Goering: Funk, Schirach

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 83, defendant Hermann Goering is cross-examined by various defense counsel.

Dr Fritz Sauter (Counsel for Defendants Walter Funk and Baldur von Schirach): I request permission to put the following questions, on behalf of the Defendant Funk. [Turning to the witness] The Defendant Funk joined the Party in the summer of 1931. At that time, as you know, he was the editor-in-chief of the Berliner Borsenzeitung. Is it known to you that in this capacity he enjoyed a particular prestige with the press and in German economic circles?

Goering: I know that at that time Funk and his economic articles in the Borsenzeitung were highly thought of and that he had many connections in economic circles.

Dr Fritz Sauter: We have heard that the Defendant Funk is accused of having promoted the coming to power of the Party through his activities, and I would be interested in hearing from you whether Funk, before the coming to power of the Party, played any role whatsoever in the Party; or is it correct to say that after resigning as editor-in-chief of the Berliner Borsenzeitung he brought out a so-called economic-political information service, not for the Party but for all economic circles, including the German People's Party?

Goering: May I request that the question be put perhaps more precisely; this is a whole narration. But I can reply briefly. Before the seizure of power I was acquainted only with Funk's activity as editor of the Borsenzeitung, which I have already mentioned. And as such I heard him repeatedly mentioned in economic circles. Only after the seizure did I hear at all of Funk's having been in the Party and of his relationship with it. Thus, his Party activity could not have been of such tremendous significance or he would have come to my attention in some way. So far as his information service is concerned, whether he favored the Democrats or the People's Party, I know nothing about that.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then after the seizure of power, Funk became Press Chief of the Reich Government. That is known to you?

Goering: Yes.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then subsequently he became State Secretary in the Reich Propaganda Ministry. That is also known to you?

Goering: Yes.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Now I would be interested to know what his work was as Press Chief of the Reich Government. Had Funk in this work any influence on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet?

Goering: I am well acquainted with the circumstances of Funk's appointment as Reich Press Chief. After the Reich Cabinet had been sworn in, the new Reich Press Chief was to be appointed. We were in a room of the Kaiserhof Hotel, and the Fuehrer did not want anyone from the press organization who was a full Party member, but someone who had had some previous press experience yet had not been so prominent in the Party or bound to it. I do not know exactly who mentioned the name of Funk. But I do know that he then said, "Good!" Funk was summoned, and I believe that it was a great surprise for him. I had that impression. The Reich Press Chief had at the time, when Hindenburg was still Reich President . . . .

Dr Fritz Sauter: I would like to repeat the question because it was not coming through. My question was to this effect: At the time that the Defendant Funk was Press Chief in the Reich Government, that is, after the seizure of power, had he any influence at all on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet?

Goering: The Reich Press Chief had no influence of any sort on the decisions of the Reich Cabinet, for his task was of a different nature.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then Funk became State Secretary in the Propaganda Ministry. Here I am interested to know from you whether he, while exercising this office, was prominent in any way so far as propaganda or press policies were concerned and what his tasks were at that time in the ministry, according to your knowledge of the conditions?

Goering: He became State Secretary because the Propaganda Ministry took over as its main function the press and the handling of press matters. Purely propaganda activities were carried on from the beginning by Goebbels himself, who was at the same time Propaganda Chief of the Party. Funk was appointed chiefly to organize the ministry as such, and in particular to handle economic matters of the press, that is, the acquisition of press organs, by purchase, subsidy, etc.. His specialized knowledge was mainly utilized in this field.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then, when Dr. Schacht retired from his offices in November 1937, Funk became his successor as Reich Minister for Economics. The appointment took place in November 1937, but he took over the Ministry only in February 1938. Can you tell us why that was so, and who directed the Ministry of Economics in the interim?

Goering: In discussing the Four-Year Plan I explained that after the resignation of Hjalmar Schacht, I personally directed the Ministry from November 1937 to February 1938, as far as I remember, although Funk had already been designated. I did this in order to integrate again into the Ministry of Economics the economic agencies outside the Ministry which were involved in the Four-Year Plan. By freeing myself of this burden I was able to administer my directives with the Ministry as such.

Dr Fritz Sauter: A similar situation seems to have existed for the Plenipotentiary General for Economics, Dr. Schacht, if I may again point this out, retired from this office at the same time as from the Ministry of Economics, in November 1937. Funk was appointed his successor, as Plenipotentiary for Economics, however, only in 1938. What is the reason for that?

Goering: He was appointed Plenipotentiary General only in 1938 due to the fact that it was only in 1938 that he actually took over the Ministry of Economics. According to an old regulation, the Plenipotentiary General for Economics was identical with the Reich Minister of Economics. But at this time, during the last part of Schacht's term of office, that was just a matter of form, as I have already said; for I explained that from the minute when I actually took over the Four-Year Plan, I personally was de facto the Plenipotentiary General for Economics. I suggested that this office be abolished, but, as is often the case, some things remain purely for reasons of prestige, things which no longer have any real significance. The Delegate for the Four-Year Plan was the sole Plenipotentiary General for the entire German economy. Since there could not be two such men, the other existed only on paper.

