The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/10/08

Dr. SAUTER, Continued:

Where, in spite of these regulations, the old methods were
applied by the police, Sauckel always intervened when he
heard of such occurrences. This has been confirmed
repeatedly by witnesses. I refer particularly to Exhibit
Sauckel 10, the statement by the witness Gotz.

Another controversial point was the marking of workers with
the badge "OST", which was maintained until the year 1944
and was then replaced by a national insignia. This marking
of the Eastern workers who were allowed to move freely among
the population was one of the police security measures. This
cannot be considered ill-treatment. The objection to this
sign by the Eastern workers was based in the first place on
the defamation of this badge by propaganda, and the
defendant Sauckel always tried to change this insignia and
to replace it by a national insignia such as the other
workers wore voluntarily. He finally prevailed on this
question also against Himmler. Document RF 810, Page 12.

There must on principle also be equality between a nation's
own workers and foreign workers with regard to the rules
concerning maintenance of discipline.

With all belligerent States the war has raised the same
problem of how to deal with workers who are slackers,
shirkers and saboteurs. The practice of discharge, common in
peace time, is ineffective during war; but deserters from
work cannot be tolerated today by any belligerent. In cases
amounting to sabotage, police and penal measures had
therefore to be taken, the most important of which was the
short transfer to a labour training camp; in special extreme
cases, imprisonment in a concentration-camp was inflicted.

The Document 1063-PS/RF 345 reveals the similarity in the
applications of the regulations to Germans and foreigners.

Such police measures which are necessitated by the disloyal
conduct of the worker are justifiable measures. The Wartburg
Document RF 810 shows in the report of the expert Dr. Sturm
that such measures were carried out in a very moderate
manner, and that only 0.1 to 0.2 per thousand were thus
punished.

Hence it follows that issuing of regulations concerning, the
maintenance of discipline is in itself not yet an "ill-
treatment" which could be the basis for a crime against
humanity. Such an ill-treatment however can consist of
excesses which occurred outside the competence of the
defendant Sauckel. He can only be held responsible for those
if he himself knew of such excesses and approved of them
although he could have prevented them.

In summing up one can say that the "regulated utilization of
labour" is permissible in International Law and that
restrictions imposed on workers within the limits of
necessity must be permitted for reasons of State security.

On the other hand, excesses in carrying out the regulations
have to be regarded as ill-treatment and could mean crimes
against humanity. For these, only those are responsible who
have instigated them or who, within the sphere of their
competence, did not prevent them.

Should the extensive scale of the charges brought against
defendant Sauckel be measured by the standard of the above-
stated legal considerations, it is necessary

                                                  [Page 107]

first of all to single out those fields in which the
evidence reveals him to be absolutely free from
responsibility. In the first place, it is not proved that
defendant Sauckel can be connected with the biological
extermination of the population. His whole interest, as has
been shown, was directed in the opposite direction, since
his purpose was to obtain people as labourers. With the
migration measures and methods used in this respect he had
nothing to do.

Work in concentration camps was just as far removed from
defendant Sauckel's responsibility. Himmler's Posen speech
in October, 1943 (Document 1919-PS, Page 21), reveals that
the SS had erected gigantic armament plants of their own. We
know that Himmler covered his extensive labour requirements
by despotic, arbitrary arrests of persons in occupied
territories. In Germany itself he had workers, engaged in
regular employment, arrested on insignificant pretexts and
brought into concentration camps, fraudulently using the
regular labour offices.

This is clearly shown in Document 063-PS, containing a
letter dated 17th December, 1942, as well as a letter dated
25th June, 1943, in which alone a requirement of 35,000
prisoners is mentioned. Moreover, any correspondence
exchanged with reference to concentration camp labour never
passed through Sauckel's offices. As an example, I refer to
Document 1584-PS, containing some correspondence with
Himmler's department. Defendant Sauckel's name is never
mentioned with reference to a conscription of prisoners, and
the witnesses have unanimously stated that defendant Sauckel
had no connection with these matters. This is also confirmed
by the statement of the Director of the Armament Ministry's
Labour Office, Schmelter, who received the required
prisoners direct from Himmler.

