The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Thirty-Ninth Day: Monday, 21st January, 1946
(Part 7 of 9)

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THE PRESIDENT: One moment, some of the copies which you have just submitted to us do not seem to be accurate, and the passage which you have just been reading is omitted from some of them. (Another copy is presented to the President).

I now have another copy of the document which you have read out - two copies which have been handed up, and they appear to be wrongly copied in some way. I will hand them down again.

M. GERTHOFFER: The document has possibly been improperly numbered. There are two Exhibits RF 126; they should have been indicated as 126(I) and 126 (II). The representative of the Government of the Netherlands certifies the accuracy of the translation of the first copy; and in the second "126" document the same representative of the Netherlands Government certifies the existence of the copy of the answer from the Headquarters of the Fuehrer.

THE PRESIDENT: Just hand up the document again, the one I have handed down, will you? The first document is the one you have just read out. The second document begins with the words, "J'ai soumis aujourdhui." Is that the second document to which you are referring? Perhaps you had better look at it. Look at that and see whether that is it.

M. GERTHOFFER: It is the second document.

THE PRESIDENT: Could we see the originals? They are two different documents, are they? but they both begin in exactly the same way.

M. GERTHOFFER: The two documents have been submitted by the Netherlands Government. The representative of the Government of the Netherlands, who has delivered them, certifies that these two documents were found in the Netherlands among German papers.


M. GERTHOFFER: The Dutch Government was obliged to make important payments to the German account and in, the reports submitted as Exhibit RF 123, there is clearly presented

First: The Germans required that a sum of 360,000,000 guilders, which was written to the credit of the Bank of the Netherlands, be used for the needs of its army of occupation outside the Netherlands and that a sum of 76,800,000 guilders in gold be deposited for the same use. The total which the Netherlands hid to pay under this pretext, namely, the maintenance of armies of occupation in other countries, was 376,800,000 guilders.

Second: From June 1941 on, the Netherlands was obliged to pay, as a contribution to the expenses of the war against Russia, a monthly sum of 37,500 guilders, of which a part was payable in gold. The total of the sum that Germany raised under this heading is 1,696,000,000 guilders.

Third: The Bank of the Netherlands was obliged to assume charge of redeeming occupation marks to the sum of 133,600,000 guilders.

Fourth: The expenses of the German civil government in Holland were charged to this country and amounted to 173,800,000 guilders.

Fifth: The Dutch Treasury was, moreover, obliged to pay 414,500,000 guilders to the account of the Reich, covering divers expenses, such as wages of Dutch workers deported to Germany, the costs of evacuation of certain regions, costs of the demolition of fortifications, so-called costs for guarding railroads, funds, placed at the disposal of the Reich Commissar, and for various industries utilised by the Germans.

Sixth: The Germans in July 1940, seized 816 bars of gold bullion belonging to the Bank of the Netherlands, which were in the wreck of a Dutch ship sunk

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in Rotterdam and which represented, including costs of recovery, 21,100,000 guilders.

Seventh: The Government of the Netherlands was obliged to bear annual expenses of 1,713,000,000 guilders to assure the financing of new administrative services imposed on Holland by the occupying power.

In this way, Holland lost a total of 8,565,000,000 guilders, including the raising of the gold from a ship sunk in the Meuse. The effective payments made to Germany amount to 11,380,800,000 guilders. If these costs are added to the costs of occupation and clearing, the total of the financial charges imposed on Holland during occupation, amounts to the sum of 22,224,800,000 guilders.

These operations had serious consequences for the economy of the Netherlands. Indeed, the gold supply which, on 1st April, 1940, amounted to 1,236,000,000 guilders, had, by the 1st April, 1945, fallen to 932,000,000 guilders.

The currency in circulation, on the contrary, had risen from 1,127,000,000 guilders on the 1st April, 1940, to 5,468,000,000 guilders on 1st April, 1945.

When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, a great portion of the gold of the Bank of the Netherlands had been evacuated abroad. However, the Germans under various pretexts seized all the gold that was found in the vaults of the bank. I recall that, under the heading of indemnity for occupation, they collected 75,000,000 gold guilders; and for the forced contribution of the Netherlands in the war against Russia, they demanded around 140,000,000 gold guilders.

