On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht, riots in Germany
destroyed synagogues and Jewish property. This presented a problem
to the German insurance industry who now faced millions of
dollars worth of claims. At a meeting held three days later, on
November 12, chaired by Field Marshall Goering and attended by such Nazi notables
as Goebbels and Heydrich, the matter was discussed with a
representative of the insurance industry.|
Below is a transcript of a portion the meeting. It was uncovered by Risk International, an insurance archaelogy firm who is participating with Avotaynu in the LivingHeirs project that assists heirs in recovering assets confiscated by the German government during the Nazi era.
Goering: Gentlemen! Today's meeting is of a decisive nature. I have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's orders by the Stabsleiter of the Fuehrer's deputy Bormann, requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, coordinated and solved one way or another. And yesterday once again did the Fuehrer request by phone for me to take coordinated action in the matter.
Since the problem is mainly an economic one, it is from the economic angle that it shall have to be tackled. Naturally a number of legal measures shall have to be taken which fall into the sphere of the Minister for Justice and into that of the Minister of the Interior; and certain propaganda measures shall be taken care of by the Minister for Propaganda. The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Economic Affairs shall take care of problems falling in their respective resorts.
In the meeting, in which we first talked about this question and came to the decision to aryanize German economy, to take the Jew out of it, and put him into our debit ledger, was one in which, to our shame, we only made pretty plans, which were executed very slowly. We then had a demonstration, right here in Berlin, we told the people that something decisive would be done, but again nothing happened. We have had this affair in Paris now, more demonstrations followed and this time something decisive must be done!
Because, gentlemen, I have enough of these demonstrations! They don't harm the Jew but me, who is the last authority for coordinating the German economy.
If today, a Jewish shop is destroyed, if goods are thrown into the street, the insurance company will pay for the damages, which the Jew does not even have; and furthermore goods of the consumer goods belonging to the people, are destroyed. If in the future, demonstrations which are necessary, occur, then, I pray, that they be directed, so as not to hurt us.
Because it's insane to clean out and burn a Jewish warehouse then have a German insurance company make good the loss. And the goods which I need desperately, whole bales of clothing and what-not, are being burned; and I miss them everywhere.
I may as well burn the raw materials before they arrive. The people of course, do not understand that; therefore we must makelaws which will show the people once and for all, that something is being done.
I should appreciate it very much if for once, our propaganda would make it clear that it is unfortunately not the Jew who has to suffer in all this, but the German insurance companies.
I am not going to tolerate a situation in which the insurance companies are the ones who suffer. Under the authority invested in me, I shall issue a decree, and I am, of course, requesting the support of the competent Government agencies, so that everything shall be processed through the right channels and the insurance companies will not be the ones who suffer.
It may be, though, that these insurance companies may have insurance in foreign countries. If that is the case, foreign bills of exchange would be available which I would not want to lose. That shall have to be checked. For that reason, I have asked Mr. Hilgard of the insurance company, to attend, since he is best qualified to tell us to what extent the insurance companies are protected against damage, by having taken out insurance with other companies. I would not want to miss this, under any circumstances.
I should not want to leave any doubt, gentlemen, as to the aim of today's meeting. We have not come together merely to talk again, but to make decisions, and I implore the competent agencies to take all measures for the elimination of the Jew from German economy and to submit them to me, as far as it is necessary.
The fundamental idea in this program of elimination of the Jew from German economy is first, the Jew being ejected from the Economy transfers his property to the State. He will be compensated. The compensation is to be listed in the debit ledger and shall bring a certain percentage of interest. The Jew shall have to live out of this interest. It is a foregone conclusion, that this aryanizing, if it is to be done quickly, cannot be made in the Ministry for Economy in Berlin. That way, we would never finish.
On the other band, it is very necessary to have safety precautions so that the lower echelons, Statthalter, and Gauleiter will not do things unreasonably. One must issue correction directives, immediately.
The aryanizing of all the larger establishments, naturally, is to be my lot--the Ministry for Economy will designate, which and how many there are--it must not be done by a Statthalter or his lower echelons, since these things reach into the export trade, and cause great problems, which the Statthalter can neither observe, nor solve from his place.
It is my lot, so that the damage will not be greater than the profit, which we are striving for.
It is obvious gentlemen, that the Jewish stores are for the people, and not the stores. Therefore, we must begin here, according to the rules previously laid down.
The Minister for Economic Affairs shall announce which stores he'll want to close altogether. These stores are excluded from aryanizing at once. Their stocks are to be made available for sale in other stores; what cannot be sold, shall be processed through the "Winterhilfe" or taken care of otherwise. However, the sales values of these articles shall always be considered, since the State is not to suffer but should profit through this transformation. For the chain and department stores--I speak now only of that, what can be seen, certain categories have to be established, according to the importance of the various branches.
The trustee of the State will estimate the value of the property and decide what amount the Jew shall receive. Naturally, this amount is to be set as low as possible. The representative of the State shall then turn the establishment over to the "Aryan" proprietor, that is, the property shall be sold according to its real value.
There begins the difficulties. It is easily understood that strong attempts will be made to get all these stores to party-members and to let them have some kind of compensations. I have witnessed terrible things in the past; little chauffeurs of Gauleiters have profited so much by these transactions that they have now about half a million. You, gentlemen, know it. Is that correct?
Of course, things like that are impossible. I shall not hesitate to act ruthlessly in any case where such a trick is played. If the individual involved is prominent, I shall see the Fuehrer within two hours and report to him.
We shall have to insist upon it, that the Aryan taking over the establishment is of the branch and knows his job. Generally speaking he is the one who must pay for the store with his own money. In other words, an ordinary business transaction is to be sought--one merchant selling, the other one buying a business. If there are party members among the contenders, they are to be preferred, that is if they have the same qualifications: first shall come the one who had the most damage, and secondly, selection should be according to length of Party membership.
