The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Well, you have no knowledge of the methods by which the
SS would be able to speed up production by prisoners of war.
That is the way you want that to stand?

A. No, that is not the way I want it to stand. I have to
think this point over for a moment. I believe the point was
whether or not prisoners of war should be made available. It
was not a question of prisoners of war working for the SS,
but of their being made available for work. That, I take it,
was the point.

Q. Put at the disposal of the SS, you mean?

Well, let us go on to the 33rd Conference by the Central
Planning Board, held on 16th February, 1943, at which Speer
and Sauckel among others, appear to have been present. The
English translation is on Page 28; the German, Page 2276 to
2307. There was at this meeting, to summarize, considerable
discussion of the labour situation, first a report from
Schreiber, and then Timm gave a general account of the
labour situation, and I call your attention to your
contribution on Page 2298 at the top.

A. Yes, I have just read it.

Q. It is as follows:

  "Milch: We have demanded that in the anti-aircraft
  artillery a certain percentage of personnel should
  consist of Russians. Fifty thousand in all should be
  brought in. Thirty thousand are already employed as
  gunners. This is an amusing thing that Russians must work
  the guns."

What was amusing about making the Russian prisoners of war
work the guns?

A. The words "We have demanded," do not mean the Central
Planning Board, but that Hitler made this demand.

Q. "We" means Hitler?

A. Yes, the German Government.

And I myself find it strange that prisoners of war should be
made to shoot at the planes of their allies. We did not like
it because it meant that these men could no longer work for
us. We were opposed to their being used in the anti-aircraft

Q. You said: "This is an amusing thing that the Russians
must work the guns."

What was amusing about it?

A. What is meant by amusing? . . . peculiar, strange. I
cannot say, however, whether this word was actually used. I
have not seen the minutes.

Q. Now, I call your attention to the rest of your

  "20,000 are still needed. Yesterday, I received a letter
  from the Army High Command, stating: We cannot release
  any more men, we have not enough ourselves. Thus there is
  no prospect for us."

Whom does "for us" refer to, if not to your industrial

A. I consider these minutes incorrect. It has never been
discussed in this manner, it must be wrong. I cannot accept
the minutes as they stand.

To clarify this matter I may say that the proposal was to
take people out of the armament industry and put them into
anti-aircraft defence. We who were concerned with armament
did not want to release these men and were opposed to it.
That was the idea of the whole thing, and the OKH declared
that they did not have enough people.

Q. I understand the sense of this to be that you applied for
certain workmen for the armament industry and that the Army
High Command refused to give you the men, saying that they
are already employed making guns and on other work. Now, is
that the sense of that or is it not?

                                                  [Page 289]

A. No, not quite.

Q. Now, just tell me what the sense of it is.

A. As far as I remember, the armament industry was to
release 50,000 Russian prisoners of war to the Air Force for
anti-aircraft defence, and that the armament industry could
not spare these people.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid we must adjourn due to some
technical difficulty.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, it may be convenient to
you to know that we are going to rise at 4.30 today.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I hope to have finished before then.

Q. I will call your attention to Page 2297, in the English
translation about Page 28, to your contributions, which
reads as follows:-

  "Milch: There is, of course, a front also somewhere in
  the East. This front will be held for a certain time. The
  only useful thing the Russians will find in an area
  evacuated by us is people. The question is whether the
  people should not generally be taken back as far as 100
  kms. behind the front line. The whole civilian population
  goes 100 kms. behind the front."

Do you find that?

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. I understood you this morning to state that it was a rule
promulgated in your book that the civilian population should
not be interfered with.

A. From the last paragraph, according to which people were
no longer to be employed on digging trenches, it appears
that these people were last employed on this work. I cannot
say what kind of people these were, only that they were
already employed somewhere.

