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 7 of 10)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of WALTER FUNK]

[Page 139]

Q. Parts of this are already in evidence as Exhibit USA 654. And later, in another form, I shall submit this part which I have just read.

Counsel Sauter, acting for you, this morning referred to a letter which you had written to Hitler, I believe it was in 1939, which you said was somewhat due to the general feeling at the time, and also to the fact that it was about your 60th birthday. Is that so? There was another reason for writing that letter in connection with your birthday, was there not? Do you know to what I refer?

A. Yes.

Q. You received 520,000 RM from Hitler as a birthday present?

A. No, that is not correct.

Q. Did you not receive a present from Goering and Goebbels -

A. Yes -

Q. Wait a minute until I finish - you do not seem to remember - you received a present from Goering and Goebbels in the first instance which had been made up of 250,000 RM from leading businessmen in Germany, and 270,000 RM which came out of special accounts maintained by Goering and Goebbels. Then Hitler heard about that and ordered you to return that money due to the fact that some of it came from industry and he himself gave you a so-called donation to the sum of 520,000 RM, isn't that so?

A. The first statement is not correct, but the latter is correct. But may I explain the details; they are of a completely different nature.

Q. Very well.

A. On my 50th birthday, the President and Directorate of the Reich Economic Chamber, the chief organization of the entire German economy, called on me and declared that on account of more than 20 years of service to German economy they wanted, with the approval of the Fuehrer, to make me a gift of an estate in Bavaria. That was somewhat of a white elephant, for later I had much worry and trouble as a consequence. A large house was built there because, as I was told, the Fuehrer had said that he also wanted me to work there. The taxes were so high, however, that I could not pay them, nor the remaining construction costs, either. Thereupon I did not appeal to Goering, but Goering heard about it and had 300,000 RM given to me in order to help me out of my financial difficulties. I did not receive any money from Goebbels, but with the approval of Goebbels the film corporation joined the Chamber of Commerce in giving me this money. When the Fuehrer heard of the difficulties I had in paying taxes and making other payments he put a sum of 500,000 RM at my disposal. With the other money I received I made two donations, one donation of 500,000 RM to the Reichsbank for the families of the members of the Reichsbank who were killed during the war, and 200,000 RM to the Reich Ministry of Economics for the families of those members of the office staff who died in the war. I was able to live in and pay for the upkeep of this large house and grounds only because I had a relatively large income. However, from the beginning, when I saw the tremendous costs and expenses connected with it, particularly in taxes, etc., I decided, in agreement with my wife, that after my death this estate should again be donated either to

[Page 140]

the Reichsbank or to my East Prussian homeland. I also discussed this several times with the Reichsbank directorate.

Q. I am not much concerned with what you did with it, I only want to know if you received it. And you received it, did you not? You received the 520,000 RM.

A. Yes.

Q. You also made a present out of public funds on your own account to the defendant Frick on one occasion, did you not? Did you not give Frick a birthday present of 250,000 RM on 12th March, 1942?

A. That I do not know.

Q. You do not remember, you do not remember that? Do you know anything about the other gifts that were given to any of these other defendants out of public funds, either through your position as President of the Reichsbank or as an important functionary of the Nazi Party? Do you know anything about these other men and what they received from the public treasury?

A. These monies were not given by me. They were given from the Fund of the Fuehrer by Lammers. I did not dispense such monies.

Q. They were public funds, were they not? They did not come from anywhere else except the public? You do not know then that Rosenberg got 250,000 RM? Did you know that?

A. No.

Q. In January, 1944, you were then President of the Reichsbank?

A. Yes, but these monies never came from the Reichsbank. These were monies from funds which were administered by Lammers and I assume that the monies came from the Adolf Hitler Donation or from other funds. But the Reichsbank had nothing to do with these funds.

Do you know that von Neurath received 250,000 RM on 2nd February, 1943? Do you know anything about that? You were the President of the Reichsbank then.

A. I know nothing about that.

Q. You heard about Lammers and his 600,000 RM. You know that Keitel received 250,000 RM on 22nd September, 1942. You never heard about that?

A. The Reichsbank had nothing at all to do with these things.

Q. You know that von Ribbentrop received 500,000 RM on 3oth April, 1943. You never heard of that? General Milch received 500,000 RM in 1941; none of these things ever came to your attention?

A. I never had anything to do with these matters. They were Lammers' concern and the money did not come from the Reichsbank.

Q. Now, I understood you to say that you were not the economic adviser, in fact, to Hitler or to the Nazi Party of the early days. That is, in your own judgement you were not? It is a fact, however, that you were generally regarded as such by the public, by industrialists, by Party members and the high Party officials? Is that not so?

A. I was called that, as I said here, on the basis of my activity in 1932. I acted as a mediator in conversations between the Fuehrer and some leading economists and for a short while carried out the activity in the Party which has been described here.

Q. You have called yourself the economic adviser on occasion, have you not? At least on one occasion, during an interrogation, did you not refer to yourself as the economic adviser for the Party? You remember that?

A. No.

Q. I think you will agree that you were generally recognized as such, but the really important thing is that the public thought you were.

A. I have testified here that I was called that by the Press, and from the Press this designation apparently went into the record. I did not use this term myself.

Q. Were you the principal contact man between the Nazi Party and industry in the very early days?

[Page 141]

A. In 1932, and this is the only year which we need consider in connection with Party activities on my part, because I was not active in the Party before or after this year. But I arranged discussions between Hitler and leading men of industry, whom I can name. But other men also acted in that capacity; for example, the Secretary of State Keppler.

