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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 26th February, 1946

Sixty-Fifth Day: Friday, 22nd February, 1946
(Part 5 of 8)


[Page 227]

In the report of the Yugoslav Republic it is stated that the Gestapo and the special commission used pressure and force. This went so far that these "volunteer" workers were hunted through the streets, collected in units and herded into Germany by force.
"Apart from these so-called 'volunteer' workers, the Germans sent for forced labour in Germany a large number of prisoners from various camps, as well as politically 'suspicious' persons" - suspicious from their point of view - "who had to perform the most difficult kinds of work and under the worst living and working conditions. As early as 1942 many innocent victims of the Banjica, Sajmishte and other camps, were sent into Germany.

The first transport of them left on 24 April, 1942, and these transports continued without interruption until 26 September, 1944. Old and young, men and women, farmers, workers, intellectuals and others were sent to Germany. However, they were not taken only to Germany, but to other countries under German occupation, as well. According to the log books of the Banjica camp, which give far from an exact picture, over ten thousand prisoners were sent for forced labour from this camp alone.

The German authorities in Serbia issued a series of orders, aiming at ever greater exploitation of manpower. Among the first measures the following two orders were passed: The Order for Compulsory Work and Restriction of the Freedom of Employment of 14 December, 1941, and the Order for the National Service Work for the Reconstruction of Serbia, of 5 November, 1941. According to the first order all persons between 17 and 45 years of age could be called up for compulsory labour in certain industrial undertakings and branches of economy. According to the second order, such persons could be called up for civilian service in the 'National Reconstruction', which in fact meant that they had to work for the strengthening of the German economic and war effort.

The persons recruited in accordance with these two laws admittedly remained in the country itself, but in fact they worked exclusively for the aims and benefit of the Germans' economic exploitation. They were primarily used for work in the mines (Bor, Kostolac, etc.), for road building and railway line repairs, for irrigation, and so on.

On 26 March, 1943, the German Commandant of Serbia (Befehlshaber Serbiens) in a special order, introduced the so-called war economy measures of the Reich in the occupied territory of Serbia, and by this act imposed the general mobilisation of the manpower in Serbia.

By this order, therefore, the entire population of occupied Serbia was mobilised into the German war economy. The Germans exploited the Serbian manpower to the greatest possible extent.

The situation was in no way different in the other occupied areas of Yugoslavia. Without entering into numerous details of this planned exploitation,

[Page 228]

we shall quote here only one example from occupied Slovenia. According to an official 'Announcement' of the German Farmers' Union in Koruska (Landesbauemschaft Karnten) of 10 August, 1944, issued in Celovec (Klagenfurt), every case of pregnancy of non-German women was to be reported, and in all such cases hospital facilities were to be placed at the disposal of such women for the purpose of committing abortions. The 'Announcement' itself explains that in cases when non- German women give birth to their children, this 'creates difficulties for their use in work', and besides, also 'a danger for the population policy'. Furthermore, this 'Announcement ' states that it will be the duty of the Office of Work Service to influence these women to commit abortions.

As another proof of the exploitation of manpower, we quote the circular instructions of the German State Councillor for the Maribor District (Der Landrat des Kreises Marburg) of 12 August, 1944. This circular deals with the question of enlisting various categories of the population in the occupied Province of 'Donja Stajerska' into the armed forces and labour service, and it calls not only upon all the inhabitants of this occupied area, but also on the Dutchmen, Danes, Swedes, Luxembourgers, Norwegians, and Belgians, who may find themselves living there, to join up for labour service."

I shall pass on now to the report of the Polish Government which was presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet Prosecution as Exhibit USSR 93.

First we should note the special role of the defendant Frank in organising deportations of the Polish population for slave labour to Germany.

I shall read into the record several excerpts from a document known under the title "Frank's Diary" which is at the disposal of the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 223.

