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[The witness Emil Puhl took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name?
EMIL PUHL (Witness): Emil Johann Rudolf Puhl.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. SAUTER: Witness Puhl, you were formerly Vice President of the Reichsbank?
DR. SAUTER: If I am correctly informed, you were a member of the Directorate of the Reichsbank already at the time of Dr. Schacht
DR. SAUTER: When Dr. Schacht left, you were one of the few gentlemen who remained in the Reichsbank?
DR. SAUTER: You were then named by Hitler, on the suggestion of the Defendant Funk, to be Managing Vice President of the Reichsbank?
DR. SAUTER: When was that?
PUHL: During the year 1939.
DR. SAUTER: During the year 1939. You have said that you were Managing Vice President, and I presume this was due to the fact that banking was not the special field of the Defendant Funk while you were a banking expert, and that Funk in addition had charge of the Reich Ministry of Economics. Is that correct?
PUHL: Yes, but there was another reason, namely, the division of authority between official business on one side, and the handling of personnel on the other.
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DR. SAUTER: The actual conduct of business was apparently your responsibility?
DR. SAUTER: Hence, the title Managing Vice President?
PUHL: Yes. May I make a few comments on this?
DR. SAUTER: Only if it is necessary in the interests of the case. PUHL: Yes. The business of the Directorate of the Reichsbank was divided among a number of members of the Directorate. Every member had full responsibility for his own sphere. The Vice President was the primes inter pares, his main task was to act as chairman at meetings to represent the President in the outside world and to deal with problems of general economic and banking policy.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, the Defendant Funk referred to you as a witness as early as December. You know that, don't you? And accordingly, you were interrogated at the camp where you are now accommodated, I believe in Baden-Baden. . .
PUHL: Near Baden-Baden.
DR. SAUTER: . . . interrogated on 1 May?
DR. SAUTER: Two days later you were again interrogated?
DR. SAUTER: On 3 May?
DR. SAUTER: Do you know why the matters on which you were questioned on 3 May were not dealt with during the interrogation on 1 May?
PUHL: I have before me the affidavit dated 3 May.
DR. SAUTER: 3 May. That deals with these business affairs with the SS.
PUHL: Yes. But I was questioned on this subject already on 1 May, only very briefly, and on 3 May there was a second interrogation for the purpose of discussing it in more detail.
DR. SAUTER: Did you not mention these business affairs of the Reichsbank with the SS during your interrogation on 1 May?
DR. SAUTER: Did you mention them?
PUHL: A short statement was made.
DR. SAUTER: During the interrogation of 1 May?
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PUHL: Yes. At any rate, the statement on 3 May made during the interrogation was only a more detailed record of what had already been briefly discussed before.
DR. SAUTER: I have the record of your interrogation on 1 May before me; I read through it again today. But as far as I can see, it contains no mention at ad of business affairs with the SS. You must be speaking now of another interrogation?
MR. DODD: Mr. President, I think perhaps I can be helpful in this apparent confusion. The interrogatory which was authorized by the Tribunal was taken on 1 May, but on that same day, and independent of these interrogatories, a member of our staff also interviewed this witness. But it was a separate interview. It wasn't related to the interrogatory, and I think that is the source of the confusion.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. SAUTER: Were you interrogated twice about these transactions with the SS?
PUHL: Yes, twice during the days around 1 May; that is correct. DR. SAUTER: Do you still remember the affidavit which you signed on 3 May?
PUHL: On 3 May, yes.
DR. SAUTER: It is the affidavit which deals with these transactions with the SS. Are your statements in this affidavit correct?
DR. SAUTER: Witness, have you been interrogated on these matters again since that time, since 3 May?
DR. SAUTER: When?
PUHL: Here in Nuremberg.
DR. SAUTER: When were you interrogated?
PUHL: During the last few days.
DR. SAUTER: I see. Today is Wednesday, when was it?
PUHL: Friday, Monday, Tuesday.
DR. SAUTER: Yesterday?
DR. SAUTER: On this matter?
DR. SAUTER: Was a film also shown to you here?
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DR. SAUTER: Once or twice?
DR. SAUTER: Had you seen this film before?
DR. SAUTER: Did you recognize clearly what was presented in the film?
DR. SAUTER: I ask because, as you know, the film runs very quickly and is very short; the Prosecution showed it twice in the courtroom so that one might follow it fairly well. Did one showing suffice to make clear to you what the film contained?
DR. SAUTER: Then will you tell me what you saw in it, only what you saw in the film, or what you think you saw.
PUHL: Yes. The film was taken in front of the safes of our bank at Frankfurt-on-Main, the usual safes with glass doors, behind which one could see the locked cases and containers, which had apparently been deposited there. It was the usual picture presented by such strong rooms. In front of these safes were several containers which had been opened so that their contents could be seen-coins, jewelry, pearls, bank-notes, clocks.
DR. SAUTER: What sort of clocks?
PUHL: Large alarm clocks.
DR. SAUTER: Nothing else? Didn't you see anything else in the film?
PUHL: Apart from these objects?
DR. SAUTER: Apart from these, shall we say, valuables, didn't you see anything else that is alleged to have been kept there?
PUHL: No, no.
DR. SAUTER: Only these valuables? Please go on.
PUHL: I noticed that among these valuables there were coins, apparently silver coins, and also bank-notes, obviously American bank-notes.
DR. SAUTER: Correct.
PUHL: It was astonishing that these things were given to us for safe-keeping, because if they had come to the knowledge of our officials, then no doubt...
DR. SAUTER: Speak slowly, please.
PUHL: . . . no doubt the bank notes would have been immediately turned over to the foreign exchange department, since, as is known,
15 May 46
a general order existed for the turning in of foreign bank notes
which particularly were much in demand.
Something similar applies to the coins. These, too, ought to have been transferred to the treasury in accordance with the regulations and routine of business, that is to say, they should have been purchased for the accounts of the Reich.
DR. SAUTER: That is what you noticed in the film?
DR. SAUTER: And nothing else?
DR. SAUTER: Witness, valuable articles entrusted to the Reichsbank for safekeeping were supposed to have been kept in the Reichsbank in that way. Now I have been asking myself whether your Reichsbank really stored the valuables entrusted to it in the manner apparent from the film and I therefore want to ask this question of you: Do you as Managing Vice President of the Reichsbank know how valuables which were handed over for safekeeping in the strong-rooms were kept, for instance, in Berlin or in Frankfurt, where this film was taken?
DR. SAUTER: Please tell the Court.
PUHL: The outer appearance of the safe installations in Berlin was somewhat similar to that in Frankfurt, and probably similar to any other large bank. These things were known to us as "closed deposits," a banking term, and were kept, as the name indicates, in closed containers. Space for these was provided by us and paid for by the depositors, according to the size in each case.
DR. SAUTER: Were these things kept-for instance, in Berlin or in Frankfurt-exactly as shown in the film?
PUHL: Well, I had the impression that the things of which we are now talking had been put there expressly for the purpose of taking the film.
DR. SAUTER: For the film. Do you recollect seeing a sack, which I think was shown in the film, with the label "Reichsbank Frankfurt?"
PUHL: Yes, I saw a sack labeled "Reichsbank;" I cannot say whether "Reichsbank Frankfurt."
DR. SAUTER: As far as I know, it had "Reichsbank Frankfurt" on it. For that reason we assumed that the film was taken at Frankfurt, and the Prosecution confirmed that.
MR. DODD: I don't like to interrupt but I think we should be careful about this statement. There have been two mistakes of some
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slight importance already. We didn't show the film twice before this Tribunal and that bag doesn't bear the legend "Frankfurt." It simply says "Reichsbank." And it was the Schacht film that was shown twice here, because it moved rather quickly.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, will you continue with your reply to the question. I can put it in this way: Did the Reichsbank keep gold articles and the like in such sacks?
PUHL: If I understand you correctly, you are asking this: When valuables were deposited with us, were they deposited in open sacks? Is that correct?
DR. SAUTER: I do not know what procedure you had.
PUHL: We at any rate had closed deposits, as the name implies. Of course, it may be a sack which is closed; that is quite possible.
DR. SAUTER: So far as I saw in banks at Munich, the things which were deposited there in increased measure during the war were without exception deposited in closed boxes or cases and the like, so that generally the bank did not know at all what was contained in the cases or boxes. Did you in the Reichsbank follow a different procedure?
PUHL: No, it was exactly the same. And the noticeable thing about this sack, as has been said, is the label "Reichsbank." Obviously it is a sack belonging to us and not to any private person.
DR. SAUTER: Then you too, if I may repeat this to avoid any doubt, you too kept in a closed container the valuables, which had been deposited as "closed deposits."
DR. SAUTER: Or they went to the strongboxes?
PUHL: The word "deposits" might be misleading. The closed containers went to the strong-room. The strong-room consisted of strongboxes where these cases or containers were deposited. Quite independent of that arrangement, we had the "open deposits." Open deposits are those which by initial agreement are administered openly. The strong-rooms for these were located in quite a different part of the building from the so-called main strong-room.
DR. SAUTER: But presumably, we are not concerned here with these open deposits?
DR. SAUTER: Now, Witness, I come to the deposits of the SS. These deposits were not in Frankfurt but presumably in Berlin in the central bank.
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DR. SAUTER: Now, will you give details about the discussions which the Defendant Funk had with you regarding the SS deposits. And may I ask you to consider your replies and search your memory very carefully before answering my questions. Naturally I shall allow you time.
First of all, what did you and the Defendant Funk discuss when you talked about these deposits of the SS for the first time?
PUHL: I refer here to my affidavit of 3 May. I had a very simple talk with Herr Funk. It turned on the request of the SS to make use of our bank installations by depositing valuables for which, it was said, there was not sufficient protection in the cellars of the SS building. Perhaps, for the sake of completeness, I may add that "SS," in this connection, always means the Economic Department of the SS.
DR. SAUTER: What did the Defendant Funk speak of at the time? Did he specify exactly what should be accepted for safekeeping?
PUHL: He mentioned valuables which the SS had brought from the Eastern Territories, which were then in their cellars and which, above all, they requested us to keep in safety.
DR. SAUTER: But did the Defendant Funk tell you in detail what these valuables were?
PUHL: No, not in detail, but he said that in general they were gold, foreign currency, silver, and jewelry.
DR. SAUTER: Gold, foreign currency, silver, jewelry. . .
PUHL: To which I may add that gold and foreign currency had of course to be surrendered to the Reichsbank at any rate.
DR. SAUTER: Gold, foreign currency, silver and jewelry?
DR. SAUTER: And that was supposed to have been confiscated in the Eastern Territories?
DR. SAUTER: Did the Defendant Funk tell you at the time why these confiscations had been made, or who had been affected by them?
PUHL: No, that was not stated; the talk, as I have said, was brief.
DR. SAUTER: And what was your reply?
PUHL: I said that this sort of business with the SS would at least be inconvenient for us, and I voiced objections to it. I may add that we, as the Reichsbank, were always very cautious in these
15 May 46
matters, for example, when valuables were offered us by foreign exchange control offices, customs offices, and the like.
DR. SAUTER: What was the actual reason for your objections in the case of the SS?
PUHL: Because one could not know what inconvenient consequences a business connection of this sort might produce.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, that answer does not satisfy me. Did you or the Defendant Funk not wish to have anything to do with the SS at all, or was there some other reason for your objections?
PUHL: The first 'part of your question I answer with "no." There was no objection on principle, nor could there be; for, after all, every German organization or institution had the legal right to enjoy the services of the Reichsbank.
The circumstances arising out of these confiscations were uncomfortable, like the confiscations of the foreign exchange control offices, et cetera, which I mentioned, because one never knew what difficulties might result.
DR. SAUTER: So that, if I understand you well-please correct me if I interpret it wrongly-you voiced objections because these business affairs were somewhat uncomfortable for the Reichsbank, they fell outside the normal scope of business, and were as little welcome to you as, for instance, deposits of the customs authorities or the foreign exchange control offices, and so forth? Only for this reason?
PUHL: Yes. But I have to add something; we were asked whether we would assist the SS in handling these deposits. It was immediately clear, of course, and also expressly stated, that these deposits included foreign currency, and also securities and all sorts of gold coins, et cetera, and that the SS people did not quite know how to deal with these things.
DR. SAUTER: Did these things arrive subsequently?
PUHL: Yes. But something else happened before that. After this conversation the head of the Economic Department of the SS, whose name was Pohl, Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, contacted me. I asked him to come to my office, and there he repeated, what I already knew, namely that he would welcome it if we would take over these valuables as soon as possible.
DR. SAUTER: What was your answer?
PUHL: I confirmed what we had arranged and said, "If you will designate officials from your department, I shall inform our department, and together they can discuss the technical details."
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DR. SAUTER: To revert to an earlier stage: What did the Defendant Funk say when you explained during your first conversation with him that you would not willingly take over those things because one often had a lot of trouble with such matters?
PUHL: My objections were subordinated to the broader consideration of assisting the SS, all the more-and this must be emphasized -because these things were for the account of the Reich.
DR. SAUTER: Did you discuss whether these things, particularly gold, should be converted by the Reichsbank or melted down?
PUHL: No, not in detail; it was merely said that the officials of the Reichsbank should offer their good services to the SS.
DR. SAUTER: I do not quite understand. The good services of the Reichsbank officials consist in receiving these valuables into safe-keeping and locking them up?
DR. SAUTER: Were the services of your of finials to go beyond that?
PUHL: Yes, inasmuch as the SS people were to come and remove from the containers whatever had to be surrendered.
DR. SAUTER: For instance, gold coins, foreign currency, et cetera?
DR. SAUTER: Then did you see-to come back to the question already put-did you see what arrived, what the SS delivered?
PUHL: No, not personally. This happened far away from my office, in quite a different building, downstairs in the strong-rooms which I, as Vice President of the Reichsbank, would not normally enter without a special reason.
DR. SAUTER: Did you, as Vice President, visit these strongrooms frequently?
PUHL: It was a habit of mine, sometimes at an interval of three months or longer, to go through the strong-rooms; if there was some occasion for it, for instance, when there was a visitor to be conducted or some new installation to be discussed, or when there was something of importance beyond mere attendance on the safes and the clients.
DR. SAUTER: But, of course, as Vice President, you had nothing to do with attending to customers?
DR. SAUTER: And I should like to put the same question to you with regard to the Defendant Funk. Did the Defendant Funk, who
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moreover belonged to the Reichsbank only in part, go to the strongrooms often?
If so, how often and for what reason? And did he see what had been handed in by the SS?
PUHL: The answer is that Funk, too, went to the strong-rooms on special occasions, for example, when there were foreign visitors. Naturally, I would not know how often, nor whether he saw the SS deposits. That depends on whether the strong-room officials who were conducting him pointed them out to him.
DR. SAUTER: Did you, Witness, see the things which came from the SS-did you see them yourself?
PUHL: No, never.
DR. SAUTER: Never?
DR. SAUTER: Do you think that the Defendant Funk saw them?
PUHL: I cannot tell that, of course; it depends on whether the strong-room officials pointed out specifically: "Here is the deposit of the SS."
DR. SAUTER: Then I presume you cannot give us any information on how these things of the SS were actually kept or how they were packed?
DR. SAUTER: Whether in boxes or . . .
PUHL: No, I do not know that.
DR. SAUTER: Did you talk again about this whole affair of the SS deposits with the Defendant Funk?
PUHL: Hardly at all, as far as I can remember. But I must certainly have talked to him a second time, after Herr Pohl had visited me, since it was, of course, my task and my duty to keep Funk informed of everything.
DR. SAUTER: Did the members of the Reichsbank Directorate, the board of directors, attach a special significance to this whole matter so that there might have been occasion to discuss it more frequently? Or was it regarded as just an unpleasant but unimportant sort of business?
PUHL: No. At the beginning there was probably a report on it to the meeting of the Directorate, but then it was not mentioned again.
DR. SAUTER: You cannot recollect having later again talked of the matter with Funk? But it is possible, if I understood you correctly, that after the settlement with SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl,
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you may again have reported about it briefly? Did I understand you correctly?