Of course, there may be exceptions. There are party-members who, as may be proven, lost their business concessions by action of the Schuschnigg or Prague Government, and so went bankrupt. Such a man has naturally first option on a store for sale, and he shall receive help if he does not have the means to help himself. The trustee of the State can justify this help, if he is more business like in the transfer. This party-member should have the chance to buy the store for as cheap a price as possible. In such a case the State will not receive the full price, but only the amount the Jew received. Such a buyer may even receive a loan besides, so that he will get off to a good start.
I wish to make it clear that such a proceeding shall only be legal if the party-member has once owned such a store. For example, a party-member was the owner of a stationery store, and Schuschnigg took away the concession to operate it so that the man lost the store and went bankrupt. Now, if a Jewish stationery store is being aryanized, this party-member should get the store on conditions which he'll be able to fulfill. Such a case shall be the only exception though, in all other cases the procedure shall be of a strictly businesslike nature whereby the party-member, like I said before, shall have the preference, if he has the same qualifications as any other candidate, who is not a member of the party.
When selling for the actual value we shall find only about 60 Aryans ready to take over 100 Jewish stores. I don't think that we have a German for every Jewish store. You must not forget that the Jew sees his main activity in the field of trade, and that he owns 90% of it. I doubt that we'd have a demand big enough. I even doubt that we'd have enough people, particularly now since everybody has found his field of work.
Therefore, I ask the Minister for Economy to go beyond what we think ought to be done for the sake of the principle, in liquidating the establishments. I ask him to go further, even though there won't be any candidates. That'll be perfectly alright.
The transfer of stores and establishments shall have to be executed by the lower echelons, not through Berlin but through the Gaue and through the Reichstatthalterschaft. Therein shall be the seat of the members of the Board of Trustees, even if it consists of a few people only. The Statthalter and his people cannot do this job; the trustees will have to tackle it. But the Statthalter shall be the authority which supervises, according to the regulations given him, the trustees, particularly in dealings such as the transfer to party-members.
Naturally, these establishments cannot disappear all at once but we'll have to start by Monday, in a manner that shall make it obvious that a change has begun to materialize. Besides that, certain stores could be closed which will make things here easier.
Another point! I have noticed that Aryans took over a Jewish store and were then so clever to keep the name of the Jewish store as "formerly," or kept it altogether. That must not be: I cannot permit it. Because it may happen--what has just happened--stores were looted because their signboards bore Jewish names--because they had once been Jewish, but had been "aryanized" a long time ago. Names of former Jewish firms shall have to disappear completely, and the German shall have to come forward with his or his firm's name. I ask you to carry this out quite definitely. That much then regarding aryanizing of stores and wholesale establishments, particularly in regard to signboards and of all that is obvious!
Of the consequences resulting from this for the Jew, I shall speak later, because this is connected with other things.
Now for the factories. As for the smaller and medium ones, two things shall have to be made clear.
1. Which factories do I not need at all--which are the ones--where productions could be suspended? Could they not be put to another use? If not, the factories will be razed immediately.
2. In case the factory should be needed, it will be turned over to Aryans in the same manner as the stores. All these measures have to be taken quickly, since Aryan employees are concerned everywhere. I'd like to say right now that Aryan employees shall have to be given employment immediately after the Jewish factory is closed. Considering the amount of labor we need these days, it should be a trifle to keep these people, even in their own branches. As I have just said; if the factory is necessary, it will be aryanized. If there is no need for it, it being abandoned shall be part of the procedure of transforming establishments not essential, for our national welfare into one that is essential for it--a procedure that shall take place within the few weeks. For it, I shall still need very much space and very many factories.
If such a factory is to be transformed or razed the first thing to be done is check the equipment. The questions arising will be: Where can this equipment be used? Could it be used after the Place is transformed? Where else might it be needed badly? Where could the machinery be set up again? It follows that the aryanizing factories will be an even more difficult task than the aryanizing of stores.
Take now the larger factories which are run solely by a Jewish owner, without control by a Board of Directors; or take corporations where the Jews might be in the Supervisory Council or Board of Directors. There the solution is very simple: the factory can be compensated in the same manner as in the sale of stores and factories; that is, at a rate which we shall determine and the trustee shall take over the Jew's interest as well as his shares, which he in turn may sell or transfer to the State, which will then dispose of them. So, if I have a big factory, which belonged to a Jew or a Jewish corporation, and the Jew leaves, perhaps with his sons who were employed there, the factory will still continue to operate. Maybe a director will have to be appointed because the Jew has run the factory himself. But otherwise, particularly if the maintenance of the establishment is very essential everything will run smoothly.
Everything is very simple. I now have his shares. I may give them to some Aryan or to another group or I may keep them. The State takes them over and offers them at the stock market, if they are acceptable there and if it so desires, or it makes use of them in some other way.
Now, I shall talk of the very big establishments, those in which the Jew is in the Board of Directors, in which he holds shares etc., and so is either the owner or one of the co-owners; in any case in which he is greatly interested. There too, things are' comparatively simple; he delivers all of his shares which shall be bought at a price fixed by the trustee. So the Jew gets into the account book. The shares shall be handled like I've just explained. These cases cannot be taken care of by the Gaue and Reichsstatthalter, but only by us here on top; because we are the only ones to decide where these factories are to be transferred to, how they may be affiliated with other establishments or what an ex- tent the State shall keep them or hand them over to another establishment belonging to the State. All this can only be decided here. Of course, the Gauleiter and Statthalter will be glad to get hold of the shares, and they'll make great promises to beautify our capital cities, etc. I know it all! It won't go! We must agree on a clear action that shall be profitable to the Reich.
The same procedure shall be applied where the Jew has a share in, or owns property of German economy. I am not competent enough to tell off hand in what forms that might be the case, and to what an extent he'll have to lose it. Anyway, the Jew may be evicted pretty fast from German economy.
Now, the foreign Jews. There we'll have to make distinctions between the Jews who have always been foreigners--and who shall have to be treated according to the laws we arranged with their respective countries. But regarding those Jews who were Germans, have always lived in Germany and have acquired foreign citizenship during the last year, only because they wanted to play safe. I ask you not to give them any consideration. We'll finish with these. Or have you any misgivings? We shall try to induce them through slight, and then through stronger pressure, and through clever maneuvering--to let themselves be pushed out voluntarily.