Frank described his attitude toward the Poles at the meeting of the section chiefs which took place in Cracow, 12 April, 1940, as follows: I shall quote an excerpt on Page 62 of the document book, to be exact, on the reverse side of the page. I quote:-

"Under pressure from the Reich, it had now been decreed that, since sufficient labour did not present itself voluntarily for service in the German Reich, compulsion could be used. This compulsion meant the possibility of arresting male and female Poles. A certain amount of unrest had been caused by this, which, according to isolated reports, had spread very widely and which could lead to difficulties in all spheres. Field Marshal Goering had once pointed out, in his big speech, the necessity for sending a million workers to the Reich. 160,000 had been delivered to date. To arrest young Poles as they left church or the cinema would lead to ever increasing nervousness among the Poles. Fundamentally Frank had no objections to removing people capable of work who were lounging about on the streets. But the best way would be to organise a round-up, and one was absolutely justified in stopping a Pole in the street and asking him what work he did, where he was employed, etc."
During his conversation with defendant Sauckel, 18 August, 1942, the defendant Frank stated - I quote the part which is on Page 67 of the document book:
"I am pleased to be able to inform you officially that we have now supplied more than 800,000 workers for the Reich. . . . You recently requested the supply of a further 140,000 workers. I am pleased to be able to inform you that, in accordance with our agreement of yesterday's date, we shall deliver sixty per cent. of these newly requested workers to the Reich by the end of October and the remaining forty per cent. by the end of the year.

Over and above the present figure of 140,000, you can, however, count on a further number of workers from the Government General next year, as we are going to use the Police to get hold of them."

Frank fulfilled his promise given to the defendant Sauckel.

[Page 229]

At the conference of the Polish leaders of the Labour Front in the Government General, 14 December, 1942, Frank stated in his address - this is on the same page of the document book:
"You know that we have delivered over 940,000 Polish workers to the Reich. The Government General thereby stands absolutely and relatively at the head of all European countries. This achievement is enormous, and has also been recognised as such by Gauleiter Sauckel".
Will you kindly permit me to quote that section of the Report of the Government of the Polish Republic which is entitled "Deportation of the Civilian Population for Forced Labour". This document is on Pages 72 and 73 of the document book:
"(a) As early as 2 October, 1939, a decree was issued by Frank concerning the introduction of forced labour for the Polish civilian population within the Government General. By virtue of the said decree Polish civilians were under the obligation to work in agricultural establishments, on the maintenance of public buildings, road construction, regulation of rivers, highways, and railways.

(b) A further decree of 12 December, 1939, extended the groups of those liable to forced labour to children from the age of fourteen years. And a decree of 13 May, 1942, gave the authorities the right to use forced labour even outside the Government General.

(c) The practice which developed on the basis of those decrees turned into mass deportation of civilians from Poland to Germany.

Throughout the Government General, in towns and villages, posters were continually inviting Poles to go 'voluntarily' to work in Germany. At the same time, however, every town and village was told how many workers they were to supply.

The result of the 'voluntary' recruitment was usually very disappointing. As a result of that the German authorities named the people to go or arranged round-ups in streets, restaurants, and other places and those caught were sent straight to Germany. There was a particular hunt for young workers of both sexes. The families of those deported received no news from them for months and only after some time postcards arrived describing the poor conditions in which they were forced to live. Often, after several months, the workers used to return home in a state of spiritual depression and complete physical exhaustion.

There is substantial evidence that while on that forced labour thousands of men were sterilised while young girls were forced into brothels.

(d) These labourers were either sent to live with German farmers, working on their land, or to work in factories, or to special work, while confined to forced labour camps. The conditions in those camps were abhorrent.

(e) According to provisional estimates, in 1940 alone, several hundred thousand women and men were sent to Germany as labourers.

(f) To this great army of slave workers thousands of Poles deported from the incorporated territories have to be added and also 200,000 Polish prisoners of war who, by a decree issued by Hitler in August 1940, were 'released' from camps, but only to be sent to forced labour in various parts of Germany.

(g) These deportations continued throughout the years of war. The total number of these workers reached at a certain point a figure of two millions.

Exact figures are obviously not available. But if one considers that in spite of the very high death rate among those people, there are now about 895,000 Polish citizens registered in Western Germany, the estimate appears correct....

(h) The whole chapter concerning the deportations to forced labour is presented here in a very condensed form. Behind these few lines lies the history of hundreds of thousands of Polish families destroyed, of tragedy, death,

[Page 230]

and sorrow. The history of each of these labourers was a continuous tragedy fathers leaving their families without means, husbands their wives with no possibility of maintaining them, with no protection and little hope of return. The quoted number of two million conceals an ocean of broken lives, involving, at the least, ten per cent. of the total population of Poland.

