The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Second Day: Friday, January 11th, 1946
(Part 4 of 9)


[Page 194]

Your Honours will observe that there are certain deletions and reservations after some of the items listed in Document 3533-PS. These were inserted by defendant Funk. The words which he wished deleted are enclosed in parentheses. His comments are underscored and followed by asterisks.

We wished to avoid troubling the Tribunal with a detailed discussion of all these contested points. Accordingly, we collected in Document 3563-PS relevant excerpts from certain German publications. This document has also

[Page 195]

been made available in the four working languages. Moreover, we submit that the Tribunal can properly take judicial notice of the publications referred to in the document. However, in order to facilitate reference, we request that it be received in evidence as Exhibit USA 652.

In connection with item (b) on the top of Page 1 of Document 3533- PS - your Honours will find that on Page 1 of the document - your Honours will observe that defendant Funk has in effect denied that he was Hitler's personal economic adviser in the 1930's. However, the excerpts from the four German publications set forth on Pages 1 and 2 of Document 3563-PS directly contradict this denial.

We submit that it will be clear from the documents just referred to that defendant Funk, soon after he joined the Party, began to operate as one of the Nazi inner circle. Moreover, as a Party economic theorist during its critical days in 1932, he made a significant contribution to its drive for mass support by drafting its economic slogans. In this connection I would refer to Document 3505-PS, which is a biography entitled, in the English translation, "Walter Funk - A Life for Economy." This biography was written by one Oesterreich in German, and published by the Central Publishing House of the Nazi Party. I offer this document in evidence as Exhibit USA 653. I wish to quote now from Page 1 of the translation of this document, the centre of the page. The corresponding page of the German document is Page 81:

"In 1931 he" - that is, Funk - "became a member of the Reichstag. A document of his activity at the time is the 'Economic Construction Programme of the N.S.D.A.P.' which was formulated by him in the second half of the year 1932. It received the approval of Adolf Hitler and was declared binding on all Gau leaders, speakers on the subject, and Gau advisers on the subject, and others of the Party."
Thus defendant Funk's slogans became the economic gospel for the Party organisers and spellbinders.

Defendant Funk, however, was much more than one of the Nazi Party's economic theorists; he was also involved in the highly practical work of soliciting campaign contributions for the Party. As liaison man between the Party and the large German industrialists he helped to place the industrialists' financial and political support behind Hitler. Defendant Funk, in an interrogation conducted on 4th June, 1945, admitted that he helped to finance the highly critical campaign of 1932. I offer in evidence Document 2828-PS as Exhibit USA 654, and I quote from the bottom of Page 43 ...

THE PRESIDENT: Lt. Meltzer, is not this really all cumulative and detailed evidence to support what the defendant Funk has already agreed with reference to his office? On Page 1 you have the admission that he was a member of the Nazi Party, chief of the division of the Central Nazi Party, and chairman of the committee of the Nazi Party on economic policy, and then it goes on from A to U with views of the various offices which he held and which he admits he held. But surely to go into the details of those positions is unnecessary.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: If your Honour pleases, the admission of the various positions listed do not, in our judgement, indicate in any way defendant Funk's participation in the fund-raising for the Nazi Party.

THE PRESIDENT: The fund-raising?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: The fund-raising. Now, it is a possible inference from those positions that he did engage in the solicitation of campaign contributions. However, it did seem to us relevant to mention most briefly direct evidence of that aspect of his activity.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, if you say there is nothing in these offices which covered the matter you are going to deal with; well and good.

[Page 196]

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: Defendant Funk, in an interrogation conducted on 4th June, 1945, admitted, as I said a minute ago, that he helped to finance this highly critical campaign.

THE PRESIDENT: You see, Lieutenant Meltzer, the heading that you have so conveniently given to us is that he contributed to the seizure of power. Well now, nearly every one of the headings A to U on Page 1, which he admits, is evidence that he contributed to seizure of power. Is it your object to propose that he also helped to raise funds? The contribution to the seizure of power is not in itself a crime; it is only a step.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: Very well, your Honour. There is one aspect, however, of his activity in that regard which I should like to mention; that is, in connection with his fund-raising activities. He was present at a meeting in Berlin early in 1933; and I am referring to the document which records that in the course of that meeting Hitler and Goering submitted an exposition of certain basic elements of the Nazi programme. The reference to this meeting is found in Document 2828-PS, which your Honours will find on Page 28 of the document book. I wish to quote the following question and answer:

"Q. About 1933, we have been informed, certain industrialists attended a meeting in the home of Goering before the election in March. Do you know anything about this?