Q. And you knew that. You knew that they were being used for
that kind of work?

A. So it says here. I do not remember it any more. It has
been recorded in the minutes, provided they are correct.

Q. And you knew they were being used, the civilian
population was being forced to dig trenches for your troops.

A. Today I cannot remember any more, but at that time it was
discussed according to the minutes.

Q. Now, I will call your attention to the minutes of
Conference No. 11 of the Central Planning Board, held on
22nd July, 1942; German, Page 3062; English translation, 38.

First let me call your attention to the fact that at that
meeting it appears that among those present were Speer,
yourself, Koerner - did Koerner represent the Reichsmarshal?

A. Yes, for the Four Year Plan; he was the representative
for the Four Year Plan.

Q. At all meetings of this Board Koerner represented the
Reichsmarshal, did he not?

A. Yes. He represented him as regards the Four Year Plan.

Q. And Sauckel was present, and representatives from the
Iron Association, the Coal Association, and the Ministry for
Armament and Munitions.

A. Yes.

Q. There was considerable discussion of the labour problem,
and the requirements of those industries. On Page 3062 I
call your attention to this entry:

  "General Field-Marshal Milch undertakes to accelerate the
  procuring of the Russian prisoners of war from the

I ask you what measures you expected to take to accelerate
procuring prisoners of war from the camps?

A. Since I was a soldier, I undertook to submit this
question to the OKW, which was in charge of prisoners of

                                                  [Page 290]

Q. You did not personally deal with the prisoners of war,
but you undertook to obtain them from the OKW?

A. The Government had put these prisoners of war at our
disposal for work. The transfer was very slow and as we had
to deal with the OKW in this matter, I was asked and I
undertook to request the OKW to speed up the transfer.

Q. Now let us turn to Conference No. 36, dated 22nd April,
1943; the English translation, Page 13; German 2125. There
again I call your attention to the fact that Speer,
yourself, Sauckel, and Koerner were among those present.
There again you discussed the labour problem, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And Koerner reported as follows:-

  "On the 1st of April agriculture was still in need of
  about 600,000 workers. To cover this, labour from the
  East, mainly women, should be brought in. This labour
  must be supplied before we take other workers away from
  agriculture. We are now approaching a very busy season in
  work on the land which requires many workers." - and
  considerably more, which I will not take the time to

I call your attention to Page 2128, your contribution to
that discussion, which reads as follows:-

  "If you do what I proposed and what has also been agreed
  to by Timm, no harm can be done. It should definitely be
  done. Moreover, I am also of the opinion that in any
  circumstances we have to bring in workers for coal
  mining. The bulk of the labour we are going to receive
  from the East, will be women. The women from the East
  are, however, accustomed to agricultural work,
  particularly to the kind of work which will have to be
  done during the next few weeks - e.g., hoeing and
  planting of root crops, etc. We can use women quite well
  for this. Only one thing has to be kept in mind:
  agriculture must get the women before the men are taken
  away. It would be wrong to take the men away and to leave
  the farmers without labour for four to six weeks. If the
  women came after that, it will be too late."

I ask you how many women were transported to agriculture as
a result of this conference?

A. As a result of this conference, none at all, as only
suggestions were put forward by us for an arrangement
between industry and agriculture to procure the necessary
labour for the former. Without the necessary labour in the
coal-mining industry the war could not be carried on.
Therefore, labour had to be found, and in this respect a
suggestion was made for an exchange, namely to replace men
engaged in agriculture by women, who, of course, could not
be put to work in the mines.

Q. To whom did you make these suggestions? You say they were
not decisions
but just suggestions.

A. The suggestions were made to representatives of the
Ministry of Labour or to the Labour Employment Office. I see
Timm is mentioned. He was one of the higher officials in
this ministry.

Q. And Sauckel?

A. I do not know whether Sauckel attended that conference. I
only see Timm's name.

Q. It appears from the minutes that he was there, but
whether he was or not, you made suggestions to Sauckel as to
the needs for labour, did you not, and called upon him to
supply them?

