The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Third Day: Saturday, 16th March, 1946
(Part 3 of 5)

[Page 158]

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant Goering is giving evidence under oath. Therefore nothing in the shape of an affidavit ought to be put in. If you have any questions to ask him, which he has not already answered, about the defendant Keitel , you may ask them now. It is inappropriate to put in a written, sworn statement, when you have a defendant giving evidence under oath.

DR. NELTE: In the session of 25th February, 1946, this was approved, for the reason that it would shorten the proceedings if an affidavit were to be read and the witness were then to state: "That is correct." I have a copy here of the transcript of that session, if the Tribunal do not recall.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal, I should not care to object to this upon the ground that it is written, because I think there are occasions when the writing out of the testimony of a witness might be more expeditious than their examination.

I object to it on the ground that it does not get us anywhere when you include it. It starts off: "Keitel gives the impression of a military man, an officer of the old school." That is not testimony that gets us anywhere. I admit that statement; he always impressed me that way. His philosophy is dominated in the main by militaristic ideas and concepts.

Let Keitel give us a description of himself, if we must have one. I think an examination of this affidavit will show that it consists of matter that has been covered, or of matter on which another witness never ought to be interrogated. I object to it upon the ground that it has no probative value.

THE PRESIDENT: As you are aware, Dr. Nelte, any decision which the Tribunal made about documents was expressly made provisionally and with the condition that the decision about the relevancy of the document should be made when the document was produced. If the document had been produced before the Tribunal, they would have been able to look at it. They have not seen the document.

The document appears, as Mr. Justice Jackson says, to be not a document which has any evidential value at all, and as the defendant is at present giving evidence under oath, the Tribunal will not look at the document.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, as the Tribunal have examined this document and found that it is irrelevant, I accept that decision. But it seems to me that the Tribunal -

THE PRESIDENT: We are not preventing you from asking any questions of the witness which may be relevant, but we do not desire to read another document from the same person who is giving testimony.

DR. NELTE: I shall omit this affidavit.

BY DR. THOMA (counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

Q. Rosenberg was Chief of the Foreign Political Office of the N.S.D.A.P. until 1940. Did he in this capacity, or otherwise, personally have an influence on the foreign political decisions of Hitler?

[Page 159]

A. I believe that the Foreign Political Office of the Party, after the seizure of power, was never once consulted by the Fuehrer on foreign political questions. It was established earlier only so that certain foreign political questions which arose within the Party could be dealt with centrally. I am not informed in detail about the methods of that office. As far as I know Rosenberg was certainly not consulted on foreign political questions after the accession to power.

Q. Therefore, you do not know details as to whether Rosenberg had a certain influence on Hitler in the Norwegian question?

A. That I do not know. I stated yesterday what I know concerning the question of Quisling and also of Rosenberg.

Q. When you were Minister President did Rosenberg become conspicuous to you as advocating the political or police persecution of the Church?

A. He could not advocate the persecution of the Church by the police, and I would not have permitted any interference by him.

Q. Do you know whether Rosenberg urged you to evacuate the Jews to Lublin, among other places?

A. Rosenberg did not speak to me about that.

Q. Did Hitler express to you his satisfaction that Rosenberg had not raised any objection to the Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union, concluded at that time?

A. One cannot exactly say that Hitler expressed his satisfaction, because if Rosenberg had raised any objection, Hitler probably would have expressed his dissatisfaction in a very unmistakable manner. But he did state that Rosenberg, too, apparently had understood this political step.

Q. Did Rosenberg, as Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, have any influence on the employment of labour? Was he in a specific position to prevent the employment of the Eastern peoples?

A. A certain co-operation in regard to the employment programme existed between the offices of Rosenberg and Sauckel; but certainly not in the sense that Rosenberg could have prohibited the recruiting of Eastern workers in contradiction to the Fuehrer's order.

Q. It is known to you that Rosenberg repeatedly made representations to the Fuehrer on behalf of a cultural betterment of the Eastern European peoples, especially the Ukrainians?

A. I was present once when Rosenberg spoke about the varying treatment in the Occupied Eastern Territories of the peoples living there and their cultural care. As far as I can recall - or better said - I especially recall the conversation dealt with the establishment or the continuation of the University in Kiev. The Fuehrer agreed with him in his presence, I believe. But when he had gone, the Fuehrer said to me: "That man has peculiar worries. We have more important things to take care of now than universities in Kiev." That I remember.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, one moment, I want to speak to Dr. Nelte first,

Dr. Nelte, in view of your application with reference to this document which is called "Characteristics of General Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel," the Tribunal have investigated that matter and have referred to Page 4987 of the shorthand notes, which possibly you may have had in mind; but you seem to, have failed to notice that this very document, "Characteristics of Keitel," was denied in the order of the Tribunal in paragraph 2, which contains the decision of the Tribunal after the argument in Court, and which is set out on that page: of the shorthand notes to which I have referred. Therefore, in the opinion

[Page 160]

of the Tribunal you have no right to offer that document which the Tribunal have already denied.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, I do not have the entire notes of the session before me. But I do know that this affidavit was refused with the explanation that, in a case where the witness can be called, an affidavit is not to be submitted; and that is here the case.

