The Info List - Walther Funk

Walther Funk
Walther Funk
(18 August 1890 – 31 May 1960) was an economist and Nazi official who served as Reich Minister for Economic Affairs from 1938 to 1945 and was tried and convicted as a major war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Sentenced to life in prison, he remained incarcerated until he was released on health grounds in 1957. He died three years later.


1 Early life 2 Political life 3 Third Reich
Third Reich
career 4 Confiscation of Jewish property 5 Reichsbank 6 Nuremberg 7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Funk was born into a merchant family in 1890 in Danzkehmen (present-day Sosnowka in the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast) near Trakehnen in East Prussia. He was the only one of the Nuremberg defendants who was born in the former eastern territories of Germany. He was the son of Wiesenbaumeister Walther Funk
Walther Funk
the elder and his wife Sophie (née Urbschat). He studied law, economics, and philosophy at the Humboldt University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
and the University of Leipzig. In World War I, he joined the infantry, but was discharged as unfit for service in 1916. In 1920, Funk married Luise Schmidt-Sieben. Following the end of the First World War, he worked as a journalist, and in 1924 he became the editor of the centre-right financial newspaper the Berliner Börsenzeitung. Political life[edit]

As Minister of Economics, Funk accelerated the pace of rearmament and as Reichsbank
president banked for the SS the gold rings of Nazi concentration camp victims

Nazi gold
Nazi gold
in Merkers
Salt Mine

of victims from Auschwitz

of November 1938, smashed window front of Jewish shop

Funk, who was a nationalist and anti-Marxist, resigned from the newspaper in the summer of 1931 and joined the Nazi Party, becoming close to Gregor Strasser, who arranged his first meeting with Adolf Hitler. Partially because of his interest in economic policy, he was elected a Reichstag deputy in July 1932, and within the party, he was made chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy in December 1932, a post that he did not hold for long. After the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
came to power, he stepped down from his Reichstag position and was made Chief Press Officer of the Third Reich. Third Reich
Third Reich
career[edit] In March 1933, Funk was appointed as a State Secretary (Staatssekretär) at the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda). In 1938, he assumed the title of Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics (Wirtschaftsbeauftragter). He also became Reich Minister of Economics (Reichswirtschaftsminister) in February 1938, replacing Hjalmar Schacht, who had been dropped in November 1937. Schacht had been dismissed in a power struggle with Reichsmarschall
Hermann Göring, who was quick to tie the ministry more closely to his Four Year Plan Office. Confiscation of Jewish property[edit] At Nuremberg, Funk was accused by Allied prosecutors of having been closely involved in the State confiscation and disposal of the property of German Jews. He boasted that by 1938, the German state had confiscated Jewish property worth two million marks, using decrees from Hitler and other top Nazis to force German Jews to leave their property and assets to the State if they emigrated, such as the Reich Flight Tax. They were forced by Göring to pay for the damage caused by the Nazis to their own property on Kristallnacht, and increasingly deprived of their personal wealth and assets as the Second World War approached. Reichsbank[edit] In the year April 1938-March 1939 Funk was a Director of the Swiss-based multi-national Bank of International Settlements,[1] and in January 1939, Hitler appointed Funk as President of the Reichsbank, replacing Schacht. He was appointed to the Central Planning Board in September 1943. Nuremberg[edit] Despite poor health, Funk was tried with other Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trials. Accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity, he argued that, despite his titles, he had very little power in the regime. At the Nuremberg trials
Nuremberg trials
American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson labeled Funk as "The Banker of Gold Teeth", referring to the practice of extracting gold teeth from Nazi concentration camp victims, and forwarding the teeth to the Reichsbank for melting down to yield bullion. Many other gold items were stolen from victims, such as jewellery, eyeglasses and finger rings.[2] Göring described Funk as "an insignificant subordinate," but documentary evidence and his wartime biography Walther Funk, A Life for Economy were used against him during the trial, leading to his conviction on counts 2, 3 and 4 of the indictment and his sentence of life imprisonment. Funk was held at Spandau Prison
Spandau Prison
along with other senior Nazis. He was released on 16 May 1957 because of ill health. He made a last-minute call on Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer
Albert Speer
and Baldur von Schirach
Baldur von Schirach
before leaving the prison.[3] He died three years later in Düsseldorf
of diabetes. References[edit]

