The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-12/tgmwc-12-110.02

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-12/tgmwc-12-110.02
Last-Modified: 2000/01/22

Q. Very good. I will ask that you be shown Document 3553-PS.
That is also, if your Honour please, Exhibit USA 352. It is
already in evidence.

Now, you wrote a preface or a little introduction for that
edition of the book. It is right there before you. You said
in it "To the 150,000th Copy: The Myth has today drawn deep,
ineffaceable furrows in the emotional life of the German
nation. Every new edition is a clear indication that a
decisive turning over of the spiritual soil is growing into
a historical event. Many things which in my book seemed to
be peculiar ideas have become already realities of State
policy. Many other things will yet, I hope, materialise as a
further result of this new vigour."

You wrote that?

A. That is certainly entirely correct. This book of 700
pages does not concern only those matters of which I am
accused here. This book dealt with a large number of
problems, the problem of the peasants, of the world States,
of the concept of socialism, of the relation between
leadership, industry, and labour, a presentation of the
judgement ...

Q. (Interposing) Now, just a minute. I don't think it is
necessary for you to give us a list of the table of contents
of the book. I simply asked you if you wrote that

A. Yes, of course.

Q. Now, with respect to the well-known forced labour
programme. I think it is perfectly clear to everyone who has
been in attendance at these sessions before this Tribunal,
and of course to yourself, that there was a forced labour
programme in effect, or a so-called slave labour programme,
both in the Eastern and in the Western occupied countries.
Isn't that a fact?

A. Yes, the law of 21 March is concerned therewith, that
workers from the occupied countries were to be taken to
Germany. In Germany there was also a compulsory labour law.

Q. Now, there were only two possible offices under the then
German State which could by any stretch of the imagination
be held responsible either in part or altogether for that
forced slave labour programme. Isn't that so? Two principal
offices, at least.

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And they were your own ministry and the office of the
defendant Sauckel. That is pretty simple. Is that true or

A. It is correct that Gauleiter Sauckel had been given the
order, which he was to pass on to me and all the highest
Reich authorities. It was my duty to make known and carry
through this order in the occupied Eastern Territories
according to possibilities and my own judgement and

Q. Did you carry out the compulsory labour directives? Did
your ministry force people to leave their homes and their
communities and go to Germany to work for the German State?

A. I fought for about nine months for this recruitment of
workers in the East to be put on a voluntary basis. From my
record of a discussion with

                                                   [Page 50]

Gauleiter Sauckel in the year 1943, it is very evident that
I made efforts continuously to do this. I also mentioned how
many millions of leaflets, of posters and brochures I
distributed in these countries to establish voluntary
recruitment of workers. However, when I heard that the
number of German workers who had to go to the front could
not be replaced and the German Army reserves were at an end,
then I could not protest any longer against the compulsory
recruitment of certain age-classes, or the use of local
authorities and the gendarmerie to assist in this work.
Yesterday I ...

Q. What you are telling us is that you tried to get them
voluntarily and you found they wouldn't go, so then you
forced them to go. Isn't that so?

A. That coercion took place here is true and is not
disputed. Where an excess took place-and some terrible
excesses took place - did my utmost to prevent it or
alleviate it.

Q. All right. You, of course, had promulgated an order in
your own ministry concerning compulsory labour, had you not?

A. Yes. In the beginning, a general compulsory labour
service law was promulgated ...

Q. (Interposing) That's right, on 19 December, 1941.

A. It may be that it was promulgated about that time.

Q. Well, you can accept that as being so, I think, that that
is the date of your decree concerning compulsory labour, the
compulsory labour, significantly - I want to make this very
clear to you - in the occupied Eastern Territories.

A. Yes.

Q. That order was promulgated by you as the Reich Minister
for the occupied Eastern Territories.

A. Yes.

Q. I ask that you be shown Document 1975. It is Exhibit USA
820, already in evidence - not in evidence, I'm sorry. I am
now offering it.

I don't care to stress this document too much except to have
you verify the fact that this is the order which you
promulgated, and, in the first paragraph, with the small
figure 1, you stated:

  "All inhabitants of the occupied Eastern Territories are
  subject to the general liability for compulsory labour
  according to their capacity."

