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 May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Day: Monday, 27th May, 1946
(Part 2 of 11)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Baldur von Schirach]

[Page 5]

Q. You say there that you would be happy if the SA would put personnel at your disposal for support of this purpose, similar to the way in which the SS and the police have been doing for a long time already and you are referring - if you will read back to the paragraph just ahead of that sentence - to the training of the young people. You talk about Hitler schools and the training of Hitler Youth. Now, it is perfectly clear, is it not, that you did have assistance from the SS, according to your own methods, from the SS and police for a long time before you sent this message?

A. During the war, yes; since the beginning of the war in 1939 we had pre-military training camps and I wanted youth instructors for these camps. Neither the army nor the SA could supply sufficient instructors; the SS and the police could place a few young officers at my disposal.

Q. So it was only from the beginning of the war that you had personnel from the SS and police for the training of young people, was it?

A. I do not think that there would have been need for SS instructors otherwise. As I have said, we selected youth leaders from among youth itself.

Q. I ask you again, do you want the Tribunal to understand that it was only from the beginning of the war that you had the assistance of SS and police personnel assigned to your youth organization for the training of young people?

A. I cannot answer that question definitely for this reason: we had for example a training camp for shooting practice, and it was quite possible that one of the instructors was an SA man or an SS man only because by chance he happened to be one of the best qualified in that field. But I cannot think where such collaboration existed elsewhere.

Q. Are you able to say that you did not have SS personnel assigned for training purposes; and I am not talking about some isolated ski-master? I am talking about a regular programme of assistance from the SS to you in your training of young people.

A. As far as pre-military training is concerned, it was only through this teletype message that I requested help for training purposes. Apart from that, I do not recollect any collaboration.

Q. Do you know the term "Hay-Action? " "H-E-U-A-K-T-I-O-N."

A. Heu-Aktion? I do not remember it. I do not know what is meant by that.

[Page 6]

Q. Well, you have been in the courtroom every day. Do you not remember that there was proof offered here by the prosecution concerning the defendant Rosenberg and an action termed "Hay-Action"?

A. No, I do not remember it at the moment; I do not know it.

Q. Do you not remember that there was some talk here in the courtroom about the seizing of young people in the East and forcing them to be brought to Germany, forty or fifty thousand youths at the ages of ten to fourteen? You remember that, do you not, and that one of the purposes was to destroy the biological potentiality of these people? You do not know what I refer to?

A. Yes, that is an action which I now remember in connection with this trial. The only thing I can say on this in an official capacity is what Axmann told me during the war - I can't recall the exact year - namely that he had placed a large number of young Russians in apprentice hostels and apprentice workshops at the Junkers works in Dessau, and that these youths were extremely well accommodated and looked after there. I had not been in any way concerned with this action before, but as I stated at the beginning of my testimony here, I assume responsibility for the actions of youth in this war; I adhere to that statement. I do not think, however, that youth is responsible in this case, and I recall the defendant Rosenberg's statements, that he was complying with the wishes of the army and an army group in this affair.

Q. Well, we have the document here. It is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 171 - the Tribunal is familiar with it - and I would like to call your attention to the fact that in this document which says that Rosenberg agreed to the programme of seizing or apprehending forty to fifty thousand youths at the ages of ten to fourteen and transporting them to the Reich, it also said that this programme could be accomplished with the help of the officers of the Hitler youth through the Youth Bureau of Rosenberg's ministry; and it also said that a number of these young people were to be detailed to the SS and SS auxiliaries. Now, what I want to ask you particularly is what you know about that programme and how the Hitler Youth co-operated in it?

A. I cannot add to what I have already said about this programme.

Q. You were in charge of the war commitment of the Hitler Youth, were you not, the Kriegseinsatz?

A. The war commitment of German youth was under the immediate direction of the Reich Youth Leader. From my own knowledge, I can give only general but no detailed information.

Q. Witness, I ask you again, were you not appointed and did you not serve as the person responsible for the war commitment of youth in Germany? Now, I have got the document to show your appointment if you want to see it.

