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 7 of 10)

[Page 181]

MR. DODD: Mr. President, may I raise one matter before the witness is excused? This Document 3894-PS that we have quoted from, and that the defendant has quoted from, contains a number of other quotations and I think it would be well if we submitted the whole document in the four languages, and I shall be prepared to do that so the Tribunal will have the benefit of the whole text. So far we have both been quoting from it, but I think it would be most helpful to the Tribunal if it had the whole text.

And may we ask, Mr. President, shall we make arrangements or should I do anything about getting the witness Puhl here?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, have you any request to make with reference to the witness Puhl, who made an affidavit?

DR. SAUTER: Regarding the witness Puhl I beg to request, Mr. President, that he be brought here for cross-examination, the witness Emil Puhl. I was going to make that request in any case.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly, Dr. Sauter. The witness Puhl should be brought here. He will be brought here as soon as possible.

DR. SAUTER: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Now the defendant can return to the dock.

FRANZ HEILER, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Franz Heiler.

[Page 182]

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Dr. Heiler, how old are you?

A. 46 years.

Q. Are you a professional civil servant, or how did you get into the Ministry of Economics under Dr. Funk?

A. I was an independent business man and merchant and, as such, first became the head of the "Economic Group Retail Trade" within the organization of industrial economy. In this capacity I had very close contact with the Ministry of Economics. After Minister Funk had been appointed Minister for Economics I reported to him regarding the scope of my work, and on that occasion I made his acquaintance. When I was then put in charge of the "Reich Group Trade," the working relations between the organization directed by me and the Ministry, especially between the then State Secretary Landfried and the Minister himself, became very friendly.

After the separation of the ministries in the autumn Of 1943, the main task of the Ministry was providing for the German people, that is, the civilian population.

As head of the Trade Organization I was the person responsible for the sale of merchandise, that is, for procuring supplies, and during a conference with Minister Funk regarding the co-operation between Trade and the Ministry, Herr Landfried, who was then State Secretary, made the suggestion that Minister Funk should call me into his Ministry and make me his deputy. Herr Landfried believed that under the existing conditions he himself was not strong enough to carry out this difficult task, since the Ministry had been deprived of its influence on production. Then, when Minister Funk told him, in reply to his suggestion, that he, Landfried, was the deputy of the Minister, Landfried replied that he could not continue to carry out these tasks and that he asked to be permitted to retire, and proposed that I should be his successor. About two or three weeks later, I was given charge of the affairs of the State Secretary.

Q. When was this conference?

A. This conference took place in October, 1943; my appointment came on 20 November, 1943.

Q. So that until the autumn of 1943, Dr. Heiler, you were employed in your organizations only in an honorary capacity?

A. Yes.

Q. That was, I think, retail trade?

A. Yes, trade.

Q. And beginning in 1943 you became an official in the Reich Ministry of Economics in the capacity of State Secretary?

A. I became an official with this position of State Secretary on 30 January, 1944.

Q. In this position you were one of the closest collaborators of Dr. Funk?

A. I was his deputy.

Q. Dr. Heiler, during a conference that we had on the day before yesterday, I discussed with you the question of whether the defendant Dr. Funk was a particularly radical man or whether, on the contrary, he acted with moderation and consideration toward others. What do you have to say to this question which may have a certain importance in forming an opinion on the personality of the defendant Funk?

[Page 183]

A. Funk is, above all, a human being and always has been. Radicalism is quite foreign to his entire character. He is more of an artist, a man of very fine artistic feeling and scholarly ideas.

I believe one can say that at no time was he a doctrinaire or dogmatic. On the contrary, he was conciliatory and anxious to settle disputes. For this reason in Party circles in particular, he was considered too soft, too indulgent, in fact he was accused many times of being too weak. He tried to protect domestic economy from political encroachment and from unnecessary severity, and because of his respect and his regard for enterprising endeavour, and of his own responsibility to economy and to the people, even during the war he fought against unnecessary intervention in various enterprises. He protected industry against mergers and closures. This finally led to his being deprived of the responsibility for production in the decisive phase of the war.

I recall from my time of collaboration with him, when I was still in charge of the trade organization, that Funk on various occasions interceded for men in the industrial world who were in political difficulties.

I believe, however, that because of those individual cases, such as his intervention on behalf of Consul General Hollander or for Herr Pietsch, and because of his attempts to promote peace, he at that time had to expect grave consequences; also because of his intervention in the case of Richard Strauss; as is surely known, and in similar cases. I don't think these individual cases are of as great importance as perhaps the following: After the catastrophe of 9 November, 1938, the process of Aryanization was to be intensified in the Ministry of Economics; at that time a few political men were forced upon the Ministry, especially Herr Schmeer. I remember distinctly that at that time Landfried in particular, as well as Funk, slowed down considerably this radicalisation of the Ministry, and Funk and the Ministry were blamed for doing so.

After 8 and 9 November I once had a conference regarding the events of that date with Himmler in which I voiced my complaints. Himmler on that occasion finally reproached both Funk and myself by saying, among other things:

"Finally, you people on the economic side and connected with economic management are also to blame that things have gone too far. People like Herr Schacht cannot be expected to do anything except go slow all the time and oppose the will of the Party, but if you and Funk and all you people on the economic side had not slowed things down so much, these excesses would not have happened."
Q. Yes, Dr. Heiler, another question. You also worked with Dr. Funk in matters concerning the economy of the occupied territories. Dr. Funk is accused of having played a criminal part in despoiling the occupied territories as well as in destroying their currency and economic systems. Could you enlighten the Tribunal as briefly as possible on the defendant Funk's attitude and activities? As briefly as possible.