This was a terrible crime.... Deportation and forced labour were a flagrant violation of the laws and customs of war."

The Greek Report on the German Atrocities, submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 369, states the following (I beg you to refer to Page 74 of the document book):
"As in all the other occupied territories, the Germans pursued two main objectives in their occupational policy in Greece: the maximum exploitation of the country's resources in the interests of the German military economy, and the enslavement of the population by means of systematic terrorism and general repression. The Germans pursued their two-sided policy of plunder and revenge ... violating all commonly accepted laws."
The section of the Report of the Greek Government entitled "Recruitment of Manpower" contains two paragraphs which I intend to read into the record:
"One of the many problems confronting the German administration was that of recruiting labour. All males between 16 and 50 years of age were liable to labour conscription. Strikes were declared illegal, and severe penalties enforced for resort thereto. Persons who organised and directed a strike were liable to the death penalty. Strikers were tried by military courts.

At first, the Germans by propaganda and various forms of indirect pressure, tried to recruit Greek labour to work within Germany. They promised high wages and better conditions of life. As this kind of voluntary recruitment failed to produce the expected results they abandoned it and confronted the workers with the dilemma either of being taken as hostages or else of being sent to Germany to work."

Similar measures for the deportation of manpower to Germany were applied by the fascists also in Czechoslovakia.

But the deportation by the fascist criminals of the peaceful populations into slave labour reached its climax in the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

I would like now to dwell briefly on the preliminary measures taken by the Germans for the utilisation of forced labour in the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

Even before their attack on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in a document which is known to the Tribunal as the "Green Folder" of the defendant Goering (Document of the Soviet Prosecution, Exhibit USSR 10,) a whole chapter was dedicated to the problem of organising compulsory labour on the Soviet territories, which the war criminals intended to seize; the chapter was even called "The Utilisation of and Exploitation of Manpower, Local Population".

This chapter (pages 17 and 18 of the Russian text of the "Green Folder which is on page 83 of the document book) lays down the principle of forced labour for the peaceful Soviet population.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the sub-section "a" in the second part of that chapter, entitled "Recruitment of the Local Population", point out that:-

"The workers in public utilities - oil, water, electricity, oil drilling and any vital industry - will be forced to continue their work, under threat and punishment if necessary".
.And several lines above that:-
"In case of necessity, the workers will be organised into labour gangs."
The non-payment of wages for the compulsory labour of Soviet citizens had already been provided for in Goering's so- called "Green Folder". It was supposed beforehand that the problem of payment was no more than the question

[Page 231]

of providing the workers with food. The fascist slave owners were only interested in maintaining the working potential of the people and nothing more - Page 18 of the Russian text of the "Green Folder". This is the back of Page 3 of the document book . . .

THE PRESIDENT: This document has already been read into the record.

GENERAL ZORYA: I think that this particular part of the document has not been read into the record. This is a document of the Soviet Prosecution, which was published completely for the first time in the Note of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V. M Molotov, in May, 1942.

THE PRESIDENT: If as you say, it has not yet been read into the record, please go on.

GENERAL ZORYA: On Page 18 of the Russian text of the defendant Goering's "Green Folder" it is mentioned at least three times that food was to be the only payment allowed.

I do not wish to take more of the time of the Tribunal with this document, but will proceed with my presentation.

Defendant Goering, who signed this directive for the plunder of the Soviet Union - for how else could we refer to the above-mentioned document? - continued to organise forced labour in the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

As evidence I present to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 386, a document which discloses this phase of the defendant Goering's activity. This document, or to be precise, these two documents, are the record of the conference of 7 November, 1941, on the subject "Regarding Utilisation of Russians", in which Goering participated, and a covering letter to this record.

One hundred copies of the document were originally prepared and posted to the fourteen addresses which are listed, as your Honours may see, on Page 5 of the Russian text of the document, at the end of the covering letter.

The covering letter attached to the record bears the signature of the Chief of the Military Department of the Economic Staff of the East, Dr. Rachner. The minutes of the conference in question have been written by von Normann, who was evidently an official of the same organisation.

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