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 4 of 9)

[M. GERTHOFER continues]

But the Germans did not lose time in violating their promises and in levying, on their account, in spite of the Danish protest, sums infinitely greater than the needs of the army of occupation.

According to the information given by the Danish Government, the Germans levied, per month,

43 million crowns in 1940;
37 million crowns in 1941;
39 million crowns in 1942;
83 million crowns in 1943;
157 million crowns in 1944;
187 million crowns in 1945.
The total of these levies amounts, according to the Danish Government, to 4,830,000,000 crowns.

I submit, as Exhibit RF 115, the financial report of the Danish Government concerning this, a report to which I shall refer in the course of this statement.

The information given by the Danish Government is corroborated by a German document discovered by the United States Army, EC-96, Page 11, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 116.

This is a secret report of the 10th of October 1944, written by the labour staff for foreign countries, and which concerns the conscription of funds in occupied territories.

On Page 11 it is said that "Denmark is not considered as occupied territory, and therefore does not pay occupation expenses. The means of payments necessary to the German troops are put at the disposal of the high administration of the Reichskreditkasse by the Central Danish Bank, by the channels of ordinary credit. Anyway, total levies are assured by Denmark."

The writer of this report says that the levies to the 31st of March 1944, for occupation expenses, amount to:

[Page 15]

1940-1941, 531 million crowns;
1941-1942, 437 million crowns;
1942-1943, 612 million crowns;
1943-1944, 1,391 million crowns;
this represents, up to the 31st of March 1944, 2,971 million crowns. This corresponds to the information given by the Danish Government for approximately the same period, 2,723,000,000 crowns.

The same German report shows that the rate of exchange for the mark, as compared to the rate of exchange for the crown, had been fixed by the occupying powers from 47.7 to 53.1 marks per hundred crowns.

Even though the Germans pretended, against all evidence, that Denmark was not an occupied territory, they levied in this country the total sum of 4,830,000,000 crowns, an enormous sum, seeing the number of inhabitants and the resources of the country. In reality, this was nothing other than a war tribute which the Germans imposed under the pretext of furnishing means of payment to her army, which was stationed in Denmark.

The maintenance of the army necessary to the occupying of Denmark did not necessitate such heavy expenses. It is evident that the Germans used, as in other countries, the majority of the funds extorted in this manner from Denmark to finance their war effort.


In 1931 Germany was up against financial difficulties, which she used as a pretext to declare a general moratorium on all her foreign obligations.

Nevertheless, to be able to continue, to a certain extent, her commercial operations with foreign countries, she concluded, with a majority of the other nations, agreements permitting the payment of her commercial debts, and even of certain financial debts, on the basis of a system of compensation called "clearing."

Ever since the beginning of the occupation - the 9th of April 1940 - and for its duration, the Danish authorities did everything they could but to counteract the German activity in this domain, but in vain, Under the pressure of occupying forces Denmark could not prevent her credit for the clearing balance from constantly increasing, owing to the German purchases being made without the furnishing of any compensating counterpart.

According to the Danish Government, the credit balance of the account progressed in the following way:

31 December 1940, 388,800,000 crowns;
31 December 1941, 784,400,000 crowns;
31 December 1942, 1,062,200,000 crowns;
31 December 1943, 1,915,800,000 crowns;
31 December 1944, 2,694,000,000 crowns;
30 April 1945, 2,900,000,000 crowns;
These data are corroborated by the German report which I submitted a few minutes ago as Exhibit RF 116, and according to which, on the 31st of March, 1944, the Germans had procured for themselves means of payment, through clearing, amounting to a total sum of 2,243,000,000 crowns.

It has not been possible to establish the use which the occupants made of the sum of 7,730,000,000 crowns, which they procured fraudulently and to the detriment of Denmark, with the help of the indemnity of occupation and of clearing.

[Page 16]

The information which we have up to now does not enable us to estimate the extent of the operations carried out by the Germans on the black market. Nevertheless, the writer of the report of the 10th of October 1944, which I have presented previously, indicates:
"We must put aside all attempts to estimate the sums which were spent in the black market. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that members of the Wehrmacht used to buy, at top prices, butter and other products in Denmark. But it is impossible to fix these sums even approximately, for the black market seems to be less vast and less well co-ordinated than in the other occupied territories of the West, and is closer to the structure of the German black market, with its rather confused prices. Nevertheless, the prices of the Danish black market can generally be considered as much lower than the German prices. It is, therefore, not possible to speak of an average price, of an average high price, as in France, Belgium and Holland."
What should be remembered is that the Germans, and especially members of the Wehrmacht, used to operate on the black market in Denmark, and that the paying of expenses was done with funds extorted from Denmark.

Concerning the acquisitions, which seemed to be regular, we lack the necessary information to be able to give precise indications. Nevertheless, according to a report of the 9th of October 1944, addressed by the German office of the Economic Staff of Germany to their superiors in Frankfurt an der Oder - a document discovered by the United States Army, and which I submit as Exhibit RF 117 - the following goods were levied by his department:

From January to July, 1943, 30,000 tons of turf.

May 1944, 6,000 cubic metres of wood.

(The writer adds that they tried to push this production to 10,000 cubic metres per month).

September 1944, 5,785 cubic metres of cut timbers 1, 110 metres of uncut timber;

1,050 square metres of plywood;

119 tons of paint for ships; and special wood for the Navy.

