The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/05

Q. Defendant Speer, did you know that, in the factories of
which you were in charge, some of the forced labourers were
convicts whose prison terms had already expired? Did you
know that?

A. During my period of office I did not know it; I learned
of it here from a document.

Q. You claim that you did not know it?

                                                   [Page 87]

A. I know what you mean; it is mentioned in the Schieber
letter of 4th May, 1944, which is in my document book, but I
could not possibly remember all these details.

Q. You cannot remember, but Schieber, on 4th May, 1944, in a
special letter addressed to you personally, wrote to you
about it and you could not possibly have not known it. The
fact that this letter is included in your document book does
not change the situation.

A. On the receipt of this letter I then wrote to Himmler
with regard to the workers who had served their prison
sentences. I can submit this letter at any time, I left it
out to avoid making the document book too long. This letter
shows that I asked Himmler to let these workers, who had
served their sentences, remain free. Himmler's point of view
was that these workers should remain in custody.

Q. Do you remember the letter from the OKW of 8th July,
1943, on the subject of manpower for mining? Do you remember
that letter and its contents?

A. No.

Q. I shall remind you.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: This document was submitted to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USA 455 and has been quoted here several
times. I think, therefore, that it is not necessary to read
all of it into the record, but I will read just a few basic


Q. The Fuehrer's order to assign 300,000 Russian prisoners
of war to coal mining is mentioned in this letter. Do you
remember this order?

A. I should like to see it.

Q. You will be given a chance to see it. In paragraph a of
this document it is mentioned that all prisoners of war
taken in the East after 5th July, 1943, are to be brought to
the camps of the OKW and turned over to the Plenipotentiary
for Labour Mobilization for employment in the coal mining

In paragraph 4 of this document it states:

  "All male prisoners, from 16 to 55 years of age, captured
  in guerrilla fighting in the operational army area of the
  Eastern commissariats, the Government General and the
  Balkans, will in the future be considered prisoners of
  war. The same applies to males in the newly conquered
  regions of the East. They are to be sent to
  prisoner-of-war camps, and are to be brought from there
  for labour commitment in the Reich."

This letter was also sent to you and therefore you knew what
kind of methods were used to obtain workers for your coal
industry. Do you admit that?

A. No, I do not admit it.

Q. All right.

A. I do not know whether you mean that the prisoners who
were taken in the fighting against partisans in the
operational area were to be sent to the mines. I assumed at
the time that they were taken prisoner in battle, and a
partisan captured in battle is, of course, a prisoner of
war. Here the assertion was made that in particular the
prisoners taken in the partisan areas were not treated as
prisoners of war. But this document seems to me to be
evidence to the contrary. It shows that prisoners taken in
the partisan areas were treated as prisoners of war.

Q. I am definitely not interested in your comments on this
document. I asked you whether you knew in what particular
way, and through what particular methods, you were receiving
workers for your coal industry, and you answered that you
did not admit knowledge of it; I think that covers the
question with regard to the document. We will pass on to the
next document.

On 4th January, 1944 you participated in a meeting which
took place in Hitler's headquarters and at which the
question of utilization of manpower for 1944 was. discussed.
You stated that you would have to have an additional
1,300,000 workers. During this meeting it was decided that
Sauckel would furnish not less than 4,000,000 workers from
occupied territories in 1944, and that Himmler

                                                   [Page 88]

would help him to supply this number. The minutes of the
meeting, signed by Lammers, stated that the decision of all
participants in the meeting was unanimous. Do you
acknowledge that, as a participant in this meeting and as a
Reich Minister, you are among those responsible for the
forced deportation to Germany of a few million workers?

