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 July to 15th July 1946

One Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Day: Monday, 15th July, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[Page 359]

By DR. SAUTER, Continued:

If Vice-President Puhl did not know that and could not have guessed it, then Funk could have known even less about it, and Puhl's initial statement, which was to the effect that - as he said at the time - "the gold articles had been accepted by the Reichsbank with Funk's knowledge and agreement and had been converted into cash with the assistance of the Reichsbank personnel," was to say the least a grossly misleading statement by Vice- President Puhl to the prosecution. Subsequently, during his imprisonment, when Puhl first learned of the true circumstances, he surely must have had the same compunctions as Funk, however innocent the latter was in the case. In conclusion, Puhl still declared here under oath that he would not have tolerated such transactions, and that he would have brought the matter to the attention of the directorate of the Reichsbank, as well as to the attention of President Funk, if he had known that the valuables were taken from victims of concentration camps and if he had been informed about the nature of these valuables.

In connection with this topic, I come to the following conclusion: The Reichsbank certainly transacted business for the account of the Reich, the substance of which was derived from criminal acts of the SS, but the defendant Funk knew nothing of this. He would not have tolerated such transactions had he known the true circumstances. Therefore, he cannot be made criminally responsible for this.

The same is also true, your Honours, with regard to Reichsbank credits for the business agencies of the SS, concerning which I shall limit myself to a few sentences. In his written affidavit of 3rd May, 1946, the witness Puhl has given a completely misleading account of this matter, also, for he stated originally that credits of 10 to 12 million marks furnished by the Gold Discount Bank upon the instruction of the defendant Funk were used - and I am now quoting literally: "for financing production in SS factories by workers from concentration camps."

[Page 360]

In his oral examination as a witness, Puhl was asked whether Funk had knowledge that persons from concentration camps were employed in these factories at all. In reply to this, Puhl declared literally: "I am inclined to assume this, but I am not in a position to know it." Therefore, he was not able to give any definite evidence concerning Funk's knowledge, but only to express a conjecture. In contrast to this, Funk's own statement in regard to this matter is quite clear and convincing; it was to the effect that he knew, indeed, about the request for credit by the SS, that he even granted it, but that he knew nothing about the nature of the SS enterprises concerned and about the people who were employed in them. Funk stated this under oath. Accordingly, this credit transaction, which moreover occurred about two years before the affair of the SS gold deposits, that is, even before 1940, incriminates neither the defendant Funk nor the witness Vice-President Puhl. At that time - 1940 - neither of them was acquainted with the conditions in the concentration camps, but only learned about them much later, that is, in the course of this trial, and moreover the defendant Funk never knew that persons from the concentration camps were working in the above-mentioned SS factories, for which the credit was intended.

Gentlemen, in this connection it appears necessary to spend a little time in discussing the question as to whether Funk ever visited a concentration camp. The witness Dr. Blaha, who was examined here, stated that Dr. Funk was once in Dachau in the first half of 1944. This visit was supposed to have occurred as a sequel to a conference with the Finance Minister at Berchtesgaden, or in some other place in this region, in which Funk is said to have participated. But, gentlemen, when he was examined here, the witness Dr. Blaha himself was unable to say that he had personally seen the defendant Funk in Dachau, but he only heard from camp inmates at Dachau - that is, from other persons - that Reich Minister of Economy Funk was allegedly present during the visit of a fairly large party of people to the camp. He did not see him. In fact, he would not have known him if he had. From the very beginning, Funk himself has denied this visit to Dachau in the most positive way. He also stated this under oath, and the affidavit made by his constant companion Dr. Schwedler, contained in the, Funk Document Book No. 13 which was submitted to you, proves beyond a doubt that Funk never was in a concentration camp. Dr. Schwedler is in a position to know this, as at that time he was the constant companion of the defendant and knew where Funk was staying from day to day. Moreover, Funk was never a Finance Minister, as the witness Dr. Blaha assumed, and never took part in a conference of finance ministers. Therefore, it appears beyond any doubt that what the witness Dr. Blaha stated here purely from hearsay is based on false information, or is the result of confusing him with another visitor, which was very easily possible, since the defendant Funk was comparatively unknown to the public. The conclusion, therefore, is that Funk never visited a concentration camp and never personally became aware of the conditions prevailing in such camps.

