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 10 of 10)

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

[Page 151]

Q. You do not remember it? Well, you had better look at the document. It is Document 1031-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 844.

Do you not remember the day that your Reichsbank Director Wilhelm said it should not appear that you were counterfeiting so-called Rouble bills for use in the occupied countries?

Rosenberg was at that meeting. It is a very short memorandum. Have you read it? It is on page four, I think, of the document that you have; I am sorry. Can you find it? It begins "In the Ukraine and in the Caucasus, however, it would become necessary to maintain the present currency, the rouble - " and so on. You were talking about money problems in the territory that you expected to occupy, and that was, well, about a month before the attack and about a month after Rosenberg's appointment, was it not? Can you not give me an answer?

A. I have not found the passage yet.

Yes, if these countries were conquered, it was necessary to deal with these questions.

Q. The point is that certainly by that time you knew about the impending attack on the countries that had to be conquered, did you not?

A. I knew nothing of an attack. I only knew of an imminent danger of war.

Q. Well, all right, you have it your way. The important thing is that you were talking about using money in the Ukraine and in the Caucasus, and it happened about a month later.

A. Yes.

Q. All right. There are quite a few questions I want to ask. I would like to close this examination before the adjournment time is due. Have you anything to say to that? I only wished to show you that you had knowledge about the impending attack. You knew that something was going to happen in the East. That is all I wanted to ask. I think you will agree with that, won't you?

A. Yes.

Q. All right.

A. Since the appointment of Rosenberg - and I explained that quite clearly this morning -I knew that a war with Russia was threatening.

Q. We are in agreement. We do not need to go further. I understood you to say this morning that you did not know. That is all right. I misunderstood you then. I now understand you to say that you did know it.

A. I said quite clearly this morning that I was informed that the Fuehrer was expecting a war with Russia, but I am not sure about this document, as to who has written it.

Q. Well, I do not know either. I can simply tell you that it was captured, among other documents, from Rosenberg's files. I cannot tell you anything more about it.

I think we can discuss another matter, if you will permit me. I really do not think there is any need to go on with it.

A. Yes, but it is important in so far as these things about the rouble have been attributed to me.

Q. I will say it is, too.

A. It says here that I said that the use of the Reichskreditkassenschein and the determining of the rate of exchange involved considerable danger. In other words, I was very doubtful in regard to the proposals made in this respect.

Q. All right. I am glad to have your observations about it. Now, I want to discuss with you that time you took over the Reichsbank. Posse was your principal deputy in your Ministry of Economics, was he not?

A. Landfried was my main deputy.

[Page 152]

Q. And by the way, he was at the same meeting that we have just been talking about.

Who was your principal assistant in the Reichsbank?

A. Puhl.

Q. He was a member of the Schacht staff, was he not?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you induce him to remain? Did you ask him to remain?

A. No.

Q. You said that you selected your personnel. That is what you told the Tribunal this morning.

A. No. Puhl remained and also Kretschmann and Wilhelm.

Q. I am not interested in going through your roster of personnel. I am only asking - and I will tell you the purpose. Puhl was a reliable banking man, was he not? He was well known in the international banking circles. He had been offered a position in the Chase Bank in New York at one time, did you know that?

A. No, I did not know that.

Q. Well, it is true. In any event, he was a capable man, and he is a reliable man, is he not?

A. Yes.

Q. You asked for him as a witness, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you wanted him to come here because you believe him and you know he -

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I want to consider the question of the gold in the Reichsbank. How much gold did you have on hand at the end of the year 1941, roughly? Don't give me a long story about it, because I am not very much interested. I am merely trying to find out if you were short on gold in 1941.

A. The gold reserve which I took over amounted to about half a billion, when I was appointed to Schacht's post.

Q. Well, all right.

A. It was substantially increased only by the Belgian gold, as far as I know.

Q. It is interesting to hear all about it, but I have another purpose in mind. From whence did you obtain gold after you took over? Where did you get any new gold reserves from?

A. Only by changing foreign currency into gold, and then after I took over the post we got, in addition, the gold reserve of the Czech National Bank. But we mainly increased our reserve through the Belgian gold.

Q. All right. Now, of course, gold became very important to you as a medium for payment in foreign exchange. You had to pay off in gold in 1942 and 1943, did you not? Is that so?

A. It was very difficult to pay in gold.

Q. I know it was.

A. Because the countries with which we still had business relations introduced gold embargoes. Sweden refused to accept gold. Only in Switzerland could we still do business through changing gold into foreign currency.

Q. I think you have established that you had to use gold as foreign exchange in 1942 and 1943, and that's all I wanted to know. When did you start to do business with the SS, Herr Funk?

A. Business with the SS? I have never done that.

Q. Yes, sir, business with the SS. Are you sure about that? I want you to take this very seriously. It is about the end of your examination, and it is very important to you. I ask you again, when did you start to do business with the SS?

