The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Witness, motor transport was a particularly difficult
problem at the time. Were the number of trucks and the
quantity of fuel to drive them cut down when transport was
allocated to the armaments industry, and what orders
regarding trucks did Speer issue in mid-February? Do you

A. I know that trucks were always in such short supply in
the armament industry, that not even essential orders could
be filled. All kinds of alternative transport had to be
found, such as electric trams, a great number of horse-carts
and other vehicles. But as far as my knowledge goes, here
too, Speer used this means of transport for the benefit of
the German population, in order to maintain some sort of
food distributing organization.

Q. Fuel was, at that time, one of the most serious bottle-
necks, was it not?

A. It was in fact the most serious bottle-neck of all.

Q. Witness, do you happen to know that after February 1945,
Speer granted priority to repair work on nitrogen factories
producing fertilizers for agriculture, which meant that
repairs to fuel producing plants had to take second place,
and that at a most critical time?

A. Yes, I do know, because Speer discussed with me in great
detail the emergency measures to be taken, now that we were
faced with imminent and inevitable collapse. He was of the
opinion that first and foremost, everything that was still
possible should be done to help the German people to get
through the very hard times which would follow the collapse.
These first measures dealt with food supplies, salvage of
food supplies and transport for distribution.

Secondly, he sought to avoid the destruction of those German
factories still in our possession, which was in direct
opposition to Hitler's "scorched earth" tactics.

Thirdly, he discussed the switch-over from war to peace-time
production of those factories which might still be standing.
First of all he had in mind agricultural machinery and spare
parts, and banked upon the assumption that, if once the
orders were placed, they would be carried out in spite of
the upheaval; for instance, even if some German factories
passed into enemy hands, or when, the fighting, having
ceased, the government armament contracts would
automatically fizzle out.

Q. Witness, we have now connected up an entire series of
questions and I am most grateful to you. I should, however,
like to ask you one more question: Could you give us any
further details about the prevention of destruction?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, will you explain to me why
this evidence that you are calling now is relevant and to
what charge it is relevant?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, the defendant Speer is
charged with participating in the conspiracy and in the
common plan for waging aggressive warfare until 7th May,
1945. If I can now prove that his activities, at least for
some time before that date, were incompatible with such
common plan, then this item of evidence would be relevant to
the question, whether this charge of the Indictment is
justified or not.

THE PRESIDENT: All the evidence that you have been giving
for the last fifteen minutes was related to 1943 and 1944,
and to conferences with reference to the erection of
factories for the production of bombers and the fact that -
as far as I have understood it - the fact that Speer was
engaged more on attempting to feed the German people than on
building armament factories. What that has to do with it, I
have no idea.

DR. FLAECHSNER: The first point referred to Document 1584-
PS, which the prosecution submitted as incriminating my
client; the document says that, at a conference on the
Obersalzberg, the construction of certain factories was
ordered, and that 100,000 Hungarian Jews were employed on
this construction. The purpose of the interrogation of this
witness was to establish that the defendant Speer

                                                  [Page 266]

could not be held responsible for this construction, since
Hitler had given the order for this work directly to
somebody else, and to eliminate this particular point,
submitted by the prosecution in support of their charge.
That was the purpose of the first question. The purpose of
the second question, concerning the avoidance of destruction
and the safeguarding of agricultural produce and the food
supply of the German people, refers to the accusation of
participating in a conspiracy for the execution of a common
plan, whereas all the activities, just confirmed by the
witness, were bent toward an entirely different aim and had
no place in the common plan, as alleged by the prosecution:
They did not serve the war effort but were directed towards
peace-time economy.

THE PRESIDENT: There is no charge against Speer on the
ground that he attempted to feed the German people during
the war. The prosecution have not laid that against him as a

DR. FLAECHSNER: But, Mr. President, I never said that the
prosecution had raised this charge against him. There must
have been a mistake in the transmission.

Q. One last question, witness. Can you tell us to what
extent Speer informed the Fuehrer at a later date of the
results of the heavy air raids on Hamburg and other cities?

A. He gave the Fuehrer the fullest information, and
repeatedly drew his attention to the difficulties.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Thank you.

DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (counsel for the defendant Sauckel):

Q. Witness, did the Central Planning Board also concern
itself with labour problems?

A. Yes.

Q. Were the manpower requirements fixed?

A. They were fixed by the respective industries and reported
through the Labour Exchanges. We also submitted figures on
the shortages of manpower in the armament industry.

Q. May I interrupt you? What did you do, once the
requirements were established? And what was the purpose of
establishing them?

A. They showed the shortages in manpower caused by the
continual calling-up of the workers for war service.

Q. Was this not done in order to bring in more workers?

A. The request for more workers came from the factories. We
sided with the factories in their negotiations with Sauckel
by telling him that an industry had applied for so many
workers. We told him, for instance, which of their figures
were too high, according to our calculations.

Q. Did the figures represent the sum total of the workers

A. No. It was a general figure according to the statistics
supplied by Sauckel's labour exchanges.

Q. Who fixed the requirements, Sauckel, or the applicants
for labour?

A. The factories did.

Q. What was the Central Planning Board's task in connection
with labour problems?

A. The Central Planning Board dealt with the distribution of
raw materials. It also had to see that raw materials were
made available . . .

Q. My question concerns the workers and not raw materials.

A. Please wait until I have finished what I want to say. You
will then understand what I mean. The raw materials had to
be produced and their production called for workers. For
instance, in the mining industry and the aluminium factories
. . .