Dr Fritz Sauter: The consequence was, if I may draw this conclusion--and I ask you to reply to this--that Dr. Funk in his capacity of Plenipotentiary General for Economics as well as President of the Reich Bank was entirely subordinate to your directives as head of the Four-Year Plan. Is that correct?

Goering: Naturally, according to the plenary powers that were given me, he had to comply with my economic directives as far as the Ministry of Economics and the Reich Bank were concerned. That was a reason for the change, because I could not follow this procedure with Schacht, but from the beginning, Funk adopted an irreproachable attitude toward me in this respect. The directions or the economic policy which the Reich Minister of Economics and Reich Bank President Funk carried out are fully and entirely my exclusive responsibility.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Perhaps you remember a birthday letter which the Defendant Funk wrote to Hitler about a week before the Polish campaign, I believe on 25 August, in which he thanked the Fuehrer for something or other. In this letter Funk stated that he had prepared and executed certain measures which, in the case of a war, would be necessary in the field of civilian economy and finance. You will remember this letter, and it has been read already.

Goering: Yes.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Do you remember when you gave Funk these special duties? The letter is dated, I believe 25 August 1939, if I may mention this again. And when did you give this task and these directions to the Defendant Funk?

Goering: Just as military mobilization, or rather mobilization preparations have to be kept up to date and have to keep pace with the political situation--whether it be tense or relaxed, or when it changes--economic matters also, as I mentioned in my concluding remarks yesterday, have to keep pace in the same way. Thus, I ordered thorough preparations for mobilization in this field also. In the matters of foreign exchange and finance it was the duty of the president of the Reich Bank, as of the Reich Economics Ministry, in economic matters to make all preparations which would put me in the position, in the event of war, of having the utmost security for the German people in the economic field as well. At what time exactly I ordered this I cannot tell you, for it was a general basic directive which was always in effect.

Dr Fritz Sauter: What powers did Funk have in the issuing of regulations, et cetera, for the economic administration in the occupied territories?

Goering: I can no longer remember in detail now. The general directive he received from me. How far and to whom he, proceeding from this directive, issued departmental instructions in his special field in the occupied territory, I cannot say in detail; but they always resulted from my personal responsibility.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Is it correct that the Four-Year Plan in the occupied territories had special plenipotentiaries and departments, to the exclusion of Funk, for carrying out your directives?

Goering: In some areas of the occupied territory this was the case. In other areas I made use of the departments existing there; and if I considered it necessary I gave directives to the Economics Ministry also to have this or that done with regard to the occupied territories.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then during the war the Ministry of Armaments was created, I believe in the spring of 1940. Is it correct that in the course of the war to an ever increasing degree, the authority of the Reich Ministry of Economics and, in the end, the entire civilian production also were transferred to that ministry, so that finally the Ministry of Economics remained as a commerce ministry only?

Goering: At my suggestion, my urgent suggestion, the Fuehrer created a Ministry of Munitions under the then Minister Todt. This strictly munitions ministry became, in the course of further developments, the Armaments Ministry under Minister Albert Speer, and gradually more and more tasks were transferred to it. As armament was the focus of the whole economy and everything else in economy had to be brought exclusively into this focus, a number of tasks of the Ministry of Economics were transferred to the Ministry of Armaments, in particular the whole of production. It is correct that in the end the Ministry of Economics, by and large, was left a hollow shell retaining only very subordinate departments.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Now, I have a final question regarding the Defendant Funk. It is a question in connection with the matter of the Central Planning Board, that is, concerning the matter of foreign workers. I would be interested to learn whether you know, Witness, that Funk was called to attend the meetings of this Central Planning Board for the first time at the end of November 1943, and never before that time? Is that known to you?

Goering: I know of the Central Planning Board. I never interfered in their internal matters. I cannot state exactly when Funk was called to this board. With the recruiting of foreign workers, however, he had nothing to do.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Mr. President, if you will permit me, I have a few brief questions on behalf of the Defendant Schirach. (Turning to the witness) Do you know whether the so-called "Flying HJ," a subdivision of the Hitler Youth, ever received flying training?

Goering: The Flying HJ pursued the sport of gliding exclusively. After this training was completed, these men were taken into the National Socialist Flier Corps, the former Reich Air Sports League, and there continued their training in aircraft flying.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then another question: Did any conferences take place between you and the Defendant Schirach, especially while he was Reich Youth Leader, which were concerned with the question of military training, or pre-military training of youth in flying? Did such conferences take place or not?

