The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I read the passage which deals with the forced labour of
civilians and prisoners of war, which is found on Page 6 of
the German original, Page 7 of the French translation, the
document which is referred to in my document book as Exhibit

I read at the bottom of Page 7 of the French translation:

   "Compulsory use of prisoners of war and civilians for
   war work, construction of roads, digging trenches,
   munition work, transport."

Second column:

   "Captured Czech soldiers and civilians are detailed to
   construct roads and to load munitions."

Third column:

   "Article 31 of an agreement signed 27th July, 1929,
   concerning the treatment of prisoners of war engaged on
   work which is directly connected with the War to force
   them to do such work is in any case contrary to
   International Law; prisoners of war and civilians can be
   used on highway construction but not on munition work."

Last column:

   "The use of such measures can be justified by the
   necessity of war or by the assertion that the enemy
   acted in the same way first."

The compulsory recruitment of foreign workers is thus in
accordance with National Socialist doctrine, one of the
elements of the policy of German domination. Hitler himself
recognised this on several occasions. I quote in this
connection his speech of 9th November, 1941, which was
printed in the "Volkischer Beobachter" of 10th November,
1941, No. 314, Page 4, which I submit to the Tribunal as
Exhibit RF 8. I read the extract of this speech, columns 1
and 2 and the first paragraph below, in the German original.

THE PRESIDENT: Exhibit RF 8, is it not?

M. HERZOG: Yes, your Honour.

   "The territory which now works for us contains more than
   250,000,000 men, but the territory in Europe which works
   indirectly for this struggle now includes more than
                                                  [Page 388]
   In so far as German territory is concerned, occupied
   territory, the domain which we have taken under our
   administration, it is certain that we shall succeed in
   harnessing the very last man to this work."

The recruitment of foreign workers thus proceeds in a
systematic manner. It constitutes the putting into practice
of the political principles applied to all the territories
occupied by Germany. These principles, the concrete
development of which in other departments of German criminal
activity will be pointed out to you by my colleagues, are
materially of two kinds: employment of all active forces of
the occupied or dominated territories; extermination of all
their non-productive forces.

These are the two justifications which the defendants have
given for the establishment of the recruitment of foreign
workers. There are many documents to this effect; I confine
myself to the most explicit.

The justification for the recruitment of foreign workers,
because of the necessity of associating the enslaved peoples
with the German war effort, is primarily a result of the
exposition of the motives of the decree of 21st March, 1942.

DR. STAHMER (Counsel for defendant Goering): Mr. President,
I should like to point out that the translation into German
is faulty. Whole sentences are omitted. This is apparently
the result of the fact that the prosecutor is speaking too

THE PRESIDENT: Will you go a little more slowly?


The justification for the recruitment of foreign workers, on
account of the necessity for associating the enslaved
peoples with the German war effort, is primarily a result of
the exposition of the motives of the decree of 21st March,
1942, appointing the defendant Sauckel as plenipotentiary
for the employment of labour. The decree was published in
the "Reichsgesetzblatt," 1942, Part 1, Page 179. I submit it
and will read its complete text to the Tribunal as Exhibit
RF 9.

   "The decree of the Fuehrer concerning the creation of a
   plenipotentiary for the employment of labour, dated 21st
   March, 1942.
   To assure to the whole of the war economy, and, in
   particular, the armament industry, necessary labour, it
   is important to establish a unified direction, which
   answers the needs of the war economy for the use of
   available labour, including hired foreigners and war
   prisoners, as well as the mobilisation of all labour
   still unemployed in the Greater German Reich, including
   the Protectorate as well as the Government General and
   the other occupied regions. This mission will be
   accomplished by Reichsstatthalter and Gauleiter Fritz
   Sauckel, in the capacity of general plenipotentiary for
   the employment of labour in the framework of the Four
   Year Plan. In this capacity he is directly responsible
   for the Four Year Plan."

I would like to point out here that the defendant Sauckel
developed the same theme at the Congress of Gauleiter and
Reichsleiter, held on 5th and 6th February, 1943, at Posen.
He expressed himself in plain terms: he justified compulsory
recruitment on the basis of National Socialist philosophy,
and on the basis of the necessity of associating all the
European peoples in the struggle carried on by Germany. His
speech constitutes Document 1739-PS. I submit it as Exhibit
RF 10, and I request the Court to accept the following
passages in evidence against the defendant Sauckel. At
first, Page 5 of the German text, fourth paragraph - this is
found in the first page of the French translation:

   "The unprecedented violence of the war has forced me to
   mobilise in the name of the Fuehrer a great number of
   foreigners for labour in the domain of the German war
   economy, and to force them to large-scale production.
                                                  [Page 389]
   The purpose of this is to insure in the labour domain
   the material means required by war in the struggle for
   the preservation of the life and liberty, in the first
   place, of our people, and also for the preservation of
   our Western culture for those peoples who, in contrast
   to the parasitical Jews and plutocrats, lead a life of
   work and endeavour and are honest and strong.
   Such is the enormous difference between, on the one
   hand, the work which was demanded at one period by the
   power and authority of the Jews in the Treaty of
   Versailles and the Dawes and Young Plans, work which
   took the form of slavery and tributary efforts, and, on
   the other' hand, the utilisation of labour which, in my
   capacity as a National Socialist, I have the honour to
   prefer and to carry out, and which represents a
   participation in the struggle by Germany for the liberty
   of Germany and for the liberty of friendly nations."

