The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/01

I shall omit the rest of the first page and proceed to Page
2 of the French translation:

   The Italian internees who, when investigated, do not
   declare themselves ready to continue the struggle under
   German command, are put at the disposal of the General
   Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour
   
                                                  [Page 414]
   
   who has already given the necessary instructions for
   their employment, to the Chiefs of the Regional Labour
   Offices.
   
   It is to be noted that Italian military internees must
   not be utilised together with the British and American
   prisoners of war."

The prisoners of war offered passive resistance to German
force. The National Socialist authorities intervened again
and again, to attempt to increase their output. I refer to
Document 233-PS, which I file with the Tribunal as Exhibit
RF 53. It is a directive of the O.K.W. of 17th October,
1944. The purpose is to point out to the war prisoner
bureaux, measures capable of increasing the productivity of
the prisoners. I read from the document:

   "Subject: Treatment of War Prisoners - Increase in
   Production.
   
   The measures taken until now, in regard to the treatment
   of war prisoners and the increasing of their
   productivity, have not given the results that had been
   hoped for. The offices of the Party, and those of
   economy, continually complain of the poor labour output
   of all the war prisoners. Therefore the following
   directives for prisoners of war are made known, in
   agreement with all interested offices of the Party and
   State. Accordingly, all guard companies and their
   auxiliaries are to be given detailed instructions.
   
   Collaboration with the bearers of sovereignty of the
   N.S.D.A.P. The co-operation of all officers in charge of
   war prisoners with the bearers of sovereignty of the
   Party must be strengthened to an even greater extent. To
   this end the commanders of the war-prisoner camps shall
   immediately detail, for all the Kreise in their command,
   an energetic officer acquainted with all questions
   concerning prisoners of war, to act as liaison officer
   to the Kreisleiter. This officer shall have the duty of
   treating in closest collaboration with the Kreisleiter,
   according to the instructions of the camp commander, all
   questions concerning prisoners of war which might become
   public knowledge.
   
   The aim of this collaboration should be:
   
      (a)To increase the labour output of war prisoners;
      
      (b)To solve all difficulties quickly and on the spot;
      
      (c)To organise the employment of war prisoners in the
      Kreise in such a way that it fulfils the political,
      military and economic requirements.
   
   The Chancellery of the Party will give the necessary
   orders to the Gauleiter and the Kreisleiter.
   
   (2) Treatment of the prisoners of war. The treatment of
   prisoners of war shall be dictated within limits
   compatible with security, with the sole purpose of
   increasing, as far as possible, the labour output. In
   addition to just treatment, the providing of the
   prisoners with the food due to them according to
   stipulations, and with proper billets, the supervising
   of the labour output is necessary to achieve the highest
   possible results.
   
   Available means must be employed with extreme rigour as
   regards the lazy and the rebellious."

I shall stop my quotation here.

The resistance of war prisoners caused the German Labour
Bureaux to use a subterfuge to force them to work. I refer
to the operation called the transformation of war prisoners
into free workers. It consisted in transforming prisoners of
war into so-called free workers, to whom a labour contract
was offered. The operation was perfected by the defendant
Sauckel in the course of one of his trips to Paris on 9th
April, 1943. To Germany it offered the advantage of
permitting the use of transformed prisoners in armament
factories, without directly violating the Geneva Convention.
For the prisoners it presented only a seeming advantage, the
decrease of the surveillance to which they were subject. In
reality the length and the nature of the work imposed upon
them was in no way changed; their housing conditions and the
quality of their rations

                                                  [Page 415]

remained unchanged. Moreover, this operation, presented by
German propaganda as a measure favourable to war prisoners,
brought about a deterioration of their juridical status.