DR. SAUTER: Now, Witness, in your affidavit under Figure 5, you say that among the articles deposited by the SS were jewelry, watches, spectacle frames, gold fillings-apparently these dental fillings-and other articles in large quantities which the SS had taken away from Jews and concentration camp victims and other persons. How do you know that?
PUHL: I know that from my interrogations at Frankfurt.
DR. SAUTER: You were told about these things during your interrogations in Frankfurt after your arrest?
PUHL: And they were shown to me.
DR. SAUTER: You had no knowledge of them while you were free and administered the Reichsbank as Vice President?
PUHL: No, because, I repeat it again, we never discussed this in the Directorate, since it was of no basic significance for currency or banking policy or in any other respect.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, if at that time in 1942 you had known that these were articles which the SS had taken away from many concentration camp victims, would you have received them into safe-keeping?
DR. SAUTER: What would you have done?
PUHL: Then we would have come to some decision on the attitude which the bank as a whole should adopt toward this problem.
DR. SAUTER: Who would have had the decisive word?
PUHL: The decision would have been made by the Directorate of the Reichsbank as an executive group, as a corporate body, and then it would have been submitted to the President for countersignature.
DR. SAUTER: Earlier-I must fill in this gap in connection with your affidavit-you expressed yourself in a rather misleading way. You stated earlier: "This was brought to our knowledge, because the SS personnel attempted to convert This material into gold, into cash." And today you say that you heard of it only after your arrest. Apparently, if I understand you correctly, there must be . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, I do not understand why you say "earlier." It is the sentence which followed the sentence which you put to him.
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DR. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Why do you say "earlier" then? Why do you say "earlier"?
DR. SAUTER: In his affidavit-if the wording of the affidavit is correct and there is no misunderstanding-the witness said...
THE PRESIDENT: What I am pointing out to you is that the first sentence reads like this: "The material deposited by the SS included all these items taken from Jews, concentration camp victims, and other persons by the SS." And it then goes on, "This was brought to our knowledge by the SS personnel who attempted to convert this material into cash." What you are now putting to him is that that acceptance was put to him earlier. At least that is what I understood you to say.
DR. SAUTER: No; the witness said today that he was told only during his interrogations in Frankfurt-on-Main that these articles had been taken from concentration camp victims, et cetera. The affidavit, however, can and must be interpreted in my opinion as saying that he received this information, already before his arrest, through the SS personnel and that apparently is not true. For that reason I asked the witness whether this expression in the affidavit is not a misunderstanding.
Now, Witness, if I may repeat this: You first heard that these articles belonged to concentration camp victims at your interrogation?
DR. SAUTER: And when did you learn what was contained in this deposit; when did you know that, to pick out one example, gold teeth were contained in it?
PUHL: Not at all. No details of this transaction were submitted to the Directorate by the strong-room or safe officials.
DR. SAUTER: So of this, too, you heard only after your arrest?
PUHL: Of the details, yes.
DR. SAUTER: Good. Now, you speak of an agreement which, according to the statement of Funk, Himmler, the Reichsfuehrer of the SS, is said to have made with the Reich Minister of Finance. What do you know about this agreement?
PUHL: That is the agreement I have already mentioned. It was clear from the beginning that the value of the things deposited with us was to be credited to the Ministry of Finance.
DR. SAUTER: Not to the SS?
PUHL: No, not to the SS.
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DR. SAUTER: Why not? The SS were the depositors, were they not?
PUHL: Yes, but they maintained that their actions were carried out in the name and on behalf of the Reich and its accounts.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, do you know whether these valuables, which in some way had been confiscated or stolen by the SS in the East, were placed as a matter of principle at the disposal of the Reich Ministry of Finance?
PUHL: I did not quite understand the question. Are you referring to these articles or to confiscated articles, valuables in general?
DR. SAUTER: To all valuables. I am speaking of gold, foreign currency, and so forth, all these valuables acquired by the SS in the East; were they all to be placed at the disposal of the Reich Ministry of Finance, and not of the Reichsbank?
PUHL: The equivalent value?
DR. SAUTER: Yes, the equivalent value.
PUHL: The equivalent value was credited to the Reich Ministry of Finance.
DR. SAUTER: In this connection, Witness, may I show you two accounts. I do not know whether you have seen them. They are two accounts of the chief cashier's office of your bank.
PUHL: Yes, to us.
DR. SAUTER: I should like you, then, to look at them, and to tell me whether you have seen them before and what you know about them?
PUHL: I saw these two copies-photostat copies-during my interrogations.
DR. SAUTER: But not earlier?
PUHL: No, not earlier. And from these photostat copies it is clear-we have just discussed it-that the equivalent value was to be credited to the Reich Chief Cashier's Office, as it says here; the Reich Chief Cashier's Office was a part of the Ministry of Finance.
DR. SAUTER: So apparently it is connected with this agreement, of which you heard, that finally all these things belonged to the Reich Ministry of Finance, to the Reich.
DR. SAUTER: Now I have one More question on this subject. And I would like to know whether perhaps there is a misunderstanding in this case too. You say in the affidavit that Funk told you this matter should be kept absolutely secret; that is the wording. You did not mention this point at all today, although we have the
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affidavit in front of us. Will you say now whether this is true or whether it is a misunderstanding?
PUHL: That it should be kept secret? No.
DR. SAUTER: Yes.
PUHL: Of course, this matter was to be kept secret, but then everything that happens in a bank must be kept secret.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, this statement cannot, of course, satisfy us. Did you, during your interrogation of 3 May, say what is contained in this document, namely, that the matter was to be kept absolutely secret, or did you express yourself in different words?
PUHL: No, the wording of the affidavit is correct; the matter was to be kept absolutely secret.
DR. SAUTER: Why?
PUHL: Why? Because, plainly, such matters are usually kept secret and are not publicized; furthermore, these things came from the East. I repeat what I said before, that our attitude towards confiscated articles was always to avoid them.
DR. SAUTER: Did it strike you as unusual that the Defendant Funk spoke of keeping the matter secret?
DR. SAUTER: Or did it not strike you as unusual?
PUHL: Not as unusual.
DR. SAUTER: Not as unusual?.
PUHL: No. It was merely decided in the conversation that since we were not willing to accept the confiscated articles of the foreign exchange control offices and the customs offices, we should, naturally, insist on secrecy in accepting these articles.
DR. SAUTER: Yes. But from your account of the matter, it appears that, on one hand, you considered the business to be perfectly legal, and you yourself say that it was perfectly legal; on the other hand, secrecy was for you, as an old banking expert, a matter of course. Now the question arises, why then was the subject of keeping the matter secret discussed at all?
PUHL: Herr Funk himself had been asked to keep the matter as secret as possible, and he passed on that request.
DR. SAUTER: When did Funk tell you that he had been asked to keep it secret?
PUHL: I do not remember that.
DR. SAUTER: Did you not ask him why it should be kept secret, absolutely secret, as you say? I do not know whether you still maintain "absolutely secret"?
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PUHL: Yes, a special duty of observing secrecy was to be imposed on the officials.
DR. SAUTER: Well, what did you, as Vice President, as Managing Vice President, say to that?
PUHL: I did not say anything because, if that had been agreed upon, then this wish would have to be complied with
DR. SAUTER: But you do not know whether it had been agreed upon?
PUHL: Well, I assume that it was agreed upon.
DR. SAUTER: You consider it possible?
DR. SAUTER: And-to repeat this-you did hot at all see the articles which arrived?
PUHL: No, not at an.
DR. SAUTER: And probably you do not know how many there were?
PUHL: No, I do not know that either; and, as I said before, I never saw an account; that was not in conformity with our procedure, as individual transactions were not submitted to the members of the Directorate.
DR. SAUTER: I ask because recently, when this case was discussed, it was asserted that whole truckloads of such articles, whole truckloads had arrived. You are already laughing and you will laugh more when I tell you that 47 truckloads of gold were said to have arrived at your bank; and you knew nothing about them?
PUHL: I have never heard of that.
DR. SAUTER: You heard nothing about that? Witness, we will leave this point and turn to the second point in your affidavit of May, with which we can deal very briefly.
I think you knew Herr Pohl, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, of whom you spoke just now, already in 1942?
PUHL: Yes, but none the less this was the first occasion on which Pohl came to my office.
DR. SAUTER: This is no reproach, I just wanted to establish a fact. You knew him as a result of this first credit transaction which took place at an earlier time.
PUHL: Yes, that may be.
DR. SAUTER: The Defendant Funk says, you see, that as far as he can remember this credit matter-and he did not attach any special significance to it at the time-it was negotiated about 1940,
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some time before the other transaction. Can that be true? Approximately?
PUHL: I can neither deny nor confirm that; I no longer recall
the date of the credit.
DR. SAUTER: Well, in your affidavit you state, with reference to this credit, that the Reichsbank had granted a credit of 10 or 12 millions to the SS, I believe to pay off a loan which the SS had taken up with another bank. And you say that this credit was used for financing production in factories directed by the SS, where workers from concentration camps were employed.
Witness, I am not primarily interested in this credit as such because it was, of course, part of your business as a bank; and the figure of, I think, 10 or 12 millions was also not unusual. But I am interested in how you knew that this money was to be used for SS factories in which workers from concentration camps were employed. How did you know that?
PUHL: The application for credit came from the Economic Department of the SS which I have mentioned before. This department was directing a number of factories in Germany, and needed money for that purpose. The Gold Discount Bank was prepared to give this credit, but only in the form of regular business credits. In other words, the debtor had to submit a balance sheet to us and at regular intervals had to report on his production, his general financial position, his plans for the immediate future, in short, all matters on which a debtor is bound to inform his creditor.
The board of directors of the Gold Discount Bank conducted these negotiations, in which the representatives of the Economic Department, who submitted the balance sheets, naturally discussed their production program, which was remarkable insofar as the wage figures affecting the balance were comparatively low. And so the natural question arose: Why is your wage account so low? The director of the Gold Discount Bank reported on this subject to the board meeting of the Gold Discount Bank.
DR. SAUTER: You always refer to the Gold Discount Bank. The Tribunal would be interested to know whether the Gold Discount Bank is identical with the Reichsbank, whether it was also under the jurisdiction of the Defendant Funk and your own, and what was its position?
PUHL: The Gold Discount Bank was an institute subsidiary to the Reichsbank; it was founded in the twenties for various purposes, not only for the promotion of exports, but also for the increase of production. The capital structure. . .
DR. SAUTER: No, we are not interested in that.
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PUHL: Practically all the shares were in the hands of the Reichsbank. The Gold Discount Bank had a Board of Directors always headed by the President of the Reichsbank; it also had a deputy chairman who was the Second Vice President of the Reichsbank, and the Board of Directors itself included a number of members of the Directorate of the Reichsbank, and also the State Secretaries of the Ministry of Economics and of the Ministry of Finance.
THE PRESIDENT: It is not interesting to us to know who the exact directors of the Gold Discount Bank were.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, I wanted, in fact, to interrupt you earlier, and tell you that what you have just related is without significance for the Trial. To me and to the Tribunal it is only of interest to hear whether the Defendant Funk, as far as you definitely remember, had knowledge of these matters, of the purpose of this credit and whether he knew that in these factories people from the concentration camps were employed? Do you, or do you not know?
PUHL: I might assume that, but I cannot know it. At any rate, it was known that the credit was destined for these factories.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, I cannot be satisfied with that answer because the SS, as you have probably heard in the meantime, directed various undertakings in which no concentration camp inmates were employed. To my knowledge, for example, the porcelain factory at Allach did not apparently employ concentration camp inmates. Then for example, the entire personnel at the spas'...
MR. DODD: I object to testimony by counsel He is practically giving the answer to this witness before he asks the question.
DR. SAUTER: Do you know whether the SS had undertakings in which no concentration camp inmates were employed?
PUHL: I did not, of course, know every individual business run by the SS, nor could I know in each case whether prisoners were or were not employed.
DR. SAUTER: Was the Defendant Funk present at all during the meeting at which this credit was discussed?
PUHL: No, he was not present, the records of the proceedings were submitted; we always adopted that procedure.
DR. SAUTER: Then did the Defendant Funk tank at all with the people who had given information on the unusual figures of the wage account?
PUHL: No, that was done by the Board of Directors of the Gold Discount Bank.
DR. SAUTER: That was done by the board of the Gold Discount Bank, not by the Defendant Funk?
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Then, Mr. President, I have no further questions for the witness. MR. DODD: I have just a few questions to ask, Your Honor.
[Turning to the witness.] Whom have you talked to besides representatives of the Prosecution since you have arrived here in Nuremberg? Did you look at any paper?
PUHL: I do not know all their names, I believe a Mr. Kempner, Mr. Margolis...
MR. DODD: I am not asking you about the gentlemen of the Prosecution. I am asking you whom else you have talked to, if anybody, since you arrived here in Nuremberg. That doesn't require very much thought. Have you talked to anybody else since you arrived here or not?
PUHL: Only to the other prisoners in the corridor of our prison.
MR. DODD: To no one else?
PUHL: No one else.
MR. DODD: Now' are you absolutely sure about that?
PUHL: Yes, absolutely.
MR. DODD: Did you talk to Dr. Stuckart over in the witness wing, and about your testimony that you were going to give here this morning? Answer that question.
PUHL: Dr. Stuckart is one of the prisoners in the corridor of our witness wing.
MR. DODD: I didn't ask you that. I asked you if you didn't talk to him a day or two ago about your testimony in this case?
- MR. DODD: Now, I think it is awfully important to you that I remind you that you are under oath here. I am going to ask you again if you didn't talk to Dr: Stuckart over in this witness wing about your testimony or about the facts concerning Funk in this case?
PUHL: No, I talked about all sorts of general matters.
MR. DODD: You didn't talk to four or five of those other people over there either about your testimony or about the facts here?
PUHL: No, absolutely not.
MR. DODD: All right. You know a man by the name of Thoms, T-h-o-m-s?
PUHL: T-h-o-m-s? He was an official of the Reichsbank who worked in the vaults of the Reichsbank in Berlin.
MR. DODD: You know the man, you do know him?
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MR. DODD: Now, you talked to him about these deposits put in by the SS, didn't you, Herr Puhl?
PUHL: To Herr moms, no.
MR. DODD: You didn't talk to him?
PUHL: No, I have not seen Herr Thoms at all in Nuremberg, and only from a distance in Frankfurt.
MR. DODD: I am not referring to Nuremberg now. We will get away from that for a minute. I mean during the time that these deposits were being made in the Reichsbank. Did you not talk to Herr Thoms about the deposits?
PUHL: Yes, as has been stated here in the affidavit.
MR. DODD: Well, never mind the affidavit for a few minutes. I have a few questions I want to ask you. I am particularly interested in this matter of secrecy. What did you tell Thoms about the requirement of secrecy to respect to these SS deposits? Did you tell Thoms about the requirement of secrecy with respect to these SS deposits?
PUHL: I must add that I really talked with Herr Tonetti, because he was the person responsible; and Herr Thoms was only called in. I told both gentlemen that it was desired the matter be kept secret.
MR. DODD: Did you say that it had to be kept a secret and that they must not discuss it with anybody else; that it was highly secret, a special transaction, and if anybody asked him about it, he was to say that he was forbidden to speak about it? Did you tell that to Herr Thoms in the Reichsbank?
PUHL: Yes, that was the sense of what I said.
MR. DODD: Well, that is what I am asking you. Why did you tell Thoms that he was not to speak about it; that it was absolutely forbidden; that it was highly secret, if it was just the ordinary confidence reposed in bank officials attached to a business relationship?
PUHL: Because the Reichsbank President Funk personally conveyed this wish to me.
MR. DODD: Well, now, I think perhaps there is some confusion in our minds. You see, I clearly understood, and I expect others as well as the Tribunal may have in the courtroom this morning, that you were telling counsel for Funk that the secrecy attached to these transactions was not extraordinary but just the ordinary secrecy or confidence that banking people attach to their relationship with customers. Now, of course, that wasn't so, was it?