A. I never did business with the SS. I can only repeat what I said in the preliminary interrogation. Puhl one day informed me that a deposit had been received from the SS. First I assumed that it was a regular deposit, that is, a deposit which remained locked and which was of no further concern to us, but

[Page 153]

then Puhl told me later that these deposits of the SS should be used by the Reichsbank. I assumed they consisted of gold coins and foreign currency, but principally gold coins, which every German citizen had had to turn in, and which were taken from inmates of concentration camps and turned over to the Reichsbank. Valuables which had been taken from the inmates of concentration camps did not go to the Reichsbank, but, as we have several times heard here, to the Reich Finance Minister, that is -

Q. Just a minute. Were you in the habit of having gold teeth deposited in the Reichsbank?

A. No.

Q. But you did have it from the SS, did you not?

A. I do not know.

Q. You do not know.

MR. DODD: Well, now, if your Honour please, we have a very brief film, and I think we can show it before we adjourn, and I would like to show it to the witness before I examine him further on this gold business in the Reichsbank. It is a film that was taken by the Allied Forces when they entered the Reichsbank, and it will show gold teeth and bridges and so on, in the vaults.

A. I know nothing about it.

Q. I think, perhaps, before I have the film shown, I would like to - I think I can do it in the time; I do want to complete this, this afternoon - I want to read you an affidavit from this man Puhl who, you told me a few minutes ago, was a credible, well-informed man, and whom you called as a witness. This affidavit is dated 3rd May, 1946.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I protest against the reading of this affidavit by Herr Puhl. This affidavit most probably - I'm not sure - was taken here in Nuremberg. I - we do not know its contents. The prosecution surprises us today with an affidavit of which we know nothing, and within ten minutes, a dozen documents are presented, of which the prosecution asserts they are only short documents, whereas, for instance, one affidavit among them contains 12 pages, I believe. It is quite impossible for us, in view of the haste with which this examination is taking place, to follow these statements and these documents. Therefore, I have to protest against the use of an affidavit of that kind at this moment.

MR. DODD: Well, this affidavit was taken at Baden-Baden, Germany, on 3rd May. We have been trying for a long time to put this part of this case together, and we have finally succeeded. Certainly we did not turn it over to Dr. Sauter, because we wanted to use it for just the purposes that I am trying to put it to now. And it is an affidavit of his assistant Puhl, whom he called as a witness and from whom he expects to have an interrogatory. It has to do with a very important part of this case.

I might say that if we are permitted to use it, certainly Dr. Sauter will have a chance to re-examine on it, and he will have all night to study it if he would like to look it over.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, are you wanting to cross-examine the witness about this document?

MR. DODD: Yes, I want to read it to him, and I want to ask him a few questions about it. I want him to know it because it is the basis for two or three questions of cross- examination, and to impeach him for statements he has already made about the gold.

THE PRESIDENT: You may do that. But Dr. Sauter, of course, will be able, if he wishes to do so, to apply afterwards that the witness should be produced for cross examination. And he will have time in which he can consider the affidavit and make any comments that he wants to about it.

[Page 154]

MR. DODD: Very well, your Honour.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I make just one statement? Today, a case occurred where the prosecution protested against the fact that a document was used of which the prosecution had not previously received an English translation. The representative of the prosecuting told me he did not understand German, and therefore, the document had to be translated. I am of the opinion that the defence should be allowed the same right as the prosecution.

If one English document after the other is presented to me without my having the slightest idea of the contents, then I cannot answer them. Difficulties are constantly increasing. For instance, I have received documents here which contain 12 pages. One sentence is read out of such a document. The defendant is not given time to read every one single paragraph. I myself am not given time. And in spite of that, it is expected that the defendant immediately explain one single sentence taken out of the context, without having the possibility of examining the document. That, in my opinion, is asking too much.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, you had a translation in German of nearly every document, if not every document. And you have also been given every opportunity to consider documents when they have been translated into German. And that opportunity will be given to you hereafter, and if there are any documents which are being used in cross-examination now which are not in German, they will be translated into German, and you will have them then. But once the witness is under cross-examination, the documents may be used.

If you want to re-examine upon the documents after you have them in German, you will be able to do so.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, we, Defence Counsel, also desire to further the proceedings and not to delay them. But it does not help me if, in a week or two, when I shall finally have been able to examine the documents presented today, I must turn to you, Mr. President, with the request to be permitted to question the witness again. We are glad once we are through with the examination of the witnesses.

But we simply cannot follow Mr. Dodd's method. I cannot follow, and the defendant cannot either. One cannot expect the defendant to explain an isolated sentence taken out of the context, if he had no chance to examine the document as a whole.


MR. DODD: May I proceed to examine on the document?

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, have you any objection to Dr. Sauter seeing the document?

MR. DODD: Yes, indeed I have. I think it would be a new rule. Ever since this defence opened, we have presented documents for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of various witnesses, and used these documents, and it goes on to the very foundation of cross-examination. If we have to turn such documents over to the defence, before we cross- examine, the whole purpose of cross-examination is gone.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, if you are putting the document in and putting it to the witness as a document, then his counsel is entitled, I should have thought, to have it at the same moment.

MR. DODD: We are perfectly willing to give him a German copy at once. It is here for him, if he wishes to have it, and it was available when we came in the court-room.


[Page 155]

MR. DODD: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the best thing will be for us to adjourn now, and then you will hand to Dr. Sauter, when you use the document, a translation of it in German.

MR. DODD: Yes; tomorrow morning, when we use it.

THE PRESIDENT: When you use it.

MR. DODD: Very well, Sir.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 7th May, 1946, 1000 hours.)

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