The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The chart submitted as Exhibit Sauckel 3 shows the numerous
offices for checking and inspection relative to the question
of labourers. They did not report any particular abuses to
the offices of the defendant Sauckel. Perhaps the

                                                  [Page 120]

fact that offices were so numerous points to a weakness: it
is quite possible that each governmental department kept
silent about mistakes made in its own jurisdiction, to avoid
their coming to the attention of the defendant Sauckel,
because as a rule the controlling agencies were on a higher
level than the defendant Sauckel. This, should particularly
be considered with regard to relations between the most
important agency, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour
Front), under the leadership of Reich Leader Dr. Ley, and
Gauleiter Sauckel.

On closer examination of the document submitted as 1903-PS,
an agreement on the creation of "central inspection offices
charged with the care and control of foreign labour", it
appears to be a carefully set-up "screen" against the
defendant Sauckel. The document was devised by Dr. Ley and
signed on 2nd June, 1943, then submitted to the defendant
Sauckel for signature. He did not approve and announce it
until 20th September, 1943. One is justified in thinking
that Dr. Ley did not wish to invite criticism. On the other
hand, there is also little likelihood that the abuses were
general and evident, otherwise they would obviously have
become known to the defendant Sauckel through his own
control agencies.

In addition to his own staff, the defendant Sauckel on 6th
April, 1942, appointed the Gauleiter as "Commissioners for
the Mobilization of Labour", impressing upon them as their
foremost duty the supervision needed for enforcement of his
orders. This becomes apparent from Document Sauckel 9, item
5; the same holds true for Document 633-PS of 14th March,
1943. Several Gauleiter were examined by the Tribunal as
witnesses, and they have confirmed that the supervision was
carried out as ordered and that Sauckel checked it through
members of his staff. No abuses were reported.

After due consideration of the matter, whom should one
believe? Are we concerned here only with exaggerated
complaints? Does evidence of a contrary nature deserve
credit? There is no testimony by the French who, according
to Document UK 78-3, IIId, were taken to the real slave
centres; there is no testimony by the Russians who,
according to Document USSR 51, were sold for 10 to 15

In any case one fact speaks in favour of the defendant
Sauckel, namely the fact, which has consistently been
confirmed by competent witnesses, that the workers were
willing and industrious and when the collapse came there was
no uprising of the workers against the alleged "slave
owners", on whom they would naturally have been expected to
vent their wrath.

I have summarised actual happenings and have appraised them
juridically. All this, however, may appear to be juridical
trifling where a higher responsibility is, concerned.

It has been voiced here that it will not do to let thein
[sic] significant works managers take the blame, but that
the moral responsibility must go to the highest Reich
Government offices; of their own volition, they should have
introduced improvements on a larger scale to cope with
difficulties inherent in the circumstances of that time.
This might apply to offices which had the power and the
means to bring about improvement. The defendant Sauckel and
his small personal staff had merely, been incorporated in a
Ministry already in existence and he did not have such means
at his disposal. His authority consisted of a narrowly
circumscribedpower to give directives on the mobilization of
labour, and he untiringly made use of this authority.

The works managers of the armament industry were formed into
an independentadministration and separated from so-called
bureaucrats. The duty of self-preservation corresponds to
this administrative independence. Consequently, if something
was to be done to improve the safety of foreign workers, or
their, situation in armaments works, it would have been the
duty of such establishments and of the Armaments Ministry,
under whose supervision they operated, to deal with the
matter. It was not the duty of the office of the defendant
Sauckel to intervene in these matters, as it was the concern
of the Armaments Ministry.

                                                  [Page 121]

This is clearly evident from Document 4006-PS with the
decree of 22nd June, 1944. This is borne out by the most
intimate personal relation between the Armaments Minister
and Hitler which made the former the most influential man in
the economic sphere. If higher responsibility existed for
mistakes made in the factories, such responsibility can be
placed only on those who had knowledge of such conditions
and the power to correct them.