Another field which must be eliminated is the conscription
of Jews for labour. This labour conscription is a part of
labour conscription of concentration camp prisoners; it was
Himmler's own personal secret sphere. This is revealed, for
instance, by Document R-91, in which Himmler's office orders
the arrest of 45,000 Jews as concentration camp prisoners.

By the production of a document, L-61, the prosecution has
attempted to prove the complicity of Sauckel in this field.
This document is a letter dated 26th November, 1942, from
Sauckel's office to the President of the National Labour
Office, stating that in agreement with the Chief of the
Security Police and Security Department, Jewish workers
remaining in the plants must be withdrawn and evacuated to
Poland. As a matter of fact, this letter actually confirms
that Sauckel had nothing to do with Jewish labour in the
concentration camps, since Jewish workers were actually
withdrawn from his department under the false pretence of
evacuation. The measure is indeed solely concerned with the
purely technical purpose of releasing the Jewish labourers
and replacing them by Poles, an operation which could not
have been carried out without the participation of Sauckel's
office.

This letter is the sequel to a correspondence which can be
traced back to the period prior to Sauckel's assumption of
office, and Document L-156 is subsequently concerned with
the same technical operation. The unimportant character of
the matter is attested by the fact that these letters were
not written at defendant Sauckel's headquarters in the
"Thuringenhaus" but in an auxiliary office in the
Saarlandstrasse. Defendant Sauckel disclaims knowledge of
these operations and points out that the letters do not bear
his original signature but were, according to the routine of
his service, made out in his name precisely because they
were of minor importance. The fact that the letters begin
with the routine business term of "in agreement with", and
not "in accordance with" the orders of the Chief of Security
Police and SD, does not mean that they refer to an agreement
reached, but merely to orders received from the
authoritative headquarters.

Next, reference has been made to "extermination by over-
working". But Documents 682-PS and 654-PS, dated September,
1942, clearly show that a secret

                                                  [Page 108]

manoeuvre of Himmler and Goebbels in co-operation with Reich
Minister of Justice Thierack is here involved. Defendant
Sauckel is not concerned.

Neither was the drafting of workers into the Organization
Todt under Sauckel's responsibility. The accusations
proceeding from Document UK 56 in this respect, bearing upon
the methods of labour conscription in the Channel Islands,
do not therefore concern him. The documents do not show that
defendant Sauckel was aware of these proceedings or that he
could have prevented them. This separation between defendant
Sauckel's labour jurisdiction and the Organization Todt is
confirmed in Document L-191, i.e., the report of the
International Labour Office in Montreal.

A special development was the apprehension of labour forces
by civil and military departments, which, to some extent,
resulted in brutal conscription and was, kept secret from
defendant Sauckel because he opposed it and wished to
prevent it by every means. To a certain degree his
objections were overridden by higher authority. Under this
category comes the labour conscription by the SS, the
Reichsbahn, Air Force Construction Battalions, Speer's
Transport and Traffic Units; Fortification and Engineering
Staffs and other services. The exclusion of these bodies
from the accusations relative to these particular cases must
especially exculpate Sauckel, since in these cases Sauckel's
orders were not authoritative.

Document 204-PS illustrates in this respect the
circumstances in which transport assistants were procured in
White Russia.

Document 334-PS shows the same with regard to the execution
of an independent drive for Air Force assistants, which can
cast no guilt upon Sauckel. The commitment of adolescents,
which is known as "Heuaktion" under Document 031-PS of 14th
June, 1944, as a point of the charge, lay outside of
Sauckel's jurisdiction and activities, as is shown
specifically by this document. The Ninth Army together with
the East Ministry were the originators.

