The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/29

DR. FLAECHSNER: No, that must be a typographical error. It
should be 42, Mr. President, it may be found -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the exhibit number?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Speer Exhibit 7.

THE PRESIDENT: What does 42 mean? What is the point of
putting 42 on it if its Exhibit number is 7?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, that is the number according
to which the document was admitted when we compiled the
document book. However, the exhibit number 7 is the decisive
number in this case.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

DR. FLAECHSNER: It is only meant to facilitate reference to
it in the document book. It is on Page 17 of the English
text; and I might be allowed to call the attention of the
High Tribunal to clause three of the decree. According to
this the Central Planning Board had to decide on all the
necessary new industrial projects for the increase in the
production of raw materials, and their distribution, as well
as on the co-ordination of the demands on the transport
system. This decree does not provide for any regulation of
the labour problem.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. Herr Speer, how did it come about that in spite of this
latter fact, labour demands were discussed in the Central
Planning Board?

A. These minutes of all, the sixteen meetings of the Central
Planning Board, which took place from 1942 until 1945, are
contained in the stenographic records. These five thousand
typed pages give a clear report on the activities carried
out and the tasks of the Central Planning Board. It is quite
obvious to any expert that there was no planning with regard
to manpower allocation, for it is clear that a plan
regarding labour allocation would have to be revised at
least every three months, just as we did for raw materials.
In fact, three to four meetings took place in the Central
Planning Board which were concerned with labour. These three
or four discussions were held for the following reasons:

In the years 1942 and 1943 - that is, before I took over the
management of the total economy - when soldiers were being
recruited for the Wehrmacht, I had reserved for myself the
right to determine the various recruitment quotas in the

                                                    [Page 6]

different sectors of production. At a meeting this
allocation of quotas was determined by the Central Planning
Board as a neutral assembly. At this meeting, of course,
there was a representative of the General Plenipotentiary
for Labour, since at the same time the problem of
replacements had to be dealt with. Another problem which was
discussed by the Central Planning Board was the distribution
and allocation of coal for the following year. Just as in
England, coal was the decisive factor in our entire war
production. At these discussions we had to determine at the
same time how the demands for labour supply for the mines
could be satisfied by the General Plenipotentiary for Labour
because only in agreement with him could proper plans be
made for the following year. From these discussions resulted
the assignment of Russian prisoners of war to mines, a
matter which has been mentioned here.

Furthermore, two meetings took place at which the demands
for labour supplies put forward by all interested parties
were actually discussed, and in such a way as corresponds to
some extent with the suggestion of the prosecution as to the
activities of the Central Planning Board in such matters.
These two meetings took place in February and March, 1944,
and no others were held either before or after. Besides,
these two meetings took place during my illness. At that
time already it was not quite clear to me why, just when I
was ill, Sauckel first complied with my wish to have the
Central Planning Board put under my Ministry and then later
on opposed the suggestion.

DR. FLAECHSNER: The prosecution has submitted various
extracts dealing with meetings of the Central Planning
Board.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. As far as you know, are these extracts taken from the
stenographic records, or are they taken from the minutes?

A. They are taken from the stenographic records. Besides
these stenographic records, minutes were made on the results
of the meetings. These minutes are the official records of
the results of the meetings. No material from the actual
minutes has so far been submitted by the prosecution. The
contents of the stenographic records are, of course, of
remarks and debates which always take place when matters of
such importance are dealt with, even when the authorities
involved are not directly responsible for some of the
matters which come up for discussion, such as those relative
to labour commitments.

Q. Therefore, do these quotations which have been heard here
concern decisions made by the Central Planning Board or by
you?

A. I have already answered that.

Q. I would like to put one more question to you. You had
another special position in the Four-Year Plan? What about
that?

A. I was the Armaments Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year
Plan. In March, 1942, Goering, giving heed to my proposal,
created the post of Armaments Plenipotentiary in the
Four-Year Plan, and I was appointed Armaments
Plenipotentiary. This was purely a matter of form. It was
generally known that Goering had quarrelled with my
predecessor, Todt, since armaments problems had not been put
under his, Goering's, control. In assuming this post as
Armaments Plenipotentiary, I had subordinated myself
nominally to Goering. In fact, the Armaments Plenipotentiary
never achieved any influence. I issued no directives
whatsoever in that capacity. As Minister I had sufficient
authority, and it was not necessary for me to use any
authority I had under the Four-Year Plan.

