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-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 261]

Q. Now, I suggested to you that that is not correct but that even though you proposed to issue a decree absolving the German insurance companies, the companies insisted on meeting their obligations and then Heydrich interposed and said:

[Page 262]

"By all means, let them pay the claims and when payment is made it will be confiscated. Thus we will save our face."
Correct ?

A. Heydrich said that, but I issued a law.

Q. Did you not then say:

"One moment. They will have to pay in any case because Germans suffered damage. There will, however, be a law forbidding them to make direct payments to Jews. They will also have to make payment for damage suffered by Jews, not to the Jews, but to the Minister of Finance.

Hilgard: Aha."

A. I said so. Q. You accepted Heydrich's suggestion, which was quite contrary to the one you made?

A. No, I did not accept Heydrich's suggestion, but I issued a law to the effect that insurance money due to Jews must be paid to the Minister of Finance, as I did not agree with Heydrich that insurance money should be paid out and then surreptitiously confiscated. I went about it in a legal way and was not afraid to make the necessary law and to take the responsibility for the claims to be paid to the State, that is, to the Minister of Finance.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, the Tribunal will judge for itself, we have the. evidence.


Q. Now, Hilgard, representing the insurance companies, then raised the question that the amount of glass insurance premium was very important, that glass insurance was the companies' greatest asset, "but the amount of the damage now caused is twice as high as in an ordinary year" and he pointed out that the whole of the profits of the German insurance companies would be absorbed, did he not?

A. Yes.

Q. And also the question of the number of the stores destroyed - Heydrich reported 7,500, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I call your attention to the following conversation:

"Daluege - "
Who, by the way, was he?

A. Daluege was the leader of the Schutzpolizei, Municipal Police.

Q. "One question has still to be discussed. Most of the goods in the stores were not the property of the shopkeepers but were on consignment, from other firms which had supplied them. Now the unpaid invoices are being sent in by these firms which are certainly not all Jewish, but Aryan, in respect of these goods on consignment.

Hilgard: We will have to pay for them too.

Goering: I wish you had killed two hundred Jews instead of destroying such valuables.

Heydrich: There were thirty-five killed."

Do I read that correctly?

A. Yes, this was said in a moment of bad temper and excitement.

Q. Spontaneously sincere, was it not?

A. As I said, it was not meant seriously. It was the expression of spontaneous excitement caused by the events, and by the destruction of valuables and the difficulties which arose. Of course, if you are going to bring up every word I said in the course of twenty-five years in these circles, I myself could give you instances of even stronger remarks.

[Page 263]

Q. Then Funk interposed to discuss the foreign exchange point, did he not? He contributed to the discussion, did he not, for a while? I will not bother to go into it.

A. Yes, but not everything is put down in the minutes. They are not clear on this point. I regret the minutes are incomplete. That is strange.

Q. I join you in that. Hilgard returned again to the subject of the profit of the insurance companies, did he not?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. And you made this statement, did you not?

"The Jew must report the damage. He will get the insurance money but it will be confiscated. The final result will be that the insurance companies will gain something, as not all damages will have to be made good. Hilgard, you can consider yourself damned lucky.

Hilgard: I have no reason for that. The fact that we will not have to pay for all the damage is called a profit.

Goering: Just a moment. If you are legally bound to pay five millions and all of a sudden an angel, in my somewhat corpulent shape, appears before you and tells you you may keep one million, hang it, is this not a profit? I should like to go fifty-fifty with you or whatever you call it. I only have to look at you, your whole body exudes satisfaction. You are getting a big rake-off."

Am I quoting correctly?

A. Yes, of course, I said all that.

THE PRESIDENT: We will break off now.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. SEIDL (counsel for the defendant Hess): Mr. President, the defendant Hess has expressed the wish to be excused from attending this afternoon's session, because he wants to prepare himself for his examination as a witness, which will take place in the next few days. I do not believe that this will cause a delay in the proceedings, and I should like to ask the Tribunal to grant this request.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, on the same conditions as before, namely, that you arrange with somebody to protect your interests whilst you are absent.

DR. SEIDL: I will not be absent myself, only Hess.




Q. I would like to call your attention again to the Exhibit USA 261, Document 1816-PS. Would you turn to Part 5, where you were speaking of the Markgraf's jewels that disappeared?

A. That is, going back to something already dealt with.

Q. Yes, for a time, to Part 5. I call your attention to your statement as follows:

"Now we come to the damage sustained by the Jews, the disappearance of the jewels at Markgraf's, etc. Well, they are gone and he will not get them refunded. He is the one who has to suffer the damage. Any of the jewels which may be returned by the police will belong to the State."
Do you find that?

A. Yes, that is correct, but on the basis of the laws he was compensated for that.

[Page 264]

Q. Now, there was a representative of Austria present at this meeting, was there not?

A. Yes.

Q. And I ask you to turn to his statement in reference to conditions in Austria, a page or so further on.

A. Yes.

Q. And I ask you whether he did not report to your meeting as follows:

"Your Excellency, in this matter, we have already a very complete plan for Austria. There are 12,000 Jewish handicraft shops and 5,000 Jewish retail shops in Vienna. Even before the National Socialist revolution we already had, concerning these 17,000 shops, a definite plan for dealing with all tradesmen. Of the 12,000 handicraft shops about 10,000 were to be closed definitely" . . .
A. The interpreter did not follow ...