Woermann: I'd like the Foreign Office to be included, since a generally valid decision could hardly be made.
Goering: We cannot consult you in every case, but on the whole we will.
Woermann: Anyway, I'd like to make known the claim of the Foreign Office to participate. One never knows what steps may become necessary.
Goering: Only for important cases! I do not like to take this category under special consideration. I have learned only now to what extent that has been done, particularly in Austria and Czechoslovakia. If somebody was a Czech in Sudetenland, we do not have to consider him at all, and the Foreign Office doesn't have to be consulted because that person now belongs to us. And in Austria and also in Sudetenland, too many become all of a sudden Englishmen or Americans or what-not--and generally speaking we cannot consider that a great deal.
Funk: That is quite a decisive question for us: should the Jewish stores be reopened?
Goebbels: If they will be reopened is another question. The Question is will they be restored? I have set the deadline for Monday.
Goering: You don't have to ask whether they be reopened. That is up to us to decide.
Goebbels: Number 2. In almost all German cities synagogues were burned. New, various possibilities exist to utilize the space where the synagogues stood. Some cities want to build parks in their place, others want to put up new buildings.
Goering: How many synagogues were actually burned?
Heydrich: Altogether there are 101 synagogues destroyed by fire; 76 synagogues demolished; and 7,500 stores ruined in the Reich.
Goering: What do you mean "destroyed by fire?"
Heydrich: Partly, they are razed, and partly gutted.
Goebbels: I am of the opinion that this is our chance to dissolve the synagogues. All these not completely intact, shall be razed by the Jews. The Jews shall pay for it. There in Berlin, the Jews are ready to do that. The synagogues which burned in Berlin are being leveled by the Jews themselves. We shall build parking lots in their places or new buildings. That ought to be the criterion for the whole country, the Jews shall have to remove the damaged or burned synagogues, and shall have to provide us with ready free space.
Number 3: I deem it necessary to issue a decree forbidding the Jews to enter German theaters, moving houses, and circuses. I have already issued such a decree under the authority, of the law of the chamber for culture. Considering the present situation of the theaters, I believe we can afford that. Our theaters are overcrowded, we have hardly any room. I am of the opinion that it is not possible to have Jews sitting next to Germans in movies and theaters. One might consider, later on, to let the Jews have one or two movie houses here in Berlin, where they may see Jewish movies. But in German theaters they have no business anymore.
Furthermore, I advocate that the Jews be eliminated from all positions in public life in which they may prove to be provocative. It is still possible today that a Jew shares a compartment in a sleeping car with a German. Therefore, we need a decree by the Reich Ministry for Communications stating that separate compartments for Jews shall be available; in case where compartments are filled up, Jews cannot claim a seat. They shall be given a separate compartment only after all Germans have secured seats. They shall not mix with Germans, and if there is no more room, they shall have to stand in the corridor.
Goering: In that case, I think it would make more sense to give them separate compartments.
Goebbels: Not if the train is overcrowded!
Goering: Just a moment. There'll be only one Jewish coach. If that is filled up, the other Jews will have to stay at home.
Goebbels: Suppose, though, there won't be many Jews going on the express train to Munich, suppose there would be two Jews in the train and the other compartments would be overcrowded. These two Jews would then have a compartment all themselves. Therefore, Jews may claim a seat only after all Germans have secured a seat.
Goering: I'd give the Jews one coach or one compartment And should a case like you mention arise and the train be overcrowded, believe me, we won't need a law. We'll kick him out and he'll have to sit all alone in the toilet all the way!
Goebbels: I don't agree. I don't believe in this. There ought to be a law. Furthermore, there ought to be a decree barring Jews from German beaches and resorts. Last summer * * *
Goering: Particularly here in the Admiralspalast very disgusting things have happened lately.
Goebbels: Also at the Wannasee beach. A law which definitely forbids the Jews to visit German resorts!
Goering: We could give them their own.
Goebbels: It would have to be considered whether we'd give them their own or whether we should turn a few German resorts over to them, but not the finest and best, so we cannot say the Jews go there for recreation.
It'll also have to be considered if it might not become necessary to forbid the Jews to enter the German forests. In the Grunewald, whole herds of them are running around. It is a constant provocation and we are having incidents all the time. The behavior of the Jews is so inciting and provocative that brawls are a daily routine.
Goering: We shall give the Jews a certain part of the forest, and the Alpers shall take care of it that various animals that look damned much like Jews,--the Elk has such a crooked nose-- get there also and become acclimated.
Goebbels: I think this behavior is provocative. Furthermore, Jews should not be allowed to sit around in German parks. I am thinking of the whispering campaign on the part of Jewish women in the public gardens at Fehrbelliner Platz. They go and sit with German mothers and their children and begin to gossip and incite.
Goebbels: I see in this a particularly grave danger. I think it is imperative to give the Jews certain public parks, not the best ones--and tell them: "You may sit on these benches" these benches shall be marked "For Jews only." Besides that they have no business in German parks. Furthermore, Jewish children are still allowed in schools. That's impossible. It is out of the question that any boy should sit beside a Jewish boy in a German gymnasium and receive lessons in German history. Jews ought to be eliminated completely from German schools; they may take care of their own education in their own communities.
Goering: I suggest that Mr. Hilgard from the insurance company be called in; he is waiting outside. As soon as he'll be finished with his report, he may go, and we can continue to talk. At the time Gustloff died, a compensation for the damage Germany had suffered, was prepared. But I believe that at present we should not work it through raised taxes but with a contribution paid only once. That serves my purpose, better.
Mr. Hilgard, the following is our case. Because of the justified anger of the people against the Jew, the Reich has suffered a certain amount of damage. Windows were broken, goods were damaged and people hurt, synagogues burned, etc. I suppose that the Jews, many of them are also insured against damage committed by public disorder, etc.