Q. I am not asking you about other men, I am asking you whether or not you were a principal contact man. Actually you were encouraged by industry, were you not, to become active in the Party?

A. Yes.

Q. You acted as a go-between between the Nazis and the big business men in Germany.

A. It did not take up much time, but I did it.

Q. Whether it took much of your time or not, that does not interest us. It took some of your time. That is what you were doing?

A. Yes.

Q. You remember the Document EC-440, perhaps. It is really a statement that you made and prepared on the relationship of German industry to the Party in the National Socialist leadership of the State. You remember that paper you drew upon 28th June, 1945. You may recall that you yourself said that "Keppler, who later became State Secretary, and who served as Economic adviser to the Fuehrer before me...." You used those words. You recall that?

A. Keppler?

Q. Yes, he was the adviser before you. You remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in the Propaganda Ministry, if I understand you correctly, you want the Tribunal to believe that you were something of an administrative functionary and not a very important man, and you did not really know what was going on. Is that your position?

A. No, I had quite a big task, and that was the leadership of an extensive cultural concern. I stated that here. It consisted of film companies, theatres, orchestras, the German Trade Publicity Council, and the administration of the entire German radio, an undertaking worth a hundred millions, that is to say, a very extensive activity, an organisational, economic and financial activity. But propaganda was taken care of solely and exclusively by Goebbels.

Q. Yes. You knew the policies and the purposes of the propaganda ministries there is not any doubt about that?

A. Yes.

Q. You knew that, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Now, we can pass on to one other matter that I referred to earlier, to clear up another matter. Do you recall that the defendant Schacht, when he was on the witness stand, said, I believe, at that now famous meeting where a number of industrialists were gathered to greet Hitler, that he did not take up the collection? Schacht said he did not do it. I think he said that Goering did it or somebody else. Do you remember that testimony about Schacht? You remember being interrogated about that subject yourself?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember what you told us at the time?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you tell us?

A. I said that Schacht made a brief speech, after which Goering and Hitler also spoke, and that he asked those present to contribute and to raise money, that is, raise money for the election fund, He took over the collection and said the coal industry -

Q. Who?

A. He said -

[Page 142]

Q. Who was the one who took up the collection? I do not understand whom you mean by "he."

A. Schacht.

Q. That is all I wanted to know about that.

When did you first learn that the uprisings of November, 1938, were not spontaneous?

A. On the morning of 9th November, on my way from my home to the ministry, I saw for the first time what had taken place during the night. Before that I had not had the slightest hint that such outrages had been planned.

Q. I think you misunderstood me. I did not ask you when you first came to know about the uprisings; I asked you when you first learned that they were not spontaneous; when you first learned that they were instigated and planned by somebody else.

A. I only found out about that later.

Q. Well, how much later?

A. I believe very much later. Later on there was much discussion about this matter, and it was never clear just who had been the instigator of these measures of terror and violence and where the order had originated.

We knew that it had come from Munich. We had learned that in the meantime on 9th November; but whether it was Goebbels or Himmler and to what extent the Fuehrer himself participated in this measure, I was never able to find out clearly. From my telephone conversation with Goebbels which I mentioned today, one thing was clear: The Fuehrer must have known about this matter, for he told me that the Fuehrer had decreed, and Goering also said this, that the Jews were completely to be eliminated from economic life. From this I had to conclude that the Fuehrer himself knew about this matter.

Q. Now from that telephone conversation we can also see one other thing. You knew that Goebbels had started this business, didn't you, and that was the day after it happened? You knew it was not spontaneous and that is why you called up Goebbels and questioned him; is that not so?

A. Yes.

Q. How many days later did you make that inflammatory speech about what should be done to the Jews? About six days afterwards, didn't you? I am referring to the one that was published in the Frankfurter Zeitung; your counsel referred to it this morning.

A. Yes, to begin with -

Q. And in that speech you tried to make it appear to the public that that was a spontaneous uprising, didn't you?

A. Yes.

Q. That was not true, was it?

A. I did not know that at the time. At that time I still believed that it was really the outcome of views held by a large section of the community. Very much later I found out that routine machinery had been put in motion.

Q. Are you now telling this Tribunal that on the morning of your telephone call to Goebbels, when you in effect blamed him for these uprisings, you were not well aware then that he had started it? Is that your position?

A. At that time I did not know who had started this regime of terror and how it had been carried through; that was entirely new to me.

Q. If you did not know who started it, you knew that somebody started it and that it was not spontaneous?

A. Yes.

Q. And still in your speech of 15th November you tried to make it appear to the public that it was just an uprising on the part of the German people, didn't you?

A. I based that on the attempted assassination of - I don't know what he was, Attache, in Paris - and actually the attempt caused much agitation. There is no doubt of it.

[Page 143]

Q. Now I think you understand my question, Witness. You said on that occasion, you used these words: "The fact that the last violent explosion of the indignation of the German people because a criminal Jewish attack against the German people took place," and so on, and you went on. You were trying to make it appear there that this was a spontaneous reaction of the German people, and I insist that you knew better and had known it for some days, hadn't you?

A. But I did not know that that is what took place. I admit that I knew that influence had been exerted by some office or other.

Q. Well, all right. When did you coin the expression "crystal week"? Do you know what that expression is; where it came from?

A. "Crystal week"?

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