Walther Funk

Walther Funk

Walther Funk, the son of a businessman, was born in Trakehnen, Germany, on 18th August, 1890. After studying economics at university he became a financial journalist.

Funk joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1931. He became an adviser to Adolf Hitler and encouraged him to move away from the radical anti-capitalist views of Gregor Strasser and Ernst Roehm.

After the Night of the Long Knives Funk's influence grew and in 1937 he was appointed by Hitler as Minister of Economics. Two years later he succeeded Hjalmar Schacht as President of the Reichsbank.

During the Second World War Funk collaborated with Heinrich Himmler in depositing money looted from the Jewish community.

At the end of the war Funk was captured by Allied troops. Found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In May 1957, Funk was released from prison because of ill-health and died in Dusseldorf on 31st May, 1960.

Primary Sources

(1) Walther Funk, Nazi Party's Economic Policy Department (1931)

I tried to accomplish my mission by impressing on the Führer and the Party as a whole that private initiative, the self-reliance of the business man, and the creative powers of free enterprise should be recognized as the basic economic policy of the Party. The Führer personally stressed time and again, during talks with me and industrial leaders to whom I had introduced him, that he was an enemy of state-economy and of so-called "planned economy", and that he considered free enterprise and competition as absolutely necessary in order to gain the highest possible production.