The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The first is the decree of Sauckel of 22nd August, 1942, to
which I have drawn the attention of the Tribunal on several
occasions. This decree prescribes the mobilisation of all
civilian workers in the service of the war economy. Article
2 - of which I remind the Tribunal - prescribes that this
decree is applicable to occupied territories. This decree of
22nd August, 1942, thus constitutes the legal charter of the
civilian mobilisation of foreign workers. This mobilisation
was confirmed by an order of the Fuehrer of 8th September,
1942. It is Document 556-PS-2, which I file with the
Tribunal as Exhibit RF 55, and from which I shall read:

   "The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht.
   General Headquarters of the Fuehrer, 8th September,
   The extensive coastal fortification, which I have
   ordered to be erected in the area of Army Group West,
   makes it necessary that, in the occupied
                                                  [Page 418]
   territory, all available workers work to the fullest
   extent of their production capacity. The previous
   allotment of labour for this work is absolutely
   insufficient. In order to increase it, I order the
   introduction of compulsory labour and the prohibition of
   changing the place of employment without permission of
   the authorities in the occupied territories.
   Furthermore, in the future, the distribution of food and
   clothing ration cards to those subject to labour draft
   shall depend on the possession of a certificate of
   employment. Refusal to accept an assigned job, as well
   as abandoning the place of work without the consent of
   the authorities in charge, will result in the withdrawal
   of the food and clothing ration cards.
   The G.B.A., that is, the office of the defendant
   Sauckel, in agreement with the military commander or the
   Reich Commissar, will issue the appropriate decrees for

The forced enrolment of foreign workers was preceded by
preliminary measures, to which the order of 8th September,
1942, which I just read, refers. I am speaking of the
freezing of labour. To carry out the mobilisation of workers
it was necessary that the public services exercise strict
control over their use in the industrial enterprises of
occupied territories. This control had a double purpose: it
was to facilitate the census of workers suitable for work in
Germany; and also to prevent workers from avoiding the
German requisition by alleging a real or fictitious

The National Socialist authorities exercised this control by
restricting the liberty of hiring and of discharging, which
they had given over to the authorities of the Labour Bureau.

In France, the freezing of labour was brought about by the
law of 4th September, 1942.shall shortly expose to the
Tribunal the conditions under which, this law was
formulated. I shall, for the moment, simply supply it to the
Tribunal as Exhibit RF 56 and ask the Tribunal to take
judicial notice of it.

In Belgium the freezing of labour was carried out by the
ordinance of the military commandant of the 6th of October,
1942.submit to the Tribunal Exhibit RF 57, of which I ask
the Tribunal to take judicial notice.

Finally, in Holland, where the Bureau of Compulsory Labour
was established early in 1941, an ordinance of the Reich
Commissar dated 28th February, 1941, which I offer to the
Tribunal as Exhibit RF 58, organised the freezing of labour.

The immobilisation of labour was brought about under an
economic pretext in all countries. In reality it constituted
a preliminary measure for the mobilisation of workers, which
the National Socialists immediately proceeded to carry out.

In France, the Bureau of Compulsory Labour was established
by the legislation of the pseudo-Government of Vichy, but
this legislation was imposed upon the de facto French
authorities by the defendants, and especially by Sauckel.
The action which Sauckel brought against the Government of
Vichy, to force it to favour the deportation of workers into
Germany, was exercised in four phases: I shall briefly
review for the Tribunal the history of these four Sauckel

The first Sauckel action was initiated in the Spring of
1942, soon after the appointment of the defendant as
Plenipotentiary for Labour. The German armament industry had
an urgent need for workers. The service of the
Arbeitseinsatz had decided to recruit 150,000 specialists in
France. Sauckel came to Paris in the month of June, 1942. He
had several conversations with French ministers. Otto Abetz,
German Ambassador in Paris, presided over these meetings.
They brought about the following results:

In view of the reluctance of French authorities to establish
forced labour it was decided that the recruiting of the
150,000 specialists would be carried

                                                  [Page 419]

out by a pseudo-voluntary enrolment. This was the beginning
of the so-called exchange operation, to which I have already
drawn the attention of the Tribunal.

