The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. FLAECHSNER: In that case may I further draw your
attention to Document 1584-PS, on Page 418 of the English
text in my document book. It is Exhibit USA 221, and it is a
letter from Himmler to Goering, dated 9th March, 1944.
Himmler is emphasizing the fact that, if his responsibility,
that is to say, that of the SS, was extended, a speeding up
and an increase in production could be expected. The
accompanying letter from Pohl to Himmler shows that it was
proposed to supervise and control the employment of
concentration camp inmates and even to use the SS as
responsible works managers. According to his experience and
knowledge, it would not be sufficient merely to assign the
internees to other industries. The SS, therefore, wished to
supervise and control the workers in these industries.

This document also confirms the statement of the defendant
Speer that inmates of concentration camps were paid premiums
if they proved themselves particularly useful; furthermore,
it shows on the last page that on average the working hours
of all internees were 240 hours per month, which would
correspond to sixty working hours per week.

I also refer to a document which has already been mentioned
yesterday, it is number 44, and has already been submitted
by me as Exhibit 6; it is in the second volume of my
document book. Mr. President, it is the first document book
in the appendix volume.

This document shows clearly how much the extension of the SS
industries was a matter determined by the ambition of
Himmler and Pohl. The document also states, and I quote:

                                                   [Page 19]

  "The monthly working hours contributed by concentration
  camp inmates did not even amount to 8,000,000 hours, so
  that most certainly not more than about 32,000 men and
  women from concentration camps can be working in our
  armaments industries. This number is constantly

Mr. President, this sentence is on Page 90, at the bottom.
You will find it there in the English text.

The letter also shows that the author computes nearly the
same number of working hours as is mentioned by Pohl in his
letter; namely, 250 hours per month, which is approximately
63 hours per week.


Q. Herr Speer, through this letter you got knowledge of the
fact that workers, particularly foreigners, were not
returned to their old places of work when, for certain acts,
they fell into the hands of the police, but that they were
taken to concentration camps. What steps did you take then?

A. Here again I should like to summarize several points. I
received the letter on or about 15th May, in Berlin, when I
returned after my illness. Its contents greatly upset me
because, after all, this was nothing else but kidnapping. I
had an estimate submitted to me about the number of people'
thus being removed from the economic system. The number,
quoted without guarantee of accuracy, was 30,000 to 40,000
per month.

The result was I got in touch with the Central Planning
Board on 22nd May, 1944, and demanded that these workers
should be returned to their old industries at once. This
demand was not practical, but I wished to express through it
that workers had to be returned to their own places of work.
This demand to the Central Planning Board has been submitted
by the prosecution.

Immediately after the meeting of the Central Planning Board
I went to see Hitler, and there I had a conference on 5th
June, 1944. The minutes of the Fuehrer conference are
available. I stated that I would not stand for any such
procedure, and I cited many arguments based entirely on
reason, since no other arguments would have been effective.
Hitler declared, as the minutes show, that these workers had
to be returned to their former work at once, and that, after
a conference between Himmler and myself, he would once again
communicate this decision of his to Himmler.

DR. FLAECHSNER: I submit Exhibit 13, which is an extract
from the Fuehrer conference of 3rd and 5th June, 1944; you
will find this document on Page 92 of the document book.

THE WITNESS: Immediately after this conference I went to see
Himmler and communicated to him Hitler's decision. He told
me that no such number had ever been arrested by the police.
But he promised me that he would immediately issue a decree
which would correspond to Hitler's demands; namely, that the
SS would no longer be permitted to detain these workers.

I informed Hitler of this result, and I asked him once more
to get in touch with Himmler about it. In those days I had
no reason to suspect Himmler's promise, because, after all,
it is not customary for Reich Ministers to distrust each
other so much. But anyhow, I did not have any further
complaints from my assistants concerning this affair. I must
emphasize that the settling of the entire matter was not
really my affair, but the information appeared so incredible
to me that I intervened at once.

Had I known that already eighteen months before Himmler had
started a very similar action, and that in this letter - a
letter which has been submitted here -

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this is Document 1063-PS, and
it is Exhibit USA 219. It is on Page 51 of the English text
of my document book. That is the document to which the
witness is now referring.

                                                   [Page 20]


How far did your efforts go to get workers for the armaments
industry from concentration camps?

A. I want to make a brief statement to the document.

Had I known of this letter, I would never have had enough
confidence in Himmler to expect that he would correctly
execute the order as given by Hitler. For this letter shows
quite clearly that this action was to be kept secret from
other offices. These other offices could only be the office
of the General Plenipotentiary for Labour or my own office.