Q. Do you find it?

A. I have found it, but not the interpreter:

Q. "Regarding this total of 17,000. stores, of the shops of the 12,000 artisans, about 10,000 were to be closed definitely and 2,000 were to be kept open. 4,000 of the 5,000 retail stores were to be closed and 1,000 kept open, that is, were to be Aryanised. According to this plan, 3,000 to 3,500 of the total of 17,000 stores would be kept open, all others closed. This was decided following investigations in every single branch and according to local needs, in agreement with all competent authorities, and is ready for publication as soon as we receive the law which we requested in September. This law should empower us to withdraw licences from artisans quite independently of the Jewish Question. That would be quite a short law.

Goering: I shall have this decree issued to-day."

A. Of course. This concerns a law for the curtailment of the heavy retail trade which even apart from the Jewish Question would have reduced the number of retailers. That can be seen from the minutes.

Q. Very well, let us go on a little further. Do you mean to inform the Tribunal that this did not apply to Jewish shops, that it had no connection with the Jewish Question?

A. I have said that independently of the Jewish Question, in view of the overfilled retail trade, a limitation of the number of tradesmen would have followed, and that it can be seen from the following statement by Herr Fischbock which you have read, that I asked for a law which would authorise us, without connection with the Jewish Question, to withdraw licences. That would be a brief law. Whereupon I answered, "I will issue the decree to-day."

Q. Now, if you will -

A. Naturally, above all, Jewish stores were to be eliminated, as I said in the beginning.

Q. Please go on down two paragraphs to where this was reported:

"But I do not believe that there will be 100 stores, probably fewer, and thus, by the end of the year, we would have liquidated all the recognised Jewish-owned businesses.

Goering: That would be excellent.

Fischbock: - "

A. Yes, yes, that was the import of that meeting.
Q. "Fischbock: Out of 17,000 stores 12,000 or 14,000 would be shut down and the remainder Aryanised or handed over to the Bureau of Trustees, which belongs to the State.

[Page 265]

Goering: I have to say that this proposal is grand. This way the whole affair in Vienna, one of the Jewish capitals, so to speak, would be wound up by Christmas or by the end of the year.

Funk: We can do the same thing here. I have prepared a law elaborating that. Effective as from 1st January, 1939, Jews shall be prohibited from operating retail stores and wholesale establishments, as well as independent artisan shops. They shall be further prohibited from keeping employees or offering any ready products on the market, from advertising or receiving orders. Whenever a Jewish shop is operated the police will shut it down.

From 1st January, 1939, a Jew can no longer be head of an enterprise, as stipulated in the law for the organisation of national labour from 20th January, 1934. If a Jew has a leading position in an establishment without being the head of the enterprise, his contract may be declared void within six weeks by the head of the enterprise. With the expiration of this period 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 will have to be retired by 31st December, 1938. A special authorisation is unnecessary. The competent Ministers of the Reich are being authorised to issue the provision necessary for execution of this law.

Goering: I believe we can agree with this law."

A. Yes.

Q. Now I ask you to pass over a considerable dialogue relating to the Vienna situation and I call your attention to the point at which Funk inquires of you, "Why should the Jew not be allowed to keep bonds?"

"Goering: Because in that way he would actually be given a share."
A. Yes, that was the purpose, to get them out of the enterprise. If he kept the bonds, on the basis of his rights as stockholder, he still had an interest in the enterprise, and on the basis of part ownership of the stocks his will would still carry weight in the enterprise.

Q. You turned Funk's suggestion down - that the Jews be allowed to keep bonds?

A. Yes. I replaced the bonds with credits.

Q. Well, we will pass several more pages of debate, unless there is something you want to call attention to, and I come to the point where Heydrich is stating his position. I call your attention to this dialogue:

"Heydrich: At least 45,000 Jews were made to leave the country by legal measures.

Goering: - "

A. One moment, please ... I have found it now.
Q. "At least 45,000 Jews were made to leave the country by legal measures.

Goering: How was this possible?"

and then Heydrich tells you that:
"Through the Jewish societies we extracted a certain amount of money from the rich Jews who wanted to emigrate. By paying this amount and an additional sum in foreign currency they made it possible for a number of poor Jews to leave. The problem was not to make the rich Jews leave but to get rid of the Jewish mob."
Is that correct?

A. One moment. I have not found it here yet, but generally that is correct, yes.

[Page 266]

Q. Pass on a little further. Heydrich is making suggestions and says:
"As for the isolating, I would like to make a few proposals regarding police measures, which are important also because of their psychological effect on public opinion.

For example, anybody who is Jewish according to the Nuremberg laws will have to wear a certain badge. That is a possibility which will facilitate many other things. I see no danger of excesses, and it will make our relationship with the foreign Jews easier.

Goering: A uniform?

Heydrich: A badge. This way we could put an end to foreign Jews being molested who do not look different from ours.

Goering: But my dear Heydrich, you will not be able to avoid the creation of ghettos on a very large scale in all the cities. They will have to be created."

Is that what you said?

A. I said that. At that time the problem was to get the Jews together in certain parts of the cities and along certain streets, because on the basis of the tenant regulations there was no other possibility, and if the wearing of badges was to be made obligatory, each individual Jew could have been protected.

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