A. I believe two facts must be stated first of all:

First, the influence of the Ministry of Economics on the occupied territories was relatively limited. Secondly, during the year in which I was in the Ministry these questions were no longer particularly important.

Generally speaking, the position was as follows: Funk was constantly accused of thinking more of peace than of war. The opinions he proclaimed both in his speeches and in print, referred to a European economic policy; and I assume that these talks and publications or articles are before the Tribunal.

Q. Yes, they are here.

A. Funk looked at the occupied territories from exactly the same point of view. He raised repeated objections to the over-exploitation of the occupied territories and expressed the view that wartime co-operation should form the basis of later co-operation in peace. His view was that confidence and willingness to co-operate should be fostered in the occupied territories during the war. He expressed the view that the black market could not be combated by the black

[Page 184]

market and that, since we were responsible for the occupied territories, we must avoid anything likely to disturb the currency and economic system of these territories.

I think I remember that he also discussed the question with the Reichsmarshal and defended his own point of view. He also repeatedly opposed unduly heavy occupation expenses, and always favoured the reduction of our own expenditure, that is, of German expenditure in the occupied territories.

In other words, he regarded the occupied territories in exactly the same way as other European countries, and this attitude is best illustrated by the speech he made in Vienna, I believe, in which he publicly acknowledged as genuine debts the clearing debts, the high totals of which were due mainly to differences in prices - i.e. inflationist tendencies - in the countries which delivered the goods.

Q. Dr. Heiler, the defendant Funk is, furthermore, accused of playing a criminal part in the enslavement of foreign workers. This accusation applies particularly to the period during which you were a co-worker of Dr. Funk. Can you tell us briefly how Funk thought and acted in regard to this point?

A. There can be no question of Funk's co-operation in questions regarding the employment of foreign labour at this time except within the scope of his responsibility for the Central Planning. But it remains to be seen whether the Central Planning was at all responsible for the employment of workers, or whether the Central Planning did nothing more than ascertain the manpower needs of the various production spheres. However, regardless of what the tasks of the Central Planning may have been, Funk's position in the Central Planning was the following:

Funk, as Minister of Economics was responsible for the supplies for the civilian population and for export. In the period following the separation of the ministries, no additional foreign worker I believe was employed in the production of supplies for civilians or for export. On the contrary, Funk was constantly confronted with the fact that, during that time, German and foreign workers were continually being removed from the production of consumer goods and put into armament production. Consequently, I cannot imagine that an accusation of this sort can be made against Funk with reference to this period of time.

I should like to emphasize another point which, seems important to me. The providing for the foreign workers was a very serious question. I believe that even Herr Sauckel will corroborate the fact that, when this question came up, Funk was at once ready - even though there was already a great scarcity of provisions for the German people due to the many air raids and destruction - to release large quantities of supplies and put them at the disposal of the foreign workers.

Q. If I understand you correctly, he tried to see to it that the foreign workers who had to work in Germany were supplied as well as was possible with consumer articles, food, shoes, clothes, and so on.

A. Particularly shoes and clothing; Funk was not the competent authority for food.

Q. Shoes and clothing?

A. Yes, I have specific knowledge of this. And as a result Funk had considerable difficulty; for the Gauleiter in view of the great scarcity of goods, did their best to secure supplies for the inhabitants of their own districts for whom they were responsible, and in so doing, used every means which came to hand. Funk had constantly to oppose the arbitrary acts of the Gauleiter, who broke into the supply stores in their districts and appropriated stocks intended for the general use.

Q. Dr. Heiler, do you know whether Dr. Funk - I am still referring to the time when you worked with him - represented the viewpoint that the foreign worker should not be brought to Germany to work here, but that rather the work itself should be taken from Germany into the foreign countries, so that the foreign worker could perform his work in his home country and remain at home?

Please answer that.

[Page 185]

A. I know very well that Funk represented that viewpoint, and it is in accordance with his general attitude, for the political disquiet and dissatisfaction which accompany the displacement of such large masses of human beings, temporarily uprooted, was in opposition to the policy of appeasement and reconstruction which was definitely Funk's goal.

Q. I now come to the last question which I wish to put to you, Dr. Heiler. When the German armies retreated and when German territories were occupied by enemy armies, difficulties arose regarding the supplying of these territories with money. At that time Hitler is supposed to have planned a law according to which the acceptance and passing on of foreign occupation money was to be punished even by death. I am not interested now, Dr. Heiler, in finding out why Hitler planned to do this, but I am interested in finding out, if you can tell me, how the defendant Funk reacted to this demand by Hitler and what success he had.

A. Two facts can be established in regard to this point, which should be of interest to the Tribunal. I have rarely seen Funk as depressed as at that time, after he had received information about the so-called "scorched earth decree." I believe he was the first Minister to issue at that time two very clear decrees, one from the Ministry of Economics in which he gave definite instructions that where German people were, an administration of economy in some sort of form must remain; where it is necessary that people be provided for, the State must continue to provide for these people.

The second decree was issued at the same time by the Reichsbank President, in which he decreed that the money market had to be cared for by the remaining offices of the Reichsbank in the same way that economy was to be cared for.

Regarding your question itself, I recall very distinctly that the Fuehrer himself, as it was said, had demanded of the Ministry of Economics the issuing of a legal regulation according to which the acceptance of occupation money was forbidden to every German on pain of death. Herr Funk opposed this demand very energetically, I believe with the help of Herr Lammers. He himself phoned headquarters repeatedly and finally succeeded in having the Fuehrer's directive withdrawn.

Q. Have you finished?

A. Yes.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do the other defendants' Counsel wish to ask any questions?

(No response.)

Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?

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