And I wish to couple the paragraph under that small number
1, with the number 3,where you say:

  "A special ruling is drawn up for Jews."

That is 19 December, 1941.

A. The document which has been submitted to me is signed by
the Reich Kommissar for the Ukraine and is concerned with a
skeleton law of the Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern
Territories. I ask that I be shown the skeleton law of the
Minister for the occupied Eastern Territories in order that
I may judge correctly the directive given out by the Reich

Q. Well, we can make that available to you. This is taken
from the Official
Gazette of the Reich Ministry for the occupied Eastern
Territories. You are not disputing, are you, the fact that
you promulgated this order and that these two paragraphs I
read to you were in it?

A. That I am not disputing.

Q. All right. If you care to took at all the other
paragraphs and at other parts, I will see that they are made
available to you, but for the present purposes I can assure
you there is no trick in connection with this. I want to
move on to another document.

A. I would like to refer to just one point. Under paragraph
1, it says expressly that people not completely able to work
are to be used according to their capability for work. This
shows the state of health has been considered.

Q. Yes, I read that to you.

                                                   [Page 51]

Now, you had a permanent State secretary by the name of
Alfred Meyer, isn't that so?

A. I do not find anything here regarding the laws about
Jews. There was a point mentioned about the directive for
Jews, only it is not here.

Q. You will find it just below the sentence to which you
made reference a minute ago, two paragraphs below it. There
is a figure 3 in parentheses and then this statement:

  "A special ruling is drawn up for Jews."

Don't you find that there?

A. I do not find it here - oh, on this page, yes. That
refers to another law, yes.

Q. That's all right. I just asked you if it was there, and
it is. Let's go on.

I asked you if you had a permanent staff secretary by the
name of Meyer, Alfred Meyer, M-e-y-e-r.

A. Yes.

Q. I want to show you Document 580-PS, which will become
Exhibit USA 821. Now, this is an order from your Ministry
for the occupied Eastern Territories, and it is signed by
your permanent staff secretary, Alfred Meyer, and it is
addressed to the Reich Commissioner for the Ostland, a man
by the name of Lohse, L-o-h-s-e, and also to the Reich
Commissioner for the Ukraine, a man by the name of Koch,
about whom we have heard a good deal in this trial.

I want to have you agree, if you will, that the order calls
for 247,000 industrial workers and 380,000 agricultural

Now, I want you to turn specifically to Page 2 of the
English Translation and to Page 2, as well, of the German
translation, and line 14 of the English text and line 22 of
the German text. The paragraph has before it the figure 6,
and it says:

  "The workers are to be recruited. Forced enlistment
  should be avoided; instead, for political reasons, the
  enlistment should be kept on a voluntary basis. In case
  the enlistment should not bring the required results and
  there should be a surplus of workers available, use may
  be made in extreme cases, and in agreement with the
  General Commissioner, of the decree dated 19 December,
  1941, concerning the introduction of compulsory labour in
  the occupied Eastern Territories. Promises ... "

So that this order, signed by Meyer of your staff, directing
the Reich Commissioners in the Eastern occupied Territories,
was founded on your decree of 19 December, 1941, for
compulsory labour.

A. Mr. Prosecutor, you read the introduction, and from that
we can see that also my deputy was plainly told by me to try
in every way to avoid coercion and, as  he says, "the
enlistment was to be kept on a voluntary basis. " That is
proof of what I said yesterday, that Meyer, my permanent
deputy, most emphatically tried to work along these lines,
and lastly this does not refer to arbitrary measures but
rather to a general compulsory labour law in the occupied
Eastern Territories which would
prevent hundreds of thousands from wandering about idly in
the streets unable either to work or study. I would however
like to read also the end of the paragraph, and that says:

   "Promises which cannot be kept may not be given, neither
   in writing nor verbally. Therefore, the announcements,
   posters, and appeals in the Press and over the radio may
   not contain any untrue information, in order to avoid
   disappointment among the workers employed in the Reich,
   and reactions against future recruitment in the occupied
   Eastern Territories."

Q. Very good. All I am trying to indicate here, and to see
if you will not agree with it, is that you, nevertheless,
despite these remonstrances and these objections which we do
not deny that you made, did authorise your people in the
Eastern occupied Territories actually to conscript and force
people to come

                                                   [Page 52]

to work in Germany, and you did it on the basis of your own
decree. That is the point I am trying to make with you.

