4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
M. GERTHOFFER: Mr. President, Your Honors, at the end of the last session I had the honor of beginning the account of the French Prosecution on the economic pillage. In the first chapter I had indicated to you succinctly how the Germans had become masters of the means of payment in the occupied countries by imposing war tributes under the pretext of maintaining their army of occupation and by imposing so-called clearing agreements, functioning to their benefit almost exclusively.
In a second chapter, entitled "Sequestering of Production in the Occupied Territories," I had the honor of expounding to you that, after the invasion, the factories were under military guard and that German technicians proceeded to transfer the best machines to the Reich; that the working population, having come to the end of their resources, grouped themselves around the factories to ask for subsidies; and, finally, that the Germans had ordered the resumption of work and had- reserved for themselves the right to designate provisional administrators to direct the enterprises.
At the same time, the Germans exercised pressure over the rulers of the occupied countries and over the industrialists to bring the factories back to productivity. In certain cases they themselves placed provisional German administrators in charge and insinuated that the factories would be utilized for the needs of the occupied populations.
On the whole, to avoid unemployment and to maintain their means of production, the industrialists, little by little, resumed their work, endeavoring to specialize in the manufacture of objects destined for the civilian populations. Resorting to various means of pressure, the Germans imposed the manufacture of defensive armaments and then progressively of offensive armaments. They requisitioned certain enterprises, shut down those which they did not consider essential, distributed the raw materials themselves, and placed controllers in the factories.
The German control and seizure continually expanded in conformity with secret directives given by the Defendant Goering, himself, as can be seen in a document dated 2 August 1940, discovered by the Army of the United States, which bears the Document Number EC-137, and which I place before the Tribunal as
21 Jan. 46
Exhibit Number RF-105. This is the essential passage of the document:
"The extension of the German influence over foreign enterprises is an objective of German political economy. It is not yet possible to determine whether and to what extent the peace treaty will effect the surrender of shares. It is now, however, that every opportunity should be used for German economy, in time of war, to obtain access to material of interest to the economy in occupied territories and to prevent removals that might hinder the realization of the abovementioned aim ......
I stop this quotation here. After having had knowledge of such a document, there can be no further doubt about the intentions of *the German rulers. The proof of the putting into execution of such a plan is shown in a document which will be read when the particular case of France will be dealt with *in the course of this expose.
The Tribunal will be informed about a study of a certain Michel, Chief of the Administrative General Staff on Economic Questions, deputy to the German commanding officer in France, which brings out the extent of the dictatorship of the Reich over the occupied countries in economic matters. The control of the enterprises in occupied countries was assured by civil or military officials who were on the spot and also, later on, by similar German enterprises, which had become their "Paten-Firma."
To give an example of this economic domination, here are the orders received by an important French company. This involves the Thomson-Houston Company, and I present a letter to the Tribunal under Document Number RF-106 in the French documentation, which is addressed to this establishment. It is dated Paris, 8 October 1943.
"Societe des Procedes Thomson-Houston, 173 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris.
"You are fully responsible for the punctual, careful, and reasonable filling of the German orders which are passed to you, both as regards the giver of the order and my office, which is the competent agency for all orders given to France. "To facilitate for you the execution of your obligations, the firm of the Allgemeine Elektricitats Gesellschaft, Berlin (NW 40), Friederich-Karl-Ufer 2-4, is designated by me as the 'Paten-Firma.' I attach the greatest importance to close collaboration on technical matters with the above-mentioned firm. The Paten-Firma will have the following functions:
"1) To co-operate in the establishment of your production plan to utilize your capacities;
21 Jan. 46
"2) To be at your disposal for all technical advice which you may need, and to exchange information with you;
"3) To serve as an intermediary, if need be, for negotiations with German authorities;
"4) To keep me informed as to anything that might occur which might prevent or limit the fulfillment of your obligations.
"In view of assuring these tasks, the Paten-Firma is authorized to delegate a Firmenbeauftragter to your firm, and when necessary, technical engineers from other German firms who may have handed you important orders.
"In order to permit the Paten-Firma to accomplish its task it will be necessary to give the firm or its Firmenbeauftragter the necessary information on everything that relates to the German orders and to their execution:
"1) By placing at its disposal your correspondence with your supply houses and with your subcontractors;
"2) By informing it now of the extent, to which the capacities of your factories are being utilized and permitting it to check on the production;
"3) By letting it take part in your conferences and see your correspondence with the German authorities.
"It is your duty to inform the Paten-Firma or their Firmenbeauftragter immediately about any orders which you may receive."
This is the end of the quotation.
Almost all the important enterprises in the occupied territories were thus placed under the control of German firms, with the double aim of favoring the Reich's war effort and of achieving by progressive absorption an economic preponderance in Europe, even in case of a peace by compromise.
In the agricultural sphere the Germans used similar means of pressure. They made wholesale requisitions of products, leaving the population with quantities clearly insufficient to assure their subsistence.
I now take up the third chapter devoted to individual purchases by the German military or civilian forces in the occupied countries. If the present statement cannot take up individual acts of pillage or the numerous thefts committed in the occupied countries, it is important nevertheless to mention the individual purchases, these having been organized methodically by the German rulers to benefit their own nationals.
At the beginning of the occupation the soldiers or civilians effected purchases by means of vouchers of doubtful authenticity
21 Jan. 46
which had been handed them by their superiors. Soon, however, the Germans had at their disposal a sufficient quantity of money to allow them to purchase without any kind of rationing, or by means of special vouchers, considerable quantities of agricultural produce or of objects of all kinds, notably textiles, shoes, furs, leather goods, et cetera. Thus, for instance, certain shoe stores were obliged to sell every week, in exchange for special German vouchers, 300 pairs of men's, women's, or children's shoes for town wear.
This is indicated in an important report of the French economic control, to which I will have occasion to refer several times in the course of this presentation and which I submit to the Tribunal under Document Number RF-107.
The individual purchases which constitute a form of economic, pillage were, I repeat, not only authorized but organized by the German rulers. In fact, when the Germans returned to their country they were encumbered by voluminous baggage. A postal parcel service had been created by the Germans for the benefit of their nationals living in the occupied countries. The objects were wrapped in a special kind of paper and provided with seals that enabled their entry, duty free, into Germany.
In order to get an idea of the volume of individual purchases, it is important to refer to the declarations of one Murdel, exdirector of the Reichskreditkasse at present detained in Paris, who was heard before an examining magistrate of the Cour de Justice de la Seine on 29 October 1945. This is the declaration made by Murdel on the subject of individual purchases, and I submit it in evidence as Document Number RF-108.
The judge asked Murdel the following question:
"What were the needs of the army of occupation? What purchases did you have to make on its account?"
"It is impossible for me to answer the first part of the question. I had tried during the occupation to obtain information on this point, but it was objected that this was a military secret which I had no right to know. What I can tell you is that we settled the pay of the troops and that a private earned from 50 to 60 marks, a noncommissioned officer 50 percent more, and an officer considerably more, naturally. I have no idea what forces the occupation army may have included, as these forces were extremely variable." I skip a few lines to make this shorter. Murdel adds:
"Apart from this, every soldier on leave returning from Germany had the right to bring back with him a certain number of marks (50). The same was the case for any German soldier who was stationed, for the first time in
21 Jan. 46
France. We exchanged the marks into French francs. I value the total of the sum that we paid out each month in this way at 5,000 million francs."
One may thus estimate at about 250,000 million francs, at least, the individual expense incurred in France by the Germans, of which amount the greater part was used for the purchase of products and objects sent to Germany, to the detriment of the French population.
To show the size of these costs, I would add that the amount of 5,000 million francs a month, in other words 60,000 million francs a year, is greater than the budget receipts of the French State in 1938, for these were only 54,000 million francs.
After having viewed the individual purchases, I shall enter upon a fourth chapter devoted to the organization of the black market by the Germans in the occupied territories. The population of the occupied countries had been subjected to a severe rationing of products of all kinds. They had been. left only obviously insufficient quantities for their own vital needs.
These regulations made available a large quantity of the stock production which the Germans seized by means of operations that were, to all -appearances, regular: requisitions, purchases by official services, individual purchases, or those in exchange for vouchers of German priority. We have just seen that these purchases represented for France, alone, an average of 5,000 million francs per month.
But such regulations produced, as a corollary, a depletion of merchandise and the concealment of products with the aim of keeping them from the Germans. This state of affairs gave birth, in the occupied countries, to what was called the black market, that is to say, clandestine purchases made in violation of regulations on rationing.
The Germans themselves were not slow in proceeding, to an ever greater extent, to purchase on the black market, mostly through agents and sub-agents, recruited among the most doubtful elements of the population, whose work was to find out where these products could be found.
These agents, compromised by violations of the legislation on rationing which they had committed, enjoyed absolute immunity; but they were constantly under the threat of denunciation on the part of their German employers in case they should slow up or stop their activity. Often these agents also fulfilled functions for the Gestapo and were paid by commissions, which they obtained in black market transactions.
The different German organizations in the occupied countries fell Into the habit of making clandestine purchases that became increasingly important in volume. Indeed, they began to- compete among themselves for this merchandise, the chief result of which
21 Jan. 46
was to increase the prices, thus threatening to bring about inflation. The Germans, while they continued to profit by the clandestine purchases, were anxious that the money which they used should,, maintain as high a value as possible.
To obviate such a situation, the rulers of the Reich decided in June 1942 to organize purchases on the black market methodically. Thus the Defendant Goering, the Delegate of the Four Year Plan, gave to Colonel Veltjens, on 13 June 1942, the mission of centralizing the structure of the black market in the occupied countries. This fact emerges from several documents discovered by the Army of the United States, of which I submit the first to you as Document Number RF-109. It is the nomination of Colonel Veltjens, signed by the Defendant Goering himself. I do not want to take up the time of the Tribunal in giving a complete reading of these documents. I think that they cannot be contested, but if this should occur later, I will reserve for myself the privilege of reading them later, unless the Tribunal would prefer me to read them immediately.
THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid we must adhere to our ruling. The documents which we cannot take judicial notice of must be read if they are to be put in evidence. You need only read the portions of the document which you require to put in evidence-not necessarily the formal parts, but the substantial parts which you require for the purpose of your proof.
M. GERTHOFFER: This is the letter of 13 June 1942, signed by the Defendant Goering,
"Owing. to the simultaneous purchases of goods by the different branches of the Wehrmacht and other organizations on the so- called black market, a situation has developed in some occupied territories which hampers the methodical exploitation of these countries for the needs of German war economy, is also harmful to German prestige, and endangers the discipline necessary in the military and civilian administration. This deplorable state of things can no longer be tolerated. I therefore charge you to regularize these commercial transactions in agreement with the services that are involved and, particularly, with the chiefs of the administration of the occupied territories. In principle, commercial transactions in the occupied territories that are made outside the framework of the normal provisioning, or constituting a violation of price regulations, must be limited to special cases and can be carried out only with your previously given assent. I approve your proposal that only to trading companies controlled by the Reich should be assigned the handling of these goods, in the first place the 'Roges.'
21 Jan. 46
"I beg you to submit, at the earliest possible date, a detailed plan of operation for starting your activity in Holland, Belgium, France, and Serbia. (In Serbia it is Consul General Neuhausen who is to be in charge.) This plan must include the seizure of port installations and machinery and tools of enterprises to be closed down in the occupied territories. As to the results of your work, I beg you to submit a report to me every month through my representative; the first to be sent on 1 July 1942.
"If necessary, the Central Planning Board will decide as to the distribution of merchandise thus purchased." -Signed"Goering."
Thereupon, on 4 September 1942, the Defendant Goering, had given orders for the complete collection of all merchandise of use, even if signs of inflation should -result from this act, in the occupied territories. This is shown by a report signed "Wiehl," concerning the utilization of funds derived from occupation costs. I submit this to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-110 (Document Number 1766-PS).
Shortly after, on 4 October 1942, the Defendant Goering, made a speech on the occasion of the Harvest Festival, a speech that is reported in Das Archiv of October 1942, Number 103, Page 645. In this speech the Defendant Goering, stated implicitly that he meant purchases on the black market in the occupied countries to continue for the benefit of the German population. I submit a copy of this article as Document Number RF-111 and I quote from it the following passage:
"I have examined with very special care the situation in the occupied countries. I have seen how the people lived in Holland, in Belgium, in France, in Norway, in Poland, and wherever else we set foot. I have noticed that although very often their propaganda speaks officially of the difficulty of their food situation, in point of fact this is far from being the case. Of course everywhere, even in France, the system of ration cards has been introduced; but what is obtained on these ration cards is but a supplement, and people live normally on illegal commerce.
