The Deutsche Reichsbank as an Actor during the National Socialist War of Conquest: A Study of Occupied Poland during the Second World War, 1939-1945

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Ingo Loose

The Deutsche Reichsbank, as led by its president, Walther Funk, carried out a number of central functions during the Second World War that were of considerable importance to the National Socialist war of conquest, which began in September 1939. This research project examines these functions in their chronological development and on the basis of their structural and qualitative features, both within the annexed Polish territories (“incorporated eastern territories”) and the so-called General Government.

With local branches in the region, the Reichsbank or Emissionsbank im Generalgouvernement was partly responsible for shaping financial and monetary policy in occupied Poland. The study thus focuses not only on the role of the Reichsbank and its cooperation with the civil and military administration there but also on the bank’s personnel and cooperation and interaction with the Reich Ministry of Economics, which was in fact led by Reichsbank President Walther Funk himself, as well as other Berlin ministries.

The Reichsbank began planning for the rapid and seamless incorporation of occupied territories in terms of monetary policy long before September 1, 1939. Following the German invasion of Poland, the bank played a leading role in the consolidation of financial policy in the occupied and subsequently annexed territories, including the planning, implementation, and monitoring of “Aryanization” schemes and the expropriation of the non-German civil population and “economic Germanization” of the occupied areas (“Germanization credits”), and lastly the collection and “exploitation” of the property of the murdered European Jews in close cooperation with the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office (SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt) and the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt).

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