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Nuremberg Trial Defendants:
Walter Funk


Nuremberg Defendants: Table of Contents | Hermann Goering | Karl Doenitz


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A. FUNK ACTIVELY PROMOTED THE CONSPIRATORS' ACCESSION TO POWER.

A recital of Funk's positions and activities is set forth in a statement made by him (3533-PS). Although Funk signed this statement, he inserted several reservations and denials with respect to certain positions and activities. Funk's submissions in this connection, which are indicated in his statement (3533-PS) should be evaluated in the light of the statements set forth in the collection of relevant excerpts from German publications (3563-PS)

An examination of these excerpts will reveal that the German publications directly contradict every contention which Funk has made with respect to his holding the positions and carrying on the activities listed in his statement (3533-PS). For example, in his comment concerning item (b) of his statement Funk denies that he was Hitler's Personal Economic Adviser during the 1930's. On the other hand, there are four German publications, each of which states unequivocally that Funk was Hitler's Personal Economic Adviser (3563-PS).

As is indicated by these documents, Funk, soon after he joined the Nazi Party in 1931, began to hold important positions in the Party and soon qualified as one of the Nazi inner circle. Thus, he promptly became not only Hitler's Personal Economic Adviser, but also Chief of the Economic Division of the Central Nazi Party Directorate and Chairman of the Party's Committee on Economic Policy (3533-PS). In these capacities, he advanced the Party's drive for mass support by drafting its economic slogans. In 1932, for example, he wrote a pamphlet entitled "Economic Reconstruction Program of the NSDAP", which, after its approval by Hitler, became the Party's official pronouncement on economic matters (3505-PS).

Funk also served as the liaison man between the Nazi Party and the large industrialists, from whom he obtained financial and political support on Hitler's behalf (3505-PS; 2828-PS). Thus, for example, he was present at the meeting of approximately 25 leading industrialists held in Berlin on 20 February 1933 (2828-PS). In the course of this meeting, which was arranged by Goering and attended by Funk, among others, and which was designed to obtain the industrialists' financial and political support for the Nazi program, Hitler and Goering announced some of the fundamental Nazi objectives: the destruction of the parliamentary system in Germany; the crushing of all internal opposition by force, the restoration of the power of the Wehrmacht. In addition, Hitler indicated that force was to be used in solving problems with other nations (D-203). The financial and political support for the Nazis which Funk secured from industry promoted the campaign of force and terror by which the Nazis seized and consolidated their control of Germany.

The importance of Funk's general contribution to the conspirators' accession to power has been described in a book published by the Central Publishing House of the Nazi Party:

"No less important than Funk's accomplishments in the programmatic field in the years 1931 and 1932 was his activity of that time as the Fuehrer's liaison man to the leading men of the German economy in industry, trade, commerce and finance. On the basis of his past work, his personal relations to the German economic leaders were broad and extensive. He was now able to enlist them in the service of Adolf Hitler, and not only to answer their questions authoritatively, but to convince them and win their backing for the Party. At that time, that was terribly important work. Every success achieved meant a moral, political, and economic strengthening of the fighting force of the Party and contributed toward destroying the prejudice that National Socialism is merely a party of class hatred and class struggle." (3505-PS)

After he had helped Hitler become Chancellor, Funk, as Reich Press Chief, participated in the early cabinet meetings, in the course of which the conspirators determined upon the means by which they would secure the passage of the Enabling Act and destroy parliamentary government in Germany (2962-PS; 2963-PS). This law destroyed civil liberties in Germany and marked the conspirators' seizure of political control over Germany.

B. FUNK, BY VIRTUE OF HIS ACTIVITIES IN THE MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA, ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE CONSPIRATORS' CONTROL OVER GERMANY.

The Nazis created a vast propaganda machine which they used to proclaim the doctrine of the master race, to inveigh against the Jews, to impose the leadership principle upon the German people, to glorify war as a noble activity, to create the social cohesion necessary for war, and to weaken the capacity and willingness of their intended victims to resist aggression. (See Section 9 of Chapter VII on Propaganda, Censorship and Supervision of Cultural Activities.)

The operation of this propaganda machine was principally the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Funk played a significant role in the operations that Ministry and in related agencies of the Nazi State. On January 1933, the day on which Hitler became Reich Chancellor, Funk was appointed Press Chief of the Reich Government. that capacity, and even after the establishment of the Ministry Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, he reported regularly to Hitler and President von Hindenburg (3505-PS; 3501-PS).

