The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eighteenth Day: Wednesday, 12th December, 1945
(Part 7 of 9)

[MR. DODD continuies]

[Page 330]

Indeed, the defendant Sauckel boasted to Hitler concerning the contribution of the forced labour programme to the construction of the Atlantic Wall by the defendant Speer's "Organisation Todt". And we refer to Document 407-PS VIII, which is Exhibit USA 210. This document is a letter from the defendant Sauckel to Hitler dated the 17th May, 1943. I refer to the second and last paragraphs:-
"In addition to the labour allotted to the total German economy by the Arbeitseinsatz since I took office, the Organisation Todt was supplied with new labour continually ". Thus: "The Arbeitseinsatz has done everything to help make possible the completion of the Atlantic Wall."
Similarly, Russian civilians were forced into labour battalions and compelled to build fortifications to be used against their own countrymen. In Document 031-PS, in evidence as Exhibit USA 171, which is a memorandum of the Rosenberg Ministry, it is stated in Paragraph 1 at Page 1 of that document:-
"The men and women in the theatres of operations have been-and will be conscripted into labour battalions to be used in the construction of fortifications."
In addition, the conspirators compelled prisoners of war to engage in operations of war against their own country and its allies. At a meeting of the Central Planning Board, again held on 19th February, 1943, attended by the defendant Speer and the defendant Sauckel and Field Marshal Milch, the following conversation occurred and is recorded in out Document R-124, at Page 32, Paragraph 5, of the English text. It is Page 20, the last paragraph, of the German text, and I quote it, the defendant Sauckel speaking:-
"Sauckel: If any prisoners are taken there, they will be needed.

Milch: We have made a request for an order that a certain percentage of men in the anti-aircraft artillery must be Russians. 50,000 will be taken altogether, 30,000 are already employed as gunners. This is an amusing thing that Russians must work the guns."

We refer now to Documents 3027 and 3028. They are respectively Exhibits USA 211 and 212. They will be found at the very back, I believe, of the document book, in a separate manila folder. They are official German Army photographs, and if your Honours will examine Document 3027- PS the caption states that Russian prisoners of war are acting as ammunition bearers during the attack upon Tschedowe. Document 3028-PS consists of a series of official German Army photographs taken in July and August, 1941, showing Russian prisoners of war in Latvia and the Ukraine being compelled to load and unload ammunition trains and trucks, and being required to stack ammunition, all, we say, in flagrant disregard of the rules of International Law, particularly Article 6 of the regulations annexed to The Hague Convention, No. IV of 1907, which provides that the tasks of prisoners of war shall have no connection with the operations of war. The use of prisoners of war in the German armament industry was as widespread and as extensive almost as in the use of the forced foreign civilian labour. We refer to Document 3005-PS, which is Exhibit USA 213. This document is a secret letter from the Reich Minister of Labour to the presidents of the Regional Labour Exchange Offices, which refers to an order of the defendant Goering to the effect that - I quote now from Paragraph 1 of that document - I am quoting it directly:-
"Upon personal order of the Reich Marshal 100,000 men are to be taken from among the French prisoners of war not yet employed in

[Page 331]

armament industry and are to be assigned to the armament industry (aeroplane industry). Gaps in manpower supply resulting therefrom will be filled by Soviet prisoners of war. The transfer of the above-named French prisoners of war is to be accomplished by 1st October." The Reich Marshal referred to in that quotation is, of course, the defendant Goering.
A similar policy was followed with respect to Russian, prisoners of war. The defendant Keitel directed the execution of Hitler's order to use prisoners of war in the German war economy, and I now make reference to our Document EC-194, which is Exhibit USA 24. This document is also a secret memorandum, according to its label, issued from Hitler's Headquarters on the 31st October, 1941, and I read from Page 1, Paragraphs 1 and 2, quoting it directly as follows:-
"The lack of workers is becoming an increasingly dangerous hindrance for the future German war and armament industry. The expected relief through discharges from the Armed Forces is uncertain as to the extent and date; however, even its greatest possible extent will by no means correspond to expectations and requirements in view of the great demand.

The Fuehrer has now ordered that even the working power of the Russian prisoners of war should be utilised to a large extent by large scale assignments for the requirements of the war industry. The prerequisite for production is adequate nourishment. Also very small wages are to be planned for the most modest supply, with a few consumers' goods for everyday life as eventual rewards for production."

And quoting now from the same document, Paragraph 2, II and III - I am quoting directly:-
"II. Construction and Armament Industry.
(a) Work units for construction of all kinds, particularly for the fortification of coastal defences (concrete workers unloading units for essential war plants.)