A. But this programme was not carried out.

Q. Defendant Speer, if you do not answer my questions, we
shall lose too much time.

THE PRESIDENT: But, General Raginsky, from the outset of
this defendant's evidence, if I understand it, he has
admitted that he knows that prisoners of war and other
workers were brought to Germany forcibly, against their
will. He has never denied it.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Yes, Mr. President, he admitted it. But
the question now is whether he admits that he himself is
responsible for the decision taken at this meeting which he
attended on 4th January. He did not answer that and I am
asking him again.


Q. I shall repeat my question. I am not asking you whether
Sauckel really carried through this programme. I am asking
you whether on 4th January you participated in a decision
taken at Hitler's headquarters that Sauckel, with the
assistance of Himmler, should forcibly deport 4,000,000
people from occupied territories. You participated in that
decision, did you not? It is obvious from the minutes which
state that the decision was unanimous. Now, do you accept
responsibility for this decision?

A. As far as my responsibility is concerned I assume the
Tribunal will decide the extent of it. I cannot establish it

Q. Now, I shall read to you an excerpt from a document
presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 184. This document
mentions a decision of Sauckel to the effect that
mobilization and drafting of two age groups - 1926 and 1927
- will be carried through in all newly occupied Eastern
territories. This document also states that "the Reich
Minister of Armament and Munitions approved this order," and
the document ends with the following sentence:

  "Mobilization and selection must be speeded up and
  carried through with the greatest energy and all
  appropriate measures must be applied."

Do you remember this order?

A. I have read this document here; it is correct.

Q. Now we shall pass on to the next question. You stated
here that you were highly critical of Hitler's entourage.
Will you please name the persons whom you criticized?

A. No, I will not name them.

Q. You will not name these persons because you did not
criticise anybody, am I to understand you in that way?

A. I did criticise them, but I do not consider it right to
name them here.

Q. Well, I will not insist on an answer to this question.

You had some differences with Hitler. Tell us, did they
begin after you had convinced yourself that Germany had lost
the war?

A. I made clear statements on this point yesterday.

Q. You spoke here quite extensively about your opposition to
the destruction of industries in the Western areas of the
Reich before the withdrawal of the German armed forces. But
did you not do that only because you counted upon the
reoccupation of these regions in the near future, and
because you wanted to save these industries for your own

A. No, that was not the reason. I explained in detail
yesterday that this reason served as my pretext to prevent
the destruction. If, for instance, you look at my memorandum
dealing with the motor fuel situation, it is obvious that I
did not believe a reoccupation was possible, and I do not
think that any military

                                                   [Page 89]

leader in 1944 considered a re-occupation of France, Belgium
or Holland possible. That also applies to the Eastern
territories, of course.

Q. I think it would be better if we referred to the
document. That is the right way of doing it and it would
save time. It is a draft of a telegram which you prepared
for Gauleiter Buerkel, Wagner and others. I shall read from
Page 56 of your document book.

  "The Fuehrer has stated that he can in a short time
  accomplish the reoccupation of the territories which are
  at present lost to us, since in continuing the war the
  Western areas are of great importance for armament and

What you stated in your testimony is quite different from
what you wrote to the Gauleiter.

A. No, my counsel quoted and explained all this yesterday. I
should like to see the document again. I do not know whether
it is necessary to repeat this whole explanation, it was
given yesterday and lasted about ten minutes. Either my
explanation of yesterday is believed or not.

Q. I do not want you to repeat what you said yesterday; if
you do not want to answer me I prefer to pass on to the next

THE PRESIDENT: General Raginsky, if you asked him a question
which was asked yesterday, he must give the same answer if
he wants to give a consistent answer.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I am asking him this
question again because in my view he answered it very
wrongly yesterday. But to repeat yesterday's answer would be
an absolute waste of time. If he does nor want to answer
truthfully, then I shall pass on to the next question.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness says: "I did answer the question
truthfully yesterday, but if you want me to repeat it again,
I will do it but it will take ten minutes to do it." That is
what he said and it is a perfectly proper answer.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I prefer to pass on to the next question.