A. Yes; I do not want to deny it at all. In 1939 and 1940, as long as I was Reich Youth Leader, I myself directed that war commitment.

Q. I am talking about an appointment that was made even later than 1939 or 1940. You were appointed the person in charge of the war commitment of German youth by the Fuehrer at his headquarters in March of 1942, were you not?

A. Will you be good enough to show me the document? I consider it possible, but I have no exact recollection.

Q. All right. It is Document 3933-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 868. But first of all, do you not know you were appointed in charge of the war commitment for youth without being shown the document?

A. No. Only, I cannot tell you the exact date from memory. I was under the impression that I had been responsible for the war commitment beginning in 1939.

Q. All right, that is all I wanted to establish, that you were in fact responsible for it and continued to be responsible for it right up to the end of the war. I understood you to say a minute ago that the Reich Youth Leader was the man responsible rather than yourself?

[Page 7]

A. No. I said that I could give you only general but no special information, because the practical application of the war commitment was a matter for Axmann; I do not, however, want to minimise my own responsibility in any way.

Q. Very well, I think we are sufficiently clear about the fact that you were certainly nominated to the position no matter how you now wish to minimise your responsibility. What do you say is the date when you first became responsible for the war commitment of youth?

A. As far as I remember I was responsible for it beginning in 1939, at the outbreak of war, but I now see that this decree was not signed until 1942.

Q. All right; we will agree then from that date, March 1942, you were responsible. Now, I want to ask you to look at another document.

A. One moment, may I explain something in this connection? I do not know whether Hitler sighed this decree in March 1942, I do not know when it was signed. In this document Axmann tells me: The draft of the decree is now going to the Chief of the Reich Chancellery, who will request the official approval of the higher Reich authorities concerned, and then Bormann - "

Q. You do not need to read it, really. What do you want to say now? Are you saying that maybe it was not signed, or maybe you were not appointed, or are you going to say that you were appointed? Will you please give us an answer?

A. Not at all. But I really cannot say that the date of the publication of this decree boas March 1942. It may not have been published until May.

Q. I am not attaching any great importance to the date. I want you to look at Document 345-PS, which we offer as Exhibit USA 869. This may help you on this Heu-Aktion programme; that is, with respect to your memory.

Now, this is a telegram that the defendant Rosenberg sent to Dr. Lammers at the Reich Chancellery for the Fuehrer headquarters on the 20th of July, 1944. You will observe that in the first paragraph there is stated:

"In accordance with an agreement between the Reichmarschal as C.-in-C. of the Air Force, the Reichsfuehrer SS, the Youth Fuehrer of the German Reich and the Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories, the recruiting of youthful Russians, Ukrainians, White Russians" (and so on) " will take place on a volunteer basis for Kriegseinsatz in the Reich" ("Kriegseinsatz " being a programme that you were responsible for clearly at that time).
Now, moving down, I want to call your attention to paragraph 3, and I want to remind you of the Heu-Aktion document that is already in evidence. This telegram says:
"On the basis of a suggestion by military offices, the seizing and turning over of youths between the ages of ten to fourteen to the Reich territories will take place (Heu-Aktion) in a part of the operational territory, since the youths in the operational territory present a not insignificant burden."
It goes on to say:
"The aim of the action is a further disposal of the youths by placing them in the Reich Youth Movement and the training of apprentices for the German economy in a form similar to that which has been done in agreement with the General Plenipotentiary for Employment of Labour with White Russian Youths, which already shows results."
I particularly call your attention to that last phrase, "which already shows results."

Then the last clause in the next sentence which says: " . these youths are to be used later in the Eastern Occupied Territories as especially reliable construction forces."

You will observe that the last paragraph says that "The Actions under points 1 and 3 (which I have just been reading) are known to the Fuehrer." And there is something about the SS help in regard to this action. You had set a time limit on that.