There is still a legal question to be considered with regard
to the Indictment; namely, whether the position of the
General Plenipotentiary for Labour Commitment is determined
by Article 7 or Article 8 of the Charter, i.e., whether the
defendant Sauckel was an independent Government official or
whether he had to carry out orders. The recruitment of
labour took place from time to time upon Hitler's special
orders, as part of the general programme, and the subsequent
distribution alone was left to Sauckel. This is also
confirmed by the fact that the defendant Sauckel always
refers to Hitler's "Orders and Commands", as in the
Manifestos of the General Plenipotentiary for Labour
Commitment (GBA) (Document Sauckel 83) and others. From this
also results the fact that defendant Sauckel from time to
time specially reports execution of the orders, as well as
the beginning and end of his official trips, Document 556-PS
of 10th January, 1944, and 28th July, 1943.

Another piece of evidence that he was not an independent
Government official is that, according to the appointment
decree, the defendant Sauckel was immediately subordinate to
the Four-Year Plan and attached to the Reich Ministry for
Labour which had been preserved with its State secretaries.
Only two departments were placed at his disposal. If the
kind of responsibility is to be determined, it can be only
within the limits of Article 8 of the Charter.

Herewith I conclude my exposition regarding the special
field of labour commitment.

The defendant Sauckel is accused on all counts of the
Indictment over and beyond labour commitment. Particular
isolated acts are, however, not charged against him as
active agent. A closer characterisation of the accusation
has been effected in the course of the proceedings only in
regard to the concentration camps. In this connection,
however, it has been proved by a sworn statement by witness
Falkenhorst (Exhibit 23) and an affidavit by witness Dieter
Sauckel (Exhibit 9) that no order for the evacuation of the
Buchenwald camp upon the approach of American troops was
given. Knowledge and approval of conditions at the camp
cannot be deduced from two visits to the camp before 1939,
as the excesses submitted by the prosecution had not
occurred. Nor did the local proximity of the camp to the
Gauleitung of the defendant Sauckel bring about any close
connection with the SS staff, as its headquarters were in
Kassel and Magdeburg.

Finally must be added the innermost convictions of the
defendant Sauckel which resulted from his previous career,
and which were irreconcilable with Himmler's point of view.

What part can defendant Sauckel have played in the
conspiracy? He was Gauleiter in Thuringia and did not rise
above the other Gauleiter. His activities and his aims can
be deduced from his fighting speeches, which have been
submitted as Document Sauckel 95. These persistently show
the fight for "liberty and bread" and the desire for real

During an activity of many years in the Party, the Party
programme was authoritative for defendant Sauckel; the aims
and desires contained therein required neither war nor the
extermination of the Jews. The practical realization of the
programme alone could disclose the reality. For the
convinced Party member, however, the official explanation of
an event was authoritative and it met with no doubts. Up to
his appointment as the General Plenipotentiary for Labour
Commitment in March 1942, defendant Sauckel did not belong
to the small circle of those who had access to Hitler's
plans. He had to rely upon the Press and the broadcasts like
everybody else. He had no contact with the leading men.

                                                  [Page 122]

This is shown somewhat tragically by his action, so often
laughed at, in boarding a submarine as an ordinary seaman
for a raid into enemy waters. That is not the way to
participate in conspiracies.

As a faithful follower of Hitler, defendant Sauckel remains
alone in the circle of the initiated. It is understandable
if the extremists avoided him owing to his well-known
opinions. Also he was not initiated into the secrets of
people who at the same time wished to be both Hitler's
friends and murderers, and he was not advised by the group
of people who were Hitler's enemies, but who kept their
views secret with a negative kind of courage. Faithful to
the end, defendant Sauckel cannot to this day understand
what has happened. Must he, like a heretic, recant his error
in order to find grace? He lacks the contact with reality
which would make understanding possible.

