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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd May to 13th May, 1946

One Hundred and Twenty-Second Day: Monday, 6th May, 1946
(Part 8 of 10)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of WALTER FUNK]

[Page 143]

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I did use these words once in connection with this action.

Q. You coined the phrase.

A. Because much was shattered.

Q. You are the fellow who started that expression. You are the man, aren't you; that was your expression?

A. Yes, I used it.

Q. And you were using it because you made this Frankfurter Zeitung speech?

A. I once characterised that action with that term, it is true, because much had been shattered.

Q. Now, let us proceed further to the well-known meeting of 12th November, when Goering and Goebbels and all of the other people made their remarks about the Jews, and you said you were present. You did not make any objection that day to anything that was said, did you?

A. No. I merely attempted to have certain things put through in order to save something for the Jews, for example, their securities and stocks. Then I managed to have the stores reopened, and I did more, too.

Q. I understand that, but I thought this morning you were really rather sensitive about the terrible things that had happened to the Jews, and you remember some of the suggestions that were made that day by Goering and Goebbels; they were rather nasty things, weren't they?

A. Yes, I openly admitted that I was much shaken -

Q. Were you? Well -

A. And that my conscience bothered me.

Q. All right. You went further after that and made your Frankfurter Zeitung speech and you carried out these decrees, even though your conscience was worrying you; is that so?

A. But the decrees had to be issued. I have already emphasized that several times here. I had no pangs of conscience because the decrees were issued. I had pangs of conscience because of the reasons for them. But the decrees themselves -

Q. That is what I'm asking you about.

A. But the decrees had to be issued. The reasons therefore, yes, I admit that.

Q. You know Schacht said on the witness stand that if he had been the Minister of Economics he did not think that those things would have happened? Do you remember him saying that here the other day, do you?

A. Yes. He would have had to have very powerful and influential connections in the Party, otherwise he could not have been successful.

Q. You did not have these connections in the Party, did you? You were not in the Party, you were a Minister?

A. No, I did not have these connections and I could not prevent these outrageous actions.

Q. Well, we'll see about that. Your counsel has submitted on your behalf an affidavit from one Oeser, O-E-S-E-R; do you remember that man? O-E-S-E-R, do you remember him?

[Page 144]

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember him

A. Yes.

Q. And his affidavit - interrogatory, I believe it was -

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, we'll adjourn for a bare ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Witness, I was inquiring about this man, Oeser, when we recessed - O-E-S-E-R; do you recall him? He was one of your employees in the Frankfurter Zeitung, was he not?

A. Yes, he was the chief of the Berlin Administration Office of the Frankfurter Zeitung, a well-known journalist.

Q. Yes. You know, don't you, that you have an interrogatory or an affidavit from him, which you are submitting to this Tribunal; it is in your Document Book?

A. He volunteered to do that.

Q. Well, I am not asking you whether he did or not; I just wanted to establish that you know that he did.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in that affidavit, as I read it, Oeser maintains that you were really being quite decent about Jews in that newspaper. Is that not so? Is that not the sense of it; that you saved them from dismissal and so on, you put them under the exceptions provided in the decrees?

A. Yes.

Q. All right.

A. I allowed quite a number of editors to come under these exceptions.

Q. Yes, I know. Now I want to ask you this: There was a real reason, other than decency towards Jews, for your conduct with reference to that particular paper, wasn't there?

A. No.

Q. Well, now, wait a minute.

A. I did not know these people personally.

Q. I do not say that you knew the people personally. I say that there was a reason, other than your feeling for Jews as a people, but which you have not told the Tribunal about yet, another reason maybe.

A. In the case of the editors of the Frankfurter Zeitung?

Q. Yes.

A. No.

Q. Now, is it not a fact that you and probably Hitler, and certainly Goebbels, and some of the other higher officials of the Nazi Party, decided that that paper should be left in statu quo because of its vast influence abroad? Isn't that true?

A. We did not talk about that at that time. That issue came up later. It came up when the Fuehrer demanded that almost all leading daily newspapers should either be taken over by the Party or merged with Party papers. And on that occasion I succeeded in having exception made for the Frankfurter Zeitung, and the Frankfurter Zeitung continued to exist for a long time. But that was much later. Here, in fact, the only reason was to help a few Jewish editors.

Q. Well -

A. It was a purely humane reason.

Q. You can answer this. I just wanted to get your answer recorded, because I'll have more to say about it later. Do I understand you to deny that it was your established policy to preserve the status quo of the Frankfurter Zeitung because of its influence abroad?

A. No, it was always my opinion that the Frankfurter Zeitung should remain as it was.

[Page 145]

Q. Well, was it for the reason that I suggest, because these people were well known in the financial world abroad, and you did not want to impair the usefulness of that paper abroad? That's what I'm getting at, and I say that that is why you kept them on, and not because you felt deeply about their plight as Jews.

A. No, not in this case. In this case that was not the reason.

Q. Very well; now, with respect to your activities as the Plenipotentiary for Economy and their relationship to the wars waged against Poland and the other powers, I have some questions that I would like to ask you. Now I will tell you what it is about first, so you will be aware. You are not maintaining, are you, that your position as Plenipotentiary for Economy did not have much to do with the affairs of the Wehrmacht?

A. Yes, I assert that. With the Wehrmacht -

Q. Now, I have in my hand here a letter which von Blomberg wrote to Goering. Do you remember that letter? It is a new document and you have not seen it in this trial but do you remember any such letter?

A. No.

Q. Well, I ask you to be handed Document EC-255.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, this becomes Exhibit USA 839.


