The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/12

Q. Did you not learn from any other source what Funk's point
of view was on the action to be taken in regard to the
clearing debts?

A. I know from various reports and from publications during
that time that the Germans represented these clearing debts
as actual debts. We Dutch, however, never believed this; and
if one observed the development, when this central clearing
was organized during the war, as an expert on national
economy, one could realize without difficulty that these
debts could not represent any de facto value. In the course
of the war they rose to more than 42,000,000,000 marks. When
the president of the Dutch Bank, who was appointed by
Seyss-Inquart, compared the Reichsmark to the pound sterling
in his annual reports, we in Holland laughed at it.

Q. Dr. Hirschfeld, you just spoke of a president of the
Dutch State Bank who was appointed by Seyss-Inquart. I
believe that was Mr. Rost van Tonningen?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know that the defendant Funk, who was the
president of the German Reichsbank at that time, endeavoured
to prevent the appointment of this Rost van Tonningen and
wanted Mr. Trip to remain in office as president of the
Dutch State Bank?

THE PRESIDENT: That is the same question again, is it not?
That is practically the same question as we have already
said we did not want to hear about, about Funk's support for
Mr. Trip?

DR. SAUTER: If I may say so, Mr. President, the first time I
wanted to ask whether Funk tried to have Mr. Trip retained
on the administrative council of the International Bank in
Basle although he was actually no longer competent to
represent Dutch interests. You said that that question was
immaterial. The present question refers to whether Dr. Funk
endeavoured to have the Dutchman, Mr. Trip, retained as
president of the Dutch Bank. That is the last question which
I have to ask, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, do you know?

                                                  [Page 244]

THE WITNESS: Yes. I should like to explain this a little. To
understand this matter it is necessary -

THE PRESIDENT: Please be very short about it then.

THE WITNESS: It is necessary to know that the Reich
Commissioner and Dr. Fischbock were in favour of Rost van
Tonningen, although it was known that we in the Netherlands
considered Rost van Tonningen a traitor. When Trip was
forced to resign, Wohltat, the German Reichsbank
Commissioner, told me that this matter was discussed in
Berlin, and the basis of this information -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but I think what you were asked was
whether Funk tried to get Trip appointed to the presidency
of the Dutch Bank when this other man was appointed by
Seyss-Inquart. Do you knew whether Funk -

THE WITNESS: I only know from Wohltat that Funk attempted to
do so and that Goering reversed the decision at the
suggestion of the Reich Commissioner and Dr. Fischbock.


Q. Anyway, you confirm that Funk attempted to have the
Dutchman, Mr. Trip, retained as president of the Dutch State

A. I confirm that, having been told so by Wohltat.

DR. SAUTER: I have no more questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any cross-examination?



Q. Of what nature were the orders given to you by the Dutch
Government when it left for England?

A. There were written instructions by the Dutch Government
for all Netherland officials of the administration. These
instructions were based on The Hague Regulations for Land

Q. These orders, therefore, did not imperil the German Army?

A. No.

Q. Will you than please explain, if you are capable of doing
so, why Holland had an exceptional regime, since she was the
only country in the West to have a Gauleiter immediately
after the invasion?

THE PRESIDENT: Would you please repeat the question again,
the interpreter did not get it.

Q. Explain, please, why, immediately after the invasion,
Holland had a Gauleiter; it was the only Western country in
which this was the case.

A. We considered the appointment of a Reich Commissioner,
who was chief of the civilian administration in the
Netherlands, as an indication that the German Government had
political intentions in the Netherlands and not purely the
intentions of an occupying power.

Q. In your opinion, therefore, Seyss-Inquart was appointed
the day after the invasion had started because the German
Government had the intention of modifying the Dutch national
institutions in spite of common law?

A. We were convinced - and this was confirmed by experience
- that all possible forms of National Socialist institutions
would be introduced in the Netherlands, and that an attempt
would be made to force them upon the Netherlands.

Q. This attempt was made?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it true that during the occupation a great number of
the members of the Dutch National Socialist Party were at
the head of the police and carried out German orders to
arrest Jews or members of the resistance movement or to take

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 245]

Q. When the Dutch police itself became involved in these
arrests, did it make them only because it was forced to do

A. The conditions were such that old Netherlands policemen,
if they ever took part in such matters, did so because they
were forced to; but there were Dutch policemen who had been
appointed by the German authorities. They were, in general,
members of the NSB, and they, in part, volunteered for such
distasteful tasks.

