The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/14

Q. Now I have one more question on this subject. And I would
like to know if there is not perhaps a misunderstanding in
this case too. You say in the affidavit

                                                   [Page 49]

that Funk told you that this matter should be kept
absolutely secret; that is the wording. You did not mention
this point at all today, although we have the affidavit in
front of us. Will you say now whether this is true or
whether it is a misunderstanding?

A. Of course this matter was to be kept secret, but then
everything that happens in a bank must be kept secret.

Q. Witness, this statement cannot, of course, satisfy us.
Did you, during your interrogation of 3rd May, say what is
contained in this document, namely that the matter was to be
kept absolutely secret, or did you express yourself in
different words?

A. No, the wording of the affidavit is correct; the matter
was to be kept absolutely secret.

Q. Why?

A. Why? Because, plainly, such matters are usually kept
secret and are not publicised; furthermore, these things
came from the East. I repeat what I said before that our
attitude towards confiscated articles was to try to avoid

Q. Did it strike you as unusual that the defendant Funk
spoke of keeping the matter secret?

A. No, it was merely decided when Funk and I discussed the
matter that since we were accepting the confiscated articles
of the foreign exchange department and the customs offices
against our will, we should, naturally, insist on secrecy.

Q. Yes. But from your account of the matter, it appears
that, on one hand, you considered the business to be
perfectly legal, and you yourself say that it was perfectly
legal; on the other hand, secrecy was for you, as an old
banking expert, a matter of course. Now the question arises,
why then was the subject of keeping the matter secret
discussed at all?

A. Herr Funk had been asked to keep the matter as secret as
possible, and he passed on that request.

Q. When did Funk tell you that he had been asked to keep it

A. I do not remember that.

Q. Did you not ask him why it should be kept secret,
absolutely secret, as you say? I do not know whether you
still maintain "absolutely secret"?

A. Yes, yes, a special duty of observing secrecy was to be
imposed on the officials.

Q. Well, what did you, as vice-president, as acting vice-
president, say to that?

A. I did not say anything because, if it had been agreed
upon, this wish would have to be followed.

Q. But you do not know whether it had been agreed upon?

A. Well, I assume that it was agreed upon.

Q. You consider it possible?

A. Yes.

Q. And - to repeat this - you did not see anything of the
articles which arrived?

A. No, nothing.

Q. And probably you do not know how many there were?

A. No, I do not know that either; and, as I said before, I
never saw an account that was in conformity with our
procedure, as individual transactions were not submitted to
the members of the Directorate.

Q. I ask, because recently when this case was discussed, it
was asserted that whole truckloads of such articles, whole
truckloads had arrived.

A. Whole truckloads?

Q. You are already laughing and you will laugh more when I
tell you that 47 truckloads of gold were said to have
arrived at your bank; and you knew nothing about them?

A. I have never heard of that.

Q. You heard nothing about that? - Witness, we will leave
this point, and turn to the second point in your affidavit
of 3rd May, with which we can deal very briefly.

                                                   [Page 50]

I think you already knew Herr Pohl, SS Obergruppenfuehrer
Pohl, of whom you spoke just now, in 1942?

A. Yes, but none the less this was the first occasion on
which Pohl came to my office.

Q. This is no reproach, I just wanted to establish a fact.
You knew him, as a result of this first credit transaction,
which took place at an earlier time.

A. Yes, that may be.

Q. The defendant Funk says, you see, that as far as he can
remember this credit matter - and he did not attach any
special significance to it at the time - was negotiated
about 1940, some time before the other transaction. Can that
be true? Approximately?

A. I can neither deny nor confirm that; I no longer recall
the date of the credit.

Q. Well, in your affidavit you state, with reference to this
credit, that the Reichsbank had granted a credit of Rm.
12,000,000 to the SS, I believe to pay off a loan which the
SS had taken up with another bank. And you say that this
credit was used for financing production in factories
directed by the SS, where workers from concentration camps
were employed.

