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 8 of 10)

[Page 185]



Q. When did you join the Nazi Party, witness?

A. Did I understand you correctly - when I became a member of the NSDAP?

Q. That is right.

A. December, 1931

Q. Did you hold any offices in the Party at any time?

A. No; I never held office in the Party.

Q. You were the head of a trade group in 1938, the Reichsgruppe "Handel"?

A. I was the head of the Economic Group "Retail Trade" from 1934 on, and from 1938 on head of the Reich Group "Trade." This organization was a part of the organization of industrial economy and was under the Reich Ministry of Economics.

Q. Membership in the group that you were the head of was compulsory, wasn't it?

A. Yes.

[Page 186]

Q. When did you join the SS?

A. I joined the SS in 1933, in the summer.

Q. That was a kind of Party office, wasn't it, of a sort?

A. No, it was not an office. I became connected with the SS because of the fact that in Munich 165 businessmen were locked up, and because I knew Himmler from my student days - I had not seen him again until then - and the businessmen in Munich asked me to intercede for them in the summer of 1933. But I had no office in the Party or in the SS.

Q. When did you become a General in the SS?

A. I never was a general in the SS. After I had been appointed State Secretary, the Reichsfuehrer bestowed on me the rank of a Gruppenfuehrer in the SS.

Q. A Gruppenfuehrer - isn't that the equivalent of a general in the SS?

A. Yes and no. In the SS there was the rank of Gruppenfuehrer and there was the rank of Gruppenfuehrer and General of the Police or of the Waffen SS; but the Gruppenfuehrer was not a General if it was only an honorary rank. This could easily be seen from our uniforms, because we did not wear a general's epaulets or a general's uniform.

Q. You know Ohlendorf pretty well, don't you?

A. Yes.

Q. He worked for you at one time. He was under your supervision. Isn't that so?

A. I worked with Ohlendorf from 1938 on.

Q. You know, he has testified before this Tribunal that he supervised the murdering of ninety thousand people; did you know that?

A. I heard about that.

Q. Did you know about it at the time that it was going on?

A. No.

Q. Did you know Pohl, the SS man - P-O-H-L?

A. May I ask you for that name again?

Q. Pohl - P-O-H-L?

A. I don't remember knowing an SS man Pohl.

Q. Do you know a man called Gruppenfuehrer Pohl of the SS?

A. No-Yes, I know an Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl. Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl was the chief of the administrative office of the SS.

Q. Did you have conversations and meetings with him from time to time?

A. Officially I had a few conversations with Pohl. Usually they were very unpleasant.

Well, that's another matter. How often would you say, between 1943 and the end, the time of your surrender, that you met Pohl to discuss matters of mutual interest between the SS and your own Ministry of Economics? Approximately, because I don't expect you to give an accurate account, but about how many times, would you say?

A. I must give a short explanation about this. Between the

Q. Give that afterwards. Give me the figure first.

A. Yes. Perhaps three or four times, perhaps only twice. I don't know exactly.

Q. Are you telling us three or four times a year or three or four times during the whole period between 1943 and 1945?

A. During my time in office, yes, three or four times; it was only one year.

Q. Did you talk to him about the Reichsbank or the Ministry of Economics co-operating in the financing of the building of factories near the concentration camps?

A. No.

You know about that, do you?

A. No. This question was never discussed with me.

Q. What did you talk to him about?

[Page 187]

A. A great controversy h ad arisen between the Ministry of Economics and the SS because after I had taken over the State Secretariat in the Ministry of Economics, Himmler had instructed me to turn over to the SS a factory which belonged to the Gau Berlin. I fought against this and did not obey Himmler's instructions. The files about this must surely still be in existence. I then was instructed to discuss this matter with Pohl. In these conferences and in a personal conversation which Himmler requested and ordered, I still fought against Himmler's instructions, because I was fundamentally against the SS having industrial enterprises of its own.

Q. Did you talk to the defendant Funk about this difficulty with Himmler and Pohl?

A. Yes, because these difficulties resulted in Himmler writing me a letter in December in which he told me that he ceased to have confidence in me and that he had no desire to work with me any more. I reported this to the defendant Funk in December.

Q. Did Funk tell you that his Bank was helping Himmler out in the building of factories near the concentration camps?

A. I know nothing about that.

Q. You never heard of that before now?

A. Until now I have never heard anything about Funk's or the Ministry of Economics' co-operation in the financing of such buildings or about anything of the sort.

Q. It is perfectly clear, I think, but I want to make certain, that from 1943 to 1945, while you were the deputy to Funk in the Ministry of Economics, the questions of purchasing on the black market and so on in the occupied countries ceased to be of any real importance, didn't they? You said that, I understood you to say that a few minutes ago yourself.

A. In 1944 - and my time in office virtually did not start until 1944, since in December I had a ministry which was totally bombed out and we did not begin working again until January, 1944 - these questions were no longer of decisive importance, since a process of retrogression had already set in.