PUHL: The position, as I explained it earlier, is this: These confiscated valuables were usually rejected by us when brought to the bank; and if an exception was now being made, then it was a matter
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of course that a greater amount of secrecy, a special obligation to maintain secrecy, should be observed.
MR. DODD: I wish you would answer this question very directly. Wasn't there a special reason for special secrecy with respect to these deposits by the SS? You can answer that Yes or No.
PUHL: No, I did not perceive a special reason.
MR. DODD: Then why were you telling Thorns that it was highly secret and he was to tell anybody who asked him about it that he was forbidden to speak about it? You didn't ordinarily instruct your people to that effect, did you?
PUHL: Because I myself had received this instruction.
MR. DODD: That may be so, but that was a special secrecy, wasn't it? That wasn't your ordinary and customary way of doing business?
PUHL: The confiscated articles were usually rejected when they reached us; if the exception which we made in. this case became known, then it would immediately have provided an example for others; and that we wanted to avoid under all circumstances.
MR. DODD: You didn't want to discuss this matter on the telephone with Pohl of the SS, did you? You asked him to come to your office rather than talk about it on the telephoned
MR. DODD: Why was that, if it was just an ordinary business transaction?
PUHL: Because one never knew to what extent the telephone was being tapped, and thus the transaction might have become known to others.
MR. DODD: Well, you didn't talk to anybody much on the telephone; is that right? You were a man that never used the telephone out of the Reichsbank? Now, I think you realize fully well that there was a special reason in this case for not wanting to talk on the telephone and I think you should tell the Tribunal what it was.
PUHL: Yes; the reason was, as I have said repeatedly, that from the beginning special secrecy was desired, this desire was respected and adhered to everywhere, also as to this telephone call.
MR. DODD: And you are still insisting that this transaction was not a special secret transaction that you told Dr. Kempner was a "Schweinerei." Do you know what that word means?
MR. DODD: What does it mean? It means it smelled bad, doesn't it?
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PUHL: That we should not have done it.
MR. DODD: Now, you called up Thoms on more than one occasion to ask him how the deposits from the SS were coming in, didn't you?
PUHL: No, I saw Thoms relatively seldom, often not for months, as he could hardly come to my office.
MR. DODD: I didn't ask you if you saw him often. I asked you if you didn't call him on the telephone and ask him how the deposits were coming along?
PUHL: No, I took no further interest in the conduct of this particular transaction. Moreover, the requesting of a report from the cashier would have been the proper procedure.
MR. DODD: Did you tell him to get in touch with Brigadefuehrer Frank or Gruppenfuehrer or Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff of the SS? Did you tell that to Thoms?
PUHL: Yes, I repeat what I said earlier; when Pohl was in my office he told me that he would appoint two people to negotiate the transaction with the Reichsbank, and they were the two people just mentioned; I passed on their names to the cashier's office.
MR. DODD: What was the name under which these deposits were known in the Reichsbank?
PUHL: I heard of the name under which these deposits were known in the Reichsbank for the first time in Frankfurt, when I saw it in the files.
MR. DODD: Don't you know the name Melmer, M-e-l-m-e-r?
PUHL: Yes, from my time in Frankfurt.
MR. DODD: Didn't you on one occasion call Herr Thoms on the telephone and ask him how the "Melmer" deposits were coming along?
PUHL: I am afraid I didn't quite understand.
MR. DODD: Well, I say, didn't you on one occasion at least call Herr Thoms on the telephone in the Reichsbank and ask him how the "Melmer" deposits were coming along?
PUHL: No, I could not have put that question because I did not know the word "Melmer."
MR. DODD: You don't know that Melmer was the name of an SS man? You don't know that?
PUHL: No, I did not know that.
MR. DODD: I want you to look at an affidavit by Mr. Thoms, executed the 8th day of May 1946. You have seen this before, by the way; haven't you, you saw it yesterday? Answer that question, will
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you please, Mr. Witness. You saw this affidavit yesterday, the one I just sent up to you? You saw that yesterday, didn't you?
MR. DODD: You will observe in Paragraph 5 that Thoms, who executed this affidavit, said that he went to see you and that you told him that the Reichsbank was going to act as custodian for the SS and the receipt and disposition of deposits and that the SS would deliver the property, namely gold, silver and foreign currency; and you also explained that the SS intended to deliver numerous other kinds of property such as jewelry, and "we must find a way to dispose of it," and that he suggested to you, Mr. Puhl, that:
"We transmit the items to the Reichshauptkasse, as we did in the case of Wehrmacht booty, or that the items could be given by the Reichsfuehrer SS directly to the pawnshop for disposition, so that the Reichsbank had no more to do with it than it did in the case of confiscated Jewish property. Puhl told me that it was out of the question and that it was necessary that we arrange a procedure for handling this unusual property in order to hold the whole business secret."
Then he goes on to say:
"This conversation with Puhl occurred just a short time, approximately two weeks, before the first delivery, which occurred on 26 August 1942. The conversation was in the office of Herr Puhl; nobody else was present. I don't remember if Herr Frommknecht was present during the whole time; and Puhl said it was very important not to discuss this with anybody, that it was to be highly secret, that it was a special transaction, and if anybody asked about it that I should say I was forbidden to speak about it."
And on the next page you find, in Paragraph 8, Herr Thoms says:
"I was told by Herr Puhl that if I had any questions on this matter I was to get in touch with Brigadefuehrer Frank or with Gruppenfuehrer or Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff of the SS. I remember getting the telephone number of this office, and I think I recall it was furnished me by Herr Puhl. I called Brigadefuehrer Frank about this, and he stated that the deliveries would be made by truck and would be in charge of an SS man by the name of Melmer. The question was discussed whether Melmer should appear in uniform or civilian clothes, and Frank decided it was better that Melmer appear out of uniform."
And so on.
Then, moving on down, he says, in Paragraph 10:
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"When the first delivery was made, however, although Melmer appeared in civilian clothes, one or two SS men in uniform were on guard; and after one or two deliveries most of the people in the Hauptkasse and almost everybody in my office knew all about the SS deliveries."
Then moving on again, Paragraph 12:
"Included in the first statement sent by the Reichsbank, and signed by me, to Melmer was a question concerning the name of the account to which the proceeds should be credited. In answer to that I was orally advised by Melmer that the proceeds should be credited to the account of 'Max Heiliger.' I confirmed this on the telephone with the Ministry of Finance; and in my second statement to Melmer, dated 16 November 1942, I confirmed the oral conversation."
Now, the next paragraph is 13:
"After a few months, Puhl called me and asked me how the Melmer deliveries were going along and suggested that perhaps they would soon be over. I told Puhl that the way the deliveries were coming in it looked as though they were growing."
And then I call your attention to the next paragraph:
"One of the first hints of the sources of these items occurred when it was noticed that a packet of bills was stamped with a rubber stamp, 'Lublin.' This occurred some time early in 1943. Another hint came when some items bore the stamp, 'Auschwitz.' We all knew that these places were the sites of concentration camps. It was the tenth delivery, in November 1942, that dental gold appeared. The quantity of the dental gold became unusually great."
Now, there is another paragraph, but I particularly want to call your attention to the fact that Thoms says you called him and asked him how the Melmer deliveries were going, and also to the fact that you, as he states in here, impressed upon him the need for absolute secrecy.
And now, I want to ask you, after having seen that affidavit again-and you will recall that you told our people yesterday that that affidavit, insofar as your knowledge was concerned, was absolutely true-now I am going to ask you if it isn't a fact that there was a very special reason for keeping this transaction secret.
PUHL: In reading this statement, it is obvious that the desire for secrecy came from the SS; and this tallies exactly with what I said before, namely, that the SS emphasized that the desire for secrecy originated with them. And as we heard, they went so far as to invent an account-"Max Heiliger"-which was obviously, as is also
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clear from the statement, an account for the Reich Ministry of Finance. In other words, this tallies with what I have been saying, namely, that the obligation to keep the matter secret, this special obligation, was desired by the SS, and was carried out; and it applied even to the transfer of the equivalent value. As regards the second point, that I am supposed to have talked to Thoms, I already stated yesterday that I do not remember such a conversation among the very great number of conversations which I had at the bank daily. Nor can I imagine that I went to see him. That would have been a very unusual procedure.
I do not recall the expression "Melmer deliveries" in that connection; but I suggest that it is used in this statement for simplicity's sake, just to refer briefly to the subject under discussion.
MR. DODD: It isn't too important, but of course he says you called him on the telephone, that you didn't go to see him. However, I offer this as Exhibit USA-852.
THE PRESIDENT: This statement we have before us doesn't appear to be sworn.
MR. DODD: Well, the witness is here in Nuremberg. I will withdraw it and have it sworn to and submit it at a later date. I wasn't aware that it wasn't sworn to. He is here and available. I had him brought here in case any question was raised about him.
[Turning to the witness.] Now, the Defendant Goering knew something about these deposits, too, didn't he? Now that we are talking this thing all out, what about that?
PUHL: I was not aware that Herr Goering knew anything about these things.
MR. DODD: I show you a document that was found in the files of the Reich Treasury, the Reichsbank, rather. It is Number 3947-PS, and it is a new document. You haven't seen this, by the way.
Now, this is a memorandum in the files, dated 31 March 1944, and it says, its subject is:
"Utilization of jewels, and so forth, which have been acquired by official agencies in favor of the Reich.
"According to an oral confidential agreement between the Vice President, Mr. Puhl, and the chief of one of Berlin's public offices, the Reichsbank has taken over the converting of domestic and foreign moneys, gold and silver coins, precious metals, securities, jewels, watches, diamonds, and other valuable articles. These deposits will be processed under the code name 'Elmer.'
"The large amounts of jewelry, and so forth, acquired hereby have previously been turned over-after checking the number
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of pieces and, insofar as they had not been melted down, the approximate weights given-to the' Municipal Pawn Shop, Division III, Main Office, Berlin N 4, Elsasser Strasse 74, for the best possible realization of value."
I am not going to read all of it. It goes on with more material about the pawn shop, but I want to call your attention to the paragraph beginning:
"The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, informs the Reichsbank in his letter of 19 March 1944, copy of which is enclosed, that the considerable amounts of gold and silver objects, jewels, and so forth at the Main Office of Trustees for the East (Haupttreuhandstelle Ost) are to be delivered to the Reichsbank according to an order issued by Reich Ministers Funk and Graf Schwerin von Krosigk. The converting of these objects must be accomplished in the same way as the 'Melmer' deliveries.
"At the same time the Reich Marshal informs us on the converting of objects of the same kind which have been acquired in the occupied western territories. We do not know to which office these objects have been delivered and how they are liquidated."
Then there is more about an inquiry and more about this whole business, the pawn shops, and so on. But, first of all, I want to ask you: In the first paragraph it says "according to a confidential oral agreement between you and the chief of one of Berlin's public offices"-who was this chief of the Berlin public office who had a confidential agreement about this business with you?
PUHL: That was Herr Pohl. This is the agreement of which we spoke this morning.
MR. DODD: That was Herr Pohl of the SS, wasn't it?
MR. DODD: And that was this whole transaction; this whole SS transaction that this memorandum is about, that much of it is about?
PUHL: This is a report from our cashier, and in line with the obligation of secrecy the words "SS Economic Department" have been avoided and the more general term "the head of a Berlin public office" is used.
MR. DODD: And later on in the paragraph it refers to the incoming objects to be processed under the code name "Melmer," M-e-l-m-e-r. That is the name I asked you a few minutes ago if you recognized, isn't it?
PUHL: I didn't understand the question.
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MR. DODD: Well, the last sentence in this paragraph says: "All incoming deposits will be processed under the code name 'Melmer.' " M-e-l-m-e-r. That is the name I asked you about a few minutes ago, and you said you didn't know it.
PUHL: Yes, and this statement also shows that I couldn't have known it, because only now, in this statement, is it disclosed that the name "Melmer" was used.
MR. DODD: I think if you will read it you will see that it shows just the opposite. It says, according to the oral confidential agreement between you and Pohl of the SS the Reichsbank took over the selling, and so In, of gold, silver coins, and so forth. "All incoming deposits will be processed under the code name 'Melmer.' "
You are not telling this Tribunal that a transaction like this was going on in your bank over which you were Vice President, under a code name, and you didn't know it, and you were the man who was dealing directly with the SS man. Are you seriously saying that to this Court?
PUHL: Yes. The word "Melmer" was never used in my presence But our treasury directors could use code words for the accounts of clients who preferred not to give their own names and the names of their institutions; and the treasury made use of a code word in this case too.
MR. DODD: You will observe that this is the second time this morning that we have run across the name Melmer. Herr Thoms says you used that term in talking to him, and now we find it in one of your own bank memorandums, which is a captured document. Are you still saying that you don't know the term?
PUHL: This memorandum wasn't made for me, but for the responsible treasury official. And specifically in order to acquaint him with the arrangements made by the treasury, the memorandum states under what code name this transaction will be carried out.
MR. DODD: Herr Puhl, look up at me a minute, will you. Didn't you tell Lieutenant Meltzer, Lieutenant Margolis, and Dr. Kempner, when they were all together with you, that all of this business with the SS was common gossip in the Reichsbank? These gentlemen who are sitting right here, two of them at the United States table and one up here. You know them. Now I want you to think a minute before you answer that question.
PUHL: We talked of the fact that the secret was not kept, and in the long run it is not possible to keep a permanent secret in a bank; but that has nothing to do with it. What we were speaking of just now were the technical details, how this sort of transaction was carried out; those details did not become general knowledge. What
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naturally could not be avoided was the transaction as such becoming known.
MR. DODD: Now, in case you don't understand me, we are not talking about that. I think you cannot help but remember because this is only a day or so ago, and in this building, you had a conversation with these gentlemen, didn't you? And I am now asking you if it isn't a fact that you told them that this whole SS transaction with the bank was common gossip in the bank.
PUHL: There was a general whisper in the bank about this transaction; but details were, of course, not known.
MR. DODD: Are you worried about your part in this? I think
that is a fair question in view of your affidavit in your testimony.
Are you concerned about what you had to do with this business?
PUHL: No. I myself, once the matter had been set in motion, had nothing further to do with it. And in the statement, which you have submitted, Herr Thoms himself admits that he did not see me at all for months. The Directorate never discussed this matter in its meetings and was never approached for a decision.
MR. DODD: You know, when the Defendant Funk was on the stand, he said that you were the one who first told him about the SS business. Is that your version of it?
PUHL: No. My recollection is that the first conversation took place in the office of President Funk; and he told me, for reasons which I stated earlier, that we wanted to oblige the SS by taking over these "deposits"-that was the word used.
MR. DODD: You put it more strongly than that the other day when you thought about it, when you said "Can you imagine Himmler talking to me instead of Funk"? Do you remember saying that to these gentlemen?
PUHL: I'm sorry I didn't understand the last question.
MR. DODD: Well, it is not too important. I say, don't you remember telling these gentlemen, Lieutenant Meltzer, Lieutenant Margolis, don't you remember making this statement that Himmler wouldn't talk to you as Vice President of the Bank, but that he would talk to Funk. You were quite upset when we told you that Funk had said that you were the man who originated this.
MR. DODD: You got terribly upset about it. Don't you remember that?
MR. DODD: Finally, this question: Are you serious in saying that you didn't know about these deposits until you were
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interrogated in Frankfurt, or what the nature of them was? In view of the Thoms affidavit, this exhibit that I have just shown you, and the whole examination this morning, do you want your testimony to close with the statement that you actually didn't know what was in these deposits at any time?
PUHL: I saw the statement put before me today, the statement by the treasury official put before me today, for the first time in Frankfurt, and never before. Moreover, I did not and could not, as Vice President, concern myself with the details of this transaction, for I was responsible for general economic and currency policy and for credits and such things. Besides, we had a whole staff of highly qualified officials in our treasury office; and if it had been necessary, they would have had to make a report to the Directorate of the Reichsbank.
MR. DODD: Of course you don't deny that you knew there were jewels and silver and all these other things in the deposits, do you?
