speech:
"The State and the economy constitute a unit. 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 and yet let them live and work in the economic sphere."
I shall omit the rest, with the request that the Tribunal take judicial notice of this reprint from the German newspaper, the "Frankfurter Zeitung."

I wish, however, to refer to just one more decree signed by defendant Funk himself. On the 3rd of December, 1938, he signed a decree which imposed additional and drastic economic disabilities upon the Jews, and subjected their property to confiscation and forced liquidation. This decree is set forth in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1938, Part 1, Page 1709. Defendant Funk himself has admitted and deplored his responsibility for the economic persecution of the Jews. I offer in evidence Document 3544-PS as Exhibit USA 660. This document, which is the last document in connection with this phase of the case, is an interrogation of defendant Funk dated 22nd October, 1945. Your

[Page 200]

Honours will find it on Pages 102 and 103 of the document book. I wish to quote from Pages 26 to 27 of the interrogation. The corresponding page of the German translation is Page 21. Although I propose to quote enough to place defendant Funk's statements in their proper context, I do not, of course, intend to give any credence to his attempts at self-justification:
"Q. All the decrees excluding the Jews from industry were yours, were they not?"
Now, omitting the first nine lines of the reply:
"A. So far as my participation in this Jewish affair is concerned, that was my responsibility, and I regretted later on that I ever did participate. The Party had always brought pressure to bear on me 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 against Jews came into effect, something legal had to be done to prevent the looting and confiscation of all Jewish property.

Q. You knew that the looting and all that was done at the instigation of the Party, did not you?"

Here defendant Funk wept, and answered:
"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."
In the Propaganda Ministry defendant Funk, as we have seen, helped solidify the German people in favour of war. When he moved on to his position as Minister of Economics, and to other positions which will appear, he used his talents even more directly for the conspirators' main task: preparation for war. Immediately before defendant Funk took over the Ministry of Economics from defendant Schacht in 1938 there was a major reorganisation of that Ministry's functions which integrated it with the Four Year Plan as the supreme command of the German military economy. This reorganisation was effected by a decree, dated 4th February, 1938, signed by Goering as Commissioner of the Four Year Plan. This decree is set forth in an official monthly bulletin issued by Goering and entitled, in the English translation, "The Four Year Plan," Volume 11, Page 105. It is requested that the Tribunal take judicial notice of this publication.

At this point I would simply note that that decree makes it clear that defendant Funk assumed a critical role in the task of economic mobilisation during a decisive period. Indeed, in 1938 he was directly charged with the task of preparing the German economy for war. By a secret decree he was made Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics and assumed the duties which once had been discharged by defendant Schacht. In this connection I refer to Document 2194-PS, which has already been placed in evidence. This document, which is found on Page 111 of your Honours' document books, consists of a letter dated 6th September, 1939, and that letter transmitted a copy of the Reich Defence Law of 4th September, 1938. It is this enclosure that we wish to deal with now. I wish to quote from Page 4 of the translation paragraphs 2 to 4:

"It is the task of the G.B.W." - that is the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics - "to put all economic forces into the service of the Reich defence and to safeguard economically the life of the German nation. To him are subordinate:
the Reich Minister of Economics;
the Reich Minister of Nutrition and Agriculture;
the Reich Minister of Labour," and so on.
"He is furthermore responsible for directing the financing of the Reich defence within the realm of the Reich Finance Ministry and the Reichsbank."

[Page 201]

To quote one more paragraph: "The G.B.W. must carry out the demands of the O.K.W., which are of considerable importance for the Armed Forces; and he must insure the economic conditions for the production of the armament industry directed immediately by O.K.W. according to its demands." This law, in essence, re-enacted the provisions previously passed in the Reich Defence Law of 1935, and I will not trouble the Tribunal with further reading. I do wish to note, however, that the law was, at the specific direction of Hitler, kept secret, and that it was signed by defendant Funk, among others, as Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics. Your Honours will find defendant Funk's signature on the next to the last page of the document, and I invite your attention to the names of his co-signatories.

Defendant Funk, in a speech which he delivered on 14th October, 1939, explained how, as Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, he had for a year and a half prior to the launching of the aggression against Poland advanced Germany's economic preparations for war. I offer in evidence Document 3324-PS as Exhibit USA 661. This document is a German book by Berndt and von Wedel entitled, in the English translation, "Germany in the Fight." That book reprints the defendant's speech. I quote now from Page 2 of the translation of Document 3324-PS, which is found on Page 116 of the document book. The translation of this speech is somewhat awkward, and with the Tribunal's permission I would rephrase it somewhat, without changing its substance in the slightest:

"Although all economic and financial departments were harnessed to the task of the Four Year Plan under the leadership of General Field Marshal Goering, Germany's economic preparation for war was also secretly advanced in another sector for well over a year, namely, through the formation of a national guiding apparatus for special war economy tasks which would have to be accomplished the moment that war became a fact. For this work all economic departments were combined into one administrative authority, the General Plenipotentiary for Economy, to which position the Fuehrer appointed me one and a half years ago."
THE PRESIDENT: What was the date of that?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: The date of that speech, Sir, is October.

