The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/14

                                                   [Page 41]


WEDNESDAY, 15th MAY, 1946

EMIL JOHANN RUDOLF PUHL, a witness, took the stand and
testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Emil Johann Rudolf Puhl.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me

I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient that I will speak
the pure truth and withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.


BY DR. SAUTER (for the defendant Funk):

Q. Witness Puhl, you were formerly vice-president of the

A. Yes.

Q. If I am correctly informed, you were a member of the
directorate of the Reichsbank already at the time of Dr.

A. Yes.

Q. When Dr. Schacht left, you were one of the few gentlemen
who remained in the Reichsbank?

A. Yes.

Q. You were then named by Hitler, on the suggestion of the
defendant Funk, to be acting vice-president of the

A. Yes.

Q. When was that?

A. During the year 1939.

Q. During the year 1939. You have said that you were acting
vice-president, and I presume this was due to the fact that
banking was not the special field of the defendant Funk
while you were a banking expert, and that Funk in addition
had charge of the Reich Ministry of Economics. Is that

A. Yes, but there was another reason, namely the division of
authority between official business on one side, and the
handling of personnel on the other.

Q. The actual conduct of business was apparently your

A. Yes.

Q. Hence, the title Acting Vice-President?

A. Yes. May I make a few comments on this?

Q. Only if it is necessary in the interests of the case.

A. Yes. The business of the directorate of the Reichsbank
was divided among a number of members of the directorate.
Every member had full responsibility for his own sphere. The
vice-president was the primus inter pares, his main task was
to act as chairman at meetings, to represent the president
in the outside world and to deal with problems of general
economic and banking policy.

                                                   [Page 42]

Q. Witness, the defendant Funk referred to you as a witness
as early as December. You know that, do you not? And
accordingly, you were interrogated at the camp where you are
now accommodated, I believe in Baden-Baden -

A. Near Baden-Baden.

Q. - interrogated on 1st May?

A. Yes.

Q. Two days later you were again interrogated?

A. Yes.

Q. On 3rd May?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know why the matters on which you were
interrogated on 3rd May were not dealt with during the
interrogation on 1st May?

A. I have before me the affidavit dated 3rd May.

Q. 3rd May. That deals with business affairs with the SS.

A. Yes. But I was questioned on this subject as early as 1st
May, only very briefly, and on 3rd May there was a second
interrogation for the purpose of discussing it in more

Q. Did you not mention these business affairs of the
Reichsbank with the SS during your interrogation on 1st May?

A. Yes.

Q. You did mention them?

A. A short statement was made.

Q. During the interrogation of 1st May?

A. Yes. At any rate, the statement on 3rd May made during
the interrogation was only a more detailed record of what
had already been briefly discussed before.

Q. I have the record of your interrogatory on 1st May before
me; I read through it again today. But as far as I can see,
it contains no mention at all of business affairs with the
SS. You must be speaking now of another interrogatory?

A. Yes.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I think perhaps I can be helpful in
this apparent confusion. The interrogatory which was
authorized by the Tribunal was taken on the 1st May, but on
that same day, quite apart from that interrogatory, a member
of our staff also interviewed this witness. But it was a
separate interview. It was not related to the interrogatory,
and I think that is the source of the confusion.



Q. Were you interrogated twice about these transactions with
the SS?

A. Yes, twice during the days around 1st May, that is

Q. Do you still remember the affidavit which you signed on
3rd May?

A. On 3rd May, yes.

Q. It is the affidavit which deals with these transactions
with the SS. Are your statements in this affidavit correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, have you been interrogated on these matters
again since that time, since 3rd May?

A. Yes.

Q. When?

A. Here in Nuremberg.

Q. When were you interrogated?

A. During the last few days.

Q. I see. Today is Wednesday, when was it?

A. Friday, Monday, Tuesday.

Q. Yesterday?

A. Yes.

                                                   [Page 43]

Q. On this matter?

A. Yes.

Q. Was a film also shown to you here?

A. Yes.

Q. Once or twice?

A. Once.

Q. Had you seen this film before?

A. No.

Q. Did you recognize clearly what was presented in the film?

A. Yes.

Q. I ask because, as you know, the film runs very quickly
and is very short; the prosecution showed it twice in the
courtroom so that one could follow it easily Did one showing
suffice to make clear to you what the film contained?

A. Yes.

Q. Then will you tell me what you saw in it, only what you
saw in the film, or what you think you saw.

A. Yes. The film was taken in front of the safes of our bank
at Frankfurt-on-Main, the usual safes with glass doors,
behind which one could see the locked cases and containers,
which had apparently been deposited there. It was the usual
picture presented by such strong-rooms. In front of these
safes were several containers which had been opened so that
their contents could be seen - coins, jewellery, pearls,
bank-notes, clocks.

