The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/10/08

DR. SAUTER, Continued:

Thus Document 0-84-PS, which is a report of Dr. Gutkelch of
the Central Agency for Eastern People of the Rosenberg,
Ministry, dated 30th September, 1942, emphasises in various
parts the influence of defendant Sauckel and recommended
getting into closer touch with him.

                                                  [Page 111]

Co-defendant Rosenberg also points to Sauckel's strenuous
efforts in Document 194-PS, Page 6, a letter of 14th
December, 1942, to Koch, Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine.

Co-defendant Frank likewise on 21st November, 1943, asked
defendant Sauckel - Document 908-PS - for a basic change of
the legal position of Poles inside the Reich.

To what extent do real events correspond with that which has
been stated?

The first question to be dealt with is seizure, which is
practically identical with deportation. Next is the
examination of the treatment of workers which is designated
by the words "slave labour".

The evidence has refuted the erroneous view that defendant
Sauckel on his own responsibility carried out the commitment
and seizure of foreign workers through his own organization.
It has been established that the supreme agencies of the
occupied territories executed the laws regarding compulsory
work, which they had received on Hitler's orders. All these
agencies had their own administrative system and guarded
their departments against the intrusion of others.

A communication of the Rosenberg Ministry of the East to
Koch, the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine, dated 14th
December, 1942, Document 194-PS, Page 7, in which co-
defendant Rosenberg particularly refers to the prevailing
right of sovereignty in questions of labour commitment,
proves that this administrative system had not been
eliminated. These supreme agencies had their own labour
offices, which were organized in detail from the Ministry
down to the local offices. See Document 3012-PS, an
ordinance of the Supreme Command of the Army dealing with
compulsory work in operational sector East of 6th February,
1943, and Document RF 15, Ordinance of 6th October, 1942.

Only with these agencies could defendant Sauckel place
requests for the number of workers he was ordered to send to
Germany and only to them could he give the necessary
instructions. These were his limitations and he never went
beyond them. He took note of the right of execution, as
opposed to the right of giving instructions. For these tasks
a deputy was appointed for each territory, who in accordance
with the ordinance of September, 1942, Exhibit USA 510, was
directly subordinate to defendant Sauckel but did not belong
to his agency, as he belonged to the territorial agencies.
This was expressly confirmed by the witness Beil, appointed
by co-defendant Rosenberg as most important deputy in the
East, the State Councillor Peukert, who belonged to the
Staff of the Ministry East.

State Councillor Peukert was at the same time consultant for
the Economic Staff East for the lines of communication area,
which was close to the field of the civil administration; he
acted unofficially as deputy of the defendant Sauckel for
the purpose of establishing liaison between the staffs. This
is proved by Document 3012-PS, which is a note on the
aforementioned document dealing with a conversation of 10th
March, 1943, concerning labour commitment, in which the
position of Peukert is noted in the membership list. Through
this combination of positions held by one man
(Personalunion), created in the interest of the territorial
authorities, all unauthorised interference by defendant
Sauckel was made impossible.

When co-defendant Rosenberg complains about the methods of
labour mobilization in the East as in Document 018-PS, that
is, in the letter to defendant Sauckel dated 21st December,
1942, this must be considered as the complaint of a minister
who does not consider himself in a position to prevail
against his subordinates, and thus turns towards the
presumable source of his difficulties. It is true that these
difficulties could have been removed immediately if
defendant Sauckel had desisted from the execution of his
order. But this execution was just his task, which according
to the decree of appointment had to be done under all
circumstances.

Defendant Sauckel had to fight against opposition arising
from weakness and from departmental egotism, and had to see
to it that local agencies did not fail to

                                                  [Page 112]

supply the required manpower due to need for rest, or that
other offices did not hold it back out of selfish interests.
"With all means" and "ruthlessly" are recurring expressions
which are employed in the fight against these symptoms.

General Falkenhausen, the Military Commander in Belgium and
Northern France, during his hearing, mistakenly declared in
Document RF 15 that defendant Sauckel forced him to mobilize
labour and that through a special "organization" of his own.
But he had to admit that this was incorrect when the order
signed by him about the introduction of compulsory labour
service was put before him.

This is confirmed by the statements of the witnesses Timm
and Stothfang.

In France workers were mobilised by the French.
administration. The German office above it was not the
office of defendant Sauckel but of the Military Commander in
France, where Sauckel only had a deputy. The negotiations
which defendant Sauckel conducted in Paris and which were
the subject of the evidence lie outside of this activity;
they are negotiations of a diplomatic nature between the
German and French Governments in which Sauckel participated.
They were held in the German Embassy.

There were corresponding conditions and circumstances in the
other spheres.

Also the Recruiting Commissions which corresponded to the
labour commitment staffs in the L. of C. areas and in
operational districts were by no means offices of the
defendant Sauckel, as co-defendant Rosenberg assumes. These
recruiting commissions were in loose contact with the
defendant Sauckel only in as far as they were composed of
experts who came from the German labour offices, which
belonged to Sauckel's department. They received directives
only through their superior office in order to guarantee a
uniform handling of all recruiting regulations. Regulation
No. 4 in Sauckel Document 15 is authoritative on this point.

