The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. THOMA: Herr Rosenberg, I think you should be a little

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, the Tribunal hopes you will.

Q. The most important thing in the whole matter, apart from
the jurisdiction of the Police and S.S. Leader, is your
relationship to the General Plenipotentiary for Labour
Mobilisation. What was the legal relationship and the
channel of subordination in this connection? Was Sauckel
entitled to give you instructions?

A. The authority which the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year
Plan had received from the Fuehrer is clear-cut; and the
Fuehrer decree of 21 March -

THE PRESI DENT: The question was: "Was Sauckel entitled to
give you instructions?" Then you begin to tell us about the
Four-Year Plan. I am sure you can answer that question

A. The General Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation had
the right to give instructions to all top authorities in the
Reich, and that included the Minister for the Occupied
Eastern Territories. This was -

Q. That is enough. Were you entitled to tell Reich
Commissioner Koch that the quotas of labourers which were
required would or could no longer be fulfilled, yes or no?

A. I couldn't do it as simply as that, since the
Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation had been given very
definite quotas by the Fuehrer, and when these quotas
appeared too large to me - and that was always the case - I
would call together the General Plenipotentiary and his
representatives and the representatives of the Eastern
Ministry for a conference, so as to reduce the figures to a
more reasonable size; and the reduction of these quotas did,
in fact, often result from such conferences, even though
they still remained very high. Officially, however, I could
do no more than make such representations.

                                                   [Page 19]

MR. DODD: This defendant continues to make a speech. The
question was very simple. He was asked whether he was
entitled to tell the Reich Commissioner Koch that the quotas
of labourers which were required could not be filled. He has
now had three minutes, and I'm sure that he will take 30
minutes if he's allowed to go on. He should be kept to the
limits of the question.


Q. Witness, I must underline Mr. Dodd's suggestion. I have
asked you, were you entitled to tell Reich Commissioner Koch
that he should not carry out this drafting of labour?

A. I could not do that.

Q. Then the answer is "No. " Did you, nevertheless, do so on
one occasion? Did you once tell him that he should make use
of his rights and powers and simply not fill these quotas?
Yes or No?

A. Yes. I did that expressly in a letter to the General
Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation, and the document
has been presented in court. It is dated December, 1942, and
in that letter I officially drew his attention to many
incidents which took place during this labour recruitment
drive, and I requested him urgently to help me in putting an
end to these unfortunate occurrences which could not be

Q. May I ask you to briefly refer to this question of labour
mobilisation on the basis of the documents. They are
documents which have already been presented by the United
States. 016-PS, 017-PS, 018-PS, 054-PS, 084-PS, 204-PS, 265-
PS, and 031-PS. I think you can be brief about all these
documents since they speak for themselves.

THE PRESIDENT: Are they in the document book?

DR. THOMA: They are partly in the USA Document Book "Alfred
Rosenberg." The special document book.

THE WITNESS: Document 016-PS is a letter written to me by
the General Plenipotentiary dated 24 April in which he
elaborates his programme. It has several times been referred
to by the prosecution, and I would like to refer you to two
brief points which relate to the Eastern Minister.

On Page 17 of the document under the title "Prisoners-of-war
and Foreign Labourers," in paragraph 3 at the end, it

  "As far as the beaten enemy is concerned, even if he has
  been our most terrible and implacable opponent, it has
  always been a matter of course to us Germans to refrain
  from any cruelty and petty molestations and always treat
  him correctly and humanely, especially if we expect
  useful service from him."

And then it says, on Page 18, in paragraph 5:

  "Therefore in the Russian camps too the principles of
  German cleanliness, orderliness and hygiene must be
  meticulously observed."

That, as far as I was concerned, was the decisive point, and
I fully agreed with this principle of the General
Plenipotentiary. My letter - Document 018-PS - dated 21
December, 1942, is to be understood on the basis of that

Q. Document Book Rosenberg, Page 64, Volume 11.

A. May I summarise and explain briefly? I give therein my
agreement to the solution of the problem of the Eastern
workers and I stated that we, Sauckel and myself, agreed as
to guiding principles. That is in reference to the points of
Sauckel's programme which have just been quoted.

I further stated that in spite of mutual agreement on
principles various unfortunate occurrences caused me to draw
attention to methods not to be tolerated. On Page 2 I
complained that, in accordance with reports received by the
Eastern Ministry, the conditions of various hospital
barracks and camps for sick Eastern workers, for their
rehabilitation before returning to their own country, were
unsatisfactory and that the Eastern Ministry had of its own

                                                   [Page 20]

accord put itself in touch with the Reich Commissioner for
hospitals and health.

On Page 3 I requested, with reference to the quotas for the
Eastern occupied territories, that care should be taken in
filling the quotas to avoid using any methods or actions
which might, at some future date, result in retributive
consequences to myself and my officials.

