The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE PRESIDENT: If you will give us the reference - Give us
the names of the witnesses. We can take notice of them
afterwards. What are their names?

DR. FLAECHSNER: The witness Sauer, and we are dealing with
his, answers to Points 4, 5 and 8 of the interrogatory; the
witness Schieber gives a statement regarding this matter
under Point 12 of his interrogatory.

Now I should like to submit the speech given by Speer on 9th
June, 1944, as Exhibit No. 2. It confirms the testimony
which the defendant has made about the organization of his
ministry and the staffing of it with honorary industrial
co-workers. I shall quote it. I am sorry to say that this
speech is also not contained in your Honour's supplementary
volume. I am very sorry. I will just have to read it, and I

  "These honorary co-workers drawn from industry - "

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, it is a little bit
inconvenient to the Tribunal not to have these documents
before them. You could not possibly postpone dealing with
the particular documents that you have not got here until
tomorrow morning? Shall we have the supplementary volume

DR. FLAECHSNER: The promise was given me that it would be at
my disposal by this afternoon.

                                                  [Page 388]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, then, would it be convenient to
leave those parts which are contained in the supplementary
volume over until tomorrow?

DR. FLAECHSNER: In the supplementary volume No. 5 we find a
document, very short in part, with which I shall not concern
myself today. Only this one speech which I am mentioning now
is -



  "These honorary co-workers, drawn from industry, carry
  the responsibility to the last detail for what is
  manufactured in the various enterprises and industries
  and for how it is manufactured."

Then a few lines farther down:

  "Among your main tasks, next to the assigning of
  contracts to these industries, is to supervise the
  restriction of the types and specialisation of these
  industries; under certain circumstances, to close certain
  enterprises, to further rationalisation from the point of
  view of raw materials, construction and production, as
  well as unconditional exchange of experience, without
  regard to 'Schutzrechte' (patents)."

From various passages of this document it can be seen
clearly that Speer considered his office an improvised
instrument which made use of the existing authorities of the
Reich for the fulfilment of his tasks without burdening his
office with administrative duties. The decree of 10th
August, which is mentioned in the speech of Speer, shows
that he expressly prohibited his offices from turning into
administrative offices. The defendant did not want the
bureaucratic system in his ministry.

THE PRESIDENT: What speech of Speer are you referring to?
You said the decree of 10th August.

DR. FLAECHSNER: It is still the same speech, Mr. President,
which I just mentioned.

The decree is mentioned therein.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not get what the year was when you
began. What was the year?

DR. FLAECHSNER: The year was 1942, 10th August, and the
speech was given in, the year 1944. Therefore, he was
referring to a decree which had been in force for some time.

Just how important it was to the defendant to have
non-bureaucratic new forces in his ministry is shown in a
passage from his speech which I would like to quote now:

  "Any organization which is to last for some period of
  time and which exceeds a certain size has a tendency to
  become bureaucratic. Even though, in one of the first
  large attacks on Berlin, large numbers of the current
  files of the ministry were burned and therefore, for some
  time, we were lucky enough to have unnecessary ballast
  taken from us, we cannot expect occurrences of that sort
  will continuously bring new vigour into our work."


Q. Herr Speer, so far as the Tribunal wishes, will you
please briefly supplement these statements about the tasks
of your ministry from the technical point of view?

A. I shall try to be very brief.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you, Dr. Flaechsner, you read us the

DR. FLAECHSNER: The speech, yes -

THE PRESIDENT: It seems to be very remote to every issue,
even as it is, and why you should want to supplement it, I
do not know.

DR. FLAECHSNER: I thought it might be of interest to the
High Tribunal to hear about the sphere of activity which the
defendant had in his capacity as a minister. This speech was
made to experts and is, therefore, really only of interest

                                                  [Page 389]

to an expert. I assumed that the High Tribunal would wish to
know just what the task of the production ministry of Herr
Speer was. I am under the impression that the prosecution
thinks its sphere of activity to have been considerably
greater than it actually was.