But the Tribunal knows that the exchange operation was a
failure and that, despite an intensification of German
propaganda, the number of voluntary enrolments remained at a
minimum. The German authorities then put the Vichy
Government in a position to proceed to forced enrolment. I
offer in evidence the threatening letter of 26th August,
1942, addressed by the German, Dr. Michel, Chief of the
Administrative Staff, to the General Delegate for Franco-
German economic relations. This is French Document 530,
which I shall submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 59:

   "Paris, 25th August, 1942.
   Military Commandant in France, Economic Section, to M.
   Barnaud, General Delegate for Franco-German Relations,
   President Laval promised Gauleiter Sauckel, General
   Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, to make
   every effort to send to Germany, in order to reinforce
   the German armament economy, 350,000 workers, among them
   150,000 metal workers.
   The French Government proposed originally to solve this
   problem by recruitment, in particular of the 'affectes
   speciaux.' This method has been abandoned and that of
   voluntary enrolment has been attempted with a view to
   the liberation of prisoners. The months which have
   passed have demonstrated that the end in view cannot be
   achieved by means of voluntary recruiting.
   In France, German armament orders have increased in
   volume and assumed a more marked and urgent character.
   Besides, the accomplishment of special tasks has been
   requested, which can be successfully carried only by
   having a very considerable number of available workers.
   In order to assure the realisation of the tasks for
   which France is responsible in the domain of labour
   supply, the French Government must be asked, henceforth,
   to put into execution the following measures:
      (1)The publication of a decree, relative to the
      change of place of work. By virtue of this decree the
      place of work cannot be changed and labour cannot be
      hired without the approval of certain specified
      (2)The institution of a compulsory registration of
      all persons out of work, as well as of those who do
      not work during the whole working day, or are not
      This compulsory registration will make it possible to
      determine, as fully as possible, the reserves that
      are still available.
      (3)The publication of a decree for the mobilisation
      of workers for important tasks, relating to the
      policy of State. This decree is to furnish:
         (a)the necessary labour for Germany;
         (b)the workers necessary in France for the
         carrying out of orders which have been transferred
         here for special tasks.
      (4)Publication of a decree protecting young
      specialists. This decree must impose upon French
      enterprise the obligation of turning out, by means of
      apprenticeship and systematic education, young
      workers possessing sufficient qualifications.
   For the Military Commandant, the Chief of the
   Administrative Staff.
   (Signed) Dr. Michel."

Dr. Michel's letter forms the basis for the law relative to
the utilisation and the orientation of labour. It is the law
of 4th September, 1942, which I have filed with the Tribunal
as Exhibit RF 56.

                                                  [Page 420]

In the application of the law all Frenchmen between 18 and
50, who did not have employment for more than 30 hours a
week, were forced to state this at their local city hall. A
decree of 19th September, 1942, and an enabling directive of
22nd September, provided regulations for the different
phases of the statement.

Sauckel's first action was achieved through a legislative
plan; the defendant had merely to dip into the labour
resources which were established by it. But the resistance
of the French workers caused his recruiting plan to fail.
This is why Sauckel undertook his second action, beginning
in January, 1943.

The second Sauckel action is marked by the setting up of the
Service of Compulsory Labour, properly speaking. Until then
workers had been the only victims of the policy of force of
the defendants. The latter understood the demagogic argument
which they could derive from this de facto situation. They
explained that it was inadmissible that the working classes
of the occupied territory be the only ones to participate in
the German war effort. They required that the basis of
forced labour be enlarged by the establishment of the Bureau
of Compulsory Labour.

This was established by two measures. A directive of 2nd
February, 1943, prescribed a general census of all French of
masculine sex born between the 1st of January, 1912, and the
1st of January, 1921. The census took place between the 15th
and 23rd of February. It had just been put in force when the
law and decree of 16th February, 1943, appeared. These
regulations established the Bureau of Compulsory Labour for
all young men born between the 1st of January, 1920, and
31st of December, 1922. I file them with the Tribunal as
Exhibits RF 60 and RF 61, and I ask the Court to take
judicial notice of them.

The action carried out by the defendant, to impose the
legislation which was not in the domain of common law, is
substantiated by numerous documents. I particularly draw the
attention of the Tribunal to four of these, which permit us
to retrace the activities of the defendant Sauckel during
the months of January and February, 1943. On 5th January,
1943, Sauckel transmitted to the different departments of
his administration an order of the Fuehrer which the
defendant Speer had communicated to him. This is Document
556-PS-13, which I file with the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 62.
I shall read its first paragraph:

   "(1) On 4th January, 1943, at 8 o'clock in the evening,
   Minister Speer telephones from the General Headquarters
   of the Fuehrer to give the information that, according
   to a decision of the Fuehrer it will no longer be
   necessary, when recruiting specialists and assistants in
   France, to have any particular regard for the French.
   One may likewise in the said country exercise pressure
   and use more severe measures to the end of procuring the
   necessary labour."