^ Bank of International Settlements, "Ninth Annual Report: 1 April 1938 – 31 March 1939" p. 135-7 ^ Nuremberg: Tyranny on Trial. History Channel. 1995. Television ^ Bird, Eugene (1974). The Loneliest Man in the World. London: Secker & Warburg. p. 121. ISBN 0436042908. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Walther Funk

Works by or about Walther Funk
Walther Funk
at Internet Archive Funk war crimes dossier

v t e

Members of the Hitler Cabinet

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
(Chancellor / Führer) Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
(President of the Reichstag) Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
(Stabschef-SA) Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
(Reichsführer-SS) Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
(Deputy Führer)1 Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen

Acting officeholders shown in italics

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Konstantin von Neurath Joachim von Ribbentrop

Minister of the Interior

Wilhelm Frick Heinrich Himmler

Minister of Finance

Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk

Minister of Justice

Franz Gürtner Franz Schlegelberger Otto Georg Thierack

Minister of the Reichswehr

Werner von Blomberg Wilhelm Keitel

Minister of Economics

Alfred Hugenberg Kurt Schmitt Hjalmar Schacht Hermann Göring Walther Funk

Minister for Food and Agriculture

Alfred Hugenberg Richard Walther Darré Herbert Backe

Minister for Labour

Franz Seldte

Minister for Postal Affairs

Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach Wilhelm Ohnesorge

Minister for Transport

Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach Julius Dorpmüller

Minister of Aviation

Hermann Göring

Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

Joseph Goebbels

Minister for Science and Education

Bernhard Rust

Minister for Church Affairs

Hanns Kerrl Hermann Muhs

Minister for Armaments and Ammunition

Fritz Todt Albert Speer

Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories

Alfred Rosenberg

Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia

Karl Hermann Frank

Minister without portfolio

Hans Frank Otto Meissner Arthur Seyss-Inquart Martin Bormann Hans Lammers Konstantin Hierl

1 Until May 1941.

v t e

Economy Ministers of Germany

Imperial Economy Secretaries (1871–1918)

Rudolf Schwander Hans Karl Freiherr von Stein zu Nord- und Ostheim August Müller

Weimar Republic (1918–1933)

Rudolf Wissell Robert Schmidt Ernst Scholz Robert Schmidt Johann Becker Hans von Raumer Joseph Koeth Eduard Hamm Albert Neuhaus Rudolf Krohne Julius Curtius Paul Moldenhauer Robert Schmidt Hermann Dietrich Ernst Trendelenburg Hermann Warmbold Ernst Trendelenburg Hermann Warmbold

Nazi Germany (1933–1945)

Alfred Hugenberg Kurt Schmitt Hjalmar Schacht Hermann Göring Walther Funk

German Democratic Republic (1949–1990)

Christa Luft Gerhard Pohl

Federal Republic of Germany (1949–)

Ludwig Erhard Kurt Schmücker Karl Schiller Helmut Schmidt Hans Friderichs Otto Graf Lambsdorff Manfred Lahnstein Otto Graf Lambsdorff Martin Bangemann Helmut Haussmann Jürgen Möllemann Günter Rexrodt Werner Müller Wolfgang Clement Michael Glos Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg Rainer Brüderle Philipp Rösler Sigmar Gabriel Brigitte Zypries Peter Altmaier

v t e

Major defendants at the Nuremberg trials

Sentenced to death

Martin Bormann1 Hans Frank Wilhelm Frick Hermann Göring2 Alfred Jodl Ernst Kaltenbrunner Wilhelm Keitel Joachim von Ribbentrop Alfred Rosenberg Fritz Sauckel Arthur Seyss-Inquart Julius Streicher

Imprisoned (terms)

Karl Dönitz (10 years) Walther Funk
Walther Funk
(life) Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
(life) Konstantin von Neurath
Konstantin von Neurath
(15 years) Erich Raeder
Erich Raeder
(life) Baldur von Schirach
Baldur von Schirach
(20 years) Albert Speer
Albert Speer
(20 years)


Hans Fritzsche Franz von Papen Hjalmar Schacht

No decision

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach3 Robert Ley4

1 In absentia. Remains discovered in Berlin in 1972 and conclusively identified in 1998; confirmed to have committed suicide on 2 May 1945 2 Committed suicide on 15 October 1946 before sentence could be carried out 3 Found unfit to stand trial 4 Committed suicide on 25 October 1945

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 19835895 LCCN: n90647853 ISNI: 0000 0001 0876 9365 GND: 116874058 SUDOC: 050171135 BNF: cb13518136v (data) SN