Thereupon, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, in quoting this particular document number of my document book, stated the following: "The Tribunal may perhaps remember that in the case of the witness Doctor Blaha, my friend, Mr. Dodd, adopted the practice of asking the witness . . ." And this affidavit belongs to this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, I am quite aware of that and I have already referred you to the exact page of the transcript which I have consulted. But defendants' counsel must be perfectly well aware that the Tribunal have given no decision in open court upon these applications for witnesses and documents, and the Tribunal made it perfectly clear that they would afterwards consider the applications that had been made; in each case a written order, which was perfectly clear, has been issued to the defendants' counsel, setting out the witnesses who are allowed, the witnesses who are denied, interrogatories that are allowed, and the interrogatories that are denied, the documents that were allowed and the documents which had been denied. In paragraph 2 of the order is "The Characteristics of Keitel." Therefore, in the opinion of the Tribunal that document should never have been offered. That is all.

DR. NELTE: I tried to explain why I assumed that, in spite of the refusal of the affidavit, the material of the affidavit could be used in the examination of the witness.

DR. SAUTER (counsel for the defendants Funk and Schirach):

I request to be permitted to put the following questions, on behalf of the defendant Funk.

Q. The defendant Funk joined the Party in the summer of 1931. At that time, as you know, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the "Berliner Borsenzeitung." Is it known to you that in this capacity he enjoyed a particular prestige with the Press and in German economic circles?

A. I know that at that time Funk and his economic articles in the "Borsenzeitung" were highly regarded and that he had many connections in economic circles.

Q. We have heard that the defendant Funk is accused of having promoted through his activities the coming to power of the Party, and I would be interested in hearing from you whether Funk, before the coming to power of the Party, played any role whatsoever in the Party; or is it correct to say that, after resigning as chief editor of the "Berliner Borsenzeitung," he published the so-called "Economic- Political Information Service" not for the Party but for all economic circles, including the German People's Party?

A. May I request that the question be put perhaps more precisely; this is a whole narration. But I can reply briefly. Before the seizure of power I was acquainted only with Funk's activity as editor of the "Borsenzeitung," which I have already mentioned. And as such I heard him repeatedly mentioned in economic circles. Only after the seizure did I hear at all of Funk having been in the Party and of his relationship with it. Thus his Party activity could not have been of such tremendous significance or he would have come to my attention in some way. So far as his "Information Service" is concerned, whether he favoured the Democrats or the People's Party, I know nothing about that.

Q. Then after the seizure of power, Funk became Press Chief of the Reich Government. That is known to you?

A. Yes.

[Page 161]

Q. Then subsequently he became State Secretary in the Reich Propaganda Ministry. That is also known to you?

A. Yes.

Q. Now I would be interested to know what his work was as Press Chief of the Reich Government. Had Funk in this work any influence on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet?

A. I am well acquainted with the circumstances of Funk's appointment as Reich Press Chief. After the Reich Cabinet had been sworn in, the new Reich Press Chief was to be appointed. We were in a room of the Kaiserhof Hotel and the Fuehrer did not want anyone from the Press organisation who was a full Party member, but someone who had had some previous Press experience yet had not been so prominent in the Party or bound to it. I do not know exactly who mentioned the name of Funk. But I do know that he then said, "Good!"

Funk was summoned, and I believe that it was a great surprise for him; I had that impression. The Reich Press Chief had at the time when Hindenburg was still Reich President ...

(At that point there was a mechanical interruption.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may go on now.


Q. I would like to repeat the question because it was not coming through. My question was to this effect:

At the time that the defendant Funk was Press Chief in the Reich Government, that is, after the seizure of power, had he any influence at all on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet?

A. The Reich Press Chief had no influence of any sort on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet, for his task was of a different nature.

Q. Then Funk became State Secretary in the Propaganda Ministry. In this case I am interested to know from you whether he, while exercising this office, was prominent in any way so far as propaganda policies or Press policies were concerned. What were his tasks at that time in the Ministry, according to your knowledge of the conditions?

A. He became State Secretary because the Propaganda Ministry took over, as its main functions, the Press and the handling of Press matters. Purely propaganda activities were carried on from the beginning by Goebbels himself who was at the same time Propaganda Chief of the Party. Funk was appointed chiefly to organise the Ministry as such, and in particular to handle economic matters of the Press, that is, the acquisition of Press organs, by purchase, subsidy, etc. His specialised knowledge was mainly utilised in this field.

Q. Then, when Dr. Schacht retired in November, 1937, Funk became his successor as Reich Minister for Economics. The appointment took place in November, 1937, but he took over the Ministry only in February, 1938. Can you tell us why that was so, and who directed the Ministry of Economics in the interim?

A. In discussing the Four-Year Plan I explained that after the resignation of Schacht, I personally directed the Ministry from November, 1937, to February, 1938, as far as I remember, although Funk had already been designated. I did this in order to integrate again into the Ministry of Economics the economic agencies outside the Ministry which were involved in the Four-Year Plan. By freeing myself of this ballast I was able to administer my directives with the Ministry as such.

Q. A similar situation seems to have existed for the Plenipotentiary-General for Economics, Dr. Schacht, if I may again point this out, retired from this office at the same time as from the Ministry of Economics, in November, 1937. Funk was appointed as his successor, as Plenipotentiary for Economics, however, only in 1938. What is the reason for that?

[Page 162]

A. He was appointed Plenipotentiary-General only in 1938 due to the fact that it was only in 1938 that he actually took over the Ministry of Economics. According to an old regulation, the Plenipotentiary-General for Economics was identical with the Reich Minister of Economics. But at this time, during the last part of Schacht's term of office, this was just a matter of form, as I have already said; for I explained that, from the minute when I actually took over the Four-Year Plan, I personally was de facto the Plenipotentiary-General for Economics.

I suggested that this office be abolished, but, as is often the case, some things remain for purely prestige reasons, things which no longer have any real significance. The Trustee for the Four-Year Plan was the sole Plenipotentiary- General for the entire Germany economy. Since there could not be two such men, the other existed only on paper.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.