If that is so, the following situation arises; the people, in their justified anger, meant to harm the Jew; but it is the German insurance companies that will compensate the Jew for damage. This situation is simple enough; I'd only have to issue a decree to that affect that damage, resulting from these risks, shall not have to be paid by the insurance companies. But the question that interests me primarily, and because of which I have asked you to come here, is this one: In case of reinsurance policies in foreign countries, I should not like to lose these, and that is why I'd like to discuss with you ways and means by which profit from reinsurance, possibly in foreign currency will go to the German economy, instead of the Jew. I'd like to hear from you, and that is the first question I want to ask: In your opinion, are the Jews insured against such damage to a large extent?
Hilgard: Permit me to answer right away. We are concerned with three kinds of insurances. Not with the insurance against damage resulting from revolt or from risks. But with the ordinary fire insurance, the ordinary glass insurance, and the ordinary insurance against theft. The people, because of their contracts, who have a right to claim compensation are partly Jews partly Aryans. As for the fire insurance, they are practically all Jewish, I suppose. As for the department stores, the victim is identical with the Jew, the owner and that applies more to the synagogues, except for neighbors to whose places the fire may have spread. Although the damage done to the latter's property seems to be rather slight, according to the inquiries I made late last night.
As for the glass insurance which plays a very important part in this, the situation is completely different. The majority of the victims, mostly the owners of the buildings are Aryans. The Jew has usually rented the store, a procedure which you may observe all over, for example on Kurfuerstendamm.
Goering: That is what we've said.
Goebbels: In these cases, the Jew will have to pay.
Goering: It doesn't make sense, we have no raw materials. It is all glass imported from foreign countries and has to be paid for in foreign currency! One could go nuts.
Hilgard: May I draw your attention to the following facts: the glass for the shop windows is not being manufactured by the Bohemian, but by the Belgian glass industry. In my estimation, the approximate money-value to which these damages amount is $6,000,000--that includes the broken glass, glass which we shall have to replace, mainly to Aryans because they have the insurance policies. Of course I have to reserve final judgment in all this, Your Excellency, because I have had only one day to make my inquiries. Even counting on about half of the $6,000,000 being spent in transacting the business--specialists from the industry itself are more confident in this matter than I am, we might well have to import glass for approximately $3,000,000. Incidentally, the amount of the damage equals about half a whole year's production of the Belgian glass industry. We believe that half a year will be necessary for the manufacturers to deliver the glass.
Goering: The people will have to be enlightened on this.
Goebbels: We cannot do this right now.
Goering: This cannot continue! We won't be able to last with all this. Impossible! Go on then! You suggest that the Aryan is the one who suffers the damage; is that right?
Hilgard: Yes, to a large extent, as far as the glass insurance goes.
Goering: Which would have to replace the glass.
Hilgard: Yes. Of course there are cases in which the Aryan, owner of the store is identical with the owner of the building That is so with all department stores. In the case of the department store Israel, the owner is the Jew.
Goering: And now the third category.
Hilgard: Under this fall the victims of thievery.
Goering: I have to ask you a question. When all kinds of goods were taken from the stores and burned in the streets, would that also be thievery?
Hilgard: I don't think so.
Goering: Could that be termed as "Riot"?
Hilgard: That is just the question which we are unable to decide at this moment. Is it ordinary theft if entry into a dwelling or a container of any kind is forced and something is taken away?
Goering: That is a case of "Riot."
Hilgard: Riot does not mean much since we have very little insurance against damage caused by riot; these were discarded by us long ago.
Goering: But this here is "Rioting." That is the legal term. There was no theft, and no individual broke into any place. But a mob rushes in and knocks everything to pieces, or "Public Disturbances."
Hilgard: Public disturbance. It is no riot.
Goering: Are they insured against damages caused by public
Hilgard: No, no more. May I show this by an example. The most remarkable of these cases is the case Margraf Unter Den Linden. The Jewelry store of Margraf, is insured with us through a so-called combined policy. That covers practically any damage that may occur. This damage was reported to us as amounting to $1,700,000 because the store was completely stripped.
Goering: Daluege and Heydrich, you'll have to get me this jewelry through raids, staged on a tremendous scale!
Daluege: The order has already been given. The people are being controlled all the time. According to reports, 150 were arrested by yesterday afternoon.
Goering: These things will otherwise be hidden. If somebody comes to a store with jewels and claims that be has bought them, they'll be confiscated at once. He has stolen them or traded them in all right.
Heydrich: Besides that, looting was going on in the Reich in more than 800 cases, contrary to what we supposed; but we have already several hundred people who were plundering, and we are trying to get the loot back.
Goering: And the jewels?
Heydrich: That is very difficult to say. They were partly thrown into the street and picked up there. Similar things happened with furriers, for example, in Friedrichstrasse, district C, there the crowd was naturally rushing to pick up minks, skunks, etc. It'll be very difficult to recover that. Even children have filled their pockets just for fun. It is suggested that the Hitler Youth is not to be employed and to participate in such actions without the Party's consent. Such things are very easily destroyed.
Daluege: The Party should issue an order to the effect that the police will immediately receive a report in case the neighbor's wife, (everybody knows his neighbor) has a fur coat altered or in case somebody appears wearing new rings or bracelets. We'd like the Party to support us here.
Hilgard: These damages are not covered by the policy, I believe. May I say a word in general about our liabilities and a "Petidum" of the Versicherungswirkschaft report. We'd like to make it our point, Mr. General Field Marshall, that we shall not be hindered in fulfilling the obligations for which our contracts call.
Goering: But I have to. That is important for me.
Hilgard: If I may give reasons for this request, I'd like to say that it simply has to do with the fact that we carry out, to a large extent, quite a number of international transactions. We have a very good international basis for our business transactions, and in the interest of the equilibrium of the Foreign exchange in Germany, we have to make sure that the confidence in the German insurance shall not be ruined. If we now refuse to honor clearcut obligations, imposed upon us through lawful contract, it would be a black spot on the shield of honor of the German insurance.