Q. What sort of clocks?

A. Large alarm clocks.

Q. Nothing else? Did you not see anything else in the film?

A. Apart from these objects?

Q. Apart from these - shall we say - valuables, did you not
see anything else that is alleged to have been kept there?

A. No, no.

Q. Only these valuables? Please go on.

A. I noticed that among these valuables there were coins,
apparently silver coins, and also bank-notes, obviously
American bank-notes.

Q. Correct.

A. It was astonishing that these things were given to us for
safe-keeping, because if they had come to the knowledge of
our officials then no doubt -

Q. Speak slowly, please.

A. - no doubt the bank-notes would have been delivered
immediately to the foreign exchange department, since, as is
known, a general order existed for the turning in of foreign
bank-notes, these being particularly in demand.

Much the same remark applies to the coins. These, too, ought
to have been transferred to the treasury in accordance with
the regulations and routine of business, that is to say,
they should have been purchased for the accounts of the

Q. That is what you noticed in the film?

A. Yes.

Q. Nothing else?

A. No.

Q. Witness, valuable articles entrusted to the Reichsbank
for safe-keeping were supposed to have been kept in the
Reichsbank in that way. Now I have been asking myself
whether your Reichsbank really stored the valuables
entrusted to it in the manner apparent from the film and I
therefore want to ask this question of you: Do you, as
acting vice-president of the Reichsbank, know how valuables
which were handed over for safe-keeping in the strong-rooms,
were kept; for instance, in Berlin or, in Frankfurt, where
this film was taken?

A. Yes.

Q. Please tell the Tribunal.

A. The outer appearance of the safe installations in Berlin
was somewhat similar to that in Frankfurt, and probably the
same as in any other large bank.

                                                   [Page 44]

These things were known to us as "closed deposits", a
banking term, and were kept, as the name indicates, in
closed containers. Space for these was provided by us and
paid for by the depositors, according to the size in each

Q. Were these things kept - for instance, in Berlin or in
Frankfurt - exactly as shown in the film?

A. Well, I had the impression that the things, of which we
are now talking, had been put there expressly for the
purpose of taking the film.

Q. For the film. Do you recollect seeing a sack which I
think was shown in the film, with the label "Reichsbank

A. Yes, I saw a sack labelled Reichsbank I cannot say
whether "Reichsbank Frankfurt".

Q. As far as I know, it had "Reichsbank Frankfurt" on it.
For that reason we assumed that the film was taken at
Frankfurt, and the prosecution confirmed that.

M R. DODD: I do not like to interrupt but I think we should
be careful about this statement. There have been two
mistakes of some slight importance already. We did not show
the film twice before this Tribunal. and that bag does not
bear the legend, "Frankfurt". It simply says, "Reichsbank".
And it was the Schacht film that was shown twice here
because it moved rather quickly.

Q. Witness, will you continue with your reply to the
question. I can put it in this way: Did the Reichsbank keep
gold articles and the like in such sacks?

A. If I understand you correctly, you are asking this: When
valuables were deposited with us, were they deposited in
open sacks? Is that correct?

Q. I do not know what procedure you had.

A. At any rate, we had closed deposits, and as the name
implies ... Of course, it may be a sack, which is closed;
that is quite possible.

Q. So far as I saw in banks at Munich, the things which were
deposited there in increased measure during the war were
without exception deposited in closed boxes or cases and the
like, so that generally the bank did not know at all what
was contained in the cases or boxes. Did you in the
Reichsbank follow a different procedure?

A. No, it was exactly the same. And the noticeable thing
about this sack as has been said, is the label,
"Reichsbank". Obviously it is a sack belonging to us and not
to any private person.

Q. Then you too, if I may repeat this, to avoid any doubt,
you too kept in a closed container the valuables, which had
been deposited as "closed deposits".

A. Yes.

Q. Or they went to the strong boxes?

A. The word "deposits" might be misleading. The closed
containers went to the "Tresor" (the strong-room), I use our
word. The "Tresor" consisted of strong boxes, where these
cases or containers were deposited. Quite independent of
that arrangement, we had the "open deposits".

Open deposits are those which by agreement are administered
openly from the first. The strong-rooms for these were
located in quite a different part of the building from the
so-called main strong-room.

Q. But, of course, we are not concerned here with these open

A. No.

Q. Now, witness, I come to the deposits of the SS. These
deposits were not in Frankfurt but presumably in Berlin in
the central bank.

A. Yes.

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