The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/29

Q. So that these representatives did not fulfil any task?

A. My representatives were the representatives from the
armament, from the heavy armament and war production in the
Occupied Territories and as such, they had their special

Q. Witness, did you in 1943, acting independently and
without consultation with Sauckel, transfer fifty thousand
French OT (Organization Todt) workers to the Ruhr district?

A. Yes, that is true. After the attack on the Mone Dam and
the Eder Dam in April-May, 1943, I went there and during
that visit I ordered that a special group from the Todt
Organization should take over the restoration of these
plants. I did this because I wanted the necessary machinery
and technical staff at once. This special group of the Todt
Organization, without consulting me, brought the French
workers along. This had tremendous repercussions for us in
the West, because the workers on the building sites on the
Atlantic Wall, who had up to that time felt safe from
Sauckel's reach -

Q. Witness, we are not interested in hearing what was done.
I am only interested in the fact that these 50,000 OT
workers were obtained without Sauckel's agreement and by
yourself independently, and that you have confirmed, have
you not?

A. Yes, that is true.

Q. Sauckel was responsible for the ruling on working hours
in these plants. Do you know that the ten-hour day was later
on ordered by Goebbels in his capacity as Plenipotentiary
for Total Warfare, applicable to both Germans and foreign

A. That is probably true. I do not directly recollect it,
but I assume it is right.

Q. Then you have stated that the Geneva Convention was not
applied to Soviet prisoners of war and Italian civilian

A. Yes.

                                                   [Page 41]

Q. Do you know that the Geneva Convention, although it was
not recognized for Soviet prisoners of war, was nevertheless
applied as far as its regulations were concerned and that
there were orders to that effect?

A. I cannot give you any information about that because that
was too much of a detail and was dealt with by my department
directly. I should like to confirm it for you.

DR. SERVATIUS: I shall later on submit to the Tribunal a
document which confirms this.


Q. Do you know that Italian civilian internees, that is,
those who came from the Italian Armed Forces, were
transferred to free working conditions and therefore did not
come under the Convention?

A. Yes, that is true and it was done on Sauckel's request.

Q. The factory managers were responsible for carrying out
Sauckel's orders in the firms. Is that right?

A. As far as they could be carried out, yes.

Q. And you have said that if, on account of special events,
such as air attacks, it was not possible to carry them out,
the supreme authorities in the Reich took them over?

A. Yes.

Q. Which authorities in the Reich do you mean?

A. The General Plenipotentiary for Labour.

Q. That would be Sauckel?

A. Yes. And the German Labour Front, which was responsible
for accommodations and working conditions.

Q. Which organization did Sauckel have at his disposal to
stop abuses? After all, this was a matter for co-operative
assistance then, was it not?

A. No, I think you have misunderstood me. The catastrophic
conditions were conditions which were brought about by
bombing. Nobody could remedy them, with the best will in the
world, because every day there were new air attacks. But, as
Sauckel has testified, one cannot blame the factory manager
either for the fact that these conditions could not be
alleviated. I wanted to indicate that in such emergencies,
all the leaders had to get together and decide whether
conditions were still bearable or not. In that connection,
it was the special duty of Sauckel, as the official who made
the reports and gave the orders, to recommend such meetings.

Q. To whom then was he supposed to make such

A. To the Fuehrer.

Q. Witness, you have explained your own administrative
organization and you have said that you were an opponent of
a bureaucratic administration. You introduced
self-administration for the firms, and on the professional
side you formed agencies and above them committees, directed
by you?

A. Yes.

Q. And it was a closed administration which could not be
penetrated from the outside by other authorities?

A. Yes, I would not have allowed that.

Q. Then you were actually the representative of these firms
to the higher authorities.

A. Only as far as the technical tasks were concerned, as I
have stated here.

Q. You limited yourself to the technical tasks, is that

A. Well, otherwise I would have been responsible for food
conditions or health conditions or matters which affected
the police, but that was expecting too much.

Q. Witness, did you not refer earlier to the fact that,
particularly as far as food was concerned, you had given
instructions which would benefit the workers, and are you
not in that way confirming my view, that you bore the entire
responsibility for that sector?

                                                   [Page 42]

A. Not in the least. I believe that I took such action
during the last phase within my general responsibility, but
not as the individual responsible for that sector.

Q. Then, witness, you spoke about the responsibility of the
Gauleiter as Reich Defence Commissioners with reference to
the armament industries. Could you describe in more detail
the scope of that responsibility, because I did not
understand it.

A. From 1942, responsibility was transferred to the
Gauleiter as Reich Defence Commissioners to an
ever-increasing degree. This was mostly the effort of
Bormann -

Q. What tasks did they have.

A. Just a minute - who desired the centralisation of all the
forces of the State and the Party in the Gauleiter. This
state of centralisation had almost been achieved in full
after 1943, the only exception which still existed being my
armament offices, the so-called Armament Inspectorates.
These, since they had previously come under the OKW, were
military establishments which were staffed by officers, and
that made it possible for me to remain outside the
jurisdiction of the Gauleiter. But the Gauleiter was the
centre of authority in his Gau and he assumed the right to
give orders though he did not have the right. The situation
in our case was, as you very well know, that it did not make
much difference who had the powers; it was a question of who
assumed the right to give orders. In this case, most
Gauleiter did assume all the rights, by which means they
became the responsible and centralised departments.

Q. What do you mean by "centralised departments"?

Perhaps I may put something to you: The Gauleiter, as Reich
Defence Commissioner, only had the task of centralising the
offices if a decision was necessary in the Gau. For
instance, after an air attack, regarding the removal of the
damaged parts, construction of a new plant, necessitating
that representatives from various departments should be
brought to one conference table; but he did not have the
authority to give orders or make decisions. Is that right?

