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

Nineteenth Day: Thursday, 13th December, 1945
(Part 2 of 10)

[MR. DODD continues]

[Page 351]

I should also like to call the attention of the Tribunal to this paragraph, which is quoted on the same page. It is the fourth paragraph down, after the small number 2, and it begins with the words:-
"The authority of the Plenipotentiary General for the Arbeitseinsatz to empower the members of his staff and the presidents of the State employment offices to get direct information on the conditions regarding the employment of foreigners in the factories and camps, will remain untouched."
We have already offered to the Court, proof that the defendant Sauckel was responsible for compelling citizens of the occupied countries, against their will, to manufacture arms and munitions and to construct military fortifications for use in war operations against their own country and its allies. He was, moreover, responsible for compelling prisoners of war to produce arms and munitions for use against their own countries and their actively resisting allies.

The decree appointing Sauckel indicated that he was appointed Plenipotentiary General for Manpower for the express purpose, among others, of integrating prisoners of war into the German war industry; and in a series of reports to Hitler, Sauckel described how successful he had been in carrying out that programme. One such report states that in a single year, the defendant Sauckel had incorporated 1,622,829 prisoners of war into the German economy.

I refer to Document 407-V-PS, which is Exhibit USA 228. It is a letter from the defendant Sauckel to Hitler, on 14th April, 1943. Although the figures in the document have been contained in another one, this is the first introduction of this particular one. Quoting from Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the English text, it begins:-

[Page 352]

"My Fuehrer,

After having been active as Plenipotentiary for Arbeitseinsatz for one year, I have the honour to report to you that 3,638,056 new foreign workers have been added to the German war economy between 1st April of the last year and 31st March of this year."

THE PRESIDENT: Are you reading Paragraph I?

MR. DODD: Yes, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: It says 5,000,000, not three.

MR. DODD: I think it is 3,000,000, if your Honour pleases.

THE PRESIDENT: It should be three?

MR. DODD: I think so. The original looks to us like three.

Passing on a little bit, with particular reference to the prisoners of war, we find this statement:-

"Besides the foreign civilian workers another 1,622,829 prisoners of war are employed in the German economy."
A later report states that 846,511 additional foreign labourers and prisoners of war were incorporated into the German war industry, and quoting from Document 407-IX-PS, Exhibit USA 229, which is also a letter from the defendant Sauckel to Hitler, I read in part from Page I, Paragraphs 1 and 2:-
"My Fuehrer,

I beg to be permitted to report to you on the situation of the Arbeitseinsatz for the first five months of 1943. For the first time the following number of new foreign labourers and prisoners of war were employed in the German war industry: Total, 846,511."

This use of prisoners of war in the manufacture of armaments allocated by the defendant Sauckel was confirmed by the defendant Speer, who stated that 40 per cent. of all prisoners of war were employed in the production of weapons and munitions and in subsidiary industries. I wish to refer briefly to Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8, on Page 15 of the English text of an interrogation of the defendant Speer on 18th October, 1945, which was offered and referred to yesterday Exhibit USA 220.

Quoting from Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8, on Page 15, Paragraph 1, on Page 2 of the German text. There are three questions which will establish the background for this answer:-

"Q. Let me understand, when you wanted labour from prisoners of war did you requisition prisoners of war separately, or did you ask for a total number of workers?

A. Only Schmelter can answer that directly. As far as the commitment of prisoners of war for labour goes, it was effected through employment offices of the Stalags. I tried several times to increase the total number of prisoners of war that were occupied in the production at the expense of the other demand factors.

Q. Will you explain that a little more?

A. In the last phase of production, that is, in the year 1944, when everything collapsed, I had 40 per cent. of all prisoners of war employed in the production. I wanted to have this percentage increased.

Q. And when you say 'employed in the production', you mean in these subsidiary industries that you have discussed, and also in the production of weapons and munitions, is that right?

A. Yes. That was the total extent of my task."

[Page 353]

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What do you mean by "subsidiary industries", Mr. Dodd? Is that war industries?

MR. DODD: Yes, sir; war industries, as we understand it. It was referred to many times by these defendants as the component parts of the plans.