Q. All right, you also heard, witness, the Vienna speech, to which you referred, which was made in 1944, and it had nothing to do with the occupied countries but was directed only at the satellite States, Are you aware of that or not?

A. The speech in Vienna?

Q. Yes, the speech in Vienna in 1944.

A. Yes, it is true, I have already said that. Both the speech in Konigsberg and the speech in Vienna did not deal directly with the occupied territories, but with Europe as a whole. I -

Q. Did it deal with the occupied territories directly or indirectly? Now, have you read that speech?

A. I heard the speech. Quite definitely it had nothing to do with them directly.

Q. Finally, in view of your testimony concerning Funk and what he thought about forced labour, you know, don't you, that he took an attitude of unconcern about the forcing of people to come to Germany. Do you know that?

A. No.

Q. Well, you know he has said during interrogation that he didn't bother his head about it, although he knew that people were being forced to go to Germany against their will. Are you aware of that?

A. No, I am not aware of that.

Q. All right. If you did know it, would that make some difference to you and would you change your testimony?

A. I am not aware of that, that Funk is supposed to have had this attitude or -

Q. Very well. Perhaps I can help you by reading to you from his interrogation Of 22nd October, 1945, made here in Nuremberg. Among other things, he was asked these few questions and made a few answers:

[Page 188]

"As a matter of fact, you were present at many meetings of the Central Planning Board, were you not?"
Funk answered and said:
"I was present at the meetings of the Central Planning Board only when something was required for my small sector; that is to say, something which had to do with the export and consumer goods industries as, for example, iron. I had to put up a fight on each occasion to get just a few thousand tons for my consumer goods industry."
The next question was: "Yes, but during those meetings you attended, you heard, did you not, discussions concerning forced labour?"

Funk answered: "Yes."

Question: "And you knew from those meetings, that the policy was to bring in more and more foreign workers to the Reich against their will?"

Funk answered: "Yes, certainly."

Question: "And you never objected to that, I take it?"

Funk answered: "No, why should I have objected? It was somebody else's task to bring these foreign workers into the Reich."

"Did you believe it was legal to take people against their will from their homes and bring them into Germany" was the last question that I want to quote to you. He answered: "Well, many things happen in wartime which aren't strictly legal. I have never worried about that."

Now, if you know that to be his attitude from his statements made under oath during an interrogation here, would that change your view about Funk, and would it cause you to change the testimony which you have given before the Tribunal here today?

A. I can testify only to those things which I myself know. I cannot remember any such statements by Funk. I do know, and I remember distinctly, that we frequently spoke about the occupied territories about the later development in Europe which was to and could result from co-operation. We also spoke about the procuring of workers and that Funk fundamentally had a viewpoint different from the one that prevailed, and that he was not in agreement with these things. I can merely repeat this and if you question me here as a witness, I can say only what I know.

Q. Did you go over all of your questions and answers with Dr. Sauter before you took the witness stand? You knew what you were going to be asked when you came here, did you not?

A. Dr. Sauter gave me an idea what he would question me about and what he was interested in.

MR. DODD: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other members of the prosecution wish to cross-examine? Dr. Sauter, do you want to re-examine?


THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

(The witness retired)

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, there are a few interrogatories missing, some of which have already arrived and are being translated. I request that later, perhaps after the case against defendant Schirach, I be permitted to read these interrogatories. And then, Mr. President, I should like to say something of a general nature. I have already read extracts from various documents and requested that all of them be admitted as evidence and I should like to repeat this request for all these documents. With that I shall have finished my case for Funk.

Mr. President, may I make another request at this moment, namely, that during the next few days the defendant von Schirach be excused from being present at

[Page 189]

the sessions in Court so that he can prepare his case. In his absence I shall look after his interests or else, when I am not here, my colleague, Dr. Nelte, will. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Who is appearing for the defendant Schirach?

DR. SAUTER: I am; and when I cannot be present, then Dr. Nelte will. One of us will always be in Court and look after his interests.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well, Dr. Sauter. Now the Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, there was a document which you did not refer to. I think it was an affidavit of a witness called Kallus. Were you offering that in evidence? It was an interrogatory of Heinz Karl Kallus.

DR. SAUTER: The Kallus interrogatory, Mr. President, has already arrived and at the moment it is in the process of translation. I shall submit it as soon as the translation has been received by the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have an English translation.

DR. SAUTER: I believe, Mr. President, that what you have is an affidavit by Kallus, and in addition there is a Kallus interrogatory, which is in process of translation and which I shall submit later.

THE PRESIDENT: This takes the form of an interrogatory, questions and answers, what I have in my hand. I am only asking whether you want to offer that.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, I offer that in evidence. I request that judicial notice be taken of it.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. You gave it a number then, did you? What number will it be?

DR. SAUTER: Exhibit No. 5, if you please.


Now, Dr. Kranzbuhler.

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