  "In order to achieve this end and to meet the exigencies
  due to the special political situation in the occupied
  Eastern Territories with the necessary measures of the
  commissions and staffs of your agencies, I have empowered
  the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine, in so far as
  necessary, to make use of his authority to eliminate
  recruiting methods which run contrary to the interest of
  the conduct of the war and war economy in the occupied
  Eastern Territories."

Q. Were you aware of the fact that at the same time that
these methods were discontinued, the workers demanded could
not be supplied?

A. I could not readily assume that, since I knew also that,
immediately after the start of the use of propaganda in many
regional Commissariats, a large number of volunteers from
the country reported; and that legal reasons for the
prevention of incidents which had taken place in every camp
- as shown in the context of this letter - were given the
Reich Commissioner.

May I very briefly refer to the other documents quoted by
the prosecution? Document 054-PS is a criticism of abuses
which reached me from the liaison officers of the Eastern
Ministry in Army Group South. It is severe criticism. I will
refer to Page 1 of the telegram where it says, in paragraph
8, that, with few exceptions, the Ukrainians in the Reich
who were working on their own in handicrafts, workshops, as
farmhands or as household employees, were very satisfied
with their conditions, but they complained about the
conditions of accommodation in collective camps. This was an
attempt to exert by criticism influence over questions and
matters regarding treatment of labourers in a region under
the authority, not of the civil, but of the military
administration with its seat in Kharkov, and to exert
influence even in German national territory where I, as
Minister for the East, had no right to issue instructions;
but wherever possible by means of criticism the lot of all
Eastern workers was always improved.

Document 084-PS refers to a number of problems and measures
for the improvement of the lot of the workers' families and
the energy with which the Eastern Ministry defended a policy
of decent treatment of the Eastern peoples, with regard to
such matters as pay, the deduction of taxes, etc., but I
don't think I need to go into any further detail since the
General Plenipotentiary will probably do that himself. I
merely refer to my efforts to take action in this direction.
I should also like to mention here that later on agreement
existed between the General Plenipotentiary and the Eastern
Ministry according to which Eastern workers, after returning
to their homes, were to receive an allotment of land so that
they did not suffer any disadvantage in contrast to those
who had remained in their homeland.

Document 204-PS also contains complaints regarding
insufficient allowances, to which I need not refer in detail
but I merely draw the attention of the Tribunal.

Document 265-PS is a report from the General Commissioner at
Zhitomir in the Ukraine, in which he states that the General
Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilisation, after travelling
through the Eastern Territories, had personally pointed out
the gravity of the whole labour mobilisation programme, and
had transmitted the absolute orders of the Fuehrer, that
these quotas must be placed at the disposal of the Reich.
Also the General Commissioner remarks that after this
serious portrayal of the situation he had no other choice,
during the calling-up process, than to appoint certain
workers to the police executive to aid the local

                                                   [Page 21]

Document 031-PS appears to me personally to be of particular
importance since the prosecution, with reference to this
document, accuses me of having approved of the planning and
carrying out of the biological weakening of the Eastern
peoples, basing the accusation on a statement at the end of
this document. Only the first and last portions of this
document have been quoted, and I must ask that I may inform
the Tribunal of the true state of affairs.

At the beginning of the document is the observation that the
Minister for Eastern Occupied Territories, after he had once
turned down the suggestion that young people should be
transferred from Army Group Centre to the Reich, being once
more presented with the problem, would once more state his
opinion and views and deal with the very special conditions
on pre-requisites. In the actual record it states that Army
Group Centre had the intention, as a large number of adults
were already working here, and young people remained behind
without being cared for, of resettling these young people
and taking care of them in a proper manner. At the end of
Page 1 of this document and at the beginning of Page 2 it
states that the Minister was afraid that this action might
have very unfavourable political repercussions, that it
would be considered as deportation of children, and for
these reasons he wanted the action to be considerably

Under point 4 it states that if the Eastern Minister would
not support that action and carry it out, then Army Group
Centre - which, of course, was in no way subordinate to the
Eastern Minister - would carry out the action on its own
authority. This Army Group was addressing itself to the
Eastern Ministry in particular because, in their opinion -
and I am quoting - "the guarantee for correct political and
specialised treatment would be assured." The Army Group
would like to see this action carried out under the most
loyal conditions. These children should be accommodated in
villages, in groups, as far as possible or collected in
small camps. Later on, from there, they were to be placed at
the disposal of handicraft concerns.