Q. Witness, may I interrupt you? It is clear that workers
are essential for production, but what I want to know is who
made the request for labour, and who, in the last analysis,
established the numbers of workers required?

                                                  [Page 267]

A. The factories made the request and Sauckel established
the figures; he placed at their disposal as many workers as
he could get, but the numbers were always below the figure

Q. In this connection did he have a free hand, or did the
Fuehrer make the decisions?

A. As far as I know, the Fuehrer intervened very frequently
and Sauckel was often summoned to confer with Hitler.

Q. Were there not discussions at the Fuehrer's quarters on
all essential programmes, especially those involving

A. No, not all programmes, but occasionally these matters
were discussed. However, the discussions with the Fuehrer
about labour problems were mostly very brief. He did not
wish to discuss the wider issues of this matter.

Q. What had the Four-Year Plan to do with the matter?

A. The Four-Year Plan, as far as I know, also dealt with
these problems. But I rather think that in this respect it
served as an auxiliary organization for Hitler, who did not
wish to discuss these matters in detail.

Q. Do you know that according to the rules Sauckel had to
subordinate himself to the Four-Year
Plan-i.e., to Goering, and that he had to receive orders
from him?

A. I do not exactly know how matters stood.

Q. One more question. How did the workers, the foreign
workers, behave; were they willing and hard working?

A. The majority were excellent workers.

Q. How do you account for that?

A. In the first years the workers were pleased to be able to
get work and food. We treated them well, as far as I can
judge, and their rations were larger than those of the
German population. They received extra rations on the same
scale as the German workers, for work in the heavy and
medium heavy industries, also for overtime. The French and
Russian workers worked exceptionally well. I occasionally
heard complaints about the Dutch workers.

Q. Are you familiar with Sauckel's regulations concerning
the welfare of the foreign workers?

A. I remember that on one occasion Sauckel spoke to us on
this subject at the headquarters of the Central Planning

Q. Did he show a humane or a severe attitude?

A. His intentions were entirely humane. Sauckel had been set
a very difficult task by Hitler. As far as I know, he had
been a working man himself and, as a seaman, had worked very
hard in his time; consequently, he was kindly disposed
towards the workers.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to ask the

DR. JAHRREISS (counsel for the defendant Jodl):

Q. Witness! did you take part in the 1937 Wehrmacht

A. In Mecklenburg, I believe.

Q. Yes, that is so. Do you remember if any foreign officers
were present as guests?

A. Yes. I know that a large British military mission was
present and a general, who later was appointed Governor of

Q. General Ironside?

A. Yes, Ironside. I spoke to him personally and also
welcomed some of the gentlemen of his staff.
There were also Italian officers and officers from many
other countries. At the moment I cannot say what countries
they were, because I have forgotten.

Q. Was there by any chance a French military mission as

A. I think so, but I cannot say for certain - I cannot
remember so far back. But I did speak to General Ironside.

                                                  [Page 268]

Q. Witness, do you know if at that time these foreign
officers were also shown the most up-to-date German armament

A. Yes.

Q. Was all the equipment demonstrated in action?

A. Everything was demonstrated in action, with the exception
of a new aeroplane not yet in commission, but even this was
shown in the unfinished stage.

Q. Do you know if we, that is, Germany, also allowed foreign
powers to inspect our air raid precautions equipment?

A. Yes, on many occasions. A Mr. Fraser came to see me from
England together with Lord Trenchard. Mr. Fraser was
interested in air-raid precautions equipment, and was
immediately shown the latest developments.

Q. When was that, please?

A. I think it was in 1937 or 1938, but I will see if I can
find the date. It was on the 1st of July, 1937.

Q. Do you remember if anybody else came from England at a
later date?

A. It was later followed by a personal interchange between
our services and the British, I myself, having brought them
together, took no further part in the matter.

Q. Thank you. One more question. Do you remember the
conflict which arose over the re-occupation of the

A. Yes.

Q. You also know how great was the excitement it caused.

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Luftwaffe also take part in the re-occupation of
the Rhineland; to be precise - of the left bank of the

A. I cannot, at the moment, answer this question. The re-
occupation of the Rhineland was so sudden that I was taken
unawares while on leave. When I returned, the occupation was
well under way. I know that Dusseldorf had been occupied and
that the Luftwaffe had taken part. I myself went there a few
days later.

Q. But that is on the right bank of the Rhine?

A. That is on the right bank.

Q. Then you know nothing about the left bank of the Rhine?

A. No. I cannot say anything about it at the moment. I do
not believe there was an airfield there, anyhow I cannot
remember exactly.

Q. You say that the re-occupation of the Rhineland was very
sudden. But had nothing been arranged beforehand by the
Luftwaffe to provide for such an event?

A. The decision was made when I was on leave and everything
we had was naturally used for this purpose, but we did not
have very much.

Q. Quite so, but let us get it quite clear. Was the
Luftwaffe warned for the first time while you were on leave?

A. Yes, definitely; otherwise I would not have gone on

Q. What was the earliest date on which the Luftwaffe was
warned before the re-occupation?

A. It might have been a matter of fourteen to sixteen days.
That would be the maximum.

Q. Witness, on Friday you made a statement about the part
played by the Luftwaffe in the military operations for the
completion of the "Anschluss" policy in March 1938. On what
day did the preparations begin?

A. The preparations began less than forty-eight hours

Q. And when did you first learn that military preparations
were to be made for the solution of this problem?

A. About thirty-six hours before the march into Austria.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you.

                                                  [Page 269]

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