The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Well, now, I call your attention to a new document which
is 361-D, and is Exhibit USA 893, a document signed by the
office chief of the Locomotive Construction Works,
describing conditions of his labour supply, foreign workers.

And I am not suggesting - I repeat I am not suggesting that
this was your responsibility. I am suggesting it is the
responsibility of the regime. I should like to read this
despite its considerable length. "I received - " This is
dated at the Boiler Making Shop, the 25th of February, 1942,
addressed to Hupe by way of Winters and Schmidt.

  "I received the enclosed letter of the 18th of this month
  from the German Labour Front, sent to my private address,
  inviting me to the office of the German Labour Front" -
  giving its address and date. "I tried to find out

                                                   [Page 61]

  by telephoning the reason for the request. The answer
  from the German Labour Front was that the matter was very
  important and demanded my personal appearance. Thereupon
  I asked Herr Jungerich of the Department for Social
  Labour Matters whether I had better go. He answered, 'You
  probably don't have to, but it would be better if you
  went.' About 9.50 I went round to Room 20 at this place
  and met Herr Prior.
  
  The following event provided the cause for this
  conversation, which Herr Prior carried on in a very
  lively manner, and which lasted about half an hour:
  
  On the 16th, 23 Russian prisoners of war were assigned to
  No. 23 Boiler Shop. The people came in the morning
  without bread and tools. During both breaks the prisoners
  of war crept up to the German workers and begged for
  bread, pitifully pointing out their hunger. At the first
  midday break, the workers had the opportunity of
  distributing the food which remained over from the French
  prisoners of war amongst the Russians. In order to
  alleviate these conditions, I went to the Weidkamp
  kitchen on the 17th, on instructions from Herr Theile,
  and talked to the head of the kitchen, Fraulein Block,
  about the provision of the midday meal. Fraulein Block
  promised me the food immediately and also lent me the 22
  sets of eating utensils which I asked for.
  
  At the same time I asked Fraulein Block to give any food
  left over by the 800 Dutchmen messing there to our
  Russian prisoners of war at midday until further notice.
  Fraulein Block promised to do this, too, and the
  following midday she sent down a container of milk soup
  as an extra. The following midday the ration was short in
  quantity. Since a few Russians had collapsed already, I
  telephoned Fraulein Block and asked for an increase in
  the food as the special ration had ceased from the second
  day onwards. As my telephone conversation was
  unsuccessful, I again visited Fraulein Block personally.
  Fraulein Block refused in a very abrupt manner to give
  any further special ration.
  
  Now, regarding the discussion in detail, Herr Prior, two
  other gentlemen of the DAF and Fraulein Block, head of
  the Weidkamp kitchen, were present in the room. Herr
  Prior started by accusing me, gesticulating in a very
  insulting manner, of openly taking the part of the
  Bolsheviks. He referred to the laws of the Reich
  Government forbidding this. I was unfortunately not clear
  about the legal position, otherwise I would have left the
  conference room immediately. I then tried to make it
  clear to Herr Prior, with special emphasis, that the
  Russian prisoners of war were assigned to us as workers
  and not as Bolsheviks; the people were starved and not in
  a position to perform the heavy work with us in boiler
  making which they were required to do; and that sick
  people were a liability to us and not a help to
  production. To this remark Herr Prior stated that if one
  was worth nothing, then another was; that the Bolsheviks
  were a soulless people, and if 100,000 of them died,
  another 100,000 would replace them. On my remarking that,
  with such a coming and going, we would not attain our
  goal, namely the delivery of locomotives to the Reich
  railways, which were continually cutting down the time
  limit for delivery, Herr Prior said, 'Deliveries are only
  of secondary importance in this case.'
  
  My attempts to get Herr Prior to understand our economic
  needs were not successful. In closing, I can only say
  that as a German I know our relations to the Russian
  prisoners of war exactly, and in this case I acted only
  on behalf of my superiors and with the object of
  increasing the production which is demanded of us."