A. Yes, it was necessary to get workers for coal-mining. New
workers could not be found, thus there was no alternative
but to make an exchange.

Q. We understand you. You will save a great deal of our time
if you will just answer the questions.

Now I call your attention to Conference No. 54 of the
Central Planning Board, held on 1st March, 1944, English
translation Page 1, German Page 1762.

                                                  [Page 291]

At this conference I remind you that it appears that
Sauckel, Milch, Schreiber, and Turner were among those
present. It was held at the Ministry for Air Transport, and
you discussed the desirability of draining off young men
from France so that they would not be available to act as
partisans in case there was an invasion by the Allies of
French territory.

Do you recall such a meeting?

A. I cannot remember details. In the course of other
interrogations here in Nuremberg and in England, I already
stated that it is impossible to remember all these matters
in detail, which were heaped upon us, especially as my
memory has suffered, because at the time of my capture I
received heavy blows on the head.

Q. It will help you if you will refer to Page 1799, opposite
the name "Milch," and read the entry, as follows:

  "Milch: If landings take place in France and more or less
  succeed, we will have in France a partisan uprising, such
  as we never had in the Balkans or in the East, not
  because the people there are particularly able to carry
  it through, but because we allow them to do so by failing
  to deal with them in the right manner. Four entire age
  groups have grown up in France, men between 18 and 23,
  that is, of an age when young people, for patriotic
  reasons or because they have been stirred up, are
  prepared to do anything to satisfy personal hatred - and
  it is only natural that they do hate us. These young men
  should have been registered according to age groups, and
  brought to us, as they constitute the greatest danger in
  the event of a landing.
  I am firmly convinced, and have said so several times: If
  and when the invasion starts, acts of sabotage to
  railways, works and supply bases will be a daily
  occurrence. The Wehrmacht, however, will then no longer
  be able to deal with this internal situation, as it will
  have to fight at the front and will have in its rear a
  very dangerous enemy who will threaten supplies, etc.
  Therefore, if severe executive measures are taken, all
  would be as quiet as the grave behind the front when
  things are about to happen. I have drawn attention to
  this several times, but I am afraid nothing is being
  done. When we have to start shooting these people it will
  already be too late. We shall no longer have the men to
  polish off the partisans."

You then go on to state that you think the Army should
handle the executive action required in rounding up these

Does that refresh your recollection?

A. Yes, that was roughly what I meant to say, but I cannot
say whether I used these very words. In this life and death
struggle of our country we had to ensure that we were not
suddenly stabbed in the back by a secret army, as
unfortunately happened later on.

Q. And you proposed to eliminate the population behind the
lines insofar as they might constitute a menace to your
operations in this invasion?

A. No, it was proposed to send these people to work in
Germany, as had been promised by the French Government. That
was my view. It was necessary that these people should come
to work in Germany, as the French Government had promised in
its agreement with the German Government, instead of
allowing these people to join the Maquis and commit
sabotage, which would necessitate shootings as a counter-

Q. You did not confine your use of forced labour to your
enemies; it was also applied against your own allies, was it
not? For example, turn to Page 1814, and did you not
contribute to this discussion?

  "Milch: Would not the S-factories (i.e., protected
  factories) be better protected if we handle the whole
  problem of feeding the Italians and tell them: 'You will
  get your grub only if you work in S-factories or come to

A. That was after a part of Italy had broken away, and it
applied to Italian soldiers who had declared themselves
against Mussolini. These people remained

                                                  [Page 292]

behind the front, did not want to work, and committed
sabotage against the German Armed Forces. Thus it was
proposed to say to these people, "You will get your food and
everything else provided, but you will have to work
somewhere, either in Italy in the iron ore mines or in

Q. I think you said in your direct examination, or perhaps
earlier in your cross-examination, that you did not know
about any forced labour from occupied territory, you had no
knowledge of that. Is that still your statement?

A. I have not quite understood that. Forced labour?

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