The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. There were more plots than you have told us about, were
there not?

A. During that time it was extremely easy to start a plot.
One could accost practically any man in the street and tell
him what the situation was, and get him to say, that is
insane; and if he had any courage he would place himself at
your disposal. Unfortunately, I had no organization behind
me which I could call upon and give orders to do this or
that. That is why I had to depend on personal conversations
to put me in contact with all kinds of people. But I do want
to say that it was not as dangerous as it looks here
because, actually, the unreasonable people who were still
left only amounted perhaps to a few dozens. The remaining
eighty millions were perfectly sensible as soon as they knew
what the situation really was.

Q. Perhaps you had a sense of responsibility for having put
the eighty millions completely in the power of the Fuehrer
principle. Did that occur to you, or does it now as you look
back on it?

A. May I have the question repeated, because I didn't
understand its sense.

Q. You have eighty million sane and sensible people facing
destruction; you have a dozen people driving them on to
destruction and they, the eighty million, are unable to stop
it. And I ask if you have a feeling of responsibility for
having established the Fuehrer principle, which Goring has
so well described to us, in Germany?

A. I, personally, when I became minister in February, 1942,
placed myself at the disposal of this Fuehrer principle. But
I admit that in my organization I soon saw that the Fuehrer
principle was in many ways defective and so I tried to
weaken its effect. The tremendous danger of the totalitarian
system, however, only became really clear at the moment when
we were approaching the end. It was then that one could see
what the principle really meant, namely, that every order
should be carried out without criticism. Everything that has
become

                                                   [Page 58]

known during this trial, especially with regard to orders
which were carried out without any consideration, has proved
how evil it was in the end. In such cases for example as the
carrying out of the order to destroy the bridges in our own
country, a mistake or consequence of this totalitarian
system. Quite apart from the personality of Hitler, on the
collapse of the totalitarian system in Germany, it became
clear what tremendous dangers there are in a system of that
kind. The combination of Hitler and this system has brought
about these tremendous catastrophes in the world.

Q. Well, now - Hitler is dead - I assume you accept that? -
and we ought to give the devil his due. Is it not a fact
that in the circle around Hitler there was almost no one who
would stand up and tell him that the war was lost except
yourself?

A. That is correct to a certain extent. Amongst the military
leaders there were many who, each in his own sphere, told
Hitler quite clearly what the situation was. Many commanders
of army groups, for instance, made it clear to him how
catastrophic developments were, and there were often fierce
arguments during the discussions on the situation. Men like
Guderian and Jodl, for instance, often talked quite openly
about their sectors in my presence, and Hitler could see
quite well what the general situation was like. But I never
observed that those who were actually responsible in the
group around Hitler ever went to him and said: "The war is
lost." Nor did I ever see these people who had
responsibility attempt to join together to undertake some
joint step against Hitler. I did not attempt it either
because it would have been useless. During this particular
phase, Hitler had so terrified his closest associates that
they no longer had any will of their own.

Q. Well, let us take the number two man who has told us that
he was in favour of fighting to the very finish. Were you
present at a conversation between Goering and General
Galland in which Goering, in substance, forbade Galland to
report the disaster that was overtaking Germany?

A. No, in that form, that is not correct. That was another
conference.

Q. Well, tell us what you know about General Galland's
conversation with Goering.

A. It was at the Fuehrer headquarters in East Prussia in
front of Goering's train. Galland had reported to Hitler
that the enemy fighter planes were already accompanying
bombing squadrons as far as Luttich and it was to be
expected that in the future the bombing units would travel
still farther from their bases accompanied by fighters.
After a discussion with Hitler on the military situation,
Goering upbraided Galland and told him with some excitement
that this could not possibly be true, that the fighters
could not go as far as Luttich. He said that from his
experience as an old fighter pilot he knew this perfectly
well. Thereupon Galland replied that the fighters were being
shot down, and were lying on the ground near Luttich.
Goering, would not believe that this was true. Galland was
an outspoken man who told Goring his opinion quite clearly
and refused to allow Goering's excitement to influence him.
Finally, Goering, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force,
expressly forbade Galland to make any further reports on
this matter. It was impossible, he said, that enemy fighters
could penetrate so deeply into Germany, and so he ordered
him to accept that as being true. I continued to discuss the
matter afterwards with Galland, who was later relieved of
his duties as a General of the Fighter Command by Goering,
Up to that time Galland had been in charge of all the
fighter units in Germany. He was the General in charge of
all the fighters within the High Command of the Air Force.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of that?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I was going to ask.

THE WITNESS: It must have been towards the end of 1943.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, perhaps we had better
adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

                                                   [Page 59]

Q. Was it known, in the days when you were struggling to
obtain adequate manpower to make armaments for Germany, that
Goering was using manpower to collect and transport art
treasures for himself. Was that known to you at the time?

