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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd May to 13th May, 1946

One Hundred and Twenty-Second Day: Monday, 6th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of WALTER FUNK]

[Page 130]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn this afternoon at half-past four.

[Page 131]


Q. Witness, I would like to return to the question of the so- called plundering of the occupied countries. As Reich Minister of Economics, which you were at the time, you can certainly inform us from your personal experience and observation, of the contribution of the occupied territories to Germany's war effort.

A. The achievements of the occupied territories for the joint carrying on of the war were without doubt of great significance. I have always regarded the occupied territories as synchronised with the total German economy as one great productive organism for carrying on the war, which would lead to a new order in Europe. Usually the same basic economic principles applied in the occupied countries as in Germany. In 1944 I had statistics compiled to show just how much the occupied countries had produced for the war effort in the three years 1941, 1942, and 1943, and we reached the figure of 90 billion Reichsmark. That is certainly an extraordinarily high figure, but one must not forget that the currencies of the various countries were converted into Reichsmark. That is, the reduced purchasing power of the various currencies is not expressed in this figure. In truth, therefore, the production is lower than this figure might show.

At the same time Germany utilised at least two-thirds of its entire production, that is, about 260 billion marks worth, for the European war effort, in other words, almost three times as much as the occupied countries. Almost up to the time of the invasion I succeeded, in the case of France, in regulating the financial and monetary system and thus also the economic and social order to such an extent that, at the end of the German occupation, French finances were actually much healthier than German finances, and if it had not been for the circumstances resulting from the elementary impact of the war, France would have been able to construct a healthy monetary system on this basis.

My statistics are confirmed to a certain degree by a document which was submitted here. This is Document RF-22, and deals with the French deliveries to Germany. It is an official report to the French Government about forced labour in France. In this report there are tables on Pages 38, 39, and 40, showing the amount of French deliveries to Germany in proportion to the entire French production. Then, figures show that out of the entire French production with which we are dealing, in these three years an average of 30 to 35 per cent was sent to Germany for the joint war effort. In some fields, and especially those which are necessary for the provisioning of the French population, such as textiles, pharmaceutical supplies, gas, electricity, and so forth, these figures are considerably lower and in some cases amount to only 5 or 6 percent. But as a political economist I admit without hesitation, that if these matters are not regarded from the point of view of the joint carrying on of the war and the joint economic relationship, a deduction of 35 per cent means a lot and must naturally have serious repercussions for the entire economy.

I have no specific figures at hand for the Russian territories. The Ministry of Economics itself was entirely excluded from the war economy of these territories; we merely attempted to allow certain firms or companies to operate in these territories as private enterprises there, that is to say, they were to buy and sell at their own risk. I did not participate otherwise in the management of these regions, outside the fact that I was chairman of the supervisory commission of the Continental Oil Company, which operated in these regions in conformity with the provisions of the Four-Year Plan and the orders of the Wehrmacht. But I, personally, as chairman of the supervisory commission, had only to manage the financial affairs of this company.

Q. Witness, at the end of this morning's session you spoke of the so-called "Central Planning Board," a body about which we have heard a good deal. You stated, quite briefly, it is true, that as Minister of Economics you had no interest

[Page 132]

in the fact that foreign workers were transported to Germany, no matter whether for armament or other purposes. Did I understand you correctly?

A. That applies to the time when I became a member of the Central Planning Board.

Q. When was that?

A. I was called into the Central Planning Board in the autumn of 1943 -

Q. Autumn of 1943?

A. - when I turned over all production matters to Speer and when, for the first time on 22nd November, 1943, I attended a session of the Board. At that time I not only had no interest in having foreign workers brought to Germany but actually, from the economic aspect, I wanted to have the workers remain abroad, for the production of consumer goods had, to a large extent, been shifted from Germany to the occupied countries so that in other words this production, that is, French production or Belgian production, could work unhindered, for the German populace; I did not want the workers taken away, and particularly I did not want them to be taken away by force, for in that way the entire social order would be disrupted.

Before that time, as Minister of Economics, I was naturally interested in seeing that the German economy had workers. However, these questions were not dealt with in the Ministry of Economics, instead, either in the Four-Year Plan where a General Plenipotentiary for Labour had been active from the beginning -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely we heard all this this morning. It was all given this morning.

DR. SAUTER: In connection with the Central Planning Board, perhaps I might refer to one more document, Mr. President.