THE PRESIDENT: If you want to know what he says about the
tasks of his ministry, you can ask him. But you have just
been reading his speech, and we do not want to -

DR. FLAECHSNER (interposing): No, no, I do not want that
either. He is just going to give us briefly some of the
technical tasks of his ministry. That is what I wanted to

THE PRESIDENT: You do not seem to be hearing me accurately.
Would it not be better if you put your earphones on?

What I said was that you had read the speech and we did not
want to hear any more argument upon the speech from the
defendant. If you want to ask the defendant what the tasks
of his ministry were, ask him. What you asked him was: "Do
you wish to supplement the speech?"


Q. Herr Speer, will you please tell us what the tasks were
which your ministry had to carry out, and please do not
refer to the things that I mentioned in the speech.

A. I believe the tasks of a production ministry are well
known in all industrial States. I just wanted to summarize
briefly which functions I had to concern myself with in
detail in this ministry.

For one, we had to surmount the deficiency in raw materials,
metals and steel. Then, through an introduction of the
Fliessbandarbeiten (assembly line work), which is customary
in the United States, but was not yet very current in
Germany, the work was systematized and thus machinery and
space were used to the utmost. Also, it was necessary to
amplify the production programme, for example, for fine
steel, aluminium, and for individual parts like ball
bearings and cog-wheels.

One of the most important tasks was the development of new
weapons and their mass production; and then, beginning with
1943, repairing of the damage caused by the extraordinarily
rapid bombing attacks, which forced us to work with
improvised means and methods.

Q. What was the importance of this activity in the sphere of
your ministry?

A. It is to be taken as a matter of course that this sphere
of activity was the most important in our country, if only
because it included providing equipment for the army. I
claimed that during the war the rest of the economy would
have to be regulated according to the exigencies of
armament. In times of war, at home, there are only two tasks
which count: Furnishing soldiers for the front, and
supplying weapons.

Q. Why was the task of your ministry purely a war function?

A. Because during peace-time the giving of orders is
normally regulated according to supply and demand, but in
war time this regulating factor is lacking.

Q. Therefore it was one of the main tasks of your ministry
to exercise a State control over the distribution of orders?

A. Yes.

Q. Then, at first, you had responsibility only for armament
production for the army, but at the end of 1944 you were
responsible for the entire field of armament and war
production. Can you briefly tell me the stages of this
development, and how thereby the extent of your task grew?

A. It would be best for me to tell you about the development
by dealing with the number of workers I had.

In 1942 I took over the armament and construction programmes
with altogether 2,600,000 workers. In the spring of 1943,
Donitz gave me the responsibility for naval armament as
well, and at this period I had 3,200,000 workers. In

                                                  [Page 390]

of 1943, through an agreement with the Minister of
Economics, Herr Funk, the production task of the Ministry of
Economics was transferred to me. With that I had 12,000,000
workers working for me.

Finally, I took over the air armament from Goering on 1st
August, 1944. With that the total production was marshalled
under me with 14,000,000 workers. The number of workers
applies to the Greater German Reich, not including the
occupied countries.

Q. How was it possible to have a task of that magnitude
directed by a ministry that consisted almost exclusively of
honorary members who, moreover, had no practical routine
experience in purely administrative matters?

A. The administrative departments in the various armament
offices retained their tasks. In that way, for example, in
the army, the Heereswaffenamt - the Army Weapon Office -
with a staff of several thousands, gave the orders,
supervised the carrying out of these orders, and saw to it
that delivery of the orders and payments were carried out in
a proper manner. Only in that way did I succeed in having
the entire armament production - which amounted to three to
four billion marks a month - carried through with an
honorary co-worker staff of six thousand people.

Q. Were all armament enterprises subordinate to you?

A. No. There was a small group of enterprises, which were
run directly by the Wehrmacht branches with their own
workers, not controlled by me; and also the enterprises of
the SS were excluded from my domain as well.