"The recognition of this has caused me to make a firm decision, creating a principle which must be rigidly adhered to. The German people must be considered before all -others in the battle against hunger and in the problem of food supply. It is my desire that the population of the territories which have been conquered by us and taken under our protection shall not suffer from hunger. If, however, through enemy measures difficulties of food supply should arise, then
21 Jan. 46
all must know that if there is to be hunger anywhere it shall in no case be in Germany ......
The United States Army has discovered a secret report, made on 15 January 1943, by Colonel Veltjens, in which he gives an account of his activity over a period of, 6 months to the Defendant Goering, This is Document Number 1765-PS, which I submit now to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-112. It is not possible for me to give a complete reading of this report. I shall simply read certain passages of it.
In the first part of his report Veltjens explains the reasons for the rise of the black market in these terms:
"1) The reduction in merchandise as a result of the regulations and rationing ....
"2) The impossibility of stabilizing prices ....
"3) The impossibility of price control on German lines owing to lack of personnel in the German control organizations.
"4) The neglect of practical support for counter-measures on the part of the local administrative authorities, especially in France.
"5) The half-hearted penal justice of the local judiciary authorities. "6) The lack of discipline of the civilian population
Then under the same number 6), a little further, Veltjens indicates: "The activity of the German services on the black market grew little by little to such an extent that more and more unbearable situations arose. It was known that the black market operators offered their merchandise to several bureaus at the same time and that it was the one which gave the highest price who obtained the merchandise. Thus, the different German formations not only vied with each other in obtaining the merchandise, but also they caused the prices to rise."
Further on in his report, Veltjens indicates that he has assumed the direction of the service created by the Delegate for the Four Year Plan in these terms:
"Finally, in June 1942, in agreement with all the central services, the delegates for the special missions (B. f. S.) were charged with taking in hand the seizure and the- central control of the black market. Thus, for the first time, a necessary preliminary condition was created for effectively dealing with the problem of the black market."
In the second part of his report, Veltjens explains the advantages of the organization in charge of which he was placed and he writes, among other things:
21 Jan. 46
"It has been stated that purchases on the black market in their present volume would become in the long run too much for the budget of the Reich. In answer to this it must be pointed out that the greater part of the purchases were made in France and were financed by occupation costs. Out of a total of purchases amounting to 1,107,792,819 RM, the sum of 929,100,000 RM was charged to the French for occupation costs so that the Reich budget was not involved for that amount."
After having indicated the inconveniences of the black market, Veltjens concludes:
"In recapitulating"-writes Veltjens-"it must be stated that,
in view of the supply situation in the Reich, now as before we cannot do without black market purchases as long as there are still hidden stocks which are important for carrying on the war. To this vital interest all other considerations must be subordinated."
In a third part of this same report, Veltjens deals with the technical organization of his offices. Here are some interesting passages: "The general direction and supervision of the purchases is the task assigned to the control services which have been newly created for this purpose, as follows:
"a) Supervisory service in France, with headquarters in Paris;
"b) supervisory service in Belgium and the North of France, with headquarters in Brussels;
"c) supervisory service in Belgium and in the North of France, auxiliary service Lille, with headquarters in Lille;
"d) supervisory service in Holland with headquarters in The Hague;
"e) supervisory service in Serbia with headquarters in Belgrade."
Then Veltjens tells us that purchases themselves were carried out by a restricted number of licensed purchasing organizations, that is, 11 for France, 6 for Belgium, 6 for Holland, 3 for Serbia.
"So"-he writes---"all the purchases are subject to the central control of the delegate for the special missions."
Further on Veltjens adds:
"The financing of the purchases and the transport of merchandise are 'to be carried out by the Reich-owned Roges m. b. H. The merchandise is then to be distributed to the purchasers in the Reich by Roges in accordance with instructions from the Central Planning Board, or departments appointed by the Central Planning Board and in order of urgency."
21 Jan. 46
In the fourth section of his report Veltjens gives the volume of the operations carried out up to the date of 30 November 1942, that is to say, in less than 5 months, as his organization had not begun its activity before I July 1942. Here are the figures that Veltjens gives:
"The volume of purchases made (up to 30 November 1942):
"(a) Since the inauguration of the purchases directed by the German commanders or the Reich Commissioner, and of the directed distribution of merchandise in the Reich, there has been purchased a total of 1,107,792,818.64 Reichsmark: In France a total amount of 929,100,000 Reichsmark; in Belgium 103,881,929 Reichsmark; in Holland 73,685,162.64 Reichsmark; and in Serbia 1,125,727 Reichsmark."
"The payment in France is made from the account of the occupation costs, and in the other countries by means of clearing."
Then Veltjens gives a table of merchandise purchased in this way over the period of these 5 months. I shall simply give a summary to the Tribunal:
"1) Metals, 66,202 tons valued at 273,078,287 Reichsmark; 2) textiles, a total value of 439,040,000 Reichsmark; 3) leather, skins, and hides to a total value of 120,754,000 Reichsmark.
"Further purchases comprised: Industrial oils and fats, edible oils and fats, wool, household articles, mess articles, wines and spirits, engineering equipment, medical articles, sacks, et cetera."
Veltjens then gives a table of the increase in prices during these 5 months. Then he states the principle that the black market must be utilized solely to the benefit of Germany and be severely repressed when it is utilized by the populations of the occupied countries. On this subject he actually writes:
"1. Extension of price control. As an increase of the personnel of the German controlling offices may not be possible, or may be possible only to a limited extent, it will be necessary to obtain from the local administration authorities greater activity in this respect.
"2. Application of severe penalties, on German lines, for violations of regulations. This is the only means of remedying the lack of discipline among the civilian populations, arising from their individual and liberal ideas. A check of the sentences that have been passed by the local tribunals is to be recommended.
21 Jan. 46
"3. The promise of rewards for denouncing violations of the
rationing regulations, equivalent to a high percentage of the value of the goods seized on account of the denunciation.
"4. The hiring of informers and of agents provocateurs. "Further to hinder illegal production:
"5. Closing of all enterprises that are not working for the war industry.
"6. Closing or merging of enterprises whose capacity or production is being only partly exploited.
"7. Closer control of the productivity of factories.
"8. Close examination of the quantity of raw materials allotted for the German orders placed in France.
"9. A policy of prices which affords the enterprises adequate profit and thus guarantees their means of existence."
Examining the demands of the rulers of the occupied countries with relation to the German purchases on the black market, Veltjens writes:
"Moreover, lately the French and Belgian economic and government circles, among others the Chief of the French Government himself, have considered it necessary to complain about the organized German buying. In response to remonstrations of this kind, it should be pointed out-in addition to various other arguments-that on the part of the Germans, too, there is naturally the greatest interest in the disappearance of the black market. But the chief responsibility for its existence rests with the government authorities themselves for their incompetence regarding price control and their negligence in meting out just punishment, whereby lack of discipline among their own population is encouraged."
The Tribunal will allow me to stress the value of the argument developed by Veltjens by reminding it that the Germans were the principal purchasers on the black market, and that their agents enjoyed absolute immunity.
Finally, speaking of the machinery in the factories, Veltjens writes in his report:
,Another order of the delegate for the special missions, concerns seizure of the machinery of closed factories. It is an established fact that great capacities, particularly of machine tools, are not being utilized at present, while at home they are urgently needed for armament production. After an agreement by the delegate of special missions, the military commander, and the plenipotentiary for machine production, there has been created in France, at the armament inspection
21 Jan. 46
office, an office for the distribution of machines (Maschinenausgleichstellen).
"The creation of Maschinenausgleichstellen in Belgium and Holland is pending. One of the main difficulties, in this field, is to overcome the resistance of the owners of the factories, as well as that of the local government offices of the occupied territories.
"The occupation authorities will have to use every means to break this resistance."
In conclusion, Veltjens alludes in his report to the Roges company, which was a special organization for the transport to Germany of the booty captured in the occupied countries, and more particularly, of products acquired by operations on the black market. One of the directors of this organization, called Ranis, was interrogated on 1 November 1945, and declared in substance that the Roges company had begun its activity in February 1941, succeeding another organization. On the whole he confirms the facts that are reported in Veltjens' report. I shall therefore simply submit a copy of his interrogation to the Tribunal under Document Number RF- 113.
The scope of the operations on the black market is thus established by German documents which cannot be contested by the opposite side. I beg to point out to you that these documents prove that within 5 months, in three countries, these operations amount to the sum of 1,107,792,818 Reichsmark. We shall come back to certain details when examining the special situation of certain countries. However, it is necessary for me to indicate the reasons why the Defendant Goering finally came to decide that the black market operations should be suspended.
Indeed, on 15 March 1943, under the pretext of avoiding the risk of inflation in the occupied countries, Goering decided that black market purchases be suspended. We have just seen that the Defendant Goering worried little about the fate of the population of the occupied countries, since he had decided that the black market purchases were to continue even at the risk of inflation.
The true reason is the following: While the official German organizations were buying at prices which were strictly fixed by them, the clandestine organizations were accepting much higher prices. The merchandise was therefore always gravitating to the black market, to the detriment of the official market; and clandestine production in the end absorbed the normal production.
Finally it must be added that the corruption resulting from such practices in certain circles of the German Armed Forces became disquieting to the German leaders. The black market was therefore suppressed officially on 15 March 1943, but some purchasing bureaus
21 Jan. 46
continued their clandestine activities until the time of liberation but on a much smaller scale than before 15 March 1943.
I cite a passage of the report of the French Economic Control which I have just put into evidence as Document Number RF-107 and which gives an idea of the disorder that was created by the German actions and which shows the reasons why the Reich authorities officially suspended the black market purchases-Page 21 of the French text:
"That was the time when champagne, cognac, and benedictine were handled by lots of 10,000 to 50,000 bottles and pate de foie gras by the ton! From the very beginning the general corruption had affected a great number of the Wehrmacht officers, attracted by the sumptuous life which surrounded them. It penetrated so far into the German military circles that, from the lower mess sergeant up to the superior officer, each one was implicated with the worst traffickers, demanding commissions on all the deals. In a clandestine sale of wool thread the authorities found themselves face to face with a general of the Air Force."
Around them soon flocked all the bad elements of France, swindlers and other habitual criminals. Then came a crowd of all the customary trade traffickers, brokers, and out-of-work agents, generally unimportant middlemen.
It is understood that in such a circle, composed of unknown and elusive people, the black market deals which were transacted without invoices and in cash, and without written receipts, except those of the German offices, cannot today be easily disclosed and evaluated.
I resume the quotation at Page 2
"Originating in the course of the year 1941, the commercial agitation of these Parisian purchasing bureaus continued in this manner for about 20 months. But, after having attained its peak at the end of 1942, this activity came to an abrupt end in March 1943, a victim of its own excesses.
"Actually, during the entire occupation production prices were strictly limited by the French authorities and even more so by the German economic services which were systematically opposed to any increase in prices and anxious, above all, to maintain large purchasing power for the French money at
"But, since the supplies delivered to the enemy under contract were being paid for at prices hardly better than the legal ones, the clandestine purchasing agencies accepted at the same time rates several times higher for the same products.
21 Jan. 46
"So the conveying of merchandise to the German black market increased more and more, while the secret production of goods to be forwarded through these dark channels increased. The disorder became rapidly such that, in certain branches of industry, deliveries according to contract could not be carried out except with great delay, in spite of the menacing protests of the German authorities.
"Completely aghast, -the French Ministry of Industrial Production had to inform the German authorities that the national production would soon no longer be able to meet its obligations.
"This obvious situation, together with the necessity of putting an end to the incredible corruption brought about by the black market in the Wehrmacht, led the Reich Government, if not totally to suppress the black market, at least to consider closing the Paris purchasing bureaus.
"This measure was made effective 13 March 1943 according to an agreement between Bichelonne and General Michel.
"However"-and this is very significant---"the German economic services did not fail to ask in compensation for a considerable rise in the quotas fixed under the agreements. Thus for the Kehrl plan alone this rise amounted to 6,000 tons of textiles.
"Only a few bureaus were able to carry on their activities until the liberation, either by endeavoring to execute their purchases through Roges (D'Humieres, Economic Union, et cetera), or collaborating with military authorities buying supplies and with the bureaus of the German Air force and the Navy."
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
M. GERTHOFFER: In the-course of my explanations I shall come back to the case of each particular country, concerning the black market operations, in order to show their extent. But I think that, just now, it is established by the Veltjens report, as well as by the passages from the French Economic Control report which I had the honor to read to the Tribunal, that the black market was organized by the leaders of the Reich, and especially by the Defendant Goering And to finish the general observations concerning economic plundering, I beg the Tribunal's permission to give a few explanations from the legal point of view. That is the subject of Chapter 5 of this first part.
21 Jan. 46
From a legal point of view it is not contestable that organized plundering of the countries invaded by Germany is prohibited by the International Hague Convention, signed by Germany and deliberately violated by her, even though her leaders never failed to invoke this Convention every time they tried to benefit by it.
