The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. You maintained that your obligations and duties as a
Minister included only production. Did I understand you

A. Yes, armaments and war production.

Q. And the supply of industry with raw materials, was not
that included in your duties?

A. No, that was my task from September, 1943, onwards, when
I took over the whole of production. That is true, then I
was in charge of the whole of production, from raw materials
to the finished products.

                                                   [Page 83]

Q. In the book Germany at War, which was published in
November, 1943 - you will be given this volume now - and I
submit this document to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 480 -
in this book it says:

  "On the basis of the Fuehrer decree of 2nd September,
  1943, relative to the concentration of war economy, and
  of the decree of the Reichsmarschall of the Greater
  German Reich and the Plenipotentiary of the Four-Year
  Plan for Central Planning of 4th September, 1943, Reich
  Minister Speer will now direct the entire war economic
  production in his capacity as Reich Minister for
  Armaments and War Production. He alone is competent and
  responsible for guiding, directing, and controlling the
  industrial war economy."

Is this correct? I ask you to answer briefly, is it correct
or not?

A. This is expressed rather unprofessionally, because the
term "industrial war economy" does not quite cover the
concept "armament and war production." This was not drawn up
by an expert but otherwise it agrees with what I have
testified. I said that war production embraced the whole of

Q. Yes, but after September, 1943, you were responsible not
only for war industry but also for the whole war economy as
well, and those are two different things.

A. No, that is the mistake. It says here "industrial war
economy," which means something like production, war economy
or production in trade and industry, with that
qualification; and when it says earlier "the entire economic
production," the person who wrote this also meant
production. But the concept -

Q. You mentioned here already that having accepted the post
of Minister in 1942, you inherited a great and heavy task.
Tell us briefly, please, what was the situation with regard
to essential raw materials and, in particular, with regard
to metals used in the war industry?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, General Raginsky, is it necessary for
us to go into details? Is it not obvious that a man who was
controlling many millions of workers had a large task? What
is this directed to?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, the question is
preparatory, it leads to another question and inasmuch as it
is connected -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what is the ultimate object of the
cross-examination? You say it is leading to something else.
What is it leading to?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: The object is to prove that the defendant
Speer participated in the economic plundering and looting of
occupied territories.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, then ask him directly about that.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I am just coming to that now.


Do you acknowledge the fact that you participated in
economic plundering of occupied territories?

A. I participated in the economic exploitation of the
occupied countries, yes; but I do not believe the term
"plundering" is very clearly defined. I do not know what is
meant by "plundering of an occupied territory."

Q. To make up the deficit of essential raw materials, did
you not export metals for the war industry from Belgium,
France and other occupied territories?

A. Of course I did not export them myself, but certainly I
participated in some way. I was not responsible for it, but
certainly I urged strongly that we should obtain as much
metal from there as possible.

Q. I am satisfied with your answer and the Tribunal will
draw its conclusions.

Do you remember Hitler's order about concentration of war
economy, published on 2nd September? You will be given a
copy of this order at once. This document is being submitted
as Exhibit USSR 482. I do not intend to read all of this as
it will take too much time, but I would like to read into
the record a few paragraphs of this order, which begins:

                                                   [Page 84]

  "Taking into consideration the stricter mobilization and
  uniform commitment of all economic forces required by the
  exigencies of war, I order the following":

Paragraph 2:

  "The powers of the Reich Minister of Economics in the
  sphere of raw materials and production in industry and
  trade are given to the Reich Minister for Armament and
  Munitions. The Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions,
  in view of the extended scope of his tasks, will be known
  as Reich Minister for Armament and War Production."

Did you see this decree?

A. Yes, I know it.

Q. Will you, in connection with this order, tell us briefly
and concisely how the functions between you and Funk were

A. Well, that is shown in the text. I was in charge of all
production, from raw materials to the final product, and
Funk was in charge of all general economic questions,
primarily the questions of financial transactions,
securities, commerce, foreign trade, and so forth. This,
however, is not exhaustive, but broadly describes the

Q. That answer satisfies me. In connection with this order,
did you receive plenipotentiary powers for the regulation of
exchanging of goods and goods traffic?

A. I do not quite understand what you mean.

Q. All right. So as not to lose any time, you will be given
a document signed by you and Funk, and dated 6th September,
1943. This document I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 483. I shall read the first sentence of the first

  "In so far as existing laws prescribe the authority of
  the Reich Minister of Economics in the regulation of
  goods traffic, this authority for the period of the war
  will be exercised by the Minister for Armament and War

In this way your role in the war effort of Germany, your
role as head of the German war economy during the period of
the war, was much wider in scope than that which you have
described here to the Tribunal, is not that so?

A. No, I did not try to picture the situation differently,
and I said that in time of war the Armament Minister holds
the most important position of all in the Reich; and that
everyone has to work for him. I do not believe that I could
have given a more comprehensive description of my task. This
matter of the goods traffic is of quite subordinate
significance. I cannot even say what is meant here by "goods
traffic." It is a technical term which I do not quite

Q. Yes, but this document is signed by you and now you do
not know exactly what is meant by it. You signed it together
with Funk.

A. Of course.

Q. Tell us, how was contact between your Ministry and the
German Labour Front maintained, and was there co-operation
between the two organizations?

A. There was a liaison man between the German Labour Front
and my office, just as between all other important offices
in the Reich.

