The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. You were concerned with Frick and the Ministry of Justice
in the drafting of penal laws against Poles and Jews in the
annexed eastern territories, were you not?

A. There was a proceeding pending at the Ministry of Justice
at one time; and the Ministry of Justice corresponded with
me, but I believe nothing ever came of the matter.

Q. You had no part in the drafting of that legislation, did

A. No, I am not acquainted with it. I believe no special law
was issued; as far as I remember, it was left to the
Gauleiter to establish laws. I do not know.

Q. The laws were left to the Gauleiter, to the Kochs and the
Franks and the Rosenbergs; is that what happened?

A. No, we are talking about the provinces of West Prussia
and of Posen now; that is what our correspondence was about.

Q. I now want you to answer some questions about Sauckel.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn for ten minutes?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship please.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Lammers, can you hear what I say?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, will you kindly try and answer the
questions after they have been put to you and not break into
the questions? Try and wait for a moment

                                                  [Page 173]

until the question has been put because the interpreters and
the reporters are finding it very difficult to take down
what you say and to interpret what you say.


Q. I want to deal for the moment with your relations with
Seyss-Inquart. You were receiving reports from him as to his
administration in the Low Countries, were you not?

A. It was like this: every three months or so a general
report was sent in and then passed on to the Fuehrer. We
also received individual reports.

Q. And in the Low Countries, as elsewhere, you know that the
object of German administration was to extract and exploit
that territory for the German advantage as much as possible,
do you not?

A. Our aim, naturally, was to make use of the occupied
countries for our war production. I know nothing about any
orders for exploitation.

Q. To reduce their standard of living, to reduce them to
starvation; that was one of the results of the Netherlands
policy; you knew that, didn't you?

A. I do not believe that we went as far as that. I myself
had friends and relatives in Holland and know that people in
Holland lived much better than we did in Germany.

Q. I want you to look at the Document 997-PS, which is
already Exhibit RF 122, which consists of a letter which you
sent to Rosenberg, the defendant, enclosing a report, given
to you by Stabsleiter Schickedanz, to the Fuehrer, together
with a report delivered by Reich Commissioner Dr. Seyss-
Inquart, about the period from 29th May to 19th July, 1940.
If you look at Page 9 of your text, Page 5 of the English
text, of 997-PS, You will see there is a first statement of
the outlines of German economic policy in the Low Countries.
You will see the paragraph is marked on your copy, so that
your difficulty of finding where these passages are might be
eliminated. It reads:

  "It is necessary to reduce consumption by the

A. It goes without saying that in war time consumption by
the population must be reduced. There is no intention of
gaining supplies for the Reich.

Q. Just one moment, and I will read out the passage to you.

  "It was clear that with the occupation of the Netherlands
  a large number of economic and - in addition - police
  measures had to be taken. The first of these were
  intended to reduce consumption by the population in
  order, firstly, to gain supplies for the Reich and,
  secondly, to secure a uniform distribution of the
  remaining supplies."

That is a very concise statement of the economic policy that
Seyss-Inquart was pursuing towards the Dutch people, is it

A. Yes, it is also a very reasonable policy. Supplies had to
be reduced in order to distribute them equally and to gain
some for the Reich. In any case, the report is not mine but
was made by Herr Schickedanz and I do not know if it is

Q. But the object of this reduction of consumption by the
population was to benefit the Reich so that the territory of
the Low Countries should be robbed in order that the Reich
should profit. That was the whole policy, wasn't it?

A. That is certainly not here; it says here, firstly, that
supplies must be acquired for the Reich; and secondly, that
the various supplies must be equally distributed; that means
among the Dutch people. There is not a word about a policy
of exploitation.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: If it please the Tribunal, it has the
document and can read the language in which it appears.

Q. I want you now to turn your mind to the defendant
Sauckel. You, witness, knew quite well of the vast programme
of enslavement of the people conquered by the Nazi forces
that Sauckel was engaged upon, did you not?

A. I have seen Sauckel's programme and also the regulations
he drew up to

                                                  [Page 174]

enforce it. I did not have the impression that it was a
programme of slave labour. Sauckel was always very kind and
very moderate in his views and he made every effort to
recruit the necessary quotas of foreign workmen by means of
voluntary enlistment.

Q. Are you suggesting that you thought that the millions of
foreign workers that Sauckel dragged into the Reich came
there voluntarily?

A. They did not all come voluntarily. For instance, they
came from France through a compulsory labour law introduced
by the French Government. They did not come voluntarily, but
through a measure decreed by the French Government.

Q. I want you to look at one of the first reports that you
received from Sauckel on his labour programme. It is
Document 1296-PS, Exhibit GB 325. It starts with a letter
from Sauckel to you dated 29th July, 1942:

  "Dear Reich Minister:
  I enclose for your information a copy of a report to the
  Fuehrer and to the Reich Marshal of the Greater German
  Reich. Heil Hitler.
  Yours faithfully,
  Fritz Sauckel."

A. Yes, this report must have reached me.

Q. Yes. And you must presumably have examined it, did you

A. Yes, not now; it was submitted to me for information.

Q. And you examined it at the time?

A. I assume that I read it, that I glanced through it
quickly. It had no further interest for me.

Q. You will see in the first page of the report itself that
it indicates, for instance, that in the period from April to
July, 1942, which was the first period of activity of
Sauckel as plenipotentiary general for man-power, he had
obtained a total of 1,639,794 foreign workers, and you see
that 221,009 of those were Soviet prisoners of war. You saw
that, didn't you?