PUHL: The German term "Schmucksachen," jewelry, was always used.
MR. DODD: All right! Let's see what you did know was in the deposits? You knew there was jewelry, some jewelry, there. You knew there was some currency. You knew there were coins. You knew there were other articles. Now, the only thing you didn't know was the dental gold; is that so?
PUHL: That is true, certainly. It was known from the outset, and Herr Pohl had told me, that the greater part of these deposits contained mainly gold, foreign currency, silver coins, and, he added, also "some jewelry."
MR. DODD: Well, now, the question I think you can answer simply is: Everything that is mentioned in your affidavit except the dental gold you did know was on deposits from the SS. Don't you understand that question? I don't think it is complicated. You don't need to read anything, Herr Puhl. If you will just look up here, I am asking you if you know about everything that is mentioned in your affidavit except the dental gold.
PUHL: Well, I knew about jewelry, but I did not know in detail what kind of jewelry it was.
MR. DODD: I am not asking you about details. I am simply asking if you did know it was there. You knew there was currency there, and you knew there were other articles there. Those are about the only things that are mentioned excepting the dental gold, and that is the one thing you seem now not to have known.
PUHL: Yes, I knew, in general, that the deposits contained gold and foreign currency, and I repeat that the jewelry...
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MR. DODD: And jewelry?
PUHL: I knew that there was jewelry.
MR. DODD: So the only thing you say now you didn't know was the dental gold. That is all I am asking you. Why don't you answer that? It doesn't take very long. Isn't that so? The only thing you didn't know was the dental gold.
MR. DODD: Well, what else is mentioned you didn't know about?
PUHL: Spectacle frames, for example, were also mentioned.
MR. DODD: You didn't know about those either? All right, I will include those, spectacle frames and dental gold. These are the two things you didn't know about?
PUHL: Information I received contained only the general term "jewelry."
MR. DODD: They are the two matters that you had the most to worry about, aren't they, eye glass frames and dental gold?
I have no further questions, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: One moment, please. Don't take that man away.
[Turning to the witness.] Have you got a copy of your affidavit before you?
PUHL: Of 3 May, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you only got one copy of it?
PUHL: I must just look-Yes, I have another copy.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me have it, please, will you?
This document will be identified, and form part of the record. It had better be given whatever the appropriate number is.
MR. DODD: I believe, Mr. President, that it is already in evidence.
THE PRESIDENT: Not this particular document, it is not. This is the particular document he had before him; it has got a number of manuscript notes on it, and is in the English language.
Mr. Dodd, you had better look at it.
MR. DODD: All right, Sir.
I believe it would become Exhibit USA-851; I think that is the next number in sequence.
THE PRESIDENT: Exhibit USA-851; very well.
MR. DODD: I might say I think there is one question that might be helpful to the Tribunal with respect to this affidavit.
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Herr Puhl, you personally typed up a large part of this affidavit yourself, did you not, or wrote it up, or dictated it?
PUHL: A complete draft was put before me, and I altered it accordingly.
THE PRESIDENT: One moment; and then signed it after you had altered it?
[The witness nodded assent.]
THE PRESIDENT: Do not nod; please answer. You said, "A complete draft was put before me, and I altered it." And I ask you, did you then sign it?
MR. DODD: And did you also initial those places that you altered on the original? Did you not put your initials in each place that you wanted to make a change?
Isn't that so?
PUHL: No; we copied it again, it was completely rewritten...
MR. DODD: I know you copied it anew. Did you not mark the places that you wanted changed and say how you wanted it changed? You did, did you not?
PUHL: Yes; but that is of minor importance; for instance, the word for "Reichsbank" was changed to "Gold Discount Bank," and there were similar editorial changes.
MR. DODD: Well, I thought it might be helpful to the Tribunal to know that it was rewritten and initialed.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Francis Biddle, Member for the United States): Mr.Witness, I want to ask you a few questions. The first you heard about these transactions was from the Defendant Funk was it not?
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Did Funk tell you who had told him about them in the SS?
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Himmler had spoken to Funk about this? Who else, besides Himmler and Funk, was present when Funk talked to Himmler about this?
PUHL: That I do not know.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You do not know if Pohl was there also?
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PUHL: That I cannot say but I can say that from the very beginning the name of the Minister of Finance was mentioned in this connection. But whether he was personally present, I do not know.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Did Funk say to you what Himmler said to him?
PUHL: He asked that the facilities of the Reichsbank be placed at the disposal of the SS for this purpose.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Then shortly after that, you took the matter up at the meeting of the Board of Directors?
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Was Funk at that meeting?
PUHL: No, he was not.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What did you say to the Board of Directors?
PUHL: I reported to the Directorate briefly on the transaction.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What did you say to them?
PUHL: In a few words I described my conversation with Herr Funk and my conversation with Herr Pohl, and I confirmed the fact that the Reichsbank would take the valuables of the SS into their vaults.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): And then did the Board of Directors approve the action?
PUHL: Yes; there was no objection.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Now, the defendant Funk said to you that these objects had come "from the East," did he not?
rim; TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What did you understand that he meant by that phrase, "from the East"?
PUHL: Principally Poland, occupied Poland. But some Russian territories might also have been included in that phrase.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You knew that this was confiscated property, I presume?
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Now, you told Pohl that the Bank would perform certain services in handling the property, did you not?
PUHL: Pohl asked me to place the good services of the Bank at the disposal of his men. That I agreed to do.
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THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): And did those services include arranging the property, putting it in sacks and describing it?
PUHL: That was not talked about.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): I did not ask you whether it was talked about. I asked you whether the services included arranging the property and putting it in different kinds of containers and sacks. Is that what you did?
PUHL: Yes, that was a matter for the decision of the treasury directors; if they considered it necessary, they could do it.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Was that done?
PUHL: That I cannot know. It is a treasury matter.
DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I put two more questions, two very brief questions?
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Sauter.
DR. SAUTER: The one question, Witness, is this: You have been repeatedly asked here who has talked to you during the past few days.
PUHL: Here in Nuremberg?
DR. SAUTER: Yes, in Nuremberg. You know that several members of the Prosecution have discussed this with you during the last few days. I should like to establish here: Have I talked to you?
PUHL: No, I am seeing you for the first time in my life to-day.
DR. SAUTER: I just wanted to establish this, for the sake of correctness. And the second question is this-actually you have already confirmed this, but after the charge of the Prosecution I should like to hear it from you again-in all these negotiations or in the documents which have been submitted and which you have of course read, was mention ever made of the fact that these things came from concentration camps?
PUHL: The word "concentration camp" was used neither during the conversation with Herr Funk nor during the conversation with Herr Pohl.
DR. SAUTER: And Herr Funk did not give you an indication of that sort, either.
DR. SAUTER: Then I have no further questions, Mr. President; thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire, and the Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
15 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, you did offer 3947-PS as an exhibit, did you not?
MR. DODD: Yes, Sir, I did, as Exhibit USA-850, I believe it was.
THE PRESIDENT: 850, was it? Yes, and then that copy of the Puhl affidavit was USA-851?
MR. DODD: Yes, Sir, that is right. I did not offer the other affidavit because we discovered it wasn't sworn to as yet. I propose to do so and with your permission I delay the date. I have that witness here. This thing can't go on interminably, and I don't want to drag it on; but I would like to offer it as an affidavit when I can have him swear to it, and if there is going to be any demand for him I might respectfully suggest that Dr. Sauter states it now. He is not a prisoner, Mr. President, the witness Thoms. He is a free man in this country.
THE PRESIDENT: You are suggesting that he should be called now?
MR. DODD: If he is going to be called, I would suggest that it be done soon.
THE PRESIDENT: If he wants to cross-examine him he should be called now.
MR. DODD: I should be glad to have him now.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I am representing Attorney Dr. Kauffmann for the Defendant Goering. The Defendant Goering asked me to put two questions to the witness Puhl during his re-examination. The questions would probably be connected with the document which the Prosecution brought up in cross-examination of the witness Puhl, Document 3947-PS, of which the Prosecution read Page 2, Paragraph 3, beginning, "The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, Delegate for the Four Year Plan. . ."
THE PRESIDENT: One moment, Dr. Seidl. If you want to put questions to the witness Puhl on behalf of the Defendant Goering you can do so and Puhl will be recalled for that purpose.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, the difficulty consists of something else. The Defendant Goering says, and I think rightly, that he can put his questions to the witness with reason only if he has an opportunity of seeing the document to which the Prosecution referred. Therefore, during the cross-examination I wanted to have the guard pass on Document 3947-PS to Defendant Goering. That was refused, however, on the grounds that, by an order of the Commandant of the Prison, during the proceedings documents can no longer be handed, to those defendants whose cases have already been concluded.
15 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Although the document was read over the earphones the Defendant Goering and yourself shall certainly see the document, but the witness must be called during this sitting. You may see the document and the Defendant Goering may see the document, but the witness must be recalled for any questions at once.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, only excerpts were read from the document. In my opinion the Defendant Goering is right in saying: If I am to ask a sensible question I must know the whole document. I think there are only two possibilities; either the Prosecution must refrain from presenting new material during cross-examination of the defendants whose cases are said to have already been concluded. Or the defendant must be given the opportunity of seeing this evidence . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Don't go too fast!
DR. SEIDL: . . . or the defendant must be given the opportunity of seeing the evidence newly introduced, and when only excerpts of a document are read, he must have access to the whole document.
THE PRESIDENT: The document is only just over one page and there is only one paragraph in it which refers to Goering. And that paragraph has already been read. When I say one page, it is just one page of this English copy. I think you have a German translation before you.
DR. SEIDL: I have 31/z pages.
THE PRESIDENT: There is only one paragraph which relates to Goering.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, it is only a question of whether in the main proceedings I may give this photostat copy to the Defendant Goering or not. If this is possible, and. . .
THE PRESIDENT: You are going too fast!
DR. SEIDL: . . . and I see no reason why it should not be possible, then I will shortly be able to ask the witness Puhl any question that may be necessary; but I think the defendant is right in saying that he would like to see the entire contents of a document from which only excerpts have been read.
MR. DODD: Mr. President, I might be a little bit helpful. I would like to point out that Dr. SEIDL had the document for l0 minutes anyway during the recess; and also I would like to point out that we did not preclude him, as members of the Prosecution, from having it. It is a security measure altogether.
THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps it will satisfy you, Dr. SEIDL, if we order that the witness Puhl be recalled at 2 o'clock for Dr. SEIDL to put any questions to him that you wish. And of course he would
15 May 46
have the document. He has got the document now, and of course Goering will have the document, too.
DR. SEIDL: That is the difficulty, Mr. President. I have the document, but on account of the existing instructions I cannot hand it to the Defendant Goering.
THE PRESIDENT: You can give the document to Goering now.
DR. SEIDL: I am not allowed to do that.
THE PRESIDENT: I am telling you to do it, and they will let you do it.
Dr. Sauter, do you wish to cross-examine the man who has made a statement? Do you wish to cross-examine Thoms?
DR. SAUTER: Yes, if I may.
THE PRESIDENT: You do?
DR. SAUTER: Yes. Mr. President, may I comment on what Dr. SEIDL has just said? It isn't only a question concerning this one document which Dr. SEIDL just wanted to give to the Defendant Goering, but it is a general question of whether during the session a defense counsel is authorized to hand to a defendant documents which have been submitted. Hitherto this has been allowed, but now the security ruling is that defendants whose cases have been completed for the present may no longer be given any documents in the courtroom by their defense counsel. Defense Counsel feel that this is an unfair ruling, since, as the case of Goering shows, it can very easily happen that a defendant is in some way involved in a later case. And the request which we now direct to you and to the Court is that Defense Counsel should again be permitted to give the defendants documents here during the session, even if the case of the defendant in question has already been concluded. That is what Dr. SEIDL wanted to ask you.
Mr. President, may I say something else?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Sauter? You wanted to say something more to me?
DR. SAUTER: May I also point out the following: In the interrogation room down in the prison we have so far not been allowed to hand any documents to the prisoners with whom we were speaking. Thus, if I want to discuss a document with my client, I have to read the whole of it to him. And when 10, 12, or 15 defense counsel are down there in the evening, it is almost...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal is of the opinion that any document which is handed to the defendants' counsel may be handed to the defendants themselves by the counsel and that it
15 May 46
does not make any difference that a particular defendant's case has been closed with reference to that rule.
DR. SAUTER: We are very grateful to you, Mr. President, and we hope that your ruling will not in practice encounter any difficulties.
THE PRESIDENT: Well then now, you want to cross-examine Thoms?
DR. SAUTER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Is Thoms here? Can he be brought here at once?
MR. DODD: He is on his way-he is probably right outside the door.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, would the Marshal see if he is available.
MR. DODD: I have not had time, Mr. President, to have the affidavit sworn to because I have not seen the man.
THE PRESIDENT: No, but as far as his cross-examination is concerned, he can be put under oath here.
MARSHAL: No, Sir, he is not here yet.
MR. DODD: He is on his way.
THE PRESIDENT: He is not available.
MR. DODD: He is on his way. He was in Lieutenant Meltzer's office a minute ago and he went out to get him.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, he can be called then at 2 o'clock after the other witness.
Now, Dr. Siemers, would you be ready?
DR. SIEMERS: Your Honors, may I say, first of all, how I intend to proceed in the presentation of my case?
In accordance with the suggestion of the Court, I should like to call Raeder as a witness in connection with all the documents which the Prosecution has submitted against him. I have given all these documents to Raeder so that he will have them before him on the witness stand, and no time will be lost by handing him each one individually. The British Delegation has kindly compiled the documents which were not included in the Raeder Document Book, in a new Document Book 10a. I assume that this document book is in the possession of the Tribunal.
Thus, to facilitate matters, I shall give the page number of the English Document Book 10a or the English Document Book 10 in the case of each document.
15 May 46
At the same time, if the Tribunal agrees, I intend already now to submit from my own document books those documents which in each case are connected with the matter under discussion. Thank you.
May I then ask that Admiral Raeder be called to the witness stand.
[The Defendant Raeder took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name.
ERICH RAEDER (Defendant): Erich Raeder.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. SIEMERS: Admiral Raeder, may I ask you first to tell the Tribunal briefly about your past and your professional career?
RAEDER: I was born in 1876 in Wandsbek near Hamburg. I joined the Navy in 1894 and became an officer in 1897. Then normal promotion: two years at the naval academy; in each year, three months leave to study languages; in Russia during the Russo-Japanese War. 1906 to 1908 in the Reich Navy Office, in Von Taproots Intelligence Division, responsible for the foreign press and the publications Marine Rundschau and Nautikus.
1910 to 1912, Navigation Officer on the Imperial Yacht Eohenzollern. 1912 to the beginning of 1918, First Chief Naval Staff Officer and Chief of Staff to Admiral Hipper who was in command of the battle cruisers.
After the first World War in the Admiralty, as Chief of the Central Division with Admiral Von Trotha. Then two years of writing at the naval archives: history of naval war. From 1922 to 1924, with the rank of Rear Admiral, Inspector of Training and Education in the Navy. 1925 to 1928, as Vice Admiral, chief of the Baltic naval station at Kiel.
On 1 October 1928 Reich President Von Hindenburg named me Chief of the Navy Command in Berlin, at the suggestion of Reich Minister of Defense, Groener.
In 1935 I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and on 1 April 1939 Grossadmiral.
On 30 January 1943 resigned as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy; I received the title of Admiral Inspector of the Navy, but remained without any official duties.
15 May 46
DR. SIEMERS: I should like to come back to one point. You said that in 1935 you became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. This was only, if I am right, a new name?
RAEDER: It was only a new name.
DR. SIEMERS: So you were head of the Navy from 1928 to 1943?
DR. SIEMERS: After the Versailles Treaty Germany had an army of only 100,000 men, and a navy of 15,000 men, with officers. In relation to the size of the Reich, the Wehrmacht was thus extremely small.
Was Germany in the twenties in a position to defend herself with this small Wehrmacht against possible attacks by neighboring states, and with what dangers did Germany have to reckon in the twenties?