Now, by this assertion Funk by no means wishes to allege that he knew nothing at all about the existence of concentration camps. Funk was naturally cognizant of the fact, just as almost any other German, that there were concentration camp in Germany after 1933 just as he knew that there were and still are penitentiaries prisons and other penal institutions in Germany.

But what he did not know, and I want to stress it here, was the very large number of such concentration camps and of the hundreds of thousands, even millions of their inmates. Equally unknown to him were the countless atrocities committed in these camps, which first became known only in this trial. In particular, it was only during this trial that Funk learned that there were even extermination camps which served to murder millions of Jews. Funk had no knowledge of this; he has stated this under oath and it also appears absolutely credible, for one of the most important results of this trial, in the opinion of the defence, consists in the proof of the fact that the German people, in general, did

[Page 361]

not know anything about the conditions in the concentration camps or me immense number of them, but that, on the contrary, those conditions were kept secret in such a cunning and cruel way that even the highest officials of the Reich up to the so-called ministers did not learn anything about them.

The defence has now presented its views on that part of the Indictment which, had it been true, would have incriminated the man Funk in a most serious and terrible way. One may think as one pleases about acts of violence during a political and economic struggle, especially in stormy revolutionary periods, but, in the opinion of the defendant Funk himself, there cannot be any divergence of views on one point, namely, with regard to the concentration camp atrocities and the way they were committed for years, especially against the Jewish population. Anyone who participated in such unheard-of atrocities should be made to atone for them in the severest way, according to the opinion of the entire German people.

That is also the point of mew of the defendant Funk, which he expressed here on 6th May, 1946, when he replied to the American Prosecutor from the witness stand that as a man and as a German he felt a heavy guilt and a deep shame for the crimes which Germans committed against millions of wretched people.

Gentlemen, I have now reached the end of my consideration of the Funk case as far as criminal law is concerned, and that is the duty of the defence in this trial.

The examination of the evidence in regard to the Funk case has, in the opinion of the defendant, produced proof that a legal guilt, a criminal guilt, on his part does not exist, and that he can ask you for his acquittal with a clear conscience, because he has never committed any criminal acts in his life.

Your duty as judges will now be to find a just verdict for the defendant Funk, too, a verdict which does not make him atone for other people's guilt, which he could not prevent, which he did not even know about, but which only establishes the degree of his own guilt, and, indeed, not the degree of his political guilt, but of his criminal guilt, which is the sole object of these proceedings; a verdict which is not only valid for today but which will also be recognized as just in the future, when we shall have gained the necessary distance in time from these terrible events and can consider these things dispassionately, like the happenings of a remote history; a verdict, your Honours, which will not only satisfy the nations which you represent, but which will also be recognized as just and wise by the German people as a whole; a verdict, finally, which does not only destroy and take revenge and sow hatred for the future, but which will make it possible and easier for the German people to move upward again toward a happier future of human dignity and charity, of equality and peace.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, will you or Sir David deal with this. Sir David, I have had a document drawn up by the General Secretary which shows in the first place, in the case of the defendant Goering, that there are four interrogatories which have been submitted, and to which the prosecution has not objected. Is that right?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord, so there is no further comment with regard to that first application.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then, with reference to the defendant Ribbentrop, there are two affidavits to which there is no objection, and there are three further affidavits which have not been received, I understand.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: And one document to which the defendant's counsel wants to refer in its entirety, namely TC-75, is that right?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, that is so. There is no objection to that.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps I had better go on to the end of the documents and then call upon Dr. Horn for what he has got to say about these three, because as

[Page 362]

far as I can see, there are only these three documents and an affidavit for Seyss-Inquart from a man called Erwin Schotter and another from a man called Adalbert Jopisch which have not yet been received -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: - and three letters from Seyss-Inquart to Himmler which have not yet been produced.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Also, in the case of Fritzsche there are two interrogatories of Delmar and Feldscher which have not yet been received.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, with regard to the three letters of the defendant Seyss-Inquart, they have been received, but they have not yet been translated into French, and I think, my Lord, the simplest way would be if the Tribunal took it that provisionally there is no objection but that the French delegation reserve their right to make any objection if, upon receiving the translation, they find there is any objection to make.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the French Delegation will let the Tribunal know if they find there is any objection.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Now, with reference to the rest, so far as the prosecution is concerned, what are the objections if any?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I think the only objection is with regard to the application of Dr. Servatius for the defendant Sauckel. Your Lordship sees that, after the interrogatories granted by the Tribunal, there are certain documents which were introduced on the 3rd of July by the defendant Sauckel to be considered by the Tribunal, and then there are a number which are, lettered "A" to "I". The prosecution suggests that these documents are cumulative of the large number of documents already introduced on behalf of this defendant, and, my Lord -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Just one minute, Sir David. These documents "A" to "I" -


