The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 266]

Q. Now, passing further in the discussion, I call your attention to this warning from Heydrich about the measures which had been discussed:
"Goering: Once we have a ghetto we could determine what stores ought to be there and we would be able to say, 'You, Jew so-and-so, together with so-and-so, shall take care of the delivery of goods,' then a German wholesale firm would be ordered to deliver the goods for this Jewish store. The store would then not be a retail shop but a co-operative store, a co-operative society for Jews.

Heydrich: All these measures will eventually lead to the institution of the ghetto. I must say: one should not set up a ghetto, but these measures, if carried through as outlined here, will automatically drive the Jews into a ghetto."

Did Heydrich give that warning?

A. Here it says so, yes, but it can be seen from the following discussion that I said: "Now comes that which Goebbels mentioned before, 'compulsory renting.' Now the Jewish tenants come together." It was a question of the Jewish tenants moving together in order to avoid disagreeable results of reciprocal sub-letting.

Q. You have omitted that Funk also remarked at this point that "Jew's will have to move quite close together. What are three million? Every one will have to stand up for the next fellow. Alone he will starve."

Can you find that?

A. Yes. But in another part of these minutes it is stated very clearly: "One cannot let the Jews starve, and therefore the necessary measures must be taken."

Q. Toward the close of that meeting you said the following, did you not?

"I demand that German Jewry as a whole shall, as a punishment for the abominable crimes, etc., make a contribution of one billion marks. That will work. The pigs will think twice hereafter. Incidentally, I would like to say again that I would not like to be a Jew in Germany."
A. That was correct, yes.

Q. Were you joking about that, too?

A. I have told you exactly what led to the fine of one billion.

Q. You pointed out that the chauffeurs of Gauleiters must be prevented from enriching themselves through Aryanisation of Jewish property. Is that right?

[Page 267]

A. Yes.

Q. We will now take up the subject of art.

I call your attention to Document 141-PS, Exhibit USA 308. That is the decree establishing priorities on the claim for Jewish art property. Do you recall that?

A. That has been handled several times and I have recently spoken about it in detail.

Q. The order was issued as here stated, was it not?

A. Yes, indeed. I emphasised that.

Q. In paragraph 5 reference is made to works of art that were suitable to be given to French museums, and which were to be sold by auction. The profit from this auction was to be given to the French State for the benefit of war widows and children. You say that this was never done?

A. I did not say that this never happened. That was my intention in that decree.

Q. Well, I am asking you if it was ever done.

A. As far as paragraph 5 is concerned, I cannot say. I can only refer to the payments mentioned in paragraph 2, the things that I pointed out, which I had had determined after an estimate, and I said the other day that this amount was kept in readiness and that I repeatedly asked in which account it should be deposited. I had every single item among the objects destined to go into the collection which I was to make, appraised.

Q. Where was this amount kept?

A. In my bank, under the name "Art Fund."

Q. In what bank?

A. It was - I cannot say for sure, there were several banks - in which bank exactly the "Art Fund" was deposited I cannot say. I would have to have the documents here for that.

Q. In the several interrogations you have never been able to point out where that fund is, have you?

A. I cannot say, but you would only have to question my secretary who kept account of all the funds; she can tell you quite accurately.

Q. This order, Document 141-PS, was carried out by the Rosenberg Special Operation Staff (Einsatzstab), was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know who carried it out, who actually was there? Did you know Turner?

A. I did not get the name.

Q. Did you know Herr Turner?

A. I know a certain Turner, who, however, had nothing to do with the Einsatzstab, the Special Staff of Rosenberg, and who, as far as I know, was in Yugoslavia.

Q. Was not State Counsellor Turner in Paris in connection with the art collections?

A. Turner - I do not know whether he had anything to do with Rosenberg's Einsatzstab.

Q. But you knew him, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And did you know a Dr. Bunjes?

A. Yes.

Q. He had to do with captured or confiscated Jewish art treasures, did he not?

A . I do not believe that Dr. Bunjes had anything to do with that. He was in charge of a different field of art, but the Rosenberg Einsatzstab and certain departments of the military administration had something to do with it.