Witness, I am not primarily interested in this credit as
such, because it was, of course, part of your business as a
bank and the figure of, I think, Rm. 10,000,000 to Rm.
12,000,000 was also not unusual. But I am interested in how
you knew that this money was to be used for SS factories in
which workers from concentration camps were employed. How
did you know that?

A. The application for credit came from the Economic
Department of the SS which I have mentioned before. This
department was directing a number of factories in Germany,
and needed money for that purpose. The Gold Discount Bank
was prepared to give this credit, but only in the form of
regular business credits. In other words, the debtor had to
submit a balance sheet to us, and at regular intervals had
to report on his production, his general financial position,
his plans for the immediate future, in short, all matters on
which a debtor is bound to inform his creditor.

The board of directors of the Gold Discount Bank conducted
these negotiations, in which the representatives of the
Economic Department who submitted the balance sheets
naturally discussed their production programme, which was
remarkable in so far as -

Q. Slowly, please, witness.

A. - which was remarkable in so far as the wage figures
affecting the balance were comparatively low. So the natural
question arose: Why is your wage account so low? The
director of the Gold Discount Bank reported on this subject
during a board meeting.

Q. You always refer to the Gold Discount Bank. The Tribunal
would be interested to know whether the Gold Discount Bank
is identical with the Reichsbank; whether it was also under
the jurisdiction of the defendant Funk and your own; what
was its position?

A. The Gold Discount Bank was subsidiary to the Reichsbank;
it was founded in the twenties for various purposes, not
only for the promotion of exports, but also for the increase
of production. The capital structure -

Q. No, we are not interested in that.

A. - practically all the shares were in the hands of the
Reichsbank. The Gold Discount Bank had a board of directors
always headed by the President of the Reichsbank; it also
had a deputy chairman who was the second vice-president of
the Reichsbank, and the board of directors itself included a
number of members of the directorate of the Reichsbank, and
also the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economics and of
the Ministry of Finance.

THE PRESIDENT: It is not interesting to us to know who the
exact directors of the Gold Discount Bank were.

                                                   [Page 51]


Q. Witness, I wanted, in fact, to interrupt you earlier, and
tell you that what you have just related is without
significance for the trial. To me and to the Tribunal it is
only of interest to hear whether the defendant Funk, as far
as you definitely remember, had knowledge of these matters,
of the purpose of this credit, and whether he knew that in
these factories people from the concentration camps were
employed? Do you, or do you not know?

A. I might assume that, but I cannot be sure of it. At any
rate, it was known that the credit was destined for these

Q. Witness, I can't be satisfied with that answer, because
the SS, as you have probably heard in the meantime, directed
various undertakings in which no concentration camp inmates
were employed. To my knowledge, for example, the porcelain
factory at Allach, did not apparently employ concentration
camp inmates. Then for example, the entire personnel at the
health springs -

MR. DODD: I object to testimony by counsel. He is
practically giving the answer to this witness before he asks
the question.


Q. Do you know whether the SS had undertakings in which no
concentration camp inmates were employed?

A. I did not, of course, know every individual business run
by the SS, nor could I know in each case whether prisoners
were or were not employed.

Q. Was the defendant Funk present at all during the meeting
at which this credit was discussed?

A. No, he was not present, the records of the proceedings
were submitted we always adopted that procedure.

Q. Then did the defendant Funk talk at all with the people
who had given information on the unusual figures of the wage

A. No, that was done by the board of directors of the Gold
Discount Bank.

Q. That was done by the board of the Gold Discount Bank, not
by the defendant Funk?

DR. SAUTER: Then, Mr. President, I have no further questions
for the witness.

MR. DODD: I have just a few questions to ask, your Honour.



Q. To whom have you talked besides representatives of the
prosecution, since you have arrived here in Nuremberg? Did
you look at any paper? I say, whom have you talked to
besides representatives of the prosecution since you have
arrived here in Nuremberg?

A. I do not know all their names, I believe a Mr. Kempner,
Mr. Margolis -

Q. I am not asking you about the members of the prosecution.
I am asking you whom else you have talked to, if anybody,
since you arrived here in Nuremberg. That does not require
very much thought. Have you talked to anybody else since you
arrived here or not?

