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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Fifth Day: Wednesday, 6th March, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[Page 192]

[Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe continues]

No. 92 is a film of foreign workers, and I suggest that it would be reasonable if the representatives of the prosecution were shown that film first, before it is shown in Court. I think that was the course that was taken with regard to the concentration camp film; because, of course, without going into arguments at the moment, the question of propaganda is a serious one which the prosecution are bound to consider. I have expressly refrained from further comment, but I think the Tribunal will see the point that is in my mind, and will, I hope, consider that it is reasonable that we should see the film before we are asked to comment on it further.

I have taken only certain examples in the documents because obviously they will have to be considered in detail when we see the text, and the prosecution have to reserve their rights as to objection. But I made the general point - and I hope the Tribunal will think that it is a fair point, and I hope Dr. Servatius will not think that I am decrying his work, I am emphasizing the industry and care which he has shown in doing it - that with this immense body of documentation the witnesses in this case will want careful selection. That, as I have said, indicates our general view.

THE PRESIDENT: Before you deal with what Sir David said, Dr. Servatius, I ought to say, for the information of other defendants' counsel and other persons concerned, that the Tribunal proposes to adjourn today at 4 o'clock instead of 5 o'clock.

Sir David, I wanted to ask you: Throughout the discussion I think you referred to affidavits. Did you mean to particularize an affidavit as opposed to an interrogatory?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, my Lord, I did not. I am sorry. I really have not made that distinction. It is written evidence that I wish to refer to, either by affidavit or interrogatory, whichever Dr. Servatius wishes to have.

[Page 193]

THE PRESIDENT: And one other question: In view of what you have said about the documents, would it not be a good thing for the prosecution to have a little more time to consider the documents? And then perhaps they could give more help as to their-view about the documents.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That would be so, my Lord, but your Lordship will appreciate that we have been under considerable pressure in the last few weeks and it is impossible to cover them all, but we should be glad of a little time to go into the documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you could see Dr. Servatius about them after the adjournment some time.


THE PRESIDENT: And in the course of a day or two, let us know.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, we could do that.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, Dr. Servatius, will you deal with the witnesses ?

DR. SERVATIUS: Witness No. 1, Ambassador Abetz. I name this witness in order to clarify Sauckel's personal conception of the admissibility of the Arbeitseinsatz from the point of view of International Law. On the basis of what was said in Court, and in the absence of any protest from the governments of other countries - notably France - he was entitled to assume that it was legitimate. I am, however, willing to admit the witness Stothfang, who as Sauckel's deputy repeatedly negotiated with Laval. If he is admitted, I would renounce the witness Abetz. In other words I will forgo witness No. 1 if I am permitted witness No. 9.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see. What about witnesses 2 to 8?

DR. SERVATIUS: Witnesses from Sauckel's staff. It is difficult to dispense with any witness; as witnesses are absolutely necessary for the graphic illustration of the way in which orders were carried out in practice. The Tribunal would find it very difficult to read through this enormous number of laws, and it is easier to hear witnesses on the essential points than to undertake the amount of reading involved. The witness Timm is the most important, as for all practical purposes he was in charge of the so-called Europe- Amt which was responsible for the actual distribution of the labour forces.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment, Dr. Servatius. First of all, you will, no doubt, be calling the defendant Sauckel himself?

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, I should like to call him last.

THE PRESIDENT: These witnesses will be corroborating his evidence about his administration. Under those circumstances, would not two of them, as Sir David suggested, out of eight, and two more affidavits be sufficient?

DR. SERVATIUS: From a legal point of view, the witness Beisigel can be dispensed with, but the other witnesses are necessary because they have actual knowledge of the use of manpower abroad. So far, I have only one witness who can really speak on the use of manpower in the East. This witness should be able to describe the actual procedure followed; for laws have little meaning in themselves, if we do not know how they were applied. For the East, we have the witness Letsch - a highly important witness-and for the West, the witness Hildebrandt, who can testify how conditions gradually changed in France in consequence of the resistance movement.

The witness Kaestner could not be found, and I will dispense with him.

