The Holocaust Historiography Project

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11. Walter Funk


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 sys-
tem 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

     “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.

                                                  [Page 716]


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

                                                  [Page 717]

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

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

                                                  [Page 718]

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

     “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

                                                  [Page 719]

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

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

                                                  [Page 720]

     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 Propa-

                                                  [Page 721]

     ganda (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).

                                                  [Page 721]


The systematic anti-Jewish program of the Nazi conspirators
is discussed in Chapter XII. The evidence discussed below
shows that Funk, by virtue of his activities as Minister of
Economics, is responsible for the planning and execution of
the program to exclude the Jews from the German economy.

The first record of Funk’s anti-Jewish activities as
Minister of Economics consists of a series of decrees which
he signed and which were designed to exclude the Jews from
various occupations, such as real estate business,
auctioneering, etc. Reference will be made to only a few of
these decrees (Decree amending trade code of 6 July 1938,
1988 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 832; de-

                                                  [Page 722]

cree concerning occupation of auctioneers, 12 February 1938,
1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I p. 202). Moreover, on 14 June 1938
Funk signed a decree providing for the registration of
'Jewish enterprises” (1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 627).
This decree was part of a system of economic persecution
which obliterated Jewish ownership in all commercial,
financial and industrial

In 1938, the death of von Rath in Paris was exploited by the
Nazis as a pretext for intensifying the persecution of the
Jews. Their new anti-Jewish policy called for the complete
elimination of Jews from the economic life of Germany. Funk
took a significant part in both the formulation and
execution of this policy.

Thus, he was present at the meeting of 12 November 1938,
where, with Goering as the leading spirit, the basis for a
more drastic policy against the Jews was established (1816-PS).
Goering described the meeting as a decisive one, and
demanded “that the Jewish question be now, once and for all,
coordinated and solved, one way or another.” (1816-PS). Funk
came to the meeting with a draft law which he had prepared,
and which he submitted with the following explanation:

     “I have prepared a law elaborating that, effective 1
     January 1939, Jews shall be prohibited to operate
     retail stores and wholesale establishments, as well as
     independent artisan shops. They shall further be
     prohibited from keeping employees or offering any ready
     products on the market. Wherever a Jewish shop is
     operated, the police shall shut it down. From 1 January
     1939, a Jew can no longer be employed as an
     enterpriser, as stipulated in the law for the
     Organization of National Labor from 20 January 1934.
     If a Jew holds a leading position in an establishment
     without being the enterpriser, his contract may be
     declared void within 6 weeks by the enterpriser. With
     the expiration of the contract, all claims of the
     employee, including all claims to maintenance become
     obliterated. That is always very disagreeable and a
     great danger. A Jew cannot be a member of a
     corporation; Jewish members of corporations shall have
     to be retired by 31 December /1939. A special
     authorization is unnecessary. The competent Ministers
     of the Reich are being authorized to issue the
     provision necessary for the execution of this law.”

The substance of Funk’s draft law promptly found its way
into the Reichsgesetzblatt. On 12 November 1938, Goering
signed a

                                                  [Page 723]

decree entitled “For the Elimination of Jews from the German
Economic Life” (1662-PS)

An examination of the provisions of the decree will reveal
how well it deserved its title. Thus, Jews were forbidden to
operate retail stores or mail order houses, or to engage
independently in any handicraft, to offer goods or services
at markets, or to take orders therefor (Section I): or to be
"leaders” of any industrial enterprise. That decree also
provided that any Jew in an executive position of an
industrial enterprise was subject to notice of dismissal
(Section 2), and that Jews should be excluded from
membership in cooperative organizations (Section 3). Funk
was expressly authorized in Section 4 of the decree to issue
the regulations necessary for implementing its provisions

Funk was also authorized to issue the regulations in
connection with another anti-Jewish decree, also issued on
12 November 1938. This decree provided that all damage done
to Jewish enterprises and apartments during the riots of 8,
9, and 10 November, was to be repaired by the Jewish owners
out of their own pockets, and that claims by German Jews
against insurance companies were to be confiscated in favor
of the German Government (1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p. 1581).

Soon after the passage of the decree of 12 November, Funk,
in a speech which he delivered on the Jewish question, made
it clear that the program of economic persecution was a part
of the larger program of extermination and boasted of the
fact that the new -program insured the complete elimination
of the Jews from the German economy. In the course of this
speech, Funk stated:

     “The state and the economy constitute a unity. They
     must be directed according to the same principles. The
     best proof thereof has been rendered by the most recent
     development of the Jewish problem in Germany. One
     cannot exclude the Jews from the political life, but
     let them live and work in the economic sphere. The fact
     that the last violent explosion of the disgust of the
     German people, because of a criminal Jewish attack
     against the German people, took place at a time when we
     were standing just before the termination of the
     economic measures for the elimination of the Jews from
     the German economythis fact is a result of the other
     fact that in the last years we had not handled this
     problem sufficiently early and consistently. In any
     event, the basis of a complete elimination of the Jews
     also from the economy had already been laid by the
     decrees of the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan,
     General Field Marshal Goering, who was the first

                                                  [Page 724]

     to undertake the solution of this problem. In the
     meantime by means of Aryanization, performed under
     governmental supervision, the Jews had already been
     excluded completely from the stock exchanges and the
     banks and almost completely from the large businesses
     and all important industrial enterprises. According to
     estimates, of the net property of approximately 7
     billion marks, determined pursuant to the decree for
     the registration of Jewish property, 2 billion marks
     have already been transferred into German possession.”