On 13 March 1933, the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was established with Goebbels as its Chief an d Funk as its under-Secretary 2029-PS; Voelkischer Beobachter 15 March 1933, p. 2. (South German Edition)). In an interview with a reporter from the Voelkischer Beobachter on 30 March 1933, Funk made clear the importance which propaganda was to have in the Nazi State. He stated:

"Propaganda is the most modern instrument of power and fighting weapon of state policy. The establishing of the Propaganda Ministry is vital, for the national political policy of the new State Leadership is to be the general good of the whole people. Therefore, the total political, artistic, cultural and spiritual life of the nation, must be brought on to one level and directed from one central point." (Voelkischer Beobachter, South German Edition, 31 March 1933).

In order to achieve this purpose, the Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda was organized so as to reach and control every medium of expression within Germany. In the language of the decree defining the duties of the Minister of Propaganda, he was to have

"*** jurisdiction over the whole field of spiritual indoctrination of the nation, of propagandizing the State, of cultural and economic propaganda, of enlightenment of the public at home and abroad; furthermore, he is in charge of all institutions serving these purposes." (2030-PS).

Under this decree, the Ministry controlled propaganda abroad, propaganda within Germany, the press, music, the theater, films, art, literature, radio and all related institutions.

Funk discharged important responsibilities in the Ministry. As Undersecretary he was Goebbels' chief aide. In this capacity he appears to have been the primary organizer of the machine from which flowed Nazi propaganda. This is made clear by the following excerpt from an affidavit dated 19 December 1945, and signed by Max Amann, who held the position of Reich Leader of the Press and President of the Reich Press Chamber.

" *** In carrying out my duties and responsibilities, I became familiar with the operations and the organization of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment.

"Walther Funk was the practical Minister of the Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment and managed the Ministry. Funk was the soul of the Ministry, and without him Goebbels could not have built it up. Goebbels once stated to me that Funk was his 'most effective man.' Funk exercised comprehensive control over all the media of expression in Germany: over the press, the theater, radio and music. As Press Chief of the Reich Government and subsequently as Under Secretary of the Ministry, Funk held daily meetings with the Fuehrer and a daily press conference in the course of which he issued the directives governing the materials to be published by the German press". (3501-PS).

A note for the files prepared by one Sigismund, an SS Scharfuehrer, also stresses the important role which Funk played in The Ministry of Propaganda (3566-PS). That note records a discussion between Sigismund and one Weinbrenner, an official of the Ministry of Propaganda, about the selection of a General Manager for the German Radio. The note states:

"Weinbrenner made the following statement: *** it is almost impossible to determine whom the Minister would name General Manager, since Dr. Goebbels reaches most of the important decisions only by agreement with Under Secretary Funk." (3566-PS).

In addition to his position as Undersecretary, Funk had many other important responsibilities in subordinate offices of the Ministry for Propaganda (3533-PS). In 1933, for example, he was appointed Vice President of the Reich Chamber of Culture, whose President was Goebbels (3533-PS; Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, I, p. 798).

Funk's position as Vice President of the Reich Chamber of Culture was related to his position as Undersecretary of the Ministry, since the Chamber of Culture and the seven subordinate chambers were by law subject to the control of the Ministry of Propaganda (2082-PS). This control was insured in practice by placing officers of the Ministry of Propaganda in the highest positions of the Chambers. Thus, for example, Goebbels was its President and Funk its Vice President. By virtue of his dual position, Funk directly promoted two fundamental and related Nazi policies: (1) the regimentation of all creative activities in he interest of Nazi political and military objectives; (2) the elimination of Jews and dissidents from the so-called cultural professions.

The mechanics by which these policies were carried out have been described in Section 9 of Chapter VII on Propaganda, Censorship and Supervision of Cultural Activities. That description will be supplemented here only by reference to the second decree the Execution of the Law of Reich Chamber of Culture, dated 9 November 1933 (2872-PS). This decree, which was signed by Funk, representing Goebbels, fixed the effective date for the entire scheme for the domination and purging of the cultural professions.

The control of the Ministry of Propaganda was based in part on the requirement that persons engaged in so-called "cultural activities" belong to the appropriate Chamber (1933 Reichsgesetzblatt, I p. 797). Decrees were then passed which prescribed standards of admission to these Chambers, which automatically excluded Jews. For example, in the field of journalism, "only persons who were of Aryan descent and not married to a person of non-Aryan descent" were permitted to be so-called Schriftleiter, that is, to perform any work relating to the contents a newspaper or a political magazine (2083-PS).

Similarly, newspaper publishers had to submit proof tracing their Aryan descent (and that of their spouses) as far back as the year 1800 (Decree 24 April 1935, issued by the President of the Reich Press Chamber, Article 1, 3 and Article II, 1(f) and 2, reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber in "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, pp. 109-112; Decrees 15 April 1936 and 2 May 1936 issued by the President of Reich Press Chamber reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 4, 1936, pp. 101-102, 120-122; see also: Decree 17 September 1934 reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber's "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, p. 79).

