The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirtieth Day: Wednesday, 15th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 11)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Emil Johann Rudolf Puhl]

[Page 57]

Q. 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? Are you?

A. 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 Toms 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.

Q. 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?

A. 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.

Q. 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?

A. I am sorry I did not understand the last question.

Q. Well, it is not very important. I asked you whether you remembered telling these gentlemen, Lt. Meltzer, Lt. Margolis, that Himmler would not 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.

A. Yes.

Q. You got terribly upset about it. Do you not remember that?

A. Yes.

[Page 58]

Q. Finally, this question: Are you serious in saying that you didn't know about these deposits, or their nature, until you were interrogated in Frankfurt? In view of the Toms 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 did not know what was in these deposits at any time?

A. 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, who, if necessary, could have made a report to the Directorate of the Reichsbank.

Q. Of course you do not deny that you knew there were jewels and silver and all these other things in the deposits do you?

A. The German term "Schmucksachen," jewellery, was always used.

Q. All right! Let us see what you did know was in the deposits? You knew there was jewellery, some jewellery, there. You knew there was some currency. You knew there were coins. You knew there were other articles. Now, the only thing you did not know of was the dental gold; is that so?

A. That is true, certainly. It was known from the outset and Herr Pohl had told me, that the greater part of those deposits contained mainly gold, foreign currency, silver coins, and, he added, also some jewellery.

Q. 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 deposit from the SS. Do you not understand that question? I do not think it is complicated. You do not need to read anything, Herr Puhl. If you will just look up here, I am asking you if you knew about everything that is mentioned in your affidavit except the dental gold.

A. Well, I knew about the jewellery, but I did not know what kind of jewellery it was.

Q. I am not asking you about details. I am simply asking if you did not know it was there. You knew there was currency there, and you knew there were other articles there. That is about the only things that are mentioned, excepting the dental gold, and that is one the thing you seem now not to have known.

A. Yes, I knew, in general, that the deposits contained gold and foreign currency, and I repeat, -

Q. And jewellery?

A. I knew that there was jewellery.

Q. So the only thing you say now you did not know about was the dental gold. That is all I am asking you. Why do you not answer that? It does not take very long. Is not that so? The only thing you did not know of was the dental gold.

A. No.

Q. Well, what else is mentioned you did not know about?

A. Spectacle frames, for example, were also mentioned.

Q. You did not know about those either? All right, I will include those, spectacle frames and dental gold. Those are the two things you did not know about?

A. Information I received contained only the general term "jewellery".

Q. They are the two matters that you had the most to worry about, are they not, eye-glass frames and dental gold?

MR. DODD: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment, please. Do not take that man away. Have you got a copy of your affidavit before you?

THE WITNESS: Of 3rd May, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you only got one copy of it?

[Page 59]

THE WITNESS: I must just look ... Yes, I have another copy.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me have it, please, will you?

(A document was handed to the President.)

THE PRESIDENT: 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 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.


Q. Herr Puhl, you personally typed a large part of this affidavit yourself, did you not, or wrote it up, or dictated it?

A. 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 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



Q. And did you also initial those places that you altered on the original? Did you not put your initials in each place where you wanted to make a change?

Is that not so?

A. No; we copied it again, it was completely re-written ...

Q. 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?

A. Yes; but that is of minor importance; for instance, the word "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 re-written and initialled.



Q. Witness, I want to ask you a few questions. The first you heard about these transactions was from the defendant Funk, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Funk tell you who told him about them in the SS?

A. Himmler.

Q. Himmler had spoken to Funk about this? Who else, besides Himmler and Funk, was present when Funk talked to Himmler about this?

A. That I do not know.

Q. You do not know if Pohl was there also?

[Page 60]

A. 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.

Q. Did Funk tell you what Himmler said to him?

A. He asked that the facilities of the Reichsbank be placed at the disposal of the SS for this purpose.

Q. Then shortly after that, you took the matter up at the meeting of the Board of Directors?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Was Funk at that meeting

A . No, he was not.

Q. What did you say to the Board of Directors?

A. I reported to the Directorate briefly on the transactions.

Q. What did you say to them?

A. 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.

Q. And then did the Board of Directors approve the action?

A. Yes; there was no objection.

Q. Now, the defendant Funk said to you that these objects had come "from the East", did he not?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you understand that he meant by that phrase, "from the East"?

A. Principally Poland, occupied Poland. But some Russian territories might also have been included in that phrase.

Q. You knew that this was confiscated property, I presume?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you told Pohl that the Bank would perform certain services in handling the property, did you not?

A. Pohl asked me to place the good services of the Bank at the disposal of his men. That I agreed to do.

Q. And did those services include arranging the property, putting it in sacks and describing it?

A. That was not talked about.

Q. 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?

A. Yes, that was a matter for the decision of the treasury directors; if they considered it necessary, they could do it.

Q. Was that done?

A. That I do not know. It was a treasury matter.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I put two more questions, two very brief questions?

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Sauter.



Q. The one question, witness, is this: You have been repeatedly asked here who has talked to you during the past few days.

A. Here in Nuremberg?

Q. 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?

A. No, I see you for the first time in my life today.

[Page 61]

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?

A. The word "concentration camp" was used neither during the conversation with Herr Funk nor during the conversation with Herr Pohl.

Q. And Herr Funk did not give you an indication of that sort, either?

A. No.

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.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, you did offer Document 3947-PS as an exhibit, did you not?

MR. DODD: Yes, sir, I did, as Exhibit 850, I believe it was.

THE PRESIDENT: 850, was it? Yes, and then that copy of the Puhl affidavit was 851?

MR. DODD: Yes sir, that is right. I did not offer the other affidavit because we discovered it was not sworn to as yet. I propose to do so and with your permission I delay the date. I have that witness here. This thing cannot go on interminably and I do not 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 Toms. 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 this witness, Document 3947-PS, of which the prosecution read Page 2 paragraph 3, beginning:-

"The Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Reich, Commissioner 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.

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