A letter of the co-defendant Rosenberg to Reich Minister
Lammers, of 20th July, 1944 (Document 345-PS), refers
falsely to the "consent" of the General Plenipotentiary for
Labour Commitment; it states, however, that the defendant
Sauckel was not connected with an SS Helper Action and that
he refused co-operation in this affair.

According to this, as stated by Document 1137-PS, of 19th
October, 1944, a special office in the Rosenberg Ministry
with its own personnel takes care of the seizure of youth.
Ignoring the defendant Sauckel's agency, labour was supplied
direct to the armament industry.

Circumventing defendant Sauckel's agency, measures were
initiated by Hitler for direct commitment orders to the
local offices of the Wehrmacht and of the civil
administration, such as, for example, the labour commitment
ordered in the occupied territories for the fortification of
the Crimea. Document UK 68. The seizure of workers in
Holland which was carried out by the Wehrmacht under protest
of the labour service offices is another one of these cases;
this is shown in Document 3303-PS, in Lt. Haupt's report,
and confirmed by the defendant Seyss-Inquart.

An important sector, which is beyond the defendant Sauckel's
responsibility, refers to all the actions executed as
punitive measures against partisans and resistance groups.
These are independent measures of the police; I already
spoke about their judicial evaluation. Whether they were
admissible and could be approved depends on the
circumstances. For, example, measures against the resistance
movement in France as described in Document UK 78 (French
Government Report) are excluded here. Therefore, a direct
responsibility of defendant Sauckel is out of the question.

Therefore, the very incriminating occurrences which are
enumerated in Count III, paragraph VIII of the Indictment
under "Deportation", the destina-

                                                  [Page 109]

tions of which were the concentration camps, are not within
the responsibility of the defendant Sauckel.

Furthermore, the deportations for political and racial
reasons which are also mentioned under VIII B of the
Indictment, as the deportation of French people into
concentration camps, are also not within the responsibility
of the defendant Sauckel. Furthermore, the resettlement of
Slovenes and Yugoslavs described under B (2) also must be
excluded.

According to the Indictment, under VIII, H 2, only a part of
the additionally mentioned approximate five million Soviet
citizens are mentioned as having been seized for labour
commitment, the others were removed by other means to which
the regulations of the defendant Sauckel did not apply. This
is not of such importance on account of the number of
people, but because the presumed bad conditions could have
prevailed just in that sector, since there the danger of
improper treatment was greater.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?

(A recess was taken.)

DR. SERVATIUS: The prisoners of war also are exempted from
the field of responsibility of the defendant Sauckel. These
labour forces did not have to be conscripted but were only
directed. This was done by means of special labour offices,
which worked independently of the usual procedure in
connection with the prisoner camps and collaborated
exclusively with the armed forces. The task consisted only
of using the prisoners of war where they were needed.

The defendant Sauckel could only request a shifting of the
prisoners of war. This is referred to by the prosecution,
Document 1296-PS, of 27th July, 1943, which mentions under
III the increase in the use of prisoners of war in
collaboration with the Army High Command.

The assignment of prisoners of war to plants took place only
under the supervision of the Wehrmacht, which at the same
time watched over the observance of the Geneva Convention.
Sauckel is not in any way connected with the death of
hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war of the Soviet
Union in 1941, of whom Himmler speaks in his Posen speech,
Document 1919-PS, and for whose replacement workers had to
be brought in.

If, in spite of this, because of Document USSR 415 - the
official Soviet report about the Lamsdorf camp - the
defendant Sauckel is considered to have been connected with
the alleged ill-treatment of prisoners, then this is only on
the basis of the claim that the number of personnel in the
camp was reported to him in the ordinary course of official
procedure. The charge cannot be maintained. The document,
moreover, is not sufficiently chronological after the year
1941.