And this, Witness - and please confine your answer to this letter only; - is a letter which you once wrote to Field Marshal Milch and which was submitted I think by the French prosecution under Document RF-675, I repeat, Document RF- 675. In this letter, Herr Funk, you apologised for participating so very infrequently in the meetings of the Central Planning Board. And at that time you sent two experts from your Ministry to the session, that is, two experts in the field of administrating civilian supplies and of the export trade. As deputy of your State Secretary, Dr. Hayler, who will be called later as a witness, a certain Ohlendorf participated at this meeting of the "Central Planning Board." You have already seen this man, Ohlendorf, in this court room on the witness-stand.

I should be interested to know, what were the functions of this man Ohlendorf, who apparently belonged to your Ministry.

A. As far as the negotiations of the Central Planning Board were concerned, I was essentially interested only in the fact that at that meeting the necessary raw materials were allocated for the administration of consumer goods and the export trade. For that reason Ohlendorf and two other experts for the administration of consumer goods and the export trade were sent to the meeting. Ohlendorf was brought into my Ministry by Dr. Hayler. Before that I had only known Ohlendorf vaguely from one or two meetings and I had had an extraordinarily favourable impression of him, for he had an extremely lucid mind and could always express his thoughts in a most impressive way. Before that time I did not even know that Ohlendorf had another position in the Reich Security Main Office, for he was introduced to me as a manager of the main organization for German trade. Hayler was the director of this organization Reich Committee (Reichsgruppe) for trade, and Ohlendorf was his manager and was introduced to me as such. Therefore I had no objections to Ohlendorf being brought into the Ministry and taking over that field which corresponded to his private business activities up to now - the province of administration of consumer goods.

[Page 133]

Then through Hayler I discovered that Ohlendorf was active also in the RSHA - or whatever the name is - as an office chief in the SD. However, I took no exception to this activity, for I was not fully acquainted with these assignments and, in any case, I was not convinced that anything was taking place which was intolerable for the Ministry. Ohlendorf was active chiefly as manager of the Committee for Trade. As far as I know, he only had a minor post in the RSHA, or whatever it was termed. Naturally I was very much affected and painfully surprised when I heard here about assignments which Ohlendorf and his Operational Staffs had had in previous years in Russia. I had never heard one word about this activity of Ohlendorf. He himself never mentioned these things to me and until that time I did not know the type of assignments such Einsatzstab (Operational Staffs) had.

Ohlendorf never talked about his activity in the SD. Hayler, who knew him much better and more intimately than I did, is better qualified to give information.

In any event I knew nothing of this activity of Ohlendorf, which, after all, he had carried on in years prior to this date, and I was very much perturbed to find that this man had done such things.

Q. Witness, I must ask you to state your position in regard to the testimony given by another witness, whom we have seen and heard in this Tribunal. This witness is Dr. Blaha, who made a report in this court-room about the conditions in the concentration camp at Dachau and who testified - as you probably will recall - that in and around Dachau it was common talk that the Reich Minister of Economics, Dr. Funk, had also been present at one of these official visits to the camp. As you recall, this witness replied to my question that he himself had not seen you, but that your name had been mentioned in this connection by other internees.

Were you ever at Dachau or at any other concentration camp?

A. No. I was neither at Dachau nor in any other concentration camp.

Q. Can you say that with a clear conscience under your oath?

A. Yes.

Q. The witness, Dr. Blaha, has also testified to the fact that this inspection of Dachau took place, following a discussion among the Finance Ministers which had taken place at Berchtesgaden or at Reichenhall, or somewhere in that vicinity.

Therefore I ask you: Did you ever participate in a meeting of Finance Ministers, or at least at the time Blaha claims?

A. No, I never participated in a meeting of Finance Ministers, because I myself was never a Minister. And at that time I did not participate in any international discussions at all. No.

Q. Dr. Funk, as far as your health is concerned, this is not a good day for you. You have complained about the terrific pains which you are suffering today. Consequently I do not wish to put any further questions to you, except one in conclusion, which I am sure you will be able to answer briefly.

Why did you remain in your office as Reich Minister of Economics and as President of the Reichsbank until the very end?

A. I considered myself bound to remain in this position as long as I could, in order to serve and be of use to my people. It was precisely in the last few years of the war that my position was a very difficult one. The administration became greatly disorganised and I had to make exceptional efforts in order to procure supplies for the people, especially those who had been bombed out. I continually had to protect the supplies and supply depots from arbitrary seizures by the Gauleiter. In the case of one Gauleiter, I had to call the police. I did not follow the "scorched earth" policy which the Fuehrer had decreed, so that even after the occupation by the enemy powers the supplies which were left could be used by the German people.