Gentlemen, this is but an enumeration of the levies which just one German section happened to make within a short time.

Denmark had to furnish important quantities of cement. Germans furnished her, in exchange, with the coal necessary for this production.

According to this report which I have mentioned, in August 1944, the Germans spent, in Denmark, over 8,312,278 crowns on foodstuffs.

These numbers are below the truth. According to the last information we have received from the Danish Government, the levies of agricultural things alone amounted, on the average, to 70 million crowns per month; which represents, for 60 months of occupation, levies of a value of 4,700,000,000 crowns.


In addition to all that they managed to buy with the help of crowns which were deposited in their accounts under the pretext of the maintenance of the army of occupation and of clearing, the Germans appropriated an important quantity of goods without having paid for them in any regular manner.

It was in this way that they appropriated goods of the Danish Army and Navy; lorries, horses, means of transportation, furniture, clothes, which up to date have been estimated at about 850 million crowns.

Many requisitions and secret, and even apparent, purchases, have not yet been exactly estimated.

[Page 17]

In this report the Danish Government estimates -

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing): Where do these figures come from?

M. GERTHOFFER: These figures come from the report of the Danish Government, Exhibit RF 115.

The same report, contains, on the part of the Danish Government, an estimate which is rather approximate and provisional, of the damages sustained by Denmark and of the German plundering, which is assessed as 11,600,000,000 crowns.

The information which we have to date does not permit me to give any more particulars concerning Denmark.

I will, therefore, if the Tribunal will permit me, begin with particulars in the case about Norway.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you submitting a document book with this?

(The document books were submitted).

M. GERTHOFFER: The Economic Plundering of Norway:

The German troops had only just arrived in Norway when Hitler declared, on the 18th of April, 1940, that they should proceed to the economic exploitation of this country which, for this reason, must be considered as an "enemy State."

The information which we have on the economic plundering of Norway is rather brief, but it is, nevertheless, sufficient to enable us to estimate the German activity in that country during the time of the occupation.

Norway was subjected to a regime of most severe rationing. As soon as they entered this country, the Germans tried - and this was contrary to the most elementary principles of International Law - to draw from Norway the maximum of resources possible.

In a document discovered by the United States Army, EC-384, and which I submit as Exhibit RF 116-a document which is made up by the Journal De Marche of Economic and Armament Service in Norway, written in May 1940-we have excerpts of the directives relative to the administration and to the economy in the occupied territories. Here are some of these excerpts

"Directive of Armament Economy:

The Norwegian industry, to the extent to which it does not directly supply the population, has, in its essential branches, a particular importance for the German war industry. That is why its production must be put, as soon as possible, at the disposal of the German armament industry, if this has not already been done. The industry consists, on the one hand, of 'intermediate products' which demand a certain amount of time to be transformed into finished, useful products; and, on the other hand, of raw materials - such as aluminium, for example - which can be used whilst we wait for our own factories, which are being built, to be in a position to produce.

In this connection we must, above all, take into consideration the following industries;

The production of copper, zinc, nickel, iron with a titanium base, wolfram, molybdenum, silver, and pyretic.

Metallurgical factories for the production of aluminium alumina, copper, nickel, zinc.

Chemical industries for the production of explosives, synthetic nitrogen, calcium nitrate, super-phosphate, carbonate of calcium and soda base products.

Armament industries, naval dockyards.

Industries for power supply; especially for supplying electric energy furnishing electric current, on which depend all the industrial branches enumerated above.

[Page 18]

The production capacities of these industries must be maintained, for the duration of the occupation, at the highest possible levels.

Certain help coming from the Reich is, from time to time, necessary to surmount the difficulties of seizing English imports, or those coming from overseas.

It is most important to ensure this aid as far as the industries of raw materials are concerned, the production of which is based essentially on the imports coming from overseas.

We cannot for a moment overlook the question of the imports of bauxite coming from the German stocks and which can be used by the metallurgical factories of aluminium."

As soon as the troops entered Norway, Germany issued notes of the Reichskreditkasse which were legal only in Norway, and could not be used in Germany. As in the other occupied countries, this was a means of pressure to obtain financial advantages, which were supposedly freely accorded by these brutally enslaved countries.

The Germans did their best to become masters of the means of payment and of Norwegian credit by two classic methods; imposition of war tribute on the pretext of the maintenance of the occupational army, and also by the functioning of a clearing system which was to their profit.


First: Indemnities for the maintenance of the army of occupation.

At the beginning of the occupation, the Germans used to purchase with notes of the Reichskreditkasse. The Norwegians who had this paper money used to change it at the Bank of Norway, but this financial institution could not obtain from the Reichskreditkasse any real counter-value.

In July 1940 the Bank of Norway had to absorb Rm 135,000,000 which came from the Reichskreditkasse.

To avoid losing control over the money calculation, the Bank of Norway was obliged to put the Norwegian notes at the disposal of the Germans. They used to draw cheques on the Reichskreditkasse which the Bank of Norway was obliged to endorse.

The debt account of the Bank of Norway, following the German levies, amounts to:

1,450,000,000 crowns at the end of 1940;
3,000,000,000 crowns at the end of 1941;
6,300,000,000 crowns at the end of August 1942;
8,700,000,000 crowns at the end of 1943;
11,676,000,000 crowns at the liberation of this country.

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