Finally, I want to say in connection with this problem that
it was my duty as Minister for Armament to use as many
workers as were possibly available for armaments production
or for any other production. I considered it proper,
therefore, that workers from concentration camps, too,
should work in war production or armament industries.

The main accusation by the prosecution, however, that I
deliberately increased the number of concentration camps or
caused them to be increased is by no means correct. On the
contrary, I wanted just the opposite, regarding the matter
from the point of view of production.

DR. FLAECHSNER: May I refer in this connection to the
answers of the witness Schmelte to questions 9 and 35 in the
questionnaire which was submitted to him, and to the answer
of the witness Schieber to No. 20.


Q. Herr Speer, Document R-124, Exhibit USA 179, which was
submitted by the prosecution, contains several remarks you
made during the meetings of the Central Planning Board.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, may I draw your attention to
Page 53 of the English text of my document book.


Q. Herr Speer, what do you want to say about your remark
concerning "idler" in the meeting of 30th October, 1942?

A. I made the remark as reproduced by the stenographic
record. However, I have had here an opportunity to read all
the shorthand notes of the Central Planning Board and I see
that this remark was not followed up in any way and that no
measures were demanded of me.

DR. FLAECHSNER: On the same page of the document book, Mr.
President, there is a statement from a meeting on 22nd
April, 1943.


Q. Herr Speer, what do you have to say in connection with
that remark regarding Russian prisoners of war?

A. It can be elucidated very briefly. This is proof of the
fact that the conception of armaments must be understood in
the way I have explained, because of the 90,000 Russians
employed in armaments according to this document, 29,000
were employed in the iron, steel and metal industries and
63,000 in the industries constructing engines, boilers,
vehicles and apparatus of all sorts.

Q. Herr Speer, the prosecution has also mentioned a remark
made by you on 25th May, 1944. That, too, can be found on
Page 53 of the English text of the document book. There you
said at a conference with Keitel and Zeitzler that, in
accordance with Hitler's instructions, the groups of
auxiliary volunteers were to be dissolved and that you would
effect the transfer of the Russians from the
lines-of-communications area.

A. In this case also I have read through the shorthand
notes. The matter can be explained briefly. The "HIWI"
mentioned in the document are the so-called auxiliary
volunteers who had joined the troops fighting in Russia. As
the months went by, they had grown to a great number, and
during the retreat

                                                   [Page 21]

they kept with the troops, as they would probably have been
treated as traitors in their own country. These volunteers,
however, were not, as I desired it, put into industry, since
the conference which was planned did not take place.

Q. Please make a brief statement concerning Sauckel's
memorandum, Document 556-PS, submitted by the prosecution,
concerning a telephone call on 4th January, 1943, which
refers to labour commitment.

A. After this telephone call, further measures were to be
taken in France to increase the number of workers available
for assignment. Minutes of a Fuehrer conference which I
found recently, namely, those of the meeting of 3th [sic] to
5th January, 1943, show that, at that time, Hitler's
statement of opinion referred to increased employment of
French people in France for the local industry and economy.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I shall submit this document
later because up to now I have not yet had the opportunity
to -

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell the Tribunal how long you are
going to be, Dr. Flaechsner?

DR. FLAECHSNER: I hope, Mr. President, that I shall be
through before five o'clock this afternoon.

THE PRESIDENT: You will not lose sight of what I have said
to you already about the relevance of the argument and
evidence you have been adducing up to date?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Very well, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)


Herr Speer, this morning we stopped at a discussion of
Sauckel's telephone message of 4th January, 1943, regarding
the matter of labour commitments. As you have already
stated, the Fuehrer protocol of 3rd to 5th January, which I
shall submit to the Tribunal later on, is connected with
this. Will you please make a brief statement on the subject
of that discussion?

A. As the record shows, measures were to be taken to raise
economy in France to a higher level. It contains stern
injunctions from Hitler concerning the ways and means that
were to be used to this end. It states that acts of sabotage
were to be punished in the most rigorous manner and that
humanitarian considerations were not to be tolerated.

This record also shows that at that time I asked Hitler to
transfer the control of production questions in France to
me, a step which was actually taken several months later.

I mention this only for the purpose of making it clear,
while I am still in a position to testify as a witness, that
I did not carry out Hitler's policy of abandoning all
humanitarianism in France.