Section III of the Hague Convention, entitled "The Military Authority over the Territories of the Enemy State," relates to economic questions. These clauses are very clear and need not be discussed. If the Tribunal will allow me to recall them in reading, here is Section III of the Hague Convention which I put into* the document book as Document Number RF-114, and which is entitled, "The Military Authority over the Territories of the Enemy State":
"Article 42: A territory is considered occupied when it is placed actually under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territories where this authority has been established and can be exercised.
"Article 43: The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter..."
THE PRESIDENT: I think we can take judicial notice of these articles of the Convention.
M. GERTHOFFER: I shall therefore not read this article, since. the Tribunal knows the Convention, and shall simply limit myself to certain juridical remarks.
These texts of the Hague Convention show in a very clear way that the Germans could seize in occupied countries only what was. necessary for the maintenance of troops indispensable in the occupation of the territories. All items which were levied beyond these limits were in violation of the texts which you know, and consequently these acts were acts of plundering.
Counsel for the Defense may contend that all these prescriptions must be put aside, because Germany had set herself the goal of continuing the war against Britain, the U.S.S.R., and the United States of America. The Defense may claim that, because of this, Germany was in a state of need and had to counter the prescriptions of the Hague Convention, trying to interpret the Article 23 G as. allowing destruction or seizure even of private property.
I shall immediately answer that this text does not lay down. rules relating to the conduct of the occupant in enemy territory. These last prescriptions are contained, I repeat, in Articles 42 to 56, but they referred to the conduct which the belligerents must observe in the course of the combat.
The words "to seize" in the sentence . . to seize enemy property
except in cases where... these seizures are absolutely demanded by military necessity," mean-and there can be no discussion as to,
21 Jan. 46
translation because actually the French text is binding-the words "to seize" mean not to appropriate a thing, but to put it under the protection of the law with a view to leaving it unused, in the state in which it was found, and keeping it for its true owner or for whoever can show right to it. Such a seizure permits the military authority, as long as the action lasts, to prevent the owner from using the property against its troops, but it does not authorize the military authority in any case to appropriate it for itself.
Acts of economic plunder are all contrary to the principles of international law and furthermore are formally provided for by Article 6b of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal of August 1945.
These constant violations of the Hague Contention had the result of enriching Germany and permitted her to continue the war against Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States, while they ruined the invaded countries, the populations of which, subjected to a regime of slow famine, are now physically weakened and, but for the victory of the Allies, would be on the road to progressive extermination.
These inhuman deeds therefore constitute War Crimes which come within the competency of the International Military Tribunal as far as the leaders of the Reich are concerned.
Before finishing this rapid summary of juridical questions, the Tribunal will permit me to refute in advance an argument which will certainly be presented by the Defense, especially as far as economic plunder is concerned. They will claim that your high jurisdiction did not exist, that international penal law had not yet been formulated in any text when the defendants perpetrated the acts with which they are at present charged, and that therefore they could not be condemned to any sentence whatsoever by virtue of the principle of non-retroactivity of penal laws.
Why, Gentlemen, is this principle adopted by modem legislation? It is indisputable that any person who is conscious of never having violated any legal prescription could not be condemned because of acts which were committed in such circumstances.
For example, somebody issues a check without funds to cover it, before his country had adopted a penalty for such an offense. But the case which is submitted to you is quite different. The defendants cannot maintain that they were not conscious of having violated legislation of any kind. First of all, they violated international conventions: The Hague Convention of 1907, the Kellogg- Briand Pact of 27 August 1938, and then they violated all the penal laws of the invaded countries.
How, in these proceedings, shall economic plunder be qualified? Theft, swindling, blackmail, and even, I will add, murder-since, in
21 Jan. 46
order to attain their aims, the Germans have premeditated and committed numerous murders which enabled them to intimidate the population in order to plunder them better.
From the point of view of domestic law, these deeds certainly fall under the application of Articles 295 and the following ones of the French penal code, and especially of Article 303, which stipulates as guilty of murder all offenders, of whatever category, who, to execute their crimes, resort to torture or perpetrate barbarous acts. I will add that the defendants violated even the German criminal code, in particular under Articles 249 and following.
Counsel for the Defense will certainly stress that some leaders of the invaded countries were in agreement with the Reich Government as to the economic collaboration, and that consequently the Reich Government cannot be charged with acts which derive from these agreements.
Such arguments must be refuted:
1.) If, in all the invaded countries, patriots resisted with more or less courage, it is true that some of them, out of inertia, fear, or self interest, turned traitors to their country. They have been or will be condemned. But the crimes committed by certain of them cannot be exonerating or even extenuating circumstances in favor of the defendants, especially since the latter had very often put these traitors in to manage the occupied countries. The fact of having brought individuals to turn traitor to their country only aggravates, on the contrary, the heavy charges against the defendants.
2.) These so-called agreements had all been obtained by pressure or by threat. The concluded contracts show that they were solely in favor of Germany, who, as a matter of fact, never brought any compensation or illusory benefits-very often their burdensome nature is seen from the mere reading of such contracts, as I will have the honor to show in certain particular cases.
With these explanations my general observations on the economic pillage are concluded, and if the Tribunal is willing we can examine the particular case of Denmark.
When the Germans invaded Denmark, contrary to all the prescriptions of the law of nations and to their engagements, they were not certain of rapidly dominating Western Europe. At first 'they laid down the principle that they would not take anything in the country, but after their success of May 1940 their attitude changed; and little by little they treated Denmark more or less like the other occupied countries.
Nevertheless, they sought to achieve annexation pure and simple, and took rigorous measures against the population only in the cour se of 1942, when they saw that they would not be able to win Denmark over. From the -economic point of view, and to assure
21 Jan. 46
their domination, they tried to have at their disposal the majority of the Danish means of payment, and they used to this effect two methods which to a great extent were used by them in other countries: (1) The levying of a veritable tribute of war, under the pretext of maintaining their army of occupation; (2) the functioning of the so-called clearing agreement to their almost exclusive benefit. These two methods should be studied in Chapter I of this statement.
Chapter I, German seizure of the means of payment; costs of occupation.
Article 49 of the Hague Convention stipulates that if the occupant levies a tax the money will only be for the army of occupation or for the administration of the territory.
The occupant can therefore levy a tax for the maintenance of its army, but this tax must not exceed the sum strictly necessary. The needs of the army of occupation mean, not the costs of armament and equipment, but only the costs of billeting, food, and pay. I say normal expenses, which exclude luxuries.
Article 52 authorizes the occupying power to exact from the communes or inhabitants, for the needs of the army, requisitions in kind and services, with the express condition that they should be proportionate with the resources of the country and of such a nature that they should not imply for the population the obligation to take part in operations against their own country.
The same Article 52 stipulates that levies in kind shall be paid as far as possible in cash; otherwise they are to be confirmed by receipts and the sums due paid as soon as possible.
In other words, the Hague Convention allows the occupying army to requisition in occupied territories what is necessary for the maintenance of the troops but under two conditions, apart from contributions in kind: 1) That the requisitions and the services should be proportionate to the resources of the country, that is to say, that sufficient should be left over for the inhabitants, to enable them at least to live; 2) that the levies should be paid as soon as possible. This is not a question of fictitious payment made with funds extorted from occupied countries, but actual payment, which implies supplying real equivalents.
Article 53 of the Convention of The Hague which permits the occupying powers to seize everything which could be turned against them-and in particular, cash, funds, and securities of all kinds belonging to the state of the occupied country--does not authorize the occupying power to appropriate them.
According to information furnished by the Danish Government, when the Germans entered Denmark they declared that they would not demand anything from the country, but that supplies for the German Army would come from the Reich.
21 Jan. 46
Nevertheless, instead of buying Danish crowns to permit their troops to spend money in Denmark, as early as 9 May 1940 they imposed the circulation of notes of the Reichskreditkasse, which is shown in Number 26 of the VOBIF, which I have already submitted under Document Number RF-93.
Upon the protestations of the National Danish Bank against the issuing of foreign paper money, the Germans withdrew these notes from circulation, but demanded the opening of an account at the
National Bank, promising to draw upon it only for sums which were essential for the maintenance of their army in Denmark.
But the Germans did not lose time in violating their promises and in levying on their account, in spite of the Danish protests, sums infinitely superior to the needs of the army of occupation.
According to the information given by the Danish Government, the Germans levied, per month, an average of 43 million crowns in 1940; 37 million crowns in 1941; 39 million crowns in 1942;
83 million crowns in 1943; 157 million crowns in 1944; 187 million crowns in 1945. The total of these levies amounts, according to the Danish Government, to 4,830 million crowns.
I submit, as Document Number RF-115, the financial report of the Danish Government concerning this, a report to which I shall refer again in the course of this statement.
The indications of the Danish Government are corroborated by a German document discovered by the United States Army, Document EC-86, Page 11, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-116.
This is a secret report of 10 October 1944, written by the Arbeitsstab Ausland, and concerns the requisition of funds of the occupied territories.
On Page 11 the following is said:
"Denmark is not considered as occupied territory, and therefore does not pay occupation expenses. The means necessary for the German troops are placed at the disposal of the central administration of the Reichskreditkasse by the Central Danish Bank, through channels of ordinary credit. In any case, for the duration of the war uniform payment by Denmark is assured."
The writer of this report says that the levies to 31 March 1944, for occupation expenses, amount to: 1940-1941, 531 million crowns; 1941-1942, 437 million crowns; 1942-1943, 612 million crowns;
1943-1944, 1,391 million crowns; which represents, up to 31 March 1944, levies amounting to 2,971 million crowns. This corresponds to the information given by the Danish Government for approximately the same period-2,723 million crowns.
21 Jan. 46
The same German report shows that the rate of exchange for the mark, as compared to the rate of exchange for the crown, had been fixed by the occupying powers at 47.7, then at 53.1 marks per 100 crowns.
Even though the Germans claim, against all evidence, that Denmark was not an occupied territory, they levied in this country the total sum of 4,830 million crowns, an enormous sum in view of the number of inhabitants and the resources of the country. In reality, this was nothing other than a war tribute which Germany imposed under the pretext of furnishing means of payment to her army stationed in Denmark.
The maintenance of the army necessary for occupying Denmark did not necessitate such large expenses. It is evident that the Germans used, as in other countries, the majority of the funds extorted from Denmark to finance their war effort.
Chapter II clearing.
In 1931 Germany faced financial difficulties, which she used as a pretext to declare a general moratorium on all her foreign obligations. Nevertheless, to be able to continue, to a certain extent, her commercial operations with foreign countries, she concluded with most of the other nations agreements permitting the payment of her commercial debts, and even of certain financial debts, on the basis of a system of compensation called "clearing".
Ever since the beginning of the occupation, 9 April 1940, and for its duration, the Danish authorities. did everything they could, but in vain, to counteract German activity in this direction.
Under the pressure of occupying forces Denmark could not prevent her credit in the clearing balance from constantly increasing, owing to the German purchases which were made without the guarantee of any equivalent. According to the Danish Government, the credit balance of the account progressed in the following way: 31 December 1940, 388,800,000 crowns; 31 December 1941, 784,400,000 crowns; 31 December 1942, 1,062,200,000 crowns; 31 December 1943, 1,915,800,000 crowns; 31 December 1944, 2,694,600,000 crowns; 30 April 1945, 2,900 million crowns.
These data are corroborated by those of the German report which I submitted a few minutes ago under Exhibit Number RF-116 (Document Number EC-86), and according to which, on 31 March 1944, the Germans had procured for themselves means of payment, through clearing, amounting to a total sum of 2,243 million crowns.
It has not been possible to establish the use the occupants made of the sum of 7,730 million crowns which they obtained fraudulently, to the detriment of Denmark, with the help of the indemnity of occupation and of clearing.
21 Jan. 46
The information which we have up to now does not enable us to estimate the extent of the operations carried out by the Germans on the black market. Nevertheless, the writer of the report of 10 October 1944, presented previously, indicates; and I quote:
"An estimate of the amounts spent on the black market must not be made. Of course, one may assume that members of the Wehrmacht are buying at top prices butter and other products in Denmark. But it is impossible to fix these sums even approximately, for the black market seems to be less widespread and less well co-ordinated than in the other occupied territories of the West, and is closer to the structure of the German black market with its fluctuating prices. Nevertheless, the prices of the Danish black market can generally be considered as much lower than the German prices. It is, therefore, not possible to speak of an average high price, as for instance in France, Belgium, and Holland."
It is worth noting that the Germans, and especially members of the Wehrmacht, used to operate on the black market and that payment was effected with funds extorted from Denmark.
Concerning the apparently regular requisitions, we also lack the necessary information to be able to give precise details. Nevertheless, according to a secret report of 15 October 1944, addressed by the German officer of the Economic Staff for Denmark to his superiors in Frankfurt an der Oder, a document discovered by the United States Army and which I submit as Document Number RF-117, the following goods were requistioned by his department:
"From January to July 1943, 30,000 tons of turf; in May 1944, 6,000 meters of wood...."