A. I was at the meeting. Money was not demanded by Goering but by Schacht. Hitler left the room, and then Schacht made a speech asking for money for the election. I was there as an impartial observer, since I was friendly with the industrialists."

The character and importance of Funk's work with the large industrialists is emphasised in his biography which I referred to earlier, and I will simply invite your Honours' attention to the relevant pages of that book, which are 83 and 84.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not understand why you read that passage. If you wanted to show that he was at the meeting, it would be merely sufficient to say that he was at the meeting. I do not think those two sentences that you read help us in the very least.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: If the Tribunal please, those two sentences do not refer to the meeting. Those two sentences refer to the biography which sums up the defendant Funk's general contribution to the Nazi accession to power, and I thought it might be of interest to the Tribunal to see the attitude of a German writer to this aspect of the defendant's career.

THE PRESIDENT: It seems to me you referred to the meeting.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: I was referring your Honour to Pages 32 and 33 of the document book, and to clarify this point may I read briefly from the biography:

"No less important than Funk's accomplishments in the programmatic field in the years 1931 and 1932 was his activity at that time as the Fuehrer's liaison man to the leading men of the German industry, trade, commerce and finance. On the basis of his past work his personal relations with the German economic leaders were broad and extensive. He was now able to enlist them in the service of Adolf Hitler, and not only to answer their questions authoritatively, but to convince them and win their backing for the Party. At that time this was terribly important work; every success achieved meant a moral, political and economic strengthening of the fighting force of the Party, and contributed toward destroying the prejudice that National Socialism is merely a party of class hatred and class struggle."
THE PRESIDENT: Again, I do not see that that has helped the Tribunal in the least.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: After Funk had helped, Hitler become Chancellor; as Press Chief of the German Government, he participated in the early Cabinet

[Page 197]

meetings, in the course of which the conspirators planned the strategy by which they would secure the passage of the Presidential Emergency Decree, which was passed on 24th March, 1933. Funk's presence at these meetings is revealed by Document 2962-PS, which has already been received in evidence and by Document 2963-PS offered as Exhibit USA 656. Your Honours will recall that this decree marked the real seizure of political power in Germany.

Soon after this the defendant Funk assumed an important role in the Ministry of Propaganda. The record shows that the Ministry became one of the most important and vicious of Nazi institutions, and that propaganda was fundamental to the achievement of the Nazi programme within and outside Germany. We do not propose to review those matters but rather to present evidence showing, as we have said, that the defendant Funk took a significant part in the propaganda operations.

The Ministry was established on 13th March, 1933, with Goebbels as Chief and defendant Funk as Under Secretary, second in command.

As Under Secretary defendant Funk was not only Goebbels' chief aide but was also the organiser of the large and complex propaganda machine, I wish to offer in evidence Document 3501-PS, which will be found on Page 47 of your document book as Exhibit USA 657. This document is an affidavit signed on 19th December, 1945, by Max Amann, who held the position of Reich Leader of the Press and President of the Reich Press Chamber. I should like to read the second sentence of the first paragraph and the entire second paragraph:

"In carrying out my duties and responsibilities I became familiar with the operation and the organisation of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment, and managed the Ministry. Funk was the soul of the Ministry, and without him Goebbels could not have built it up. Goebbels once stated to me that Funk was his 'most efficient man.' Funk exercised comprehensive control over all of the media of expression in Germany: over the Press, the theatre, radio and music. As Press Chief of the Ministry, Funk held daily meetings with the Fuehrer and a daily Press conference in the course of which he issued the directives governing the materials to be published by the German Press."
In addition to his position as Under Secretary, Funk had many other important jobs in the Propaganda Ministry and in its subordinate agencies. These positions have already been listed in Document 3533-PS. I wish, however, to refer in particular to Funk's position as Vice-President of the Reich Chamber of Culture. This position was, of course, related to his functions in the Propaganda Ministry.

In his dual capacity he directly promoted two vital and related Nazi policies. The first was the regimentation of all creative activities in the interests of Nazi political and military objectives. The second was the complete elimination of Jews and dissidents from the so-called cultural professions. A full discussion of the methods by which these policies were effectuated, has been included in the brief which was submitted as part of Exhibit USA E. Accordingly, we will not go into that matter now unless the Tribunal so wishes.

In view of the defendant Funk's major role in the Propaganda Ministry, it is natural to find Nazi writers stressing his responsibility for the Nazi perversion of culture. In this connection, I will simply invite the Tribunal's attention to Pages 94 and 95 of Oesterreich's biography, which has already been referred to.

