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-Third Day: Tuesday, 7th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[GENERAL RAGINSKY continues his cross examination of WALTER FUNK]

[Page 172]

Q. In other words, you wish to state that you had nothing to do with it and that the entire matter rested with the Ministry of Finance. Then tell me, please, are you aware of the testimony given by your assistant, Landfried, an affidavit of which was submitted by your Defence Counsel?

You will remember that Landfried stated and affirmed something totally different. He said that in the determination of exchange rates in the Occupied Territories yours was the final and determining voice. You do not agree with this confession?

A. When these rates were determined, of course, I, as President of the Reichsbank, was consulted and, as can be confirmed by every document, I always advocated that the new rates should be as close as possible to the old rates established on the basis of the purchasing power, that is to say, no under-evaluation.

[Page 173]

Q. Consequently, the compulsory rate of exchange in the Occupied Countries was introduced with your knowledge and according to your instructions.

A. Not on the basis of my directive. I was only asked for advice.

Q. Your advice?

A. I had to give my approval. That is, the Reichsbank Directorate formally gave the approval, but -

Q. I am satisfied with your reply.

I now go on to the next question. On the 29th May, 1941, the Commander-in-Chief in Serbia issued an order regarding the Serbian National Bank, which order has already been submitted as Exhibit USSR 135. This order liquidated the National Bank of Yugoslavia and divided the entire property of the bank between Germany and her satellites. Instead of the National Bank of Yugoslavia a fictitious so-called Serbian Bank was created, whose directors were appointed by the General Plenipotentiary for National Economy in Serbia. Tell me, do you know who was the General Plenipotentiary for National Economy in Serbia?

A. It was probably the Consul-General, Franz Neuhausen, the man in charge of the Four-Year Plan.

Q. Yes. It was Franz Neuhausen.

A. He was a Plenipotentiary.

Q. Was he a collaborator in the Ministry of Economics?

A. No.

Q. He never worked in the Ministry of Economics?

A. No.

Q. He never worked there?

A. No, never.

Q. Was he a collaborator of Goering?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Do you admit that such specific currency operations, as a result of which the Yugoslavian Government and its citizens were robbed of several million dinars, could not have been carried out without your participation and without the co- operation of the departments within your jurisdiction?

A. I do not know the directives in detail, according to which the liquidation was carried out and by which the new Serbian National Bank was founded, but it goes without saying that the Reichsbank participated in such a transaction.

Q. I want to ask you two more questions. Together with the unconcealed plunder, consisting in the confiscations and requisitions which the German invaders carried out in the Occupied Territories of Eastern Europe, they also exploited these countries to the limit of their economic resources by applying various exchange and economic measures, such as depreciation of currency, seizure of the Banks, artificial decrease of prices and wages, thus continuing the economic plunder of the Occupied Territories. Do you admit that this was precisely the policy of Germany in the Occupied Territories of Eastern Europe?

A. In no way whatsoever.

Q. I now submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 453, No. JU 119. This is a new document, consisting of notes on a conference held by the Reich Commissar on the 22nd April, 1943, for the determination of prices. Price experts from all the Occupied Territories attended this conference. I shall now read into the record some excerpts from this document.

It says on Page 2:

"On 1st October, 1942, in Germany there were 5 1/2 million foreign workers.

"Of these:-

1 1/2 millions were prisoners of war.
4 millions were civilians.

[Page 174]

The document also says:-
"1,200,000 came from the East.
1,000,000 came from the former Polish territories.
200,000 came from Czechoslovakia.
65,000 were Croatians.
50,000 were Serbians, etc."
Further this document also says in connection with the equalisation of prices:
"Price equalisation should be operated to the debit of the producer countries, that is, through the Central Clearing Office, which for the most part is to the advantage of the occupied countries."
On Page 14 it is stated that "these price adjustments were of no importance to the occupied territories, since the main interest did not lie in the welfare of the population but in the utilization of all the economic forces of the country."

On Page 16 we find the following excerpt:-

"Concerning the Eastern Occupied Territories Ministerialrat Romer has stated that prices there are far below German prices, and so far the Reich has already reaped large import profits."
Mention is made, on Page 19, of Germany's clearing debt, which amounted to 9,300,000 marks. At the same time the clearing balance for Czechoslovakia showed a deficit of 2,000,000, for the Ukraine of 82,500,000, for Serbia of 219,000,000, for Croatia of 85,000,000 and for Slovakia of 301,000,000.

And finally, on Page 22 of the document, it says:-

"The prices in the occupied Eastern territories are kept at the lowest possible level. We have already realised import profits which are being used to cover Reich debts. Wages are generally only one-fifth of what they are in Germany."
You must admit that the planned robbery perpetrated by the German invaders on so gigantic a scale could never have been carried out without your active participation as Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank and Plenipotentiary for Economy?

A. I must again stress that during the war I was no longer Plenipotentiary for Economy. But may I state my position to this document?

First, there is the figure of the number of the workers which were brought from the occupied territories and other foreign countries into Germany. I have emphasized, myself, and it has been confirmed by other statements, that I was basically against bringing in foreign manpower from occupied territories to such an extent as to impair the economic order in those territories. I am not even speaking about recruitment of forced labour. I also opposed that. When an expert whom I do not know, says that the deliberations about price policy were of no importance to the occupied territories, because the main interest did not lie with the welfare of the population but in the exploitation of economic forces, I must contradict that point of view. In any case, it is not my point of view. I do not know who the man was who said that, but it is a matter of course that a territory cannot produce well unless the economy is kept on a good footing and prices are fixed at a level which enables the people to exist, and unless social order is maintained. So I have to oppose this point of view also.

