The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                    [Page 1]


THURSDAY, 20th JUNE, 1946

THE PRESIDENT: I have an announcement to make. In the first
place, supplementary witnesses will be heard at the end of
the case for the defendants.

Secondly, interrogatories and other documents received by
that time must be offered in evidence then. Thirdly,
interrogatories and other documents allowed before the end
of the evidence, but received at a later date, will be
received and considered by the Tribunal up to the end of the
trial. That is all.




Q. Yesterday we finished talking about the utilization of
labour in industry, and now we shall turn to the question of
how industry was supplied with manpower: that is to say, the
question of special demands made for workers.

Herr Speer, you stated in your testimony of 18th October,
1945, first that you demanded further supplies of labour
from Sauckel, and secondly, that you knew that among these
workers there would be foreigners; thirdly, that you had
known that some of these foreign workers were working in
Germany against their will. Please comment on this

A. This voluntary statement is quite correct. During the war
I was very grateful to Sauckel for every labourer I got
through him. Many a time I held him responsible for the fact
that through lack of workers the armament industry did not
achieve the results it might have done, but I always
emphasized the credit due to him because of his activity on
behalf of the armament industry.

Q. Now, when, in your testimony of 18th October, 1945, and
in your testimony here, you refer to workers, do you mean
all labour in general, including German workers, foreigners
from occupied countries, and foreigners from friendly or
annexed States, and also prisoners of war?

A. Yes. Beginning with the middle of 1943, I was in
disagreement with Sauckel over questions of production and
about the insufficient availability of reserves of German
labour. But that has nothing to do with my fundamental
attitude toward Sauckel's work.

Q. What percentage of the total number of assigned workers
was Sauckel obliged to furnish upon your demands?

A. You mean of the total labour supply, not foreigners?

Q. Yes.

A. Up to August, 1944 - that is, up till the time when I
took over the air armament as well - perhaps thirty to forty
per cent of all workers who were at our disposal. Of course,
the largest number of them were German workers. When, in
August, 1944, I took over the air armament I had no
appreciable demand for workers because the bomber attacks on
the transportation system in the Reich resulted in a steady
decline of armament production.

Q. Was your need for labour excessive?

A. No. The volume of armament production, and also of our
entire production with a corresponding need for labour, was
governed by our raw material supply.

                                                    [Page 2]

Q. That means, your need was restricted by the amount of raw
materials available?

A. My need for labour was limited by the amount of raw

Q. You achieved a marked increase in production figures for
armament. In order to achieve this increase, did the workers
employed increase proportionally?

A. No. Comparison with the 1942 figures of production shows
that in 1944 seven times as many weapons were manufactured,
five and a half times as many armoured vehicles, and six
times as much ammunition, yet the number of workers in these
branches had increased by only thirty per cent. This success
was not brought about through a higher exploitation of
labour, but rather through the abolition of obsolete methods
of production and through an improved system of controlling
the production of armaments.

Q. What do you mean by the term "war production,"

A. The term which is frequently used here, "war production,"
is nothing else but the ordinary term: production. It
comprises everything which is manufactured industrially,
including essential things for civilians.

Q. What did you mean in Germany by the term "armaments"?
What did that include?

A. The term "armaments" was in no way limited to that
meaning laid down in the Geneva Prisoner-of-War Agreement.
The modern concept of "armaments" is a much more
comprehensive one. It includes a much wider sphere of
activity. In our concept of armaments, we were guided by no
basic principles. The characteristic of an armament factory
was that the Armament Inspectorate took care of it and
watched over it. In Germany, for instance, the entire
production of raw steel belonged to armament, all rolling-
mills, foundries and forges; the production of aluminium and
modern synthetic materials, the chemical production of
nitrogen or fuel or synthetic rubber, the production of
synthetic wool, the manufacture of individual items, the use
of which in armament cannot be predicted at the time of
their manufacture, such as ball-bearings, gears, valves,
engine pistons and so forth; or the production of tool
machinery; the setting up of chain production systems;
similarly the manufacture of motor cars and the construction
of locomotives, of commercial ships; also the output of
textile concerns, and concerns manufacturing leather goods
and so on.

