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 7 of 8)


[Page 236]

This order of the defendant Goering not only determines the special part of the Nazi Party in the execution of the compulsory labour system, but also emphasises the extraordinary powers of defendant Sauckel in this field.

The documents to which I have been referring until now give grounds for the Soviet prosecution to assert that within the general framework of the Nazi Government the Nazi Party was the centre of all measures for the Organisation of compulsory slave labour.

I would like now to analyse the part taken by the German High Command in the Organisation of compulsory labour and deportation into slavery of Soviet people. With this object in view, I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 367, an O.K.H. document regarding (I am using the exact words of the document itself) the "Mobilisation of Russian Manpower for the Reich". I beg the Tribunal to refer to Page 138 of the document book in which this document is to be found.

First of all, let us ascertain the source from which this document emanates. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page you will find "Ground Forces High Command, General Staff of Ground Forces, Quartermaster General, Office of Military Administration".

In the upper right-hand corner: Headquarters of the Ground Forces High Command, 10 May, 1942," and again the stamp "Secret". After the title it is stated:

"Authority: Order of the High Command of the Ground Forces,
No 2877/42, Secret, dated 25th April, 1942.
Order of the High Command of the Ground Forces 3158, 1942, Secret, 6th May, 1942."
Therefore, the document which I intend to quote here originates from the O.K.W. and is based on orders previously issued by the O.K.W.

At the end of this document there is a list of addresses to which it was distributed. I will not quote this list in full, but it leaves no doubt as to who were the executors of the orders contained in the above document. These executors were the military authorities.

Let us now turn to the contents of the submitted document. First of all, what was the purpose of the O.K.W. when it issued this letter? The reply to this question is contained in the first paragraph of our document, which I shall now read into the record. I summarise the quotation:

"The General Plenipotentiary for the Utilisation of Manpower appointed by the Fuehrer, Gauleiter Sauckel, in consideration of the increased armament requirements of the Reich and in order to secure the manpower requirements of the German war and armament economy, has received orders to speed up and increase considerably the recruiting and transport into the Reich of Russian manpower. For the execution of this recruiting measure which extends to the entire occupied Eastern territories, including the Army communications zones, special steps are necessary. . . .

These measures are carried out by officers of the Labour Commitment and Mobilisation Commissions. This mobilising is not only to take place in the cities but is also to embrace the population of the villages. The measures have to be carried out at once and on a large scale. This must be the chief task of all organisations."

The next two paragraphs of the quoted document, part of which is entitled: "Priority of Manpower Needs in the Armed Forces and Economy in the East", contain the following statement:
"The immediate manpower needs of the Army must be satisfied in the first place. The scale of the needs is to be determined by the staff and commanders of the Army. However, one must take into consideration that the Reich needs workers, if the ..."

[Page 237]

THE PRESIDENT: Is it not sufficient to say that this document provides for the speeding up of the mobilisation of manpower and slave labour for the purposes of the necessities of the Reich? Does it do anything more than that?

GENERAL ZORYA: Yes, you are quite right, Mr. President. It is enough if we add that this document contains not only the demand to accelerate the mobilisation of manpower but also the demand for immediate participation by the military authorities who had to arrange a suitable machinery in the form of suitable officers.

I pass on to the next document which I would like to submit to the Tribunal.

It would be a mistake to think that the O.K.H. gave orders only of such general character. In July, 1941, the defendant Keitel learned that the sub-departments of the Organisation Todt in the Lvov district paid the local workers a wage of 25 roubles. This situation made Keitel indignant. Todt immediately received an appropriate reprimand. And so we come to the next document, which I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 366.

The Reichsminister refers plainly in this document to the fact that General Fieldmarshal Keitel expressed his displeasure that the sub-departments of the Organisation Todt in the suburbs of Lvov paid wages to the local workers up to the amount of 25 roubles and that the sub-departments of the O.T. are making use of the factories.

Todt replies that during his last trip he had explained in detail to all members of the staff that the rules for the utilisation of manpower in Russian territory were different from those in Western Europe. Further in this document Todt categorically prohibits the paying of any sums of money at all. He concludes this document in the following terms:

"No compensation shall be given to the firms for wages not in conformity with the above principles.