RAEDER: In my opinion, Germany was not at all in a position to defend herself effectively against attacks, even of the smallest states, since she had no modern weapons; the surrounding states, Poland in particular, were equipped with the most modern weapons, while even the modern fortifications had been taken away from Germany. he danger which Germany constantly faced in the twenties was . . .
DR. SIEMERS: One moment. Now continue, please.
RAEDER: The danger which Germany constantly faced in the twenties was a Polish attack on East Prussia with the object of severing this territory, already cut off from the rest of Germany by the Corridor, and occupying it. The danger was especially clear to Germany, because at that time Vilna was occupied by the Poles, in the midst of peace with Lithuania; and Lithuania took away the Memel area. In the south, Flume was also taken away, without objection being raised by the League of Nations or anyone else. It was, however, quite clear to the German Government of those days that one thing which could not be allowed to happen to Germany during that time of her weakness was the occupation of East Prussia and its separation from the Reich. Our efforts were therefore aimed at preparing ourselves to oppose a Polish invasion of East Prussia with all possible means.
DR. SIEMERS: You said that it was feared that such an invasion might take place. Did not several border incidents actually occur in the twenties?
RAEDER: Yes, indeed.
DR. SIEMERS: Is it true that these dangers were recognized, not only by you and by military circles, but also by the governments in the twenties, especially by the Social Democrats and by Stresemann?
15 May 46
RAEDER: Yes. I already said that the government, too, realized that such an invasion could not be allowed to happen.
DR. SIEMERS: Now, the Prosecution has accused you of conduct contrary to international law and contrary to existing treaties, even in the time before Hiller.
On 1 October 1928 you became Chief of the Navy Command, and thus rose to the highest position in the German Navy. Did you, in view of the dangers you have described, use all your power to build up the German Navy within the framework of the Versailles Treaty, particularly with the object of protecting East Prussia?
RAEDER: Yes, I exerted all my strength for the reconstruction of the Navy, and I came to consider this as my life work. In all stages of this period of naval reconstruction, I met with great difficulties; and as a result, I had to battle in one way or another constantly throughout those years in order to put this reconstruction into effect. Perhaps I became rather one-sided, since this fight for the reconstruction of the Navy filled all my time and prevented me from taking part in any matters not directly concerned with it. In addition to material reconstruction, I put every effort into the formation of a competent officer corps and well-trained, especially well-disciplined, crews.
Admiral Doenitz has already commented on the result of this training of our men and officers, and I should like only to confirm that these German naval men earned full recognition in peace-time, both at home and abroad, for their dignified and good behavior and their discipline; and also during the war, when they fought to the end in an exemplary manner, in complete unity, with irreproachable battle ethics, and, in general, did not participate in any kind of atrocities. Also in the occupied areas to which they came, in Norway for instance, they earned full approval of the population for their good and dignified conduct.
DR. SIEMERS: Since for fifteen years you were head of the Navy and reconstructed it in those years, can it be said that as chief of the Navy you are responsible for everything that happened in connection with this reconstruction?
RAEDER: I am fully responsible for it.
DR. SIEMERS: If I am correct, the only qualification would be the date 1 October 1928.
RAEDER: As regards the material rebuilding.
DR. SIEMERS: Who were your superiors, as regards the reconstruction of the Navy? You could not, of course, act with complete independence.
15 May 46
RAEDER: I was subordinate, firstly, to the Reichswehrminister and, through him, to the Reich Government, since I was not a member of the Reich Government; and secondly, I also had to obey the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht in these matters. From 1925 to 1934 the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht was Reich President Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, and after his death on 1 August 1934, Adolf Hitler.
DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, in this connection may I submit Exhibit Number Raeder-3, a short excerpt from the Constitution of the German Reich. It is Number Raeder-3, in Document Book 1 on Page 9. Article 47 reads:
"The Reich President has the supreme command of all the Armed Forces of the Reich."
I also submit the Reich Defense Law, as Exhibit Number Raeder-4, Document Book 1, Page 11. I have to return to it later, but now I refer to Article 8 of the Reich Defense Law, which reads as follows:
"The command is exclusively in the hands of the lawful superior.
"The Reich President is the Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces. Under him, the Reich Minister for Defense has authoritative powers over all the Armed Forces. At the head of the Reich Army is a General, as Chief of the Army Command; at the head of the Reich Navy, an Admiral, as Chief of the Naval Command."
These paragraphs remained in full effect under the National Socialist regime. I refer to them only because they confirm what the witness has said. In regard to naval reconstruction, he was thus third in authority: Reich President, Reich Minister of Defense, and then the head of the branches of the Wehrmacht.
Admiral, the Prosecution accuses you of building up the Navy: First, in violation of the Versailles Treaty; secondly, behind the back of the Reichstag and the Reich Government; and thirdly, with the intention of waging aggressive wars.
I should like to ask you now whether the reconstruction of the Navy was undertaken for aggressive or defensive purposes. Make a chronological distinction, however, and speak first about the period overshadowed by the Versailles Treaty, that is, from 1928 until the Naval Agreement with England on 18 June 1935.
My question is: Did the reconstruction of the Navy in this period take place for purposes of aggression as the Prosecution has asserted?
RAEDER: The reconstruction of the Navy did not in any respect take place for the purposes of aggressive war. No doubt it constituted some evasion of the Versailles Treaty. Before I go into
15 May 46
details, I should like to ask permission to read a few short quotations from a speech which I made in 1928 in Kiel and Stralsund, the two largest garrisons of my naval station. This speech was delivered before the public during a week devoted to an historical anniversary; and when I took up my duties in Berlin, it was handed as my program to Minister Severing, who regarded me with some suspicion at that time. That is the...
DR. SIEMERS: One moment. Raeder's statements in the year 1928 show his attitude of that time much more clearly than his present recollections; and for that reason I think the Tribunal will agree that I submit this speech as Exhibit Number Raeder-6, Document Book 1, Page 15. The speech itself begins on Page 17. I shall read...
THE PRESIDENT: Yes?
DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, it would take five or ten minutes, so may I ask whether this is a proper time to adjourn? I am willing to continue, however.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
15 May 46
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, will you please grant permission for the Defendant Sauckel to be absent from the courtroom from the sessions of the 16th to the 18th inclusive so that he may prepare his defense?
THE PRESIDENT: Be absent in order to prepare his defense? Yes, certainly.
MR. DODD: Mr. President, I would like to suggest that, before the witness Puhl is recalled, the witness Thoms be called. I think it will save some of the Tribunal's time. I think, from what I know of the prospective testimony, there may be questions that will arise in the mind of the Tribunal which it would like to put to the witness Puhl after having heard the witness Thoms.
And also I would ask, so as to 'tee absolutely fair to all concerned, that the witness Puhl be in the courtroom when the witness Thoms testifies. I think he should have that opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any objections, Dr. Sauter?
DR. SAUTER: No, I have no objections.
MR. DODD: May we call the witness Thoms?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, call Thoms, and have Puhl somewhere in the courtroom where he can hear.
The witness Thoms took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name?
ALBERT THOMS (Witness): Albert Thoms.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
MR. DODD: Mr. President, I am aware that he has been called for cross-examination. However, there are one or two matters, now material, which were not included in the affidavit, and to save time I would like to bring those out before the cross-examination takes place.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
MR. DODD: Herr Thoms, you executed a statement on the 8th day of May 1946. Is that so?
MR. DODD: And you signed it?
15 May 46
MR. DODD: And everything in it was true?
MR. DODD: And is true now, of course?
MR. DODD: I wish you would just look at it for the purposes of certainty and identify it now. Is that the statement that you signed, Herr Thoms?
MR. DODD: All right. Now, I have one or two questions to ask you about it. I wish to offer it, Mr. President, as Exhibit USA-852. You know this gentleman sitting to your left, do you not?
MR. DODD: That is Mr. Puhl, is it not?
MR. DODD: He was the Vice President of the Reichsbank when you were employed there.
MR. DODD: Now, did you ever have a conversation with Herr Puhl about any special deposit which was coming to the Reichsbank and about which you should maintain the utmost secrecy?
MR. DODD: Tell us when that conversation took place, what was said, and if anyone else was present at the time.
THOMS: This conversation took place in the summer of 1942. I was called to Vice President Puhl's office by Herr Frommknecht, a Treasury official. Herr Frommknecht took me to Herr Puhl, and there Herr Puhl disclosed the fact that a special transaction with the office of the Reichsfuehrer SS was to be undertaken. Do you want me to explain it in detail?
MR. DODD: Tell us everything that he said to you.
THOMS: Herr Puhl told me that the affair was to be kept absolutely secret and confidential. Not only would articles be delivered which would be automatically taken over in the ordinary course of business of the Reichsbank, but also the disposal of jewelry and other articles would have to be effected. Upon my objection that we had no expert men for such matters, he replied that we would have to find a Way to convert these articles. First I made the suggestion that these special articles should then be sent to the Reich Main Treasury-that is, the Main Treasury of
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the Reich Government-which also held all booty of the Army. However, Herr Puhl thought that this matter should not go through the Reich Main Treasury, but should be handled by the Reichsbank in some other way. Thereupon I suggested that these articles could be sent to the Municipal Pawnbroker's Office in Berlin, exactly as the deliveries from the confiscated Jewish property had been dealt with before. Herr Puhl agreed to this suggestion.
MR. DODD: Now, when did the first of these shipments arrive?
THOMS: The first delivery came to the Reichsbank during the month of August, as far as I can remember.
MR. DODD: 1942?
MR. DODD: Does the name Melmer mean anything to you?
THOMS: Melmer was the name of the SS man who subsequently brought these valuables to the Reichsbank. Under this code word all deliveries of the SS were later entered in the books of the bank.
MR. DODD: Did you ever mention the name or the word "Melmer" to Puhl, and did he ever mention it to you?
THOMS: The name '`Melmer" was not mentioned by Vice President Puhl to me, but was mentioned by me to Vice President Puhl as I had to inform him about the start of the entire transaction and particularly about the carrying out of the transaction regarding the conversion of the valuables. In accordance with the suggestion of the office of the Reichsfuehrer SS, the money equivalent was transferred to the Reich Ministry of Finance into an account which was given the name "Max Heiliger." I duly informed Vice President Puhl briefly about these facts.
MR. DODD: Did you ever tell Puhl the nature of the material that you were receiving in the SS shipments?
THOMS: After some months Vice President Puhl asked me how the "Melmer,' affair was getting along. I explained to him that, contrary to the expectation that there would really be very few deliveries, deliveries were increasing and that apart from gold and silver coins they contained particularly a great deal of jewelry, gold rings, wedding rings, gold and silver fragments, dental gold, and all sorts of gold and silver articles.
MR. DODD: What did he say when you told him there were jewels and silver and dental gold and other articles?
THOMS: May I first of all add a few things. I drew his attention especially to the fact that on one occasion something like 12 kilograms of pearls had been collected and that I had never before seen such an unusual amount in all my life.
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MR. DODD: Wait a minute! What was it?
THOMS: They were pearls and pearl necklaces.
MR. DODD: Did you also tell him you were receiving a quantity of eye-glass rims?
THOMS: I cannot swear to that at the moment, but I described the general character of these deliveries to him. Therefore, I think, I probably used "spectacles," and similar words; but I would not like to state it on my oath.
MR. DODD: Was Puhl ever in the vaults when this material was being looked through?
THOMS: On several occasions he visited the strong-rooms of the bank to inspect the gold stored there and particularly to inform himself about the type of stores. The deliveries of the "Melmer" transactions were kept Inca special part of one of the main safes, so that on those occasions Herr Puhl must also have seen the boxes and sacks full of those deliveries. Nearby in the corridor of the vault the articles of the "Melmer" deliveries were being dealt with.
I am firmly convinced that when he walked through the strongrooms, Herr Puhl must have seen these objects, as they were lying quite openly on the table and everyone who visited the strongroom could see them.
MR. DODD: There were about 25 or 30 people that sorted this stuff out, were there not, before it was shipped away for melting and for sale in the pawn shops?
THOMS: I would say that there were not 25 to 30 people who sorted these things-in the course of a day perhaps 25 to 30 people would visit the strong-rooms to carry out some official business there. For this particular business some four or five officials were occupied in sorting out the things, getting them ready.
MR. DODD: And everyone under your supervision was sworn to secrecy? They didn't talk about this business; they were forbidden to do so, were they not?
THOMS: There were strict instructions in the bank that secret matters must not be discussed, not even with a colleague of one's own department, if that colleague did not himself also work at the same job. So that...
MR. DODD: Well, this was a super-secret matter, wasn't it? It wasn't the ordinary secrecy that attended. Wasn't there a special secrecy surrounding these deliveries?
THOMS: Quite right. It was quite an exceptional affair and it had to be kept especially secret. I would say that it went beyond
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the limits of top secrecy. For even I had been strictly forbidden to talk to anybody about it; and I said at the time when I left Vice President Puhl, after the first conversation, that I would however inform the leading officials in the Treasury, because after all my superiors must be informed about this business.
MR. DODD: Was there a report made about these "Melmer" deposits to the Directorate?
THOMS: No. The matter was treated as a verbal agreement. It was after all an exceptional case and only one account was kept of the deliveries made, which was called the "Melmer account." This account was transmitted by the head cashier's office to the foreign exchange department which, in turn, had to take further steps with the Directorate of the Reichsbank.
MR. DODD: Well, the Directorate had to approve the handling of this type of thing, did it not? You weren't allowed to handle materials like this without the approval of the bank Directorate?
THOMS: In matters concerning gold particularly instructions had to be given and approved respectively by the Board of Directors. I could therefore never act independently. Generally the instructions were given to the Treasury in writing and they were signed by at least two officials and one member of the Board of Directors. So that it was quite unique that in this case instructions were given in a verbal form.
MR. DODD: By the way, Herr Thoms, you have seen the film this noontime? We have shown you a film, haven't we?
MR. DODD: After seeing that film, are you able to say whether or not that represents a fair representation of the appearance of some of the shipments that were received by the Reichsbank from the SA
THOMS: I may say that this film and the pictures which I have seen in it were typical of the "Melmer" deliveries. Perhaps I should qualify that by saying that the quantities shown in this film were in excess of the quantity of dental gold and particularly jewelry which came with the first deliveries. Only later did these amounts increase, so that the quantities which we have seen in this film had actually not yet been seen by the Reichsbank because they were contained in boxes or trunks which until then had remained locked. But generally the material which I have seen in that film is typical of the "Melmer" deliveries.
MR. DODD: All right, sir. Now, approximately-I don't expect a completely accurate answer, but approximately how many shipments did you receive of this stuff from the SS?
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THOMS: As nearly as I can remember at the moment, there must have been more than 70 deliveries, possibly 76 or 77. I can't tell you exactly at the moment, but that must be about the right figure.
MR. DODD: Very well, I have no further questions.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, what is your occupation?
THOMS: A councillor of the Reichsbank.
DR. SAUTER: Where do you live?
THOMS: Berlin-Steglitz. Then I-after my home was bombed I lived at Potsdam, Neu-Fahrland.
DR. SAUTER: Did you volunteer for the examination of the Prosecution or how did you happen to be interrogated...
THOMS: I was...
DR. SAUTER: Please, will you wait until I have finished my question so that the interpreters can keep up with us? Will you please make a pause between question and answer.
THOMS: I was ordered here.
DR. SAUTER: By whom?
THOMS: Probably by the Prosecution.
DR. SAUTER: Are you a free man?
THOMS: Yes, I am free.
DR. SAUTER: Did you receive the summons in writing?
THOMS: No. I was asked orally yesterday in Frankfurt to come to Nuremberg.
DR. SAUTER: Frankfurt? Are you living in Frankfurt at the moment?
DR. SAUTER: Herr Thoms, where were you living on 8 May? That is a week ago today?
THOMS: On 8 May of this year?
DR. SAUTER: You are Herr Thoms, aren't you?
DR. SAUTER: Yes, on 8 May, a week ago today.
THOMS: In Frankfurt.