On 11th January, 1943, the defendant Sauckel was in Paris.
He attended a meeting which brought together, at the
Military Commandant's, all responsible officials of the
Labour Service. He announced to them that new measures of
constraint were to be taken in France. I refer you to the
minutes of the meeting which constitutes Document 1342-PS,
which I file with the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 63. I shall
read from Page 2 of the French translation, Page 1, fourth
line of the second paragraph of the German original:

   "Gauleiter Sauckel likewise thanks the various services
   for the successful carrying out of the first action. Now
   already, at the beginning of the new year, he sees
   himself obliged to announce new severe measures. There
   is a great new need of labour for the front as well as
   for the Reich armament industry."

I pass to the end of the paragraph. I shall read from the
next paragraph:

   "The situation at the front calls for 700,000 soldiers
   fit for front line service. The armament industry would
   have to lose 200,000 key workers

                                                  [Page 421]

   by the middle of March. I have received an order from
   the Fuehrer to find 200,000 foreign specialised workers
   as replacements, and I shall need for this 150,000
   French specialists, while the other 50,000 can be drawn
   from Holland, Belgium and other occupied countries.

In addition, 100,000 unskilled French workers are necessary
for the Reich. The second action of recruitment in France
makes it necessary that, by the middle of March, 150,000
skilled workers and 100,000 unskilled workers and women be
transferred to Germany."

The defendant Sauckel went back to Germany a few days later.
On 15th February he was in Berlin at the meeting of the
Central Office of the Four Year Plan. He gave a commentary
on the law, which was to appear that very day, and revealed
that he was the instigator of it.

I refer once more to the minutes of the conference of the
Four Year Plan, included under R-124, which I submitted this
morning to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 30. I shall read an
extract from this document, which my American colleagues
have not mentioned. It is Page 7 of the French translation
of the document, Pages 284-5 of the German original:

   "This is the situation in France. Since my collaborators
   and I succeeded, after difficult discussions, in
   persuading Laval to establish the law of compulsory
   labour, this law has been extended, thanks to our
   pressure, so successfully, that since yesterday three
   French age-groups have already been called. This is why
   we are now legally qualified to recruit in France, with
   the assistance of the French Government, workers of
   three age-groups, whom we shall be able to employ
   henceforth in French factories, but among whom we shall
   be able to choose some for our own needs in Germany, and
   send them there."

In fact, the defendant Sauckel returned to France on 24th
February. I offer in evidence to the Tribunal the letter
which he addressed to Hitler before his departure to inform
him of his trip. It proves the continuity of the action of
Sauckel. The letter constitutes Document 556-PS-25, which I
submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 64, and I shall read

   "General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour to
   the Fuehrer General Headquarters of the Fuehrer.
   My Fuehrer:
   I allow myself herewith to take leave of you before
   undertaking my official trip to France which has already
   been arranged. The objective of my trip is:
   (1) To put at the disposal of the Reich, within the
   anticipated time, workers replacing German workers of
   key industries, for the benefit of the Wehrmacht.
   May I add that Marshal Keitel and General von Unruh
   received a communication from me yesterday to the effect
   that half of these workers intended to replace German
   workers in the key industries, that is, 125,000 French
   qualified specialists, have already arrived in the Reich
   on 1st January, 1943, and that a corresponding number of
   soldiers has already been drafted. I shall now make
   sure, in France, that the second half shall arrive in
   the Reich by the end of March, or earlier if possible.
   The first French programme was executed by the end of
   (2) To assure the necessary labour for the French
   wharves in order to permit the carrying out of the
   programme undertaken there by Grand Admiral Donitz and
   Gauleiter Kauffmann.
   (3) To assure the necessary labour for the programme of
   the Luftwaffe.
                                                  [Page 422]
   (4) To assure the necessary labour for the other German
   armament programmes which are in process in France.
   (5) To prepare supplementary labour in agreement with
   State Secretary Backe, in view of intensifying French
   agricultural production.
   (6) To have conversations, if necessary, with the French
   Government on the subject of the carrying out of the
   labour service, the calling up of age groups, and so
   forth, with, a view to activating the recruitment
   of labour for the benefit of the German war economy."

(The Tribunal adjourned until 19th January, 1946, at 10.00

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