THE PRESIDENT: - were they applied for after the case had been closed?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: They were submitted on the 3rd of July, Sir. That would be after the case had been closed.

THE PRESIDENT: But that was at the time, was it not, when we were asking for supplementaries?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, at the very end. THE PRESIDENT: That very day?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes. My Lord, I am sorry, but the case was not technically closed, for that day was open for any defendant to put in.

THE PRESIDENT: Are these documents which you have just been referring to - "A" to "I" - are they already all in the document book?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Servatius tells me they are.

My Lord, I have just been having a word with Dr. Servatius and he says that the one to which he attaches the greatest importance is "A", the decree by the defendant Sauckel as to return transportation of sick foreign workers. My Lord, I am quite prepared on that assurance by Dr. Servatius not to make any objection to "A" and Dr. Servatius, on the other hand, says that he does not press for the others.

[Page 363]

My Lord, there is another application which has just come in on behalf of the defendant Sauckel for a document. It is an affidavit by the defendant himself, dated the 29th of June, 1946. The prosecution have no objection to the application.

My Lord, I think the only other matter with regard to the defendant Sauckel is concerning an affidavit from a witness called Falkenhorst. My Lord, that again, the prosecution submits, is cumulative.

THE PRESIDENT: You say Falkenhorst?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Falkenhorst, Sir. My Lord, it is the very last application on my list.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, may I make a statement concerning the witness Falkenhorst? This witness was called for Bormann and I waived his examination and submitted this affidavit with the approval of the Tribunal and since, in my opinion, it was approved, I waived the witness.

I assume that this will be clarified and confirmed by the prosecution also.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean, Dr. Servatius, that the affidavit from Falkenhorst had already been granted before?

DR. SERVATIUS: I assume it was granted at that time. The witness was waiting outside and I was asked whether I would like to question him, and I said in reply that I had an affidavit which was limited to one particular case and it would be sufficient if I could submit the affidavit. He was the last witness who was supposed to be examined here, after the end of the actual hearing of evidence.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I do not insist in the opposition in these circumstances.

My Lord, that is all the comments the prosecution has to make.

THE PRESIDENT: What about these two affidavits asked for by Dr. Steinbauer from Erwin Schotter and Adolf Jopisch?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, we have not got these yet. As I understand it, they have been admitted by the Tribunal, subject to any objection, and I am afraid we cannot tell until we have seen them.

THE PRESIDENT: I see. Well, then, for the rest you have no other objections?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No other objections.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, we have just had another document placed before us which contains an application on behalf of the defendant Sauckel to call as a witness his son Friedrich Sauckel. The prosecution has objected to that on the ground of irrelevance and cumulativeness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, that is the position.

It did not seem, on consideration of the outline of the evidence, that the evidence of the defendant's son would contribute anything fresh.

THE PRESIDENT: And that application was made after the 3rd of July? No, I see that is wrong. It was submitted before but it was not mentioned on the 3rd of July.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, it was an application to bring the witness here from England, since presumably he can give information regarding a number of things. I have not yet made a formal application. It was just a request to have him brought from England to Nuremberg for the purpose of finding out whether he knows anything of importance, as he claims.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I would not make objection to the defendant's son being brought here for the purpose of Dr. Servatius having a talk with him and seeing whether he can contribute anything.

THE PRESIDENT: The difficulty that these sort of applications put the Tribunal in is that the case never closes.

[Page 364]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, I quite agree.

THE PRESIDENT: Then, Sir David, do we have an affidavit from the defendant Sauckel himself which you have already dealt with?


THE PRESIDENT: Then there is an affidavit by the defendant Jodl on behalf of Kaltenbrunner; the application was received at the general secretary's office on the 5th of July.


THE PRESIDENT: That was after the last date when the defendants' counsel were asked for their applications.

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