DR. SAUTER: You were interrogated there, weren't you?
THOMS: That is quite right. I was interrogated at Frankfurt.
DR. SAUTER: That is the affidavit which the Prosecutor has just put to you?
15 May 46
DR. SAUTER: How did you come to make the affidavit? Did you volunteer as a witness, or how did this happen?
THOMS: I want to point out to you that already a year ago when I was working at Frankfurt, I voluntarily gave the American offices the details of the transactions which were known to me in the matter of the gold of the Reichsbank.
DR. SAUTER: I see. So last year you already offered yourself as a witness?
THOMS: I wouldn't say as a witness in this matter. I merely placed myself at their disposal for the clarification of Reichsbank affairs for American purposes.
DR. SAUTER: Yes. Did you ever discuss this matter with the President of the Reichsbank, Funk?
THOMS: No. During my term of service, I never had an opportunity of talking to Minister Funk.
DR. SAUTER: Have you any positive knowledge, perhaps from some other source, as to whether President of the Reichsbank Funk had exact knowledge of these things, or is that also unknown to you?
THOMS: I cannot say anything about that either, because these matters happened on a higher level, which I could not judge.
DR. SAUTER: Then I would be interested in hearing something about this deposit, or whatever you call it, which was under the name "Melmer"?
THOMS: I want to point out that this was not a deposit, but that these were deliveries which were delivered under the name "Melmer." Insofar as the transactions were those which the Reichsbank had to deal with, the Reichsbank took over these articles directly, and insofar as it was a question of matters not pertaining to the bank, the Reichsbank to a certain extent was the trustee for the conversion of these things.
DR. SAUTER: More slowly, more slowly. Why was this matter, whether we call it a deposit or anything else, not dealt with under the name "SS," why was it given the name "Melmer"? Did you ask anybody about that, Witness?
THOMS: I have already mentioned at the beginning of the examination that this was a particularly secret affair in connection with which the name of the depositor was not to appear. In this case, therefore, it was Vice President Puhl who had to decide the way this affair was to be dealt with; and he desired and ordered this.
DR. SAUTER: Did only officials of the Reichsbank come to the strong-room where these things were kept, or did other persons also
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have access to it, for instance, people who had a safe in the strongroom?
THOMS: The Reichsbank did not have any private depositors, that is to say, we did not have any locked deposits which belonged to customers of the Reichsbank-at least not in those vaults. Deposits from private customers were in another vault so that there was no contact between the deposits of the bank and the deposits of the customers.
DR. SAUTER: But quite a number of officials went down there. You have already said that.
There is one thing I am not clear about: On the one hand, you have told us that these articles were lying about openly on tables so that everybody could see them; and on the other hand, you said previously towards the end of your statement that these things were kept in locked boxes and trunks. How does that tally?
THOMS: I have stated that these things were delivered in closed boxes and trunks, and stored in them. When from time to time the deliveries were inventoried, the delivery which was to be dealt with naturally had to be opened and the contents counted, examined, and re-weighed. That, of course, could only be done by spreading out the contents, counting them, checking the weight, and then locking them in new containers.
DR. SAUTER: Did you perhaps on your own initiative tell Herr Puhl-after all, you were a bank councillor, therefore also a senior official-that you had misgivings about the whole business? Please think over the question and give your answer very carefully, because you are under oath.
THOMS: First of all, I have to say that I belonged to the group of officials of middle rank, but that is just in passing. Then, of course-or let me put it this way-when an official has worked for thirty years or longer for a concern and if throughout the long years of his career he has always had the feeling that the directors were irreproachable, then, I believe, he could have no misgivings if in a special case he is instructed to keep silent about a certain transaction. He would not object to carrying out this order. I have already said that the term "booty" was not unknown to us officials in the Reichsbank, because there was the order that all booty goods which came in from the Army were to be delivered directly to the Treasury, that is the Treasury of the Reich Government; and we in the Bank thought, of course, that the booty from the SS troops was to go through the Reichsbank. An official of the Reichsbank cannot very well oppose such an order. If the Directors of the Bank give him instructions, then he has to carry them out, because of the oath which he has sworn.
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DR. SAUTER: So that, Witness, if I understand you correctly, you are telling us that at the beginning, at any rate, you considered that the matter was in order, and there was nothing wrong with it?
THOMS: At the beginning? As a matter of fact, I considered it correct that it should be carried right through.
DR. SAUTER: Did you ever have any doubts that this might be, let us say, criminal?
THOMS: Certainly I would have had doubts if I had had the knowledge and experience then which I have today.
DR. SAUTER: That is the same with everyone.
THOMS: Yes, quite right. As far as that is concerned, I had to suppress any doubts; I would not admit any doubts, because the affair was not known only to me, it was known to the Reichsbank Directorate and in the administration office of the Main Treasury. The valuables in the strong-room were checked every night by a deputy director of the Main Treasury, so that I was responsible only for the technical carrying out of this business; and the responsibility for the correctness of this transaction was not within my competence.
DR. SAUTER: I do not know about the responsibility but, Witness, I asked you, did you ever have any doubts, and at what precise moment did you consider the whole affair criminal? Did you consider it criminal?
THOMS: We assumed that these were goods which the SS-after they had partly burned down towns in the East, particularly in the battle for Warsaw-we thought that afterwards they captured this booty in the houses and then delivered this booty to our Bank.
DR. SAUTER: As booty?
THOMS: Yes. If a military department delivers booty goods it does not follow that an official who is entrusted with the handling of these things would have to consider these deliveries as being criminal.
DR. SAUTER: When taking over these articles, did you think, or did Vice President Puhl tell you, or at least hint to you, that these gold articles might have been taken from victims in the concentration camps?
DR. SAUTER: You did not think of that, did you?
DR. SAUTER: Not at all?
THOMS: Once we saw the name "Auschwitz," and another time the name "Lublin," on some slips of paper which we found. I said
15 May 46
that in connection with Lublin we found this inscription on some packets of bank notes which came in to be dealt with and which were then returned to the Polish Bank to be cashed. Strangely enough, the same packets came back later after they had been dealt with by the bank. Consequently, here the explanation was that these could not be deliveries from a concentration camp, since they had come to us through official bank channels. As regards the camp at Auschwitz-well, I cannot say today with what sort of deliveries these slips of paper were found, but it is possible that they were slips attached to some notes, and perhaps they may have been deliveries of foreign bank notes, from the concentration camps. But then there were arrangements according to which prisoners of war, or prisoners, could exchange their notes for other money in the camp, so that such deliveries could have been made through legal channels.
DR. SAUTER: If I understand you correctly, Witness, then, the meaning of what you have just told us is that you still considered the matter legal or lawful even when in 1943 you saw the inscription "Auschwitz" and "Lublin" on some items. Even then you considered the matter legal, didn't you?
DR. SAUTER: Well, then, why did you in your affidavit of 8 May 1946-it is true it is not a sworn affidavit-tell the story somewhat differently? Perhaps I can read the sentence to you...
THOMS: Please, do.
DR. SAUTER: . . . and you can then tell me if I misunderstood you or whether the official took it down incorrectly. It says there, after first of all saying that you considered the matter to be legal:
"One of the first indications of the origin of these articles was when it was noticed that a packet of bills, presumably bonds . . I'
THOMS: No, they were bank notes.
DR. SAUTER: ". . . were stamped 'Lublin.' "
THOMS: This occurred early in 1943.
DR. SAUTER: "Another indication was the fact that some articles bore the stamp 'Auschwitz.' We all knew these places were the sites of concentration camps. In connection with the tenth delivery in November 1942" that is, previously-"gold teeth appeared, and the quantity of gold teeth grew to an unusual extent."
So much for the quotation from your unsworn statement of 8 May 1946. Now, will you please tell us: Does that mean the same
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as you said a little earlier, or does it mean something different in your opinion?
THOMS: That in my opinion tallies with my statement. We could not assume that deliveries which came through the concentration camp had to be absolutely illegal. We only observed that gradually these deliveries became larger. A delivery of notes from a concentration camp need not be illegal because of this. It might have been an official calling-in, especially as we did not know the regulations applicable to concentration camps. It would be perfectly possible that these people had the right to sell the articles in their possession or give them in payment.
DR. SAUTER: The dollars which you have also seen in that film would hardly be sold by anybody.
THOMS: May I point out to you that I was not of the opinion that these bank notes necessarily came from concentration camps. I merely said that the word "Lublin" was on some of the packets of bank notes. That might have pointed to their having come from a concentration camp; but it did not necessarily mean that these particular notes came from that concentration camp, and the same applies to "Auschwitz." The name "Auschwitz" cropped up. There may have been a certain suspicion, but we had not any proof, and we did not feel that we were in any way called upon to object to these deliveries of the SS.
DR. SAUTER: Consequently, Witness, apparently because you put this construction on it, you did not use the occasion to make a report to Vice President Puhl or the Directorate, or to voice any doubts; you did not have any cause for that?
THOMS: I called Vice President Puhl's attention to the composition of these deliveries as early as a few months after the arrival of the first delivery. Therefore, the general character of these deliveries was known to Herr Puhl. He knew the contents of the deliveries.
DR. SAUTER: But you told us earlier that the character of these deliveries did not seem peculiar to you. You considered that it was booty. And now you want to say that you called Vice President Puhl's attention to it and that he must have noticed something peculiar.
THOMS: I did not say that. I did not say that Herr Puhl must have noticed something peculiar. I merely said that, if any objections were to be raised, then they would have to come from Herr Puhl, since he was as well aware of the character of these deliveries as I was. And, if there was any suspicion, then Herr Puhl's suspicion would probably have been aroused more strongly than mine.
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DR. SAUTER: Witness, you told us earlier that special secrecy was ordered in this connection, but at the same time you mentioned that quite apart from this SS affair, there were also other business matters which apparently had to be handled with special secrecy. Is that true?
DR. SAUTER: You need not give us any names, but I would only like to know what the other affairs were?
THOMS: These are matters which had to do with the conduct of the war. There were transactions in gold, and perhaps also in foreign currency, et cetera.
DR. SAUTER: They were not criminal affairs, therefore?
THOMS: No, not criminal.
DR. SAUTER: Then, Witness . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal thinks that this is getting too far away from the point really to ask him about other deliveries.
DR. SAUTER: Yes, but the question is already answered, Mr. President.
Witness, because of this secrecy in connection with the SS deliveries which reached the Reichsbank, I should be interested in knowing, insofar as they were realized by the Reichsbank, whether any accounts were rendered, as I assume to be the case from the documents before us?
DR. SAUTER: By your Main Treasury?
DR. SAUTER: To whom were these accounts sent?
THOMS: They were sent to the Reichsfuehrer SS' office direct; that is to say, they were collected by Melmer directly from the bank.
DR. SAUTER: Did they not go to any other office?
THOMS: And then they were officially passed on to the Foreign Currency Department.
DR. SAUTER: To the Foreign Currency Department, that is, to a State Department?
THOMS: No, that is a department of the Reichsbank which in turn is the link with the Directorate.
DR. SAUTER: Were not these accounts also transmitted, or did they not go, to the Reich Ministry of Finance?
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THOMS: The liaison man, Melmer, always received two accounts, that is, in duplicate. Whether the Reichsfuehrer's office sent one copy to the Reich Ministry of Finance, I do not know.
DR. SAUTER: Were these accounts really treated confidentially, that is, kept secret?
DR. SAUTER: For instance, the accounts with the Municipal Pawn Broker's Office?
THOMS: In the account with the Municipal Pawn Broker's Office the depositor was not named.
DR. SAUTER: What happened to these gold teeth?
THOMS: They were melted down by the Prussian State Mint. The gold was then refined and the fine gold was returned to the Reichsbank.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, you said earlier that at the beginning of 1943 certain articles had arrived stamped "Auschwitz." I think you said at the beginning of 1943.
THOMS: Yes, but I cannot tell you the exact date now.
DR. SAUTER: You said "We all knew that there was a concentration camp there." Did you really know that as early as the beginning of 1943, Witness?
THOMS: Naturally, now I can...
DR. SAUTER: Yes, now of course, we all know it. I am talking about the time at which this happened.
THOMS: I cannot say that for certain. I made that statement on the strength-I beg your pardon, that is, probably-these deliveries were probably not handled until as late as 1945 or 1944 in the late autumn. It is possible that something about Auschwitz had already leaked out.
DR. SAUTER: Now, you said under Number 14 of your statement that one of the first clues to the source of these articles -apparently meaning the concentration camps-was the fact that a parcel of paper was stamped "Lublin." This was early in 1943. And another indication was the fact that some items bore the stamp "Auschwitz." "We all knew"-I've already emphasized this before for a very good reason-"we all knew that these places were the sites of concentration camps." That's your statement, and I now repeat the question. Of course we all know it now; but did you, Herr Reichsbank Councillor, know at the beginning of 1943 that there was this huge concentration camp at Auschwitz?
THOMS: No. To that positive type of question I must say no, I did not know it, but...
15 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: He did not say anything about a huge concentration camp at Auschwitz.
DR. SAUTER: No, that was a rhetorical exaggeration of mine. I said that we knew from the Trial that there was a huge concentration camp there.
THE PRESIDENT: Did he know it? Did he know that there was a huge concentration camp in 1943? He has not said so.
THOMS: I can answer "no" to your question, but this is the point: I assume that this slip marked "Auschwitz" came from a delivery which was probably made in 1943, but was not dealt with until much later; and I made that statement when I was already in Frankfurt, so that the name "Auschwitz" was familiar to me. I admit that there may be an exaggeration insofar as I did retrospectively tell myself that that was a concentration camp, you see. But I know that at the time, somehow, our attention was drawn to the name "Auschwitz," and I think we even asked a question about the connection; but we received no answer and we never asked again.
DR. SAUTER: Well then, Witness, I have one last question. The Prosecution has shown us the Document 3947-PS. I repeat, 3947-PS. Apparently this is the draft of a memorandum which some department in the Reichsbank seems to have prepared for the Directorate of the Reichsbank. It is dated 31 March 1944, and it contains the sentence on Page 2 which I shall read to you because it refers to Defendant Funk and to Defendant Goering. This is the sentence:
"The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, hereby informs the German Reichsbank, in a letter of 19 March 1944, copy of which is enclosed,"-incidentally, the copy is not here, at least I have not got it-"that the considerable amounts of gold and silver objects, jewels, and so forth, at the Main Trustee Office East should be delivered to the Reichsbank according to the order issued by Reich Minister Funk"-the defendant-"and Graf Schwerin-Krosigk, Reich Finance Minister. The conversion of these objects should be accomplished in the same way as the 'Melmer' deliveries."
That is the end of my quotation.
Defendant Funk tells me, however, that he knew nothing about such instructions, and that such an agreement or such a letter was entirely unknown to him and that he did not know anything at all about the "Melmer" deliveries.
MR. DODD: I must object to the form of the question. I have objected before that it is a long story anticipating the answer to the question put to the witness. I think it is an unfair way to examine.
15 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, you know, do you not, that you are not entitled to give evidence yourself? You are not entitled to say what Funk told you, unless he has given the evidence.
DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, this is not one of our witnesses. His is a witness who has volunteered for the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, it is not a question of whose witness he is. You were stating what Funk told you, and you were not referring to anything that Funk had said in evidence, and you are not entitled to do that.
DR. SAUTER: As you were Reichsbankrat I should be interested to know whether you knew anything about these orders which are mentioned in the letter of 31 March 1944 from an office of the Reichsbank, and whether the Defendant Funk was concerned with this?
THOMS: I think I can remember that instructions actually did exist which stated that gold from the Main Trustee Office East should be delivered to the Reichsbank. I am not absolutely certain whether this sentence is from a note written by the Deputy Director of the Main Treasury, Herr Kropp, to the Directorate of the Reichsbank at the time. I am fairly certain that originally such instructions were actually given, but I want to point out that the Main Treasury through the Precious Metal Department was against accepting these valuables because technically they were not in a position permanently to assume responsibility for such considerable deliveries of miscellaneous articles. This instruction was cancelled later on through Herr Kropp's intervention. The deliveries from the Main Trustee Office East to the Reichsbank, especially to the Main Treasury, were not undertaken. I believe, however, I am right in saying that originally instructions of the type which you have just described did exist.