It is signed, "Soehling, Office Chief, Locomotive
Construction Works." And there is added this letter as a
part of the communication, signed by Theile:

  "I have the following to add to the above letter: After
  the Russian prisoners of war had been assigned to us on
  the 16th of this month by Labour Supply, I got into touch
  with Dr. Lehmann immediately about their food.

                                                   [Page 62]

  I learned from him that the prisoners received 300 gr. of
  bread each between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. I pointed out that
  it was impossible to last until 1800 hours on this ration
  of bread, whereupon Dr. Lehmann said that the Russians
  must not be allowed to get used to the Western European
  feeding. I replied that the prisoners of war could not do
  the work required of them in the Boiler Construction Shop
  on that food, and that it was not practical for us to
  have these people in the works any longer under such
  conditions. At the same time I demanded that if the
  Russians continued to be employed, they should be given a
  hot midday meal and that, if possible, the bread ration
  should be split so that one half was distributed early in
  the morning and the second half during our breakfast
  break. My suggestion has already been carried out by us
  with the French prisoners of war and has proved to be
  very practical and good.
  
  Unfortunately, however, Dr. Lehmann took no notice of my
  suggestion and, on this account, I naturally had to take
  matters into my own hands and therefore told Herr
  Soehling to get the feeding of the Russian prisoners of
  war organized on exactly the same lines as the French, so
  that the Russians could, as soon as possible, carry out
  the work they were supposed to do. For the whole thing
  concerns an increase in production such as is demanded
  from us by the Minister of Armament and Munitions and by
  the DAF."

Now, I ask you, if the action of the Chief of the locomotive
construction works was not entirely a necessary action in
the interests of production?

A. It is clear that a worker who has not enough food cannot
achieve a good output. I said yesterday that every head of a
plant, and I too at the top, was naturally interested in
having well-fed and satisfied workers, because badly fed,
dissatisfied workers make more mistakes and produce poor
results.

I should like to comment on this document. The document is
dated 25th February, 1942. At that time there were official
instructions that the Russian prisoners of war and also the
Russian civilian workers who came to the Reich should be
treated worse than the Western prisoners of war and the
Western civilian workers. I learned of this through
complaints from the heads of concerns. In my document book
which dates from the middle of March, 1942 - that is three
or four weeks after this document - there is a Fuehrer
protocol, resulting from my calling Hitler's attention to
the fact that the feeding both of Russian prisoners of war
and of Russian workers was absolutely inadequate and that
they would have to be given an adequate diet and that,
moreover, the Russian workers were being kept behind barbed
wire like prisoners of war and that that would have to be
stopped also. The protocol shows that in both cases I
succeeded in getting Hitler to agree that conditions should
be changed and they were changed.

I must say furthermore that it was a real service on the
part of Sauckel that he now fought against this policy and
did everything he could to have the foreign workers and
prisoners of war treated better and given adequate food.

Q. Well, we will deal with the conditions later. Because I
am going to ask you, if you were not responsible and Sauckel
was not responsible, who was responsible for these
conditions, and you can keep it in mind that that is the
question I am leading up to.

I will show you a new document, 398-D, Exhibit USA 894A, a
statement taken by the British-American representatives
during their investigation of this labour camp at Krupp's.

Well, Document 321-D. I can use that just as well. We will
use Document 321-D, which becomes Exhibit USA 894.

THE PRESIDENT: 894 was the last number you gave us. What
number is this document that you are now offering?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Document 398 was Exhibit 894. 321 will
be 895.

                                                   [Page 63]

BY MR. JUSTICE JACKSON:

Q. Now, this relates to an employee of the Reich Railways.
None of our investigation, I may say, is based upon the
statements of the prisoners themselves.