In view of Funk's official positions and the policies which he advanced it is natural that Nazi writers have stressed his contribution to the perversion of German culture. Thus Oestreich's biography of Funk states:

"Besides, Funk had a special duty from his Ministry received the task to take care of the cultural life. In this position he organized quietly a tremendous concern which represented an investment of many hundreds of millions. In close co-operation with the Reich Leader of the Press, Max Amann, the economic fundamentals of the German press were reconstructed according to the political necessities. The same took place in the film industry and in other cultural fields."

The reconstruction of "the economic fundamentals of the German press * ** and other cultural fields" was a biographer's euphemism for the elimination of Jews and dissidents from the field of literature, music, theater, journalism, broadcasting, and the arts.

The completeness with which the policy of cultural extermination was carried out is made clear by a pamphlet entitled "The Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda", by Georg Wilhelm Mueller, an official of the Ministry of Propaganda, which was published by the German Academy for Politics as part of a series on the organization of the Nazi Government. That pamphlet states:

"The Department Special Cultural Tasks (a department within the Ministry of Propaganda) serves mainly the purpose to remove the Jews from cultural professions. It reviews the political attitude of all artistic or cultural workers and cultural economic enterprise that are members of the seven individual chambers of the Reich Chamber of Culture (except the Reich Chamber of the Press), it has to supervise the removal of Jews in the entire field of the seven individual chambers and settles as highest authority all complaints and appeals of cultural workers whose membership was rejected by the Chamber because of lack of proof of Aryan descent. At the same time, it is the task of this department to supervise the activities of non-Aryans in the intellectual and entire cultural field, therefore, also the supervision of the only Jewish organization in the cultural field in the entire Reich territory, that is, the 'Jewish Kulturbund' (Jewish Cultural Association).

"In this way this department also cooperates with all other professional departments of the Ministry or the Chambers by consulting the local officials of the party, the State police offices, etc, and when supervising the Jewish 'cultural work' with the political police.

"It is mainly the merit of this department to 1937 a department in the Managing Office of the Reich Chamber of Culturethat the purge of the entire German cultural life from Jewish or other non-German influences was completely accomplished according to the assignments of the Minister." (Das Reichsministerim fuer Volksafklaerung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) pp. 30-31).

Funk contributed to the achievement of the Nazi propaganda program in other capacities. Thus, in 1933, Goebbels appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reich Broadcasting Company (3505-PS). That company was the coordinating authority for all German radio broadcasting and supervised all German radio stations, with a view to insuring that radio serve the political purposes of the Nazi State (Das Deutsche Fuehrerlexikon, 1934-193, p. 139; 3505-PS). Moreover, in 1933, Funk also was appointed Vice-president of the Filmkreditbank. The Filmkreditbank was a government-controlled financing corporation which influenced film production in the interests of the Nazi program by granting financial assistance in connection with only those films deemed desirable from the Nazi point of view (Seager, "Der Film im Nationalsocialistischen Staat" ("The Film in the National-Socialist State"), in Frank: "Nationalsozialistisches Handbuch fuer Recht und Gesetzgebung" ("National Socialist Handbook for Law and Legislation"), 1935, 2nd edition, p. 512). It is lear from the foregoing that Funk was from 1933 until the end of 1937 a versatile and key figure in the propaganda field. His activities ranged from daily conferences with the Fuehrer and the organization of a new large Ministry vital to the Nazi program to depriving the most humble Jewish artist of his power to earn a livelihood. Funk appears to have been what Goebbels said he was: Goebbels' "most effective man" (3501-PS).

The control of the Ministry of Propaganda was based in part on the requirement that persons engaged in so-called "cultural activities" belong to the appropriate Chamber (1933 Reichsgesetzblatt, I p. 797). Decrees were then passed which prescribed standards of admission to these Chambers, which automatically excluded Jews. For example, in the field of journalism, "only persons who were of Aryan descent and not married to a person of non-Aryan descent" were permitted to be so-called Schriftleiter, that is, to perform any work relating to the contents a newspaper or a political magazine (2083-PS).

Similarly, newspaper publishers had to submit proof tracing their Aryan descent (and that of their spouses) as far back as the year 1800 (Decree 24 April 1935, issued by the President of the Reich Press Chamber, Article 1, 3 and Article II, 1(f) and 2, reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber in "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, pp. 109-112; Decrees 15 April 1936 and 2 May 1936 issued by the President of Reich Press Chamber reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 4, 1936, pp. 101-102, 120-122; see also: Decree 17 September 1934 reprinted in Karl Friedrich Schrieber's "Das Recht der Reichskulturkammer", vol. 2, 1935, p. 79).

In view of Funk's official positions and the policies which he advanced it is natural that Nazi writers have stressed his contribution to the perversion of German culture. Thus Oestreich's biography of Funk states:

"Besides, Funk had a special duty from his Ministry received the task to take care of the cultural life. In this position he organized quietly a tremendous concern which represented an investment of many hundreds of millions. In close co-operation with the Reich Leader of the Press, Max Amann, the economic fundamentals of the German press were reconstructed according to the political necessities. The same took place in the film industry and in other cultural fields."

