The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-159.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-159.04
Last-Modified: 2000/06/29

Q. And what action did you take after that?

A. Contrary to the Fuehrer's decision during that meeting, I
informed the military commander of the way I wanted it so
that, in connection with the expected order from the High
Command of the Armed Forces, the military commander would
have two interpretations of the result of the meeting in his
hands. Since the military commander was agreeable to my
interpretation, it could be expected that he would follow my

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection, may I present a document
which is on Page 29 of the English text of my document book,
Page 26 of the German and French texts. This is a teletype
message from Speer to General Studt in Paris. It will be
Exhibit 10. Two things appear from this letter. One, Speer
wrote, and I quote:

"Gauleiter Sauckel will start negotiations with the
appropriate agencies with regard to the occupied Western
territories, in order to achieve clarity on the manner and
possibility of the execution - "

THE PRESIDENT: What is the point in reading that, Dr.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, the prosecution has submitted
this document, 1292-PS, to prove -

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant just told us what is in the
document. He has told us the substance of the whole affair.
We quite understand what the difference of opinion between
Sauckel and Speer was.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Very well. This document shows the reaction
on the part of the defendant, namely, what he did so that
Hitler's decision, as such, would be nullified or at least
modified. In this letter the defendant said to General Studt

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, the Tribunal has given you
the clearest possible indication of the view which they take
about these matters of different plans and differences of
view between Sauckel and Speer. Why do you not pass on to
some other part of your case if there is any other part of

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I do not wish to discuss the
argument between these two. I am trying to show the actions
taken by Speer so as to put his point of view into practice.
This is not referring to -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but that is irrelevant. As I said just
now, the defendant has told us what he did. It is not
necessary to read it all out to us again.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Very well. In that case, may I go on to
present a document which is on Page 30 of the English text
of my document book, Page 27 of the German and French texts.
It is a letter from Speer to Sauckel, dated 6th January,
1944, and it is shown in this letter that, for the French
industrial firms working in France, 400,000 workers were to
be reserved at once and another 400,000 workers during the
following months, who, therefore, would not be deported.

                                                   [Page 15]


Q. What results did these two letters have, Herr Speer, with
reference to Hitler's order that one million workers should
be taken from France to Germany?

A. I should like to summarize the entire subject and say a
few words about it. We had a system of dealing with
inconvenient orders from Hitler which enabled us to by-pass
them. Jodl has already said in his testimony that he had
developed such a technique, too. And so, of course, the
letters which are being submitted here are only clear to the
expert, as to their meaning and the results they would

From the document which is being presented now, from
Sauckel's speech on 1st March, 1944, it is evident, too,
what the results were in regard to the labour assignment in
the occupied territories. The result is clear and I have
already described it here, and I think we can therefore pass
to Page 49.

Q. Herr Speer, can you give me a description of the results
of the air attacks on the occupied Western territories?

A. Yes. In this connection I should again like to summarize
a few points.

The invasion was preceded by heavy air attacks on the
transport system in the occupied Western territories. As a
result of that, beginning with May and June, 1944 production
in France was paralysed and one million workers were
unemployed. With that, the idea of shifting production
(Verlagerung) had collapsed as far as I was concerned, and
according to normal expectations of the French officials,
too, the impression was general that a large-scale attack on
Germany would now commence.

I gave the order that in spite of this shutting down of the
entire French industry, the blocked industries should be
kept up, although I knew as an expert that their
rehabilitation, considering the damage to the transport
system, would not be possible in less than nine to twelve
months, even if the air attacks should cease. I was,
therefore, acting against my own interests here.

The French prosecution has confirmed this in Document RF 22.
The corresponding passages are indicated in the document

Between 19th and 22nd June I had a conference with Hitler
and I obtained a decree according to which the workers in
the occupied territories had to remain on the spot no matter
what happened. Seyss-Inquart has already testified that a
similar decision was applied to Holland. Upon my orders, the
workers in these blocked industries even continued to
receive their wages.

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection I submit Speer Exhibit
12. It is an extract from the Fuehrer conference from 19th
to 22nd June, 1944, and I beg the Tribunal to take judicial
notice of it. The document is on Page 22 of the English text
of my document book.