(b) Suitable armament factories which have to be selected in such a way that their personnel should consist in the majority of prisoners of war under guidance and supervision (eventually after withdrawal and other employment of the German workers).

III. Other War Industries.
(a) Mining as under 11 (b).
(b) Railroad construction units for building tracks, etc.
(c) Agriculture and forestry in closed units. The utilisation of Russian prisoners of war is to be regulated on the basis of the above examples by:
To I. The Armed Forces.
To II. The Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions and the Inspector General for the German Road System in agreement with the Reich Minister for Labour and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Deputies of the Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions are to be admitted to the prisoner of war camps to assist in the selection of skilled workers."
The defendant Goering, at a conference at the Air Ministry on the 7th November, 1941, also discussed the use of prisoners of war in the armament industry. We refer now to our Document 1206-PS, which becomes

[Page 332]

Exhibit USA 215. This document consists of top secret notes on Goering's instructions as to the employment and treatment of prisoners of war in many phases of the German war industry. And I wish to quote from Paragraph 1 of Page 1 and Paragraph 4 of Page 2 of the English text, and from Paragraph 1, Page 1, and Paragraph 1, Page 3 of the German text as follows:-
"The Fuehrer's point of view as to employment of prisoners of war in war industries has changed basically. So far a total Of 5,000,000 prisoners of war- employed so far 2,000,000."
And on Page 2:-
"In the Interior and the Protectorate it would be ideal if entire factories could be manned by Russian prisoners of war except the employees necessary for direction. For employment in the Interior and the Protectorate the following are to have priority:-
(a) At the top, coal mining industry. Order by the Fuehrer to investigate all mines as to suitability for employment of Russians, at times manning the entire plant with Russian labourers.

(b) Transportation (construction of locomotives and cars, repair shops). Railroad repair and industry workers are to be sought out from the prisoners of war. Railroad is most important means of transportation in the East.

(c) Armament Industries. Preferably factories of armour and guns. Possibly also construction of parts for aeroplane engines. Suitable complete sections of factories to be manned exclusively by Russians. For the remainder, employment in columns. Use in factories of tool machinery, production of farm tractors, generators, etc. In emergency, erect in individual places barracks for occasional workers who are used as unloading details and for similar purposes. (Reich Minister of the Interior through communal authorities.)

O.K.W./ A.W.A. is competent for transporting Russian prisoners of war employment through 'Planning Board for Employment of all prisoners of war.' If necessary, offices of Reich Commissariats.

No employment where danger to men or their supply exists, that is, factories exposed to explosives, waterworks, powerworks, etc. No contact with German population, especially no 'solidarity'. German worker as a rule is foreman of Russians.

Food is a matter of the Four Year Plan. Supply their own food (cats, horses, etc.)

Clothes, billeting, messing somewhat better than at home where part of the people live in caverns.

Supply of shoes for Russians as a rule wooden shoes; if necessary install Russian shoe repair shops.

Examination of physical fitness in order to avoid importation of diseases.

Clearing of mines as a rule by Russians; if possible by selected Russian engineers."

The defendant Goering was not the only one of these defendants who sponsored and applied the policy for using prisoners of war in the armament industry. The defendant Speer also sponsored and applied this same policy of using prisoners of war in the armament industry. And we refer to Document 1435-PS, which is Exhibit USA 20. This document is a

[Page 333]

speech to the Nazi, Gauleiters delivered by the defendant Speer on 24th February, 1942, and I read from Paragraph 2 of that document:-
"I therefore proposed to the Fi1hrer at the end of December, that all my labour force, including specialists, be released for mass employment in the East. Subsequently the remaining prisoners of war, about 10,000, were put at the disposal of the armament industry by me."
He also reported at the 36th meeting of the Central Planning Board, held on 22nd April, 1943, that only 30 per cent. of the Russian prisoners of war were engaged in the armament industry. This the defendant Speer found unsatisfactory. Referring again to Document R-124, the minutes of the Central Planning Board, and particularly to Page 17 of that document, and to Paragraph 10 of the English text, and Page 14, Paragraph 7 of the German text, we find this statement by the defendant Speer: quoting directly:-
"There is a specified statement showing in what sectors the Russian prisoners of war have been distributed, and this statement is quite interesting. It shows that the armaments industry only received 30 per cent. I always complained about this."
At Page 20 of the same Document, R-124, Paragraph 11 on Page 20 of the English text, and Page 14, the last paragraph of the German text, the defendant Speer stated, and I quote from that paragraph directly:-
"The 90,000 Russian prisoners of war employed in the whole of the armament industry are for the greatest part skilled men."
The defendant Sauckel, who was appointed Plenipotentiary General for the utilisation of labour for the express purpose, among others, of integrating prisoners of war into the German war industry, made it plain that prisoners of war were to be compelled to serve the German armament industry. His labour mobilisation programme, which is Document 016-PS, already marked Exhibit USA 168, contains this statement on Page 6, Paragraph 10 of the English text, and Page 9, Paragraph 1 of the German text:-
"All prisoners of war, from the territories of the West as well as of the East, actually in Germany, must be completely incorporated into the German armament and nutrition industries. Their production must be brought to the highest possible level."
I wish to turn now from the exploitation of foreign labour in general to a rather special Nazi programme which appears to us to have combined the brutality and the purposes of the slave labour programme with those of the concentration camp. The Nazis placed all Allied nationals in concentration camps and forced them, along with the other inmates of the concentration camps, to work under conditions which were set actually to exterminate them. This was what we call the Nazi programme of "extermination through work".

