The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The occupying authorities, in face of the resistance which
they encountered, were anxious that their orders regarding
the requisitions of labour should be obeyed. The measures
which they took to this end are just as illegal as the
measures taken for the requisition itself. The National
Socialist authorities in occupied France proceeded by
legislative means. They promulgated ordinances by which
sentence of death could be pronounced against persons
disobeying requisition orders.

                                                  [Page 397]

I submit two of these ordinances to the Tribunal as
evidence. The first was given in the early months of the
occupation, 10th October, 1940. It was published in the
"Verordnungsblatt" of France on 17th October, 1940, Page
108.submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 24, and I read

   "Ordinance relative to protection against acts of
   By virtue of the powers which have been conferred upon
   me by the Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed
   Forces, I decree the following:
   "(1) Whoever intentionally does not fulfil or fulfils
   inadequately the tasks of supervision which are
   conferred upon him by the Chief of the Military
   Administration in France, or by a service undertaken by
   the latter, shall be condemned to death."

I will read paragraph 3:

   "In less serious cases of infringements mentioned in
   paragraphs 1 and 2 of the present ordinance and in case
   of neglect, the offenders may be punished by solitary
   confinement with hard labour or imprisonment."

The second ordinance of the Military Commander in France to
which I refer is dated 31st January, 1942. It was published
in the "Verordnungsblatt" of France of 3rd February, 1942,
Page 338.submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 25, and I

   "Ordinance of 31st January, 1942, concerning the
   requisitioning of service and requisitioning in kind.
   By virtue of the plenary powers which have been
   conferred on me by the Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of
   the Armed Forces, I order the following:
   (1) Anyone who does not carry out these services or the
   requisitions in kind which are imposed upon him by the
   Military Commander in France or by an authority
   designated by him, or who performs them in such a manner
   that the object of the services or requisitions is not
   fulfilled, shall be punishable by forced labour,
   imprisonment, or fine. A fine may be fixed in addition
   to a penalty of forced labour or imprisonment.
   (2) In serious cases the death penalty may be

These orders called forth a protest by the French
authorities. General Doyen protested on several occasions
against the first of them, without his protest having any

I refer again to his letter of the 25th May, 1941, which I
have just submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 23, and I
read on page of the French translation, Page 4 of the German

   " ... I have been asked to make a formal protest to you
   against such practices and to beg you to intervene so
   that an immediate end may be put to them.
   From the 16th November, in letter No. 7843/AE, I have
   already protested against the ordinance that was decreed
   on the 10th October, 1940, by the Chief of the Military
   Administration in France, which laid down the death
   penalty for any person failing to carry out, or carrying
   out inadequately, the guard duties entrusted to him by
   the occupation authorities. I protested then that this
   requirement, as well as its penalty, was contrary to the
   spirit of the Armistice Convention, having as its object
   to relieve the French population from any participation
   in the hostilities.
   I had limited myself to this protest in principle
   because at the time no concrete case of guard duties
   having been imposed had been called to my attention, but
   it was not possible to accept, as justifying the
   ordinance in question, the arguments which you proffered
   in your letter No. 1361 of 6th March.

                                                  [Page 398]
   You pointed out in effect that, at Article 43 of The
   Hague Convention, the occupying power had the authority
   to legislate, but the authority to which you refer in
   this same article is subject to two restrictions: There
   can be legislation only to establish order, and to make
   public life secure in as far as possible. On the other
   hand, the ordinances decreed must" -

THE PRESIDENT: Is it not enough to show that General Doyen
protested? It is not necessary to read all the argument
which was put forward on the one side or the other.

M. HERZOG: I shall then stop this quotation, Mr. President.

The German ordinances which I have just read to the Tribunal
thus contained formal violations of the general principles
of the criminal legislation of civilised nations; they were
made in contradiction to Article 102 of the Appendix to the
Fourth Convention of The Hague and also in contradiction to
Article 43, on which they were supposed to be based. They
were, therefore, illegal and they were criminal, since they
provided death sentences which no International Law or
domestic law justifies.

The system of labour requisition furnishes the first example
of the criminal character of the methods pursued by the
defendants in the execution of their recruiting plan for
foreign labour.

The National Socialist authorities then had recourse to a
second procedure to give an appearance of legality to the
recruiting of foreign workers. They called upon workers who
were so-called volunteers. From 1940 on, the occupation
authorities opened recruiting offices in all the large
cities of the occupied territories. These offices were
placed under the control of a special service instituted to
this effect within the general staff of the Commanders-in-
Chief of the occupation zones.