The writer adds that they tried to push this production to 10,000 cubic meters per month.
". . . in September 1944, 5,785 cubic meters of cut timber, 1,110 meters of uncut timber, 1,050 square meters of plywood, 119 tons of paint for ships, and special wood for the navy."
Gentlemen, this is but an enumeration of the requisitions which just one German section happened to make within a short time.
Denmark had to furnish large quantities of cement. Germany furnished her, in exchange, with the coal necessary for this manufacture.
According to this report which I have mentioned, in August 1944 the Germans bought in Denmark foodstuffs for over 8,312,278 crowns. These figures are less than the truth. According to the last information we have received from the Danish Government, the requisitions of agricultural items alone amounted, on an
21 Jan. 46
average, to 70 million crowns per month; which represents, for 60 months of occupation, requisitions to a value of 4,200 million crowns.
Chapter III, requisitions not followed by payment.
Apart from that which they managed to buy with the help of crowns which were deposited in their accounts under the pretext of the maintenance of the army of occupation and of clearing, the Germans appropriated an important quantity of things without having paid for them in any seemingly regular manner.
It was in this way that they appropriated supplies from the Danish Army and Navy-lorries, horses, means of transport, furniture, clothing, the amount of which to date has not been evaluated but might be estimated at about 850 million crowns. Many requisitions and secret or even apparent purchases have not yet been estimated exactly.
The same report, submitted under Document Number EF-115, contains, on the part of the Danish Government, an approximate and provisional estimate of the damages sustained by Denmark and of the German plunder, which amounts to 11,600 million crowns.
The information which we have to date does not permit me to give any more particulars concerning Denmark. I will, therefore, if the Tribunal will permit me, begin with the particular case of Norway.
The economic plundering of Norway.
The German troops had only arrived in Norway when Hitler declared, on 18 April 1940, that the economic exploitation of that country should be proceeded with, and for that reason Norway must be considered as an enemy state.
The information which we have on the economic plundering of Norway is rather brief; but it is, nevertheless, sufficient to estimate the German activity in this country during the entire period of the occupation.
Norway was subjected to a regime of most severe rationing. As soon as they entered the country, the Germans tried-and this was contrary to the most elementary principles of International Law-to draw from Norway the maximum resources possible. In a document discovered by the United States Army, Document Number ECH-34, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-118, a document which consists of the Journal de Marche of the economy and armament service in Norway, written in April 1940, we have excerpts of the directives relative to administration and economy in the occupied territories.
21 Jan. 46
Here are some excerpts from this document: "Directive of Armament Economy:
"Norwegian industry, to the extent to which it does not directly supply the population, is, in its essential branches, of particular importance for the German war industry. That is why its production must be put, as soon as possible, at the disposal of the German armament industry, if this has not already been done. This production consists mainly of inter mediate products, which require a certain amount of time to be turned into useful products, and of raw materials which -such as aluminum, for example-can be used while we wait for our own factories, which are being built, to be in a position to produce. I
"In this connection, above all, the following industrial branches must be taken into consideration:
"Mining plants for the production of copper, zinc, nickel, titanium, wolfram, molybdenum, silver, pyrites.
"Furnaces for the production of alumina, aluminum, copper, nickel, zinc.
"Chemical industries for the production of explosives, synthetic nitrogen, calcium nitrate, superphosphate, calcium carbide, and sodium products.
"Armament industries, naval dockyards, power stations, especially those which are supplying electric current to the above-named industries.
"The production capacities of these industries must be maintained at the highest possible level for the duration of the occupation.
"A certain measure of assistance by the Reich will, at times, be necessary to overcome industrial bottlenecks which are to be expected on account of the cutting off of English and overseas imports.
"Of particular importance is the guaranteeing of raw material industries which to a considerable part depend on overseas imports.
"For the moment it may be left undecided whether a future supply of bauxite from the German stocks is necessary for utilizing the capacities of the aluminum plants."
As soon as the troops entered Norway, Germany issued notes of the Reichskreditkasse which were legal tender only in Norway and which could not be used in Germany. As in the other occupied countries, this was a means of pressure to obtain financial advantages, which were supposedly freely given by the brutally enslaved countries.
21 Jan. 46
The Germans did their best to become masters of the means of payment and of Norwegian credit by the two methods which have become classic: Imposition of a veritable war tribute, on the pretext of the maintenance of the army of occupation, and also the working of a system of clearing to their profit.
German seizure of the means of payment.
First, indemnities for the maintenance of the army of occupation.
At the beginning of the occupation, the Germans used for their purchases notes of the Reichskreditkasse. The Norwegian holders of this paper money used to change it at the Bank of Norway, but this financial institution could not obtain from the Reichskreditkasse any real equivalent. In July 1940 the Bank of Norway had to absorb 135 million Reichsmark from the Reichskreditkasse. To avoid losing control over monetary circulation, the Bank of Norway was obliged to put the Norwegian notes at the disposal of the Germans, who drew checks on the Reichskreditkasse which the Bank of Norway was obliged to discount.
The debit account of the Bank of Norway, following the German levies, amounted to: 1,450 million crowns at the end of 1940; 3,000 million crowns at the end of 1941; 6,300 million crowns at the end of 1942; 8,700 million crowns at the end of 1943; 11,676 million crowns at the liberation of the country.
All the Norwegian protests were in vain in the face of German extortions. The constant threat of the new issuing of notes of the Reichskreditkasse as instruments of obligatory payment beside the Norwegian currency obliged the local financial authorities to accept the system of levies on account, without actual cover, which was less dangerous than the issuing of paper money over the circulation of which the Norwegian administration had no power of control.
This may be seen in particular from a secret letter sent on 17 June 1941 by General Von Falkenhorst, Commander-in-Chief in Norway, to the Reich Commissioner, Reichsleiter Terboven, a copy of which was found not long ago in Norway and which I submit to the Tribunal as Document Number RF-119. In this document, after having stated that one could not reduce the expenses of the Wehrmacht in Norway, Von Falkenhorst writes:
"I am, however, of the opinion that the problem cannot be solved at all in this manner. The only remedy is to abandon completely the actual monetary system by introducing Reich currency. But of course this does not come into my domain. I regret, therefore, that I am not able to propose any other remedies to you, although I am fully conscious of the seriousness of the situation in which you find yourself."
21 Jan. 46
To the indemnities for the alleged maintenance of the army of occupation must be added a sum of 3,600 million crowns paid by the Norwegian Treasury for the billeting of German troops. This information comes to us from a report from the Norwegian Government, which I submit as Document Number RP-120.
From the sum of approximately 12,000 million crowns levied for the alleged 'maintenance of the occupation troops, a large part was used for other purposes; for the police and propaganda, in particular, the occupation spent 900 million crowns. This comes from a second report of the Norwegian Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-121.
The clearing agreement of 1937 for the barter of goods between Norway and Germany remained in force during the occupation but it was the Bank of Norway which had to advance the necessary funds for the Norwegian exporters. The Germans also concluded clearing agreements in the name of Norway with other occupied countries, neutral countries, and with Italy.
At the liberation, the credit balance of Norwegian clearing amounted to 90 million crowns but this balance does not show the actual situation. In fact:
1) The imports destined to the German military needs in Norway were handled through clearing in a very improper manner;
2) For certain goods especially (pelts, furs, and fish) the Germans had demanded that exportation should be made to the Reich. Then they sold these products again in other countries, especially Italy as far as fish was concerned;
3) The Germans, who controlled the fixing of prices, systematically raised the price of all products imported into Norway which, moreover, were used for the greater part for the military needs of the occupation. On the other hand, they systematically lowered the prices of the products exported from Norway.
In spite of all their efforts and sacrifices, and owing to the fraudulent operations of the occupiers, the Norwegian authorities could not prevent a very dangerous inflation.
From the report of the Norwegian Government, which I submitted under Document Number RP-120 a few moments ago, it is seen that the paper currency which in April 1940 amounted to 712 million crowns, rose progressively to reach, on 7 May 1945, 3,039 million crowns. An inflation of this extent, resulting from the activities of the occupiers, enables us to measure the impoverishment of the country. The same report indicates that the Germans did not manage to seize the gold of the Norwegian Bank, as that had been hidden in good time.
21 Jan. 46
Let us now, Gentlemen, examine the levies in kind.
The Germans proceeded, in Norway, to make numerous requisitions which were or were not followed by so-called regular payments. According to the report of the Norwegian Government, here is the list of requisitioned goods: Meat, 30,000 toils; dairy products and eggs, 61,000 tons; fish, 26,000 tons; fruit and vegetables, 68,000 tons; potatoes, 500,000 tons; beverages and vinegar, 112,000 tons; fats, 10,000 tons; wheat and flour, 3,000 tons; other foodstuffs, 5,000 tons; hay and straw, 300,000 tons; other fodder, 13,000 tons; soap, 8,000 tons.
But this list which I have just read to the Tribunal includes only the official purchases, which were made with Norwegian currency and paid for through clearing ; it does not include the illicit purchases.
At present, it is not yet possible to make estimates. As an example, we can say, however, that the export of fish, most of which went to Germany, for I year only (1942) came to about 202,400 tons, whereas the official requisitions during the whole occupation amounted only to 26,000 tons.
As in other occupied territories, the Germans forced the continuation of work under threat of arrest.
Most of the Norwegian merchant fleet escaped from the Germans; nevertheless, they requisitioned all the ships they could, especially most of the fishing boats.
Even if the occupier could not seize all railway rolling stock, trams, as well as about 30,000 motor vehicles, were transported to Germany.
If we refer to the report of 10 October 1944 of the German Economic Service, which I submitted under Exhibit RF-116 (Document Number EC-86), we will see that the writer of the report himself estimates that the effort demanded from Norway was beyond her possibilities; and he writes:
"...Norwegian economy is especially heavily burdened by the demands of the occupation Forces. For this reason the cost of occupation had to be limited to cover only a part of the expenses of the Wehrmacht ......
After having mentioned that the cost of occupation which had been collected up to January 1943 amounted to 7,535 million crowns, which corroborates the data given by the- Norwegian Government, the writer of the German report says:
"This sum of more than 5,000 million Reichsmark is, indeed, very high for Norway. Much richer countries, as for example, Belgium, pay hardly more, and Denmark does not even supply half of this sum. These large payments can only be
21 Jan. 46
made possible by German additions. It is, therefore, not surprising that the German-Norwegian trade is in Germany's favor-that is, it is subsidized. Norway, owing to her very small population, can hardly put labor at the disposal of the German war economy. She is, therefore, one of the few countries which owe us certain amounts in clearing."
Further on, the writer adds:
". . . If we deduct approximately 140 million Reichsmark from the expenses of the occupation and the various credits calculated above, we have Norwegian payments to the still considerable amount of approximately 4,900 million Reichsmark."
THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that would be a good time to break off.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
21 Jan. 46
M. GERTHOFFER: I had the honor, this morning, of relating to you how the occupiers were able to exact great quantities of the means of payment from Norway. We shall now see, from the first data which have been given us, the use to which the occupiers put these means of payment.
The Germans seized, as in the other occupied countries, considerable private property on some pretext or other-property belonging to Jews, Freemasons, or Scout associations. It has been impossible, so far, to make a very exact evaluation of this spoliation. We can therefore only give some indication from memory. According to the report of the Norwegian Government, submitted under Document Number RF-121, in 1941 the Germans seized all the radio gets . , .
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any evidence to support the facts you are stating now?
M. GERTHOFFER: This is based on information contained in the report of the Norwegian Government which I have submitted under Document Number RF-121.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
M. GERTHOFFER: According to that report, in 1941 the Germans seized almost all the radio sets belonging to private individuals. The value of these radio sets is approximately 120 million kroner. The Germans imposed heavy fines on the Norwegian communities under the most varied pretexts, notably Allied bombing raids and acts of sabotage.
In the report presented under Document Number RF-121 the Norwegian Government gives two or three examples of these collective fines: on 4 March 1941, after a raid on Lofoten, the population of the small community of Ostvagoy had to pay 100,000 kroner. Communities also had to support German families and families of "Quislings."
On 25 September 1942, after a British raid on Oslo, one hundred citizens were obliged to pay 3,500,000 kroner., In January 1941 Trondheim, Stavanger, and Vest-Opland had to pay 60,000, 50,000, and 100,000 kroner, respectively. In September 1941 the municipality of Stavanger was obliged to pay 2 million kroner for an alleged sabotage of telegraph lines. In August 1941 Rogaland had to pay 500,000 kroner, and Aalesund had to pay 100,000 kroner.