The reconstruction of "the economic fundamentals of the German press * ** and other cultural fields" was a biographer's euphemism for the elimination of Jews and dissidents from the field of literature, music, theater, journalism, broadcasting, and the arts.

The completeness with which the policy of cultural extermination was carried out is made clear by a pamphlet entitled "The Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda", by Georg Wilhelm Mueller, an official of the Ministry of Propaganda, which was published by the German Academy for Politics as part of a series on the organization of the Nazi Government. That pamphlet states:

"The Department Special Cultural Tasks (a department within the Ministry of Propaganda) serves mainly the purpose to remove the Jews from cultural professions. It reviews the political attitude of all artistic or cultural workers and cultural economic enterprise that are members of the seven individual chambers of the Reich Chamber of Culture (except the Reich Chamber of the Press), it has to supervise the removal of Jews in the entire field of the seven individual chambers and settles as highest authority all complaints and appeals of cultural workers whose membership was rejected by the Chamber because of lack of proof of Aryan descent. At the same time, it is the task of this department to supervise the activities of non-Aryans in the intellectual and entire cultural field, therefore, also the supervision of the only Jewish organization in the cultural field in the entire Reich territory, that is, the 'Jewish Kulturbund' (Jewish Cultural Association).

"In this way this department also cooperates with all other professional departments of the Ministry or the Chambers by consulting the local officials of the party, the State police offices, etc, and when supervising the Jewish 'cultural work' with the political police.

"It is mainly the merit of this department to 1937 a department in the Managing Office of the Reich Chamber of Culturethat the purge of the entire German cultural life from Jewish or other non-German influences was completely accomplished according to the assignments of the Minister." (Das Reichsministerim fuer Volksafklaerung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) pp. 30-31).

Funk contributed to the achievement of the Nazi propaganda program in other capacities. Thus, in 1933, Goebbels appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reich Broadcasting Company (3505-PS). That company was the coordinating authority for all German radio broadcasting and supervised all German radio stations, with a view to insuring that radio serve the political purposes of the Nazi State (Das Deutsche Fuehrerlexikon, 1934-193, p. 139; 3505-PS). Moreover, in 1933, Funk also was appointed Vice-president of the Filmkreditbank. The Filmkreditbank was a government-controlled financing corporation which influenced film production in the interests of the Nazi program by granting financial assistance in connection with only those films deemed desirable from the Nazi point of view (Seager, "Der Film im Nationalsocialistischen Staat" ("The Film in the National-Socialist State"), in Frank: "Nationalsozialistisches Handbuch fuer Recht und Gesetzgebung" ("National Socialist Handbook for Law and Legislation"), 1935, 2nd edition, p. 512). It is lear from the foregoing that Funk was from 1933 until the end of 1937 a versatile and key figure in the propaganda field. His activities ranged from daily conferences with the Fuehrer and the organization of a new large Ministry vital to the Nazi program to depriving the most humble Jewish artist of his power to earn a livelihood. Funk appears to have been what Goebbels said he was: Goebbels' "most effective man" (3501-PS).

On 3 December 1938, Funk again advanced the policy of economic extermination by signing a decree which carried out the promise of the more severe anti-Jewish policy implied in his above speech (1409-PS). This decree imposed additional and drastic economic disabilities upon Jews and subjected their property to confiscation and forced liquidation. It provided that: owners of Jewish enterprises could be ordered to sell or liquidate their enterprises (Section 1); trustees could be appointed for such enterprises, with the expenses of trusteeship borne by the owner of the enterprise (Section 2); Jews could be ordered to sell their property (real estate, etc.) (Section 6); Jews were prohibited from acquiring any real estate (Section 7); governmental consent was required for any disposition of real estate (Section 8); Jews were forced to deposit all stocks, mining shares, bonds, and other securities with specially designated banks, and accounts had to be marked "Jewish" (Section 11); Jews were forbidden to acquire, to give as security, or to sell objects made of gold, platinum, or silver, precious stones, or pearls, etc. (Section 14); and Jews could be required to make certain payments to the Reich before receiving the consent necessary for the transfer of their property (Section 15). (1409-PS).

In addition, many other decrees aiming at the economic ruin of the Jews were promulgated over the signature of the Minister of Economics. For example:

Decree, 23 November 1938,198 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 162, signed by Brinkmann acting for Funk and containing detailed rules for the liquidation of Jewish retail stores, etc.;

Decree, 14 December 1938,1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1902, also signed by Brinkmann acting for Funk, and providing detailed rules for the elimination of Jews from industrial enterprises;

Decree, 8 May 1939,1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 895, signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, excluding Jews from the occupation of travel agents;

Decree, 4 May 1940, 1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 730, also signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, concerning registration of transfers of Jewish property;

Decree, 14 November 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1520, also signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk, establishing a procedure for setting aside financial arrangements which Jews, discharged from executive positions of industrial enterprises prior to 12 November 1938, had made with their companies.