My attention was drawn to one case in which ten hostages
were to be shot as a reprisal for acts of industrial
sabotage committed in the Meurthe-et-Moselle district. At
that time I managed to prevent the sentence from being
carried out. Rochling, who was in charge of iron production
in the occupied Western regions, is my witness in this case.

That is the only case in which I was informed that hostages
were to be shot on account of sabotage in production.

I can also prove that, through a decision by Hitler dated
September, 1943, I was responsible for providing a
supplementary meal, in addition to the existing rations, for
factory workers employed in France. In a letter which I sent
to the General Plenipotentiary for Manpower in December,
1943, I strongly urged the necessity, not only of paying
wages to the workers in the occupied Western regions, but
also of making available to them a corresponding quantity of
consumer goods

                                                   [Page 22]

a line of policy which doubtless does not accord with the
policy of plundering the Western regions, on which so much
stress has been laid by the French prosecution.

All three documents are in my possession and they can be

I only mention these facts to show that I neither approved
of nor followed the very harsh policy laid down by Hitler in
the records of 3rd to 5th January.

Q. I now turn to another point, Herr Speer; what did you
produce in France, that is, on the basis of your programme?

A. We have already discussed this at sufficient length. No
armaments were manufactured; only spare parts and consumer

Q. Very well. I merely wanted to get that clear.

The prosecution has submitted to you a Fuehrer protocol,
Document 124-R, dated March, 1944, and containing a
statement that you discussed with Hitler the
Reichsmarschall's proposal to deliver prisoners of war to

What can you say to that?

A. This record dates back to 3rd March, 1944. From January
until May, 1944, I was seriously ill, and the discussion
took place without me. A member of my staff was in charge of
this discussion-a man who enjoyed the confidence of Hitler
to an unusually high degree. In any case, the proposal was
not carried out.

Q. Herr Speer, you attended the session of 30th May, at
which the question of how the office of General
Plenipotentiary for Manpower came to be established was
discussed. Will you comment briefly on that point?

A. I should like to say briefly that I wanted a delegate to
deal with all labour problems connected with my task of
military armament production. My chief concern in the
commitment problem, at the beginning of my term of office,
was with the Gauleiter, who carried on a policy of Gau
preferentialism. The non-political offices of the Labour
Ministry could not proceed against the Gauleiter and the
result was that manpower inside Germany was frozen. I
suggested to Hitler that I should have a Gauleiter whom I
knew for this delegate - a man named Hancke. Goering, by the
way, had already supported the suggestion. Hitler agreed.

Two days later, Bormann made the suggestion that Sauckel be

I did not know Sauckel well, but I was quite ready to accept
the choice. It is quite possible that Sauckel did not know
anything about the affair, and that he assumed - as he was
entitled to do - that he was chosen at my suggestion.

The office of the Plenipotentiary for Labour was created in
the following way:

Lammers declared that he could not issue special authority
for a partial labour sector, as that would be a doubtful
procedure from an administrative point of view, and for that
reason the whole question of manpower would have to be put
into the hands of a plenipotentiary. At first it was
contemplated to do this by a Fuehrer decree. Goering
protested on the grounds that it was his task under the
Four-Year Plan. A compromise was made, therefore, in
accordance with which Sauckel was to be the General
Plenipotentiary within the framework of the Four-Year Plan,
but that he would be appointed by Hitler.

This was the only arrangement of the kind under the
Four-Year Plan. In that way, Sauckel was in effect
subordinated to Hitler; and he always looked upon it in that

Q. You have heard that Sauckel, in giving his testimony on
30th May, said that Goering participated in the meetings of
the Central Planning Board. Is that true?

A. No, that is in no way correct. I would not have had any
use for him, for after all, we had to carry out practical

Q. The prosecution has submitted a statement by Sauckel
dated 8th October, 1945, according to which arrangements for
his deputies to function in the occupied territories were
supposed to have been made by you. Is that true?

A. No. In 1941 I had not yet anything to do with armaments,
and even later, during the period of Sauckel's activity, I
did not employ these deputies and did

                                                   [Page 23]

not do much to promote their activities. That was a matter
for Sauckel to handle; it was within his jurisdiction.

Q. The French prosecution quoted from the record of
Sauckel's preliminary interrogation on 27th September, 1945,
and according to this quotation, you gave a special order
for transport trains carrying foreign workers.

A. I believe it would be to the purpose to deal at the same
time with all the statements made by Sauckel which apply to
me, that will save time.

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