The prisoners of war were not fooled; in most cases they
refused to cooperate with this German manoeuvre; some agreed
to do it, but a number of these took advantage of the first
leave granted them because of their change in status, and
fled. The report of the Statistical Institute on Forced
Labour which I submitted to the Tribunal this morning as
Exhibit RF 22, gives in this connection the following
information. I quote it, Page 70 of the French text, Page 70
of the German translation. I shall read the second
paragraph:

   "The transformation of prisoners into 'free' workers,
   which was realised or carried out as the second Sauckel
   act, and which, because of this fact, must be counted in
   the present list as dating from the 25th of April, 1942,
   was decided by Sauckel, in the course of a trip to Paris
   on 9th April, 1943, It was to involve, after the
   prisoner had signed his contract as a labourer, a leave
   to go to France - depending on the return of the men who
   had gone on leave before. Two attempts were made to
   carry out this plan. On the 24th of April, 1943, out of
   1,000 on leave, 43 did not return. In the month of
   August following, 2,000 out of 8,000 did not return. A
   last appeal directed to them was published in the Press
   of 17th August without result. There is no third
   experiment, and the transformation in practice limited
   itself to the removal of sentinels and of camp guards,
   but did not change either the nature or the duration of
   the work, or the housing conditions or the rations. On
   the other hand, it entailed loss of rights to receive
   packages from the International Red Cross and loss of
   diplomatic protection for prisoners of war."

The forced utilisation of war prisoners did not permit the
German authorities to solve the labour problem of the war
economy. That is why they applied their policy of force to
the civilian populations of the occupied territories.

The National Socialist authorities systematised their policy
of force from 1942 on by establishing the Bureau of
Compulsory Labour in the different occupied territories.
From the end of 1941 it has been verified, that neither the
recruiting of voluntary workers nor the utilisation of
prisoners, permitted a solution of the problem of labour
required for the war economy. The Germans then decided to
proceed to the forced enrolment of civilian workers. They
decreed a veritable civilian mobilisation, the execution of
which characterises their criminal activity.

I refer to a directive of 29th January, 1942, given by Dr.
Mansfeld under authorisation of the defendant Goering. I
remind the Tribunal that I have filed this document already
as Exhibit RF 26. I read the passage from the document where
I stopped this morning, Page 2, last paragraph of the French
translation, Page 2, last paragraph also of the German
original:

   "In order to avoid a damaging of the armament industry,
   all misgivings must yield to the necessity of filling
   in, at any rate, the gaps in the labour employment
   caused by extensive drafting into the Wehrmacht. To this
   end the forced mobilisation of workers from the occupied
   territories must not be neglected, if the voluntary
   recruitment remains unsuccessful. The mere factor of a
   compulsory mobilisation will, in many cases, make
   recruiting easier.
   
   Therefore, I ask you to take immediate measures in your
   district to promote the employment of workers in the
   German Reich on a voluntary basis. I herewith request
   you to prepare for publication, regulations making
   possible the forced mobilisation of labour from your
   territory for Germany, so that they may be decreed at
   once in case recruiting on a voluntary basis remains
   without the success necessary to relieve labour
   employment in the Reich."

                                                  [Page 416]

The appointment of the defendant Sauckel may be considered a
preparatory measure for the establishment of the Bureau of
Compulsory Labour. It was necessary that a central authority
be set up in order to co-ordinate the activity of the
different labour departments and in order to proceed to the
mobilisation of civilian workers. The terms of the
exposition of the motives of the decree of appointment are
explicit: the mission of the Plenipotentiary for Labour
consists in satisfying the labour needs of the German
economy through the recruiting of foreign workers and the
utilisation of war prisoners. The decree of Sauckel, dated
22nd August, 1942, which I have filed with the Tribunal as
Exhibit RF 17, expresses, moreover, the will of the
defendant to go about recruiting by means of coercion.

The institution of the office of compulsory labour
represents deliberate violation of international
conventions. The deportation of workers is forbidden by
several contractual regulations which have the value of
positive law. I shall quote, first of all, Article 52 of the
Annex to the Fourth Convention of The Hague. I have already
given a commentary on it to the Tribunal, to demonstrate
that the requisitioning of labour effected by the
authorities of the occupation was illegal.

All the more, the institution of compulsory labour was
prohibited by Article 52, Compulsory labour was imposed upon
foreign workers in the interest of the war economy; it was
carried out in armament factories of National Socialist
Germany; it deprived the occupied territories of labour
necessary for the rational exploitation of their wealth, it
therefore is not within the framework of that labour
requisition which Article 52 of The Hague Convention
authorises.

The prohibition of forced labour is, moreover, affirmed by
another international convention. It is a question of the
Convention of the 25th of September, 1926, on slavery, of
which Germany is a signatory. This treaty makes forced
labour equivalent to slavery, in its Article 5.ask the
Tribunal to refer to it.