Extending certain of the above-described decrees to Austria, see, e.g.:

Decree, 22 August 1942, 1942 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 537, signed by von Hanneken, acting for Funk;

Decree, 4 December 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1564, signed by Dr. Landfried acting for Funk.

Funk had important responsibilities, not only in the formulation of anti-Jewish policy and in the drafting of anti-Jewish legislation, but also in the administration of the conspirators' anti-Jewish measures. Funk was the person to whom appeals were made concerning action taken by subordinate officials in the administration of the anti-Jewish economic program. In fact, he as the paramount authority in this field; his decisions were final and conclusive. For example, he had the final voice in the administrative hierarchy set up for deciding whether an enterprise was a Jewish enterprise within the meaning of the decree requiring the registration of such enterprises (Decree of 14 June 1938, Section 9, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 628; see also decree of 3 December 1938, section 19, 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1711; decree, 14 November 1940,1940 Reichsgesetzblatt, 1, p. 1520).

Nazi publications have recognized the significant contribution made by Funk to the anti-Jewish program. Thus Hans Queeke, an official of the German Ministry of Economies, in describing the work of the Ministry during Funk's incumbency, stated:

"A task of special political significance and economic importance arose as an absolute necessity out of the National Socialist conception of state and economy, namely, the eradication of Jewish influence from the economy. In this connection, a wealth of legislative and administrative work, though temporary, was created for the Ministry. The steps of the work were as follows: definitions of the term 'Jewish enterprise', registration of Jewish property, securing the 'deployment' of such property in accordance with the interests of the German economy, exclusion of Jewish employees from executive positions, and, finally, re-examination of steps taken in the de- Judaization of enterprises with a view to ordering payments to the Reich for the unjust profits secured in the process of de-Judaization. That task can now be considered as practically completed in the field of the industrial economy." (Building of the Third Reich (Das Dritte Reich in Aufbau) Vol. 5, pp. 318-319 (1941)).

Moreover, Funk himself, in the course of administering this program, emphasized the importance of his new role. For example, on 6 February 1939, he issued a circular in connection with the administration of the decree of 3 December 1938 which, as indicated, he himself signed. In that circular, which was published in the Ministerial Gazette of the Reich and Prussian Ministry of the Interior ("Ministerialblatt des Reichsund Preussischen Minsteriums des Inneern"), for 1939, No. 7, p. 265, Funk stressed (at p. 265) "the great political and economic importance" of the anti-Jewish program and stated with respect to the broad powers conferred by the decree of 3 December 1938, that:

"*** The extent and speed with which they [the powers] will be utilized, is dependent upon my orders, to be given under the general direction of Goering."

In the same circular (at p. 265) Funk also emphasized the importance of the laws for de-Judaization, stating:

"The execution of the laws for the economic de-Judaization will, for a time, impose extraordinary burdens upon the administrative organization. However, it is expected that the officers charged with the execution, in view of the great political and economic importance of the tasks assigned to them, will bend all their efforts to assure a most rapid, efficient, and in every way faultless execution of the de-Judaization."

Funk, in an interrogation dated 22 October 1945, admitted and deplored his responsibility for the economic persecution of the Jews:

"Q. All the decrees excluding the Jews from industry were yours, were they not?

"A. *** So far as my participation in this Jewish affair is concerned, that was my responsibility and I have regretted it later on that I ever did participate. The Party had always brought pressure to bear on me previously to make me agree to the confiscation of Jewish property, and I had refused repeatedly. But later on, when the anti-Jewish measures and the force used against the Jews came into force, something legal had to be done to prevent the looting and confiscation of all Jewish property.

"Q. You know that the looting and all that was done at the instigation of the Party, don't you?

"(Here witness weeps)

"A. Yes, most certainly. That is when I should have left in 1938, of that I am guilty, I am guilty. I admit that I am a guilty party here." (3544-PS)

D. FUNK WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONSPIRATORS' PLANS FOR AGGRESSION, ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN MOBILIZING THE GERMAN ECONOMY FOR AGGRESSIVE WAR; HE ALSO PARTICIPATED IN THE WAGING OF AGGRESSIVE WARS AND WAS A MEMBER OF WAR PLANNING AGENCIES WHICH WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR POLICIES AND ACTS CONTRARY TO THE LAWS OF WAR.

Funk was vested with, and carried out, major responsibilities in connection with the planning and execution of the Nazi program of economic mobilization for aggression. Thus, in 1938 he succeeded Schacht as Minister of Economics (3533-PS).

