The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/11/26

Q. What about the natural resources? Let us forget about
machinery.

A.  Anything which was available at all or any other
commodities had been carried away totally to Germany and
that is why when I arrived I immediately asked for those
600,000 tons of corn which I have just mentioned.

Q. Did you get it; did you pay it back?

A. If I had not received it, there would have been a
catastrophe.

Q. Did you pay it back?

A. I can't remember.

Q. Is it your testimony that those orders issued by Goering
in connection with the Four-Year Plan, were not executed by
you?

A. Some plans I did execute; there were some reasonable
plans.

Q. Which ones, for example?

A. One of these orders of Goering was the rebuilding of the
factories for purposes of armament. That was before the
Minister of Armaments, Speer, was appointed; at that time,
Goering was alone in charge of it. Goering was the man I
feared the most on account of his enormous needs.

Q. What other orders of Goering did you consider reasonable?

A. The rebuilding of navigation on the Vistula. Of course,
the question is not what Goering asked me to do in favor of
the Poles; the question is, what were the needs of Goering
from Poland-- that's the question.

Q. The question is, you stated that some of the orders that
Goering issued as head of the Four-Year Plan were executed
by you be-

                                                 [Page 1383]
                                                            
cause you thought they were reasonable. I am trying to find
out which orders you thought were reasonable.

A. That was the general scheme of the rebuilding of the
armament industry within the General Government -- those
were very important propositions.

Q.  How many thousands of workers did you supply to the
German Reich from Poland?

A. When you speak of Poland, you, of course, mean the
General Government.

Q. Yes, the Government General of Poland.

A. Within those 5 years, some 500,000 Poles and some 200,000
Ukrainians.

Q. How did you recruit those workers?

A. Those workers were reported to the Labor Office and were
sent as volunteers.

Q. What do you mean by "volunteers"?

A. By volunteer workers I mean those who followed an appeal,
reported voluntarily to the Labor Office, stating that they
were willing to work for or in Germany.

Q. Isn't it a fact that you used to receive a quota of the
number of workers that were desired from you on a regular
basis?

A. When Saukel became Reich Commissar for Labor, the number
of workers furnished by the General Government was already
so high that he was satisfied with a very small quota of say
50,000 laborers a year. Why, that could be obtained without
any further ado.

Q. You mean to say that all the Polish labor that came from
the Governor-General of Poland into Germany came
voluntarily?

A. Absolutely, so far as they came from the Labor Office
under my authority.

Q. Well, where else did they come from?

A. Well, but the Luftwaffe was in the country, the SS was in
the country, and I had to fight for years to oppose any
violent measures in this respect. And to give an instance,
the police one surrounded a movie and was going to deport
all the people coming out from it. Well, I was fighting with
the utmost energy against such methods. I myself saw those
trains with volunteers for Germany and I spoke to them. I
sometimes gave them gifts and saw them off to Germany. I
also obtained in the Reich a report on the treatment of
Poles which, at the beginning, was rather harsh.

                                                 [Page 1384]
                                                            
Well, the Poles had to wear a patch with the letter "P" on
it and only in 1943 did I obtain authority that this "P" be
removed. I had to negotiate for some 18 months to obtain the
permission to send Catholic priests to the Polish laborers,
which priests had been forbidden by Himmler. In places where
Poles worked, they dared to put inscriptions on the
churches, "No Admittance for Poles," and such cases of sheer
madness I have continued to fight against. Well, we saw the
kindliness of the Church and also of the German people who
didn't attach any importance to the official stuff; the
Poles were well-treated by the German peasants, and they
wrote accordingly to their families at home, and that again
drew other Poles to Germany. There are also hundreds of
thousands of Poles I had received within my General
Government, some 800,000 Poles which had been sent from the
Polish territory within the Reich, and it is from those
Poles that I could recruit a labor force. Not exclusively
from those, but also from those. But this was an additional
charge for a small General Government since I didn't receive
any additional foodstuffs. Those Poles were sent back under
gruesome conditions and we had to set up our own sanitary
establishments and equipment to take care of them.

Q. What about Maidanek?

A. What?

Q. You know what I mean. What about Maidanek, the
concentration camp?

A. I gave an explanation the last time. What had taken place
at Maidanek, I had heard that only from the foreign press.

Q. You are sure about that?

A. Maidanek was occupied by the Russians last summer and
they had set down the conditions of the camp and made them
known to the press of the world; and one day I received a
visit of the Chief of Police who told me, "Here's the whole
affair of Maidanek." I immediately saw the SS
Gruppenfuehrer, Koppe, and told him what monstrous news I
had received about happenings at Maidanek and I instructed
him to proceed immediately to make an investigation.

Q. You mean to try to tell me that you didn't know Maidanek,
that it existed, prior to the time of this press report?

A. Absolutely nothing. This I wish to say and that I did say
under oath the last time.

Q. Didn't your assistants, those who were acting for you in
the vicinity of Maidanek, didn't they know about it?

A. No. There had been a whole number of entirely closed-out
camps -- not only camps for Jews, but camps of all
descriptions:

                                                 [Page 1385]
                                                            
camps for POW's, which is the same as in Germany -- the
whole General Government was sprinkled with such camps.

Q. Did you ever ask anybody who was in those camps?

A. Well, I did ask and I was told those were camps for
prisoners of war, camps for Germans returning from the
Reich, etc., and access to those camps was severely
prohibited to me or the civilian population.


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