Q. Now, in this letter from von Blomberg, I am only concerned now with the last sentence, really. You will notice that von Blomberg, in this letter, refers to the fact that Schacht had been appointed, but the last sentence says, or in the next to the last paragraph, first urges that you be appointed immediately, and that is underlined in his letter; and in the last paragraph he says:

"The urgency of unified further work on all preparations for the conduct of he war does not admit of this office being inoperative until 15th January, 1938."
This letter, by the way, was written on 29th November, 1937. Certainly von Blomberg thought that the job that he was suggesting you for would have some very great effect upon the conduct of the war, didn't he?

A. That may be, but in the first place, I do not know about that letter and, secondly, I was not immediately appointed Plenipotentiary for Economy but only in the course of 1938. Quite some time after I had been appointed Minister for Economics I asked Lammers why my appointment as Plenipotentiary for Economy had taken so long; he replied that my relationship to the Plenipotentiary for the Four- Year Plan had to be cleared up first. That was the reason why several months passed before I became Plenipotentiary for Economy, because it had to be ascertained that Goering had the decisive authority for war economy -

Q. You really do not need to go into all that.

A. I do not know about that letter, and I have never spoken to Blomberg about the affair.

Q. All right. You do recall perhaps that the OKW, after you were appointed, made some objection about the amount of authority that you had. Do you remember that?

A. No.

Q. Now, I am holding here another new Document, EC-270, which I will ask that you be shown, which will become Exhibit USA 840. While you are waiting for it, I will tell you that it is a letter written on 27th April, 1938. You will notice that in the first paragraph of this letter from the OKW, that the interpretation which has been put on the decree of the Fuehrer - the decree of 4th February, 1938, does not correspond to the necessities of total warfare.

And then you go down to the third paragraph on that first page and you will find other objections with respect to your authority. Apparently at this time the OKW thought you had too much to do with what would be the war effort, and finally on the last page, witness, if you will look at this paragraph you will

[Page 146]

see this sentence on the last page of the English, anyway; near the end of the letter this sentence appears: "The war economy, which is subordinated to the Plenipotentiary General, represents the stage in armaments reached by the armaments industry." And I want you to carefully observe those words "armaments industry."

And then it goes on to say: "If this stage fails, the striking power of the Armed Forces becomes questionable."

I ask that you pay attention to the words "armaments industry" because I recall that this morning you said you had absolutely nothing to do with the armaments industry, but apparently the OKW thought that you did, on 27th April, 1938. Isn't that so?

A. I do not recognize this letter either. I do not know the attitude of the OKW but I do know this; the OKW, especially the co-defendant Field Marshal Keitel, was of the opinion at that time that I, as General Plenipotentiary for Economy, should assume the authority and competence of Schacht; but there was a conversation between the Reichsmarshal and Field Marshal Keitel - Keitel confirmed this to me -in which the Reichsmarshal unambiguously declared, "The war economy will not be turned over to Funk." I can honestly and sincerely say that I did not have the slightest idea of all these things. I did not know what kind of position the OKW intended me to have. I never had that function because the administration for the armaments industry was never included in the Ministry of Economics. I do not remember the matter.

Q. All right. That is your answer. I suppose at the time you were also aware, as you told the Tribunal, that you were really subordinate to Goering and in a very inferior position about all of these things. Is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. I am going to ask you to look at another Document, EC- 271, which will become Exhibit USA 841, and this Document consists of a letter which you wrote to Lammers, a letter which Lammers wrote to the Chief of the High Command, Field Marshal Keitel, and one or two other letters not pertinent for the purposes of this present inquiry. It was written on 31st March, 1938, and I want you to turn to the second page because that is where your letter appears. The first page is just a letter from Lammers to Keitel, but let us look at the second page. Have you got it?

A. Yes.

Q. You are writing to Lammers and you say - I am not going to read the whole letter but the second paragraph. You wrote to Lammers and you say among other things: "On the occasion of a trip to Austria I have, among other matters, also talked to General Field Marshal Goering about the position of the Plenipotentiary for War Economy. I pointed out in this conversation that, contrary to the attitude of the OKW, of which I was informed, the decree of 4th February, 1938, concerning the leadership of the Wehrmacht did not change the position of the Plenipotentiary for War Economy."

And you go on to say that, apart from the fact that the decree applied exclusively to the command of the armed forces, and so on, and that especially the last paragraph of that decree stated that you were dependent upon instructions of the Fuehrer....

Then you go on to say: "Moreover, among the instructions of the Fuehrer is included the decision of the Reich Government of 21st May, 1935, according to which the Plenipotentiary for War Economy, in his sphere of duty as supreme Reich authority, is immediately subordinated to the Fuehrer.

General Field Marshal Goering assured me that my interpretation, as mentioned above, was correct in every respect and also corresponds with the Fuehrer's opinion. Thereupon I asked him to give me a brief written confirmation. General Field Marshal Goering promised to grant this request."

Now, you wrote that letter to Lammers, didn't you, on 31st March, 1938? Yes or no?

[Page 147]

A. Certainly.

Q. All right. You were trying to obtain supreme authority and make yourself answerable only to the Fuehrer and that is what this contest was about, and that is what Document EC- 271 referred to, and this is your answer to the OKW's objection that you had too much power. This does not indicate that you were an unimportant man, does it, Witness?

A. Yes. I wanted to clarify the position, but later it was not clarified in that sense but in the sense that I was dependent upon the directives of the Reichsmarshal. I wrote this letter in order to try to obtain a clarification, but I do not remember this letter in detail.

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