Immediately before Funk actually took over the Reich Ministry of Economics there was a major reorganization of its functions, which integrated the Ministry with the Four Year Plan as the Supreme Command of the German military economy. The reorganization was accomplished by Goering, in his capacity as Commissar for the Four Year Plan, by a decree dated 4 February 1938 ("The Four Year Plan" (Der Verjahresplan) official monthly bulletin, issued by Goering, Vol. II, 1938, p. 105). Under this decree, the jurisdiction of the Economics Ministry was defined as covering the following fields of Germany's economy: German raw and working materials, mining, iron industry, power industry, handicrafts, finance and credit, foreign trade, devisen, and exports. As a result of this decree, sectors of the German economy which were strategic in the organization of war and armaments economy were placed under the immediate control of Funk.

Furthermore the Reich Office for Economic Development, charged by the decree, with "research, planning and execution of the Four Year Plan", was incorporated into the Reich Ministry of Economics. Similarly, the Reich Office for Soil Research and the Office of the Reich Commissar for the exploitation of Scrap Materials were made subject to that Ministry. Thus, it is clear that the reorganization decree concentrated significant responsibilities in the hands of Funk and thereby made him one of the chief agents of economic mobilization during a decisive period.

Subsequently, Funk was, by a secret law, expressly charged with the task of mobilizing the German economy for war. On 4 September 1938, while the conspirators were engaged in intensive planning for aggression against Czechoslovakia, Hitler signed a revision of the so-called Reich Defense Law (2194-PS). This law conferred upon Funk substantially the same authority which had been vested in Schacht by the Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 (2261-PS). The law of 4 September 1938 provided in part:

"It is the task of the GBW [Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics] to put all economic forces into the service of the Reich defense, and to safeguard economically the life of the German nation. To him are subordinate: the Reich Minister of Economics, the Reich Minister of Nutrition and Agriculture, the Reich Minister of Work, the Reich Chief of Forestry, the Reich Commissar for Price Control. He is furthermore responsible for directing the financing of the Reich defense within the realm of the Reich Finance Ministry and the Reich Bank.

"The GBW must carry out the demands of the OKW which are of considerable importance for the armed forces; and he must insure the economic conditions for the production of the armament industry directed immediately by the OKW according to its demands. If the demands of the armed forces cannot be brought into accord with the affairs of economy, then the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor decides.

"The GBW has the right within his sphere to issue laws with the consent of the OKW and GBV which differ from the existing laws."

The law of 4 September 1938, which at the specific direction of Hitler was not made public, was signed by Hitler and by Funk, among others, as "Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics" (2194-PS).

Funk, in a speech which he delivered on 14 October 1939, explained how he, as Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, had, for a year and a half prior to the launching of the aggression against Poland, advanced Germany's economic preparation for war. He stated:

"Although all the economic and financial departments were harnessed in the tasks and work of the Four Year Plan under the leadership of Generalfeldmarschall Goering, the war economic preparation of Germany has also been advanced in secret in another sector for well over a year, namely, by means of the formation of a national guiding apparatus for the special war economic tasks, which had to be mastered at that moment, when the condition of war became a fact. For this work as well all economic departments were combined into one administrative authority, namely under the General Plenipotentiary for Economy, to which position the Fuehrer appointed me one and a half years ago." (3324- PS)

In his dual capacity of Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics and Minister of Economics, Funk naturally was advised of the requirements which the conspirators' program of aggression imposed on the economy. Thus, during a conference in the Reich Aviation Ministry on 14 October 1938 under the chairmanship of Goering, Goering referred to Hitler's orders for an abnormal increase of armament, particularly weapons for attack, and directed the Ministry of Economics to submit suggestions on how to finance this rearmament by increasing exports.

The report of Goering's remarks states in part:

"General Field Marshal Goering opened the session by declaring that he intended to give directives about the work for the next months. Everybody knows from the press what the world situation looks like and therefore the Fuehrer has issued an order to him to carry out a gigantic program compared to which previous achievements are insignificant. There are difficulties in the way which he will overcome with utmost energy and ruthlessness.

"The amount of foreign exchange has completely dwindled on account of the preparation for the Czech Enterprise and this makes it necessary that it should be strongly increased immediately. Furthermore, the foreign credits have been greatly overdrawn and thus the strongest export activity stronger than up to nowis in the foreground. For the -next weeks an increased export was first priority in order to improve the foreign exchange situation. The Reich Ministry for Economy should make a plan about raising the export activity by pushing aside the current difficulties which prevent export.