Witness No. 7, Dr. Geissler, is of the greatest importance because he can testify regarding inspections. The main point is at what period these workers were employed and what provision was made by Sauckel for their well-being in Germany. To ensure that Sauckel's regulations - which, I maintain, were models of their

[Page 194]

kind - were actually put into practice, a series of inspectorates existed. Witness No. 7, Geissler, was in charge of the Reich inspectorate, a branch established by Sauckel. I consider him indispensable.

THE PRESIDENT: Why are not No. 3 and No. 8 cumulative?

DR. SERVATIUS: I named No. 8 in order to give special emphasis to the wage question. So far the prosecution has not treated individual points in any very great detail. Otherwise, I should find myself in difficulties owing to lack of evidence when the emphasis is transferred later to the question of wages. Only witness No. 8 can testify to this question. Witness No. 3 can testify regarding the regulations generally and in particular that Sauckel constantly improved conditions to the last, so that the situation of all foreign workers was considerably improved by legislation and continued to improve. This can be seen from all the regulations, which I have carefully collected for the purpose.

Witness No. 9, Dr. Stothfang, was Sauckel's consultant, his personal adviser, and conducted many negotiations, particularly with France. For this reason I have named him as a substitute for witness No. 1, Abetz. In particular he conducted negotiations over the restrictions of the so- called Weisungsrecht, the restriction, i.e., Sauckel's right to recruit workers. From the very start ,of Sauckel's activities, it was clear that no official administering a zone would tolerate interference of this kind on Sauckel's part, that from a practical point of view it was impossible to tolerate it and that his recruiting powers were promptly curtailed through negotiations. Witness Stothfang will testify on that subject.

THE PRESIDENT: Why are 9 and 10 not cumulative?

DR. SERVATIUS: I will forgo No.10. I wish to say something on a rather different subject.


DR. SERVATIUS: Witness No. 11 knows the conditions. He was the Press expert, and if I must forgo any witness, I would dispense with him rather than anyone else. He really does know, however, exactly what conditions were like. He wrote the book Europe Works in Germany, and made the film, and can say that these pictures were not faked but are genuine photographs. For this reason he is important, as his testimony is supplementary to the book and the film.

The next witnesses belong to the Labour Front (Arbeitsfront). The Arbeitsfront was responsible for the welfare of all foreign workers, as well as for that of German workers. The situation never changed in that respect; and the witnesses can testify now to the way in which the regulations were carried out in different cases, with regard to the construction of the camps, supplies, clothing and everything else that took place.

Witness No. 13 would be the most important witness, but he has not been found. For this reason I attach special importance to witness No. 14, who worked with him. The witness Hoffmann was practically in charge and knows what conditions were in the camps.

Those were the witnesses who worked with Sauckel in liaison with the Arbeitsfront. The other witnesses will testify as to the practical work done by the workers themselves.

The situation is this: Dr. Ley no longer appears here, so that the whole of Ley's field now becomes part of the case against Sauckel and forms a further charge against Sauckel unless the question is clarified. There were a good many charges and they must be clarified.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the difference between 15 and 16?

DR. SERVATIUS: 15 is a stenographer's error. 15 is identical with witness 12. Witness 16, Mende, of the head office, is particularly important because he had to look after the organizations within the Arbeitsfront.

[Page 195]

THE PRESIDENT: You mean 15 comes out, does it?

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, 15 comes out.


DR. SERVATIUS: Witness 17, Dr. Hupfauer, can testify as to the origin of the code of regulations in general and about the direction in which Sauckel worked.

THE PRESIDENT: Why is not he cumulative with No. 14, whom you wanted to have instead of 13? The charge of inhumanity applies to both of them.

DR. SERVATIUS: Because witness 14 deals with the practical side, and witness 17 deals with the legislative side. Witness 18 was responsible for the practical application within the Arbeitsfront. One must keep these various fields distinct from each other. Sauckel had a small office, which was incorporated into the Ministry of Labour. He issued regulations with the aim of steadily improving matters.

I offer evidence that they were of social value and will prove on investigation to be irreproachable.

We then have to consider the other side of the question - the practical application, for which the Labour Front was responsible, and the recruitment. I have special witnesses to deal with these heads as well.

The next witnesses are members of Sauckel's specialist staff. Witness 19, Bank Direktor Goetz, can testify that billions of marks were transferred to foreign countries for workers' wages.

Witness 20, Beckurtz, was manager of the Gustloff works and one of Sauckel's closest collaborators. He will confirm that the treatment and housing of workers in this very Gustloff factory was exemplary.