The compulsory recruitment of foreign workers did not have
as its only object the maintenance of the level of German
industrial production. There was also the conscious desire
to weaken the human potential of the occupied countries.

The idea of extermination by work was familiar to the
theorists of National Socialism and to the leaders of
Germany; it constituted one of the bases of the policy of
domination of the invaded territories. I lay before the
Court the proof that the National Socialist conspirators
envisaged the destruction by work of whole ethnical groups.
A discussion which took place on 14th September, 1942,
between Goebbels and Thierack is significant. It constitutes
Document 682-PS, which I file with the Tribunal as Exhibit
RF 11, from which I take the following passage:

   "Concerning the extermination of the social elements,
   Doctor Goebbels is of the opinion that the following
   groups must be exterminated: Jews and Gypsies, without
   discrimination; Poles who have still to serve three or
   four years' sentence; Czechoslovakians and Germans who
   have been condemned to death or to penal servitude for
   life or have been placed in protective custody for life.
   The idea to exterminate them by work is best."

The idea of extermination by work was not applied to
ethnical groups alone, the disappearance of which was
desired by the defendants; it also led to the employment of
foreign manual labour in the German war industry to the
extreme limit of the individual's strength. I will revert to
this aspect of the policy of forced labour when I lay before
the Tribunal the treatment of foreign workers in Germany:
the cruelties to which they were subjected sprang from this
main conception of National Socialism, that the human forces
of the occupied countries must be utilised to the limit of
extermination, which is the final goal.

The defendants have not only admitted the principle of
compulsory recruitment of foreign workers; they have
followed a consistent policy of putting their principle into
practice, applying it in the same concrete manner in the
various occupied territories. To do this they resorted to
identical methods of recruitment; they set up everywhere the
same recruitment administration and promulgated the same

In the first place, it was a question of urging the foreign
workers to work in their own countries for the Army of
Occupation and the services connected with it. The German
military and civil authorities organised workyards in order
to carry out on the spot work useful to their war policy.
The workyards or shops of the Todt organisation, which,
after the death of their founder, were under the direction
of the defendant Speer, and those of the Wehrmacht,
Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and the N.S.K.K. organisation,
employed numerous foreign workers in all areas of Western

But the essential undertaking of the German labour services
was the deportation of foreign workers to the munition
factories of the Reich. The most

                                                  [Page 390]

varied means were used to this end. They were built up into
a recruiting policy which can be analysed as follows:

In the beginning, this policy took on the cloak of legality.
The use of labour took the form of requisition under the
terms of Article 52 of the Appendix to the Fourth Hague
Convention; it was also effected by means of voluntary
recruitment of workers, to whom the German recruiting
offices offered labour contracts.

I shall provide the Tribunal with proof that the labour
requisitions effected by the National Socialist authorities
were a deliberate misinterpretation of the letter and spirit
of the international convention by virtue of which they were
carried out. I shall show that the voluntary character of
the recruitment of certain foreign workers was entirely
fictitious; in reality their work contracts were made under
the pressure which the occupation authorities brought to
bear on their will.

The defendants lost no time in flinging aside their mask of
legality. They compelled the prisoners of war to do work
forbidden by international conventions. I shall show how the
work of prisoners of war was incorporated in the general
plan for the employment of labour from the occupied areas.

It was finally by force that the defendants brought to
fruition their recruitment plans. They did not hesitate to
resort to violent methods. Thus they established the
compulsory labour service in the areas which they occupied.
Sometimes they directly promulgated orders bearing the
signature of military commanders or Reich Commissars; this
is the case with Belgium and Holland. Sometimes they forced
the de facto authorities themselves, whom they had set up in
the occupied areas, to take legislative measures; this is
particularly the case with France and Norway; sometimes they
simply took direct action, that is, they transferred foreign
workers to factories in Germany without providing a written
order for this; this happened in Denmark. Finally in certain
occupied areas where they began to carry out Germanisation,
the defendants made the inhabitants of these territories a
part of the labour service of the Reich. This was the case
in the French provinces of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin and Moselle,
and in Luxembourg.