The Tribunal knows that these services from 1940 to 1942
functioned under the control of the generals. From 1942 on,
and, more precisely, from the day when the defendant Sauckel
became the Plenipotentiary of Labour they received their
orders directly from the latter. General von Falkenhausen,
Commander-in-Chief in Belgium and in the North of France,
declared in the testimony which I have just read to the
Tribunal that, from the summer of 1942 on, he had become the
simple intermediary in charge of transmitting the
instructions given by Sauckel to the Arbeitseinsatz.

Thus the policy of the German employment offices set up in
the occupied areas was carried out on the sole
responsibility of the defendant Sauckel from 1942, under the
responsibility of the defendant Sauckel and his immediate
superior, the Trustee for the Four Year Plan, the defendant
Goering. I ask the Tribunal to take note of this.

The task of the employment offices was to organise the
recruiting of workers for the factories and workshops set up
in Europe by the Todt organisation and by the Wehrmacht,
Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe and other German organisations. It
was also their task to obtain for the German munition
factories the amount of foreign labour needed. Workers
recruited in this way signed a labour contract; thus they
had, theoretically, the status of free workers and were
apparently volunteers.

The occupation authorities always made a point of the
voluntary nature of the recruiting carried out by the
employment offices, but the lines taken by their propaganda
systematically took no account of what they were actually
doing. In fact, the voluntary character of this recruiting
was entirely fictitious: the workers of the areas who agreed
to sign German labour contracts were subject to physical and
moral pressure.

This pressure took several forms: it was sometimes
collective and sometimes individual; in all its forms it was
heavy enough to deprive the workers who suffered under it of
their freedom of choice.

                                                  [Page 399]

The nullity of contracts entered into under the reign of
violence is a fundamental principle of the common law of
civilised nations: it is found just as expressly stated in
German law as in the laws of the powers represented in the
Court or the States occupied by Germany. The German
employment offices forced on the foreign workers labour
contracts which had no legal significance, because they were
tainted with violence. I make this as a definite statement
and I will provide the Court with proof of my assertions.

First of all, I will show that the pressure was premeditated
by the Germans. The pressure under which the foreign workers
suffered was not the result of sporadic action on the part
of subordinate authorities. It came from the deliberate
intent, which the National Socialist leaders of Germany
formulated into precise instructions.

I submit to the Tribunal Document 1183, which is the Exhibit
RF 26; this is a directive dated 29th January, 1942, dealing
with the recruiting of foreign workers. This directive comes
from a section of the Arbeitseinsatz of the Commissariat for
the Four Year Plan. It bears the signature of the Section
Chief, Dr. Mansfeld, but it places the executive
responsibility directly on the defendant Goering, the
Trustee for the Four Year Plan. I read this circular:

   "Berlin, S.W. 11, 29th January, 1942.
   Saarlandstr. 96.
   Subject: Increased mobilisation of manpower for the
   German Reich from the occupied territories and
   preparations for mobilisation by force.
   The labour shortage which was rendered more acute by the
   draft for the Wehrmacht and, on the other hand, the
   increased scope of the armament problem in the German
   Reich, render it necessary that manpower for service in
   the Reich be recruited from the occupied territories to
   a much greater extent than heretofore, in order to
   relieve the shortage of labour.
   Therefore, any and all methods must be adopted which
   make possible the transportation, without exception and
   delay, for employment in the Reich of manpower in the
   occupied territories which is unemployed, or which can
   be replaced for use in Germany after most careful

I read further on Page 2 of the German text:

   "This mobilisation shall as heretofore be carried out on
   a voluntary basis. For this reason the recruiting effort
   for employment in the German Reich must be strengthened
   considerably, but, if satisfactory results are to be
   obtained, the German authorities who are functioning in
   the occupied territories must be able to exert any
   pressure necessary to support the voluntary recruiting
   of labour for employment in Germany.
   Accordingly, to the extent that that may be necessary,
   the regulations in force in the occupied territories in
   regard to shifting employment, or concerning the ill
   will of those refusing work, must be tightened.
   Supplementary regulations concerning distribution of
   labour must above all insure that older personnel who
   are exempt will be exchanged for younger personnel, so
   that the latter may be made available for the Reich. A
   far-reaching decrease in the amount of relief granted by
   public welfare must also be effected, in order to induce
   labourers to accept employment in the Reich.
   Unemployment relief must be set so low that the amount
   in comparison with the average wages in the Reich, and
   the possibilities there for sending remittances home,
   may serve as an inducement to the workers to accept
   employment in Germany. When refusal to accept work in
   the Reich is not justified, the compensation must be
   reduced to an amount barely enough for subsistence, or
   even be cancelled. In this case partial withdrawal of
   ration cards and an assignment to particularly heavy,
   obligatory labour may be considered."