Goering: It wouldn't the minute I issue a decree a law sanctioned by the State.
Hilgard: I was leading up to that.
Heydrich: The insurance may be granted, but as soon to be paid, it'll be confiscated. That way we'll have saved face.
Hilgard: I am inclined to agree with what General Heydrich has just said. First of all, use the mechanism of the insurance company to check on the damage, to regulate it and even pay, but give the insurance company the chance to * * *
Goering: One moment! You'll have to pay in any case because it is the Germans who suffered the damage. But there'll be a lawful order forbidding you to make any direct payments to the Jews. You shall also have to make payment for the damage the Jews have suffered, but not to the Jews, but to the Minister of Finance.
What he does with the money is his business.
Schmer: Your Excellency, I should like to make a proposal. A certain rate should be fixed, say 15% or maybe a little higher, of all the registered wealth, I understand one billion is to be confiscated so that all Jews shall pay equally, and from the money raised this way, the insurance companies shall be refunded.
Goering: No. I don't even dream of refunding the insurance companies the money. The companies are liable. No, the money belongs to the State. That's quite clear. That would indeed be a present for the insurance companies. You make a wonderful Petidum there. You'll fulfill your obligations, you may count on that.
Kerl: It seems that in one respect, we'll have to arrange this somewhat differently. As far as the glass insurance goes, the fact of the matter is that the owners of the buildings will definitely have to be paid for the damage, as stipulated. The majority of these companies, with the exception of one Joint Stock Company in Cologne, are all very small reciprocity companies [Gegenseitsvereine]. They won't be able to make up for the damage. We'll have to find out how far they are covered by reinsurance which I cannot tell at the moment.
Hilgard: In this connection, the reinsurance plays a relatively small role, except for the large fire-insurance policies taken out by department stores. There is not reinsurance in the glass insurances, for the simple reason that, under normal conditions glass insurance is one of our best branches in the insurance business; and therefore does not need reinsurance. I have to add, though, that the amount of this damage is approximately twice as high as the amount of damage for an average year. It makes all our calculations wrong and completely wipes out our chance for profit.
No, sir, that is the way it is. The whole premium of the German glass insurance amounts to $14,000,000, if I am not wrong. Under normal conditions it amounted to 4 or 5 million. The glass insurance is our greatest asset. So far, the greatest profits were made in it. But now, the amount of this damage is alone twice as high as the amount for one ordinary year. With the various special glass insurances, it is altogether different.
Goering: One moment! 4 to 5 millions normally. Twice as much would be about 10 million. You suggested 14 million. There are still 4 million left.
Hilgard: We'll also have to pay for the expenses. No, it is a very great catastrophe for us. Let me point out that the damage in the whole of Germany, in my estimation, shall amount to approximately 25 million marks. I wanted to be careful.
Heydrich: We estimate that the damage to property, to furniture and to consumer-goods amounts to several hundred million; although that includes the damage the Reich shall suffer from loss of taxes--sales taxes, taxes on property, and on income. I assume that the Minister for Finance too, has been informed of all this.
V. Krosigk: I have no idea about the extent.
Heydrich: 7,500 destroyed stores in the Reich.
Daluege: One more question ought to be cleared up. Most of the goods in the stores were not the property of the owner but were kept on the books of other firms, which had delivered them. Then there are the unpaid for deliveries by other firms, which definitely are not all Jewish but Aryan, those goods that were delivered on the basis of commission.
Hilgard: We'll have to pay for them, too.
Goering: I wished you bad killed 200 Jews, and not destroyed such values.
Heydrich: There were 35 killed.
Kerl: I think we could do the following: Jews we don't pay anyhow. As for Aryans, payment shall have to be made. The insurance company may contact us through the "Reichsgruppe" and we shall investigate each case. I am thinking of the small reciprocity companies; it should be easy to find out whether they are capable of paying or not. In their cases, the amounts involved are not too large. We may find an arrangement for this later on; I am thinking of one in which the insurance companies arrange for recompensation exclusively to Aryan, and once they know the results of their inquiries, contact us. We shall then find a way out for these small companies. Of course only in cases where it is absolutely necessary.
Funk: That is not necessary. I'd like to refer to what I've said before about the decree. That seems to be the easiest solution.
Goering: We cannot do that. These people make a point of their ability to pay.
Funk: If the Jews pay for it, the insurance companies don't have to pay.
Goering: Right, well, gentlemen, this is all very clear. We'll stick to it. At this moment every insurance company, except Mr. Hilgard who is here, counts on having to pay for the damage. They want to pay too, and I understand this very well. They'll have to want that, so they cannot be reproached for not being secure enough to pay. The glass insurance, and a point was made of that, has brought the highest profits so far. That means they'd have enough surplus money, and if they haven't divided it all up in dividends, they'll have savings enough for the compensation. Such an insurance company will have to be in a position to pay for a damage of 10, 12, 15 million, that is three times the amount paid in the normal year. If they are unable to do that, then we'll have to wonder whether we should let small companies live at all. It would be insane to keep insurance companies which would be unable to pay for such a damage. To permit an insurance company like that to exist would simply mean to cheat the people. I suggest now the following. The damage shall be determined in each case. And for the time being, the insurance companies shall have to honor their contract in every respect and shall have to pay.
Goering: Now for the damage the Jew has had. At Margraf's the jewels disappeared, etc. Well, they are gone, and he won't get them refunded. He is the one who has to suffer the damage. As far as the jewels may be returned again by the police, they belong to the State. Now for the consumer foods which were thrown into the street, stolen, or burned. There too, the Jew will be the one who has the damage. As for the goods that were kept on the basis of commissions, the Jew shall have to make good for the damage.
Goebbels: That doesn't have to be put in the decree, though. This decree is quite sufficient the way it is.
Hilgard: I wonder to what an extent insurance companies in foreign countries might be involved in this.
Goering: Well, they'll have to pay. And we'll confiscate that.