A. Only to the other prisoners in the corridor of our

Q. To no one else?

A. No one else.

Q. Now, are you absolutely sure about that?

A. Yes, absolutely.

Q. Did you talk to Dr. Stuckart over in the witness wing,
about your testimony that you were going to give here this
morning? Answer that question.

A. Dr. Stuckart is one of the prisoners in the corridor of
our witness wing.

                                                   [Page 52]

Q. I did not ask you that. I asked you if you did not talk
to him a day or two ago about your testimony in this case?

A. No.

Q. Now, I think it is awfully important to you that I remind
you that you are under oath here. I am going to ask you
again if you did not talk to Dr. Stuckart over in this
witness wing about your testimony or about the facts
concerning Funk in this case?

A. No, I talked about all sorts of general matters.

Q. You did not talk to four or five of those other people
over there, either about your testimony or about the facts

A. No, absolutely not.

Q. All right. You know a man by the name of Toms, T-o-m-s?

A. T-o-m-s? He was an official of the Reichsbank who worked
in the vaults of the Reichsbank in Berlin.

Q. You know the man, you do know him?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you talked to him about these deposits put in by the
SS, did you not, Herr Puhl?

A. To Herr Toms, no.

Q. You did not talk to him?

A. No, I have not seen Herr Toms at all in Nuremberg, and
only from a distance in Frankfurt.

Q. I am not referring to Nuremberg now. We will get away
from that for a minute. I mean during the time that these
deposits were being made in the Reichsbank. Did you not talk
to Herr Toms about the deposits?

A. Yes, as has been stated here in the affidavit.

Q. Well, never mind the affidavit for a few minutes. I have
a few questions I want to ask you. I am particularly
interested in this matter of secrecy. What did you tell Toms
about the requirement of secrecy with respect to these SS
deposits? Did you tell Toms about the requirement of secrecy
with respect to these SS deposits?

A. I must state that I really talked with Herr Tonetti
because be was the person responsible, and Herr Toms was
only called in. I told both gentlemen that it was desired
that the matter be kept secret.

Q. Did you say that it had to be kept a secret and that they
must not discuss it with anybody else; that it was highly
secret, a special transaction, and if anybody asked him
about it, he was to say that he was forbidden to speak about
it? Did you tell that to Herr Toms in the Reichsbank?

A. Yes, that was the sense of what I said.

Q. Well, that is what I am asking you. Why did you tell Toms
that he was not to speak about it; that it was absolutely
forbidden; that it was highly secret, if it was just the
ordinary confidence reposed in bank officials attached to a
business relationship?

A. Because the Reichsbank president Funk personally conveyed
this wish to me.

Q. Well, now, I think perhaps there is some confusion in our
minds. You see, I clearly understood, and I expect others as
well as the Tribunal may have understood in the courtroom
this morning, that you were telling counsel for Funk that
the secrecy attached to these transactions was not
extraordinary but just the ordinary secrecy or confidence
that banking people attach to their relationship with
customers. Now, of course, that was not so, was it?

A. The position, as I explained it earlier, is this: These
confiscated valuables were usually rejected by us, when
brought to the bank, and if an exception was now being made,
then it was a matter of course, that a greater amount of
secrecy, a special obligation to maintain secrecy, should be

                                                   [Page 53]

Q. I wish you would answer this question very directly. Was
there not a special reason for special secrecy with respect
to these deposits by the SS? You can answer that yes or no.

A. No, I did not perceive a special reason.

Q. Then why were you telling Toms that was highly secret and
he was to tell anybody who asked him about it that he was
forbidden to speak about it? You did not ordinarily instruct
your people to that effect, did you?

A. Because I myself had received this instruction.

Q. That may be so, but that was a special secrecy, was not
it? That was not your ordinary and customary way of doing

A. The confiscated articles were usually rejected when they
reached us; if the exception which we made in this case
became known, then it would immediately have provided an
example for others; and that we wanted to avoid under all

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