Verdict Walter Funk

Funk is indicted on all four Counts (explanation). Funk, who had previously been a financial journalist, joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and shortly thereafter became one of Hitler's personal economic advisers. On 30 January 1933, he was made Press Chief in the Reich Government, and on 11 March 1933 became Under Secretary in the Ministry of Propaganda and shortly thereafter a leading figure in the various Nazi organizations which were used to control the press, films, music, and publishing houses. Funk took office as Minister of Economics and Plenipotentiary General for War Economy in early 1938, and as President of the Reichsbank in January 1939. He succeeded Schacht in all three of these positions. He was made a member of the Reichsverteidigungsrat in August 1939 and a member of the Central Planning Board in September 1943.

Crimes against Peace

Funk became active in the economic field after the Nazi plans to wage aggressive war had been clearly defined. One of his representatives attended a conference on 14 October 1938, at which Göring announced a gigantic increase in armaments and instructed the Ministry of Economics to increase exports to obtain the necessary exchange. On 28 January 1939, one of Funk's subordinates sent a memorandum to the O.K.W. on the use of prisoners of war to make up for labor deficiencies which would arise in case of mobilization. On 30 May 1939, the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Economics attended a meeting at which detailed plans were made for the financing of the war.
On 25 August 1939, Funk wrote a letter to Hitler expressing his gratitude that he was able to participate in such world-shaking events; that his plans for the financing of the war, for the control of wage and price conditions and for the strengthening of the Reichsbank had been completed; and that he had inconspicuously transferred into gold all foreign exchange resources available to Germany. On 14 October 1939, after the war had begun, he made a speech in which he stated that the economic and financial department of Germany working under the Four Year Plan had been engaged in the secret economic preparation for war for over a year.
Funk participated in the economic planning which preceded the attack on the U.S.S.R. His deputy held daily conferenices with Rosenberg on the economic problems which would arise in the occupation of Soviet territory. Funk himself participated in planning for the printing of rouble notes in Germany prior to the attack to serve as occupation currency in the U.S.S.R. After the attack he made a speech in which he described plans he had made for the economic exploitation of the vast territories of the Soviet Union which were to be ussed as a source of raw material for Europe.
Funk was not one of the leading figures in originating the Nazi plans for aggressive war. His activity in the economic sphere was under the supervision of Göring as Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan. He did, however, participate in the economic preparation for certain of the aggressive wars, notably those against Poland and the Soviet Union, but his guilt can be adequately dealt with under Count Two of the Indictment.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

In his capacity as Under Secretary in the Ministry of Propaganda and Vice-Chairman of the Reich Chamber of Culture, Funk had participated in the early Nazi program of economic discrimination against the Jews. On 12 November 1938, after the pogroms of November, he attended a meeting held under the chairmanship of Göring to discuss the solution of the Jewish problem and proposed a decree providing for the banning of Jews from all business activities, which Göring issued the same day under the authority of the Four Year Plan. Funk has testified that he was shocked at the outbreaks of 10 November, but on 15 November he made a speech describing these outbreaks as a "violent explosion of the disgust of the German people, because of a criminal Jewish attack against the German people" and saying that the elimination of the Jews from economic life logically followed their elimination from political life.
In 1942 Funk entered into an agreement with Himmler under which the Reichsbank was to receive certain gold and jewels and currency from the SS and instructed his subordinates, who were to work out the details, not to ask too many questions. As a result of this agreement the SS sent to the Reichsbank the personal belongings taken from the victims who had been exterminated in the concentration camps. The Reichsbank kept the coins and bank notes and sent the jewels, watches, and personal belongings to Berlin municipal pawn shops. The gold from the eyeglasses and gold teeth and fillings was stored in the Reichsbank vaults. Funk has protested that he did not know that the Reichsbank was receiving articles of this kind. T'he Tribunal is of the opinion that he either knew what was being received or was deliberately closing his eyes to what was being done.
As Minister of Economics and President of the Reichsbank, Funk participated in the economic exploitation of occupied territories. He was President of the Continental Oil Company which was charged with the exploitation of the oil resources of occupied territories in the East. He was responsible for the seizure of the gold reserves of the Czechoslovakian National Bank and for the liquidation of the Yugoslavian National Bank. On 6 June 1942, his deputy sent a letter to the O.K.W. requesting that funds from the French occupation cost fund be made available for black market purchases. Funk's knowledge of German occupation policies is shown by his presence at the meeting of 8 August 1942, at which Göring addressed the various German occupation chiefs, told them of the products required from their territories, and added: "It makes no difference to me in this connection if you say that your people will starve".
In the fall of 1943, Funk was a member of the Central Planning Board which determined the total number of laborers needed for German industry and required Sauckel to produce them, usually by deportation from occupied territories. Funk did not appear to be particularly interested in this aspect of the forced labor program and usually sent a deputy to attend the meetings, often SS General Ohlendorf, the former chief of the SD inside Germany and the former commander of Einsatzgruppe D but Funk was aware that the board of which he was a member was demanding the importation of slave laborers and allocating them to the various industries under its control.
As President of the Reichsbank, Funk was also indirectly involved in the utilization of concentration camp labor. Under his direction the Reichsbank set up a revolving fund of 12,000,000 Reichsmarks to the credit of the SS for the construction of factories to use concentration camp laborers.
In spite of the fact that he occupied important official positions, Funk was never a dominant figure in the various programs in which he participated. This is a mitigating fact of which the Tribunal takes notice.

Conclusion

The Court finds the Defendant Funk not guilty on Count One but is guilty on Counts Two, Three and Four.

See also: Final statement Funk

Explanation of the four Counts of the Indictment:

  1. Conspiracy to wage a war of aggression or crimes against peace
  2. waging of a war of aggression
  3. war crimes
  4. crimes against humanity

Definitielijst

concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.
crimes against humanity
Term that was introduced during the Nuremburg Trials. Crimes against humanity are inhuman treatment against civilian population and persecution on the basis of race or political or religious beliefs.
Four Year Plan
A German economic plan focussing at all sectors of the economy whereby established production goals had to be achieved in four years time.
Jews
Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.
mobilization
To make an army ready for war, actually the transition from a state of peace to a state of war. The Dutch army was mobilized on the 29 August 1939.
Nazi
Abbreviation of a national socialist.
Propaganda
Often misleading information used to gain support among supporters or to gain support. Often used to accomplish ideas and political goals.
Soviet Union
Soviet Russia, alternative name for the USSR.
war crimes
Crimes committed in wartime. Often concerning crimes committed by soldiers against civilians.

Sources

International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1947

Informatie

Published by:
Arnold Palthe
Published on:
03-01-2016
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