The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Eighth Day: Saturday, January 19th, 1946
(Part 3 of 5)

[Page 432]

M. HERZOG: Mr. President, your Honours. At the suspension of the session I was about to read to the Tribunal the letter of 4th May, 1943, which gives evidence of the action taken in Holland towards a systematic deportation of the students. I quote Exhibit RF 83, Document 665 in the document book:
"Subject: Action against Students.

The action will start on Thursday morning. As it is now too late to have this published in the Press to-day, an announcement by the Higher Chief of the S.S. and Police will be made over the radio, beginning tomorrow at 7 o'clock; it will be published to-morrow in the morning and the evening papers. Besides that, we will follow the directives given in yesterday's telegram."

Following is the text of the proclamation:
"Ordinance on the Registration of Students."
I will omit the first paragraph and I quote:
"1. All persons of the male sex who have attended a Dutch university or academy during the years 1942-43, and have not yet finished their studies according to the curriculum (referred to below as 'students'), are to report between 10.00 and 15.00 hours on 6th May, 1943, to the commander of the sector of the S.S. and the Security Police competent for their respective residence, for the purpose of their induction into the compulsory labour service."
I omit paragraphs 2 and 3 and quote:
"4.(1) Persons violating this ordinance, or trying to circumvent it, particularly such persons who do not comply with their duty to register, or either intentionally or through negligence state any false data, will be punished by imprisonment and/or unlimited fines, unless other laws providing a more severe penalty are applicable.

(4) Those exercising paternal authority or guardianship over the students are co-responsible for their reporting as prescribed. They are subjected to the same penalties as the offenders themselves.

5. This ordinance becomes effective on promulgation.

(Signed) The Higher Chief of the S.S. and Police with the Reich Commissar for the Occupied Dutch Territories."

Since no measures whatsoever succeeded in intimidating the workers in the occupied territories, the defendants, finally, resorted to their police forces to ensure the arrest of those workers destined for deportation to Germany.

This intervention by the police had been demanded by the defendant Sauckel. I submit two documents in evidence. The first consists of the minutes of a conference which took place on 4th January, 1944, at the Headquarters of the Fuehrer. I have just submitted this document to the Tribunal as Exhibit

[Page 433]

RF 68. I quote, French translation, Page 2, last paragraph; German original, Page 4, in the middle of the page:
"The Plenipotentiary General for Manpower Utilisation (G.B.A.) Sauckel, declared that he would try with fanatical determination to obtain this manpower. Up to now he had always kept his promises regarding the number of workers to be provided; with the best will in the world, however, he was not in a position to make a definite promise for 1944. He would do everything possible to provide the manpower required for 1944. The success would depend mainly on the number of German police put at his disposal. If he had to rely on the police of the countries concerned his project could not be carried out."
I refer now to the statements made by Sauckel at the conference of the Central Office for the Four Year Plan on 1st March, 1944. It is Exhibit RF 30, to which I repeatedly have called the attention of the Tribunal. The passage which I am about to quote has not yet been referred to before the Tribunal. Page 3 of the French Translation - German text, Page 1775 ff. - 15th line from the bottom, Page 3 of the French translation:
"The term 'S-factory' (S-Betrieb) in France is actually nothing else but a protection against Sauckel's grasp. That is how the French look at it, and they certainly cannot be expected to think differently. They are Frenchmen, in the first place, who are faced with a German point of view and German actions different from theirs. It is not up to me to decide whether the protected factories (Schutzbetriebe) are useful and necessary. I have only described the situation from my point of view. Nevertheless, I still hope to succeed eventually by using my old organisation of agents on the one hand and, on the other hand, by those measures which I have fortunately been able to wrest from the French Government.