Goering: Whether we discussed these matters occasionally I do not know. There was no need for official conferences, because the situation was entirely clear. The Flying Hitler Youth were interested in gliding, and after they had received preliminary training they were taken into the flying corps.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Do you recall the chart we were shown on the wall representing the organization of the Reich Cabinet? In the lower part, below the remark "other participants in Cabinet meetings," this chart showed the name of the Defendant Schirach along with Bohle, Popitz, Dietrich, and Gerecke. For that reason I would like now to put the following question to you: Was Schirach ever a member of the Reich Cabinet, or what functions or rights did he have in this connection?

Goering: The Reich Cabinet as such consisted solely of the Reich Ministers. We differentiated between two kinds of sessions, Cabinet sessions and Ministerial Council sessions. The Cabinet sessions were normally attended by the ministers and their state secretaries. In some cases when special subjects were to be discussed, ministerial directors, or higher officials of the ministries concerned, could be called in for a short report. Then there were the so-called highest Reich posts. The Reich Youth Leadership was also one of these. If, therefore, legislation affecting the Reich Youth Leadership was to be discussed by the Cabinet, and Schirach learned about it, he could, by virtue of his position as Reich Youth Leader, request to be called to this meeting. On the same basis the Chief of the Reich Chancellery could order him to attend such a meeting. These representatives never attended the other regular Cabinet sessions. I believe I attended almost all sessions and, as far as I know, Schirach was never present. In contrast to that were the Ministerial Council sessions to which only Reich ministers were admitted and no one else.

Dr Fritz Sauter: I come now to the period after the fall of Mussolini, when Badoglio took over the government in Italy. Do you recall, Witness, that at that time the Defendant von Schirach sent a wire with certain suggestions to you?

Goering: Yes.

Dr Fritz Sauter: What did he suggest and what did he want to accomplish?

Goering: He suggested that I should tell the Fuehrer to make a change in the Foreign Office immediately and to replace Ribbentrop with von Papen.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then, a last question on behalf of the Defendant Schirach. Do you recall another letter that the Defendant Schirach wrote, as far as I know, in the spring of 1943? This was a letter occasioned by one from Bormann and, so that you will know just which letter I mean, I shall briefly explain the connection. Bormann at that time dispatched letters, as a formality, to all Gauleiter, according to which the Gauleiter were to report whether they had any ties with foreign countries. Schirach was well aware at the time that this letter was meant solely for him, for the other Gauleiter had no relatives in foreign countries. Schirach wrote a letter which, as far as I know, you read. And thereupon you are supposed to have intervened on behalf of Schirach. Please tell us what kind of letter it was, what was the danger threatening Schirach, and what you and others did to avert this danger?

Goering: I must correct that, and I am fully acquainted with this incident. This letter of Bormann's was not directed to the Gauleiter to establish whether they personally had connections abroad. Bormann sent, by order of the Fuehrer, a letter to all Gauleiter, and it was not a pro forma letter intended solely for Gauleiter Schirach, but was intended for all. They were to check the political leaders within their jurisdiction to establish whether any of their co-workers or any political leader subordinate to them had family ties or connections abroad, especially in enemy countries, whereby the individual affected might, in some circumstances, have a conflict of conscience or might be of questionable reliability. That was a general directive of the Fuehrer, which also applied to the Officer Corps and not solely to the case of Schirach.

I was at headquarters when Schirach's letter arrived and Bormann gave it to the Fuehrer. Schirach replied that, before he could take any steps in this matter with regard to his collaborators or subordinates, he needed some clarification by the Fuehrer as far as his own person was concerned. He went on to describe in brief, in his letter, his family ties in the United States of America, on his mother's side, and also mentioned in this letter that his connection with his relatives abroad was a very cordial one and asked whether, under these circumstances, it was still possible for the Fuehrer to retain him in his position as Gauleiter.

At that time the Fuehrer had not been kindly disposed to von Schirach for several months and had repeatedly considered withdrawing him from office. He said on this occasion--and that is how I came into possession of this letter, for he handed it to me: "Schirach seems to plan for his future protection. I have a certain suspicion." Then, in the presence of Bormann, I told the Fuehrer very clearly and definitely that this was entirely unfounded; that I could not understand his attitude toward Schirach, and that Schirach had done the only possible and decent thing when, before dismissing any of his collaborators or subordinates for such reasons, he demanded the clarification of his own position, since his connections were known; and that, in my opinion, this letter had no other purpose.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Then, however, in connection with this letter, a rather strange suggestion seems to have been made by someone for further action against Schirach?

Goering: I know that Bormann and Himmler were opposed to Schirach. Whether they wanted to give this letter an entirely different interpretation in order to induce the Fuehrer to recall Schirach and eliminate him, and how far Himmler's suggestion went, whether protective custody was considered, I do not know. But I heard about these things from other sources later on.

Dr Fritz Sauter: Your Honor, I have no further questions.
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