The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Thirty-Ninth Day: Monday, 21st January, 1946
(Part 2 of 9)

[M. GERTHOFER continues]

[Page 5]

Shortly after, on 4 October, 1942, the defendant Goering made a speech on the occasion of the Harvest Festival - a speech that is reported in "Das Archiv" of October 1942, Number 103, Page 645. In this speech he clearly showed that he meant purchases on the black market in the occupied countries to continue for the benefit of the German population. I submit a copy of this article as Exhibit RF 111 and I quote from the following passage:
"I have examined with very special attention the situation in the occupied countries. I have seen how the people lived in Holland, in Belgium, in France, in Norway, in Poland and in every place where we have become settled. I have noticed that although very often their propaganda spoke officially of their food situation being difficult, in point of fact this was far from being the case. No doubt everywhere, even in France, the system of ration cards has been introduced, but what one is able to obtain in exchange for these ration cards is but a supplement, and people live normally on illegal commerce.

[Page 6]

This state of things has caused me to make a firm decision, a principle which I shall relinquish under no pretext. The task which must come before all others is to ensure to the German people the first place in the battle against hunger and in the problem of food supply. This is why I have decided that, in territories which have been conquered and placed under our protection, the population shall no longer suffer from hunger. But if the enemy should get the idea of opposing our policy of food supply, it is then necessary that all should know that if there is to be famine anywhere it shall in no case be in Germany."
The United States Army has discovered a secret report, made on the 15th of January, 1943 by Col. Veltjens, in which he gives to the defendant Goering an account of his activity over a period of six months. This is Document 1765-PS, which I submit now to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 112. It is not possible for me to give a complete reading of this report, so I shall read only certain passages from it.

In the first part of his report Veltjens explains the reasons for the rise of the black market in these terms:

"(a) The reduction in merchandise as a result of the regulations and rationing.

(b) The impossibility of making an effective blocking of our maintenance of prices.

(c) The impossibility of making an adequate survey of prices, on the German model, by reason of the lack of personnel in the surveillance organisations.

(d) The neglect in the appliance of counter-measures on the part of the local administrative authorities, especially in France.

(e) The imperfect penal justice of the local judiciary authorities.

(f) The lack of discipline amongst the civilian population."

Then under the same number (f), a little further, Veltjens indicates:
"The activity of the German services on the black market assumed little by little such dimensions that it created more and more unendurable situations. It was known that the black market operators offered their merchandise to several Bureaus at the same time and that it was one which offered the highest price who obtained it. Thus, the different German formations not only vied with each other in obtaining the merchandise, but also caused the prices to rise."
Further on in his report, Veltjens indicates that he has assumed the leadership of the service created for the "Four- Year-Plan" Office in these terms:
"Finally, in June 1942, in accord with all the central services, the delegates for the Special Missions, (B.F.S.), were charged with taking in hand the seizure and the direction of the black market. Thus, for the first time, was fulfilled the first necessary condition for effectively dealing with the problem of the black market."
In the second part of his report, Veltjens expounds the advantages of the organisation in charge of which he was placed and he writes, among other things:
"It has been claimed that purchases on the black market in their present volume and at the existing prices, became in the long run too much for the budget of the Reich. One could answer that by saying that the greater part of the purchases effected took place in France, and were financed by occupation costs. Thus, for purchases to the total amount of Rm 1.107.792.819, an amount of Rm 929,100,000 were charged to the French for occupation costs, and in no way were put on the account of the Reich budget."

[Page 7]

After having indicated the conveniences of the black market, Veltjens concluded:
"In recapitulating, it must be recognised that the food situation of the Reich no longer makes it possible to do without purchases in the black market, even though this has nearly been exhausted, as long as there are hidden stocks to be utilised for the conduct of the war. To this vital interest all other considerations must be subordinated."
In a third part of this same report, Veltjens deals with the technical organisation of his bureaus. Here are some interesting passages:
"The General Directorate of the supervision specially organised for this purpose, i.e.:

(a) supervisory service in France, with headquarters in Paris.

(b) supervisory service in Belgium and North of France, headquarters in Bruxelles.

(c) supervisory service in Belgium and in North of France, auxiliary service Lille, with headquarters in Lille.

(d) supervisory service in Holland with headquarters in the Hague.

(e) supervisory service in Serbia with headquarters in Belgrade.

Then Veltjens tells us that the purchases were carried out by a restricted number of licensed purchasing organisations, i.e. 11 for France, 6 for Belgium, 6 for Holland, 3 for Serbia.
"It is thus (he writes) that all the purchases arc subject to the central surveillance of the delegate for the "Special Missions."
Further on Veltjens adds:
"The financing of the purchases and the transport of merchandise are effected by the R.O.G.E.S. of the Reich. The merchandise is then distributed in the Reich by the R.O.G.E.S. in conformity with the instructions of the Central Plan, or by departments designated to the Central Plan, and each time in order of the emergency of the needs of the different qualified services."
In the fourth section of his report Veltjens mentions the volume of the operations affected up to November 30, 1942, that is to say in less than five months, since his organisation had not begun its activity earlier than July 1st, 1942. Here are the figures that Veltjens gives:
"The volume of purchases made:

(a) Since the inauguration of the purchases directed by the German commander or the Reich Commissar, and of the directed distribution of merchandise in the Reich, there has been purchased a total of 1, 107,792,818, 64 Reichsmark. In France, total amount of 929,100,000, Reichsmark; in Belgium 103,880,929, Reichsmark: in Holland 73,685,162, 64 Reichsmark; and in Serbia 1, 125,727, Reichsmark."