In the course of negotiations, lasting five to six hours, I obtained from M. Laval the concession that the death sentence may be imposed on officials who sabotage the recruitment of labour and other measures. Believe me, it was very difficult. I had to fight hard to succeed, but I did succeed. I am requesting, especially of the Armed Forces that, in case the French Government does not really put its mind to it, most drastic action now be taken by the Germans in France. Please do not resent my following remark: Several times, when in the company of my assistants, I have faced situations in France which caused me to ask: 'Is there no respect in France for the German Lieutenant and his ten men? For months on end everything I said was paralysed by the reply: 'What do you want, Herr Gauleiter? Do you not know that we have no police forces at our disposal? We are powerless in France.' This was the reply given over and over again. How, in the face of these facts, am I to achieve labour recruitment in France? The German authorities must co-operate, and if the French, despite all their promises, do not remedy the situation, we Germans must make an example of one case, and on the provisions of this law, put some prefect or mayor against the wall if he does not co-operate, or else not a single Frenchman will go to Germany."

By such means, finally, the deportation of workers to Germany was achieved by arresting them, and by the threat of reprisals. It was a logical consequence of the National Socialist system, that the policy of recruiting foreign workers was accomplished by police terror.

I have told the Tribunal that the resistance offered by the prisoners of war and by the workers of the occupied territories, against the activities of the defendants, which were in turn insidious or brutal, wrecked the plan for the recruitment of foreign workers. The defendant Sauckel encountered the greatest difficulty in carrying out the programme which he had persuaded Hitler and the defendants Goering, Speer and Funk to accept.

[Page 434]

From this it does not follow that Nazi Germany did not succeed in carrying out mass deportations of foreign workers. The number of native workers from the occupied territories of Western Europe who were deported into Germany was very high. More numerous still were those workers compelled to work at home in factories and workyards under the control of the occupation authorities.

I shall give the Tribunal statistical information which will enable it to verify my statements. These statistics are fragmentary. They are excerpts from reports compiled by the Governments of the occupied countries after their liberation, and from reports sent during the war by the Arbeitseinsatz office to its superiors.

These statistics of Allied origin are incomplete. The records on which they are based have been partially destroyed. Further, the administration of the occupied territories are in possession of second-hand information only, whenever the requisition of workers was made directly by the occupation authorities. As to the German statistics, they are also incomplete, since the Allied authorities have not yet discovered all the records of the enemy.

It is, however, possible to give to the Tribunal an exact evaluation of the extent of the deportations effected by Germany. This evaluation will furnish proof that the violations of International Law committed by the defendants did not remain in the tentative stage, characterised by a beginning only, though reprehensible even as such. They brought about such social disorder as, under penal law, constitutes the perpetration of the crime.

I shall first submit to the Tribunal the statistics furnished by the reports of the French Government. The French Government's report has been published by the Institute of Market Analysis. It contains numerous statistical tables from which I quote the total figures. The figures are as follows:

738,000 workers were pressed into compulsory labour service in France.

875,952 French workers were deported to German factories.

987,687 prisoners of war were utilised for the Reich war economy.

Thus, a total of 2,601,639 workers of French citizenship were pressed into work serving the war effort of National Socialist Germany.

From the official report of the Belgian Government it appears that 150,000 persons were pressed into compulsory labour; and the report of the Dutch Government gives a figure of 431,000 persons; but it should be noted that this figure does not take into account the systematic raids undertaken during November, 1944, nor the deportations carried out in 1945.

I am submitting to the Tribunal exact figures which cover all the stages of the policy of recruiting foreign labour. These figures are taken from the reports of the defendant Sauckel himself, or of various administrative offices concerned with the deportation of labour. The extent of labour utilised in the occupied territories is demonstrated by the statistics concerning workers who were used in constructing fortifications of the so-called Atlantic Wall, as part of the Organisation Todt, which I recall was directed by the defendant Speer after the death of its founder. These statistics are to be found in a teletype message sent to Hitler by the defendant Sauckel on 17th May, 1943. It is Document 556-PS-33, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 84. I quote:

"The Mandatory of the Four Year Plan - the Plenipotentiary General for Manpower Utilisation, Berlin, to the Fuehrer, Headquarters of the Fuehrer.