Before the appointment of the deputies on 30th September,
1942, an order already issued on 7th May, 1942, provided for
the sole responsibility of the military and civil
authorities of the occupied territories. The deputies
mentioned there, to whom were assigned the same functions,
are the deputies at the German missions in friendly foreign
countries.

This was misunderstood by the prosecution and, therefore,
wrong conclusions were arrived at disadvantageous for the
defendant Sauckel about the responsibility for recruiting
and transport. Also the interpretation of the provision that
"all technical and administrative procedures of the labour
commitment were exclusively within the competence and
responsibility", of defendant Sauckel is incorrect for the
occupied territory.

This stipulation refers solely to the functions in the Reich
and lays the basis for the competence of the General
Plenipotentiary for Labour Commitment of the district labour
offices and labour offices generally; this can be seen from
Document 016-PS (last paragraph). The defendant Sauckel,
therefore is not directly responsible for the seizure of
workers. Indirectly, however, responsibility can be charged
to him in that, although he was aware of these bad
conditions and knew that they could not be stopped, he
nevertheless demanded more workers. To this the following
must be said: From the defendant Rosenberg's letter of 21st
December, 1942 (Document 018-PS), the defendant Sauckel
learned for the first time of the recruiting methods which
have been designated as mass deportation. At the meeting
which followed in the beginning of January, 1943, the
defendant Rosenberg declared that he was opposed to this and
that he would not tolerate such methods. This is also
confirmed by his previous letter of 14th December, 1942,
addressed to Koch, Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine
(Document 194-PS), in which he clearly calls the latter's
attention to his obligations to proceed legally.

Koch's memorandum of 16th March, 1943 (Document RO-13), of
which the defendant Sauckel did not learn until here at the
trial, gives the explanation that these incidents are
exaggerated individual cases, the justification of which is
based on the need for measures to be carried out for the
restoration of the authority of

                                                  [Page 113]

the occupation officials. It is expressly declared in this
that the recruitment of workers is to proceed with legal
means and that steps will be taken in the event of arbitrary
actions (Document RO-13, Pages 11 and 12). It does not seem
out of the question that the incidents might have been a
matter of propagandistic exaggerations and activities, to
which Koch particularly refers. In war such a possibility is
likely, and the propagandistic style of the Molotov report
(Document USSR 151) only emphasises this.

The defendant Sauckel was also inclined to this view by the
result of a "Manhunt" investigation which was reported to
him at Minsk by Field-Marshal Kluge; it turned out to be an
assembling of workers employed by a labour firm at the time
of the retreat.

The Katyn case shows how difficult it is to clarify such
events according to the truth when they are made use of in
the propaganda battle.

As the witnesses from the defendant Sauckel's office have
confirmed, no other incidents involving these abuses have
become known. The cases which were reported are notoriously,
in part, repetitions of the same happenings, which were
reported from different sides.

Can one believe defendant Sauckel when he declares that he
did not know about the conditions alleged by the
prosecution? What reached him through official channels
cannot be considered as proof of cognizance, and the
witnesses confirm that the so-called "methods" were unknown.

But we have here documents of the authorities of the
occupied countries from which it appears that the Reich
Commissioner in the Ukraine ordered the burning down of
houses in retaliation for resistance against the
administration, and there are orders prevising such
measures. Reports made to the Ministry of the East regarding
such events did not lead to penal prosecution, but to the
suspension of the procedure, e.g., the Raab case (Document
254-PS) and the Muller case (Document 290-PS).

To any doubts the following must be replied: The measures
employed were not approved of by the highest levels, and
were only secretly made use of by the lower levels.
Therefore, they had reason not to let them become known.
From the preliminary proceedings of the Raab and Muller
cases, it definitely appears that the existing regulations
were unknown at the Ministry.

Defendant Sauckel travelled through the Ukraine, but his
attention was certainly not called to matters which might
have got the local offices into trouble. The views of
defendant Sauckel were well known, and on the other hand
there existed a violent quarrel between the offices of the
Reich Commissioner Koch and the Reich Ministry Rosenberg.
When the documents of both offices which have been submitted
are read carefully, it can be seen from the file notes that
in this struggle both sides had collected arguments but that
nobody wished to commit himself. Since the defendant Sauckel
himself had not direct authority, it is understandable that
the actual conditions remained unknown to him.

Another point of view has to be considered as well: various
documents mention that a certain pressure had to be applied
in the procurement of workers, and that the workers had to
be obtained "under any circumstances".

Does this give a free hand for all methods?

One must see what was actually done as a result of these
statements.

The OKH in one case then ordered the increased conscription
of workers and permitted collective seizures, but prohibited
collective punishments in connection with this. With regard
to this, see Document 3012-PS containing a telephone message
of the Economy Staff East to General Staff of 11th March,
1943.