Veltjens adds:
"The regulation has been carried out in France on the basis of the occupation costs and in the other countries by means of the clearing device."
Then Veltjens gives a table of merchandise purchased in this way over the period of these five months. I shall give merely a summary to the Tribunal.
(1) Metals - 66,202 tons for a value of 273,078,287 Reichsmark

(2) Textiles, for a total value of 439,040,000, Reichsmark

(3) Leather, skins and hides to a total value of 120,754,000, Reichsmark.

Veltjens adds:
Besides these purchases there have been the following: Oils and industrial fats, oils and fats for consumers, Wool, household articles, mess articles, Wines and spirits,

[Page 8]

Engineering equipment,
Sanitary articles,
Bags etc.
He then gives a table of the increase in prices during the five months. Then he states the principle that the black market must be used solely for the benefit of Germany, and must be severely repressed when it is used by the populations of the occupied countries. On this subject he actually writes:
"1. Develop the control of prices. Inasmuch as reinforcement of a control personnel, of a German control personnel is not possible, or is possible only to a limited extent, it will be necessary to obtain from the local administration authorities a greater activity, greater zeal, in this realm.

2. Apply severe penalties, according to the German methods, for violations of regulations. This is, indeed, the only means of finding a remedy for the lack of discipline of the populations, a lack of discipline which can be traced to their individualistic and liberal ideas and ways. A control of the sentences that have been passed by the local tribunals seems to be indicated.

3. The promise of a reward in case of denunciation of the violations. The amounts of these rewards should be sufficiently high, in relation to the value of the goods which are involved in the denunciation, and which have lead to their seizure.

4. The hiring of spies and of agents provocateurs.

5. Arrest or stoppage of all businesses that are not working for the war industry.

6. Stoppage or fusion of businesses whose capacity or production is only being partly exploited.

7. Increased control of the productivity of plants.

8. Close examination of the quantity of raw materials to be distributed at the moment of transfer of the market.

9. Policy of prices which affords the businesses sufficient benefits and are of a nature to guarantee an adequate price level."

Examining the demands of the rulers of the occupied countries with relation to the German purchases on the black market, Veltjens writes:
"In the recent period, the French and Belgian economic governmental circles, among others the chief of the French Government himself, have complained about purchases methodically carried out by the Germans. In response to protests of this kind, it should be observed, without prejudice to other arguments that, on the part of the Germans too, there is naturally the greatest interest in the disappearance of the black market, but that the chief responsibility for its persistence falls upon the governmental authorities themselves by reason of the incapacity which they show in controlling prices, and the weakness which they show in judiciary punishment of violations, whereby they encourage the spirit of rebellion, and lack of discipline of the population."
The Tribunal will allow me to stress the value of the argument developed by Veltjens by reminding it that the Germans were the principal purchasers on the black market, and that their agents benefited from it by complete immunity.

Finally, speaking of the machines in the factories, Veltjens writes in his report:

"The delegate to the special missions has moreover the duty of arranging for the recuperation of machines in inactive factories. Machines which

[Page 9]

thus are not in use, in particular tool machines, of which Germany has an urgent need for its war production, are extremely numerous. After an agreement among the delegates of special missions, the military commander and the plenipotentiary of machine production, there has been created in France, at the armament inspection service, a service for the for the distribution of machines (Maschinenausgleichstelle).

The creation of a distribution service of machines which is comparable to this is provided for Belgium and Holland. One must expect to meet a serious resistance in this direction, on the part of the owners of factories as well as on the part of the local governmental authorities.

The occupation authorities will have to use every means to break this resistance."

In conclusion, Veltjens alludes in his report to the R.O.G.E.S., which was a specialised organisation for the transport to Germany of the booty captured in occupied countries, and, more particularly, of produce obtained by operations in the black market.

Ranis, one of the directors of this service, was interrogated on the 1st of November, 1945, and declared in substance "that the R.O.G.E.S. had begun its activity in February 1941, succeeding another organisation."

On the whole he confirms the facts that are reported in Veltjens' report. I shall therefore simply submit his interrogatories before the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 113.

The scope of the operations on the black market -

THE PRESIDENT: Are you asking us to take notice of this interrogation?

M. GERTHOFFER: The interrogation was made in Nuremberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes; but unless you read all the parts of it that you wish, now, in court, it will not be in evidence.

M. GERTHOFFER: I think that it is not necessary, because Mr. Ranis only repeats the indications given by Mr. Veltjens. It seems to me superfluous.


M. GERTHOFFER: The scope of the operations on the black market is thus established by German documents which cannot be contested by the opposition. I allow myself to remind you that these documents establish that in five months, in three countries, these operations amount to the sum of 1,107,792,818 Reichsmark. We shall come back to certain details in examining the special missions in certain countries, but it is necessary to indicate the reasons why the defendant Goering, in the end, decided that the black market operations should be suspended.

Indeed, on 15 March 1943, under the pretext of avoiding the risk of inflation in the occupied countries, Goering decided that the black market purchases be suspended. We have just seen that the defendant Goering worried little what became of the population of the occupied countries since he had decided that the black market purchases were to continue, even at the risk of inflation.

The real reason is the following: as the officials of the German services bought at prices which were strictly fixed by their services, the black market organisations accepted, at the same time, much higher prices. The merchandise was therefore always gravitating to the black market, to the detriment of the official market, and clandestine production in the end absorbed the normal production.

Finally, it must be added, that the corruption resulting from such practices in certain circles of the German Armed Forces became disquieting to the German leaders. The black market was suppressed officially on 15th March 1943, but certain purchasing bureaus continued their clandestine activities until the time of Liberation, though on a much smaller scale than before.

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