THE PRESIDENT: The 14th of October?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: The 14th October, 1939.

In his dual capacity as Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics and Minister of Economics, defendant Funk was naturally advised of the requirements which the conspirators' programme of aggression imposed on the German economy. In this connection I would invite the Tribunal's attention to Document 1301-PS, which is already in evidence. As your Honours will recall, this document is a top secret report of the conference held in defendant Goering's office on 14th October, 1938. Your Honours will find it on Page 142 of the document book. I shall simply summarise the relevant portions of this document.

During the conference Goering referred to the world situation and to Hitler's directive to organise a gigantic armament programme. He thereupon directed the Ministry of Economics to increase exports in order to obtain the foreign exchange necessary for stepping up armament. He added, as your Honours will recall, that the Luftwaffe must be increased fivefold, that the Navy should arm more quickly, and that the Army should accelerate the production of weapons for attack. Defendant Goering's words, directed at Funk, among others, were the words of a man already at war, and his emphasis on quintupling the Luftwaffe and on the production of weapons for attack was that of a man waging aggressive war.

[Page 202]

After Schacht's departure Funk was a key figure in the preparation of plans to finance the war. This was natural, since he, after 1939, occupied three positions crucial to war finance, Two we have already named: Minister of Economics and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics. In addition, he was President of the Reichsbank.

Funk's role in war financing is illustrated by Document 3562-PS, which I now offer in evidence as Exhibit USA 662. This document was found in the captured files of the Reich Ministry of Economics. It consists in part of a letter from the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, signed on his behalf by Dr. Posse. The letter is dated 1st June, 1939, and encloses the minutes of a conference concerning the financing of the war which was held under the chairmanship of Funk's Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economics, Dr. Landfried. A copy of the document which I have offered into evidence bears a marginal note on Page 1 in the bottom left-hand corner, dated 5th June, stating, and I quote: "To be shown to the Minister" - that is, Funk - "for his information."

During the course of the meeting, which was attended by twelve officials, five of whom were directly responsible to defendant Funk in his various capacities, the conferees discussed a memorandum regarding war finance which had been prepared by the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics on 9th May, 1939. I wish to quote briefly from Page 2 of the English translation, which is found on Page 153 of your Honours' document book:

"Then a report was made of the contents of the notes on the question of internal financing of war of 9th May of this year, in which the figures given to me by the Reich Minister of Finance are also discussed. It was pointed out that the General Plenipotentiary for Economy is primarily interested in introducing into the legislation for war finance, the idea of financing war expenditures by anticipating future revenues to be expected after the war."
If I may quote another brief excerpt from this important memorandum, which is found on Page 2 of the English translation, Page 153 of your document books:
"State Secretary Neumann first submitted for discussion the question of whether the production would be able to meet, to the assumed extent, the demands of the army, especially if the demands of the army, as stated in the above report, should increase to approximately 14 billions in the first three months of war. He stated that, if the production potential of the present Reich territory is taken as a basis, he doubts the possibility of such an increase."
It is plain then that defendant Funk exercised comprehensive authority over large areas of the German economy, whose proper organisation and direction were critical to effective war preparation. The once powerful military machine, which rested on the foundation of thorough economic preparation, was a tribute to the contribution which defendant Funk had made to Nazi aggression.

Funk made this contribution with full knowledge of the plans for military aggression. A compelling inference of such knowledge would arise from the combination of several factors: from Funk's long and intimate association with the Nazi inner circle, from the very nature of his official functions, from the war-dominated setting of Nazi Germany, and from the fact that force and the threat of force had become the primary and the open instruments of German foreign policy. And the final element in weighing the question of defendant Funk's knowledge is, of course, the fact that, at the same time that defendant Funk was making economic preparation, specific plans for aggression were being formulated, plans which were later carried out and plans which could be effectively carried out only if they were synchronised with the complementary economic measures.

[Page 203]

The conclusion concerning defendant Funk's knowledge is reinforced beyond any question by considering, in the light of the factors described above, the more specific and direct evidence which has already been placed into the record. We have seen from Document 1760-PS that defendant Funk had told Mr. Messersmith that the absorption of Austria by Germany was a political and economic necessity, and that it would be achieved by whatever means were necessary.