The best illustration is given by a file note in the same
document, 3012-PS, concerning a discussion of 10th March,
1943. Here General Nagel requests clear guiding principles
and State Councillor Peukert wants "reasonable" recruitment
methods established by the OKH as the authorized agency.
Document 2280-PS is also relevant here, which is the only
personal statement of the defendant

                                                  [Page 114]

Sauckel concerning this question and which was made in Riga
on 3rd May, 1943, There he states that only "all permissible
means" are allowed.

Document 3010-PS, Economy Inspection South, should also be
noted, in which on 17th August, 1943, the use of "all
suitable means" is permitted. Orders are issued which
contain severe measures against non-compliance with the duty
of compulsory labour, such as deprivation of food and
clothing cards. Imprisonment of relatives is threatened, as
well as the taking of hostages.

How about the admissibility of such measures?

The deprivation of food cards has today become a generally
used means of coercion which is based on the rationing
system; and which has its cause in the conditions of the
times. It can be handled easily and does not require any
special executive force. And it is extremely effective.

Concerning the imprisonment of relatives, severe abuses of
imprisonment of individuals can be recorded even today. The
Hague Convention on Land Warfare only prohibits collective
punishment of the population, but it does not protect the
members of a family who may be considered as jointly
responsible in the case of a refusal to work. The French law
of 11th June, 1943, which was presented as Document RF 80,
also provides for such imprisonment only in the case of
deliberate co-operation.

There finally remains the "shooting of a prefect" which the
defendant Sauckel demanded. Apart from the fact that this
statement as such is irrelevant from the point of view of
criminal law, because it was not actually carried out, its
legal meaning merely amounts to a demand to apply the
existing French law. This law has been submitted by the
prosecution as Document RF 25; decree of 31st January, 1943,
by the military commander in France, Article 2 of which
provides for the death penalty.

Also misunderstood by the prosecution is a statement made by
the defendant Sauckel that one must handcuff the workers in
a polite way. (Document RF 86, Page 10, discussion by
Sauckel in Paris on 27th August, 1943.) But as appears from
the context, what is in question here is only a comparison
of the clumsy manner of the German police with the obliging
manner of the French, without handcuffing being especially
praised as a method of seizure: Prussian, clean, and correct
on the one hand but at the same time obliging and polite on
the other, that is how it should be done.

I refer again to the case of the proposal for "shanghai-ing"
in Document R-124, Page 1770, which is known to the Tribunal
from the proceedings. The statement which the defendant
Sauckel has made gives an understandable explanation;
according to it, this was a legal preliminary recruitment
which was intended to induce the workers to agree to the
real obligation later on in the official recruitment
offices. These various incidents, shooting of a prefect,
handcuffing, and shanghaiing may be explained in various
ways, but one can reach a complete understanding of the
subjective side only if one considers why these statements
were made, and under what conditions. The underlying reason
for all these statements was the struggle against resistance
and sabotage which in France assumed ever-increasing
proportions. Therefore, it is not a question of brutality
and cynicism. These statements were intended to counteract
the indecision of the authorities.

Another matter which has to be considered in this connection
is whether the defendant Sauckel had not exhausted the
manpower of the country by his measures to such an extent
that more workers could only be obtained by inhuman methods
and that the defendant Sauckel must have known this. The
important thing here is the figure of the "quotas". It has
been established that they were high, but it has also been
established that they were not laid down arbitrarily, but
only after a careful study by the statistical department.

Only a small percentage of the population was actually
seized, and it was not the impossibility of achieving
results that was decisive, but rather the will to resist. In
the occupied territories of the East there were large
reserves of manpower

                                                  [Page 115]

available, especially among the adolescents, which were not
appropriately utilised. The German troops, their ranks
greatly thinned, saw the thickly populated villages during
their retreat, and then felt shortly afterwards the effect
of the inhabitants as a reinforcement to the enemy's
fighting power.

In France there were likewise many people who placed
themselves under the protection of the Maquis or the blocked
industries (Sperrbetriebe). This is not only confirmed by
the French Government report - RF 2a - but it also appears
from a remark which Kehrl, as witness for the co-defendant
Speer, made in the Central Planning Board on 1st March, 1944
(Document R 124, Page 66). There this witness states that
large numbers of workers were available in France.

Also especially conclusive on this point is Document 1764-PS
(Page 6), i.e., the report of Ambassador Hemmen of 15th
February, 1944, which deals with the "Reconstruction
Programme" of Marshal Petain, and which refers to the
population as untouched by the war and increasing by 300,000
males every year. If the number of the seized workers is of
importance in this connection, it must be compared with the
total population figures, and, on the other hand, it must be
taken into consideration that Germany did not demand
anything which she did not ask of herself to an even higher
degree.

The defendant Sauckel was forced to the opinion not that
people were unable to work but that they did not want to
work.

In order to influence the people, the propaganda campaign
was started and threats of punishment were proclaimed by
both parties, and this brought the population of the
occupied territories into a state of moral conflict, which
became the undoing of many.

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