  "I, the undersigned, Adam Schmidt, employed as
  Betriebswart on the Essen West Railway Station and
  residing - " stating his residence - "make the following
  statement voluntarily and on oath:
  
  I have been employed by the Reich Railway since 1918 and
  have been at Essen West Station since 1935. In the middle
  of 1941 the first workers arrived from Poland, Galicia
  and Polish Ukraine. They came to Essen in goods wagons in
  which potatoes, building materials and also cattle had
  been transported, and were brought to work at Krupp's.
  The trucks were crammed full with people. My personal
  view was that it was inhuman to transport people in such
  a manner. The people were squashed closely together and
  they had no room for free movement. The Krupp overseers
  prided themselves on the speed with which the slave
  workers were got in and out of the trucks. It was
  enraging for every decent German who had to watch this,
  to see how the people were beaten and kicked and
  generally maltreated in a brutal manner. In the very
  beginning when the first transports arrived we could see
  how inhumanly these people were treated. Every truck was
  so overcrowded that it was incredible that such a number
  of people could be crammed into one. I could see with my
  own eyes that sick people who could scarcely walk (they
  were mostly people with foot trouble, or with injuries
  and people with internal trouble) were nevertheless taken
  to work. One could see that it was sometimes difficult
  for them to move. The same can be said of the Eastern
  workers and prisoners of war who came to Essen in the
  middle of 1942."

He then describes their clothing and their food. In the
interest of time, I will not attempt to read the entire
thing.

Do you consider that that, too, is an exaggerated statement?

A. When the workers came to Germany from the East, their
clothing was no doubt bad, but I know from Sauckel that
whilst he was in office a lot was done to get them better
clothes, and in Germany many of the Russian workers
experienced much better conditions than they had previously
known in Russia. The Russian workers were quite satisfied in
Germany. If they arrived here in rags, that does not mean
that that was our fault. We could not use ragged workers
with poor shoes in our industry, so conditions were
improved.

Q. Well, now, I would like to call your attention to
Document 398-D.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, before you pass from that, what do you
say about the conditions of the transports? The question you
were asked was whether this was an exaggerated account. You
have not answered that except in reference to clothing.

THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I cannot give any information
about this transport matter. I received no reports about it.

BY MR. JUSTICE JACKSON

Q. Well, I will ask you about Document 398-D, which becomes
Exhibit USA 894. This is a statement by Hofer, living in
Essen. He says:

  "From April, 1943, I worked with Lowenkamp every day in
  the armour building shop No. 4. Lowenkamp was very brutal
  to the foreigners. He confiscated food which belonged to
  the prisoners of war and took it home. Every day he
  mishandled Eastern workers, Russian prisoners of war,
  French, Italian, and other foreign civilians. He had a
  steel box built which was so small that one could hardly
  stand init. He locked up foreigners in the box, women
  too, for 48 hours at a time without giving the people
  food.
  
  They were not released even to relieve nature. It was
  forbidden for other people to give any help to the
  persons locked in, or to release them.

                                                   [Page 64]

  Whilst clearing an unofficial camp, he fired on escaping
  Russian civilians without hitting any of them.
  
  One day, whilst distributing food, I saw how he hit a
  French civilian in the face with a ladle and made his
  face bleed. Further, when Russian girls gave birth he
  never bothered about the babies. There was never any milk
  for them so the Russians had to feed the children with
  sugar water. When Lowenkamp was arrested he wrote two
  letters and sent them to me through his wife. He tried to
  make out that he never hit people ...."

There is a good deal more of this, but I will not bother to
put it into the record.

Is it your view that this is exaggerated?

A. I consider this affidavit a lie. I should like to say
that among German people such things do not happen, and if
such individual cases occurred they were punished. It is not
possible to drag the German people in the dirt in such a
way. The heads of concerns were decent people too and took
interest in their workers. If the head of the Krupp plant
heard about such things, he certainly took steps immediately
to put a stop to them.

Q. Well, what about the steel boxes? Or do you not believe
the steel-box story?

A. No, I do not believe it, I do not believe it is true.
After the collapse in 1945 a lot of affidavits were drawn
up, which certainly do not correspond to the truth. That is
not your fault. It is the fault of ... well, after a defeat,
it is quite possible that people do make false statements
like that.