We have already referred to Document 1301-PS, in which defendant Goering laid down directives which could be understood only as directives to prepare the economic basis for aggression. And Document 3562-PS has revealed that defendant Funk was making detailed plans for financing the war, that is, of course, a particular war, the war against Poland. In this connection I wish to refer to another vital piece of evidence which has already been introduced in the record. It is the letter dated 25th August, 1939, which defendant Funk wrote to Hitler. In that letter, as your Honours will recall, defendant Funk expressed his gratitude at being able to experience those world-shaking times, and to contribute to those tremendous events. And he thanked Hitler for approving his proposals, designed to prepare the German economy for the war.

Moreover, the record contains evidence showing that defendant Funk, both personally and through his representatives, participated in the economic planning which preceded the military aggression against the Soviet Union. I would refer the Tribunal to Document 1039-PS, which revealed that in April of 1941 defendant Rosenberg, who had been appointed deputy for the centralised treatment of problems related to the occupation of the Eastern Territories, that is, the Soviet Union, discussed with defendant Funk the economic problems which would arise when the plans for aggression in the East matured. And Document 1039-PS also reveals that defendant Funk appointed one Dr. Schlotterer as his deputy, to collaborate with Rosenberg in connection with the exploitation of the Eastern Territories and that Schlotterer met with defendant Rosenberg almost daily.

It is clear, then, that Funk participated in every phase of the conspirators' programme, from their seizure of power to their final defeat. Throughout he worked effectively, if sometimes more quietly than others, on behalf of the Nazi programme, a programme which, from the very beginning, he knew contemplated the use of ruthless terror and force within Germany and, if necessary, outside of Germany. He bears, we submit, a special, a direct and a heavy responsibility for the commission of Crimes against Humanity, Crimes against Peace and War Crimes. The record makes it clear, if we may summarise the evidence, that by virtue of his activities in the Ministry of Propaganda and in the Ministry of Economics, he is responsible for stimulating and engaging in the unrelenting persecution of the Jews and other minorities, for psychologically mobilising the German people for aggressive war, and for weakening the willingness and capacity of the conspirators' intended victims to resist aggression. It is also clear, we submit, that defendant Funk, with full knowledge of the conspirators' purposes, in his capacity as Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, actively participated in the mobilisation of the German economy for aggression. In these capacities, and as a member of the Ministerial Council for Defence and the Central Planning Board he also participated in the waging of aggressive war. Moreover, by virtue of his membership in the Central Planning Board which, as your Honours will recall from Mr. Dodd's presentation, formulated and directed the programme for the enslavement, the exploitation and degradation of millions of foreign workers; defendant Funk also shares special responsibility for the Nazi Slave Labour programme.

The French prosecution, I am informed, will deal with this matter in greater detail. Moreover, the French and Soviet prosecutions will submit evidence

[Page 204]

showing that defendant Funk actively participated in the programme for the criminal looting of the resources of occupied territories.

MR. THOMAS DODD: May it please the Tribunal, we would like to call at this time the witness Dr. Franz Blaha.

THE PRESIDENT (To the witness): Is your name Franz Blaha?

THE WITNESS (In Czech): Dr. Franz Blaha.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath: I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient that I will speak the truth, the clear truth, and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You can sit down if you wish.


Q. You are Dr. Franz Blaha, a native and a citizen of Czechoslovakia; are you not?

A. (In Czech) Yes.

Q. I understand that you are able to speak German, and for technical reasons I suggest that we conduct this examination in German, although I know your native tongue is Czech; is that right?

A. (In Czech) In the interest of the case I am willing to testify in German for the following reasons:

1.For the past seven years, which are the subject of my testimony, I have lived exclusively in German surroundings.

2. A large number of special and technical expressions relating to life in and about the concentration camps are purely German inventions, and no appropriate equivalent for them in any other language can be found.

Q. Dr. Blaha, by education and training and profession you are a Doctor of Medicine?

A. (In German) Yes.

Q. And in 1939 you were the head of a hospital in Czechoslovakia?

A. Yes.

Q. You were arrested, were you not, by the Germans in 1939, after they occupied Czechoslovakia?

A. Yes.

Q. And were you confined in various prisons between 1939 and 1941?

A. Yes.

Q. From 1941 to April of 1945 you were confined at Dachau Concentration Camp?

A. Yes, until the end.

Q. When that camp was liberated by the Allied Forces?

A. Yes.

Q. You executed an affidavit in Nuremberg on the 9th day of January of this year, did you not?

A. Yes.

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