The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/09/19

By DR. SAUTER, Continued:

If Vice-President Puhl did not know
that and could not have guessed it, then Funk could have
known even less about it, and Puhl's initial statement,
which was to the effect that - as he said at the time - "the
gold articles had been accepted by the Reichsbank with
Funk's knowledge and agreement and had been converted into
cash with the assistance of the Reichsbank personnel," was
to say the least a grossly misleading statement by Vice-
President Puhl to the prosecution. Subsequently, during his
imprisonment, when Puhl first learned of the true
circumstances, he surely must have had the same compunctions
as Funk, however innocent the latter was in the case. In
conclusion, Puhl still declared here under oath that he
would not have tolerated such transactions, and that he
would have brought the matter to the attention of the
directorate of the Reichsbank, as well as to the attention
of President Funk, if he had known that the valuables were
taken from victims of concentration camps and if he had been
informed about the nature of these valuables.

In connection with this topic, I come to the following
conclusion: The Reichsbank certainly transacted business for
the account of the Reich, the substance of which was derived
from criminal acts of the SS, but the defendant Funk knew
nothing of this. He would not have tolerated such
transactions had he known the true circumstances. Therefore,
he cannot be made criminally responsible for this.

The same is also true, your Honours, with regard to
Reichsbank credits for the business agencies of the SS,
concerning which I shall limit myself to a few sentences. In
his written affidavit of 3rd May, 1946, the witness Puhl has
given a completely misleading account of this matter, also,
for he stated originally that credits of 10 to 12 million
marks furnished by the Gold Discount Bank upon the
instruction of the defendant Funk were used - and I am now
quoting literally: "for financing production in SS factories
by workers from concentration camps."

                                                  [Page 360]

In his oral examination as a witness, Puhl was asked whether
Funk had knowledge that persons from concentration camps
were employed in these factories at all. In reply to this,
Puhl declared literally: "I am inclined to assume this, but
I am not in a position to know it." Therefore, he was not
able to give any definite evidence concerning Funk's
knowledge, but only to express a conjecture. In contrast to
this, Funk's own statement in regard to this matter is quite
clear and convincing; it was to the effect that he knew,
indeed, about the request for credit by the SS, that he even
granted it, but that he knew nothing about the nature of the
SS enterprises concerned and about the people who were
employed in them. Funk stated this under oath. Accordingly,
this credit transaction, which moreover occurred about two
years before the affair of the SS gold deposits, that is,
even before 1940, incriminates neither the defendant Funk
nor the witness Vice-President Puhl. At that time - 1940 -
neither of them was acquainted with the conditions in the
concentration camps, but only learned about them much later,
that is, in the course of this trial, and moreover the
defendant Funk never knew that persons from the
concentration camps were working in the above-mentioned SS
factories, for which the credit was intended.

Gentlemen, in this connection it appears necessary to spend
a little time in discussing the question as to whether Funk
ever visited a concentration camp. The witness Dr. Blaha,
who was examined here, stated that Dr. Funk was once in
Dachau in the first half of 1944. This visit was supposed to
have occurred as a sequel to a conference with the Finance
Minister at Berchtesgaden, or in some other place in this
region, in which Funk is said to have participated. But,
gentlemen, when he was examined here, the witness Dr. Blaha
himself was unable to say that he had personally seen the
defendant Funk in Dachau, but he only heard from camp
inmates at Dachau - that is, from other persons - that Reich
Minister of Economy Funk was allegedly present during the
visit of a fairly large party of people to the camp. He did
not see him. In fact, he would not have known him if he had.
From the very beginning, Funk himself has denied this visit
to Dachau in the most positive way. He also stated this
under oath, and the affidavit made by his constant companion
Dr. Schwedler, contained in the, Funk Document Book No. 13
which was submitted to you, proves beyond a doubt that Funk
never was in a concentration camp. Dr. Schwedler is in a
position to know this, as at that time he was the constant
companion of the defendant and knew where Funk was staying
from day to day. Moreover, Funk was never a Finance
Minister, as the witness Dr. Blaha assumed, and never took
part in a conference of finance ministers. Therefore, it
appears beyond any doubt that what the witness Dr. Blaha
stated here purely from hearsay is based on false
information, or is the result of confusing him with another
visitor, which was very easily possible, since the defendant
Funk was comparatively unknown to the public. The
conclusion, therefore, is that Funk never visited a
concentration camp and never personally became aware of the
conditions prevailing in such camps.