Rost von Tonningen, Secretary-General of Finance and President of the Netherlands, appointed by the Germans, on 18th December 1943, wrote to the Reich Commissar that there had not been any gold in Holland since the preceding March.

The copy of this letter is submitted as Exhibit RF 127 and comes from a document discovered by the US Army, listed as ECR 174, which I submit as Exhibit RF 128, a document consisting of a report of the Commissar of the Bank of Belgium, of 12 June 1941, who also points out that the gold stock of the Bank of the Netherlands amounted on 12 June 1941, to 1,021,800,000 guilders, of which only 134,600,000 guilders were in Holland, the rest being either in England, South Africa or the United States.

The same report specifies that all the gold of Holland had been removed.

Not only did the Germans seize the gold of the Bank of the Netherlands, but they also placed a tax on the gold and other means of payment which were in foreign countries and owned by Netherlanders, The occupying power obliged private individuals to deposit gold which was in their possession with the Bank of the Netherlands, after which this gold was requisitioned and handed over to the Reichsbank. A sum of approximately 71,000,000 guilders was thus paid to the public in exchange for the requisitioned gold.

It was thus, also, that the Germans bought, from the public, various foreign stocks to a sum of 13,234,000 guilders and Swedish Government securities to a sum of 4,623,100 guilders.

With important financial means which they had at their disposal, the Germans proceeded to make important acquisitions in Holland. Such acquisitions, made through funds extorted from the Netherlands, cannot be considered as an exchange in a real equivalent, but as realised only by fictitious payments.

The Germans, in addition to numerous cases of requisitions which were followed by no kind of settlement, had clandestine dealings in the black market, and other dealings which only appeared to be regular. They thus procured a quantity of things of all kinds, leaving to the population only a minimum of products insufficient to ensure their vital needs.

In the second chapter of this presentation we shall examine the clandestine

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purchases on the black market; and in a third chapter, the acquisitions that were carried out in seemingly regular ways.


In Holland, as in all other occupied countries, the Germans seized considerable quantities of merchandise on the black market, in violation of the legislation on rationing which they themselves had imposed.

It has not been possible, in view of the clandestine nature of the operations, to determine even approximately the quantities of all kinds of objects which the Germans seized by this dishonest means. However, the secret report of the German Colonel Veltjens, which I had the honour of submitting this morning as Exhibit RF 112, gives us for a period of five months, from July to the end of November, some indications of the scope of the German acquisitions. I quote a passage from the Veltjens report :

In the Netherlands, since the beginning of the 'action' the following purchases were made and paid for by ordinary bank remittances

Non-ferrous metals.........................6,706,744
Leather skins and hides................4,723,130
Necessaries and luxuries................590,859
Chemical and cosmetic products....152,191
Various iron and steel wares........3,792,166
Motor oil...................................................52,284
Uncut diamonds....................................25,064

Total for a period of five month....73,685,162

These purchases were paid for by bank cheques. A large quantity of other merchandise which has not been possible to determine was paid for by cash with guilders coming from the so-called occupation indemnity.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

M. GERTHOFFER: As to Chapter 3 which deals with the economic plundering of the Netherlands, we will treat the question of dealings of outward regularity from information provided us by the Government of the Netherlands.

Industrial production: From testimony given by the Representative of the Government of the Netherlands, which I submit as Exhibit RF 129, it is clear that the Germans utilised to their own profit the largest part of the industrial potential of the Netherlands; all important stocks which were in the factories were thus absorbed. The value of those stocks was not less than 800,000,000 guilders; moreover, the occupants proceeded to large-scale removal of machinery. In certain cases these removals were not followed by even fictitious settlements. It has not yet been possible to establish a balance sheet of these spoliations, which often included all the machine equipment of an industry.