"These gains made through the export are to be used for increased armament. The armament should not be curtailed by the export activity. He received the order from the Fuehrer to increase the armament to an abnormal extent, the air force having first priority. Within the shortest time the air force is to be increased five fold, also the navy should get armed more rapidly and the army should procure large amounts of offensive weapons at a faster rate, particularly heavy artillery pieces and heavy tanks. Along with this manufactured armaments must go; especially fuel, powder and explosives are moved into the foreground. It should be coupled with the accelerated construction of highways, canals, and particularly of the railroads." (1301-PS).

Goering's words were the words of one already at war. And the emphasis on quintupling the Air Force and accelerating weapon manufacture for attack, were the words of a man waging aggressive war.

Funk actively participated in the planning of wartime financial measures (1301-PS). This was natural since Funk, after 1938, occupied three positions crucial to finance: Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank (to which he was appointed in January 1939), and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics. Funk's role in war financing is illustrated by a letter, dated 1 June 1939, from the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics (Funk), signed on his behalf by Dr. Posse (3562-PS). This letter found in the captured files of the Reich Ministry of Economics, transmitted the minutes of a meeting concerning the financing of the war. This meeting had been held under the chairmanship of Dr. Landfried, Funk's Undersecretary in the Reich Ministry of Economics. The document bears a marginal note in the bottom left hand corner, dated 5 June, stating that the document was "to be shown to the Minister" [i.e., Funk]. Only eight copies were made of the Minutes, which were marked "Top Secret". Four of these copies were sent to officials directly subordinate to Funk (two in the Reich Ministry of Economics, one in the Reichsbank, and one in the Office of the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics). During the course of the meeting, which was attended by twelve officials, five of whom were directly responsible to Funk in his various capacities, the conferees discussed a memorandum regarding war finance which had been prepared by the Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics on 9 May 1939. The minutes of this meeting state:

" *** Then a report was made of the contents of the 'Notes on the Question of Internal Financing of War', of 9 May of this year (appendix to GBW 8/179/39 Top Secret), in which the figures given to me by the Reichs Minister of Finance are also discussed. It was pointed out that the General Plenipotentiary for the Economy is primarily interested to introduce into the legislation for war finance, the idea of financing war expenditures by anticipating future revenues, to be expected after the war. ***

"Undersecretary Newman, first, submitted for discussion the question whether the production would be able to meet to the assumed extent, the demands of the Army, especially if the demands of the Army, as stated in the above report, would increase to approximately 14 billions in the first three months of war. He stated that, if the production potential of the present Reich territory is taken as a basis, he doubts the possibility of such a production increase." (3562-PS).

During the course of the meeting one of the representatives of the High Command stated:

"The demands of the Army would probably be higher in the first three months of war than during the further course of the war." (3562-PS).
In the files of the Reich Ministry of Economics there was also found, attached to the above letter and minutes, a Top Secret memorandum entitled "Notes Concerning Financing of War." That memorandum reveals the plans to use the resources of countries to be occupied in the interest of the Nazi war machine.

"*** First, as concerns the scope of the total production, it is clear that the economic power of the Protectorate and of other territories, possibly to be acquired, must of course be completely exhausted for the purposes of the conduct of the war. It is, however, just as clear that these territories cannot obtain any compensation from the economy of Greater Germany for the products which they will have to give us during the war, because their power must be used fully for the war and for supplying the civilian home population."

It is plain that Funk exercised comprehensive authority over large areas of the German economy whose proper organization and direction were critical to effective war preparation. The once powerful German military machine, which rested on the foundation of thorough economic preparation, reflected the contribution which Funk had made to Nazi aggression.

Immediately before this machine was directed against Poland, the final preparatory steps were taken, and the previous appointment of Funk as Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics was made public. Thus on 27 August 1939, Funk, in this capacity, issued two decrees, one introducing general rationing of consumers goods, the other setting up regional economic authorities (1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, pp. 1495 and 1498).

Finally, on 30 August 1939, Hitler, Goering, and Lammers signed a decree establishing the Ministerial Council for Reich Defense, composed of Goering; Funk, and Hess, among others, to act as a War Cabinet (1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 1532).

Funk mobilized the German economy for war with full knowledge of the plans for military aggression. An irresistible inference of such knowledge arises from the combination of several factors: from Funk's long and intimate association with the Nazi inner circle; from the very nature of his official functions; from the war- dominated setting of Nazi Germany; from the fact that force and the threat of force had become the open and primary instruments of Nazi policy; and finally from the fact that at the same time that Funk was making economic preparations, specific plans for aggressionlater to be carried outwere being formulated, plans which could only be effective if they were synchronized with the complementary economic

The inference of Funk's knowledge and intent is reinforced beyond question by considering, in the light of the factors described above, the more specific evidence of Funk's knowledge of aggressive plans. Thus, Funk, at the very beginnings of the Nazi Government, had stated that the absorption of Austria by Germany was a political and economic necessity, and that it would be achieved by whatever means were necessary (1760-PS).