[Page 268]

Q. I will ask to have you shown, so that you can follow me, to refresh your memory, Document 2523-PS, Exhibit USA 783, a letter from Dr. Bunjes, and ask you if this refreshes your recollection of certain events.
"On Tuesday, 4th February, 1941, at 18.30 hours, I was ordered for the first time to report to the Reich Marshal at the Quai d'Orsay. Field-Commander von Behr of the Special Purpose Staff Rosenberg was also present. It is, of course, difficult to describe in words the cordial atmosphere in which the conversation was held."
Do you recall such a meeting?

A. No, it was not important enough for me to remember it, but I do not deny it, in any case.

Q. We will see if this refreshes your memory:

"The Reich Marshal dropped the subject for the time being and asked for the report of the present state of the seizure of Jewish art property in the occupied Western territories. On this occasion he gave Commander von Behr the photographs of those works of art that the Fuehrer wanted to obtain. In addition, he gave Commander von Behr the photographs of those objects of art that the Reich Marshal wanted to acquire for himself."
A. I cannot follow here.

Q. You mean you do not find these words, or you do not recall the events?

A. No, I have not found the passage yet, and I would like to have a little time to see the context of this letter which was neither written by me nor addressed to me.

Q. Let me call your attention to a further paragraph of it and see if it does not refresh your memory:

"On Wednesday, 5th February, 1941, I was ordered to the 'Jeu de Paume' by the Reich Marshal. At 15.00 hours, the Reich Marshal, accompanied by General Hannese, Herr Angerer, and Herr Hofer, visited the exhibit of Jewish art treasures newly set up there."
A. Yes, I have already stated before that at Jeu de Paume I selected the art treasures which were exhibited there. That is right.

Q. That is right; now we are getting there.

"Then, with myself as his guide, the Reich Marshal inspected the exhibit of art treasures and made a selection of those which were to go to the Fuehrer and those which were to be placed in his own collection.

During this confidential conversation, I again called the Reich Marshal's attention to the fact that a note of protest had been received from the French Government against the activity of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, with reference to The Hague Rules on Land Warfare recognised by Germany at the Armistice of Compiegne, and I pointed out that General von Stulpnagel's interpretation of the manner in which the confiscated Jewish art treasures are to be treated was apparently contrary to the Reich Marshal's interpretation. Thereupon, the Reich Marshal asked for a detailed explanation and gave the following orders:

'First, it is my orders that you have to follow. You will act directly according to my orders. The works of art collected in the Jeu de Paume are to be loaded on a special train immediately and taken to Germany by order of the Reich Marshal. Those which are to go into the Fuehrer's possession and those which the Reich Marshal claims for himself will be loaded on two railway cars which will be attached to the Reich Marshal's special train, and upon his departure for Germany, at the beginning of next week, will be taken along to Berlin. Feldfuehrer von Behr will accompany the Reich Marshal in his special train on the trip to Berlin.'

[Page 269]

When I made the objection that the jurists would probably be of a different opinion and that protests would most likely be made by the military commander in France, the Reich Marshal answered, saying word for word as follows, 'Dear Bunjes, let me worry about that; I am the highest jurist in the State.'

The Reich Marshal promised to send from his headquarters by courier to the Chief of the Paris Military Administrative District on Thursday, 6th February, the written order for the transfer to Germany of the confiscated Jewish art treasures."

Now, does that refresh your memory?

A. Not in the least, but it is not at all in contradiction to what I have said with respect to the art treasures, with the exception of one sentence. It is pure nonsense that I should have said that I was the highest jurist in the State because that, thank God, I was not. That is something which Dr. Bunjes said, and I cannot be held responsible for every statement which anyone may have made to somebody else without my having any possibility of correcting it. As for the rest it corresponds to the statement I made recently.

Q. Now, the works of art then were loaded on cars and shipped to Berlin, were they not?

A. A part of them, yes.

Q. I now call your attention to, and ask to have you shown, Document 014-PS, Exhibit USA 784. Now, I ask you to refresh your memory by following this report to the Fuehrer with me, and tell me if this conforms with your testimony:

"I report the arrival - "
A. (interposing) I would like to point out that this report did not come from me.