DR. FLAECHSNER: For the benefit of the High Tribunal, when
dealing with the question of the Central Planning Board,
perhaps I might refer to the fact that statements were made
relative to it by the witness Schieber in his questionnaire
under figures 4 and 45, and by the witness Kehrl in his
questionnaire under figure 2.

Now I shall turn to the problem of the responsibility for
the number of foreign workers in. general.

                                                    [Page 7]

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. Herr Speer, the prosecution charges you with
co-responsibility for the entire number of foreign workers
who were transported to Germany. Your co-defendant Sauckel
has testified in this connection that principally he worked
for you in this matter so that his activity was primarily
determined by your needs. Will you please comment on this?

A. Of course, I expected Sauckel to meet all the demands of
war production, but it cannot be maintained that he
primarily took care of my demands, for, beginning with the
spring of 1943, I received only a part of the workers I
needed. If my requirements had been the principal care of
Sauckel, I should have received all the workers I asked for.
But this was not the position. For example, some two hundred
thousand Ukrainian women were made available for housework,
and it is quite certain that I was of the opinion that they
could have been put to better use in armaments production.

It is also clear that the German labour reserve had not been
fully utilised. In January, 1943, these German reserves were
still ample. I was interested in having German workers -
and, of course, women - and this non-utilization of German
reserves indicates that I cannot be held solely responsible
for demanding foreign workers to meet my labour
requirements.

DR. FLAECHSNER: I should like to point out that the
following witnesses have made statements in connection with
this problem in their respective questionnaires: The witness
Schmelte in answer to questions 12, 13 and 16; the witness
Schieber to 22; the witness Roland to 1 and 4, and the
witness Kehrl to 9.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. Herr Speer, if you or your office demanded workers, then,
of course, you knew that you would receive foreign workers
amongst them. Did you need these foreign workers?

A. I needed them only for part of my production. For
instance, the coal mines could not be fully operated without
Russian prisoners of war. It would have been quite
impossible to employ German reserves, which consisted mainly
of women, in these mines. There were, furthermore, special
assignments for which it was desirable to have foreign
experts, but the majority of the needs could be met by
German workers, even German female workers. The same
principle was followed in the armament industries in England
and America, and certainly in the Soviet Union, too.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you not go on, Dr. Flaechsner? There is
no need to wait.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes. In my documentary evidence I shall
return to this point in more detail.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. Herr Speer, I should like to go back to your testimony of
18th October, 1945 In it you stated several times that you
knew that the workers from occupied countries were being
brought to Germany against their will. The prosecution
alleges that you approved of the use of force and of terror.
Will you comment on that?

A. I had no influence on the method by which workers were
recruited. If the workers were being brought to Germany
against their will that means, as I see it, that they were
obligated by lawful measures to work for Germany. Whether
these legal measures were justified or not, that was a
matter I did not check at the time. Besides, this was no
concern of mine. On the other hand, by application of force
and terror I understand police measures such as raids and
arrests and so on. I did not approve of these violent
measures, which may be seen from the attitude I took at the
discussion I had on this question with Lammers on 11th June,
1944.

                                                    [Page 8]

At that time I held the view that neither an increase in
police forces, nor raids, nor violent measures were correct.
In this document I am, at the same time, referred to as one
of those who expressed their objections to the violent
measures which had been proposed.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the document?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, that is Document 3819-PS,
which the prosecution submitted in the cross-examination of,
I believe, the defendant Keitel and of the defendant
Sauckel. I did not include it in my document book.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Herr Speer, why were you against such violent measures?

A. Because through violent measures of that kind, a regular
flow of manpower supply in the occupied countries would not
have been possible in the long run. I wanted production to
be regulated and orderly in the occupied countries. Measures
of violence meant to me a loss of manpower, because people,
in increasing numbers, fled to the woods so as not to have
to go to Germany and strengthened the ranks of the
resistance movement. This led to increased acts of sabotage
and that, in turn, to a decrease of production in the
occupied countries.

Therefore, time and again the military commanders, and the
commanders-in-chief of the army groups, as well as myself,
protested against these proposed large-scale measures of
violence.

