The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 14 of 18)

[Page 990]

(d) Spoliation of property. In his capacity as Reich Commissar for the Occupied Netherlands territory Seyss- Inquart authorized, directed, and participated in the exploitation of the material resources of the Occupied Netherlands territory for purposes unrelated to the needs of the Army of Occupation. These acts were all in violation of Article 6 (b) of the Charter and Articles 43, 46-49, 52 of the Hague Regulations, 1907.

These crimes, for which Seyss-Inquart is responsible not only by virtue of his position as the dominant civil representative of the Reich Government in the Occupied Netherlands territory but also because of his direct participation in the initiation and execution of such criminal policies, took the following form:

Control and exploitation of the Netherlands economy in the interest of the German total war effort.

Levy of excessive occupation charges on the Netherlands.

Exaction of large sums of money and gold as "external occupation costs," or "contributions to the war against Bolshevism."

Requisitioning of gold and foreign exchange of Dutch nationals for purposes unrelated to the needs of the occupation army.

Use of German reichsmarks as currency in the Netherlands for purposes unrelated to the needs of the occupation army, with compulsory free exchange of such Reichsmarks for gulden by the Netherlands Bank.

(Evidence of the foregoing methods of exploitation of the occupied Netherlands and correlative enrichment of the Reich is discussed in Chapter XIII.)

[Page 991]

The Nazi conspirators were measurably aided in executing the foregoing policies in Holland by the cooperation of a local Nazi, Rost van Tonnigen, who was appointed President of the Netherlands Bank and Treasurer in the Netherlands Ministry of Finance by Seyss-Inquart in the spring of 1941. The cooperative spirit with which van Tonnigen discharged his responsibilities in these posts was disclosed in the following excerpt from a report of the German Commissar of the Netherlands Bank:

"The new President of the Netherlands Bank, Mr. Rost van Tonnigen, is, in contrast to a large part of the leadership, penetrated in his movements and his official acts by the greater German thought, and convinced of the necessity of the creation of a greater European economic space. This ideological attitude in itself gives him the correct position on financial and monetary policy questions for his country in relation to the greater German economic space. Furthermore it makes easier cooperation with my office, a fact which deserves special mention in consideration of the frequently observed impossible conduct of the Netherlands agencies before the entrance into office of the new President. I consider as a fortunate solution the fact that the Reichskommissar for the Occupied Dutch Areas has also entrusted Mr. Rost van Tonnigen with the Treasury of the Ministry of Finance [Schatzamt des Finanzministeriums]. Mr. Rost van Tonnigen took over this office at the end of the month of April. Thus there is a guarantee that the financial and monetary policy of the country will be conducted according to unified points of view." (ECR-174; see also Verordnungsblatt, No. 22, 24 August 1940 (Fourth Order of the Reich Commissar for the Occupied Netherlands concerning certain Administrative Measures); Lemkin, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe," pp. 455-456.)

In addition to the responsibility which attaches to Seyss- Inquart as a result of his dominant position in the Netherlands, his appointment of Nazi-minded individuals to key positions, and his complete knowledge of and acquiescence in illegal Nazi policies, there is conclusive evidence of his initiation of such policies. In April 1942 "at the instigation of the Reich Commissar Seyss-Inquart" the Netherlands began to pay a "voluntary contribution to the war against Bolshevism" of 50,000,000 guilders per month, retroactive to 1 July 1941, of which ten million per month was paid in gold. (ECR-195)

By 31 March 1944, this contribution amounted to 2,150,000,000 RM. (EC-86)

[Page 992]

The alleged "voluntary" character of the contribution is to be taken with considerable reserve in view of the admission contained in Seyss-Inquart's Top Secret report of 29 May 1940 to 19 July 1940, that the voluntary nature of previous financial and economic measures was in reality fictional. (997-PS)

However, the question whether or not the contribution is to be deemed at the direction of Seyss-Inquart or was in fact "voluntary" is immaterial. It is manifest that the then President of the Netherlands Bank and Treasurer in the Ministry of Finance, van Tonnigen, acted in the German interest and to the detriment of the Netherlands. His acts are attributable to the responsible head of the German Civil Administration in the Netherlands and the individual to whom he owed his appointment, Seyss-Inquart.

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