It can thus be stated in principle that, by various procedures which differed hardly from those employed in other countries, the Germans during the occupation of Norway not only exhausted all
21 Jan. 46
the financial resources of that country but placed it considerably in debt.
It has not been possible to furnish a detailed account of German extortions, whether made after requisitions, followed or not by indemnities, or by purchase, apparently conducted by mutual agreement fictitiously settled with those very means of payment extorted from Norway.
In the report which I have submitted under Document Number RF-121, the Norwegian Government tabulated the damages and losses suffered by its country. I shall give a summary of this table to the Tribunal.
The Norwegian Government estimates that the damages suffered by industry and commerce amount to a total of 440 million kroner, of which the Germans have paid, fictitiously of course, only 7 million kroner; merchant vessels to the value of 1,733 million kroner, for which Germany has made no settlement; damage to ports and installations amounts to 74 million kroner, for which Germany has settled fictitiously only to the extent of I million kroner; for railroads, canals, airports, and their installations, the spoliation represents the sum of 947 million, for which Germany has fictitiously paid 490 million kroner; roads and bridges, 199 million kroner, for which the settlement amounts to 67 million; spoliation of agriculture reached 242 million kroner, of which only 46 million have been settled; personal property, 239 million, of which nothing has been settled; various requisitions, not included, in the preceding categories, amount to 1,566 million kroner, for which the occupier, fictitiously, has settled up to the amount of 1,154 million kroner. The Norwegian Government estimates that the years of man-labor applied to the German war effort represent a sum of 226 million kroner. It estimates, on the other hand, that the years of man-labor lost to the national economy by deportation to Germany and forced labor by the order of Germany amounts to 3,122 million kroner. Forced payments to German institutions amount to 11,054 million kroner, for which Germany has made no settlement. whatsoever. The grand total, according to the Norwegian Government, is 21,086 million kroner, which represents 4,700 million dollars.
Norway suffered particularly during the German occupation. Indeed, though her resources are considerable, notably timber from the forests, minerals such as nickel, wolfram, molybdenum, zinc, copper, and aluminum, nevertheless Norway must import indispensable food products for feeding her population.
As the Germans had absolute control over maritime traffic, nothing could come into Norway without their consent. They could therefore, by pressure, as they had to do in France by means of the line of demarcation between the two zones, impose their
21 Jan. 46
demands more easily. The rations, as fixed by the occupiers, were insufficient to insure the subsistence of the Norwegian population. The continued undernourishment over a period of years resulted in very serious consequences' Disease multiplied, mortality likewise increased, and the future of the population has been jeopardized by the physical deficiencies of its younger element.
These are the few observations which I had to make on the subject of Norway. I shall, if the Tribunal will permit, now deal with the part which relates to the Netherlands.
Economic pillage of the Netherlands.
In invading the Netherlands in contravention of all the principles of the law of nations, the Germans installed themselves in a country abundantly provided with the most varied Wealth, in a country in which the inhabitants were the best nourished of Europe and which, in proportion to the population, was one of the wealthiest in the world. The gold reserve of. Holland exceeded the amount of bills in circulation. Four years later when the Allies liberated that country, they found the population afflicted by a veritable famine; and apart from the destruction resulting from military operations, a country almost entirely ruined by the spoliation of the occupation. The dishonest intentions of Germany appear in a secret report by Seyss-Inquart on his governorship. This report, dating from 29 May to 19 July 1940, was discovered by the United States Army. It has been registered under the number Document 997-PS, and I submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-122. These are the chief extracts from this report:
"It was clear that with the occupation of the Netherlands a large number of economic and also police measures had to be taken, the first ones of which were for the purpose of reducing the consumption of the population in order to obtain supplies for the Reich, on the one hand, and to secure a just distribution of the remaining supplies, on the other hand. With regard to the task assigned, endeavors had to be made for all these measures to bear the signature of Dutchmen. The Reich Commissioner therefore authorized the Secretaries General to take all the necessary measures through legal channels.
"In fact, to date, nearly all orders concerning the seizure of supplies and their distribution to the population and all decrees regarding restrictions on the moulding of public opinion have been issued. But agreements concerning the transport of extraordinarily large supplies to the Reich have also been made, all of which bear the signatures of the Dutch Secretaries General or the competent economic leaders, so that all of these measures have the character of being voluntary.
21 Jan. 46
It should be mentioned in this connection that the Secretaries General were told in the first conference that loyal cooperation was expected of them, but that they were entitled to resign if something should be ordered which they felt they could not endorse. Up to date none of the Secretaries General have made use of this privilege, so that one may reasonably conclude that they have complied with all requests of their own free will.
"The seizure and distribution of food supplies and textiles have been almost completed. At least all the appropriate orders have been issued and are being executed.
"A series of instructions concerning the reorientation of agriculture have been issued and are being executed. The essential point is to use the available fodder in such a way that as large a stock as possible of horned cattle, about 80 percent, will be carried over. into the next farming season, at the expense of the disproportionately high stock of chickens and hogs. Rules and restrictions have been introduced in the organization of traffic, and the rationing of gasoline was applied on the same lines as in the Reich.
"Restriction of the right to give notice at work, as well as to cancel leases, has been issued in order to curb the liberal and capitalistic habits of the Dutch employers and to avoid unrest. In the same way the terms for repayment of debts have been extended under certain circumstances....
"...the ordinance concerning registration and control of enemy property, as well as confiscation of the property of persons who show hostility to the Reich and to Germans, were issued in the name of the Reich Commissioner. On the basis of this ordinance an administrator has already been appointed for the property of the royal family.
"Stocks of raw materials have been seized and, with the consent of the General Field Marshal, distributed in such a way that the Dutch have enough raw materials to maintain their economy for half a year, so that they receive the same allocation quotas as obtain in the Reich. The same principle of equal treatment is being used in the supply of food, et cetera. This enabled us to secure considerable supplies of raw materials for the Reich, as for instance 70,000 tons of industrial fats, which is about half the amount which the Reich is lacking. Legislation concerning exchange has been introduced on the same pattern as in the Reich.
"Finally we succeeded in causing the Dutch Government to supply all the amounts which the Reich and the German
21 Jan. 46
administration in the Netherlands need, so that these expenses do not burden the Reich budget in any way.
"Sums of guilders have been made available to redeem the occupation marks to the amount of about 36 million; an additional 100 million for the purposes of the occupation army, especially for extension of the airports; 50 million for the purchase of raw materials to be shipped to the Reich, so far as they are not booty; and amounts to guarantee the unrestricted transfer of the savings of the Dutch workers brought into the Reich, to their families, et cetera. Finally, the rate of exchange of the occupation marks, set at first by the Army High Command in the proportion of 1 guilder to 1.50 Reichsmark, has been reduced to the correct proportion of I guilder to 1.33 Reichsmark.
"Above all, however, it was possible to obtain the consent of the President of the Bank of The Netherlands, Trip, to a measure suggested by Commissioner General Fischbock and approved by the General Field Marshal, namely the unrestricted mutual obligation of accepting each other's currency. That means that the Bank of The Netherlands is bound to accept any amount of Reichsmark offered to it by the Reich Bank and in return to supply Dutch guilders at the rate of 1.33, that is, 1 Reichsmark equals 75 cents. The Reich Bank alone has control in these matters, not the Bank of The Netherlands, which will be notified only of individual transactions.
"This ruling goes far beyond all pertinent rulings hitherto made with the political economies of neighboring countries, including the Protectorate, and actually represents the first step towards a currency union. In consideration of the significance of the agreement, which already affects the independence of the Dutch State, it is of special weight that the President of the Bank, Trip, who is very well known in western banking and financial circles, signed this agreement of his own free will in the above sense."
As you will see from the explanations which I shall have the honor of submitting to you, it was chiefly in the Netherlands that the Germans used all their ingenuity in extorting the means of payment. This spoliation will form the subject of the first chapter.
We shall then examine the use made -by the occupiers of these means of payment. In a second chapter we shall discuss the black market; in a third, we shall consider the acquisition made in a manner only outwardly regular; a fourth chapter will be devoted to various kinds of spoliation. Finally, we shall touch upon the chief consequences to the Netherlands of this economic pillage.
551 21 San. 46
Chapter 1, German seizure of means of payment.
A.) Indemnity for occupation costs.
I have already had the privilege, Gentlemen, of explaining under what conditions and within what limit, by virtue of the Hague Convention, the occupying power may raise contributions in money for the maintenance of its army of occupation.
I shall confine myself to reminding the Tribunal that these costs which are charged to the occupied countries can include only the costs of billeting, feeding, and possibly of paying those soldiers strictly necessary for the occupation of territories.
The Germans knowingly ignored these principles by imposing upon the Netherlands the payment of an indemnity for the maintenance of their troops which was far out of proportion to the needs of the latter.
According to information furnished by the Netherlands Government, which is contained in three reports (the reports of Trip, Hirschfeld, and the Minister of Finance) which I submit as Document Number RF-123, the following sums were exacted on the pretext of being indemnity for the maintenance of occupation troops: 1940 (7 months), 477 million guilders; 1941, 1,124 million guilders; 1942, 1,181 million guilders; 1943, 1,328 million guilders; 1944, 1,757 million guilders; 1945 (4 months only), 489 million guilders. That makes a total of 6,356 million guilders.
A sum as considerable as this constitutes a veritable war tribute raised on the pretext of the maintenance of an army of occupation. Germany thus fraudulently circumvented the regulations of the Hague Convention to seize a considerable amount of means of payment.
In 1931 Germany, faced with economic and financial difficulties, declared a general moratorium on her previous commitments. Nevertheless, in order to be able to continue her foreign commercial operations, she had concluded with most of the other countries, notably with the Netherlands, agreements making possible the settling of commercial debts and, to a certain extent, of financial debts, on the basis of the exchange system called "clearing."
Before the war there existed on the Netherlands "clearing" an excess of imports from Germany. But after the first months of occupation there was, on the contrary, a considerable excess of exports to Germany, whereas the receipts coming from that country 'dropped perceptibly.
From the month of June 1940 onward the Germans exacted from the Dutch declarations of foreign currency, gold, precious metals, securities, and foreign credits, as can be seen from the Ordinance
21 Jan. 46
of 24 June 1940, submitted as Document Number RF-95. Moreover, the Dutch could, by virtue of the same ordinance, be obliged to sell their stocks to the Bank of The Netherlands.
The German Reich Commissioner,' Seyss-Inquart, forced the Bank of The Netherlands to make advances in guilders to maintain equilibrium in clearing, since Germany could furnish no equivalent in merchandise. On the other hand, it was decided that the clearing system should be utilized for the delivery of merchandise as well as for the payment of any debts.
In fact the Germans could buy merchandise and transferable securities in Holland without furnishing any equivalent. The credits in marks of the Dutch sellers were blocked in the Bank of The Netherlands which, on its part, had been obliged to make an equivalent advance on the clearing exchange.
To attempt to limit the fall of the Dutch account on the clearing exchange, and to avoid the transfer by this means of guilders or of transferable stock into Germany, on 8 October 1940, the Secretary General of Netherlands Finance imposed a large tax on the marks that were blocked on the clearing exchange.
However, under date of 31 March 1941, the credit of the Netherlands exceeded 400 million guilders, which in fact had been advanced by the Netherlands Government. At this point the occupiers demanded:
1) That a sum of 300 million guilders be withdrawn from the balance of 400 million and deposited in the German Treasury under the heading of "Military Occupation Costs Incurred 'Outside' The Netherlands," and this was independent of payments already made by that country for the occupation costs.
2) By a decision of the Reich Commissioner, under date of 31 March 1941, reported in the Verordnungsblatt in France, Number 14, which I submit to the Tribunal as Document Number RF-124, payment operations with the Reich were no longer to pass through the clearing exchange but to be operated directly from bank to bank, which would create direct credits of the Netherlands banks on the German banks at the imposed exchange of 100 Reichsmark for 75.36 guilders.
3) By a decree of the same date, 31 March 1941, which I submit as Document Number RF-125, the tax on blocked marks, created on 8 October 1940 by the Netherlands authorities, was abolished.
Faced with this situation, particularly dangerous to the Netherlands treasury, Mr. Trip resigned his position as Secretary General for Finance and President of The Netherlands Bank.
The Reich Commissioner replaced him with Rost von Tonningen, a notorious collaborator who complied with all the demands of the occupying power.
21 Jan. 46
As the private banks were unwilling to keep credits in marks at a rate very disadvantageous to the real parity of 100 Reichsmark to 75. 36 guilders, they transferred their credits in marks to the Bank of The Netherlands. The credit account of the Institute of Exports to Germany, through operations with that country, rose considerably; while the credit balance as of 1 April 1941 amounted to 235 million guilders, it was to rise by 1 May 1945, to 4,488 million guilders.