In the interrogatories which I sent to my witnesses, I tried
to obtain estimates as to what percentage of the German
armament industries produced armaments as defined by the
Geneva Convention, and I should like to give you the
figures. My co-workers agree unanimously that between 14 and
20 per cent. of our armament programme was concerned with
the production of weapons, armoured cars, planes or warships
or the general equipment which the various branches of the
Wehrmacht required. The bulk of the material, therefore, was
not armament production in the sense of the Geneva
Convention. The reason for the expansion of the term
armament to cover a wider field of production was the
preferential treatment given to armament industries, a
treatment which resulted in numerous industries pressing to
be called armament industries.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, in the questionnaires which
have not yet been submitted to the Tribunal because the
document book is not yet ready, the witness Sauer, under
figures 7 and 10, the witness Schieber under figures 6 to 9,
and the witness Kehrl under figures 4 to 7, concern
themselves with the definition of the meaning of the term

THE PRESIDENT: What was the last name?



Q. Herr Speer, by way of example, you know the works of
Krupp at Essen. How far did this concern produce armament
equipment in the sense of the Geneva Prisoner-of-War
Agreement, that is, weapons, munitions, and objects which
are necessary for the direct conduct of war?

                                                    [Page 3]

A. The Krupp concern is an excellent example of the fact
that an armament firm often only devotes a fraction of its
productive capacity to war equipment. Of course, I must
point out the fact that the Krupp organization was one of
those armament firms which, amongst others, was responsible
for the smallest production of armaments, on a percentage

The Krupp concern was mainly interested in mining and with
three large works producing highly tempered steel. The
manufacture of locomotives and products for the chemical
industry were specialities of Krupp's.

On the other hand, the actual armament speciality of Krupp's
- the construction of armoured turrets for warships, and
special guns of large calibre - was not at all exploited
during this war. Only in 1944 did Krupp erect the first big
factory for the production of guns near Breslau. Up to that
time, Krupp was mainly concerned with the invention of new
weapons, and then, for this production other firms were

All in all, one can say that at Krupp's 10 to 15 per cent of
the personnel were engaged in armament equipment in the
sense of the Geneva Prisoner-of-War Agreement, even though
the entire works were classified as armament works.

Q. What did you and your Ministry have to say as to whether
an industry should be supplied with German or foreign

A. My Ministry had no influence in that direction at all.
The need for workers was reported to my Ministry by the
industries which were subordinate to me. They reported a
total figure of workers needed, and there were no
specifications as to whether foreign workers, prisoners of
war, or German workers were wanted. This total figure was
forwarded to the General Plenipotentiary for Labour. Sauckel
refused to accept detailed demands, and he was quite right
in this respect, for he could not issue detailed directives
to the offices subordinate to him concerning the percentage
of German or foreign workers who were to be allocated
locally to the various industries.

The ultimate distribution of workers to industries was taken
care of by the labour offices without any intervention of my
offices or agencies. Therefore, here, too, we did not exert
influence as to whether Germans, foreigners or prisoners of
war were to be allocated to any industry. The industry then
had to report back to us about the number of workers newly
received. In this report only a lump figure was given, so
that I could not tell whether any or what number of foreign
workers or prisoners of war were included in the total
figure. Of course, I knew that foreigners worked on armament
equipment, and I quite agreed to that.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, to facilitate matters for the
Tribunal, I would like to remark that figures 7 and 17 of
the questionnaire of the witness Schmelte, and also figures
1 and 8 of the same questionnaire deal with this matter; and
in the questionnaire of Schieber, numbers 10, 11, 30 and 31.
Furthermore, in the questionnaire of Kehrl relevant material
is contained in the answers to questions 8 and 9.


Q. Herr Speer, who sent in to the Plenipotentiary General
for Labour Commitment the demands for manpower needed for
armament production?

A. The demands for workers were placed by various sectors,
according to the different economic branches. There were
approximately 15 different sectors which placed their
demands. I placed demands for army and navy armament and for
construction, and beginning with September of 1943, for the
sectors chemistry, mining, and other production. Air
armament had its special labour assignment department, and
their demands were made by the Reich Air Ministry.

DR. FLAECHSNER: In their questionnaires, the witness
Schmelte has dealt with this matter in his answer to
question 2; the witness Schieber in his answers to 2, 3, and
5, and the witness Kehrl to 2 and 3.