Q. Well, I would like to have you examine Document 258 and I
attach importance to this as establishing the SS as being
the guards:

  "The camp inmates were mostly Jewish women and girls from
  Hungary and Roumania. The camp inmates were brought to
  Essen at the beginning of 1944 and were put to work at
  Krupp's. The accommodation and feeding of the camp
  prisoners were of a low standard. At first the prisoners
  were accommodated in simple wooden huts. These huts were
  burned down during an air raid and from that time on the
  prisoners had to sleep in a damp cellar. Their beds were
  made on the floor and each consisted of a straw-filled
  sack and two blankets. In most cases it was not possible
  for the prisoners to wash themselves daily, as there was
  no water. There was no possibility of having a bath.
  
  I could often observe from the Krupp factory, during the
  lunch break, how the prisoners boiled their underclothing
  in an old bucket or container over a wood fire, and
  cleaned themselves. A trench served as an air-raid
  shelter, whilst the SS guards went to the Humboldt
  shelter, which was bomb-proof.
  
  Reveille was at 5 a.m. There was no coffee or any food
  served in the morning. They marched off to the factory at
  5.15 a.m. They marched for three-quarters of an hour to
  the factory, poorly clothed and badly shod, some without
  shoes, and covered with a blanket, in rain or snow. Work
  began at 6 a.m. The lunch break was from 12 to 12.30.
  Only during the break was it at all possible for the
  prisoners to cook something for themselves from potato
  peelings and other garbage.
  
  The daily working period was one of ten to eleven hours.
  Although the prisoners were completely undernourished,
  their work was very heavy physically. The prisoners were
  often ill-treated at their work benches by Nazi overseers
  and female SS guards. At 5 or 6 in the afternoon they
  were marched back to camp. The accompanying guards
  consisted of female SS who, in spite of protests from the
  civilian population, often ill-treated the prisoners on
  the way back, kicking and hitting them and abusing them
  in foul language. If often happened that individual women
  or girls had to be carried back to the camp by their
  comrades owing to exhaustion. At 6 or 7 p.m. these
  exhausted people arrived back in camp. Then the real
  midday meal was distributed. This consisted of cabbage
  soup. This was followed

                                                   [Page 65]

  by the evening meal of watery soup and a piece of bread
  which was for the following day. Occasionally the food on
  Sundays was better. As long as it existed there was never
  any inspection of the camp by members of the firm of
  Krupp. On 13th March, 1945, the camp prisoners were
  brought to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, from there some
  were sent to work. The camp commandant was SS
  Oberscharfuehrer Rick."

The rest of it does not matter. In your estimation that, I
suppose, is also an exaggeration?

THE WITNESS From the document -

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: May I hear the answer. I thought the
defendant said something.

DR. FLAECHSNER: May I call the attention of the Tribunal to
the document itself, of which I have only a copy? It is
headed "Before a Military Court, under oath," and there is
an ordinary signature under it. It does not say that it is
an affidavit or a statement in lieu of oath, or any other
such thing, it says only "Further inquiries must be made,"
and it is signed by Hubert Karden. That is apparently the
name of the man who was making the statement.

Then there is another signature, "Kriminalassistent on
probation." That is a police official who may later have the
chance of becoming a candidate for the criminal service. He
has signed it. Then there is another signature, "C.E. Long,
Major President."

There is not a word in this document to the effect that any
of these three people want to vouch for the contents of this
as an affidavit. I do not believe this document can be
considered an affidavit in that sense, or can be used as
such.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Mr. Justice Jackson? Do you wish to say
anything?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The document speaks for itself. As I
have pointed out to this witness, I am giving him the result
of an investigation. I am not accusing him of personal
responsibility for these conditions. I intend to ask him
some questions about responsibility for conditions in the
camp.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there is a statement at the top of the
copy that I have got, "Sworn on oath before a Military
Court."

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, it was taken in Essen during this
investigation. And of course, if I was charging this
particular defendant with the responsibility there might be
some argument about it. It comes under the provision of the
Charter which authorises the receipt here of proceedings of
other courts.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got the original document here?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes.

(A document was submitted to the Tribunal.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal sees no objection to the
document being used in cross-examination.

Did you give it an exhibit number?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I should have; it is Exhibit USA 896.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

BY MR. JUSTICE JACKSON

Q. I now want to call your attention to Document 382-D.

A. I wanted to comment on the document.


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