According to information given by the Netherlands Government, this credit was accounted for by purchases of all kinds of merchandise made by the Germans in Holland, of transferable stock or other valuable papers, by payment of services imposed upon Dutch enterprises, the wages of workers deported to Germany, and the liquidation debts incurred by the occupiers.
Apart from these two methods-indemnities for the occupation troops and clearing-the Germans procured resources for themselves in another way-by imposing collective fines, and this in violation of the provisions of Article 50 of the Hague Convention.
In the course of the occupation, under every pretext, the Germans imposed, by way of reprisal or intimidation, considerable fines upon the municipalities. These fines had to be paid by the inhabitants, with the exception of persons of German nationality, members of pro-Nazi associations (NSB, Waffen-SS, NSKK, Society for Technical Aid Services of the Dutch-German cultural community), and persons working for the Germans. According to information which has been obtained up to the present, of only 62 municipalities the total fines thus imposed amounted to a minimum of 20,243,024 guilders. This is based on testimony of the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-126.
From the same testimony, in the archives forgotten by the Germans at The Hague, there have been discovered two copies of letters relative to these collective fines. According to the first of these copies, which is a letter of 8 March 1941, collective fines amounting to 18 million guilders had been raised at the beginning of the year 1941. From the second, we learn that Hitler had given the order to employ this sum for National Socialist propaganda in the Netherlands. I quote:
"Reich Commissioner, The Hague, 1808, 8 March 1941.
"To Liaison Headquarters, Berlin, 1720 hours; to be submitted immediately to Reichsleiter M. Bormann.
"A sum of 18.5 million guilders representing contributions exacted as reprisals from some Dutch cities, will arrive in the next few days. The Reich Commissioner is inquiring whether the Fuehrer has earmarked this sum for a special purpose or if it is to be used in the same way as the Fuehrer
21 Jan. 46
has previously ordered in the case of confiscated enemy property. At that time the Fuehrer stipulated that these sums should be spent in the Netherlands for the needs of the community under the proper political considerations.
"Heil Hitler!"-Signed-"Schmidt, Munster, Commissioner General."
This, then, is the translation of the answer, Document Number RF-126:
"Obersalzberg, 19 March 1941, 1000; Number 4.
"Reichsleiter M. Bormann...."
THE PRESIDENT: One moment. Some of the copies which you have just submitted to us don't seem to be accurate and the passage which you have just been reading is ommitted from some of them.
[Another copy of the document was presented to the President.]
I now have another copy of the document from which you have read. The two copies which have been handed up are not identical.
M. GERTHOFFER: The document has possibly been improperly numbered. There are two documents, Number RF-126, which should have been indicated as RF-126(1), and RF-126(2). The representative of the Government of The Netherlands certifies the accuracy of the translation of the first copy; and in the second RF-126 document the same representative of the Netherlands Government certifies the existence of the copy of the answer from the headquarters of the Fuehrer
THE PRESIDENT: The first document is the one you have just read out. The second document begins with the words, "J'ai soumis aujourd'hui." Is that the second document to which you are referring?
M. GERTHOFFER: It is the second document.
THE PRESIDENT: Could we see the originals? They are two different documents, are they? But they both begin in exactly the same way.
M. GERTHOFFER: The two documents have been submitted by the Netherlands Government. The representative of the Government of The Netherlands who has delivered them certifies that these two documents were found in the Netherlands among German papers.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Go on.
M. GERTHOFFER: The Dutch Government was obliged to make important payments into the German account; and in the reports submitted as Document Number RF-123, it is clearly stated that:
21 Jan. 46
1) The Germans required that a sum of 300 million guilders, which was written to the credit of the Bank of The Netherlands, be used for the needs of their army of occupation outside the Netherlands and that a sum of 76 million guilders in gold be deposited for the same use. The total which the Netherlands had to pay under this pretext, namely, the maintenance of armies of occupation in other countries, was 376 million guilders.
2) From June 1941 on, the Netherlands was obliged to pay, as a contribution to the expenses of the war against Russia, a monthly sum of 37 million guilders, of which a part was payable in gold. The total of the sum that Germany raised under this heading is 1,696 million guilders.
3) The Bank of The Netherlands was obliged to undertake the redemption of Reichskreditkasse notes to the sum of 133 million guilders.
4) The costs of the civilian German government in Holland were charged to that country and amounted to 173 million guilders.
5) The Dutch Treasury was, moreover, obliged to pay 414 million guilders to the Reich account, covering divers expenses, such as wages of Dutch workers deported to Germany, the costs of evacuation of certain regions, costs of the demolition of fortifications, so- called costs for guarding railroads, funds placed at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner, and for various industries utilized by the Germans.
6) The Germans in July 1940 seized 816 bars of gold bullion belonging to the Bank of The Netherlands, which were in the wreck of a Dutch ship sunk at Rotterdam, which represented, including costs of recovery, 21 million guilders.
7) The Government of The Netherlands was obliged to bear annual expenses of 1,713 million guilders to assure the financing of new administrative services imposed on Holland by the occupying power.
In this way, Holland lost 8,565 million guilders. Altogether, including the raising of the gold from a ship sunk in the Meuse, the payments actually made to Germany amount to 11,380 million guilders. If these costs are added to the costs of occupation and clearing, the total of the financial charges imposed- on Holland during the occupation amounts to the sum of 22,224 million guilders.
These operations had serious consequences for the economy of the Netherlands. Indeed, the gold supply, which on 1 April 1940 amounted to 1,236 million guilders, had, by I April 1945, fallen to 932 million guilders, owing to German levies.
21 Jan. 46
The paper money in circulation, on the contrary, had risen from 1,127 million guilders on I April 1940, to 5,468 million guilders on I April 1945.
When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, a great portion of the gold of the Bank of The Netherlands had been sent abroad.
However, the Germans, under various pretexts, seized all the gold that was found in the vaults of the bank. I recall that, under the heading of indemnity for occupation, they collected 75 million gold guilders; and for the forced contribution of the Netherlands in the war against Russia, they demanded about 14.4 million gold guilders.
Rost von Tonningen, Secretary General of Finance and President of the Bank of The Netherlands, appointed by the Germans, wrote on 18 December 1943 to the Reich Commissioner that there had not been any gold in Holland since the preceding March. The copy of this letter is submitted as Document Number RF-127.
A document discovered by the United States Army, listed under Number ECR-174, which I submit as Exhibit Number RF-128, consists of a report of the Commissioner of the Bank of The Netherlands of 12 June 1941. It, too, states that the gold reserve of the Bank of The Netherlands amounted, on 12 June 1941, to 1,021.8 million guilders, of which only 134.6 million guilders were in Holland, the rest being either in England, South Africa, or the United States. The same report specifies that all the gold in Holland had been removed.
Not only did the Germans seize the gold of the Bank of The Netherlands, but they also made requisitions of the gold and other means of foreign payment in the possession of the population. The occupying power obliged private individuals to deposit gold which was in their possession with the Bank of The Netherlands, after which this gold was requisitioned and handed over to the Reichsbank. A sum of approximately 71.3 million guilders was paid in this way to the public in exchange for the requisitioned gold.
In the same way also the Germans bought from the public various foreign stocks to a sum of 13,224,000 guilders, and Swedish Government securities to a sum of 4,623,000 guilders.
With important financial means which they had at their disposal, the Germans proceeded to make large purchases in Holland. Such purchases, made with funds extorted from the Netherlands, cannot be considered as having been made in exchange for a real equivalent, but realized only by fictitious payments.
The Germans, in addition to numerous cases of requisitions which were followed by no kind of settlement, proceeded to illicit purchases on the black market and purchases outwardly regular.
21 Jan. 46
They thus procured a quantity of things of all kinds, leaving to the population only a minimum of products insufficient to insure their vital needs.
In the second chapter of this presentation we shall examine the illicit purchases on the black market; and in a third chapter, the purchases that were carried out in seemingly regular ways.
Chapter 2, the black market.
As in. all other occupied countries, in Holland the Germans seized considerable quantities of merchandise on the black market, in violation of the legislation on rationing which they themselves had imposed.
It has not been possible, in view of the clandestine nature of the operations, to determine even approximately the quantities of all kinds of objects which the Germans seized by this dishonest means. However, the secret report of the German Colonel Veltjens, which I had the honor of submitting this morning under Exhibit Number RP-112 (Document Number PS-1765) gives us for a period of 5 months, from July to the end of November, some indications of the scope of the German purchases. I quote a passage from the Veltjens report:
"In the Netherlands, since the beginning of the action, the following purchases were made and paid for by ordinary bank remittances: Non-ferrous metals, 6,706,744 Reichsmark; textiles, 55,285,568 Reichsmark; wool, 753,878 Reichsmark; leather, skins, and hides, 4,723,130 Reichsmark; casks, 254,982 Reichsmark; furniture, 272,990 Reichsmark; food and comestibles, 590,859 Reichsmark; chemical and cosmetic products, 152,191 Reichsmark; various iron and steel wares, 3,792,166
Reichsmark; rags, 543,416 Reichsmark; motor oil, 52,284 Reichsmark; uncut diamonds, 25,064 Reichsmark; sundries, 531,890 Reichsmark. Total: 73,685,162 Reichsmark."
These purchases were paid for by checks on the banks. A large quantity of other merchandise, the amount of which it has not been possible to determine, was paid for by cash with guilders coming from the so-called occupation indemnity.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
M. GERTHOFFER: In Chapter 3, which deals with the economic plundering of the Netherland's, we will treat the question of purchases of apparent regularity from information provided for us by the Government of The Netherlands.
21 Jan. 46
From testimony given by the representative of the Dutch Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-129, it is clear that the Germans utilized to their own profit the greater part of the industrial potential of the Netherlands; all important stocks which were in the factories were thus absorbed. The value of these stocks was not less than 800 million guilders. Moreover, the occupants proceeded to the removal of a large amount of machinery. In certain cases these requisitions were not even followed by fictitious settlements. It has not yet been possible to establish a balance sheet of these spoliations, which often included all the machinery of an industry.
As an example, we may indicate that on a requisition order of 4 March 1943, coming from the Reich Commissioner, all the machinery and technical equipment, including the drawings and blueprints of all the work shops and accessories of the blast furnaces of an important factory, were removed without any indemnity and transported to the vicinity of Brunswick for the Hermann Goering Works. This is shown in the document I submit as Document Number RF-130.
The Germans had set up in all the occupied countries a certain number of organizations charged specially with the pillaging of machines. They had given them the name of Machine Pool Office. These organizations, which were under the armament inspection, received demands from: German industry for means of production and had to fulfill these demands by requisitions on the occupied countries.
Moreover, groups of technicians were charged with locating, dismantling, and transporting the machinery to Germany. The organization of these official groups of pillagers can be learned from German documents which are to be brought to your attention when the special case of Belgium will be outlined to you.
We learn from the report of I March 1944, addressed to the military commandant, that the Machine Pool Office of The Hague could satisfy only a small proportion of the demands. Thus, under date of I January 1944, these demands totalled 677 *million Reichsmark, whereas in the month of January only 61 million marks worth of machinery had been delivered as against the new demands of 87 million-which made a total demand for machinery' of 703 million Reichsmark at the end of January 1944. This is shown in a document submitted as Document Number RF-131.
Before leaving the Netherlands the Germans effected large-scale destruction with a strategic aim, so they said, but above all with the desire to do damage. When they demolished factories, they removed beforehand and transported to Germany the machinery
21 Jan. 46
Which they could dismantle, as well as the raw materials. They acted in this manner particularly with respect to the Phillips factories in Eindhoven, Hilversum, and Bussum; the oil dumps of Amsterdam and Pernes; the armament factories of Breda, Tilburg, Berg-op- Zoom, and Dordrecht. These facts are dealt with in the report of the economic officer attached to the German military commander in Holland, under date of 9 October 1944, which I submit as Document Number RF-132.
The same report gives some information on the organization of German looters specialized in the removal of machinery. I give here some extracts: "The Phillips Works at Eindhoven was the first and the most important military objective to be dealt with."
A little farther on the writer continues:
"Before the invasion by the enemy we succeeded in destroying these important continental works for the manufacture of radio valves, lamps, and radio apparatus. This was done after Volunteer Commando 7"-Fwi.Kdo. 7-"had previously removed the most valuable metals and special machines."
Farther on he writes:
"Already on 7 September a commando unit transported in trucks to the Reich most important. non-ferrous metals (wolfram, manganese, copper) and very valuable apparatus from the Phillips Works. Volunteer Commando 7 continued to participate in the transfer of finished and semi-finished products as well as machines from the Phillips Works. Due to the enemy's occupation of Eindhoven, the removal came to a stop. Then the clearing out of the branch factories of Phillips at Hilversum and Bussum took place. Here it was possible to remove completely all stocks of non-ferrous metal products, finished and semi-finished goods, machinery, and blueprints and designs necessary for production.