                                                    [Page 4]


Q. Weren't the demands for labour for the three branches of
the Wehrmacht centralised in your Ministry?

A. No. Of course, beginning with March, 1942, I had
nominally taken over the Armament Office under General
Thomas from the German High Command, and this armament
office was a joint office of all three Wehrmacht branches
where labour assignment problems were discussed, too.
Through an agreement between Goering and me, it was decided
that air armament, independently of me, should look after
its own interests.

This agreement was necessary since first of all I, as
Minister for Armament, had a biased interest, and,
therefore, did not want to make decisions regarding the
demands for labour of a unit that was not subordinate to me.

Q. To what extent were you responsible for the employment of
prisoners of war in armament production in contravention of
the Geneva Convention?

A. I did not exert my influence to have prisoners of war
employed contrary to the directives given out by the German
High Command. I knew the point of view held by the German
High Command according to which the Geneva regulations were
to be strictly observed. Of course, I knew as well, that
these Geneva regulations did not apply to Russian prisoners
of war and Italian military internees. I could not exert any
influence on the allocation of prisoners of war to the
various industries. This allocation was determined by the
Labour Office in conjunction with the officials of the Chief
Office for Prisoner-of-War Affairs.

Q. In this connection I should like to refer to the
questionnaire of the witness Schmelte, to his reply to
question 14.

Herr Speer, who was the competent officer of the lower level
under the OWK?

A. The supervision of the proper assignment of prisoners of
war was carried out through the military economy officer
(Wehrwirtschaftsoffizier) as the intermediary authority. He
was incorporated into the organization of the military area
commander who was under the jurisdiction of the army.

Q. The prosecution has submitted an affidavit by Mr. Deuss,
who is an American statistics expert. This is Document

According to this affidavit, four hundred thousand prisoners
of war were employed in the production of war equipment.
These figures are supposed to originate from statistics in
your Ministry. Will you comment on this figure?

A. The figures are well known to me through my activity as a
Minister and they are correct. This figure of four hundred
thousand prisoners of war covers the total number of them
employed in armament production.

A wrong conclusion is drawn from this affidavit if it is
assumed that all these prisoners of war were connected with
the production of armament equipment as specified in the
Geneva Convention. Statistics of the number of prisoners of
war employed in those industries which produced armaments
according to the meaning of the term in the Geneva
Prisoners-of-War Agreement were not kept by us, and
therefore no such figure can be compiled from my documents.

Apart from that, in this figure of four hundred thousand
prisoners of war, two to three hundred thousand Italian
military internees are included, all of whom were brought
into my production field at that time. This affidavit does
not prove, therefore, that prisoners of war were employed in
the production of armaments in contravention of the Geneva

Q. The Central Planning Board has been mentioned here
frequently. You were a member of this Board. Can you
describe in detail the origin of the Central Planning Board
and its sphere of activity?

A. When in 1942 I assumed my office, it was urgently
necessary to centralise the allocation and distribution of
various materials to the three branches of the Wehrmacht and
to guarantee the proper direction of the war economy for a
long time to come. Up to that time this matter had been
taken care of by the Ministry of Economics and partly by the
German High Command. Both these agencies were much too weak
to prevail against the three Wehrmacht branches.

                                                    [Page 5]

On my suggestion, in March, 1942, the Central Planning Board
was established by the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan. Its
three members, Milch, Koerner and myself, were entitled to
make decisions joint decisions only which, however, could
always be reached without any difficulty. It is obvious
that, through my predominant position, I was the decisive
factor in this Central Planning Board.

The tasks of the Central Planning Board were clearly
outlined and laid down in Goering's decree which I had

To make statistics of the demands for labour or of the
allocation of workers was not a matter which was laid down
in this decree. This activity was not carried out
systematically by the Central Planning Board, in spite of
the evidence of documents presented here. As far as
decisions regarding demands and allocation of labour were
concerned, I tried to have them made by the Central Planning
Board since this was an essential factor in the directing of
the entire economy. This, however, always met with Sauckel's
refusal because he considered it as interfering with his

DR. FLAECHSNER: I submit the decree of Goering regarding the
establishment of a Central Planning Board. It was published
on 25th April, 1942, and this will be Speer Document 42,
Exhibit 7.

Mr. President, the text may be found on Page 17 of the
English document book.

The sphere of activity of the Central Planning Board -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. What number are you giving to
it? On the document here it has got Speer 142.

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