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,

                                                  [Page 725]

     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

     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

                                                  [Page 726]

     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

                                                  [Page 727]

     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

     “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)

                                                  [Page 727]


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

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

                                                  [Page 728]

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”

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:

                                                  [Page 729]

     “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-

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

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

                                                  [Page 730]

     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.”

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

                                                  [Page 731]

     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

     “*** 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

                                                  [Page 732]

ment 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:

                                                  [Page 733]

     “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

     “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

                                                  [Page 734]

work with Rosenberg in connection with the exploitation of
the Eastern Territories. Funk’s deputy met with Rosenberg
almost daily.


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.)


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

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

                                                  [Page 735]

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.

                   RELATING TO WALTER FUNK

Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6.
Vol. I, Pg. 5

 International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1,
Section IV (H); Appendix A.

[Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates
that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg
trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number
indicates that the document was referred to during the trial
but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason
given in parentheses following the description of the
document. The USA series number, given in parentheses
following the description of the document, is the official
exhibit number assigned by the court.

*699-PS;  Letter from Funk to Hitler, 25 August 1939,
reporting on economic affairs. (GB 49) . Vol. III, Pg. 509

*1039-PS;  Report concerning preparatory work regarding
problems in Eastern Territories, 28 June 1941, found in
Rosenberg’s “Russia File". (USA 146) . Vol. III, Pg. 695

*1301-PS;  File relating to financing of armament including
minutes of conference with Goering at the Air Ministry, 14
October 1938, concerning acceleration of rearmament. (USA
123) . Vol. III, Pg. 868

1409-PS;  Order concerning utilization of Jewish property, 3
December 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 1709. Vol.
IV, Pg. 1

1662-PS  Order eliminating Jews from German economic life,
12 November 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 1580.
Vol. IV, Pg. 172

*1760-PS;  Affidavit of George S. Messersmith, 28 August
1945. (USA 57) . Vol. IV, Pg. 305

*1816-PS;  Stenographic report of the meeting on The Jewish
Question, under the Chairmanship of Fieldmarshal Goering, 12
November 1938. (USA 261) . Vol. IV, Pg. 425

2029-PS;  Decree establishing the Reich Ministry of Public
Enlightenment and Propaganda, 13 March 1933. 1933
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 104. Vol. IV, Pg. 652

2030-PS;  Decree concerning the Duties of the Reich Ministry
for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 30 June 1933. 1933
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 449. Vol. IV, Pg. 653

2082-PS;  Law relating to the Reich Chamber of Culture of 22
September 1933. 1933 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 661. Vol.
IV, Pg. 708

2083-PS;  Editorial control law, 4 October 1933. 1933
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 713. Vol. IV, Pg. 708

*2194-PS;  Top secret letter from Ministry for Economy and
Labor, Saxony, to Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia,
enclosing copy of 1938 Secret Defense Law of 4 September
1938. (USA 36) . Vol. IV, Pg. 843

*2261-PS;  Directive from Blomberg to Supreme Commanders of
Army, Navy and Air Forces, 24 June 1935; accompanied by copy
of Reich Defense Law of 21 April 1935 and copy of Decision
of Reich Cabinet of 12 May 1935 on the Council for defense
of the Reich. (USA 24) . Vol. IV, Pg. 934

*2828-PS;  Interrogations of Funk on 4 June 1945 and 26 June
1945. (USA 654) . Vol. V, Pg. 478

2872-PS;  Fourth decree relative to Reich Citizen Law of 25
July 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 969. Vol. V,
Pg. 533

*2962-PS;  Minutes of meeting of Reich Cabinet, 15 March
1933. (USA 578) . Vol. V, Pg. 670

*2963-PS;  Minutes of meeting of Reich Cabinet, 20 March
1933. (USA 656) . Vol. V, Pg. 670

*2977-PS;  Affidavit of Funk, 14 November 1945, concerning
positions held. (USA 10) . Vol. V, Pg. 683

*3324-PS;  Funk on the Organization of War Economy,
published in Germany in the Fight. (USA 661) .Vol. VI, Pg.

*3501-PS;  Affidavit signed by Max Amann, 19 December 1945.
(USA 657) .Vol. VI, Pg. 207

*3505-PS;  Extract from “Walter Funk — A Life for the
Economy", 1941, by Paul Oestreich. (USA 653) .Vol. VI, Pg.

*3533-PS;  Statement of Funk concerning positions held by
him. (USA 651) .Vol. VI, Pg. 216

*3544-PS;  Interrogation of Funk, 22 October 1945. (USA 660)
.Vol. VI, Pg. 217

*3545-PS;  Speech by Funk, from Frankfurter Zeitung, 17
November 1938. (USA 659) .Vol. VI, Pg. 239

*3562-PS;  Letter from Chief Plenipotentiary for Economy, 1
June 1939, transmitting minutes of meeting concerning
financing of war (USA 662) .Vol. VI, Pg. 248

*3563-PS;  Extracts from German publications concerning
Funk’s positions and activities. (USA 652) .Vol. VI, Pg. 251

3566-PS;  Notes for files, prepared by SS Scharfuehrer
Sigismund, concerning General Manager of German
Broadcasting, 1 March 1937. Vol. VI, Pg. 254

*D-203;  Speech of Hitler to leading members of industry
before the election of March 1933. (USA 767) .Vol. VI, Pg.

*Chart No. 1;  National Socialist German Workers' Party.
(2903-PS; USA 2). Vol. VIII, Pg. 770