The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/01

                                                  [Page 423]


M. HERZOG: Mr. President, your Honours.

At the end of yesterday's session I was expounding to the
Tribunal the conditions under which the Compulsory Labour
Service was progressively imposed in France. I reached the
second action of the defendant Sauckel as set out in the
laws of 16th February, 1943.

Sauckel's second action precipitated the enforced enrolment
of Frenchmen during the months of February and March, 1943.
Several tens of thousands of young men of the 1940 and 1942
classes were deported to Germany by the application of the
law of 16th February. The tempo of these deportations slowed
down in the month of April, but the Arbeitseinsatz
immediately formulated fresh requirements. On 9th April,
1943, the defendant Sauckel asked the French authorities to
furnish him with 120,000 workers during the month of May,
and 100,000 during the month of June. In June he made it
known that he wished to effect the transfer of 500,000
workers up to 31st December.

Sauckel's third action was about to begin. It was to be
marked, on 5th June, 1943, by the total mobilisation of the
1942 class. All exemptions provided by the law of 16th
February and subsequent texts were withdrawn, and the young
men of the 1942 class were hunted all through France.

In reality, Sauckel's third action was especially manifested
by a violent pressure on the part of the defendant,
envisaging wholesale deportation by forced recruiting. I
offer in evidence three documents, which testify to the
action taken by Sauckel in the summer of 1943.

The first document is a letter from Sauckel to Hitler, dated
27th June, 1943. Drafted by the defendant upon his return
from a trip to France, it contains an outlined plan for the
recruiting of French workers for the second half of 1943.
Its object was, on the one hand, to secure that one million
workers be assigned, in France, to French armament factories
and, on the other hand, that 500,000 French workers be
deported to Germany. This letter constitutes Document 556-PS-
39, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 65. I

   "Weimar, 27th June, 1943.
   My Fuehrer:
   With your permission I beg to report my return from my
   official trip to France.
   Inasmuch as the free labour reserves in the territories
   occupied by the German Armed Forces have been,
   numerically, absorbed to saturation point, I am now
   carefully examining the possibilities of mobilising
   additional labour reserves in the Reich and the occupied
   territories to work on German war production.
   In my reports of 20th April, I was allowed to point out
   that intensive and careful utilisation must be made of
   European labour forces in territories submitted to
   direct German influence.
   It was the precise purpose of my recent stay in Paris to
   investigate the possibilities still existing in France
   for the recruitment of labour (Arbeitseinsatz). My task
   was accomplished by extensive conferences and my own
   personal investigation. On the basis of a carefully
   established balance sheet I have come to the following
                                                  [Page 424]

   (1) Assuming that war economy measures in France are
   carried out which would at least prove partially
   effective, or approximately approach, in efficacy, the
   measures carried out in Germany, then - until the 31st
   of December, 1943 - a further million workers, both men
   and women, could be assigned to the French war and
   armament industries for work on German orders and
   assignments. In this case it should prove possible to
   place additional German orders in France.
   (2) In consideration of these measures, and given a
   careful study of the subject, together with the co-
   operation of our German Armament Services and the German
   Labour Recruiting Offices, it should be possible to
   transfer a further 500,000 workers, both men and women,
   from France to the Reich between now and the end of the
   The prerequisites which I have established for the
   realisation of this programme are as follows:
      (1)Closest possible collaboration between all German
      agencies, especially in dealing with the French
      (2)A constant check on French economy by joint
      commissions, as already agreed upon by the Reich
      Minister of Armaments and Munitions, Party Member
      Speer and myself.
      (3)Constant, skilful and successful propaganda
      against the cliques of de Gaulle and Giraud.
      (4) The guarantee of adequate food supplies to the
      French population working for Germany.
      (5) An emphatic insistence on this urgency before the
      French Government, in particular before Marshal
      Petain, who still represents the main obstacle to the
      further recruiting of French women for compulsory
      labour (Arbeitseinsatz).
      (6) A pronounced increase in the programme which I
      have already introduced in France, for re-education
      in trades essential to war production."

I omit the next and read the last paragraph:

   "I consequently beg you, my Fuehrer, to approve my
   suggestion of freeing one million Frenchmen and
   Frenchwomen for German war production in France proper,
   in the second half of 1943, and, in addition, of
   transferring 500,000 Frenchmen and Frenchwomen to the
   Reich before the end of the current year.
   Yours faithfully and obediently,
   (Signed) Fritz Sauckel."