I had had instructions from the Fuehrer to issue a decree according to which the acceptance of allied invasion currency would be high treason and punishable by death. I did not issue that decree. I made every effort to prevent State

[Page 134]

property and State money from being destroyed and wasted. I saved the gold deposits and foreign exchange deposits of the Reichsbank which were in the greatest danger. Briefly, until the last minute I believed it was my duty and responsibility to carry on in office and to hold out until the very end. Especially when we Germans learned that, according to the Morgenthau plan, the status of the German people was to be degraded into that of shepherds and goat-herds; that the entire industry would be destroyed, which would have meant the extermination of thirty million Germans. And especially after Churchill had declared, personally, that the German people would suffer from hunger, and that epidemics would break out, only one thing was possible for me and for every decent German, and that was to remain at his post and do everything within his power in order to prevent this chaos.

I had no talent for being a traitor or a conspirator, but I always loved my father-land passionately and my people as well, and until the end I tried to do everything possible to serve my country and my people and to be of use to them.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, perhaps in connection with this alleged visit to a concentration camp I might refer to an interrogatory which we received from the witness, Dr. Schwedler, and which is found in the supplementary volume for the Funk case under No. 14. This affidavit, of the contents of which I would like to have you take official notice, essentially confirms that, since the 1st of February, 1938, the witness Dr. Schwedler, was the daily companion of the defendant Funk; that Dr. Funk never visited a concentration camp; and that the witness would have to know of it if it were the case.

With these words, Mr. President, I conclude my examination of the defendant Funk. I thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the Defendants' Counsel wish to ask questions? Dr. Sauter, you said you were referring to an affidavit of Dr. Schwedler, which was No. 14. You said you were referring to Dr. Schwedler's affidavit which you said was No. 14 in your supplementary book. It does not seem to be in ours.

THE INTERPRETER: I beg your pardon, Mr. President, it is No. 13. I am in error. Correction: No. 13. No. 13. Dr. August Schwedler. It is a questionnaire. 13.

BY DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel):

Q. Witness, I have one question which I would like to put to you.

The prosecution has accused the defendant Keitel as chief of the OKW, and you as General Plenipotentiary for the Economy and Minister Frick as General Plenipotentiary for Administration, on a common ground. The men in these three offices are mentioned in the Reich Defence Law of 1938. Undoubtedly they probably exerted certain functions which might be of significance. The prosecution in this connection spoke of a three-man board, and attributed much authority and significance to this board in connection with the point the prosecution is making of the planning and preparation of aggressive wars.

Now I ask you: Was there such a three-man board and what were the functions of these three offices which have been mentioned, according to the Reich Defence Law?

A. Due to the confusion reigning in the German administration we ourselves could scarcely keep things straight; so it is not surprising if the prosecution is in error on this point. I myself never heard of this three-man committee or three-man board until this proceeding.

I did not know that I belonged to such a three-man committee or three-man board or triumvirate or anything else. On the basis of the Reich Defence Law similar powers were given to the Chief of the OKW, to the General Plenipotentiary for Administration and to the General Plenipotentiary for Economics. These three, in deviation from the existing laws, could issue directives in which they had to mutually participate.

[Page 135]

But it was the purport of this order that these directives could only be of a subordinate nature, which on the whole applied only to the sphere of activity of the offices involved. Legislation for more important matters was made either by the Ministerial Council for Reich Defence, which later dealt only with the circulation of orders, or by Fuehrer decrees. As far as I know there were only three, four or five meetings of this body. Later, the decrees of the Fuehrer were the real, the essential way of issuing laws. They were issued by the Fuehrer personally, and the offices involved were frequently only advised of the same. Therefore the three-man board is only a fiction.

DR. NELTE: Thank you. I have no further questions.

BY DR. DIX (Counsel for defendant Schacht):

Dr. Funk, you spoke of the law for the regulation of national labour and you said that that law was issued under your predecessor. You spoke about "my predecessor."

A. No, you are wrong; I said my predecessors.

Q. Predecessors. Can you tell the Tribunal under which Reich Minister of Economics that was issued?

A. This law was issued under Reich Minister of Economics, Dr. Schmidt, as far as I remember. And the subsequent agreement with the German Labour Front probably took place in part under Schacht. I would particularly like to call your attention to the so-called "Leipzig Resolutions."

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