The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1998/03/27

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Mr. President, with the approval of the Court, and with the
same brevity as heretofore -- and I hope the Tribunal will
appreciate the care I am taking not to abuse its patience --
I should like to say a few words on the individual charge
against the defendant Fritz Sauckel.

Your Honours, the Tribunal is already acquainted with the
really remarkable work, the genuinely positive work,
presented to it some time ago by my colleague and friend, M.
Jacques Bernard Herzog. That is why, with your permission, I
shall pass over the facts themselves, which are known to
you, and limit myself to the part beginning on Page 3 of my
exposition, and we shall examine together, it pleases the
Tribunal, the grounds for the plea advanced up to now by the
defendant Fritz Sauckel.

One question must be asked first of all: Was Fritz Sauckel
acting under orders when he carried out this recruiting --
so-called voluntary in part but compulsory in most cases --
this recruiting of laborers destined to meet the needs of
the Reich?

According to Sauckel, when he was appointed Plenipotentiary
for the Employment of Labor on 27th March, 1942, his initial
programme did not include the conscription of foreign
workers and it is supposed to have been Hitler who then
intervened. Now it is striking, your Honours, when you read
the minutes of the interrogations, and, I am sure, when the

                                                  [Page 124]
speak before the Tribunal, you will see that most of them
take refuge behind two great shadows, the shadow of the
former Fuehrer and the shadow of his accursed second-in-
command, Himmler. Here we can see Hitler intervening to tell
Sauckel, according to the latter, that the use of foreign
workers in the occupied territories is not contrary to the
Hague Convention for two reasons:

     "First, the countries involved surrendered
     unconditionally, and consequently we can impose any
     kind of labor Conditions on them.
     The second reason, which concerns the U.S.S.R., is that
     Russia was not a signatory to these conventions.
     Consequently, in the case of Russia, in recruiting
     labour by force and working the men to death, we are
     not violating The Hague Convention."
This, your Honours, is the reasoning of the defendant
Sauckel on this point, without the addition of a single
word. Hitler is supposed to have ordered him to recruit
workers, first by using persuasion and then by all the means
of compulsion which you already know: withdrawal of ration
cards, for instance, which compelled men, who saw their
wives and children starving, to volunteer for work which
would be used against their own fellow citizens and against
the soldiers of the Allied armies, with whom lay all their

The Tribunal will know how to deal with such an excuse for,
in the first place, Sauckel, by virtue of the powers
conferred upon him by his office, enjoyed full authority in
regard to everything concerned with the labor necessary for
the execution of the Four Year Plan. On the other hand, on
taking up his appointment as Plenipotentiary for the
Employment of Labor, Sauckel knew that he would be unable to
carry out his mission without resorting sooner or later to
methods of coercion.

In any case, most of the defendants who are before you
enjoyed the most extensive powers -- indeed, autonomous
power. Consequently, they cannot shelter behind orders

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, you must forgive me if I
interrupt you, but as I pointed out yesterday, I think we
have already had an opening statement which contained
argument from the United States, from Great Britain, and
from M. Menthon on behalf of France, and we have in the past
confined other counsel who have followed them to a
presentation of the evidence and have not permitted them to
go into an argument.

I am not sure that that rule has been strictly carried out
in all cases because it is, perhaps, somewhat difficult to
confine the matter, but we have on several occasions pointed
out to counsel who have followed the counsel who has made
the leading statement that they ought to confine themselves
to a presentation of the evidence. I think the Tribunal
would wish you, if possible, to adhere to that rule, and
therefore not to argue the case but to present the evidence,
that is to say, to refer us to the evidence insofar as it
has already been put in evidence, to refer us to it by its
number, possibly stating what the substance of the evidence
is, and, in reference to any document which has not yet been
put in evidence, to read such parts of that document as you
think necessary.

M. MOUNIER: Very well, Mr. President, to meet the wishes of
the Tribunal, I shall limit myself, as concerns the
defendant Sauckel, to referring to figures, which, it seems
to me, do not admit of argument, since they are the figures
given by the defendant Sauckel himself under interrogation.
This does not seem to me to infringe the rule which the
President has just drawn to my attention.

The figures stated are the following: In 1942 there were
already  1,000,000 foreign workers in Germany. In one year
Sauckel incorporated into the economy of the Reich some
1,600,000 million war prisoners to meet the needs of war

I beg to refer the Tribunal to the document numbered 1411 in
my document book. This is an interrogation of the defendant
Speer under the date of 18th October, 1945, which has
already been submitted by the United States prosecution on
12th December, 1945, as Exhibit USA 220. In this
interrogation the

                                                  [Page 125]
defendant Speer states that 40 per cent of all prisoners of
war were employed in the production of arms and munitions
and in related industries.

I likewise recall, as Exhibit RF 1412, Exhibit USA 225 of
13th December, 1945, a memorandum signed by Lammers, Chief
of the Reich Chancellery, giving an account of the
discussion which occurred at a conference held on 4th
January, 1944. On that date, 4th January, 1944, in the
course of a conference, at which, in addition to the
defendant Sauckel, the Fuehrer himself, Himmler, Speer,
Keitel, Field Marshal Milch, and others were present, the
number of new workers to be furnished by Sauckel was fixed
at 4,000,000.

I must mention in this connection that in the course of this
meeting Sauckel, expressed doubts as to the possibility of
furnishing this number of workers unless he were given
sufficient police forces, was assured by Himmler that he
would try to help Sauckel to achieve this objective by means
of increased pressure.

Consequently, when the defendant Sauckel claims, as he
probably will do, that he had absolutely nothing to do with
the institution, now hated by everyone, known as the
Gestapo, we may answer him by official German documents
showing that for the recruitment of labor he really did
employ the police with all the more or less condemned means
already pointed out to you.

As for France alone, the demand for workers at the beginning
of 1944 amounted to 1,000,000, and this figure was over and
above the number of men and women workers already sent to
Germany, who in June, 1944, numbered 1,000,000 to 1,500,000.

The defendant Sauckel consequently committed the offenses
already known to the Court. We have an old adage, an old
slogan we may say, according to which "The Court is the law"
and it is proper to present only the facts. I shall,
therefore, abstain from reading the passage on Page 9 of my
presentation dealing with those articles of the law under
which the activities of the accused, Sauckel, are

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