DR. SAUTER: Did you see that instruction yourself?
THOMS: I think that in the files of the Precious Metals Department, which are in the hands of the American Government, there will be carbon copies of these instructions.
DR. SAUTER: Was that instruction signed by the Defendant Funk?
THOMS: That I cannot say.
DR. SAUTER: Or by some other office?
THOMS: I really cannot tell you at the moment, but I cannot assume that it is the case because if the text reads, "from the Finance Minister and Herr Funk," then some other department must have signed.
DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
15 May 46
MR. DODD: May I ask one or two questions on re-direct examination.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
MR. DODD: Herr Thoms, there wasn't any exaggeration about the fact that you did find a slip of paper with the word "Auschwitz" written on it among one of these shipments, was there?
THOMS: No. I found the note.
MR. DODD: Now, I suppose you found lots of things among these shipments with names written on them. There must have been something that made you remember "Auschwitz," isn't that so?
MR. DODD: Well, what was it?
THOMS: I must assume-I mean that I know from my recollection that there was some connection with a concentration camp, but I cannot say. I am of the opinion that it must have happened later. It is really...
MR. DODD: Well, I don't care to press it. I just wanted to make perfectly clear to the Tribunal that you told us that you did remember "Auschwitz" and it had such a meaning for you that you remembered it as late as after the surrender of Germany. That is so, isn't it?
MR. DODD: I have no further questions.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You said there were about 77 deliveries, is that right?
THOMS: Yes, there were over 70.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): How large were the deliveries? Were they in trucks?
THOMS: They varied in size. Generally they arrived in ordinary cars, but sometimes they arrived in trucks. It depended. When there were bank notes, for instance, the bulk was smaller and the weight was less. If it was silver or silver articles, then the weight was greater and a small lorry would bring it.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): There were several lorries, or trucks, in each delivery, usually?
THOMS: No, the deliveries were not so large as that. There was at the most one truck.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): And one other question: Do I understand you to say that these articles were transferred to new containers?
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THOMS: Yes, they were put into ordinary bags by the Reichsbank. The bags were labeled "Reichsbank."
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Bags marked with the Reichsbank's name on the bag?
THOMS: Yes, on which the word "Reichsbank" was written.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
[The witness Puhl took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Dr. SEIDL, do you want to ask the witness Puhl a few questions?
Witness, you remember that you are still on oath?
PUHL: Yes, Sir.
DR. SEIDL: Witness, in connection with Document 3947-PS, USA-850, I have several questions to put to you.
You heard earlier when the witness Thoms was examined that this letter contains a paragraph which refers to Reich Marshal Goering and which is connected with the Main Trustee Office East. Is it true that this Main Trustee Office was an office which had been established by a Reich law and that its right to confiscate had also been specifically outlined by Reich law?
PUHL: I cannot answer the second part of your question without looking it up since I am not a legally trained man. The Main Trustee Office East was an officially established office-whether by a law or by a decree, is something I cannot tell you at the moment.
DR. SEIDL: To your knowledge, did the Main Trustee Office East have any connection with the SS Economic Administration headquarters, that is to say, with the office of Pohl?
PUHL: I have never observed that.
DR. SEIDL: Is it obviously out of the question, at least when you read the letter, that the Main Trustee Office East and its deliveries could in any way be connected with the "Melmer" action?
PUHL: That very probably is so, yes.
DR. SEIDL: You mean there was no connection?
PUHL: That there was no connection.
DR. SEIDL: You mentioned this morning that among the business transactions which the Reichsbank handled very. unwillingly were those with the Customs Investigation and the Currency Control Offices. The last part of this paragraph which refers to the Defendant Goering contains a sentence which refers to the conversion of objects of a similar type which were taken from the occupied western territories. Is it true that, particularly in the
15 May 46
occupied western territories, both the Currency Control Offices and the Customs Investigation Offices obtained rich booty?
PUHL: The total of the valuables which were brought in by both these offices is unknown to me. I rather doubt that it was extraordinarily big. However, they were fairly large sums, mostly, of course, in foreign currency.
DR. SLIDE: I have no further questions to the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, do you want to ask him anything?
MR. DODD: After having heard Herr Thoms' testimony, do you wish to change any of your testimony that you gave this morning?
MR. DODD: And your affidavit that you gave under oath, do you wish to have it remain as it is?
MR. DODD: That is all I have.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know who Kropp, who signed under the word "Hauptkasse" in the letter of 31 March 1944, Document 3947-PS, is?
PUHL: Herr Kropp was an official of our Treasury Department. He had a comparatively responsible position.
THE PRESIDENT: Of which department?
PUHL: The Treasury Department.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. The witness can retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. SIEMERS: Admiral Raeder, will you come up to the witness stand?
[The Defendant Raeder took the stand.]
May I remind you that I put the basic question whether the construction of the Navy was to serve aggressive or defensive purposes.
The witness wishes to answer that question by referring to parts of the speech he made in 1928. It is Exhibit Number Raeder-6, Document Book 1, Page 5, and the speech itself begins on Page 17.
Please go ahead.
RAEDER: First of all, I want to say that Minister Severing, whom I had asked for as one of my witnesses, brought this speech along of his own free will, as he still remembers the year 1928.
DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, this is to be found on Page 16 of the document book. It is Raeder's letter to Minister Severing,
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dated 8 October 1928. Severing gave me this speech when he came to Nuremberg to appear as a witness.
RAEDER: I shall quote from Page 17, the fifth line from the bottom, to shorten the sentence somewhat for the interpreters:
"The Armed Forces-I am speaking of course primarily for the Navy, but I know that today it is the same with the Army, because since 1919 its inner solidarity and training has been perfected with the greatest devotion and loyalty to duty-in their present structure, whether officer or soldier, in their present form of development and their inner attitude, are a firm and reliable support, I might even say, because of their inherent military might and in view of conditions within the Reich, the firmest and most reliable support of our German fatherland, the German Reich, the German Republic, and its Constitution; and the Armed Forces are proud to be that."
I then turn to Page 3, and it is the sixth line:
"If, however, the State is to endure, this power must be available only to the constitutional authorities. No one else may have it; that is, not even the political parties. The Wehrmacht must be completely nonpolitical and be composed only of servicemen who, in full realization of this necessity, refuse to take part in any activity of domestic politics. To have realized this from the outset and organized the Wehrmacht accordingly is the great and enduring achievement of Noske, the former Reichswehrminister, whom the meritorious Minister Dr. Gessler followed on this road with the deepest conviction."
Then I talk about the composition of the Navy, and on the fourth page I continue, Line 7. Perhaps this is the most important sentence:
"In my opinion, one thing is of course a prerequisite for the inner attitude of the serviceman, namely, that he is willing to put his profession into practice when the fatherland calls upon him. People who never again want war cannot possibly wish to become soldiers. One cannot take it amiss if the Wehrmacht infuses into its servicemen a manly and warlike spirit; not the desire for war or even a war d revenge or a war of aggression, for to strive after that would certainly in the general opinion of all Germans be a crime, but the will to take up arms in the defense of the fatherland in its hour of need."
Then I pass on to the last paragraph on Page 4.
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"One must understand-for it is in accordance with the essence of the Wehrmacht-if it strives to be as far as possible in a position to fulfil its tasks, even under the conditions today, dictated by the limitation of the Versailles Treaty."
I then refer to the tasks of the small Navy, and that is on Page 5, second paragraph, Line 6.
"Consider the extent of the German coast line in the Baltic and North Sea, chiefly the Prussian coast line, which would be open to invasion and to the ravages of even the smallest maritime nation, had we not at our disposal modern mobile naval forces at least up to the strength permitted by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. Above all, think of the position of East Prussia, which in the event of the closing of the Corridor would be wholly dependent on overseas imports, imports which would have to be brought past the bases of foreign nations and in the event of war would be endangered to the utmost, or even be made impossible if we were not in possession of fighting ships. I ask you to remember the reports about the effect of the visits of our training ships and of our fleet to foreign countries, when, already in 1922, the model conduct of our ship crews testified to an improvement in the internal conditions of the Reich, and increased considerably the esteem for the German Reich."
So much for this speech.
THE PRESIDENT: Since you are passing from that now, we might perhaps adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
DR. SIEMERS: Admiral, hanging over this Trial are the words: "Wars of Aggression are Crimes."
We have just seen from your speech that, as early as January, 1928, you used these words, before the Kellogg Pact. In conclusion, I should like to ask you, did this principle of January 1928 remain your principle during the whole time of your command of the Navy?
RAEDER: Of course.
DR. SIEMERS: In connection with the Versailles Treaty, I should now like to submit an affidavit, because some figures are necessary here which are easier to present in writing than by interrogation. I shall submit Affidavit II by Vice Admiral Lohmann, Exhibit
Number Raeder-8, Document Book 1, Page 39.
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For the guidance of the Tribunal, so that there may be no misunderstanding, I should like to point out that Vice Admiral Lohmann has nothing to do with the Captain Lohmann who was wellknown, almost famous, in the twenties.
The Tribunal may remember that the Lohmann affair was mentioned in connection with the breaches of the Versailles Treaty. Captain Lohmann died in 1930, and has nothing to do with the present author of this affidavit; Vice Admiral Lohmann. I also remind the Court that the Lohmann affair took place before Admiral Raeder was in charge of the Navy, before 1928.
I quote from the Lohmann affidavit the statement under Numera1 I.
THE PRESIDENT: Are you wanting to call this Admiral Lohmann as a witness?
DR. SIEMERS: No, I did not name him as a witness; I was satisfied with an affidavit, because of the many figures. The British Prosecution has already agreed to the affidavit being submitted, but asked that Admiral Lohmann might be cross-examined. It was arranged between Sir David and myself.
THE PRESIDENT: I see, yes. You do not need to go into all these figures of tons, do you? You do not need to read all these, do you?
DR. SIEMERS: No. I did not want to read the individual figures. I would point out that this affidavit does not deal with tonnage; it concerns Number Raeder-8, Page 39.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I have got the one. There are a good many tons in it, though.
DR. SIEMERS: I should like to read under Numeral I:
"Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany was permitted to build eight armored ships. Germany, however, built only three armored ships, the Deutschland, the Admiral Scheer, and the Graf Spee."-I will skip the following.
"II. Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany was permitted to
build eight cruisers. Germany, however, built only six
I shall omit the details according to the wish of the Tribunal.
"III. Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany was permitted to
build 32 destroyers and/or torpedo boats. Germany, however, built only 12 destroyers and no torpedo boats."
According to this, in building up the Navy, Germany in no way took advantage of the possibilities of the Versailles Treaty, and if I understand correctly, she specifically omitted the construction of offensive weapons, namely, the large ships.
May I ask you to make a statement about this.
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RAEDER: That is entirely correct. It is astonishing that at ibis period of time so little advantage was taken of the Versailles Treaty. I was reproached for this later when the National Socialist government came to power. They did not bear in mind, however, that the government at that time, and the Reichstag, were not inclined to let us have these ships. We had to fight hard for permission. But this failure to build up the Navy to the strength permitted has No relationship to the small breaches of the Versailles Treaty, which we committed mainly in order to build up, one could say, a pitiable defense of the coast in the event of extreme emergency.
DR. SIEMERS: I shall come back to Document C-32. It is established that during the time of the Versailles Treaty, Germany did not take advantage of the provisions of the Treaty, particularly in regard to offensive weapons. On the other hand, on the basis of the documents submitted by the Prosecution, it has been established and it is also historically known, that the Navy in building itself lip committed breaches of the Versailles Treaty in other directions. I should like to discuss with you the individual breaches which were presented with great precision by the Prosecution. But first I should like to discuss the general accusation, which I have already mentioned, that these breaches were committed behind the back of the Reichstag and the Government.
Is this accusation justified?
RAEDER: Not at all I must repeat that I was connected with these breaches only when on 1 October 1928, I became Chief of the Navy Command in Berlin. I had nothing to do with things which had been done previously.
When I came to Berlin, the Lohmann case, which you mentioned previously, had already been concluded. It was in the process being liquidated; and the Reich Defense Minister Groener when The affair was first discovered, ordered the Army as well as the Navy to report to him all breaches which were in process; and from then on he was going to deal with these things together with Colonel Von Schleicher, his political adviser. He liquidated the Lohmann affair! and this liquidation was still in progress when I came there.
On 1 October 1928 he had already come to the decision to transfer the responsibility for all these evasions and breaches of the Versailles Treaty to the Reich Government, as a whole, at that time the Muller-Severing-Stresemann Government, since he believed that he
could no longer bear the responsibility alone.
As a result on 18 October, when I had just become acquainted with these matters, he called a cabinet meeting to which the Chief of the Army Command, General Heye, and I, as well as some office chiefs in both administrations, were called. At this cabinet meeting,
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General Heye and I had to report openly and fully before all the Ministers as to what breaches there were on the part of the Army and the Navy. The Muller-Severing-Stresemann government took full responsibility and exonerated the Reich Defense Minister, who, however, continued to be responsible for carrying things through. We had to report to the Reich Defense Minister everything which happened in the future and were not allowed to undertake any steps alone. The Reich Defense Minister handled matters together with the Reich Minister of the Interior, Severing, who showed great understanding for the various requirements.
DR. SIEMERS: At this cabinet meeting you and General Heye as Chief of the Agony Command submitted a list of the individual small breaches?
DR. SIEMERS: And thereupon the Government told you, "We will take the responsibility"?
DR. SIEMERS: Accordingly, in the following years did you always act in agreement with the Reich Government?
RAEDER: Yes, the Reich Defense Minister, Groener, was extremely sensitive on this point. He had dissolved all the so-called "black" funds which existed and insisted absolutely that he should know about everything and should sanction everything. He thought that only in this way could he take the responsibility towards the Government.
I had nothing whatever to do with the Reichstag. The military chiefs were not allowed to have contact with the members of the Reichstag in such matters. All negotiations with the Reichstag were carried out through the Reich Defense Minister or by Colonel Von Schleicher on his behalf. I was therefore in no position to go behind the back of the Reichstag in any way. I could discuss budget matters with the Reichstag members only in the so-called Budget Committee, where I sat next to the Reich Defense Minister and made technical explanations to his statements.
DR. SIEMERS: From 1928 on, that is from your time on, there were no longer any secret budgets within the construction program of the Navy without the approval of the Reich Government?
RAEDER: Without the approval of the Reich Government and, above all, of the Reich Defense Minister who allotted the money to us exactly as the other budgets were allotted.
DR. SIEMERS: May I ask the Tribunal in this connection to look at Document Exhibit Number Raeder-3 which has already been
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submitted, "Constitution of the German Reich," Document Book 1, Page 10, Article 50; it is brief and reads:
"In order to be valid, all decrees and orders issued by the
Reich President, including those pertaining to the Armed
Forces, must be countersigned by the Reich Chancellor or the
competent Reich Minister. By the act of countersigning, responsibility is accepted by the Reich Chancellor."
That is the constitutional principle which the Reich Government at that time-Stresemann, Muller, Severing-insisted upon in October 1928.
An important part of the building up of the Navy consisted in renewing the old capital ships and cruisers from the last war. In this connection, I take the liberty of submitting to the Tribunal Exhibit Number Raeder-7, Document Book 1, Page 23. This document deals with the so-called ship replacement construction plan. This ship replacement construction plan was, as Page 24 of the document book shows, Paragraph 2, Figure 2, submitted by a resolution of the Reichstag. I should like to refer you to Page 24, Figure 3, of the document which shows that this ship replacement construction plan covered three armored ships, and it adds that the construction might last until 1938.
May it please the Tribunal, this figure is important. The Prosecution desired to construe the chance fact that in 1933 a construction plan was drawn up to extend until 1938, to mean that there were aggressive intentions.
This ship replacement construction plan of the year 1930 had the same goal in 1938 and, as the Prosecution will admit, can have nothing to do with a war of aggression.