Does the sentence depend on his having unknowingly served a
good or a bad cause? Nothing is by itself good or bad, only
the underlying intention. One thing, however, is always and
under all circumstances good, and that is good intention.
This good intention was shown by the defendant Sauckel.
Therefore, I ask that he be acquitted.

THE PRESIDENT: I call on Dr. Exner for defendant Jodl.

DR. EXNER (counsel for defendant Jodl): May it please the
Tribunal, in this unique trial the discovery of the truth is
confronted with difficulties of an exceptional nature. At a
time when the wounds of the war are still bleeding, when the
excitement of the events of the last few years is still
felt, at a time when the archives of one side are still
shut, a just verdict should be given with dispassionate
neutrality. Material for the trial has been spread out
before us which covers a quarter of a century of world
history and events from the four corners of the globe.

On the basis of this tremendous material, we see 22 men
being accused simultaneously. That makes it terribly
difficult to keep one's eye clear for the guilt and the
responsibility of each individual, for inhumanities of an
almost unimaginable vastness have come to light here, and
the danger exists that the deep shadow which falls on some
of the defendants may also darken the others. Some of them
appear, I fear, in a different light because of the company
in which they are here than they would have appeared if they
had been alone in the defendant's dock.

The prosecutors have increased this danger still more by
repeatedly making joint accusations, mixing legal and moral
reproaches. They said that all of the defendants had
enriched themselves from the occupied territories, that
there was not one who did not shout, "Die, Judah", and so
forth. No attempt to prove this in the case of each
individual was made, but the statement alone creates an
atmosphere inimical to all of them.

One fact due to the attitude of the prosecution, which
renders elucidation of the question of individual guilt more
difficult, is that the defendants Keitel and Jodl are
treated as inseparable twins: one common plea against them
by the British Prosecutor, one common trial brief by the
French, prosecution, and finally the Soviet prosecution
spoke very little about the individual defendants but,
rather, heaped reproach after reproach upon all of the

All of this is clearly intended to shorten the trial, but it
hardly serves to clear up the question of individual
responsibility. Indeed, the Indictment goes still farther.
It stretches beyond these 22 defendants and affects the fate
of millions - this through the prosecution of the
organizations, which, taken in conjunction with Law No. 10,
has as its result that one can be punished for the guilt of
other persons.

And finally, a thing that is more important at the moment is
a further form of summary treatment of the defendants. The
prosecution is bringing in the conception of a "conspiracy"
to reach the result again that persons can be made
individually responsible for something wrong that others
did. I must go into this point in greater detail, as it
concerns my client as well.

                                                  [Page 123]

It is actually clear, I think, from the previous speakers'
statements that a conspiracy to commit crimes against the
peace, the laws of war and of humanity did not in fact
exist. Therefore, I shall show only one thing: if such a
conspiracy did actually exist, Jodl, at least, did not
belong to it.

The prosecution has admitted that Jodl's participation in
the conspiracy before 1933 could not be proved. In fact,
anyone whose attitude toward the whole National Socialist
movement was so mistrustful and who spoke with such
scepticism about its seizure of power did not conspire to
help Hitler take over the reins. But the prosecution seems
to think that Jodl joined the alleged conspiracy in the
period before 1939.

In fact, during this time, too, nothing essential changed
for him. True, his attitude toward Hitler was now an
entirely loyal one. But it was Jodl's respected Field-
Marshal von Hindenburg who had called Hitler into the
Government; and the German people had confirmed this
decision with more than 90 per cent of its votes.