The policy of compulsory labour was asserted and
systematised from the day when the defendant Sauckel was
appointed General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of

Member of the National Socialist Party since its formation,
member of the Diet of Thuringia and member of the Reichstag,
Obergruppenfuehrer of the criminal organisations S.S. and
S.A., the defendant Sauckel was Gauleiter and
Reichsstatthalter of Thuringia. On 21st March, 1942, he was
appointed General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of
Labour by a decree of the Fuehrer. This decree was
countersigned by Lammers, in his capacity as Reich Minister
and Chief of the Chancellery and by the defendant Keitel;
the responsibility of these latter is confirmed by this
countersignature. The defendant Keitel has associated
himself, by appointing Sauckel, with the policy of
compulsory labour, the principle and the method of which he
has approved.

I have already read this decree nominating Sauckel to the
Tribunal. I would remind you that it placed Sauckel, in his
capacity as General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of
Labour, under the immediate orders of the Trustee for the
Four Year Plan, the defendant Goering. The latter bears a
direct responsibility in pursuing the plan for recruitment
of compulsory labour. I shall produce numerous proofs of
this. I ask the Tribunal to authorise me to produce, as
first proof, the decree signed by the defendant Goering the
day after the appointment of the defendant Sauckel. This
decree, dated 27th March, 1942, was published in the
"Reichsgesetzblatt," 1942, Part 1, Page 180. I file it with
the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 12. Goering by this decree did
away with all the administrative offices of the Four Year
Plan which had been charged with the

                                                  [Page 391]

recruitment of labour, he transmitted their powers to
Sauckel's department, thus confirming his appointment.

The powers of Sauckel between 1942 and 1944 were
considerably reinforced by decrees of Hitler and Goering.
These decrees gave full significance to the defendant
Sauckel's title of Plenipotentiary. They gave him
administrative autonomy and even legislative competency such
as he could not aspire to, had he confined himself to
executive tasks. The importance of the political part which
he played during the last two years of the war increases in
this measure the weight of the responsibility devolving upon

I would particularly draw the attention of the Tribunal to
the decrees of the Fuehrer of 30th September, 1942, and of
14th March, 1943, and to the decree of the defendant
Goering, of 25th May, 1942.

I will not read these decrees, which have been commented on
by my American colleague, Mr. Dodd. I submit them in support
of my contention.

I will first refer to the decree of the defendant Goering of
25th May, 1942. It was published in the "Reichsgesetzblatt,"
1942, Part 1, Page 347. He delegates to Sauckel part of the
powers relating to labour held by the Minister of Labour. I
submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 13.

Hitler's decree of 30th September, 1942, gave Sauckel
considerable power over the civil and military authorities
of the territories occupied by the German Armed Forces. It
made it possible for the defendant to introduce into the
staffs of the occupying authorities personal
representatives, to whom he gave his orders directly. The
decree is countersigned by Lammers and by the defendant
Keitel, and this appears in the collection of the directive
decrees of 1942, second volume, Page 510, and I submit it as
Exhibit RF 14.

In the carrying out of this decree representatives of
Sauckel's department were in fact introduced into the
Headquarters Staffs of the military commands. The
interrogation of General von Falkenhausen, Military Governor
of Belgium and Northern France, gives, in this connection, a
proof which I would ask the Tribunal to be good enough to
remember. General von Falkenhausen was interrogated on 27th
November, 1945, by the head of the Investigation Section of
the French delegation. I submit his evidence to the Tribunal
as Exhibit RF 15. I read the following extract (Page 2, the
seventh paragraph, of the French translation, and Page 2,
the fifth paragraph, of the German translation):

   "Q. Can the witness tell us what was the line of
   demarcation between his own powers and the powers of the
   A. Up to a certain time there existed in my department a
   labour service which dealt with the hiring of voluntary
   I no longer remember the exact date - perhaps autumn
   1942-when this labour service was placed under the order
   of Sauckel, and the only thing I had to do was to carry
   out the orders which came through this way.
   I do not remember, but Raeder, who is also in prison" -
   Raeder was a civilian official in the staff of General
   von Falkenhausen - "is very well informed about the
   dates and can undoubtedly give them better than I can.
   Q. Before the question of labour was entirely entrusted
   to Sauckel's organisation, did there exist in the
   General Staff or in its services an officer who was in
   charge of this question? Afterwards, was there a
   delegate from Sauckel's service in this department?
   A. Until Sauckel came into power there was, in my
   service, Raeder, who directed the Bureau of Labour in my
   office. This labour office functioned as an employment
   office in Germany, that is to say, it concerned itself
   with the requests for labour which would naturally be
   Q. What took place when this change happened?
   A. After this change the office continued to exist, but
   the orders were given directly by Sauckel to the
   Arbeitseinsatz and passed through my office."

                                                  [Page 392]

THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to break off
for 10 minutes?

Before the Tribunal adjourns I want to announce that the
Tribunal will sit to-morrow, Saturday, until 1 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

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