Q. I understand that. I am asking if it is right or wrong.

"I report the arrival of the principal shipment of ownerless Jewish art treasures at the salvage point Neuschwanstein by special train on Saturday the 15th of this month. It was secured by my Staff for Special Purposes (Einsatzstab) in Paris. The special train, arranged for by Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, comprised 25 express baggage cars filled with the most valuable paintings, furniture, tapestries, works of artistic craftsmanship and ornaments. The shipment consisted mainly of the most important parts of the collections of Rothschild, Seligman" - and half a dozen others. Have you found that and is it correct?
A. I do not know whether this is correct, since the report did not come from me. The only thing which I can remember is that I was asked by the Einsatzstab to see to it that a sufficient number of special cars, box cars, were put at their disposal to ship the art treasures, since Jeu de Paume was not a safe place in case of air attacks. Neuschwanstein lies South of Munich. We were concerned with objects destined for the Fuehrer.

I should like, however, to refer to the next sentence of this document, which was not written by me. It goes as follows:

"The confiscation measures of my Einsatzstab were put into effect in October, 1940, in Paris, according to your order, my Fuehrer."
That coincides with what I have said in my previous statements.

Q. And would you care to read further?

A. You mean where it says:

"Apart from this special train, the principal works selected by the Reich Marshal, coming mainly from the Rothschild collection, had previously been shipped in two special cars to Munich and were there put into the air- raid shelter of the Fuehrer Building."

[Page 270]

They were those most precious works of art which I bad designated for the Fuehrer, and which were to be sent, at the wish of the Fuehrer, to the air-raid shelter. This had nothing to do directly with my affairs, but I did not dispute the fact and I have explained it in detail.

Q. When you were examined by the American Foreign Assets Commission, you estimated your art treasures as having a value, at the time you turned them over to the Government, of fifty million Reichsmark, as I recall it. Am I right?

A. That is not quite correct. The Commission insisted on appraisal and the discussion continued for a long time. I expressly told the Commission that I could not assess the value because I did not have the objects in hand nor a list of them, and I could not quote them from memory; furthermore, that the estimates were subject to fluctuation depending on the one hand upon the prices that art lovers might pay and, on the other, upon the actual market value. Since I did not see a copy of the minutes in spite of my pleas, and especially since minutes of this nature often give rise to misunderstandings, I can only acknowledge the records which I have undersigned.

Q. Well, do you question the following? "When I gave the news to the Minister of Finance I estimated the value at that time at fifty million Reichsmark." Did you say that or did you not?

A. I cannot estimate the value. I only told the Finance Minister that my entire collection, including my own, would be turned over to the State, and since I knew my passion for collecting, I thought that it was quite possible that something could suddenly happen to me and that, since I had put my entire fortune into these works of art, the entire collection might become State, that is, public property, and that my family would thus be deprived of every means of subsistence. I therefore asked him to provide for a pension or some compensation for my family. That was the negotiation with the Finance Minister, to which he can testify.

Q. What proportion of your art collection was acquired after 1933?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. What proportion of your art collection was acquired after 1933?

A. That I could not say in detail - quite a number of pictures and statues.

Q. Now, you have claimed that some part of your art collection you bought?

A. Certainly.

Q. And in connection with that some inquiry was made into your financial transactions, was it not?

A. I do not know. Who made the inquiries?

Q. Well, you were asked, were you not, about your receipt of 7,276,000 Reichsmark from the Reemtsma Cigarette Factory?

A. No, I was never asked about that.

Q. You were never asked about it?

A. No, neither about the amount nor about the cigarette factory, nor anything else.

Q. Let me refresh your memory about that. Did you not tell them, and did you not tell Colonel Amen in interrogations, that this money was given to you by this cigarette factory and that their back taxes were cancelled?

A. No, I even denied that their back taxes were ever cancelled. I remember now that the question was put to me in a different connection. A sum of money was set aside for the so-called Adolf Hitler Fund, and this amount the Fuehrer put at my disposal for general cultural tasks.

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