As far as the clearing debt is concerned, I explained yesterday in detail that the clearing system Was in common usage for Germany, and that I have always recognized and confirmed that these clearing debts were genuine debts which, after the war, had to be repaid in the currency in which they were incurred and based on the purchasing power at that time. I do not see any plundering here.

Moreover, I must again stress the fact that I was not responsible for the economy in the Occupied Territories, that I had no power to give a directive there, and that I only participated in so far as I detailed officials to individual offices, just as all

[Page 175]

other departments, and that, of course, there was co- operation between these offices and the department at home. But I cannot assume responsibility for the economy in the occupied territories. The Reichsmarshal definitely admitted that, as far as economic questions are concerned, it was his responsibility.

Q. I understand. You collaborated, and now you do not wish to admit that you collaborated. You say that the expert thrust himself forward, but do you remember your testimony, which you gave on the 22nd October, 1945 during your interrogation, when you were asked about the compulsory mobilization of foreign workers? You were asked if you knew about it and if you had ever protested against it. Is that correct? You replied: "No, why should I be the one to protest against it?"

A. That is not correct. I protested against the compulsory recruitment of workers, and against so many workers having been taken out of occupied territory that the local economy could no longer produce. That is not correct.

Q. I have one last question to ask you. Do you remember an article published in the newspaper Das Reich, dated the 18th August, 1940, in connection with your fiftieth birthday? This article is entitled: "Walter Funk, Pioneer of National Socialist Thought." I shall read into the record a few excerpts from this article -

"From 1931 on, Walter Funk, as personal economic adviser and Plenipotentiary of the Fuehrer for Economics, and therefore the untiring middleman between the Party and German Economy, was the man who paved the way to the new spiritual outlook of the German industrialists.

"If in the putsch of 1933 the differences which had existed for more than a decade in the public life of Germany between politics and economy, and especially between politics and the industrialists, disappeared overnight, if from the outset, the guiding rule of all labour has been an ever-increasing contribution towards a common end, this is due to the pioneering work of Funk, who since 1939 has directed his speeches and his writings to that end."

And in the last paragraph of this article:-
"Walter Funk remained true to himself because he was and is and will remain a National Socialist, a fighter who dedicates all his work to the idealistic aims of the Fuehrer."
The whole world knows what the ideals of the Fuehrer were.

Do you admit that this is a correct appreciation of your personality and your activities?

A. Generally yes.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I have no more questions to ask.

(Dr. Dix came to the lectern.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is it you wish to say, Dr. Dix?

DR. DIX: I have only one question to put to the witness, which was brought up by the cross-examination of Mr. Dodd. I could not put this question any sooner, since I am only asking it because of what Mr. Dodd said.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go on.


Q. Witness, Mr. Dodd has put to you a record of your interrogation, according to which Schacht, after leaving the Reichsbank, still had a room there. You have heard the testimony of Schacht here. He has testified clearly that he did not have a room at the Reichsbank but that the Reich Government put a room in his apartment at his disposal by contribution to the rent, and that the Reich Government paid a secretary whom he took with him from the Reichsbank, but who was now paid by the Reich Government. That was the testimony of Schacht. By your answer given to Mr. Dodd it was not quite clear whether you have any doubt about the correctness of that statement by Schacht. I ask for your opinion.

[Page 176]

A. I do not know anything about the apartment of Dr. Schacht. I was told at the time that he still came frequently to the Reichsbank and that a room was reserved for him. If that information was not correct, then it is not my fault. I do not doubt that what Dr. Schacht said is correct. He must know the arrangements concerning his apartment better than I do.

(There was no further question from Dr. Dix)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, we have found this final questioning of the defendant Funk harder to follow than in the other cases, because the translation caused serious difficulties. I have to admit, frankly, that I have only been able to understand part of what has been said here. The defendant may probably have had the same difficulty and therefore I should like to reserve the right, Mr. President, after I receive the stenographic record, to make one or two corrections, if the transcript should show this to be necessary. It has also been made more difficult for us, Mr. President, because in the course of cross-examination a large number of extensive documents was submitted to the defendant, Dr. Funk. We are gradually becoming used to those surprises. Moreover, the defendant Funk was supposed to give answers concerning documents which he had not issued, which had nothing to do with his activities, which he -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal saw no sign at all of the defendant Funk not being able to understand thoroughly every question put to him. And I think that, therefore, there is no reason for any protest on your behalf and you should go on to put any question you wish to put in re-examination - let's say, questions which arise out of the cross-examination.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, on our earphones, at least - on this side - we could not understand a number of questions. Whether it was a defect of these particular earphones or with the entire apparatus I don't know.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if the defendant Funk did not understand any questions put to him, he could have said so. He did not say so. He answered all the questions from a logical point of view, perfectly accurately. You can ask him if you like, if he did not understand any of the questions put to him.



Q. Now, Herr Funk, the prosecution among other things has put to you that you participated in the exploitation, the plundering of France. In this connection, is it correct that the merchandise, the consumer goods which came from France, were in many cases manufactured from raw materials which had come from Germany?

A. Certainly. We continuously delivered coal, coke, iron, and other raw materials to France, so that they could produce goods - we delivered especially those raw materials which the French did not have in the country themselves. There was a very active exchange of production and a very close productive co-operation between the German and French economy. Even the same organisational methods were used.

Q. Dr. Funk, excerpts from an article have been read before, which appeared on the occasion of your birthday. Do you know the author of that article?

A. Yes, from the earlier years.

Q. Did he receive any factual material from you for that article?

A. No.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.