My Fuehrer! I beg to submit to you the following figures on the manpower employed in the Todt Organisation:

In addition to the manpower assigned to the entire German industry by the 'Manpower Utilisation' since I took office, fresh workers have also been constantly supplied to the Todt Organisation. The total figure of the workers employed by the Todt Organisation was as follows:

[Page 435]

End of March, 1942-270,969.
End of March, 1943-696,003.
It should be noted that the 'Manpower Utilisation' has, with great speed and energy, assigned workers preferably to the Todt Organisation in the West for the purpose of completing the work on the Atlantic Wall. This is all the more remarkable because (1) in France, Belgium and Holland... "
I omit a few lines and quote from Page 2:
"Despite the difficulties involved, the manpower strength of the Todt Organisation in the West was increased from 66,701 workers at the end of March, 1942, to 248,200 workers at the end of March, 1943."
The number of foreign workers deported to Germany by 30th September, 1941, is furnished by a report which was found in the archives of the O.K.W. It is Document 1323-PS, which I submit as Exhibit RF 85. According to this document, 1,226,686 workers were employed in Germany on the 30th September,1941. Of that number, 483,842 came from the occupied Western territories. I quote from the document the number of labour deportees by country of origin. I shall confine myself to the columns of interest to the Western States, since the statistics of workers deported from the East of Europe come within the province of my Soviet colleague.
"Denmark, 63,309.
Holland, 134,093.
Belgium, 212,903.
France, 72,475.
Italy, 238,557."
Finally, on 7th July, 1944, Sauckel, in one of his last reports, informed the National Socialist Government of the results of his campaign during the first half of 1944. I quote the document, which bears the No. 208-PS, and which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 86. I read from the second page -
"C. The foreigners came from:
France, except the North, 33,000.
Belgium, including the North of France, 16,000.
Netherlands, 15,000.
Italy, 37,000."
This is the fresh manpower put at the disposal of German industry during the period of 1st January to 30th June,1944.

I have furnished the proof I owed to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will, moreover, remember Sauckel's admission at the 43rd conference of the Four Year Plan, which I have read to you previously. Sauckel admitted that there were 5,000,000 foreign workers in Germany, of whom 200,000 were actually volunteers.

The enormity of the crime exposed is established by the circumstances of its perpetration, and by the multitude of the victims affected. To prove the gravity of its effect, I have but to recall the treatment to which foreign workers were subjected in Germany.

German propaganda always claimed that foreign workers deported to Germany were treated on an equal basis with German workers; the same living conditions, the same labour contracts and discipline. This contention, as such, is not conclusive. My American colleagues have furnished proof of the blows which the National Socialist conspirators have dealt to the dignity and decency of the life of the German worker. But the actual facts were different. Foreign workers did not enjoy the treatment in Germany to which they were entitled as human beings. I affirm this and I shall try to prove it to the Tribunal.

But, before going into that, I wish to call its attention to the significance of the next crime which I am denouncing. It does not only make the crime of

[Page 436]

deportation complete, but provides its true meaning also. I said that the policy of the defendants in the occupied territories could be summed up as follows:

Utilisation of the productive forces and extermination of the unproductive forces. This is the principle representing one of the favourite concepts of National Socialism, on the basis of which the treatment inflicted on foreign workers by the defendants should be judged. The Germans have exploited the human potential of the occupied countries to the extreme limit of the strength of the individuals concerned. They showed some consideration for foreign workers only in so far as they wished to increase their output. But as soon as their capacity for work decreased, the foreign workers shared the common lot of deportees.

I shall prove my argument by expounding to the Tribunal the working and living conditions and rules of discipline which were imposed on foreign workers deported to Germany.

I request the Tribunal to charge the defendant Sauckel with the acts I am going to denounce. He was put in charge of the working conditions for foreign workers, following an agreement to which he readily consented. The text of this agreement, made with Ley, the Chief of the German Labour Front, on 2nd June, 1943, was published in the "Reichsarbeitsblatt," 1943, Part 1, Page 588. I submitted this to the Tribunal at the beginning of my presentation as Exhibit RF 18.

This agreement shows that the treatment of foreign workers was subject to control by the inspection department of the "Manpower Utilisation" (Arbeitseinsatz). The defendant Sauckel could, therefore, not ignore the mistreatment to which foreign workers were subjected. If not prescribed, it was tolerated by him.

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