A. He did not need any workers for that purpose.

Q. Well, even a few were very valuable, were they not?

A. The art treasures were valuable, not the workers.

Q. To him?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, let me ask you about your efforts in producing, and
see how much difficulty you were having. Krupp's was a big
factor in the German armament production, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. The biggest single unit, would not you say?

A. Yes, to the extent I said yesterday. It produced few guns
and armaments, but it was a big concern, one of the most
respected ones in the armament industry.

Q. But you had prevented, as far as possible, the use of
resources and manpower for the production of things that
were not useful for the war, is not that true?

A. That is true.

Q. And the things which were being created, being built by
the Krupp company whether they were guns or other objects,
were things which were essential for carrying on the
national economy or for conducting the war? That would be
true, would it not?

A. Generally speaking one can say that, in the end, every
article which in war time is produced in the home country,
whether it is a pair of shoes for the workers, or clothing
or coal, is helping the war effort. That has nothing to do
with the old conception, which has long since died out, and
which we find in the Geneva Prisoner-of-War Agreement.

Q. Well, at the moment I am not concerned with the question
of the application of the Geneva Convention. I want to ask
you some questions about your efforts to produce essential
goods, whether they were armament or not armament, and the
conditions that this regime was imposing upon labour and
adding, as I think, to your problem of production. I think
you can give us some information about this. You were
frequently at the Krupp plant, were you not?

A. I was at the Krupp plant five or six times.

Q. You were well informed as to the progress of production
in the Krupp plant as well as others?

A. Yes, when I went to visit these plants, it was mostly
after air raids, and then I got full information of the
production. As I worked hard, I knew a lot about these
problems, right down to the details.

Q. Krupp also had several labour camps, did they not?

A. Of course Krupp had labour camps.

Q. Krupp was a very large user of both foreign labour and
prisoners of war.

A. I cannot give the percentage, but no doubt Krupp did
employ foreign workers and prisoners of war.

Q. Well, I may say to you that we have investigated the
Krupp labour camps, and from Krupp's own charts it appears
that in 1943 they had 39,245 foreign workers and 11,234
prisoners of war, and that these numbers steadily increased
until in September, 1944, Krupp had 54,990 foreign workers
and 18,902 prisoners of war.

Now, would that be somewhere near what you could expect from
your knowledge of the industry?

A. I do not know the details. I do not know the figures of
how many workers Krupp employed at all. I am not familiar
with them at the moment. But I believe that the percentage
of foreign workers at Krupp's was about the same as in other
plants and in other armament concerns.

Q. And what would you say that percentage was?

                                                   [Page 60]

A. That varied a great deal. The older industries which had
their old regular personnel had a much lower percentage of
foreign workers than the new industries, which had just
grown up and which had no old regular personnel. The reason
for this was that the young age groups were drafted into the
Wehrmacht and, therefore, the concerns which had a personnel
of older workers still kept a large percentage of the older
workers. Therefore the percentage of foreign workers in the
general armament industry, if you take it as a whole and as
one of the older industries, was lower than the percentage
of foreign workers in the air armament industry because that
was a completely new industry which had not old workers.
However, I cannot give you the percentage.

Q. Now, the foreign workers who were assigned to Krupp - let
us use Krupp as an example - foreign workers that were
assigned to Krupp were housed in labour camps and under
guard, were they not?

A. I do not believe that they were under guard, but I cannot
say. I do not want to avoid giving information here, but I
had no time to worry about such things on my visits. The
things I was concerned about when I went to a factory were
in an entirely different sphere. In all my activities as
Armament Minister I never once visited a labour camp, and
cannot, therefore, give any information about them.

Q. Well, now, I am going to give you some information about
the conditions in the labour camp at Krupp's, and then I am
going to ask you some questions about them. I am not
attempting to say that you were personally responsible for
these conditions. I merely give you the indications as to
what the regime was doing and I am going to ask you certain
questions as to the effect of this sort of thing on your
work of production.

Are you familiar with Document 288-D, which is Exhibit USA
202, the affidavit of Dr. Jaeger who was brought here as a
witness?

A. Yes, but I considered that somewhat exaggerated.

Q. You do not accept that?

A. No.

Q. Well, you have no personal knowledge of the conditions.
What is the basis of your information that Dr. Jaeger's
statement is exaggerated?

A. If such conditions had existed, I should probably have
heard of them, as when I visited plants the head of the
plant naturally came to me with his biggest troubles. These
troubles occurred primarily after air raids when, for
example, both the German workers and foreign workers had no
longer any proper shelter. This state of affairs was
described to me, so that I know that what is stated in the
Jaeger affidavit cannot have been a permanent condition. It
can only have been a condition caused temporarily by air
raids, for a week or a fortnight, and which was improved
later on. It is well known that after a severe air raid on a
city, all the sanitary installations, the water supply, gas
supply, electricity, and so on, were often put out of order
and severely damaged so that temporarily there were very
difficult conditions.

Q. I remind you that Dr. Jaeger's affidavit relates to the
time of October, 1942, and that he was a witness here. And,
of course, you are familiar with his testimony.

A. Yes.


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