Q. Herr Speer, you must have been aware of the fact that,
because of this decision of yours, at least one million
workers would be unemployed in all the Western territories
and be unproductive for quite a long time. How could you
justify such a decision?

A. I have to admit quite frankly that this was my first
decision which I considered justified by the war situation
which had deteriorated so catastrophically. The invasion was
a success. The heavy air attacks on production were showing
decisive results. An early end of the war was foreseeable
and all this altered the situation as far as I was
concerned. How the consequences arising from this situation
affected me will become apparent through various other
examples which I shall put forward in the course of the

Of course, Hitler was not of the same opinion during that
period. On the contrary, he believed that everything ought
to be done in order to utilize the last reserves of

                                                   [Page 16]

Q. Please describe briefly your attitude towards the meeting
of 11th July, 1944, to which we have already referred once
before. This was Document 3819-PS. Please be very brief.

A. During this meeting of 11th July, I maintained my point
of view. Once again I pointed to Germany's reserves, as is
shown in the minutes, and I announced that the transport
difficulties should not be allowed to influence production,
and that the blocked industries were to be kept up in these
territories. Both I and the military commanders of the
occupied territories were perfectly aware of the fact that
with this, the well-known consequences for these blocked
industries would be the same as before, that is, the
transfer of labour assignment from the occupied Western
territories to Germany would continue.

Q. The French prosecution has presented a certain order,
Document 833. It presented it during the session of 30th
May, if I remember correctly. It came up during the
cross-examination of co-defendant Sauckel.

According to this order, troops were to round up workers in
the West. Please give a brief statement on that. So as to
refresh your memory, I want to say that reference is made in
this telegram to the meeting of 11th July.

A. The minutes of the meeting show, as I said before, that I
opposed the measures of coercion. I did not see Keitel's
actual order.

Q. No. 1824 is another document submitted by the French
prosecution on the same subject. It is a document of General
von Kluge's, dated 25th July, 1944. It refers to the
telegram from Keitel which has been previously mentioned. Do
you know anything about it, whether that order was ever
actually carried out?

A. I know that the order was not carried out. To understand
the situation, it is necessary to become familiar with the
atmosphere prevailing during the time around the 20th July.
At that time, not every order of the Fuehrer was carried
out. As the investigations after the 20th July proved, even
at that time in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief in the
West, Kluge was planning negotiations with the Western
enemies for a capitulation and, probably, he made his
initial attempts at that time. That, incidentally, was the
reason for his suicide after the attempt of the 20th July
had failed. It is out of the question -

THE PRESIDENT: You gave the number 1824. What does that

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, 824 is the number which the
French prosecution has given to this Document. That is the
number under which it has submitted it. Unfortunately, I
cannot ascertain the exhibit number. I have made inquiries,
but I have not had an answer yet.

I am just given to understand that it is Exhibit RF 1515.


A. (continuing): It is out of the question that
Field-Marshal Kluge, in the military situation in which he
found himself and considering his views, should have given
orders for raids and measures of coercion at that moment.
The release of the Sauckel-Laval agreement, which was
mentioned in this document, has no practical significance,
since the blocked industries were kept up, and thus this
agreement could not become effective.

This was well known to the officials in France, and the best
proof for this fact, namely that the order was not carried
out, is Document RF 22 of the French prosecution, which
shows that in July, 1944, only 3,000 workers came to Germany
from France. If the military authorities had used measures
of coercion, it would have been a simple matter to send a
very much larger number of workers than these 3,000 from
France to Germany.

Q. Did you use your influence to stop completely the
allocation of labour from occupied territories to Germany?

A. No. I have to tell you quite frankly that although I did
use my influence to reduce the recruitment of labour or to
put an end to measures of force and raids, I did not use it
to stop the assignment of labour completely.

Q. I shall now pass to another problem.

                                                   [Page 17]

The prosecution has touched- upon and mentioned the
Organization Todt. Can you briefly explain the tasks of the
Organization Todt to the Tribunal?