Q. Is it true that the wives and children of those members
of the Dutch police who refused to carry out German orders
were taken as hostages?

A. I know that in various cases the families were taken as
hostages when police officials refused to carry out orders.
It is further known that this did not happen only in the
case of the police, but also in other cases.

Q. It has been alleged here that the diamonds taken at
Arnhem had all been found in Holland. Does that agree with
the facts?

A. What was stolen at Arnhem?

Q. Diamonds.

A. Diamonds. The diamonds affair is a typical example of how
they wanted to deal with Dutch property. These diamonds were
in a bank safe in Arnhem. After the invasion of Normandy
attempts were made by the Germans to seize these diamonds.
The director of the Netherlands agency which is concerned
with diamonds and later I, myself, were asked for the keys
to the bank safe.

We refused. And then on the day of the airborne landings at
Arnhem, the German Wehrmacht blew up this safe. Apparently
only half of the diamonds were found and they were sent to
the Reichsbank in Berlin.

When I protested, Fischbock said that they had only been put
in the custody of the Reichsbank in Berlin. Then I demanded
that these diamonds should be given back. Meanwhile, it was
learned that half of the diamonds were still in Arnhem. The
Currency Protection Command (Devisenschutkommando) again
demanded the keys which were in my personal possession. I
refused and had another discussion with Fischbock. The
matter was obviously distasteful to him, but he agreed to
this concession that the remaining diamonds, which we later
found in Arnhem, be returned to the owner. But they were
willing to give back the half which had been sent to Berlin
only if they could be placed under German custody in a bank
in the Eastern Netherlands. I demanded from Fischbock that
they be turned over without restrictions. Apparently
Fischbock could not agree, and for this reason, after the
liberation of the Netherlands, these diamonds were not given
back and as far as I know they have not yet been returned.

Q. Did Seyss-Inquart return the property of the 1,000 Jews
who were deported to Theresienstadt?

A. As to the Jews who were deported to Theresienstadt, I
know that these people, on the basis of a promise given to
my colleague Frederiks, were to be given special treatment,
but that their property had been given back is not known to
me and I do not believe it.

Q. Was that property returned to them?

A. It was confiscated. I did not hear that it was returned
to them.

Q. Seyss-Inquart said that in February, 1941, 400 Jews had
been transported from Amsterdam to Mauthausen as a measure
of reprisal for the fact that a member of the NSB was
supposedly murdered at Amsterdam by Jews. What do you know
about this?

A. I know that in February, 1941, there were two difficult
situations in Amsterdam. One referred to shipyard workers. I
believe 3,000 of them were to be forcibly sent to Germany. I
intervened with Seyss-Inquart and succeeded in preventing
this. There was, however, unrest in Amsterdam on this
subject. In the second place, Jews were already being
arrested in Amsterdam, which was the occasion for a strike.
The incident of these 400 Jews of whom you speak took place
after this strike in Amsterdam as far as I recall, because
they wanted to make

                                                  [Page 246]

the Jews responsible for the strike. Fischbock told me so
himself, and I said that I did not believe it and that this
was only a pretext.

Q. If I have understood you correctly, these Jews were
arrested because the population in Amsterdam was opposed to
their deportation. There were demonstrations and riots
during which several members of the NSB were killed. These
Jews were therefore not deported in reprisal for the murder
of the members of the NSB; on the contrary, the men of the
NSB were killed at the time when they were going to arrest
the Jews, before there was any idea of reprisal.

A. I recall that in these days the Amsterdam workers
resisted when the Jews were being arrested, and this led to
upheaval in Amsterdam and to the strike. Exactly what
happened I do not know from my own experience.

Q. Did Seyss-Inquart prohibit ration cards to be given to
workers who evaded deportation to Germany?

A. When in May, 1943, the so-called age groups were called
up for labour commitment in Germany, instructions were sent
on the 6th of May to the competent Netherlands authorities
to the effect that workers who were called in these age
groups could no longer receive any food cards. That was a
decree of the 6th of May, 1943, signed by an official of the
Reich Commissariat by the name of Eftger. We received this
instruction, and although it reached us when martial law was
in force, the instruction was not carried out by the
Netherlands authorities. What the German authorities argued,
in effect, was, "Whoever does not work for Germany gets
nothing to eat."