Hilgard: As for this merchandise sold on the basis of commissions, I can imagine that the American supplier of fur coats, shipping them from England or from America would in many cases insure it with English or American insurance companies!
Goering: Then they'll pay him for the damage. The question merely is the following: do you think there are reinsurances for all this damage in foreign countries?
Hilgard: Very few, amounting to very little.
Goering: Of course, the Aryan cannot report any damage because be hasn't had any. The Jew will make good.
The Jew shall have to report the damage. He'll get the refund from the insurance company but the refund will be confiscated. After it's all said and done, there will remain some profit for the insurance companies since they can't have to make good for all he damage. Mr. Hilgard, you may enjoy yourself.
Hilgard: I have no reason for that--the fact that we won't have to pay for all the damage is called profit!
Goering: Just a moment! If you are compelled under the law to pay 5 million and all of a sudden there appears an angel in my somewhat corpulent form before you, and tells you: you may keep 1 million--why, cannot that be called making a profit? I should actually split with you, or whatever you'd call it. I can see it, looking at you. Your whole body grins. You made a big profit.
Remark: Let's initiate a tax for damages, resulting from public disturbance, to be paid by the insurance companies)
Hilgard: For me it goes without saying that the honorable German merchant cannot be the one who suffers. I have discussed his matter with the enterprises and I have spoken for it that the Aryan must not be the one who has the damage. But it is decidedly he who has it, because all the insurance companies, not the insurance company, are the ones that shall have to pay higher rates and at the same time shall receive lower dividends. Therefore, all the insurance companies are the losers. That is so, and that'll remain so, and nobody can tell me differently.
Goering: Then why don't you take care of it that a few windows less are being smashed! You belong to the people too! Send your representatives out. Let them instruct the people. If there should be any more questions speak to Mr. Lange.
Gentlemen, let us continue.
Woermann: I think that the foreign Jews are left out completely in Article 1. They are covered only by Article 2. But they could also be taken care of in Article 1. Otherwise they can be dealt with only if they are insured, and not if they are not insured.
Goering: Well, they'll have to insure themselves--or what do you mean?
Woermann: As for insurance, the foreign Jews are, to my understanding, mentioned only in Article 2 and 3, and not in Article 1. If I remember correctly, you were going to say in Article 1: "Jews inside. the country." Well, we'll have plenty of complaints then.
Goering: Pardon me. According to Article 2, they'll receive their compensation.
The number of those who are not insured is negligible.
Heydrich: I'd like to say one more thing of primary importance. In the decree we should not mention the confiscation. We can do that easily.
Goering: No, you cannot do that tacitly. A clear legal procedure will have to be employed there. But that is not what Mr. Woermann means, he is talking about these foreign Jews who are not insured. As far as they are insured, they are covered. This here concerns those who are not insured. That may be the case here and there.
Woermann: We shall then have plenty of complaints.
Goering: I'd like to avoid paying too much attention to the foreign Jews.
Woermann: But if Article 2 contains that provision, Article 1 may as well have it. The first draft by the Minister for Justice covered it all very nicely.
Guertner: Now, if I don't misunderstand, Mr. Woermann, he is primarily concerned with the obligation for restoration which shall be valid generally while only Jews who have German citizenship are mentioned regarding the insurance.
I'd like to know whether there are any objections against compelling also the foreign Jews to restore the damage, and to inform him that he shall not be paid the money from the insurance.
Goering: He is quite able to do that.
Woermann: Even if he is not insured?
Goering: There should hardly be such instances. chance on it.
Stuckart: If he is not insured, he'll have to have the damage restored anyway. How can he then make claims against anybody?
Goering: He cannot.
Woermann: He can file claims against the State.
Stuckart: According to which law? Damage caused by riots? We won't recognize riots.
Goering: Perfectly right.
Woermann: Generally speaking, may I say: regarding foreign Jews, the reservation that the contract is to be taken into consideration was made only for the organization. That is valid for all branches which we have discussed today, and also for the expropriation.
Goering: Like the Fuehrer says, we'll have to find a way to talk this over with the countries which also do something against their Jews. That every dirty Polish Jew has a legal position here and we have to stand him--that ought to cease. The Fuehrer was not very happy about the agreement that was made with the Poles. He thinks we should take a few chances and just tell the Poles; all right, we are not going to do that; let's talk over what we may be able to accomplish together; you are doing something against your own Jews in Poland; but the minute the Itzig has left Poland, he should suddenly be treated like a Pole! I'd like to disregard these stories from foreign countries a little.
Woermann: It ought to be considered whether or not, the U.S. might take measures against German property. This question cannot be handled equally for all countries. I have to make a formal and general reservation.
Goering: I have always said and I'd like to repeat it that our steamship companies and German companies in general should finally catch on and liquidate their investments in the U S, sell them, etc. That country of scoundrels does not do business with us according to any legal rules. Once before they stole everything from us, that is why I don't understand how we could do it again, just for some temporary profit. It is dangerous. You can do it with a regular country but not with one that cares for the Right as little as the U.S. The other day I had the American ambassador with me, we talked about the zeppelin and I told him: "We don't need any helium, I fly without helium but the prerequisite will have to be that this ship will be flying to civilized countries where the Right prevails. It goes without saying that one cannot fly to such gangster-states." He had a rather silly look on his face. One ought to tell these Americans. But you are right, Mr. Woermann, it ought to be considered.
Woermann: In other words, the foreign office is granted the right to be consulted.
Goering: Granted, but I'd like to avoid mentioning the foreign Jews as long as we can help it. We'd rather have the foreign office take part in these cases where that question- becomes acute, so that some compromise can be reached.
Woermann: Generally, and in particular cases.
Woermann: Generally, and in particular cases.
Funk: The decisive question is: Are the Jewish stores to be reopened or not?
Goering: That depends on how big a turnover these Jewish stores have. If it is big, it is an indication that the German people are compelled to buy there, in spite of its being a Jewish store, because a need exists. If we'd close all Jewish stores which are not open right now, altogether before Christmas, we'd be in a nice mess.