A. Here, again, I shall give a little summary. The tasks of
the Organization Todt were exclusively technical ones, that
is to say, they had to carry out technical construction
work; in the East mainly road and rail construction, and in
the West, the construction of concrete dug-outs which became
known as the so-called Atlantic Wall. For this purpose the
Organization Todt used foreign workers to a disproportionate
degree. In the West there were about twenty foreigners to
one German worker; in Russia there were about four Russians
to one German. This could only be carried out in the West if
the Organization Todt could use local construction firms and
their work-yards to a considerable extent. They supplied the
technical staffs and recruited their own workers, it being
obvious that these firms had no possibility to recruit by

Accordingly a large number of workers of the Todt
Organization were volunteers. But it is clear that
constantly a certain percentage was working in the Todt
organization under the calling-up system.

The Organization Todt has been described here as part of the
armed forces, and it is merely necessary to state in this
connection that foreign workers did not, of course, belong
to it, but only German workers who, of course, in occupied
territories, had to become members of the armed forces in
some way or other. The prosecution holds a different opinion
on this matter.

Apart from the Organization Todt, there were certain
transport units attached to my Ministry which were working
in occupied territories, and, for a certain reason, I am
anxious to state that they were principally recruited as
volunteers. The prosecution has alleged that the
Organization Todt was the comprehensive organization for all
military construction work in the occupied territories. That
is not the case. They only had to carry out one quarter to
one fifth of the construction programme.

In May, 1944, the Organization Todt was taken over by the
Reich and from that time was made responsible for some of
the large-scale construction programmes and for the
management of the organization of the General
Plenipotentiary for construction work in the Four-Year Plan.
This General Plenipotentiary for construction work
distributed the contingents coming from the Central Planning
Board and he was responsible for other directive tasks, but
he was not responsible for the carrying out, and for the
supervision of, the construction work itself. For these
purposes there were the different state authorities in the
Reich, and in particular the SS Building Administration who
had their own responsibility for the building programmes
which they carried out.

Q. The prosecution has alleged that you had caused the
employment of concentration camp inmates in the armament
industry and has submitted Document RF 24, Exhibit USA 179.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this document is on Page 47
of the English text in my document book. It is about a
conference with Hitler in September, 1942.


Q. How did that conference come about, Herr Speer?

A. When in February, 1942, I took over the armament
department of the armed forces, there were demands for
considerable increases in production and, to meet them, it
was necessary to construct numerous new factories. For this
purpose Himmler offered his concentration camps, both to
Hitler and to me. It was his plan that some of these
necessary new constructions with the requisite machinery
should be erected within the concentration camps and be
operated there under the supervision of the SS. The chief of
the armament department of the armed forces, General Fromm,
was against this plan, and so was I. Apart from general
reasons for this, the first point was that uncontrolled arms
production on the part of the SS should be prevented.
Secondly, this would certainly entail

                                                   [Page 18]

my being deprived of the technical management in these
industries. For these reasons, when planning the large
extension programme of armament production in the spring of
1942, I ignored these demands by the SS. Himmler went to see
Hitler and the minutes of this conference, which are
available here, show the objections to my plans which Hitler
put to me upon Himmler's suggestions.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, in this connection I should
like to draw your attention to Page 44 of the German text,
which is Page 47 of the English text. It is point 36 of a
Fuehrer protocol. There it says

THE PRESIDENT: It is Page 47 of the English text.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes, that is correct.

There it says, and I quote:

  " ... beyond a small number of workers it will not be
  possible to organize armament production in the
  concentration camps."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, the witness has just given us
the substance of it, has he not?


Q. Herr Speer, according to this document you proposed that
factories should be staffed entirely with internees from
concentration camps. Did you carry that out?

A. No, this proposal was not carried out in full because it
soon became clear that it was Himmler's intention to
exercise his influence over these industries and in some way
or other he would undoubtedly have succeeded in getting
these industries under his control. For that reason, as a
basic principle, only a part of the industrial staff
consisted of internees from concentration camps, so as to
counteract Himmler's efforts. And so it happened that the
labour camps were attached to the armament industries. But
Himmler never received his share of five to eight per cent
of arms which had been decided upon. This was prevented due
to an agreement with the general of the Army Staff in the
High Command of the Armed Forces, General Buhle.

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.