A. No; I should like to recommend to you that you should
talk to a few Gauleiter who will tell you how it was.

Q. In that case, I will drop the question. You then went on
to say, witness, that during a certain period there was a
surplus of labour in Germany. Was this due to the fact that
Sauckel had brought too many foreign workers into Germany?

A. There may be an error here. My defence counsel has
referred to two documents, according to which, during the
time from April, 1942, until April, 1943, Sauckel had
supplied more labour to the armament sector than armament
had requested. I do not know if that is the passage you

Q. I can only remember that you said that there had been
more workers than were required.

A. Yes.

Q. You do not want to say, therefore, that this had been
caused by the fact that Sauckel had brought too many workers
in from foreign countries?

A. No. I wanted to prove by that answer that, even according
to Sauckel's opinion, at the time it was not necessary to
try to bring the maximum numbers of workers from France to
Germany because of the demands for labour. For if, in a
report to Hitler, he asserts that he brought more workers to
the armament sector than I demanded, which is what you can
see from the letter, then it is clear that he did more than
I asked him to do. Actually, it was quite different. In
actual fact, he did not supply these workers at all, and we
had a heated argument because it was my opinion that he had
supplied a far smaller number than the figure given in his
report to Hitler.

Q. You have just pointed out also that there was an argument
between you and Sauckel as to whether there were sufficient
labour reserves in Germany, and if I have understood you
rightly, you said that if workers had been brought to

                                                   [Page 43]

work in the manner used by England and the Soviet Union, one
would not have needed any foreign workers at all. Is that

A. No, I did not say that.

Q. Well, then, how am I to understand it?

A. I have expressed quite clearly enough that I considered
Sauckel's labour policy of bringing foreigners into Germany
to be correct. I did not try to dodge that responsibility,
but there were considerable reserves of German labour, and
that again is only proof of the fact that I was not
responsible for the demands which were made, and that was
all I wanted to prove.

Q. Are the laws known to you according to which German women
and youth were used to a very considerable degree?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you also know that officers' wives or the wives of
high officials also worked in factories?

A. Yes, beginning in August, 1944.

Q. Well, then, where were these labour reserves of which you
are speaking?

A. I was talking about the period 1943. In 1943 I demanded,
in the Central Planning Board, that the German labour
reserves should be drawn upon, and in 1944 during the
conversation of the 4th of January with Hitler, I urged the
same thing. Sauckel at that time stated - and that can be
seen from his speech of the 1st of March, 1944, which has
been submitted as a document - that there were no longer any
reserves of German workers.

Q. Yes.

A. But at the same time he also testified here that he had
succeeded, in 1944, in mobilising a further 2,000,000
workers from Germany, but at a conference with Hitler on the
1st of January, 1944, he considered that to be completely
impossible. He himself has proved here that at a time when I
desired the use of internal labour, he did not think there
was any, but that he was later forced, through
circumstances, to mobilize these workers in Germany after
all; therefore my statement at the time was right.

Q. Witness, these two million workers you have mentioned,
were they people who could be employed in industry?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. Were they employed directly as skilled workers in

A. No, they had to be trained first.

Q. Did they first of all have to go through complicated
transfers to be released from one firm to another?

A. Only partly, because we were able to use them in the fine
mechanical industry and other kinds of work, because, as
everyone who is familiar with American and British industry
knows, these modern machines are perfectly suitable to be
worked by women, even for difficult work.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is not interested in all these
details, Dr. Servatius.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I am very interested in the
basic question, whether workers were obtained from foreign
countries in superfluous numbers and if, therefore, there
was no necessity for the State to have them. That question
is of the greatest importance from the point of view of
International Law, especially with regard to the point
whether foreign workers can be recruited. That is what I
wish to clarify.

I have two more questions, and perhaps I may put them now.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you can put two more questions, but not
on those details.

DR. SERVATIUS: No, they are questions on other points.

                                                   [Page 44]


Witness, you have stated that your attempt to subordinate
yourself to Sauckel failed. Did you not achieve that
subordination in practice by the fact that in the final test
of authority, Sauckel's Gau labour exchanges had to do what
your armament commissions ordered?

A. No. That is a matter into which I shall have to go in
greater detail. If you want an explanation ...

Q. But you have said no

A. Yes. But these are entirely new conceptions which should
first be explained to the Tribunal, but if "no" is
sufficient for you

Q. There is no need for any lengthy statement, because if
you clearly say no, the matter is settled.

Witness, one last question. You said that Sauckel decided
the question of distributing labour with his staff.

A. Yes.

Q. He himself says that the Fuehrer made certain decisions.
In this connection, must not one differentiate between the
long-term planning of the programme for the distribution of
labour and the distribution which was carried out currently,
according to the needs of the programme?

A. According to my recollection, and also from having read
the records I received of the conferences which I had with
the Fuehrer, there are two phases to be differentiated. The
first one ending October, 1942, during which there were
frequent joint conferences with Sauckel which I attended.
During these conferences, the distribution of labour for the
following months was discussed in detail. After that time,
there were no longer any conferences with Hitler at which I
was present dealing with such details. I only know of the
conferences of January, 1944; and then there was another
conference in April or May, 1944, which has not yet been
mentioned here. During those conferences, there was only a
general discussion and the distribution was then carried out
in accordance with directives, as Sauckel says.

Q. But that is just what I am asking you. These were general
demands based on a programme, concerning which decisions of
policy were made. Two million workers were to be obtained
from foreign countries, and the subsequent distribution was
carried out by Sauckel.

A. Yes, that's right, and I can confirm Sauckel's testimony,
that he always got his orders from Hitler with reference to
the occupied territories, since he needed Hitler's authority
to assert himself in foreign countries.

DR. SERVATIUS: In that case, Mr. President, I have no
further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 21st June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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