This order is brought to the attention of all subordinate Labour Utilisation offices and to all firms concerned."

The German Government and the military command ordered the mobilisation of peaceful Soviet citizens for tasks which endangered life. This was mentioned by Goering at a conference on 7 November, 1941. I now submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 106, which contains the translation of the Fuehrer's directive, signed by him on 8 September, 1942. This directive concerns the utilisation of slave labour for the erection of fortifications on the Eastern Front. This document comes from the German archives captured by the Allied Armies in the West. In the covering letter to this document it is stated that this document is top secret and copies of it which will be sent to Headquarters and Divisions are to be returned to Headquarters of the Army and destroyed after reading.

On the second page of the document we find Hitler's order. I read it into the record:

"Headquarters, 8 September, 1942.

The heavy defensive battles in the area of Army Groups Centre and North compel me to make known my views of some fundamental tasks of the defence."

The next paragraphs 1 and 2 on Pages 1-7 concern general principles of defence which do not interest us to-day. On Page 148 of the document book is the following extract which I read into the record:
"The enemy indulges in the construction of positions to a far greater extent than our own troops. I know that it will be argued that the enemy has at his disposal more labour for construction of such positions. But it is therefore an absolute necessity at exactly this point to make use, with ruthless energy, of all prisoners of war and civilians for these tasks. Only in this respect is the Russian superior to us in his brutal way. By this means however, the German soldier too, can be spared as much as possible from labour on defensive works behind the front lines, in order that he may be kept free and fresh for his real duties. Frequently the necessary ruthlessness,

[Page 238]

which the present fateful battle demands, is not yet being employed here for we are not contesting a victory but for the existence and survival of our people. Besides, it is still in all circumstances always more humane to drive the Russian population to work by every means, as it has always been accustomed to be driven, than to sacrifice our most precious possession, our own blood."
This order is signed by Hitler.

Units of the Red Army also captured a decree issued by the German occupation authorities, which referred to an order of the General Staff about forced labour in combat zones. I submit this document as Exhibit USSR 407, and I deem it necessary to quote a few sentences from Page 149 of the document book:

"Order: By order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command, dated 6 November, 1943, regarding conscription and transference of labour to the combat zone of the newly occupied Eastern territory, all women born in 1924 and 1925 are hereby called up for labour in Germany."
Article 5 of this order provides that those who do not present themselves on the given dates shall be considered as saboteurs and will be held responsible in accordance with military law.

I am summarising this section. The High Command of the German Armed Forces and the defendant Keitel took a personal part in the execution of this system of forced slave labour; for the realisation of this criminal objective they used on a large scale from top to bottom the entire war mechanism of the military administration.

I beg your Honours to refer to the next document, which I am now presenting as Exhibit USSR 881.

THE PRESIDENT: Was that last order that you gave out Keitel's order? It is signed apparently by the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command.

GENERAL ZORYA: This is not an order of Keitel. This document which was submitted as Exhibit USSR 381 is entitled "Circular on Treatment of Foreign Civilian Labour in the Reich".

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you said that was by Keitel.

GENERAL ZORYA: The preceding document which was submitted to the Tribunal was actually one of Keitel's orders, but now I wish to speak of this instruction. I beg your Honours to pay attention to the date on which this instruction was issued, namely 26 January, 1942. In this instruction - on Page 150 of the document book-it is stated that the hopes which the Reich Marshal had placed in the Office for the Utilisation of Manpower must be justified at all costs.

The task of the economic organisations and the Office for the Utilisation of Manpower in the East consists in bridging, during the coming months, the gaps in the economy - which arose owing to the, departure into the army of men of younger conscription age - by means of the universal recruitment of Russian manpower.

"This is of decisive importance for the war and must therefore be achieved. If the number of volunteers does riot come up to expectation, then, according to the orders, the most severe measures should be taken during the recruitment".
The American Prosecution has submitted to the Tribunal a document of the Soviet Prosecution, Exhibit USSR 151, entitled " Instructions on the Treatment of Foreign Workers from the civilian population who are in the Reich".