The defendant Sauckel, although personally he was not
competent, intervened in excess of his official duties for
the care of the prisoners of war because he was interested
in their willingness to work. He issued general decrees. In
this way Document Sauckel 36 shows that he demanded a
sufficient balanced food supply, and Document 39 shows that
he demanded the same working hours as for German workers; he
also pointed out here the prohibition of disciplinary
punishment by the factory authorities.

A further division of the accusations raised must be made
according to the time of the incidents. The defendant
Sauckel took over his office only on 21st March, 1942. His
measures, therefore, could have had an effect only some time
later.

How conditions were previous to that is shown in some
documents from the year 1941. In Document 1206-PS, feeding
with horse and cat meat is suggested by leading authorities,
and in Document USSR 177 the production of bread of a very
inferior quality is suggested. Just a short time before the
defendant Sauckel's taking office, Himmler in a harsh decree
ordered the confinement of the

                                                  [Page 110]

workers behind barbed wire. It can be said that a low level
in the treatment of the foreign workers at that time in the
Reich had been reached. The idea which prevailed of the
simplicity and the efficiency of the Russians is tragic.

With the taking over of office by the defendant Sauckel, a
fundamental change took place which led to a constantly
increasing improvement of the situation. The credit for
having established a change here is due, according to the
following documents, solely to the defendant Sauckel. This
is shown in particular by Document EC-318, which is a record
of 15th April, 1942, about the first meeting of the
defendant Sauckel with Reich Minister Seldte and his
specialist staff on the occasion of his taking office. It
has been recorded there that it was the defendant Sauckel
who made the taking over of his office dependent on the
condition that the food supply for the foreigners must be
the same as for the Germans and that the fulfilment of his
demand was assured by Hitler, Goering, the Food Minister
Darre, and his Secretary of State, Backe. It furthermore has
been recorded there that the defendant Sauckel demanded the
removal of the barbed wire and succeeded in this, and
finally that he immediately took steps to increase the wages
of the Eastern workers. The fulfilment of his fundamental
demands was immediately pressed with tenacity by the
defendant Sauckel against the resistance of all authorities.

The programme of the labour commitment of 20th April, 1942 -
Document 016-PS - accordingly initiated immediate steps
against cruelties and chicaneries and demanded that foreign
workers should be correctly and humanely treated; the hope
is even expressed that a propaganda effect in Germany's
favour would be achieved by the way in which the labour
commitment was carried out. This idea was frequently
reiterated later.

An economical commitment of workers was urged in order to
counteract the waste which was occurring on the part of
influential agencies.

A year later, on 20th April, 1943, the defendant Sauckel
again addressed a declaration regarding the procedure to be
followed by all persons concerned with labour commitment.
This is the repeatedly mentioned "Manifesto of Labour
Commitment", Sauckel Document No. 84, which was issued as a
warning and an appeal addressed to all agencies which
opposed the serious responsibility of the defendant Sauckel.
Goebbels opposed it under the pretence that the title was
too presumptuous and the propaganda feature of the document
essentially too weak. Other agencies just disregarded the
copies sent to them and did not forward them, whereupon
copies were sent directly to the industries concerned. How
this manifesto was handled by the reluctant agencies is
shown by its designation, "notorious manifesto", which was
unanimously adopted for it in a session of the Central
Planning Board on 1st March, 1944, Document R 124, Page
1779a.

Defendant Sauckel was reproached with being over-zealous. I
refer to a remark made by General Milch who was interrogated
before the Tribunal, in which he refers to the Central
Planning Board and criticises the allegedly too lenient
treatment of loafers and declares that if anything was
undertaken against them, agencies were immediately to be
found in Germany which would protect the "poor man" and
would intercede for the human rights of others. This is
Document R 124, Page 1913.

The attitude of defendant Sauckel was generally known and
has been confirmed by various documents. Thus agencies
approached him with regard to complaints and deficiencies,
not in order to make the defendant Sauckel responsible for
them but to solicit his help, because everybody knew how
seriously and eagerly he advocated improvements.


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