"At the same time removal commandos were detailed to the heads of the various provincial branch offices under the representative of the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production in the Netherlands.
"In agreement with the forementioned services and the competent civil offices, these commandos carried through the removal of important raw materials and products, as well as machinery. Through the unswerving and commendable zeal of officers, officials, Sonderfuehrer and enlisted men it was possible, during the month of September, to remove to the Reich considerable stocks of raw materials and products
21 Jan. 46
and to supply the troops with useful material. This action was initiated and directed in the western and southern districts of the Netherlands by the officer in charge of volunteers in the Netherlands."
Then the writer ends, by saying:
"For the task of evacuation and for the preparation of the ARLZ measures within the area of 15th Army Command, a squad under the command of Captain Rieder was detached by Volunteer Commando 7 which also had to act as liaison with the quartermaster staff of the 15th Army Command. In this case, too, in close co-operation with the civil officers and Department IVa. of 15th Army Command, good work was done by the removal of raw materials and scarce goods as well as machinery. These actions commenced only at the end of the month covered by this report."
Requisition of raw materials.
Together with the removal of machinery the Government of The Netherlands gives us exact figures on the stocks of raw materials and manufactured articles. Apart from the stocks located in the factories, the Germans acquired considerable quantities of' raw materials and manufactured articles amounting to not less than 1,000 million guilders. This evaluation does not include the destruction resulting from military operations, which ranges around 300 million guilders.
The Germans proceeded to make requisitions and wholesale purchases of agricultural produce and livestock. A final estimate of these requisitions, amounting to a minimum of 300 million guilders, is as yet impossible. To give an idea of their magnitude we point out that at the end of the year of 1943 the Germans had seized 600,000 hogs, 275,000 cows, and 30,000 tons of preserved meats, as is given in the testimony of the representative of the Netherlands Government,. which I submit as Document Number RF-133.
In passing, we point out-although this question will be taken up again by my colleague in his presentation of war crimes against persons-that on 17 April 1944, without any apparent strategic reason, 20 hectares of cultivated lands were flooded at Wieringermeer. Transport and communications.
The Germans made enormous requisitions of transport and communication material. It is not yet possible to draw up an exact inventory of them. Nevertheless, the information given by the Netherlands Government makes it possible to form an idea of the magnitude of these spoliations.
21 Jan. 46
I submit as Document Number RF-134 information given by the representative of the Netherlands Government concerning transport and communication. This is a summary of it:
(a) Railways-of 890 locomotives, 490 were requisitioned; of 30,000 freight cars, 28,950 were requisitioned; of 1,750 passenger cars, 1,446 were requisitioned; of 300 electric trains, 215 were requisitioned; of 37 Diesel-engine trains, 36 were requisitioned. In general, the little material left by the Germans was badly damaged either by wear and tear, by military operations, or by sabotage. In addition to rolling stock, the Germans sent to the Reich considerable quantities of rails, signals, cranes, turntables, repair cars, et cetera.
(b) Tramways-the equipment was removed from The Hague and Rotterdam to German cities. Thus, for example, some 50 tramcars with motors and 42 trailers were sent to Bremen and Hamburg. A considerable amount of rails, cables, and other accessories were removed and transported to Germany. The motor buses of the tramway companies were likewise taken by the occupying power.
(c) The Germans seized the greater part of the motorcars, motorcycles, and about I million bicycles. They left the population only those machines which would not run.
(d) Navigation-the Germans seized a considerable number of barges and river boats, as well as a considerable part of the merchant fleet, totalling about 1.5 million tons.
(e) Postal equipment-the Germans seized a large quantity of telephone and telegraph apparatus, cables, and other accessories, which has not yet been computed; 600,000 radio sets were confiscated.
I now come to Chapter 49, miscellaneous spoliation.
Forced labor demanded by the occupier.
From information given by the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-135, a great number of Dutch workers were obliged to work 'either in Holland or in Germany. About 550,000 were deported to the Reich, which represents a considerable number of hours of work lost to the national production of the Netherlands.
Plunder of the royal palaces.
The furniture, private archives, stable equipment and carriages, and wine cellars of the royal house were plundered by the Germans. In particular, the Palace of Noordeinde was completely looted of its contents, including furniture, linen, silverware, paintings, tapestries, art objects, and household utensils. A certain number of similar objects were removed from the Palace of Het Loo and were to be used in a convalescent home for German generals.
21 Jan. 46
The archives of the royal family likewise were stolen. This is shown by a report given by the representative of the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-136.
Pillage of the city of Arnhem.
Besides numerous cases of individual looting, which are not dealt with in this present statement, there was a systematically organized pillage of entire cities. In this manner the town of Arnhem was despoiled in October and November 1944. The Germans brought in miners from Essen who, under military orders, proceeded in specialized gangs to dismantle all the removable furniture and send it and objects of all kinds to Germany. This is shown in the testimony given by the representative of the Netherlands Government, which I submit as Document Number RF-137.
The consequences of economic plundering in the Netherlands are considerable. We shall just mention that the enormous decrease of the national capital will result in production being below the needs of the country for many years yet to come. But the gravest consequence is that affecting the public health, which is irreparable.
The excessive rationing, over many years, of food, clothing, and fuel, ordered by the occupiers to increase the amount of spoliation, has brought about an enfeeblement of the population. The average calory consumption by the inhabitant, which varied between 2,800 and 3,000, dropped in large proportions to about 1,800 calories, finally to fall even to 400 calories in April 1945.
Starting from the summer of 1944, the food situation became more and more serious. The Reich Commissioner, Seyss-Inquart, forbade the transport of food stuffs between the western and northern zones of the country. This measure, which was not justified by any military operations, seems only to have been dictated by hatred for the population, only to persecute and intimidate them, to weaken and terrorize them.
Not until about December 1944 was this inhuman measure lifted; but it was too late. Famine had already become general. The death rate in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leyden, Delft and Gouda increased considerably, rising from 198 to 260 percent. Diseases which had almost been eliminated from these regions reappeared. Such a situation will have irreparable consequences for the future of the population. These facts are given in' two reports which I submit as Documents Numbers RP-139 and 140.
By ordering such severe rationing measures in order to get for themselves products which were indispensable to the existence of the Netherlands, which is contrary to all principles of international law, I may say that the German leaders committed one of their gravest crimes.
21 Jan. 46
My statements concerning Holland are concluded. My colleague, M. Delpech, will now state the case for Belgium.
M. HENRY DELPECH (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Mr. President, Gentlemen, I have the honor of presenting to the Tribunal a statement on the economic plundering of Belgium.
As early as 1940 the National Socialist leaders intended to invade Belgium, Holland, and northern France. They knew that they should find there raw materials, equipment, and the factories which would enable them to increase their war potential.
As soon as Belgium had been occupied, the German military administration did its best to reap the maximum benefit. To this end the German leaders took a series of measures to block all existing resources and to seize all means of payment. Important supplies built up during the years 1936 to 1938 were the object of enormous requisitions. The machines and equipment of numerous enterprises were dismantled and sent to Germany, bringing about the closing down of numerous factories and in many sectors an enforced consolidation.
Given the highly industrial character of this country, the occupying authorities imposed, under threats of various kinds, a very heavy tribute upon Belgian industries. Nor was agriculture spared.
The third part of the French economic expose deals with a study of all these measures. This will be the subject of four chapters.
Chapter I deals with the German seizure of the means of payment. The second chapter will be devoted to clandestine purchases and an account of the black market. Chapter 3 will deal with purchases of apparent regularity while the fourth chapter will concern impressment.
In a fifth chapter the acquisition of Belgian investments in foreign concerns will be presented to the Tribunal, before concluding and emphasizing the effect of the German intrusion on the public health. Finally, a few remarks will be presented concerning the conduct of the Germans after they had annexed the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Chapter 1, German seizure of means of payment.
To enslave the country from an economic point of view, the most simple procedure Was to secure the possession of the greater part of the means of payment and to make impossible the export of currency and valuables of all kinds.
There is an ordinance of 17 June 1940 which forbids the export of currency and valuables of all kinds. This ordinance was published in the Verordnungsblatt for Belgium, Northern France, and Luxembourg and will hereafter be called by its usual abbreviated form VOBEL. This ordinance was published in VOBEL, Number 3, and
21 Jan. 46
was submitted under Document Number RF-99. In the VOBEL of the same day appeared a notice dated 9 May 1940, which regulated the issuing of Reichskreditkasse notes to provide the occupation troops with legal tender. By this means the Germans made possible the buying, without supplying any equivalent, all they desired in a country abounding with products of all kinds, without the inhabitants being able to protect their possessions against the invader.
The occupier used, in addition, three other methods for securing the greater part of the means of payment. These three methods were: The creation of an issuing bank, the imposition of war tribute under the pretext of maintaining occupation troops, and the working of a system of clearing to their profit alone. These measures will be fully dealt with in three sections which now follow.
Establishment of an issuing bank.
As soon as they arrived in Belgium the Germans -established an office for supervising banks, which was entrusted at the same time with the control of the National Bank of Belgium. This was ordered on 14 June 1940-VOBEL, Number 2, which is submitted as Document Number RF-141.
At this time the directorate of the National Bank of Belgium was outside the occupied territories; but the amount of notes on hand would have been insufficient to insure normal circulation, as a great number of Belgians had fled before the invasion, taking with them a large quantity of paper money. These are, at least, the reasons which the Germans put forward for establishing an issuing bank by the ordinance of 27 June 1940, published in VOBEL, Numbers 4 and 5, which I submit as Document Number RF-142.
By virtue of this last ordinance, 27 June 1940, the new issuing bank with a capital of 150 million Belgian francs, 20 percent of which had been issued in coin, received the monopoly for issuing paper money in Belgian francs. As a matter of fact, the National Bank of Belgium no longer had the right to issue money. The cover of the issuing bank was not represented by a gold balance but: 1) by credits from discount operations and loans granted in conformity with Article 8 of the new statutes; 2) monies owed to the National Bank of Belgium, as well as coin which was in circulation for the account of the public treasury; 3) finally, the third means of cover-foreign currency and francs, particularly German money, including Reichskreditkasse notes as well as assets at the Reichsbank, at the Office of Compensation for. the Reich, and the Reichskreditkasse.
The German Commissioner who had been appointed by a decree of 26 June 1940 became the controller of the issuing bank-decree
21 Jan. 46
of 26 June 1940, published in VOBEL, Number 3, Page 88, and submitted as Document Number RF-143.
After the return to Belgium of the directors of the National Bank, on 10 July 1940, an agreement between this bank and the new issuing bank was effected by the nomination of the head of the new issuing bank to the position of director of the National Bank of Belgium.
The issuing bank proceeded to put out a large amount of notes, so much so that on 8 May 1940 the currency in circulation amounted to 29,800 million Belgian francs. On 29 December 1943 it amounted to 83,200 million Belgian francs, and on 31 August 1944 it was 100,200 million Belgian francs, that is to say, an increase of 236 percent.
The issuing bank functioned; but not without certain difficulties, either with the military command, its own staff, or with the National Bank of Belgium. Actually, besides its function of issuing, the new bank had as a principal function operations relating to postal orders and to currency, as well as operations with German authorities, notably as concerned the occupation indemnity and, above all, clearing.
The National Bank of Belgium lost its right to issue paper money but resumed its traditional operations for private as well as state accounts, particularly transactions on the open market.
These data, Gentlemen, are corroborated by the final report of the German military administration in Belgium, ninth part, dealing with currency and finance. This final report of the German military administration in Belgium was discovered by the United States Army, and it is a document to which we shall refer many times. It is Document Number ECH-5 and is submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number RF-144.
The ninth part, which is of interest here, was written by three chiefs of the administration section of Brussels: Wetter, Hofrichter, and Jost.
In spite of the establishment of the issuing bank, Reichskreditkasse notes were valid in Belgium until August 1942; but it was the National Bank of Belgium that was obliged to absorb these notes in September 1944, and on account of this, Belgian economy suffered a loss of 3,567 million Belgian francs. This number is given by Wetter in the foregoing report, Page 112, the excerpt of the report being submitted as Document Number RF-145.
Moreover, from information given by the Belgian Government, the issuing bank had in hand at the moment of liberation of the territory a sum totalling 644 million in Reichskreditkasse notes; and further, it had assets in a transfer account of 12 million Reichsmark on the books of the Reichskreditkasse, that is to say, a total loss
21 Jan. 46
of 656 million Belgian francs-the figure given in a report of the Belgian Government, which is submitted as Document Number RF- 146.
Let us now take the occupation costs. Article 49 of the Hague Convention stipulates that if the occupier makes a levy in money, it will be only for the needs of the army of occupation or for the administration of the territory. The occupier can, therefore, impose a tax for the maintenance of his army; but this must not exceed the effective force strictly necessary. On the other hand, the words "needs of the army of occupation" do not mean the expenses of armament and equipment but solely the costs of billeting, food, and normal pay, which excludes, in all cases, luxury expenses.