Goering had issued instructions to the Ministry of Economics in the language of a man waging aggressive war (1301-PS). Moreover, Funk and his subordinates in May 1939 were making detailed plans for financing the war, that is, a particular war, the war against Poland. (3562-PS)

In connection with Funk's economic planning for aggression reference should be made to other evidence of the preparatory work which Funk carried on prior to the aggression against Poland. Shortly before the attack on Poland, in a letter to Hitler dated 25 August 1939, Funk expressed his gratification for his role in the "tremendous events" of these days, and his thanks for Hitler's approval of his economic war measures. He concluded by giving Hitler his pledge in that hour (699-PS). The text of the letter is as follows:

"Reich Minister Walther Funk.

Berlin W. 8, 25 August 1939.

Unter Den Linden 13.

"For the congratulations which you transmitted to me on my birthday, in such extremely friendly and kind fashion, I want to thank you from the depths of my heart. How happy and how grateful we must be to you to be favored to experience these colossal and world- moving times, and that we can contribute to the tremendous events of these days.

"General-Field-Marshal Goering informed me, that last night you -- my Fuehrer -- have approved in principle the measures prepared by me for financing the war, for setting up the wage and price systems and for carrying out the plan for an emergency contribution [Notopfer]. This news has made me deeply happy. I hereby most obediently report to you that I have succeeded, through the provisions made already during the last month, to make the German Reichsbank internally so strong and so safe against attack from without that even the most serious disturbances of the international currency and credit systems would be absolutely unable to affect us.

"In the meantime I have in a wholly inconspicuous manner converted into gold all assets of the Reichsbank and of the German economy abroad on which we could possibly lay hands. With the proposals worked out by me regarding a ruthless choking of any unessential consumption and any public expenditure and project not necessary for war we will be able to meet all financial and economic demands without any serious reverberations.

"In my capacity as General Plenipotentiary for Economics, appointed by you, my Fuehrer, I have regarded it as my duty to give you this report and this pledge in this hour.

"Heil, my Fuehrer

"(signed) Walther Funk". (699-PS) .

Funk both personally and through duly designated representatives also participated in the planning which preceded the aggression against the USSR. Thus, in April 1941, Rosenberg, after he had been appointed deputy for centralized treatment of problems concerning the Eastern Territories, discussed with Funk the economic problems which would be raised when the plans for aggression in the East were carried out (1039-PS). that time Funk appointed Dr. Schlotterer as his deputy to work with Rosenberg in connection with the exploitation of the Eastern Territories. Funk's deputy met with Rosenberg almost daily.

E. FUNK WAS A MEMBER OF WAR-PLANNING AGENCIES WHICH WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR POLICIES AND ACTS CONTRARY TO THE LAWS OF WAR.

After the launching of the Nazi aggression against Poland, Funk, in his capacities as Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank, and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, and as a member of the Central Planning Board (to which he was appointed in September 1943), actively participated in the waging of aggressive war on the economic front. Moreover, by virtue of his membership in the Central Planning Board, which formulated and directed the execution of the program for the enslavement, exploitation, and degradation of millions of foreign workers, Funk shares special responsibility for the Nazi Slave Labor Program. (See Chapter X on the Slave Labor Program. This special aspect of Funk's responsibility was left for development by the French prosecuting staff.)

F. CONCLUSION.

It is clear that Funk was a central figure in the Nazi conspiracy and that, as a member of the Nazi inner circle, he helped formulate, was aware of, and promoted the realization of, the conspirators' program. He knew, moreover, that this program envisaged the use of terror and force within and if necessary outside of Germany, and that it contemplated the use of criminal means. Funk, by promoting the conspirators' accession to power and the realization of their program, signified his approval of such crimes.

The evidence has also established that, after the Nazi seizure of power, Funk promoted the achievement of the conspirators' program by virtue of his activities in the Ministry of Propaganda, activities which fomented and carried out the persecution of Jews and dissidents; which psychologically mobilized the German people for aggressive war; and which reduced the willingness and capacity of the conspirators' intended victims to resist aggression. Funk also participated, as Minister of Economics, in the formulation and execution of the policy for the complete elimination of the Jews from the German economy.

As Minister of Economics, President of the Reichsbank, and Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics, Funk mobilized the German economy for aggressive war, with full knowledge of the conspirators' plans for aggression. Moreover, in these capacities, nd as a member of the Ministerial Council for the Defense and the Central Planning Board, he also actively participated in the waging of aggressive wars. Finally, by virtue of his membership the Central Planning Board, which formulated and directed e execution of the program for the enslavement, exploitation, and degradation of millions of foreign workers, he bears a special responsibilitY for the war crimes committed in the execution of that program.


Sources: Nizkor. Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Volume II, Chapter XVI, pp.715-735. Photo: Harry S. Truman Library, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives

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