Then, later on, it states:-

  "In the event of a reoccupation of the territory, the
  Eastern Ministry can then return these young people, who
  then, together with their parents, would surely be a
  positive political factor in the reconstruction of that

At the end it states, that under these conditions the
Minister for Eastern Affairs agreed to take care of these
youths. I agreed because I was fully conscious of the fact
that through the Youth Department of the Eastern Ministry I
would be able to guarantee the greatest possible care for
these children. I want to add that on one occasion I made a
journey to the great works at Dessau, where four and a half
thousand youthful workers were employed, and where there was
a separate children's camp under the care of White Ruthenian
mothers. I saw that these workers were wearing very good
clothes, that they were being taught mathematics and
languages by Russian teachers, and that the children's camp
tended by Russian women had a kindergarten which was looked
after by the Hitler Youth. In the evening the White
Ruthenian woman who cared for them thanked me, with tears in
her eyes, for the humane care being given.

I would like to point out a phonetic error which has
appeared in this record. This city, as I said, was Dessau,
and not Odessa, as is stated in the record. I never visited
Odessa in all my life.

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, we have finished the labour
problem, and I am coming to the Reich Commissariat. Perhaps
this would be a suitable moment to break off.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you indicate to the Tribunal how long you
are likely to be with your examination?

                                                   [Page 22]

DR. THOMA: I am of the opinion that we may be through by
3.30. However, the defendant Rosenberg is shaking his head,
and therefore I can't tell you for certain.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Court will recess until five
minutes past two.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. THOMA: I wish to submit to the Court first as Exhibit
1012, Document 194-PS, the secret order of Rosenberg to Koch
of December, 1942, on the fitting treatment of Ukrainian
civilians. Dated 14th December, 1942.


Q. Witness, please give us your opinion on this general
instruction in connection with your directions in Document

A. Document 1056-PS is not a direct instruction of the
Eastern Ministry, but it was the result of a conversation
with various central agencies of the Reich Government
officially interested in the East. In this document there
are contained directions of the Eastern Ministry itself,
also agreements with the various technical agencies, such as
the Transportation Ministry, the Post Office Department, and
also the Police, so that at least in the East a certain
unified civil administration could be shown in document
form. For the reasons which I have enumerated at the
beginning it was not possible any further, and as far as the
other questions of the subordination of the S.S. and Police
Fuehrer are concerned, I would like to point out and refer
to what I said in the beginning concerning the Occupation
and Administration of the Eastern Territories, commencing 17
July, 1941.

However, as far as Document 1056-PS is concerned, I would
only like to point out that among the seven points which are
especially stressed here, the third point, "Care of the
Population," is quite expressly mentioned. Then, further
along in the document it is again explained that this care
of the population, providing it with foodstuffs and so
forth, is, in addition, to be given particular attention,
that medical and veterinary supplies are to be given special
consideration. Except to that extent I do not wish to go
into this document further.

The Document 194-PS is, unfortunately, the only piece of
instruction of the Eastern Minister to the Reich
Commissioners that could be found. It is an instruction
dated 14 December, 1942, in which once again the human and
political attitude to be taken is prescribed. It is
emphasised in the beginning - I permit myself a few short
references - that German behaviour should never give the
impression that the Ukraine had no hope at all for the
future; that directives of German departments and offices
were to be executed but were to be given great thought. It
goes on to say:-

  "The peoples of the East have at all times regarded
  Germany as the bearer of a legal order, which, even if
  combined with harshness, is not an expression of
  arbitrariness. If one is able to make it clear to the
  peoples of the East by warranted legal measures that,
  although the war brings fearful hardness, yet
  transgressions will be legally investigated and judged,
  then these peoples will be easier to govern than if the
  impression of an arbitrary tyranny, such as theirs, be

The article further says:-

   "The elementary school with its four-year arrangement
   would be kept completely and should be followed by a
   proper technical school training for a practical life.
   The German administration needs men for veterinary work,
   transportation, farming, and geological research, etc.,
   whom the German population is not in a position to
   supply. For that purpose, the Ukrainian youth can be
   taken off the streets and given the opportunity to work
   in the reconstruction of their country. In doing this,
   it would be
                                                   [Page 23]
   improper for German offices to treat the population with
   contempt. Such an attitude is not worthy of a German."

Then further:-

  "Germany became, by means of its armed forces, master
  over wide regions of the East. It therefore behoves every
  German in the East to be conscious of the obligation
  which he takes upon himself in the East as representative
  of the German Reich and of the German people. By
  appropriate bearing and deeds one becomes master, but not
  by insolent, shocking manners. One does not lead people
  by insolent talk, and one does not gain authority by
  exhibiting contempt for others."

Then, several other questions are dealt with in this
directive, but I do not wish to take up the time of the
Tribunal too much with these details. I was interested in
showing what I insisted was to be the attitude of the civil
administration, and in order not to have this directive
remain lying on the desks in the central offices, I decreed
that it was to be read in all offices.

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