The document to which I would now like to call the
Tribunal's attention proves that the Fuehrer gave his
approval to Sauckel's programme. A note drawn up on 28th
July, 1943, by Dr. Stothfang, under the letter-heading of
the Plenipotentiary General for Manpower Utilisation
(Arbeitseinsatz), gives a report on a discussion between
Sauckel and the Fuehrer. It is Document 556-PS-41, which I
submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 66. I shall limit
myself to reading the last paragraph.
   "(d)The transfer envisaged for the end of the year of
   1,000,000 French workers to the war industries in
   France, and the transportation of 500,000 other French
   workers to the interior of the Reich has been approved
   by the Fuehrer."

A document finally establishes that the defendant Sauckel,
on the strength of Hitler's approval, attempted to realise
his programme by working on the French Government. This
document is a letter from Sauckel to Hitler. It is dated
13th August, 1943, upon the defendant's return from a trip
to France, Belgium and Holland. It is Document 556-PS-43. I
shall read it to the Tribunal. It is Exhibit RF 67:

                                                  [Page 425]

   "Weimar, 13th August, 1943.
   My Fuehrer:
   With your permission I beg to report my return from my
   official trip to France, Belgium and Holland. In the
   course of tough, difficult and tedious negotiations, I
   have imposed upon the occupied Western territories, for
   the last five months of 1943, the programme set forth
   below, and have prepared very detailed measures for
   realising it: in France - with the Military Commander,
   the German Embassy and the French Government; in Belgium
   - with the Military Commander, and in Holland with the
   offices of the Reich Commissar.
   The programme provides:
   (1) In France, the transfer of one million French
   workers, both men and women, from the civilian to the
   German war industries in France. This measure should
   render possible a new important shifting of work on
   German orders to France.
   (2) Soliciting and recruiting of 500,000 French workers
   for work in Germany. This figure should not be made
   public abroad.
   (3) In order to render void any passive resistance from
   large groups of French officials, I have ordered, in
   agreement with the Military Commander in France, the
   introduction of labour recruiting commissions for each
   two French departments, and placed them under the
   supervision and direction of the German Gau offices.
   Only in this manner can the complete recruitment of the
   French labour potential and its intensive utilisation be
   made possible. The French Government has given its

If the Tribunal will allow me, I shall quote the rest of
this letter; the following paragraphs concern Belgium and
Holland. It will allow me to refer to this document later
without reading it again.

   "(4) A programme was secured in Belgium for the
   employment of 150,000 workers in the Reich, and with the
   approval of the Military Commander in Belgium an
   organisation for compulsory labour, corresponding to
   that in France, has been established."

I pass to the fifth paragraph.

   "(5) A programme has likewise been prepared for Holland,
   providing for the transfer of 150,000 workers to Germany
   and of 100,000 workers, men and women, from Dutch
   civilian industries to German war production."

Such was Sauckel's programme in 1943. His plan was partly
thwarted by the resistance of officials and patriotic
workers. Proof of this is furnished by a statement of the
defendant. I am referring to the report on a conference of
the Central Office for the Four Year Plan held on 1st March,
1944. I submitted this document to the Tribunal yesterday as
Exhibit RF 30. I shall read from the first page of the
French translation, second paragraph-German text 1768-1769.

   "Last autumn, as far as foreign manpower is concerned,
   the labour recruiting programme has been severely
   battered. I do not wish to elaborate the reasons here.
   They have been discussed at length; all I have to say
   is: the programme has been wrecked."

Sauckel, however, was not discouraged by the difficulties
encountered in 1943. In 1944 he attempted to realise a new
programme by the trick of the fourth action.

The National Socialist authorities decided to secure, in
1944, the transfer of four million foreign workers to
Germany. This decision was made on 4th January, 1944, during
a conference at the Headquarters of the Fuehrer and in

                                                  [Page 426]

his presence. The report on this conference constitutes
Document 1292-PS. I submit it herewith to the Tribunal as
Exhibit RF 68, and I read from Page 3 of the French
translation - Page 6 of the German original, last paragraph:

   "Final results of the conference:
   (1)The Plenipotentiary General for Manpower Utilisation
   shall produce at least four million new workers from the
   occupied territories."

The details concerning the contingents demanded from each
occupied territory must have been determined on 16th
February, 1944, during a conference of the Central Office
for the Four Year Plan. Yesterday I submitted the report of
this session at the outset of my explanations, under Exhibit
RF 20. I am quoting the conclusions to-day. They will be
found on the first page of the translation, second page of
the German original:

   "Results of the 53rd session of the Office for Central
   Labour recruiting (Arbeitseinsatz) in 1944.
   (1) About 500,000 new workers can be mobilised from
   among the German home reserves."

I omit the rest.