The plan was submitted then, Witness, through the Reich Government and you did only the preparatory work?
DR. SIEMERS: Is this only true of the ship replacement plan for 1930, or was it always handled in the same way in subsequent years?
RAEDER: The plan as submitted was approved in principle by the Reichstag. Each individual ship, however, had to be approved again in the budget plan of the year in which the construction was to begin. The whole construction program was thus always in close agreement with the Reich Government and the Reichstag.
DR. SIEMERS: In connection with this ship replacement program within the framework of the documentary evidence, I. should like to refer to two points which will greatly shorten the questioning of the witness.
For the time being I do not want to quote from Page 26. I ask you to take judicial notice of the rest of the contents, and wish
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merely to point out that this refers to the great age of all capital ships, and their replacement which this necessitated.
On Page 27 of the document book it expressly mentions that the Reichstag in its 89th session of 18 June 1929 asked the Reich Government for an extension of the period for the construction program. The general opinion at that time was, as the ship replacement program shows, set out in the Frankfurter Zeitung of 15 August 1928, where the Frankfurter Zeitung points out that an armored cruiser gains its full value only when it forms part of a squadron. The Frankfurter Zeitung was, as is well known, the best German newspaper; and it was banned only in 1943 during the war by the National Socialist dictatorship which was growing ever stronger.
I should like to refer to Page 29 and quote one sentence:
"The building of battleships will be extended as far as possible, so as to keep the naval yards at Wilhelmshaven occupied continuously. The ideal time of construction is about three years; and it is then explained that, working on the principle of giving as long employment as possible, the building time is prolonged as much as possible."
I believe this shows there was no aggressive intention, since otherwise the building program would have been speeded up.
Then I ask you to take judicial notice of Page 30, the construction cost of an armored ship having a tonnage of 10,000 tons, where it mentions that it was about 75 million marks. This figure is important to me as evidence in view of the further course of the testimony, where the cost of the breaches of the Versailles Treaty avid be shown.
[finally may I quote from Page 30 a few lines which give the principle for the employment of the Wehrmacht. I quote:
"Since carrying out the disarmament program, which so far the German Republic alone among all the Great Powers has effected, for the Wehrmacht, which serves to protect the borders and peace, the following eventualities for the taking up of arms comes into consideration: (a) defense against the stealing of territories, (b) defense of neutrality in conflicts
among third parties."
Burning to the defendant.] I should like to refer to the individual breaches of the Treaty of which the Prosecution has accused you. In this connection, I submit Exhibit Raeder-l, in Document Book 1, Page 1, and I refer to Page 3, Article 191. It concerns the Accusation that Germany, contrary to the Versailles Treaty, constructed submarines. Article 191 reads, and I quote, `'The construction and acquisition of all submersible craft, even for commercial purposes, is forbidden to Germany."
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I will soon put a question to you in regard to the established fact that the Navy was interested in a firm which dealt with the designing of submarines in Holland and in a general construction program for ships and submarines, which was being carried out in Holland; but in order to save time, it will be simpler if I read from the Lohmann affidavit which I submit as Exhibit Raeder-2, in Document Book 1, Page 4. I quote a short paragraph under 1:
"According to the Treaty of Versailles, the German Reich was neither to build nor to acquire U-boats. When in July, 1922, the firm N. V. Ingenieurskantoor Voor Scheepsbouw was established in the Hague, the Navy acquired an interest in it in order to keep informed on modern U-boat construction. The intention was to use the experience gained thereby for the German Navy, when later on the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles would be annulled by negotiations and Germany would be again permitted to build U-boats. Moreover, the Navy wanted, for the same purpose, to train a small nucleus of skilled personnel. The Dutch firm was strictly a designing bureau."
May it please the Tribunal, as a precaution I should like to point out in this passage that there is a translation mistake in the English copy. The word "Konstruktion" has been translated "construction," and construction means "building" in German. It was not a construction bureau. As far as I know, "Konstruktion" must be translated "design." Since in view of Article 191 this point is important, I want to correct this.
I quote further:
"The first German U-boat was commissioned 29 June 1935. The procuring of parts to build U-boats had started correspondingly earlier."
I wish to remind you that, when the first submarine was commissioned, the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, . according to which submarine construction was permitted, was already in existence. I will ask if this statement of Admiral Lohmann is correct. RAEDER: Yes. It entirely corresponds with the facts.
DR. SIEMERS: Then I come to Prosecution Document C-141, Exhibit USA-47. This is in the Raeder Document Book Number 10, on Page 22, in the compilation of the British Delegation. This is your letter of 10 February 1932 in regard to torpedo armament of the S-boats, the speed boats.
THE PRESIDENT: Is this in Document Book lea or 10?
DR. SIEMERS: Document Book 10. The old document book.
THE PRESIDENT: I've got my pages wrongly marked somehow. It is all right.
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DR. SIEMERS: Please excuse me. That is how the page numbers were given to me.
THE PRESIDENT: It is correct in the other members' books.
DR. SIEMERS: The torpedo armament of speed boats was not expressly permitted in the Versailles Treaty and for that reason you are accused in this connection. Did this involve only the five speed boats mentioned in this document?
RAEDER: Yes. There were five boats which we had ordered for use as patrol boats in the ship-building replacement program and which in themselves had no armament.
DR. SIEMERS: How big were these boats?
RAEDER: Certainly not bigger than 40 tons, probably considerably smaller.
DR. SIEMERS: Were more boats of this type built during the Versailles Treaty?
RAEDER: I cannot say with certainty. In any case, we had no armed boats in addition.
DR. SIEMERS: Yes, excuse me, that is what I mean-more armed boats.
RAEDER: No. We could build 12 plus 4, which makes 16 torpedo boats of 200 tons. A torpedo boat of 200 tons could not be produced in a practical manner at that time because of the question of the motors and the question of seaworthiness. For that reason we did not build these torpedo boats for the time being but kept in service a number of quite old torpedo boats, built at the beginning of the century, in order to be able to train crews with them. We could no longer use these boats for fighting. But so that-as long as we could not replace these boats-we might have a few boats capable of action, however small, which could be of use in blocking the Baltic, I ordered that these patrol boats should be equipped to take torpedo tubes on board.
However, so that in 1932 we should not make our situation worse by open breaches of the Treaty, when we hoped that at the Disarmament Conference we might make some progress, I had one boat at a time armed in order to fit and test the armament; and I then had the armament dismounted again so that there was always only one boat available with armament at any one time. We planned to put the torpedo tubes on board the speed boats only if the political situation, that is, the situation after the Disarmament Conference, would permit it. That is what I say in Number 3 in the concluding sentence.
DR. SIEMERS: I can take it then that we were allowed to build 16 torpedo boats making 3,200 tons in all?
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DR. SIEMERS: And instead we built only five speed boats totalling 200 tons?
DR. SIEMERS: Concerning the accusation made by the Prosecution that you did not count the speed boats against the torpedo boats you actually did not intend to keep anything secret; but you wanted to discuss it with the Control Commission when the time came?
DR. SIEMERS: Now I come to the most extensive document in regard to breaches which the Prosecution submitted, Document C-32, USA-50. The document is in Document Book 10a, Page 8; in the new document book of the British Delegation.
In this list all breaches are included under date 9 September 1933. The Prosecution justly points out that this compilation is very thorough; and the Prosecution presented it just as thoroughly, although, as I believe I can prove, they are, in the last analysis small matters. I am compelled to ask the witness to answer these
points in detail since they were brought up in detail. Breach Number 1 concerns the exceeding of the permitted number of mines. In Column 2 it states that according to the Versailles Treaty, that is, by the Commission, 1,665 mines were permitted; but we owned 3,675 mines. That is 2,000 too many. Will you please tell the Court the significance of this breach; it doubtlessly was a breach.
RAEDER: I should like to say in advance that this list was prepared for our Navy representative at the Disarmament Conference, so that if these things should be mentioned, he could give them an explanation. That is why it was so explicit, even though most of the things it contains are of minor importance. I should like to add to what I said previously, in regard to the danger of attacks by Poland, that in view of the political situation at that time we always feared that the Poles, if they should undertake an invasion of our country, might receive certain support from the sea by France, inasmuch as French ships, which at that time often visited the Polish port of Gdynia, could attack our coast through the Baltic entrances, the Belt, and the Sound. For this reason the defense of the Baltic entrances by mines played an important role. Thus, we undertook this breach of the Treaty in order to be able to close at least the Baltic entrances at the narrow points, which was of course possible only for a certain time. With these mines only a stretch of 27 nautical miles could have been closed. Thus, we would have been able to close a part of Danzig Bay on which Gdynia was situated, or a part of the Belt, by laying several rows of mines.
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This was the only method which could be effective for any length of time. This was purely a question of defense, but still they exceeded the number of mines permitted from the war supplies still available.
DR. SIEMERS: Just now in the calculation of the 27 nautical miles you included the total number which Germany had at that time.
DR. SIEMERS: Not just the number which exceeded that which was permitted?
RAEDER: No, the total.
DR. SIEMERS: So that the number in excess is only half this number?
DR. SIEMERS: And then I should like to have an approximate comparison. I was told, by way of comparison, that the British in the first World War laid about 400,000 to 500,000 mines in the North Sea. Do you recall if this number is approximately right?
RAEDER: Approximately it may be right. I cannot say exactly from memory.
DR. SIEMERS: I believe the approximation suffices to give a picture of the relative values.
A second small question now. Is it true that for mining English ports Reich Marshal Goering's Luftwaffe in one action alone used 30,000 to 50,000 mines? Do you know of that?
RAEDER: I have heard so.
DR. SIEMERS: Then there is a second point. I quote, "Continuous storing of guns from the North Sea area for Baltic artillery batteries."
This involves 96 guns, only 6 of which are of large caliber, the others of smaller caliber. May I ask you to explain this breach of the Treaty?
RAEDER: This is quite a small breach. We were allowed a comparatively large number of guns on the North Sea coast. On the other hand, according to plans the Baltic coast was comparatively bare of guns, since they wanted to retain free entry to the Baltic, whereas we had the greatest interest in closing the Baltic against attacks. For this reason we stored the gun barrels, which belonged in the North Sea but which had been brought to the Baltic for repairs, in sheds in the Baltic area for a long time in order to be able to mount these guns on the Baltic coast in case of attack. The
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North Sea coast had many guns; and because of the shallowness, it was much easier to defend than the Baltic coast. That was the breach.
DR. SIEMERS: In practice it only involved moving them from the North Sea to the Baltic coast. That is, not mounting them, but merely storing them.
DR. SIEMERS: Then under Figure 3, another charge, "nonscrapping of guns." A total of 99 guns is mentioned of which the ten largest, of 28 centimeters, were actually scrapped. Please comment on this.
RAEDER: When we acquired new guns, as for example, for the battleship Deutschland, six 28-centimeter guns were constructed, or for the Deutschland and the cruisers, forty-eight 15-centimeter guns, we had to scrap a corresponding number of old guns. Ten of this number were actually scrapped. All the guns were turned over to the Army for scrapping and we received a receipt for them, saying that the guns had been scrapped. We learned, however, that the Army in fact had not scrapped the guns, but with the exception of the ten 28-centimeter guns, it intended to use them for arming the fortifications to be built in case of attack, since the Army had no such guns at all.
DR. SIEMERS: I should like to make the time clear. This must have been a breach of the Treaty which occurred long before the time you took office as Chief of the Navy Command.
RAEDER: This happened between 1919 and 1925 for the most part. In any case I had nothing to do with these matters.
DR. SIEMERS: Number 4 is very simple: "Deviation from the places settled by the Entente for the disposition of coastal batteries."
RAEDER: Previously, up to the time of the World War, especially the heavy batteries and the medium-sized batteries were placed very close to each other, or rather in the batteries the guns were placed very close to each other. According to our experience in the World War the heavy and medium-sized guns within the batteries were placed further apart, so that a single hit would not destroy several guns at once. For this reason we re-arranged these heavy and medium batteries and moved the guns a little further apart. For that reason they were no longer exactly in the places where they had been at the time of the Treaty. Otherwise nothing was changed.
DR. SIEMERS: Would not these things have been approved by the Control Commission because they were purely technical?
RAEDER: I cannot say, I never took part in these negotiations.
DR. SIEMERS: Number 5 concerns the laying of gun platforms for artillery batteries and the storing of A. A. ammunition. In
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Column 2 there is again the question of changing to a different place than that allowed by the Entente. Does the same thing apply here as to Number 4?
RAEDER: No, not completely. We wanted to put the A. A. batteries where they were particularly useful and could be fully utilized, whereas the Commission did not want to have them at these places. As a result we left the A. A. batteries where they were; but at other points we prepared so-called gun platforms, which were improvised wooden platforms, so that in case of attack from any enemy we could set up the A. A. guns in order to use them most effectively. In the same way...
DR. SIEMERS: This is only a question then of platforms for an A. A. battery, only the foundations for a defense?
RAEDER: Yes, only foundations.
DR. SIEMERS: Then comes Number 6: "Laying gun platforms in the Kiel area."
RAEDER: The Kiel area was especially bared of guns, because the entrance through the Belt to Kiel was to be as little armed and as open as possible. For this reason the setting up of guns in the Kiel area was especially forbidden; and in order to be able to set lip some guns in a hurry, in case of necessity, gun platforms were prepared there also.
DR. SIEMERS: The next point the Prosecution gives comes under Number 7: "Exceeding the caliber permitted for coastal batteries." "Coastal batteries" shows that it is for defense, but nevertheless it was brought up as an accusation.
RAEDER: Yes. It says here that instead of six 15-centimeter, three 17-centimeter guns were built. Of course, it is a deviation, insofar as the guns were to stay there; but it is open to doubt whether these six 15-centimeter guns might not have been better along the coast than the three 17-centimeter guns.
DR. SIEMERS: I see, you mean that they are actually less than the number permitted?
DR. SIEMERS: Instead of five 15-centimeter there were only three 17-centimeter?
RAEDER: Instead of six.
DR. SIEMERS: Yes, instead of six only three, and the caliber was 2 centimeter larger.
DR. SIEMERS: Then comes Number 8, the arming of M-boats. M-boats are mine sweepers.
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RAEDER: We had the old mine sweepers which in case of attack on the Baltic were to serve the double purpose of finding the mines and of guarding the mine barrage which we wanted to lay in the exits of the Belt in order to close the Baltic, and of defending it against light enemy forces. For this reason we gave each one a 10.5-centimeter gun and one machine gun C-30.
DR. SIEMERS: Actually a minimum armament?
RAEDER: Yes, quite a minimum armament.
DR. SIEMERS: Number 9 can be quickly settled, I believe: "Arming of six S-boats and eight it-boats."
The six S-boats are those which were discussed in the Document C-141?
RAEDER: Yes, it says here boats armed with torpedoes.
DR. SIEMERS: Number 10: "Setting up practice A. A. batteries."
Is that a breach of the Treaty?
RAEDER: Yes, it was, after all, an A.A. battery. It was only because near the garrisons where there were barracks with our men we wanted an opportunity to practice A. A. firing exercise. That is why we set up these batteries near the barracks. There was no intention of using them in this place for defense. It was only a matter of expediency for training.
DR. SIEMERS: Then comes Number 11.
RAEDER: The individual cases are gradually becoming more ridiculous. I consider it a waste of time.
DR. SIEMERS: I am sorry, Admiral, that I must put you to this trouble; but I believe it is necessary, since the Prosecution read almost all these items into the record and wanted to put a construction on them which puts you at a disadvantage.
RAEDER: Then there is the "Salute Battery Friedrichsort."
Friedrichsort is the entrance to Kiel where foreign ships salute when they enter, and the salute must be returned. Two 7.]-centimeter field guns which had been rendered unserviceable had been approved for this purpose. With these guns, sharp-shooting was not possible; it was since there was a battery foundation already available there, that instead of these two 7.]-centimeter guns we should set up four 8.8-centimeter A. A. guns which were ready for full use. But this too was long before the time when I was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 16 May 1946, at 1000 hours.]
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