Now, by this assertion Funk by no means wishes to allege
that he knew nothing at all about the existence of
concentration camps. Funk was naturally cognizant of the
fact, just as almost any other German, that there were
concentration camp in Germany after 1933 just as he knew
that there were and still are penitentiaries prisons and
other penal institutions in Germany.

But what he did not know, and I want to stress it here, was
the very large number of such concentration camps and of the
hundreds of thousands, even millions of their inmates.
Equally unknown to him were the countless atrocities
committed in these camps, which first became known only in
this trial. In particular, it was only during this trial
that Funk learned that there were even extermination camps
which served to murder millions of Jews. Funk had no
knowledge of this; he has stated this under oath and it also
appears absolutely credible, for one of the most important
results of this trial, in the opinion of the defence,
consists in the proof of the fact that the German people, in
general, did

                                                  [Page 361]

not know anything about the conditions in the concentration
camps or me immense number of them, but that, on the
contrary, those conditions were kept secret in such a
cunning and cruel way that even the highest officials of the
Reich up to the so-called ministers did not learn anything
about them.

The defence has now presented its views on that part of the
Indictment which, had it been true, would have incriminated
the man Funk in a most serious and terrible way. One may
think as one pleases about acts of violence during a
political and economic struggle, especially in stormy
revolutionary periods, but, in the opinion of the defendant
Funk himself, there cannot be any divergence of views on one
point, namely, with regard to the concentration camp
atrocities and the way they were committed for years,
especially against the Jewish population. Anyone who
participated in such unheard-of atrocities should be made to
atone for them in the severest way, according to the opinion
of the entire German people.

That is also the point of mew of the defendant Funk, which
he expressed here on 6th May, 1946, when he replied to the
American Prosecutor from the witness stand that as a man and
as a German he felt a heavy guilt and a deep shame for the
crimes which Germans committed against millions of wretched

Gentlemen, I have now reached the end of my consideration of
the Funk case as far as criminal law is concerned, and that
is the duty of the defence in this trial.

The examination of the evidence in regard to the Funk case
has, in the opinion of the defendant, produced proof that a
legal guilt, a criminal guilt, on his part does not exist,
and that he can ask you for his acquittal with a clear
conscience, because he has never committed any criminal acts
in his life.

Your duty as judges will now be to find a just verdict for
the defendant Funk, too, a verdict which does not make him
atone for other people's guilt, which he could not prevent,
which he did not even know about, but which only establishes
the degree of his own guilt, and, indeed, not the degree of
his political guilt, but of his criminal guilt, which is the
sole object of these proceedings; a verdict which is not
only valid for today but which will also be recognized as
just in the future, when we shall have gained the necessary
distance in time from these terrible events and can consider
these things dispassionately, like the happenings of a
remote history; a verdict, your Honours, which will not only
satisfy the nations which you represent, but which will also
be recognized as just and wise by the German people as a
whole; a verdict, finally, which does not only destroy and
take revenge and sow hatred for the future, but which will
make it possible and easier for the German people to move
upward again toward a happier future of human dignity and
charity, of equality and peace.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, will you or Sir David deal with
this. Sir David, I have had a document drawn up by the
General Secretary which shows in the first place, in the
case of the defendant Goering, that there are four
interrogatories which have been submitted, and to which the
prosecution has not objected. Is that right?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord, so there is no
further comment with regard to that first application.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then, with reference to the defendant
Ribbentrop, there are two affidavits to which there is no
objection, and there are three further affidavits which have
not been received, I understand.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: And one document to which the defendant's
counsel wants to refer in its entirety, namely TC-75, is
that right?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, that is so. There is
no objection to that.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps I had better go on to the end of the
documents and then call upon Dr. Horn for what he has got to
say about these three, because as

                                                  [Page 362]

far as I can see, there are only these three documents and
an affidavit for Seyss-Inquart from a man called Erwin
Schotter and another from a man called Adalbert Jopisch
which have not yet been received -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: - and three letters from Seyss-Inquart to
Himmler which have not yet been produced.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That is so, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Also, in the case of Fritzsche there are two
interrogatories of Delmar and Feldscher which have not yet
been received.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, with regard to the three
letters of the defendant Seyss-Inquart, they have been
received, but they have not yet been translated into French,
and I think, my Lord, the simplest way would be if the
Tribunal took it that provisionally there is no objection
but that the French delegation reserve their right to make
any objection if, upon receiving the translation, they find
there is any objection to make.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the French Delegation will
let the Tribunal know if they find there is any objection.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Now, with reference to the rest, so far
as the prosecution is concerned, what are the objections if