Q. Were you especially interested in the recruiting of
workers from various countries, and if so, why?

A. Yes. I was especially interested in the labour
recruitment from France, Belgium and Holland - that is,
countries in the West - and from Italy, because, beginning
with the spring of 1943, the General Plenipotentiary for
Labour Commitment had decreed that mainly the workers from
these regions were to be assigned for war production. On the
other hand, the workers from the East were mainly to be used
for agriculture, for forestry, and for the building of
railways.

This decree was repeatedly stressed to me by Sauckel, even
as late as 1944.

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection, I should like to refer
to Document 3072-PS, which is Exhibit USA 790. This document
is found on Page 79 of the English text, and Page 76 of the
French text of my document book. I quote from the conference
of the Economic Inspectorate South in Russia:

  Peukert - the delegate for Sauckel in Russia - states
  here, and I quote: "Provisions have been made for
  employing workers from the East principally in
  agriculture and in the food economy while the workers
  from the West, especially those skilled workers required
  by Minister Speer, are to be made available to the
  armament industry."

Document 7289-PS, which is Exhibit RF 77, may be found on
Page 42 of the English text of my document book and Page 39
of the French and German texts. Here we are concerned with a
remark by Sauckel, on 26th April, 1944, and I quote:

  "Only by a renewed mobilization of reserves in the
  occupied Western territories can the urgent need of
  German armament for skilled workers be satisfied. For
  this purpose the reserves from other territories are not
  sufficient either in quality or in quantity. They are
  urgently needed for the requirements of agriculture,
  transportation, and construction. Up to 75 per cent of
  the workers from the West have always been allocated to
  armament."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, speaking for myself, I do not
know what the problem is that you are trying to solve, or
what argument you are putting forward in the very least. I
do not know what relevance this has at all. What does it
matter whether they came from the West or whether they came
from the East? I understand your argument, or the
defendant's argument, that the armament industry, under the
Geneva Convention, does not include a variety of branches of
industry which go eventually into armament, and it only
relates to things which are directly concerned with
munitions. But when you have placed that argument before us,
what is the good of referring us to this sort of evidence?

                                                    [Page 9]

I mean, I only want to know because I do not understand in
the least what you are getting at.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this is to prepare for the
problem to which we are now turning, and that is the problem
of the blocked or protected industries (Sperr Betriebe). By
setting up these blocked industries, Speer, if I may put it
that way, wanted to put an effective stop to the transfer of
workers from the West to Germany. Therefore I first have to
show that up to that time his workers, the labour for his
industries, mainly came from the West. I want to establish
that -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Supposing he did want to stop
them from coming from the West, what difference does it
make?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, Speer is being charged with
actively having taken part in the deportation of workers
from the West, workers who were used in his armament
industries. Now, the date is important here.

He says that beginning with the year 1943, he followed a
different policy. Before that time, as may be seen from the
evidence, the workers who had come to Germany had, to a
large extent, been voluntary workers.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course, if you can prove that they were
all voluntary workers it would be extremely material, but
you are not directing evidence to that at all.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this is the final reason for
my evidence. I should like to carry it through, if possible,
to the end.

THE PRESIDENT: I am only telling you that I do not
understand what the end is. Go on; do not wait any further.

BY DR. FLAECHSNER:

Q. Herr Speer, the General Plenipotentiary for Labour
designated Italy and the occupied Western countries as the
countries from which foreign workers would mainly be
recruited for armament purposes.

How far did you endorse Sauckel's measures in these
countries?

A. Up to the spring of 1943 I completely endorsed them. Up
to that time no obvious disadvantages had resulted for me.
However, beginning with the spring of 1943, workers from the
West refused, in ever-increasing numbers, to go to Germany.
That may have had something to do with our defeat at
Stalingrad and with the intensified air attacks on Germany.

Up to the spring of 1943 to my knowledge, the labour
commitments were met with more or less good will. However,
beginning with the spring of 1943, frequently only part of
the workers who had been called up came to report at the
recruiting offices.

Therefore, approximately since June, 1943, I established the
so-called blocked industries, through the Military
Commander-in-Chief in France. Belgium, Holland and Italy
soon after also introduced the system of blocked industries.
The important feature was that every worker employed in
these blocked industries was automatically excluded from
assignment to Germany; and any worker who was recruited for
Germany was free to go into a blocked industry in his own
country without the labour assignment authorities having the
power to take him out of this blocked industry.


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