Deportation of workers is the object of a formal
prohibition. Forced labour in German war factories was,
therefore, instituted in flagrant violation of International
Law and of all pledges subscribed to by Germany. The
National Socialist authorities transgressed positive
International Law; they likewise violated the rights of
nations.

The latter guarantees individual liberty, on which the
principle of forced recruitment is a characteristic attack.

The violation of treaties and contempt for the rights of
individuals are the tenets of National Socialist doctrine.
Therefore the defendants proceeded not merely to the
mobilisation of foreign workers; they proclaimed the
necessity and the legitimacy of forced labour. I shall,
first of all, indicate to the Tribunal certain declarations
made by the defendants which have the strength of
confessions. I shall thereupon indicate how the occupation
authorities introduced the service of compulsory work in the
different occupied territories. I shall demonstrate,
finally, that the Germans took measures of violent coercion
in an attempt to assure the execution of the civilian
mobilisation, which had been decreed.

The legitimacy of forced enrolment has been upheld by
Hitler. The proof of this can be found in the report of the
Four Year Plan Conference held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of
August, 1942. It is contained in Document R-124, which I
presented this morning as Exhibit RF 30.shall not read it to
the Tribunal, because my American colleague, Mr. Dodd, has
done so during his presentation on forced labour. I recall
that the document to which I refer indicates that the
Fuehrer agreed to exercise all the necessary constraint in
the East as well as in the West, if the question of
recruiting foreign labourers could not be regulated on a
voluntary basis.

The necessity of the utilisation of compulsory labour was
expressed in identical terms by certain of the defendants.

                                                  [Page 417]

I shall not stress the numerous statements of the defendant
Sauckel to which I have already drawn the attention of the
Tribunal. The exposition of the motives of his decree of
22nd August, 1942, the programme included in his letter of
24th April, 1942, and the policy advocated in his speech at
Posen in February, 1943, reproduce faithfully the
determination of the defendant to justify the principle of
forced recruiting. I shall not revert to this. I present to
the Tribunal the declaration of the defendant Jodl. This
declaration is an extract from a long speech made by Jodl on
7th November, 1943, at Munich, before an audience of
Gauleiters. This speech is Document L-172. I offer it in
evidence to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 54.I shall read Page
2 of the French translation, second paragraph, Pages 38-39
of the German original:

   "This dilemma of manpower shortage has led to the idea
   of making more thorough use of the manpower reserves in
   the territories occupied by us. Here, right thinking and
   wrong thinking are mixed up together. I believe that, in
   so far as it concerns labour, everything has been done
   that could be done; but where this is not yet the case,
   it appeared preferable, from the political point of
   view, not to have recourse to measures of compulsion,
   but rather to aim at order and economic relief. In my
   opinion, however, the time has now come to take steps
   with remorseless vigour and resolution in Denmark,
   Holland, France and Belgium, and also to compel
   thousands of idle persons to carry out the fortification
   work, which is more important than any other work. The
   necessary orders for this have already been given."

The German Labour Service had not waited for the appeal of
General Jodl to decree the mobilisation of civilian foreign
workers. I am going to show the Tribunal how the Bureau of
Compulsory Labour was established and organised in France,
in Norway, in Belgium, and in Holland.

I should like to remind the Tribunal that in Denmark there
was never any legal regulation for forced labour, and that
this was carried out as a simple de facto measure.

I also wish to remind the Tribunal that the Bureau of Forced
Labour was introduced in a special form in Luxembourg and in
the French departments of Alsace and Lorraine. The
occupation authorities incorporated the citizens of
Luxembourg and the French citizens residing in the
departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle, in the
Labour Service of the Reich. This incorporation was carried
out by ordinances of Gauleiter Simon and Gauleiter Wagner.
The ordinances constitute an integral part of the
Germanisation plan for territories of Luxembourg, Alsace and
Lorraine. Their consequences surpass those of the measures
of forced enrolment which were taken in other occupied
territories. That is why I refer the Tribunal, on this
point, to the explanation which will be given in the
prosecution brief of M. Edgar Faure.

Two German texts of a general nature serve as a foundation 
for the legislation on forced labour in the occupied territories of 
Western Europe.



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