I also would like to call the attention of the Tribunal again to the "Minutes of the 36th Meeting of the Central Planning Board", Document R-124, from which we read a number of excerpts yesterday, and remind the Tribunal that in the report of the minutes of that meeting the defendant Speer stated that:-

"90,000 Russian prisoners of war employed in the whole of the armament industry are for the greatest part skilled men."
We should like, at this point, to turn to the special responsibility of the defendant Speer, and to discuss the evidence of the various crimes committed by, the defendant Speer in planning and participating in the vast programme of forcible deportation of the citizens of occupied countries. He was the Reich Minister of Armaments and Munitions and Chief of the Organisation Todt, both of which positions he acquired on 15th February, 1942, and by virtue of his later acquisition of control over the armament offices of the Army, Navy and Air Force and the production offices of the Ministry of Economics, the defendant Speer was responsible for the entire war production of the Reich, as well as for the construction of fortifications and installations for the Wehrmacht. Proof of the positions held by him is supplied in his own statement, as contained in Document 2980-PS, which has already been offered to the Tribunal and which is Exhibit USA 18.

The industries under the defendant Speer's control were really the most important users of manpower in Germany; and thus, according to the defendant Sauckel, Speer's labour requirements received unconditional priority over all other demands for labour. We refer to the transcript of the interrogation of the defendant Sauckel on 22nd September, 1945, It is Exhibit USA 230. It is next to the last document in the document book. I wish to refer to Page 1 of that document, Paragraph 4. It is a brief reference, the last answer on the page. The question was asked of the defendant Sauckel:-

"Q. Except for Speer, they would give the requirements in general for the broad field, but in Speer's work he would get them allocated to industry, and so on; is that right?

A. The others only got whatever was left. Because Speer told me once in the presence of the Fuehrer that I was there to work for Speer and that mainly I was his man."

The defendant Speer has admitted under oath that he participated in the discussions, during which the decision to use foreign forced labour was made. He has also said that he concurred in the decision and that it was the basis for the programme of bringing foreign workers into Germany by compulsion. I make reference to the interrogation of this defendant of 18th October, 1945. It is Exhibit USA 220. We have already read from it; and I particularly refer to the bottom of Page 12 and the top of Page 13 of the English text:-
"Q. But is it clear to you, Herr Speer, that in 1942 when the decisions were being made concerning the use of forced foreign labour you participated in the discussions yourself?

A. Yes.

[Page 354]

Q. So that I take it that the execution of the programme of bringing foreign workers into Germany by compulsion under Sauckel was based on earlier decisions that had been made with your agreement?

A. Yes, but I must point out that only a very small part of the manpower that Sauckel brought into Germany was made available to me; a far larger part of it was allocated to other departments that demanded it."

This admission is confirmed by the minutes of Speer's conference with Hitler on 10th, 11th and 12th August, 1942, in Document R-124, which has been offered here and from which excerpts have been read. Page 34 of that document, Paragraph 1 of the English text, has already been quoted, and those excerpts were read before the Tribunal yesterday. The Tribunal will recall that the defendant Speer related the outcome of his negotiations concerning the forcible recruitment of 1,000,000 Russian labourers for the German armaments industry, and this use of force was again discussed by Hitler and Speer on 4th January, 1943, as shown by the excerpts read from the Document 556-PS-13, where it was decided that stronger measures were to be used to accelerate the conscription of French civilian workers.

We say the defendant Speer demanded foreign workers for the industries under his control and used those workers with the knowledge that they had been deported by force and were being compelled to work. Speer has stated under oath in his interrogation of 18th October, 1945, Page 5, Paragraph 9 of the English text, quoting it directly:-

"I do not wish to give the impression that I want to deny the fact that I demanded manpower and foreign manpower from Sauckel very energetically."
He has admitted that he knew he was obtaining foreign labour, a large part of which was forced labour; and referring again to that same interrogation of 18th October, 1945, and to Pages 8 and 9 of the English text and Page 10 of the German text:-
"Q. So that during the period when you were asking for labour, it seems clear, does it not, that you knew you were obtaining foreign labour as well as domestic labour in response to your requests, and that a large part of the foreign labour was forced labour.