I do not wish to quote this document again, buut only consider necessary to show

(Dr. Nelte comes to the Lectern.)

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): The President has just now asked about the Exhibit USSR 407 and the Prosecutor has presented it here as a document

[Page 239]

of Keitel. I have only just now found this document. If it is a question of the same document that I have, marked as Exhibit USSR 407, then it is signed by a local commander and by a chief of the Labour Office.

Is this document the same as that presented to you as Exhibit USSR 407?

THE PRESIDENT: I have already pointed out, have I not, that it was not by Keitel?

DR. NELTE: Yes, sir. But the Prosecutor has thereupon repeatedly said that this Exhibit 407 represents an order by Keitel. That is why I wanted to verify it.

GENERAL ZORYA: Perhaps the Tribunal will allow me to clarify this matter. Apparently a misunderstanding arose through faulty translation. I said that troops of the Red Army had seized a German order, and added that the order had been issued by the German occupational authorities - you can verify this by looking up the stenographic record-which referred to an order of Keitel regarding forced labour in the combat zones. This order begins with the following words: 'According to an Order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command regarding Compulsory Labour Service, dated 6th November, 1943" and so forth. I shall not quote any further.

If I may beg the Tribunal to consider once more a document which I have already submitted previously i.e., the document of the High Command of the Ground Forces, No. 113210 of 1942, it is because this order refers to corresponding orders of the Supreme Command of the German Army regarding questions of mobilisation of labour in the East. This order of the occupational authorities, which I submitted as exhibit USSR 407, refers to one of these orders. It states quite clearly: " According to the instructions of the Chief of the General Staff". That is why I submitted this document.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid I really do not understand you. What I have got in the translation before me is this:

"The units of the Red Army captured a copy of the German decree which mentions Keitel's order on the forced labour in the combat zone . . ." and continues further "that those persons refusing to work shall be apprehended as saboteurs."
This document is submitted as Exhibit USSR something or other.

It may be useful to read a few excerpts of it:

"By order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command of 6 November, 1943, concerning the compulsory labour service in the combat zone" - and then it goes on to deal with persons who do not present themselves being considered saboteurs.

Well, I thought you were saying that the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command was Keitel. He was the Chief of the O.K.W. Are you still saying that he was the Chief of the Military Command?

GENERAL ZORYA: I quote only that which is in the document: "By order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Command". That is in the document, and I do not wish to add anything.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is worth taking any more time over it.

GENERAL ZORYA: I will now go back to that document which was submitted to the Tribunal by the American Prosecution, and which was entitled "Directive for the Treatment of Foreign Labour in the Reich". I will not quote this document in detail; I would only like to stress that it established a special regime for the foreign workers from the East. They were interned in camps surrounded by guards and under supervision of a camp commander. They later forbade the normal regime for workers from the East. They were thus forbidden to visit churches or any public places and they were obliged to wear special insignia - a rectangle with pale blue edges, and in the middle the word "Ost" in white letters on the dark blue background.

[Page 240]

In the memorandum to housewives, regarding the employment of women from the East in town and rural households it was stated that (Page 131 of the document book): "Every Eastern worker, every alien, judges the standard of our entire people by the personal and political conduct of the individual German. The foreign workers must see in the housewife and the members of her family worthy representatives of the German people."

I proceed further:

"If, in exceptional cases, German and Eastern female domestic workers are employed in the same household, the German domestic worker must be given mainly tasks of serving the family and must also be given the supervision of the Eastern woman worker. The German domestic workers must be in every case in the privileged position."
General conditions of work did not apply to the women workers from the East. Their labour was regulated only by the whim of their masters. This was expressed in paragraph 4 of the same memorandum. I quote:
"Eastern women workers employed in households are subject to special working conditions. German regulations on working conditions and on the safeguarding of labour refer to them only in so far as this is specifically decreed."
The character of these special instructions can be seen in paragraph 9, Section "B" of the memorandum which states quite openly:
"No claim to leisure time is given. Eastern women domestic workers may not have the right to leave the household, except when on duty connected with the needs of the household. Visiting the theatres, restaurants, cinemas, etc., is forbidden."

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