In the spring of 1942 these conspirators turned to the concentration camps as a further source of slave labour for the armament industry. I refer to a new Document R-129, being Exhibit USA 217. This document is a letter to Himmler, the Reichsfuehrer S. S., dated the 30th April, 1942, from one of his subordinates, an individual named Pohl, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen S.S.; and I wish to quote directly from the first page of that document.

"Today I report about the present situation of the concentration camps and about measures I have taken to carry out your order of 3rd March, 1942."

[Page 334]

Then moving on from Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 on Page 2 of the English text, and at Page 1 of the German text, I quote as follows:-
"1. The war has brought about a marked change in the structure of the concentration camps and has changed their duties with regard to the employment of the prisoners. The custody of prisoners for the sole reasons of security, education, or prevention is no longer the main consideration. The mobilisation of all prisoners who are fit for work for purposes of the war now, and for purposes of construction in the forthcoming peace, comes to the foreground more and more.

2. From this knowledge some necessary measures result with the aim of transforming the concentration camps into organisations more suitable for the economic tasks, whilst they were formerly merely politically interested.

3. For this reason I gathered together all the leaders of the former inspectorate of concentration camps, all camp commanders, and all managers and supervisors of work on 23rd and 24th April, 1942; I explained personally to them this new development. I compiled in the order attached the main essentials, which have to be brought into effect with the utmost urgency if the commencement of work for the purposes of the armament industry is not to be delayed."

Now, the order referred to in that third paragraph set the framework for a programme of relentless exploitation, providing in part as follows; and I now refer to the enclosure appended to the quoted letter which is also a part of Document R-129, found at Page 3, Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the English text, and Page 3 of the German text:-
"4. The camp commander alone is responsible for the employment of the labour available. This employment must be, in the true meaning of the word, exhaustive, in order to obtain the greatest measure of performance. Work is allotted by the Chief of the Department D centrally and alone. The camp commanders themselves may not accept, on their own initiative, work offered by third parties, and may not negotiate about it.

5. There is no limit to working hours. Their duration depends on the kind of working establishments in the camps and the kind of work to be done. They are fixed by the camp commanders alone.

6 .Any circumstances which may result in a shortening of working hours (e.g. meals, roll-calls) have therefore to be restricted to the minimum which cannot be condensed any more. It is forbidden to allow long walks to work, and noon intervals are only for eating purposes."

The armament production programme we have just described was not merely a scheme for mobilising the manpower potential of the camps. It actually was integrated directly into the larger Nazi programme of extermination; and I wish to refer at this point to our Document 654-PS, being Exhibit USA 218.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think it will be convenient to break off now for a few minutes?

MR. DODD: Very well.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. DODD: At the recess time I had made reference to Document 654-PS which is Exhibit USA 218. This document is a memorandum of an agreement between Himmler, Reichsfuehrer S.S., and the Minister of Justice,

[Page 335]

Thierack. It is dated 18th September, 1942. The concept of extermination to which I referred shortly before the recess, was embodied in this document and I wish to quote from Page 1, Paragraph 2.
"2. The transfer of anti-social elements from prison to the Reichsfuehrer for extermination through work. Persons under protective arrest, Jews, Gypsies, Russians and Ukrainians, Poles with more than three-year sentences, Czechs and Germans with more than eight-year sentences, according to the decision of the Reich Minister for justice. First of all the worst anti-social elements amongst those just mentioned are to be handed over. I shall inform the Fuehrer of this through Reichsleiter Bormann."

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