Added to this was the fact that in Jodl's eyes - and not
alone in his - Hitler's authority was bound to rise
immeasurably in view of his marvellous successes at home and
abroad, successes which now followed one after another in
quick succession, but personally Jodl remained without any
connection with Hitler. He did not participate in any of the
big meetings at which Hitler developed his programme. He had
only read extracts of Hitler's book Mein Kampf - the Bible
of National Socialism. Jodl remained just an unpolitical
man, quite in accordance with his personal inclinations
which were away from party politics and in accordance with
the traditions of the old family of officers from which he
sprang. Of liberal leanings, he had little sympathy for
National Socialism; as an officer he was forbidden to belong
to the Party, and he had no right to vote or be politically

If, as the prosecution says, the Party held the conspiracy
together and was the "instrument of cohesion" between the
defendants, then one asks in vain what cohesion actually
existed between Jodl and, let us say, Sauckel, or between
Jodl and Streicher. Of all the defendants, the only one he
knew before the war, apart from the officers, was Frick,
whom he met at one or two official conferences in the
Ministry of the Interior. He kept out of the NSDAP, and his
attitude towards its organizations was even, in some sense,
inimical. His greatest worry during these years, as later
right to the end, was the danger of Party influence on the
armed forces.

Jodl did what lay in his power to prevent the SS from being
developed into a subsidiary Wehrmacht, to prevent the
handing over of the Customs Frontier Guards to Himmler, and
he notes triumphantly in his diary that after the
resignation of General von Fritsch, Hitler did not, as was
feared, make General von Reichenau, who had Party ties,
Commander-in-Chief of the Army but the unpolitical General
von Brauchitsch, and so forth.

If Jodl had conspired for National Socialism in any way, his
attitude would have been the contrary on each of these

Jodl was also not present at any of the so-called meetings
of the conspirators - not on 5th November, 1937 - Hitler's
testament remained unknown to him - nor at Obersalzberg in
February, 1938, nor at the meetings on 23rd May, 1939, and
22nd August, 1939.

No wonder. Jodl was, after all, at that time still much too
insignificant to be permitted to participate in conferences
and meetings which were of such decisive importance to the
State. People do not conspire with lieutenant-colonels or
colonels on the General Staff. They simply tell them what to
do, and that settles the matter.

However, the most incontrovertible proof of the fact that
Jodl can have belonged to no conspiracy to wage aggressive
war is his absence of ten months' duration just before the
beginning of the war. Jodl had left the OKW in October,
                                                  [Page 124]

and was sent to Vienna as artillery commander. At that time
there was in his mind so little probability of war that,
before leaving Berlin, he drafted on his own initiative a
plan of deployment in all directions for security purposes.
In this he moved the mass of the German forces to the centre
of the Reich because le could not see any definite opponent
against whom a deployment plan would have to be prepared.

Exactly a year before the beginning of the attack, this
alleged conspirator for aggressive wars drew up a purely
defensive General Staff plan, and, although he knew
definitely that in case of war he would have to return to
Berlin, this possibility seemed so distant that he moved to
Vienna, taking along all his furniture.

Besides, as he wished to finally get away from office work
again, he had the Mountain Division at Reichenhall promised
him for 1st October, 1939. Lastly, as late as July he
procured shipping tickets for a sea trip planned to last
several weeks and which would have begun in September - so
sure was he of a further peaceful development during these
ten months.

Up to the time he was called to Berlin shortly before the
outbreak of the war, Jodl had no official or private
connections with the OKW. The only letter he got from them
of that time was the one which promised him his transfer to
Reichenhall on 1st October.

Note that at that most critical time - at the very time when
the alleged conspirators were discussing and working out the
Polish plan - Jodl was out of all contact for ten months
with the authoritative persons and knew no more of what was
happening than one of his second lieutenants.

When the Fuehrer came to Vienna during the summer, it did
not even seem worth while to Keitel to introduce Jodl to
him, although Jodl, as the supreme commander's strategic
adviser, was called upon in the event of war to carry out
the allegedly common aggressive plan.

One can imagine how astonished Jodl was to read in the
Indictment that he had been a member of the conspiracy to
launch the war.

Mr. President, I have reached the end of a paragraph, and
this perhaps might be an appropriate moment to recess.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 19th July, 1946, at 1000 hours).

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