As an example, we may indicate that, on a requisition order of 4 March 1943, coming from the Reich Commissar, all the machinery and technical equipment, including the designs and blue prints of all the work shops and

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accessories of the blast furnaces of an important factory, were removed without any indemnity, and transported to the vicinity of Brunswick for the Hermann Goering Works. This is manifest in the document I submit as Exhibit RF 130.

The Germans had set up in all the occupied countries a certain number of organisations specially charged with the pillaging of machines. They had given them the name of "Machine Pool Office." These organisations, which were under the armament inspection, received demands of the German industry for means of production and had to fulfil these demands by requisitions on the occupied countries.

Moreover, gangs of technicians were charged with locating, dismantling and transporting the machines to Germany. The organisation of these official gangs of pillagers can be learned from German documents which are to be brought to your knowledge when the specific case of Belgium will be outlined to you.

We learned from the report of 1st March 1944, addressed to the military commandant, that the Machine Pool Office of the Hague could satisfy only a small proportion of the demands. Thus, under date of 1st January 1944, these demands totalled 677,000,000 Reichsmark, whereas in the month of January only 61,000,000 Reichsmark worth of machines had been delivered as against the new demands of 87,000,000, which made a total demand for machines amounting to 703,000,000 Reichsmark at the end of January.

This is Exhibit RF 131.

Before leaving the Netherlands the Germans effected large- scale destruction with, they said, a strategic purpose, but above all with the desire to do damage When they demolished factories, they removed beforehand and transported to Germany all the machinery which they could dismantle, as well as the raw materials. They acted in this manner, notably in the case of the Philipps Plants in Eindhoven, Hilversum and Bussum; the oil dumps of Amsterdam and Pernisse; and the armament factories of Breda, Tilburg, Berg- op-Zoom and Dordrecht. These facts are treated in the report of the economic officer attached to the German military commander in Holland, under date 9 October 1944, which I submit as Exhibit RF 132.

The same report gives some information on the organisations of German looters who were specialists in the removal of machines. I give here some extracts:

"The Philipps Works at Eindhoven was the first and the most important military objective to be dealt with."
A little farther on the writer continues:
"Before the arrival of the enemy we succeeded in destroying these important continental works for the fabrication of radio valves and lamps and the production of information apparatus, after the volunteer commando (Fwi. Kdo 7) had previously sent off the most precious metals and all special machines.
Farther on he writes :
"As early as 7 September a Commando unit transported in trucks to the Reich, most important non-ferrous metals, (wolfram, manganese, copper) and very valuable apparatus from the Philipps Works. In addition, the Fwi-Kdo 7 took part in the transfer of finished and semi-finished products as well as machines from Philipps. Following the enemy's occupation of Eindhoven, the removal was stopped. They then proceeded to evacuate the branch factories of Philipps at Hilversum and Bussum. Here it was possible to remove completely all the stocks of non- ferrous metal products, finished and semi-finished goods, machinery and the blue prints and designs necessary for production.

At the same time removal commandos were detailed to the heads of

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various provincial branch offices under the representative of the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production in the Netherlands.

In agreement with the forementioned services and the competent civil offices, these commandos carried through the removal of important raw materials and products as well as machinery. Through the unswerving and commendable attitude of officers, officials, Sonderfuehrer, and enlisted men it was possible during the month of September to remove to the Reich considerable stocks of raw materials and products or to supply the troops with suitable material. This action was initiated and directed in the Western and Southern districts of the Netherlands by the Fwi-O-Netherland.

For the task of evacuation and for the preparation of the ARLZ measures within the area of the Army High Command 15, and at the same time as liaison with the staff quartermaster with the Army High Command 15, a squad under the command of Captain Rieder was detached by Fwi-Kd 7. Here, too, in close co-operation with the civil officers, and the Department IVa of the Army High Command 15, a valuable job was done concerning the removal of raw materials and rare goods as well as machinery. These actions commenced only at the end of the month covered by this report."

Along with the removal of machinery the Government of the Netherlands gives us exact figures on the stocks of raw materials and manufactured articles. Apart from the stocks located in the factories, the Germans acquired considerable quantities of raw materials and manufactured articles amounting to not less than one billion guilders.

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