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-Third Day: Tuesday, 7th May, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[GENERAL RAGINSKY continues his cross examination of WALTER FUNK]

[Page 168]

Q. You wish to convince us that this was the personal initiative of von Jagwitz, and that you as a Minister knew nothing at all about it?

A. Certainly I knew about it. He did it with my knowledge, with my knowledge and approval -

Q. Please follow the text and you had better listen to what I want to say. I will read the last paragraph, which states:

"The Main Department V is in charge of the Foreign Organization of the Reich Ministry of Economics. This same department is in charge of all relations between the Ministry and the Foreign Organization of the Nazi Party."
This means that no, mention is made of any private initiative of von Jagwitz, as you tried to persuade us, but this department really was a part of your Ministry. Have you found the passage?

A. Yes. Herr von Jagwitz had this liaison office and essentially it was limited to his person. It was a liaison office for collaboration with the Foreign Organizations, which was a perfectly natural procedure in many cases. I don't see why this should be unusual or criminal.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I should like to pass on to another particular part. Would it be convenient to have a short recess now? I have a few more questions to ask.

[Page 169]

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; the Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. You mentioned yesterday that you were the Plenipotentiary for Economy but not a Plenipotentiary in the full sense of the word. Schacht was the true Plenipotentiary and you were merely a secondary one. Do you remember your article entitled "Economic and Financial Mobilization"? Do you remember what you wrote at that time?

A. No.

Q. Well, we are not going to waste anytime on that question. I shall remind you of it. I submit to the Tribunal in evidence Exhibit USSR 452, an article by Funk, published in the monthly journal of the NSDAP and of the German Workers' Front, entitled "Der Schulungsbrief for 1939."

You wrote at that time:

"As the General Plenipotentiary for Economy appointed by the Fuehrer, I must see to it that during the war all the forces of the nation should be secured also from the economic point of view."
Have you found this passage?

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. Further on you wrote:

"The contribution of economy to the great political aims of the Fuehrer demands not only a strong and unified direction of all the economic and political measures, but also above all careful co-ordination. Industry, food agriculture, forestry, timber industry, foreign trade, transport, manpower, the regulation of wages and prices, finance credits must be co-ordinated, so that the entire economic potential should serve in the defence of the Reich. In order to fulfil this task, I, as General Plenipotentiary for Economy, have at my disposal the authorities of the Reich in charge of these spheres."
Do you confirm that this is precisely what you wrote in 1939?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that question not quite clear to you?

THE PRESIDENT: He said yes.

THE WITNESS: Yes, I certainly wrote that.


Q. You confirm it. You know about the issue in June, 1941, of the so-called "Green File" of Goering. It was read into the record here. These are directives for the control of economy or, rather, directives for the plundering of the Occupied Territories of the USSR. How did you personally participate in the planning of these directives?

A. I do not know that. I do not know now whether or not I participated at all.

Q. You do not remember? How is it possible that these documents were planned without you, the President of the Reichsbank and General Plenipotentiary for Economy and the Armament Industry?

A. First, at that time I was no longer General Plenipotentiary for Economy. I was never Plenipotentiary for the Armament Industry. The powers of the Plenipotentiary for Economy, shortly after the beginning of the war, were turned over to the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan. That has been repeatedly confirmed and emphasized and what I did personally at that time, concerning economy in the Eastern Occupied Territories, can only have been very, very little. I do not remember it because the administration of economy in the Occupied Eastern Territories was in charge of the Economic Leadership Staff East and the Trustee

[Page 170]

of the Four-Year Plan and that office, of course, co- operated with the Rosenberg Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories. Personally I only remember that, as I mentioned yesterday, in the course of time the Ministry of Economics sent individual business men, merchants, from Hamburg to Cologne, etc., and commissioned them to carry on their individual economic activities in the Eastern Occupied Territories.

Q. Yes, we have already heard what "activities" you dealt with. Your name for plunder is "activities." Do you remember the Prague Conference of December, 1941. The meeting of the Economic Organization, or must I remind you of it?

A. No.

Q. Not necessary?

A. During the interrogations, my attention was called by General Alexandrov to this speech, and I told him at that time that there was an erroneous newspaper report about me which I had rectified later, or a short time after it was published.

Q. Just a minute, defendant Funk. You are slightly anticipating events.

You do not yet know what I am going to ask you. First listen to me and then reply. You have informed the Tribunal that you never attended any meeting of Hitler at which the political and economic aims of the attack on the Soviet Union were discussed, that you did not know of any purpose and of any declared plans of Hitler for the territorial dismemberment of the Soviet Union, and yet you yourself declared in your statement that "the East will be the future colony of Germany," Germany's colonial territory. Did you say that the East would be the future colonial territory of Germany?

A. No; I disputed that in my interrogation. I immediately said after this was put to me, that I was speaking of the old German colonial territories. General Alexandrov can confirm that. He questioned me at that time.

Q. I have no intention of calling General Alexandrov as a witness. I am only asking you if you did say so, was it written as stated?

A. No.

Q. You stated that you did not have to be reminded, but that is precisely what was mentioned in your speech, and I am going to quote verbatim from that speech:

"The vast territories of the Eastern European region, containing raw materials which have not yet been opened up to Europe, will become the promising colonial territory of Europe."
And exactly what Europe were you discussing in December, 1945, and what former German territories did you wish to mention to the Tribunal? I am asking you.

A. I have said that I did not speak about colonial territories, but of the old colonisation areas of Germany.

Q. Yes, but we are not speaking here of old territories; we are speaking here of new territories which you wished to conquer.