A. I probably read it. I had no reason to object to it.
Sauckel was not under my orders. He was really under the
Four-Year Plan, as the signature here shows; but for all
practical purposes he was immediately under the Fuehrer. He
sent the reports straight to the Fuehrer; and the only
reason why I myself did not pass the report on to the
Fuehrer was because I knew that the same report had reached
the Fuehrer via Reichsleiter Bormann. Otherwise I had
nothing at all to do with this matter.

Q. But you knew perfectly well that it was wickedly wrong,
didn't you, to compel soldiers that had been captured in
battle to go to work against their own country?

A. It was Sauckel's job to arrange that with the offices
with which he worked; I never bothered about this question.
That was a matter for Sauckel to arrange with the
appropriate departments, with the Wehrmacht, and possibly,
in respect to international law, with the Foreign Office.
Moreover, I see no mention of prisoners of war here.

Q. I don't want to suggest that you are -

A. I have not yet read anything about prisoners of war.

Q. Just look at the first page of the report. There is no
mystery about this, you know. You can read German perfectly

A. Yes, but I cannot read reports of several pages in one

Q. Just look at the first page of the report.

A. Yes, now I see it.

Q. You see from that report, quite clearly, do you not, that
in the very first four months of Sauckel's career as a slave-
driver he obtained 221,009 Soviet prisoners of war to work
in this labour machine?

A. The details did not interest me. I had no authority to
supervise Sauckel. A report was sent in stating how he had
done this. As to whether he had a right to do it - that was
a question which he had to settle in agreement with the

                                                  [Page 175]

priate departments. I did not investigate the matter because
the report was only sent to me for information.

Q. You have testified on Sauckel's behalf that he resisted
the suggestion that the S.S. should work in this sphere of
labour personnel. Did you not say that?

A. No, I did not say that. I merely said that he did not
want to have the S.S. alone, but that he wanted support from
any executive authorities which might be appointed at the
time. It is obvious, of course, that in the partisan regions
these would be mainly police and S.S.

Q. And quite simply, you knew that Sauckel was asking for
more help from the S.S. to get more labour. That is what he
was after, wasn't it?

A. Yes, otherwise he could not work in these regions, if
order was not maintained.

Q. Just look at the Document 1292-PS, which is Exhibit USA
225 and RF 68. That is the report of a conference on the
allocation of labour in 1944, 4th January, the minutes of
which you wrote yourself, so that if anything you say is to
be relied upon, that is your report. You will see that there
were at that conference Hitler, Sauckel, Speer, Keitel,
Milch, Himmler.

A. The new work programme for 1944 was made out and I was
instructed to inform the departments concerned. I took part
in this conference only because it concerned a measure in
which the respective fields of a number of offices had to be
made known. Otherwise I would not have participated in this
at all.

Q. And in that conference Hitler said that Sauckel must get
at least another four million workers for the man-power
pool, did he not?

A. That is possible. The Fuehrer asked more of Sauckel than
Sauckel thought he could provide.

Q. And Sauckel said that whether he could do that depended
primarily on what German enforcement agents would be made
available; his project could not be carried out with
domestic enforcement agents. And then your record goes on:

  "The Reichsfuehrer S.S. explained that the executive
  agents put at his disposal were very few in number but
  that he, that is to say, Himmler, would try to help on
  the Sauckel project by increasing their number and
  working them harder. The Reichsfuehrer S.S. immediately
  made 2,500 men from the concentration camps available for
  air-raid precautions in Vienna."

That is to say, it is clear from that report, is it not,
that Sauckel was seeking more help from the S.S. and that
Himmler was saying he would do his best to help him? Is that
not so?

A. There is no doubt of that, but Sauckel did not want to
have help from the S.S. only, he wanted to get any help he
needed for the country in question from the appropriate
establishment, as I said before - the Feldkommandantur, for

Q. There is a last document which I want to put to you on
Sauckel. It is Document 3819-PS, Exhibit GB 306, a small
part of which was read into the record by Sir David Maxwell
Fyfe. That is a report from Sauckel to Hitler, dated 17th
March, 1944. I take it that you probably saw a copy of that
report, did you not?

A. I do not know it.

Q. Just look at it, because it is most illuminating on the
attitude of Sauckel toward the assistance of the S.S. and
the German Police.

A. Yes; this is dated July, 1944. I have one here which is
dated 11th July, 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: Major Elwyn Jones, he is saying that he has
in his hand a document of 11th July, 1944. The document you
referred to was 17th March, was it not?


Q. You have got your minutes of the conference. Is there not
attached to it a report of Sauckel dated 17th March?

A. There is another report here dated 5th April.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I shall not proceed with that part of the
document, my Lord.

Q. If you will turn to the document dated 12th July, that
will do for my present purposes. You remember that is your
own report of the conference of 12th July,

                                                  [Page 176]

1944, on the question of increasing the supply of foreign
man-power, and you opened that conference, witness, did you

A. I was always neutral at such conferences. If there were
any differences of opinion, I offered my service as go-

Q. What were you neutral about, witness?

A. I was not in charge of an office. The other departments
had their own departmental interests.

Q. You were not being an honest broker between Sauckel and
Himmler, were you?

A. I frequently had to try to effect a compromise between
various people, including on occasion Himmler or Sauckel,
when a dispute arose; and I think I need not blush to say
that in that case I was an honest broker. I wanted to bring
about an agreement between these two so that it would not be
necessary to involve the Fuehrer in their differences of

Q. Just look at the manner in which you opened that
Conference. You said there - it is the second sentence under
your name:

   "He limited the theme of the discussion to an
   examination of all the possible means of making good the
   present deficit of foreign workers."

Then you say in the next question:

  "The question of whether and in what form greater
  compulsion can coerce
  people to accept work in Germany must remain in the

The operative word is, you know, "compulsion."

A. Yes; they were obviously thinking of female labour and of
a reduction of the age limits set for juvenile workers.

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