Q. Will you not name that officer?

A. It was my witness Hupfauer who later was chief of the
central office under me.

Q. You testified that a number of concerns, engaged in
producing textiles and processing of aluminium and lumber,
etc., should not be included in the list of war economy
concerns. Did I understand you correctly? Did you maintain

A. No, that is a mistake. That must have been wrongly

Q. What is the correct interpretation?

A. I think there are two mistakes here in the translation.
In the first place, I did not speak of war economy in my
testimony, but I used the term "armament." I said that this
term "armament" included textile concerns and wood and

                                                   [Page 85]

processing concerns. But armament and war economy are two
entirely different terms.

Q. And the textile industry is wholly excluded from the term

A. I said that various textile concerns were incorporated in
armament industry, although they did not produce armaments
in the strict sense of the word.

Q. Did not the textile industry manufacture parachute
equipment for the Air Force?

A. Yes, but if you consult the Geneva Prisoner-of-War
Agreement you will see that it is not forbidden to
manufacture that ... for prisoners of war to manufacture
that. I have the text here, I can read it to you.

Q. And do you want us seriously to accept that powder can be
manufactured without cellulose, and are you for that reason
narrowing down the conceptions of war industry and war

A. No, you have misunderstood me completely. I wanted to
make the concept "armament industry" as broad as possible in
order to prove that this modern conception of armament
industry is something entirely different from the industries
producing armaments in the sense of the Geneva Convention.

Q: All right. You spoke of your objection to using foreign
workers, and your reasons for this objection were indicated
by Schmelter in his testimony. He was in charge of labour in
your Ministry. This testimony was presented by your defence
counsel; I shall read only one paragraph and will you please
confirm whether it is correct or not:

  "In so far as he - Speer - repeatedly mentioned to us
  that utilization of foreign workers would create great
  difficulties for the Reich with regard to the food supply
  for these workers ..."

Were these the reasons for your objection?

A. The translation must be incorrect here. I know exactly
how the text reads and what the sense of this statement is.
The sense is entirely correct. The question was this: If we
brought new workers to Germany we had first of all to make
available to them the basic calories necessary to sustain
adequately a human being. But the German labourers still
working in Germany had to receive these basic calories in
any case. Therefore, food was saved if I employed German
workers in Germany, and the additional calories for persons
doing heavy work and working long hours could again have
been increased. That was the sense of Schmelter's statement.

Q. Defendant Speer, you digressed from a direct answer to my
question -

A. I would gladly -

Q. You are now going into details which are of no interest
to me. I asked you whether this particular passage which I
read from the testimony of Schmelter was correct or not.

A. No, it was falsely translated. I should like to have the
original in German.

Q. The original is in your document book and you can read
it. I will pass to the next question.

A. Yes, but it is necessary to show it to me now. In
cross-examination by the Soviet prosecutor I do not have to
take my document book to the stand with me.

THE PRESIDENT: You must give him the document if you have
got the document.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, this document is contained
in the document book presented by the defence counsel. The
Tribunal has the original, I only have the Russian
translation. Schmelter's affidavit was submitted to the
Tribunal yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got it, Dr. Flaechsner?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes. (The document is handed to the


                                                   [Page 86]

THE WITNESS: On what page, approximately?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: It is Page 129 in the Russian translation,
answer to Question No. 13, the last paragraph.

THE WITNESS: Yes. It says in the German text:

  "He" - that is, Speer - "referred repeatedly to the fact
  that the employment of foreign workers would cause
  greater difficulties in production and would depend on
  whether the Reich would supply additional food."

I explained that. I explained the reasons for that; I think,
if you are not convinced, that this explanation of mine is
also mentioned later in the affidavit.


Your deputy, Schieber, in reply to the question whether
Speer knew that the workers which he requested from Sauckel
were brought from occupied territories, answered:

  "Well, that was the great debatable question. We always
  said that Sauckel would only create partisans if he
  brought workers to Germany against their will."

In connection with this, I am saying that you not only knew
that the people who were working in your industries were
enslaved workers, but that you also knew of the methods
which Sauckel used. Do you confirm that?

A. I knew that some of the workers were brought to Germany
against their will. I have already said so. I also said that
I considered this compulsory recruitment wrong and
disastrous for production in the occupied territories. This
is a repetition of my testimony.

Q. It is of no use to repeat your testimony. Tell us, did
you not insist that Sauckel should supply you with forcibly
recruited workers beyond the demands which you had already
made? I will remind you of your letter to Sauckel, this will
expedite the proceedings. On 6th January, 1944, you wrote to

  "Dear Party-Comrade Sauckel; I ask you, in accordance
  with your promise to the Fuehrer, to assign these workers
  so that the orders issued to me by the Fuehrer, may be
  carried out on time. In addition there is an immediate
  need of 70,000 workers for the Todt Organization to meet
  the time limit set on the Atlantic Wall by the Fuehrer in
  Order No. 51; notification of the need for this labour
  was given more than six months ago, but it has not yet
  been complied with."

Did you write this letter? Do you confirm it?

A. Yes. I even admit that I included this letter in my
document book, and for the following reasons: The
conference, at which Hitler ordered that one million workers
were to be brought from France to Germany, took place on the
4th of January, 1944. On the same day I told General Studt,
my representative in France, that the requirements for
reserved industries in France were to be given priority over
the requirements for Germany. Two days later I told Sauckel,
in the letter which you now have in your hand, that my need
in France amounted to 800,000 workers for French factories
and that requirements for workers on the Atlantic Wall had
not yet been fully met, that they should therefore be
provided first, before the one million workers were sent to
Germany. I said yesterday that through these two letters the
programme which had been ordered by Hitler was rendered
abortive, and that it was the purpose to inform the military
commander, who also received this letter, that the workers
were to be used first in France; that information was very
valuable to the military commander.

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