Q. The prosecution makes the charge that you shared the
responsibility for the recruiting of foreign workers and
prisoners of war, and took manpower from concentration
camps. What do you say to this?

A. In this connection, neither I nor the ministry were
responsible for this. The ministry was a new establishment,
which had a technical problem to deal with. It took no
competence in any field away from an existing authority. The
conditions of work were still handled through the old
existing authorities. The Food Ministry, and the various
offices connected with it, were responsible for the food
supply, and the trade supervising agencies in the Reich
Ministry were responsible for the maintenance of safe,
liveable conditions at the places of work; the Trustees of
Labour, working under the Plenipotentiary for Labour
Commitment, were responsible for the salaries and the
quality and quantity of work done; and the Health Office of
the Reich Ministry of the Interior was responsible for
health conditions. The Justice Department and the Police
Department dealt with violations against labour discipline,
and finally, the German Labour Front was responsible for
representing the interests of the workers.

The centralisation of all of these authorities lay in the
bands of the Gauleiter as Reich Defence Commissioner. The
fact that the SS put itself and its concentration camp
internees outside the control of State departments was not a
matter with which I or my ministry were concerned.

Q. Your co-defendant Sauckel testified to the effect that
with the carrying out of the recruiting of workers for the
industries his task was finished. Is that correct in your

A. Yes, certainly, as far as the recruiting of workers is
concerned, for one of the subjects of dissension between
Sauckel and me was that the suitable employment of workers
in the industry itself was a matter for the judgement of the
man in charge of the industry, and that this could not be
influenced by the Labour Office. It applied, however, only
to the recruitment of labour, and not to the observing of
conditions of labour. In this latter connection, the office
of Sauckel was partly responsible as supervising authority.

Q. To what extent could the works manager carry out the
decrees of Sauckel as to labour conditions, etc.?

A. The decrees issued by Sauckel were unobjectionable, but
the works managers did not always find it possible to carry
out the orders for reasons which were

                                                  [Page 391]

beyond their control. The bombing attacks brought about
difficulties, such as disorganised transportation or
destroyed living quarters. It is not possible to make the
managers responsible for the observing of these decrees
under circumstances which often took on catastrophic
proportions after the summer of 1944. These were times of
crises, and it was a matter for the Reich authorities to
determine just how far it was possible to carry through
these decrees, and it was not right to push this
responsibility on to the shoulders of the works manager.

Q. How far was the factory manager responsible to your
ministry in this regard?

A. Within the framework of the above-mentioned
responsibility which industry enjoyed, the armament factory
managers had received an equal State responsibility from me.
This, of course, applied only to technical tasks.

Q. Were there any industries making secret items which were
not permitted to be inspected by the Gauleiters? I recall
evidence given here where this, was reported.

A. There were some industries which concerned themselves
with secret matters, but in such cases the sectional manager
of the Labour Front was represented, and the representative
could report to the Gauleiter on conditions in the factory
through the Gauobmann (Chief of the Labour Front of a Gau).

Q. Did you approve of the punishment of people who were
unwilling to work?

A. Yes, I considered it right that workers who violated
labour discipline should be punished, but I did not demand
supplementary measures in this regard. As a matter of
principle, I represented the view that a satisfactory output
on the part of fourteen million workers could be achieved in
the long run only through the good will of the workers
themselves. This is a bit of experience which applies
generally, causing every employer in the world to do all in
his power to make his workers satisfied.

Q. Did you support the efforts made by Sauckel to improve
the social conditions of the workers, and if so, why?

A. Naturally I supported them, even though I did not have
any jurisdiction in that sphere, for the reasons which I
have just mentioned. For our experience proved that when
labour was content and satisfied, there was much less loss
in materials. This for me was very important, because of our
deficiency in raw materials. Moreover it is obvious that the
better quality which is produced by satisfied labourers is
of special importance in time of war.

Q. In the records of your discussions with Hitler, there are
various directives made by Hitler dealing with the care and
the treatment of foreign workers. Did you cause Hitler to
give these directives?

A. Yes.

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