I here end the quotation, and. I call to the Tribunal's
attention that this circular is addressed to all the
services responsible for labour in the occupied

                                                  [Page 400]

areas. Its distribution in Western Europe was: the Reich
Commissar for the occupied Norwegian Territories, the Reich
Commissar for the occupied Dutch territories, the Chief of
the Military Administration of Belgium and Northern France,
the Chief of the Military Administration of France, the
Chief of the Civilian Administration of Luxembourg, the
Chief of the Civilian Administration at Metz, and the Chief
of the Civilian Administration at Strasbourg.

It is thus proved that a general common plan existed with a
view to compelling the workers of the occupied territories
to work for Germany.

I have now to show how this plan was put into practice in
the different occupation zones. The machinery of pressure
which the National Socialist authorities exerted on the
foreign workers can be analysed in the following manner:
German labour offices organised intense propaganda in favour
of the recruitment of foreign workers. This propaganda was
intended to deceive the workers of the occupied areas with
regard to the material advantage offered them by the German
employment courts. It was carried out by the Press, the
radio, and by every possible means of publicity.

It was also carried on as a side-line to official
administrative duties by secret organisations which had been
given the task of enticing foreign workers and thereby
exercising illegal pressure.

These measures proved themselves to be insufficient. The
occupation authorities then intervened in the social life of
the occupied countries: they strove to produce artificial
unemployment there, and at the same time they devoted their
energies to making living conditions worse for the workers
and the unemployed.

In spite of unemployment and the poverty with which they
were threatened, the foreign workers showed themselves
insensible to German propaganda. This is why the German
authorities finally resorted to direct methods of pressure.
They exercised pressure on the political authorities of the
occupied countries to make them give support to the
recruiting campaign. They compelled employers, especially
the organisational committees in France, to encourage their
workers to accept the labour contracts of the German
employment offices. Finally, they took action by way of
direct pressure on the workers, and gradually passed from so-
called voluntary recruitment to compulsory enrolment.

The fiction of voluntary enrolment was dispelled when the
people saw the individual arrests and collective raids of
which the workers of the occupied areas rapidly became the

There are innumerable documents capable of providing proof
of the facts which I relate. I shall submit the most
important of these to the Tribunal.

The documents which bring the proof of the publicity
campaigns made in France by the German administration will
be submitted to the Tribunal by Mr. Edgar Faure in the
course of his brief on Germanisation and Nazification. By
way of example I wish to draw upon a document which in the
French classification bears the No. RF-516 and which I
submit as Exhibit RF 27.

This is a report of the Prefect of the Department of the
Nord to the Delegate of the Minister of the Interior in the
General Delegation of the French Government in the occupied
territories. This report points out that a German publicity
car tours through the community of Lille in order to lure
French workers to go to Germany. I quote the report:

   "Lille, 25th March, 1942. Prefect of the Nord, Prefect
   of the Lille Region, to the Prefect, Delegate of the
   Minister of the Interior with the General Delegation of
   the French Government in the occupied territories.
   Subject: German publicity car.
   I have the honour of advising you that for some days a
   publicity car covered with posters urging French workers
   to sign up and go and work in Germany has been touring
   in the Lille area, while a loud speaker plays a
                                                  [Page 401]
   whole repertoire of discs of French music, among which
   are featured the 'Marche Lorraine,' and the song
   'Marchal, nous voila.'"

This is the end of my quotation.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we will adjourn until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

M. HERZOG: Mr. President, your Honours. I wish this morning
to show what the official propaganda was which was given out
by the German offices in France in order to persuade
volunteers to work in Germany. The effect of this official
propaganda was reinforced by the clandestine bureaux of
recruitment. Offices for clandestine recruiting were
organised by the occupation authorities, apart from the
administrative services, whose activities they completed.
These employments bureaus were directed by German agents who
often succeeded in acquiring local accomplices. In France
these bureaus extended their ramifications in the non-
occupied as well as in the occupied zone. Several documents
attest to their existence. The first among them is a report
transmitted on 7th March, 1942, by the Vice-President of the
Council of Ministers of the de facto Government of Vichy, to
the General Delegate for Franco-German Economic Relations.
It is Document 654 of the French archives.

This report is drawn up under the seal of Vice-President of
the Council Darlan. It bears the signature of an officer of
the latter's General Staff, Commander de Fontaine. I file
this report as Exhibit RF 28 and I read it:

   "Vichy, 7th March, 1942. Your Honour, the General
   Delegate, I have the honour of transmitting to you in
   this letter, for your information, a report on the
   organisation of recruitment in France of workers for the
   German industry."

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