Fishboeck:Your Excellency, in this matter we have already a very complete plan for Austria. There are 12,000 Jewish artisan and 6,000 Jewish retail shops in Vienna. Before the National Revolution, we had already a definite plan for tradesmen, regarding this total of 17,000 stores. Of, the shops of the 12,000 artisans, about 10,000 were to be closed definitely and 2,000 were to be kept open. 4,000 of the 5,000 retail stores should be closed and 1,000 should be kept open, that is, were to be aryanized. According to this plan, between 3,000 and 3,500 of the total of 17,000 stores would be kept open, all others closed. This was decided following investigations in every single branch and according to local needs, in agreement with all competent authorities, and is ready for publication as soon as we shall receive the law which we requested in September; this law shall empower us to withdraw licenses from artisans, quite independently from the Jewish question.
Goering: I shall have this decree issued today.
Fischboeck: It was granted us in connection with the economic plan for Austria. I believe the only reason why it was not yet published was that negotiations between the Reich Ministry for Economic Affairs and the National Food Corporation were going on. A basic agreement had already been reached. We'll be able to close these 10,000 stores as a matter of mere routine as soon as the .decree will be issued. As for the actual execution of the matter, somebody will have to take care of the merchandise in these stores. Until last week we had intended to more or less leave it up to the Jews themselves to liquidate the warehouses. We cannot do that anymore. We intend to create a central agency which shall take care of the merchandise to be used. Generally, the best procedure might be to turn the merchandise over to the particular branch which in turn shall divide it up among .the Aryan stores. These, in turn, shall resell it on the basis of commissions or for a fixed price.
If this is carried out as planned, it'll concern only the approximately 3,000 remaining stores which shall be aryanized, according to the investigations made in the various branches. Actual buyers for about half of these stores are waiting: their contracts have been checked and are ready to be approved. If many of these cases were not approved sooner, it is only because the decision on the planning had not yet been made. As for the remaining 15,000 stores, negotiations have also gone rather far in many cases. We think that a deadline should be set, say until the end of the year. If, by the end of the year, definite buyers for the stores designated for Aryans, cannot be found, it' ll have to be examined once more whether the stores should not be liquidated. In most cases that will be possible ; an artisan' s shop is of a rather individual character. As for retail stores, it would never be urgent enough, so as to say that the economic worth was too big. The very few stores which would still remain and found to be necessary but for which no buyer was available, could be taken over by trustees. This way, I believe that fewer than 100 stores would be left, and by the end of the year we would have liquidated all the Jewish-owned businesses which so far have been obvious as such in the eyes of the public.
Goering: That would be excellent.
Fischboeck: Out of 17,000 stores 12,000 or 14,000 would be shut down and the remainder aryanized or handed over to the bureau of trustees which is operated by the State.
Goering: I have to say that this proposal is grand. This way, the whole affair would be wound up in Vienna, one of the Jewish capitals, so to speak, by Christmas or by the end of the year.
Funk: We can do the same thing over here. I have prepared a law elaborating that, effective 1 January 1939, Jews shall be prohibited to operate retail stores and wholesale establishments as well as independent artisan shops. They shall be further prohibited from keeping employees or offer any ready products on the market. Wherever a Jewish shop is operated, the police shall shut it down. From 1 January 1939, a Jew can no longer be employed as an enterpriser as stipulated in the law for the Organization of National Labor from 20 January 1934. If a Jew holds a leading position in an establishment without being the enterpriser, his contract may be declared void within 6 weeks by the enterpriser. With the expiration of the contract all claims of the employee, including all claims to maintenance, become obliterated. That is always very disagreeable and a great danger. A Jew cannot be a member of a corporation ; Jewish members of corporations shall have to be retired by 31 December 1938. A special authorization is unnecessary. The competent Ministers of the Reich are being authorized to issue the provision necessary for the execution of this law.
Goering: I believe that we can agree with this law.
(Remark : Yes)
Of course there remain a few things to be straightened out even after 1 January. We shall be able to handle them with these general methods which we shall have to employ for handling all other Jewish property. As for the Jewish stores, we may proceed vigorously ; we believe that by Christmas enough buyers shall be found to take over the stores which from now on shall be entirely under pressure. Also the merchandise may be taken the way you have proposed it. To me, all this seems to be prepared in an excellent manner.
Funk: In every single store everything is there.
Schmer: Everything is there, except that we have no control, anymore, over this business with the trustees. I personally am of the opinion that we don't need it at all; so far we have managed quite well with the aryanization. For those few stores that are to be kept open, we shall easily find buyers. All other rooms shall be rented without much ado. There is a great need for this right here in Berlin.
Goering: But my dear friend, that way the Jew will receive the full amount.
Schmer: He will receive the amount that is far below the value, and the aryanizing shall have to be authorized, as before.
Goering: The Jew will receive the amount which won't be put into the account book.
Schmer: No. We can arrange that later. He cannot swallow the money. The amount is fixed, and under the law the Jew is compelled to report every change in his financial status, so that it can easily be controlled. He won't run away; we'll keep it in the Reich. The only thing you'd have to do is to issue a decree, or to transfer the provisions of Article 7 on to the Ministry for Economic Affairs in order to confiscate the Jewish property. He cannot run away from us.
Goering: Mr. Schmer, could not the following be done: Somebody will become aryanized and get 300,000 marks into his hands. He runs into the next best jewelry store around the corner and buys one piece of jewelry after another, and on the same day disappears across the border.
Schmer: In that case, we'll have to report this, change in his property.
Goering: But if he wants to scram!
Fischboeck: The OK on the aryanizing is not being given the minute the price for the purchase is being paid. We do that the following way. The aryanizing is being authorized only under the condition that the price for the purchase is to be paid in installments lasting over a long period of time, in case the buyer is unable to pay ; or, in case payment is being made, that the amount is to be put in the bank of a frozen account.
Goering: We could do the same thing here.
Schmer: In the provisions for the execution of the law we may stipulate that from a certain level on, payment shall have to be made in bonds of the Reich or something similar. That would have to be a decree made by the authorities which OK the aryanizing.