   (2) Recruiting of Italian labour to the number of
   1,500,000; of these - 1,000,000 at the rate of 250,000
   per month from January to April and 500,000 from May to
   (3) Recruiting of 1,000,000 French workers at equal
   monthly rates from 1st February to 31st December, 1944
   (approximately 9 1,000 per month).
   (4) Recruiting of 250,000 workers from Belgium.
   (5) Recruiting of 250,000 workers from the Netherlands."

I abstain from quoting further, since the other paragraphs
concern the Eastern European countries.

The Tribunal has seen that France was called upon to furnish
a large contingent of workers. After the 15th of January
Sauckel went to Paris to inflict his demands on the French

The fourth Sauckel action consisted of two distinct
measures: the adoption of the procedure known as the combing
of industries, and the publication of the law of 1st
February, 1944, which widened the sphere of application of
compulsory labour. The system of combing the industries led
the labour administration to carry out direct recruiting in
the industrial enterprises. Mixed Franco-German commissions
were set up in each department. They determined the
percentage of workers to be deported. They proceeded to
requisition and transfer them.

The practice of combing the industries represents the
realisation of the projects elaborated by defendant Sauckel
since 1943. In the documents which I have read to the
Tribunal Sauckel announced, in fact, his intention of
creating mixed labour commissions.

The law of 1st February, 1944, marked the culminating point
of Sauckel's actions in the field of legislation. It extends
the scope of application of the law of 4th September, 1942.
As from February, 1944, all men between the ages of 16 and
60, and all women between the ages of 18 and 45 were subject
to compulsory labour.

I submit to the Tribunal the law of 1st February, 1944, as
Exhibit RF 69, with the request to take judicial note of it.

The proof of the pressure that Sauckel exerted on the French
authorities in order to impose on them the publication of
this law is furnished by a report of the defendant to
Hitler. This report is dated the 25th of January, 1944. It
was, therefore, drafted during the negotiations which
characterised the fourth Sauckel action. It constituted
Document 556-PS-55, which I submit to the Tribunal as
Exhibit RF 70. I shall read this document:

                                                  [Page 427]

   "My Fuehrer:
   On the 22nd of January, 1944, the French Government,
   together with Marshal Petain, accepted the majority of
   my demands for increasing the working week from 40 to 48
   hours, as well as for extending the compulsory labour
   law in France and utilising French manpower in Germany.
   The Marshal did not agree to the compulsory work of
   women in the Reich, but he did agree to the compulsory
   work of women inside France, to be limited to women
   between the ages of 26 and 45. Women between 15 and 25
   are to be employed only at their place of residence.
   Since this, nevertheless, represents appreciable
   progress in comparison with the extremely difficult
   negotiations which I had to conduct in Paris, I approved
   this law, in order to save further loss of time, on
   condition that the German demands were energetically met
   and carried out.
   The French Government likewise accepted my demand that
   French officials sabotaging the enforcement of the
   Compulsory Labour Law should be punished by severe
   penalties, including the death penalty. I have left them
   in no doubt that further and more rigid measures would
   be adopted, should the demands for the manpower required
   not be fulfilled.
   Your ever obedient and faithful, Fritz Sauckel."

I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the problem of
compulsory labour of women, referred to in the two preceding
documents. For a long time the French authorities
categorically opposed the introduction of female labour. The
defendant Sauckel did
not cease to exercise violent activity.

On the 27th June, 1943, in a letter to Hitler, he suggested
that an energetic statement of German interests be made
before the French Government. I have already quoted this
letter to the Tribunal, Exhibit RF 65. I shall not revert to
it, but I emphasise the fact that the law of 1st February
did not satisfy Sauckel and did not in the least appease his
demands. His dissatisfaction and his determination to pursue
his policy of compulsion become apparent from a report of
26th April, 1944, bearing his signature; that the report was
forwarded is certified by Berk, one of his assistants.

This report - there actually were four reports submitted
jointly - constitutes Document 1289-PS. I submit them to the
Tribunal as Exhibit RF 71, and I quote from the second page:

   "France (1). The problem of women.
   At the time of the promulgation of the French Compulsory
   Labour Law, the French authorities (Marshal Petain in
   particular) have urgently desired that women be exempted
   from performing compulsory labour in Germany. In spite
   of serious objections the G.B.A. approved of this
   exemption. The reservation was made, however, that the
   approval was given on condition that the contingencies
   imposed were met; or else the G.B.A. would retain the
   right of taking further measures. Inasmuch as the
   contingencies are far from being met, the demand must be
   addressed to the French Government of extending the
   compulsory labour service to women also."

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