After defendant Funk left the Ministry of Propaganda and became Minister of Economics in 1938 he continued to advance the anti- Jewish programme. For example, on 14th June, 1938, he signed a decree providing for the registration of Jewish enterprises. This decree, which became the foundation for the ruthless economic persecution which followed, is found in the Reichsgesetzblatt,

[Page 198]

1938, Part 1, Page 627. It is requested that the Tribunal take judicial notice of this and all subsequent references to the Reichsgesetzblatt. May I add that the brief on defendant Funk gives the document numbers of translations of decrees and other German publications of which the Tribunal will be requested to take judicial notice.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?


THE TRIBUNAL: Before we do so, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, I see that one of the counsel, Colonel Phillimore, I think, is proposing to call certain witnesses. The Tribunal would like to know who those witnesses are, and what subject their evidence is going to deal with.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Would the Tribunal like to know now? I would like to let them know if it is convenient.

THE TRIBUNAL: If you could, it would be convenient now.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes. The first witness is Korvetten Kapitaen Mohle, who was a captain on defendant Donitz's staff, and he will prove the passing on of the Donitz Order of 17th September, 1942. I think that is the main point that he deals with. I think he deals also with the destruction of some rescue ships, but that is the main point.

The second witness is Lieutenant Heisig. He will deal primarily with lectures of the defendant Donitz, in which he advocated the destruction of the crews of merchant ships. That is the general effect of the evidence.


(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Meltzer, are you intending to call any witnesses this afternoon?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: No, Sir. There is another member of the prosecution, Sir, who I believe is intending to call a witness, Mr. Dodd.

THE PRESIDENT: In connection with the case against Funk?


THE PRESIDENT: Or in connection with the case against somebody else?


THE PRESIDENT: Who is it in connection with, Raeder?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: I believe Mr. Dodd might offer -

THE PRESIDENT: Raeder, is it?

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: No, Sir. Mr. Dodd might offer a better explanation than I on the purpose of calling the witness.


MR. DODD: Yes, Sir. Your Honour, the witness is offered in connection with the defendants Rosenberg, Funk, Frick, Sauckel, and Kaltenbrunner.

THE PRESIDENT: I see. The evidence relates to concentration camps, does it?

MR. DODD: It does, your Honour.


MR. DODD: This witness would have been called at the time that we presented the other proof, but for the fact that he was before the Military Court at Dachau at that time and was not available.

THE PRESIDENT: I see; thank you.

LIEUTENANT MELTZER: May it please the Tribunal, before we adjourned we were dealing with defendant Funk's role in the economic persecution of the Jews. As your Honours will recall, in November of 1938 the death of von Rath in Paris was exploited by the Nazis as a pretext for intensifying the persecution of the Jews. The new policy was directed at the complete elimination of the Jews from the economic life of Germany. The evidence we will offer will show that defendant Funk took a significant part in both the formulation and execution of that policy. In this connection I would refer the Tribunal to

[Page 199]

Document 1816-PS which is already in the record. This document is a report of the meeting on the Jewish question. It will be found, your Honour, on Page 52 of the document book. This meeting was held under Goering's chairmanship on 12th November, 1938. In opening the meeting defendant Goering stated, and I quote now from Page 1 paragraph 1, of the translation - the corresponding page of the German document is also Page 1:
"To-day's meeting is of a decisive nature. I have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's orders, requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, co-ordinated and solved one way or another."
Defendant Funk came to this meeting well prepared. He had a law already drafted which he submitted with the following explanation - I quote again from Document 1816-PS, Page 15:
"I have prepared a law elaborating that, effective 1st January, 1939, Jews shall be forbidden to operate retail stores and wholesale establishments as well as independent artisan shops. They shall be further prohibited from keeping employees or offering any ready products on the market. Wherever a Jewish shop is operated, the police shall shut it down. From 1st January, 1939, a Jew can no longer be employed as an enterpriser as stipulated in the law for the Organisation of National Labour of 20th January, 1934."
I believe we may omit the rest. It is all in the same tenor.


LIEUTENANT MELTZER: The substance of defendant Funk's draft law promptly found its way into the Reichsgesetzblatt. On 12th November, 1938, defendant Goering signed a decree entitled, and I quote, "For the Elimination of Jews from the German Economic Life," and in section 4 he authorised defendant Funk to implement the provisions of the decree by issuing the necessary rules and regulations. An examination of the provisions of this decree, which is set forth in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1938, Part 1, Page 1580, will reveal how well it deserved its title "For the Elimination of the Jews from the German Economic life."

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