A. The area had been conquered already. We did not have to conquer that. That had been conquered by German troops.

Q. No. It was not known that they were conquered, since you were already retreating from them.

You have said that you were the president of the "Continental Oil Company." This company was organized for the exploitation of the oilfields of the Occupied Territories, especially in the districts of Groznay and Baku. Please answer me: "yes", or "no."

A. Not only of the Occupied Territories. This company was concerned with oil industries all over Europe. It had its beginnings in the Rumanian oil interests and whenever German troops occupied territories where there were oil deposits, that company, which was a part of the Four-Year Plan, was given the task by the various economic offices, later by the armament industry, of producing oil in these territories and of restoring the destroyed oil-producing districts. The company had a tremendous reconstruction programme.

[Page 171]

I personally was the president of the board and I mainly only had to do the financing of that company.

Q. That I have already heard. But you have not answered my question.

I asked you if this Company had as the object the exploitation of the Groznay and Baku oil wells. Did the oil wells of the Caucasus form the basic capital of the Continental Oil Company?

A. No.

Q. I am satisfied with your reply.

A. That is not right. We hadn't conquered the Caucasus and therefore the Continental Oil Company could not be active in the Caucasus.

Q. But Rosenberg at that time had already made a report on the conquest and exploitation of the Caucasus.

Do you remember that here, before the Tribunal, a transcript of the minutes of a meeting held at Goering's office on the 6th August, 1942, with the Reich Commissars of the Occupied Territories, was read into the record. Do you remember that meeting?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you participate in this meeting?

A. That I do not know. Did they speak about the oil territories of the Caucasus in that meeting? That I do not know.

Q. No, I do not wish to say anything as yet. I shall ask you a question and you will answer. I ask you: did you participate in that meeting?

A. I cannot remember. It may very well be.

Q. You don't remember?

A. No.

Q. In that case you will be shown a document. It has already been submitted to the Tribunal, and was here read into the record. It is Exhibit USSR 170, it has already been presented.

As stated at that meeting, the most effective measures for the economic plunder of the Occupied Territories of the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and other countries, were discussed. At this meeting defendant Goering addressed himself to you. Do you remember whether you were present at that meeting or not?

A. Yes, indeed. I remember that. But what Goering told me then refers to the fact that, a long time after the Russian territories had been occupied, we sent business men there to bring into those territories any goods that might be of interest to the population. For instance it says here:-

"Business men must be sent there - we must send them to Venice to buy up these things in order to re-sell them in the occupied Russian territories."
That is what Goering told me on that occasion. At least that is what can be read here.

Q. I did not ask you about that, witness Funk. Were you present at that meeting or not? Could you answer that question?

A. Of course. Since Goering talked to me, I must have been there. It was on 7th August, 1942.

Q. Defendant Funk, you have replied here to certain questions asked by Mr. Dodd regarding the increase of the gold reserve of the Reichsbank; I should like to ask you the following question: you have stated that the gold reserves of the Reichsbank were only increased by the gold reserves of the Belgian Bank; but did you not know that 23,000 kilos of gold were stolen from the National Bank of Czechoslovakia and transferred to the Reichsbank?

A. I did not know that it had been stolen.

Q. Then what do you know?

A. I stated explicitly here yesterday that the gold deposits had been increased mostly by the taking over the gold of the Czech National Bank and the Belgian Bank. I especially spoke of the Czech National Bank yesterday.

[Page 172]

Q. Yes, but I am not asking you about the Belgian Bank, but about the Bank of Czechoslovakia.

A. Yes, I mentioned it yesterday. I said so yesterday -

THE PRESIDENT: He said that just now. He said that he had spoken about the Czechoslovakian gold deposits.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, he did not mention Czechoslovakia yesterday and I am asking him this question today. But if he replies to this question in the affirmative I shall not interrogate him any further on the matter, since he will have confirmed it.

I now pass on to the next question - to the question of Yugoslavia. On the 14th April, 1941, i.e. - prior to the complete occupation of Yugoslavia - the Commander-in-Chief of the German Land Forces issued a directive for the Occupied Yugoslav Territories. This is Exhibit USSR 140 and JU 78, and has already been submitted to the Tribunal. Sub- paragraph 9 of this directive determines the compulsory rate of Yugoslav exchange - 20 Yugoslav dinars to the German mark. And the same compulsory rate of exchange, which had been applied to the Yugoslav dinar, was also applied to the credit notes (Reichskreditkassenschein) issued by the Reich Foreign Currency Bureau.

These currency operations permitted the German invaders to export from Yugoslavia, at a very cheap rate, various merchandise as well as other valuables. Similar operations were carried out in all the Eastern Occupied Territories, and I ask you: do you admit that such operations were one of the means for the economic plunder of the Eastern Occupied Territories?

A. No.

Q. Very well.

A. That depends on the relation of the exchange rate. In some cases, in particular in the case of France, I protested against the under-evaluation -

Q. Excuse me just one minute, defendant Funk. You have already spoken about France and I do not want to take up the time of the Tribunal unnecessarily. I consider that you ought to answer my question.

A. At the moment I do not know what the exchange rate between the dinar and the mark was at that time. In general, in so far as I had anything to do with it - I did not make the directive; that came from the Finance Minister and from the command of the Armed Forces - in so far as I had anything to do with it I always urged that the rate should not differ too greatly from the rate which existed and which was based on the purchasing power. At the moment I cannot say what the exchange rate for dinars was at that time.

Of course, "occupational currency" had to be introduced with the troops, because otherwise we would have had to issue special requisition vouchers, and that would have been much worse than introducing an official means of payment, as is now being done here in Germany by the Allies, because working with requisition vouchers is much more disadvantageous and harmful to the population and the entire country than working with a recognized means of payment. We invented the "occupational currency" ourselves.

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