Moreover, Article 52 authorizes the occupying authority to exact, for the use of its army, requisitions in kind and in service on the express condition that they shall be proportionate to the resources of the country and that they should not involve the population with the obligation to take part in military operations against their own country. The same Article 52 stipulates, moreover, that levies in kind will be, as far as possible, paid in cash.
Consequently the Germans exacted a monthly indemnity of 1,000 million up to August 1941. On that date the indemnity was increased to 1,500 million per month. By the end of August 1944, the payments under that designation totaled 67,000 million Belgian francs. This number cannot be contested by the Defense, since in the report quoted, Pages 103 and following, the said Wetter wrote in June 1944 that the total sum of Belgian francs paid for the army of occupation was 64,181 million-the passage in the report is submitted as Document Number RF-147.
But this sum of 64,000 million was completely disproportionate to the needs of the occupying army. This is shown in the report of Wetter, in a passage which is submitted as Exhibit Number RF-148. On Page 245 of this report it is said that on 17 January 1941 the general who was Commander-in-Chief in Belgium had asked the High Command of the Army if the indemnity covered only the expenses of occupation. This point of view was not accepted by the commanding general, who, by order of 29 October 1941, specified that the indemnity of occupation was to be used not only for the needs of the occupying army but also for those of the operating armies. Moreover, on Page 11 of the original German text of the same report it is written-and I shall read to the Tribunal an excerpt which will be found in the document book under Document Number RF-149, the second paragraph:
"As the increase in the expenses of the Wehrmacht made it clear that it would be impossible to manage with this amount,
21 Jan. 46
the military administration demanded that the calculation of the occupation costs should be straightened out by deducting all expenses foreign to the occupation proper. This concerned especially the larger purchases of all kinds which the military services made in Belgium, such as horses, motor vehicles, equipment, all of which was designated for other territories and was written off as occupation costs.
"By a decision of the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, dated 11 June 1941, the financing of other than true occupation costs was to be met by clearing. To comply with this decree, beginning in July 1941, the administration of the military commander ordered a monthly report to be rendered of all expenses other than those required for the occupation but which so far had been paid under the account of occupation costs, in order to have these expenses refunded through clearing. Thanks to this, large sums could be recovered and put into the account of occupation costs."
Before concluding the examination of this point concerning war tribute, that tribute called occupation costs, it is necessary to point out that the Germans had already demanded, by the decree of 17 December 1940, submitted as Document Number RF-150, that the costs of billeting their troops should be charged to Belgium. Owing to this, the country had to meet expenses totalling 5,900 million francs, which went for billeting German troops, costs of installation, supplies, and furniture.
In his report Wetter writes on Page 104-the excerpt submitted as Document Number RF-147-that at the end of June 1944 the Belgian payments for billeting troops totalled 5,423 million francs.
We now come to the third part of German plundering-clearing. The issuing of Reichskreditkasse notes and the war tribute, called "occupation costs," were not sufficient for Germany. Her leaders created a system of clearing which enabled them to procure, unduly, means of payment totalling 62,200 million Belgian francs.
As soon as they arrived in Belgium, by the decrees of 10 July, 2 August, and 5 December, 1940-which appear in the document book under the Numbers RF-151, RF-152, and RF-153-the Germans specified:
1) That all payments on debts of people resident in Belgium to their creditors in Germany had to be paid into an account called the "Deutsche Verrechnungskasse, Berlin." This was an open account on the books of the National Bank of Belgium in Brussels, an account kept in belgas in spite of the prohibition on currency of 17 June 1940, the prohibition to which I have already referred concerning the blocking of means of payment in the country.
21 Jan. 46
By the decision of 4 August 1940, it was moreover prescribed that the carrying out of clearing would henceforth no longer be entrusted to the National Bank of Belgium but to the issuing bank in Brussels, which, as I have already had the honor of pointing out, had been established by the occupying power and was under their absolute control.
2) The Germans laid down a second measure whereby all debtors resident in the Reich should pay their Belgian creditors by way of the open account at the issuing bank in Brussels, at the following rate of exchange; 100 belgas to 40 marks, that is to say, I mark for 12.50 Belgian francs.
These arrangements, moreover, were extended to the countries occupied by Germany with a view to facilitating their operations in those countries; they were even extended to certain neutral countries by various similar decrees appearing in the ordinance book.
The mission of the issuing bank in Brussels consisted, therefore, on the one hand, of receiving payments from all persons or agencies established in Belgium which had foreign engagements and, on the other hand, to pay those persons or agencies established in Belgium which had foreign credit.
In other words, every time an exporter delivered goods to an importer of another country which belonged to the clearing system, it was the issuing bank which settled the invoice and which entered as equivalent, in the ledgers, a corresponding credit at the Deutsche Verrechnungskasse in Berlin-the German Clearing Institute in Berlin. In the case of imports, the inverse procedure was followed.
In fact, under the German direction, this system functioned to the detriment of the Belgian community which, at the moment of the liberation, was creditor in clearing to the extent of 62,665 million Belgian francs. It was the National Bank of Belgium which had been forced to make advances to the issuing bank to balance the account of the German Clearing Institute.
A large number of operations made through clearing had no commercial character whatever but were purely and simply military and political expenses.
From information given by the Belgian Government, the clearing operations could be summarized in the following manner -and I take the figures from a report of the Belgian Government previously cited, which has been presented as Document Number RF-146: Of the total transactions, 93 percent were Belgium-German clearing operations; merchandise amounted to 93 percent, and services 91 percent.
If one considers the part taken respectively by merchandise, services, or capital, one obtains a very significant picture. The
21 Jan. 46
entire clearing transactions of Belgium with foreign countries totalled, on 2 September 1944, the sum of 61,636 million Belgian francs, of which 57,298 million were for Belgium-German operations, 4,000 million only with France, 1,000 million with the Netherlands, and 929 million with other countries.
It is only in the sector of goods and services that the want of equilibrium is apparent due in large measure to requisitions of property and services made by Germany for her own account. It is known that the so-called exports affected especially metals and metal products, machines, and textile products, nine-tenths of which were seized by the Reich, which made itself thereby guilty of real spoliation.
As to the transfer of capital, during the first period of the occupation it was particularly intense. It concerned the forced realization of Belgian capital in foreign countries, as well as the forced cession to German groups of Belgian assets blocked in Germany. No effective compensation was given in exchange. The transfers made for services were principally for payments for Belgian labor in foreign countries.
The credit balance of these services on 2 September 1944 is as follows, in Belgian francs: Total clearing operations dealing with services, 20,016 million-that is to say, for payment of labor 73 percent of the total. For Germany alone, 18,227 million-that is, 72 percent of the total amount. For France only 1,621 million Belgian francs-that is to say, a very small part.
Not content with requisitioning workers for forced labor in Germany or in the occupied territories, the Germans compelled Belgium to bear the financial burden and imposed it either through the liquidation of the transferred savings in clearing or by the remittance of Belgian notes to the Directorate of the Reich Bank in Berlin for payment of workers in national currency:
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think it is necessary to go into these clearing operations again? In each case of the various countries which have been dealt with, the same clearing operations have taken place, have they not? Then perhaps it is really unnecessary to do it over again for Belgium.
M. DELPECH: Very well, Your Honor. At all events, the Germans recognized the fact, and the figures taken from the report previously cited support the conclusions of our statement.
Before ending this chapter concerning German seizure of the means of payment, it is fitting that the attention of the Tribunal be brought to the order of 22 July 1940, by which the Germans fixed the rate of the Belgian franc at 8 Reichspfennig, that is to say 12.50 francs per mark; and in the forementioned report Wetter
21 Jan. 46
writes concerning this matter, on Pages 37 and 38, a passage which I ask the Tribunal's permission to read and which is in the document book as Document Number RF-158.
"The de facto maintenance of the pre-war parity was moreover of considerable political importance because a large group of the population would have considered a sharp devaluation or a repeated change of parity as a maneuver of exploitation."
The following observation in connection with this conception must be made: The occupiers had no need in Belgium to decree, with the view of promoting their economic exploitation, that the Belgian franc should have a lesser value when, as a matter of fact - contrary to what occurred in France-they had, at the moment they entered Belgium, instituted new currency over which they had the control.
Lastly, let us mention that Germany obliged the Vichy Government to deliver 221,730 kilos of gold amounting, at the 1939 value, to 9,500 million francs; but as France had returned this gold to the Bank of Belgium, this question will be treated under the economic exploitation of. France.
To sum up, the means of payment seized by the army of occupation may be seen from the following figures:
Reichskreditkasse notes, 3,567 million; various bills and accounts on the books of the Reichskreditkasse, 656 million; war tribute under the pretext of occupation costs, 67,000 million; to which may be added the credit balance of clearing 62,665 million; total (in Belgian francs), 133,838 million.
The Germans thus seized no less than 130,000 million Belgian francs, which they used for outwardly regular purchases, for payment of their requisitions, and to make clandestine purchases on the black market. These so-called purchases and requisitions will be treated in the following chapters.
Chapter 2, clandestine purchases, black market.
As in all the other occupied territories, the Germans organized a black market in Belgium as early as October 1941.
According to a secret report on the black market, called "Final Report of the Control Office of the Military Commander in Belgium and in the North of France, Concerning the Legalized Emptying of the Black Market in Belgium and in the North of France," a report covering the period from 13 March 1942 to 31 May 1943-Exhibit Number RP-159 (Document Number ECH-7) in the document book-the reasons given by the Germans for this organization of the black market are three in number:
21 Jan. 46
1) To check competition on the black market between various German buyers; 2) to make the best use of the Belgian resources for the purposes of German war economy; 3) to do away with the pressure exercised on the general standard of prices and by this to avoid all danger of inflation which would result in endangering German currency itself.
This same report tells us, Pages 3 and following, that an actual administrative organization was set up by the Germans for carrying out this policy. The bookkeeping was done by the Clearing Institute of the Wehrmacht, which combined all the operations in its books. The direction of purchases was regulated by a central organization, the name of which changed as the years went by and which had a certain number of organizations subordinate to it, particularly a whole series of purchasing offices. The central organization was set up in accordance with the decree of the military commander in Belgium, dated 20 February 1942. It was formed on the 13th of the following March; and as soon as it was created it received special directives from the delegate of the Reich Marshal, Defendant Goering. This delegate was Lieutenant Colonel Veltjens, of whom we spoke this morning.
This organization was only established to co-ordinate the legalization and direction of the black market, as had been determined upon, 'and planned following conferences between the Commissioner General and the Military Commander of Belgium with the Chief of the Armament Inspection. According to the terms of that agreement, which reinforced a declaration of 16 February 1942 emanating from the Reich Minister for Economics, the aim was to drain the black market and in accordance with directives, in a
legal form, with the main idea of safeguarding the supply requirements of the German Reich.
This organization had its offices in Brussels. The purchases themselves were regulated by a certain number of specialized offices, the list of which is given on Page 5 of the forementioned report. These organisms received their orders from the Rohstoffhandelsgesellsehaft, which has already been mentioned at the beginning of the statement on the economic exploitation of Western Europe.
The role of Roges was very important in the organization of the black market. In effect it was four-fold:
1) The purchasing directives, once the authorization had been given by the central office in Brussels, were transmitted by Roges to the proper purchasing office.
2) The delivery of goods bought and marked for the Reich were made through Roges which took charge of their distribution in Germany.
21 Jan. 46
3) Roges financed the operations.
4) It was Roges which was entrusted with paying the difference between the rate of purchase-generally very high because of the black market rate-and the fixed official rate of sale on the German domestic market. The difference was covered by an equalizing fund, supplied from the occupation costs account, to which the Reich Minister of Finance put sums at the disposal of Roges through the channel of the Ministry of Armament.
The forementioned report furnishes a complete series of interesting particulars on the functioning of the central organization itself. It is interesting to note that the central office in Brussels was instructed by order of the Military Commander in Belgium, dated 3 November 1942, to have a branch at Lille set up for the north of France. At the same time, the Brussels office was authorized to instruct its branch office at Lille. In the document book, under Document Number RF-160, a final report of the Lille office is mentioned. This report, drawn up on 20 May 1943, gives a whole series of interesting particulars on the functioning of this organization.
THE PRESIDENT: It is 5 o'clock now. M. Delpech, I think it would be the wish of the Tribunal, if it were possible, for you to omit any parts of this document which are on precisely the same principles with those which have already been submitted to us in connection with the other countries. If you could, I think that would be convenient for the Tribunal. Of course, if there are any essential differences. in the treatment of Belgium then, no doubt, you would draw our attention to them.
M. DELPECH: Certainly, Your Honor.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 22 January 1946 at 1000 hours.].
|Nuremberg Trials Page||Volume 5 Menu|