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I think the only objection
is with regard to the application of Dr. Servatius for the
defendant Sauckel. Your Lordship sees that, after the
interrogatories granted by the Tribunal, there are certain
documents which were introduced on the 3rd of July by the
defendant Sauckel to be considered by the Tribunal, and then
there are a number which are, lettered "A" to "I". The
prosecution suggests that these documents are cumulative of
the large number of documents already introduced on behalf
of this defendant, and, my Lord -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Just one minute, Sir David.
These documents "A" to "I" -


THE PRESIDENT: - were they applied for after the case had
been closed?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: They were submitted on the 3rd of
July, Sir. That would be after the case had been closed.

THE PRESIDENT: But that was at the time, was it not, when we
were asking for supplementaries?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, at the very end.

THE PRESIDENT: That very day?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes. My Lord, I am sorry, but the
case was not technically closed, for that day was open for
any defendant to put in.

THE PRESIDENT: Are these documents which you have just been
referring to - "A" to "I" - are they already all in the
document book?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Servatius tells me they are.

My Lord, I have just been having a word with Dr. Servatius
and he says that the one to which he attaches the greatest
importance is "A", the decree by the defendant Sauckel as to
return transportation of sick foreign workers. My Lord, I am
quite prepared on that assurance by Dr. Servatius not to
make any objection to "A" and Dr. Servatius, on the other
hand, says that he does not press for the others.

                                                  [Page 363]

My Lord, there is another application which has just come in
on behalf of the defendant Sauckel for a document. It is an
affidavit by the defendant himself, dated the 29th of June,
1946. The prosecution have no objection to the application.

My Lord, I think the only other matter with regard to the
defendant Sauckel is concerning an affidavit from a witness
called Falkenhorst. My Lord, that again, the prosecution
submits, is cumulative.

THE PRESIDENT: You say Falkenhorst?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Falkenhorst, Sir. My Lord, it is the
very last application on my list.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, may I make a statement
concerning the witness Falkenhorst? This witness was called
for Bormann and I waived his examination and submitted this
affidavit with the approval of the Tribunal and since, in my
opinion, it was approved, I waived the witness.

I assume that this will be clarified and confirmed by the
prosecution also.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean, Dr. Servatius, that the
affidavit from Falkenhorst had already been granted before?

DR. SERVATIUS: I assume it was granted at that time. The
witness was waiting outside and I was asked whether I would
like to question him, and I said in reply that I had an
affidavit which was limited to one particular case and it
would be sufficient if I could submit the affidavit. He was
the last witness who was supposed to be examined here, after
the end of the actual hearing of evidence.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I do not insist in the
opposition in these circumstances.

My Lord, that is all the comments the prosecution has to

THE PRESIDENT: What about these two affidavits asked for by
Dr. Steinbauer from Erwin Schotter and Adolf Jopisch?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, we have not got these yet.
As I understand it, they have been admitted by the Tribunal,
subject to any objection, and I am afraid we cannot tell
until we have seen them.

THE PRESIDENT: I see. Well, then, for the rest you have no
other objections?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No other objections.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, we have just had another document
placed before us which contains an application on behalf of
the defendant Sauckel to call as a witness his son Friedrich
Sauckel. The prosecution has objected to that on the ground
of irrelevance and cumulativeness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, that is the position.

It did not seem, on consideration of the outline of the
evidence, that the evidence of the defendant's son would
contribute anything fresh.

THE PRESIDENT: And that application was made after the 3rd
of July? No, I see that is wrong. It was submitted before
but it was not mentioned on the 3rd of July.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, it was an application to bring
the witness here from England, since presumably he can give
information regarding a number of things. I have not yet
made a formal application. It was just a request to have him
brought from England to Nuremberg for the purpose of finding
out whether he knows anything of importance, as he claims.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I would not make objection
to the defendant's son being brought here for the purpose of
Dr. Servatius having a talk with him and seeing whether he
can contribute anything.

THE PRESIDENT: The difficulty that these sort of
applications put the Tribunal in is that the case never

                                                  [Page 364]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, I quite agree.

THE PRESIDENT: Then, Sir David, do we have an affidavit from
the defendant Sauckel himself which you have already dealt


THE PRESIDENT: Then there is an affidavit by the defendant
Jodl on behalf of Kaltenbrunner; the application was
received at the general secretary's office on the 5th of


THE PRESIDENT: That was after the last date when the
defendants' counsel were asked for their applications.

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