Q. Seyss-Inquart claimed that the Dutch people who left to
work in Germany up to 1942 were all volunteers. Is that

A. No, they could not all be volunteers. The unemployed in
the Netherlands received unemployment benefit, and shortly
after the occupation a directive was issued that people who
were suitable for work in Germany and refused to volunteer
for this work were no longer entitled to receive
unemployment benefit. Thus, they were under economic

Q. Much has been said here as to whether Rauter was
subordinate to Seyss-Inquart. Could you inform us on this?

A. So far as we in the occupied territories knew, Rauter was
appointed by Seyss-Inquart at the beginning of June, 1940,
as General Commissioner for Security. No order which was
then known indicated that Rauter had any kind of special
position. The decree of the German Reich Chancellor of the
18th of May, 1940, made it clear to us Dutch that the Reich
Commissioner was the only responsible man in the Netherlands
for the occupying power within the civilian sphere. Much
later, from talks, I and perhaps others who were better
informed realised that Rauter received direct orders from
Himmler or from the Reich Security Main Office. But the
population of the Netherlands could not know this.

Q. Perhaps you know the result of the abolition of the
monetary bar and its repercussion on life in Holland.

A. Yes. I will try to describe this matter in a few words.
At the outbreak of war there was a clearing agreement
between the Netherlands and Germany. Thus we Netherlands
officials, at the beginning of the occupation, were able to
exercise special control for deliveries of goods to Germany,
because there was not only frontier control by customs
officials, but we could also control payment. It was
particularly disagreeable to Fischbock that Dutch
authorities could still refuse anything, and this was a
cause for friction. He attempted to remove this clearing,
and on the 1st of April, 1941, the foreign currency bar was
removed. This made it possible for all goods to be bought in
the Netherlands for Reichsmarks, and they could be taken to
Germany under the protection of the German authorities. I
will give an example: According to an investigation which I
ordered at that time, there were a few hundred buyers of
jewellery and gold and silver articles in the Netherlands.
These articles are easy to carry with one. If there had been
control of payment, it would not have been possible that in
1942 alone, according to our estimate, 80 to 100 million
guilder worth of such goods was taken away at

                                                  [Page 247]

high prices to Germany. The important point was that by
lifting this control of currency, one could operate more
freely. Furthermore, there was a possibility of buying Dutch
securities on the Amsterdam stock exchange. For one of the
German aims at that time was to combine Dutch and German
economy. The easiest way to do this was to lift the currency
bar or, more exactly, the currency control between the
occupied territories and Germany, and thus Netherlands
interests were prejudiced more severely than those of other
occupied territories where this currency control was

I should like to add that of course even there ways of
carrying out this exploitation were found. The lifting of
the currency control made the German policy in this
connection much easier. This was clearly shown by an order
of Hermann Goering of 1942, in which the control of the
Dutch-German frontier was abolished and the Trustee for the
Four-Year Plan could write that there could be no control at
the frontier when price regulations or rationing regulations
were broken. That was what Hermann Goering added.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, the Tribunal thinks that this
should be shortened, this discussion of the question of the
abolition of the frontier policy for money.

M. DUBOST: I have no more questions on this point, Mr.


Q. What amount of money did Holland pay Germany for the cost
of occupation?

A. The total sum which was paid at the end of the occupation
was 8 1/2 billion guilders.

Q. In what form were these payments demanded?

A. This 8 1/2 billion guilders consisted of credits which
the Wehrmacht demanded for the direct occupation costs in
the Netherlands; furthermore, for the costs of the machinery
of the Reich Commissariat, and third, payments which were
imposed on the Netherlands under the expression which was
used at first, "outside occupation costs," that is, costs
which the Wehrmacht incurred in Germany in the interest of
the occupation forces in the Netherlands. The form in which
it was paid, as far as it concerned payments in the
Netherlands, was in Dutch money. Payments in Germany made in
gold, which were demanded from the Netherlands Bank, and
payments from the account which the Netherlands Bank had
with the Reichsbank.

Q. Were these payments the result of one of the conditions
of capitulation?

A. I know the capitulation conditions of 14th May, 1940,
which do not mention anything about occupation costs.

Q. What is the damage sustained by Holland in other ways as
a result of the looting of the means of construction,
machinery, stocks, ships, and so forth.

A. It is extremely difficult to give an exact figure because
it could not be estimated during the occupation. But, after
the German capitulation, the Netherlands Government reported
the sum of about 25,000,000,000 guilders to the Reparation
Committee in Paris as damages by occupation. This would
include the 8,500,000,000 occupational costs which I just

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, is not this all contained in the
Dutch report?

M. DUBOST: Oh no, Mr. President, certainly not.

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