A. Yes.

Q. So that, simply by way of illustration, suppose that on 1st January, 1944, you require 50,000 workers for a given purpose, would you put in a requisition for 50,000 workers, knowing that in that 50,000 there would be forced foreign workers?

A. Yes."

The defendant Speer has also stated under oath that he knew at least as early as September, 1942, that workers from the Ukraine were being forcibly deported for labour into Germany. Likewise he knew that the great majority of the workers of the Western occupied countries were slave labourers, forced against their will to come to Germany; and again referring to his interrogation of this 18th day of October, 1945, and beginning with the fourth paragraph from the bottom of Page 5 of the English text, Paragraph 10 on Page 6 of the German text, we find this series of questions and answers:
"Q. When did you first find out then that some of the manpower from the Ukraine was not coming voluntarily?

[Page 355]

A. It is rather difficult to answer this here, that is, to name a certain date to you. However, it is certain that I knew that at some particular point of time that the manpower from the Ukraine did not come voluntarily.

Q. And does that apply also to the manpower from other occupied countries; that is, did there come a time when you knew that they were not coming voluntarily?

A. Yes.

Q. When in general, would you say that time was, without naming a particular month of the year?

A. As far as the Ukraine situation goes, I believe that they did not come voluntarily any more after a few months, because immense mistakes were made in their treatment by us. I should say off-hand that this time was either in July, August or September, 1942."

Turning to Paragraph 11 on Page 6 of the English text of this same interrogation and Page 7 and Paragraph 8 of the German text, we find this series of questions and answers - and I am quoting:-
"Q. But many workers did come from the West, did they not, to Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. That means, then, that the great majority of the workers that came from the Western countries, the Western occupied countries, came against their will to Germany?

A. Yes."

These admissions are borne out, of course, by other evidence, for, as Document R-124 shows, and as we have shown by the readings from it, in all countries conscription for work in Germany could be carried out only with the active assistance of the police, and the prevailing methods of recruitment had provoked such violence that many German recruiting agents had been killed.

And again, at a meeting with Hitler to discuss the manpower requirements for 1944, which is reported in Document 1292- PS, Speer was informed by the defendant Sauckel that the requirements - including Speer's requirement for 1,300,000 additional labourers - could be met only if German enforcement agents were furnished to carry out the enslavement programme in the occupied countries.

Now we say that, notwithstanding his knowledge that these workers were conscripted and deported to Germany against their will, Speer nevertheless continued to formulate requirements for the foreign workers and requested their allocation to those industries which were subject to his control. This is borne out by the minutes of the Central Planning Board, as contained in Document R-124, and particularly Page 13, Paragraph 4 of the English text; and that is Page 6 and Paragraph 4 of the German text.

Speer speaking:-

"Now, to the labour problem in Germany. I believe it is still possible to transfer some workers from the Western territories. The Fuehrer stated only recently that he wished to dissolve these foreign volunteers as he had the impression that the army groups were carting around with them a lot of ballast. Therefore, if we cannot settle this matter ourselves, we shall have to call a meeting with the Fuehrer to clear up the coal situation. Keitel and Keitzler will be invited to attend in order to

[Page 356]

determine the number of Russians from the rear army territories that can be sent to us. However, I see another possibility: We might organise another drive to screen out workers for the mines from the Russian Prisoners of War in the Reich. But this possibility is none too promising."
At another meeting of the Central Planning Board the defendant Speer rejected a suggestion that labour for industries under his control be furnished from German sources instead of from foreign sources. And again, in this Document R-124, on Page 16, Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of the English text, and Page 12, Paragraphs 6 and 7 of the German text - I quote Speer:-
"We do it this way: Kehrl collects the demands for labour necessary to complete the coal-and-iron plan and communicates the numbers to Sauckel. Probably there will be a conference at the Reich Marshal's next week, and an answer from Sauckel should have arrived by then. The question of recruitment for the armaments industry will be solved together with Weger."
Then Kehrl speaking:-
"I wish to urge that the allotments to the mines should not be made dependent on the recruitment of men abroad. We were completely frustrated these last three months because this principle had been applied. We ended December with a deficit of 25,000 and we never get replacements.

The number must be made up by men from Germany.

Speer: No, nothing doing."

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