Daluege: The number of Jewish stores is unknown. Until yesterday, 7,500 were reported to us and the number does not increase.
Fischboeck: Because of what has happened the day before yesterday in Vienna, 5,000 were shut down there. There were 40,000 altogether.
Schmer: Shall the arrangement made in Austria remain?
Goering: Nothing will be changed there.
Fischboeck: Everything can be shut down at any time.
Heydrich: I know that a very high limit has been set for registering, 3,000 I believe.
Fischboeck: More than 5,000.
Goering: Is that the same in the Reich?
Fischboeck: Yes, in the Reich too. In this connection, I'd like to make a few more remarks. What we are very much concerned with, is the situation regarding the Jewish apartment houses which contribute a large percentage of Jewish wealth. Surprisingly enough, the Jewish national wealth in Austria is reported to amount to 320 million marks only ; the value of the apartment houses alone amounts to 500 million. We should appreciate it very much if the regulation which makes it possible to requisition Jewish property would be made to be valid also for the apartment buildings ; thus we would be enabled to have these houses administered ,by a board of trustees and to give the Jews the right to have a claim on the debit ledger of the Reich. That could also be an occasion to cash the contribution, which might be deducted this way in advance. The administration of these blocks of apartment buildings wouldn't be a problem at all. The only thing we'd need for it would be managers, and there'd be plenty of them. We'd like to requisition the apartment buildings and also any bonds that way. This question of the bonds has been left open so far. In Austria, a very large part of Jewish wealth, 266 billion Reichsmarks, is invested in bonds of all kinds, in shares or simply in bonds bringing a fixed rate of interest. In my opinion, a danger for the market does not exist because the Ministry for Economic Affairs would have control over these bonds. We'll pay by handling out claims, on the debit-ledger of the Reich. Therefore, the finances of the Reich won't be affected, the Minister for Finance shall only pay 3% for the claims on the debit-ledger of the Reich. He in turn receives internal loans, that means saves money. And if the bonds are not being sold, one might keep them 30 years until those claims on the debit-ledger of the Reich shall be expired.
Funk: Why should Jews not be allowed to keep bonds?
Goering: Because that way he would actually be given a share.
Funk: That is entirely new.
Goering: No. I said very clearly before; bonds and shares.
Funk: Shares yes, but not internal loans.
Fischboeck: It is certainly better to pay the Jew 3% instead of 4%. We'd have no possibility to control Jewish wealth the minute we'd let him have shares.
Goering: Gentlemen, no arguments. It is out of the question that he'd keep the shares. He'll have to turn them in.
Fischboeck: In that case I'd like you to arrange this by calling the shares in so that the stock market won't be ruined. That can very easily be done. They'll be turned in. Administering the shares is also much simpler. ,The trustee turns the shares over to the depot and receives claims on the debit-ledger of the Reich in their place. With this, the whole affair is settled. The only question is whether you want to recall the shares or not.
Funk: This way, the Reich will become possessor of half a billion shares.
Goering: Yes, yes.
Goebbels: He'll be able to get rid of them according to its needs.
Fischboeck: But it is a business based on profits.
V. Krosigk: I am wondering, first whether it will bring us profits. I grant you that, though. But secondly, an entirely new point of view has to be entered here. I can very well see the point in what the Minister, Mr. Fischboeck, says. As for the values that otherwise ;bring fixed rates of interest, it is an entirely new idea to expropriate the Jew also in this, though the intention had been to refrain his status as the owner of the shares.
Fischboeck: The reason why this is so very important is that our whole action shall remain without success as long as the Jews shall be in the possession of values, which they may realize quickly and employ for any other undertaking.
Goering: That's it. We want to prevent the Jews from again secretly manipulating against us.
Fishboeck: For example, if we don't want the Jews to possess jewelry we can prevent them from having it by allowing them to possess only Internal Loan bonds, that means that they could acquire the jewelry only by paying with bonds.
Goering: Nobody would pay them claims on the debit-ledger.
Fischboeck: They are not transferable.
Goering: Only if authorized.
Heydrich: Is it not possible to issue an order forbidding the Jew to invest his money in certain values, such as art treasures?
Goering: The arrangement with the registration in the debit-1edger is much simpler. Claims on the debit-ledger are not transferable. He cannot do anything with them, and he cannot do much with those 3½ %.
Heydrich: But we'll also have to find an arrangement for confiscation of valuable objects in Jewish possession.
Goering: What he has now in his possession, that'll come.
Schmer: Article 7 of the decree states that the use of Jewish wealth in German economy shall be regulated through the Four Year Plan.
Goering: I think Fischboeck's proposal is very good. We should give it the form of a draft now, find the apartment buildings, the shares, etc.
Fischboeck: I should also like to have a decision made on the following question. In Austria, individuals, not institutions, owe the Jews 184 billion Reichsmarks. This way the Jews certainly have invested money in a way we don't like. That is money which they have loaned out to other Jews, oftener enough to an Aryan. This way, a dependency of the Aryan artisan from the Jewish creditor is created which we do not want. Now the question arises, and I would answer yes. Should trustees not be created to administer these debts and then pay with claims on the debit-ledger, according to demand coming in. The goal of this procedure would be to make the debtor independent from the Jewish creditor, to insert Aryan trusteeship and pay the Jew, as far as his demands could actually be met. Therefore it does not have to be paid. So we should have to insert trusteeship in this case also, but the difference to that in the case of the bonds would be that we won't simply pay but leave the decision for payment up to the trusteeship.
Funk: If word of this debate should reach the public, we'd have a run on the capital market tomorrow.
Fischboeck: That's why we have postponed these ideas all the time. We have examples for it that the Jews have sold, head over heel, bonds of internal loans, shares and everything they had.
Goering: I could stop that with a single decree, ordering the immediate stoppage of traffic of Jewish capital. He is punishable who buys from Jews, and his purchase shall be confiscated. I would not do it any other way.