Witness 21 will testify as to the degree of authority exercised by Ley and Sauckel respectively. It is of great importance to know whether Sauckel himself was responsible or whether some other office was in charge of the practical side.

THE PRESIDENT: Why cannot this be dealt with by an affidavit or interrogatories?

DR. SERVATIUS: I shall be satisfied here with an affidavit. I have not yet spoken to the witness personally and for that reason I had to list him as a witness.

Witness 22, Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture. He will testify that from the moment Sauckel took up his appointment, he made every effort to improve conditions for foreign workers, and that he continued to pay special attention to this point. That is of particular importance in view of the accusation that the foreign workers had been starved. Through him I shall be able to adduce evidence that the foreign workers were in part - I say in part - better off than German workers.

Witness 23 . . .

THE PRESIDENT: He has already been granted to another defendant.

DR. SERVATIUS: Oh, I see. Then I can forgo him.

The next witness has not yet been found. He will testify regarding the exchange of prisoners of war for French workers. I understand that Reich Minister Lammers has already been approved for other defendants.

Witnesses 26 and 27 are important because they can furnish information on the way in which workers were recruited in the Eastern territories. They can testify to the extent of Sauckel's powers, whether they were executive or otherwise, to the authority given to the police, and to what extent the organization was distinct from the SS. Witness 26 has not been found. Consequently, I shall have to confine myself to witness No. 27, Governor Fischer, who has been found and approved.

[Page 196]

THE PRESIDENT: What about an affidavit for 27?

DR. SERVATIUS: I do not consider that I can forgo calling him as a witness. It is of the utmost importance to have a witness who can say what conditions in the East actually were.

Witness 28, Dr. Jaeger. We have a detailed affidavit: but it is extremely inaccurate. It has been submitted as Document 288-D, Exhibit USA 202. I have also received the German translation.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, was it not the proper course to cross-examine Dr. Jaeger when his affidavit was read?

DR. SERVATIUS: I assumed that it was accurate, as at that time I was not acquainted with conditions in the district in question. I have since made inquiries and can bring evidence to show that his statements were not only very much exaggerated but in many cases actually false. The truth emerged by degrees on studying in detail some half-dozen sworn statements which I obtained. Krupp had sixty camps. The witness deals with three or four of them at a time when the air war was at its peak - a fact which he does not mention. I do not anticipate much difficulty in proving his statements incorrect. I should like to reserve the right to submit further affidavits with which the witness can be confronted if he appears here in person. I also made an application which has not yet been granted, for leave to make use of a number of medical reports made in these very factories which in themselves prove that Dr. Jaeger's testimony is inaccurate. My chief difficulty was to obtain possession of this evidence, hence the delay. Otherwise I should have submitted it sooner. I attach great importance to Dr. Jaeger as a witness.

The next witnesses, Dr. Voss and Dr. Scharmann, will testify on the same subject, but each in connection with a different area. They have attended the camps as doctors and can testify that the conditions there were irreproachable and good. I could name many such doctors if I had the time and opportunity to look them up. I know both of these and they will confirm what conditions were really like.

THE PRESIDENT: If that is so, why can they not both give an affidavit about it?

DR. SERVATIUS: They are in a camp. It is difficult for me to contact them; it would be easier to bring the witnesses here. Perhaps Dr. Voss can appear here so that one of them can be heard.

The next three witnesses are named for this purpose. . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, since I gave the explanation, I have had a chance of comparing the English text with the French text, and it would appear that an error has crept into the English text, which says:

"He seemed to be impressed and he gave an explanation of the gravity of the communication Schichlowski had given. Schichlowski had given an order that no prisoner should remain in Buchenwald."
The French text is, if I may translate it:-
"He seemed very embarrassed and an explanation was given. The Governor of Thuringia, Sauckel, had given the order that none of the detained persons should remain at Buchenwald."
So that apparently when I told the Tribunal that we could not find this reference, I was dealing with the English text, and it appears that there was such a reference in the French text. Since M. Dubost was calling the witness, the probability is that the French text is right, and as there is evidence that Sauckel had given this order, I think it is only fair that I should say that one witness should be permitted to deal with this point in the view of the prosecution; it is, of course, a matter for the Tribunal.

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