A. A compulsory labour law was issued by me at the end of
1941 for the territory of the Reichskommissariat concerned,
that is, for the Ostland and for the Ukraine. The compulsory
recruitment of this manpower for the Reich was not enforced
until much later, and compulsory labour service in the
occupied countries was, in my opinion, absolutely necessary
so that on the one hand no wild-cat recruitments would take
place, and also to prevent chaos resulting from the hundreds
of thousands loitering in the streets.

THE PRESIDENT: You are not answering the question. You are
giving a long paraphrase for the one word "yes," which is
the answer you ought to have made.

A. (Continuing) When compulsory labour service was also
instituted for the Reich, I said that I was in favour of
voluntary enlistment. I could not persist in this attitude
for long and therefore, of course, I agreed that compulsory
labour laws would have to be instituted; I admitted that
three times yesterday, I have not disputed it.

Q. Yes, I know you repeated it three times yesterday and
again this morning. In your own defence document - Rosenberg-
11, I think it is - which is the letter that you wrote to
Koch on 14 December, 1942 - I don't think it will be
necessary to show it to you again; I think you saw it
yesterday - you specifically mentioned to Koch the matter of
picking up people from queues in front of theatres and off
the streets, those people who were attending cinemas or
other entertainments. You knew that was going on under your
decree of compulsory labour didn't you? You were objecting
to  it, but you knew it was going on.

A. Excesses are connected with every law, and as soon as I
learned of excesses, I did protest against them and try to
prevent them.

Q. Very good. Now, finally, with respect to this forced
labour, would you say as a matter of fairness and honesty
that your Ministry was not very largely responsible for this
terrible programme of forcing people from their homes into
Germany, or do you say that you had to accept a very
considerable responsibility for what happened to these
hundreds of thousands of people from the Eastern occupied

A. I, of course, will take the responsibility for these laws
which I issued, and for any directives which were issued by
my Ministry. The territorial governments were legally
responsible for their practical execution. Where they
exceeded these measures - they were 1500 km. away from me -
I concerned myself with every case. These excesses were
exaggerated, but I must admit that terrible things did
occur. I tried to intervene by introducing punitive
measures, which resulted in a number of German officials
being taken to court and sentenced.

Q. Leaving aside the terrible things that happened to
people, assuming that no great violence took place, the very
fact of forcing them against their wills to leave is
something else that you will accept responsibility for, I

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And you also feel that a considerable part of this -

A. (Interposing) I accept the responsibility due to a State
law which empowered Gauleiter Sauckel to give directives to
me which I applied in legal form to the Eastern Territories.

Q. Briefly, I want to remind you, while we are on this
subject, that you acknowledged yesterday that you did
consent to the taking of children as young as 10, 12 and 14
years old and removing them to Germany, and I think you told
us that at first it did disturb you, but when you found out
there were happy recreational facilities, your mind was
eased. Is that a fair statement of your position on forcing
those children from the East?

A. No, that is not correct. I do not know just what the
translation of the

                                                   [Page 53]

reading of the document was, but the opposite was true. I
tried to prevent anything from happening in my operational
territory which might result in circumstances that would be
detrimental to the children. Then, requested by the Middle
Army Group, which anyway would have done it on its own, I
took over the care of the children on condition that I was
allowed to do so with the assistance of the childrens' own
mothers, thus ensuring their contact with their parents, and
so that they
might be returned to their homeland again later on. That is
certainly the exact opposite of that which the prosecution
has submitted from this document here.

Q. Well, I don't want to dwell much longer on it except to
remind you that that document, which you have seen and which
you discussed yesterday, shows, among other things, that by
removing these children out of the East you were doing more
than one thing; you were destroying the biological
potentiality of those people in the East. That is what you
approved of among other things, isn't it?

A. Yes. That is contained in the first point of the
prosecution and it was read. I have made it clear by reading
the whole document that my approval did not depend on that
point, that when I heard of the idea for the first time I
rejected it, but later agreed and found a system for care of
the children for which women thanked me, despite
the fact that not I but the Hitler Jugend in Dessau and
elsewhere deserve the credit for taking care of them in this

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.