Q. Tell us why you sent this telegram about the destruction
of industries to the Gauleiter.

A. It was not sent only to the Gauleiter, it was sent to my
representatives as well as to the Gauleiter. The Gauleiter
had to be informed, because they could, on their own
initiative, have ordered destruction to be carried out, and,
since they were not subordinate to me but to Bormann, I had
to send this teletype message which I had drafted to Bormann
with the request to forward it to the Gauleiter.

Q. You stated that the supporters of Hitler's "scorched
earth" policy were Ley, Goebbels and Bormann. Now, what
about those who are alive today, those who are now sitting
in the dock. Did not any of them support Hitler in this

A. As far as I recall, none of those now in the dock were in
favour of the "scorched earth" policy. On the contrary,
Funk, for example, was one of those who opposed it very

Q. This policy was advocated only by people who are now

A. Yes, and probably they killed themselves because they
advocated this policy and did other such things.

Q. Your defence counsel has submitted to the Tribunal
several letters addressed to Hitler, dated March, 1945. Tell
us, did Hitler, after receiving these letters, lose
confidence in you?

A. I said yesterday that violent disputes followed these
letters, and that Hitler wanted me to go on leave, on
permanent leave, that is; in effect he wanted to dismiss me.
But I did not want to go.

                                                   [Page 90]

I have heard this before. But nevertheless, Hitler appointed
you, Speer, on 3rd March, 1945, to be in charge of the total
destruction of all industries.

A. Yes, that is, I was competent for the destruction or
non-destruction of industry in Germany until 19th March,
1945. Then a Hitler decree, which has also been submitted,
took away from me this power to carry out destruction, but
Hitler's decree of 30th March, 1945, which I drew up,
returned this power to me. The main thing, however, is that
I have also submitted the orders which I issued on the
strength of this power; they show clearly that I prohibited
the carrying out of destruction, and thereby my purpose was
achieved. Not Hitler's decree, but my executive order was
decisive. That order is also among the documents.

Q. In spite of the fact that Hitler received such letters
from you, he did not regard you as a man opposing him?

A. Hitler said, in the talk which I had with him at that
time, that both for domestic and for foreign political
reasons he could not dispense with my services. That was his
explanation. I believe that already then his confidence in
me was shaken, since in his testament he named another as my

Q. And the last question. In April, 1945, you wrote, in the
Hamburg radio studio, a speech which you intended to deliver
if Berlin fell. In this speech, which was not delivered, you
advocated the banning of a Werewolf organization. Tell us,
who was in charge of the Werewolves.

A. Reichsleiter Bormann was in charge of the Werewolves.

Q. And besides Bormann, who?

A. No, just Bormann. As far as I know - I am not quite
certain - the Werewolf organization was subordinate to

Q. That is understood. If Bormann were still alive, then you
would have said that Himmler was the leader of this
organization. One could hardly expect another answer.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I have no more questions of the defendant.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, did you want to ask something
which arises out of the cross-examination?

DR. SERVATIUS: I have only a few questions on the


Q. Witness, you stated that after air raids, deficiencies
arising in the concerns were reported by you to the DAF or
to Sauckel. That is correct, is it not?

A. No, not quite in this form. I was asked whether I
received occasional reports on such conditions. I said yes,
I passed them on to Sauckel or to the DAF because they were
the competent authorities.

Q. What did these reports which were sent to Sauckel

A. As far as I remember, I said in the examination that I
did not exactly recall receiving such reports. In any case,
the question was only a theoretical one: what would I have
done if I had received such reports. I thought that reports
had certainly reached me, but I can no longer recall their
specific contents.

Q. What was Sauckel to do?

A. Against the air raids Sauckel could not do anything

Q. If you sent the reports to him, it meant that he was to
provide help?

A. Yes, or that he, as the competent authority, would have
precise information on conditions in his field of work, even
if he could not help.

Q. His field was the recruiting of manpower.

A. Yes, also labour conditions.

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