[Page 8]

The next page of the document has the distribution, to the Reichmarschal, the Reichsfuehrer SS, the Reich Youth Fuehrer and the Reich Minister of Interior, and down at the bottom, a Gauleiter Bureau, among others.

What do you know about this seizing of young people between ten and fourteen and the turning over of them to your youth organization in Germany during these war years, and about how many thousands of them were so kidnapped, if you know?

A. I have already said that I do not wish to minimise my responsibility in this connection. But it was not until later that I was informed of this matter. Not I, but somebody else was Youth Leader of the German Reich in that year; and he made the agreement with the C.-in-C. of the Air Force and the Reichsfuehrer SS. But my own measures were -

Q. (interposing). Later you were the Youth Reichsleiter of Germany, were you not; and you were also the war commitment officer of youth in Germany at this very time?

A. I was at Vienna, and the date was the 20th of July, 1944. You will remember that the history-making events of that time were occupying all officials in Germany to a very great extent. Later I heard about this matter from Axmann, and I know that the accommodation, training, feeding and the whole treatment of these Russian youths were actually excellent.

Q. You also know that even at this hour the Allied forces are trying to find thousands of these young people to return them to their proper place? Do you know that this morning's Press carried an account of 10,000 people that are still unlocated?

A. I do not believe that those are these young people who were accommodated in apprentice hostels, and who, under exceptionally well ordered conditions, received very good professional training.

Q. You. see, it is perfectly clear from this Document 345-PS that this programme was in fact in operation. The letter from Rosenberg says so. He says it had "already shown results." And so your youth organization must have had something to do with it before this message was sent.

A. I have not at all denied that. Youth leaders were active a within the framework of the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories. And on the basis of what I have heard here during the trial, I can perfectly well understand that the generals in the East said the young people must be taken out of the combat zone. The point was that these youngsters from ten to fourteen years of age had to be taken away from the front.

Q. With the help of the SS?

Now, I want to show you another Document, 1137-PS, which will give you some idea, if you do not recall, of what was done with these young people, and how many of them are involved.

That will become Exhibit USA 870.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, there is a paragraph at the bottom of page 1 of that document which relates to another defendant.

MR. DODD: Yes, your Honour. I am sorry; I overlooked that. I will read it for the benefit of the record, if I may, at this time.


Q. Witness, I direct your attention back, if I may, to this Document 345-PS, so that you will be aware of what I am reading. You will observe that in the last paragraph of Rosenberg's communication to Dr. Lammers, we find this sentence:

"I have learned that Gauleiter Sauckel will be at the Fuehrer's headquarters on 21st July, 1944. I ask that this be taken up with him there and then a report made to the Fuehrer."
Sauckel was participating in this kidnapping of ten- to fourteen-year-olds as well, was he? Do you know about that?

A. I have no knowledge of it. I cannot give any information on that subject.

[Page 9]

Q. Now, this Document 1137-PS begins with a letter from a general; a message rather, an inter-office memorandum, dated the 27th of October, 1944, and it closes with a report by the Brigadier-General of the Hitler Youth, a man named Nickel.

Do you know Nickel, by the way? N-I-C-K-E-L?

A. The name is known to me, and probably I know the man personally; but at the moment I do not recall more than just the name. At any rate, he was not a Brigadier-General; he was a Hauptbannfuehrer.

Q: Well, all right. Whatever he was, he was an official of the youth organization. That is all I am trying to establish. I may have his title wrong. We have it Brigadier-General.

But in any event, if you look over this document, you will see that he is reporting about the seizing of these youths in the Eastern Occupied Territories. This is October, 1944. And he begins by saying that on the 5th of March he "received an order to open an office for the recruitment of youths fifteen to twenty years of age from the Eastern Occupied Territories for war employment in the Reich."

Then he goes on to cite figures, and he tells where he began his work: Lithuania, Esthonia, Latvia, the middle sector of the Eastern front, the southern sector of the Eastern front. And then on the next page of the English - and I imagine it is also on, your next page - it tells how they were classified, those that were brought back:

"1383 Russian SS Auxiliaries, 5953 Ukrainian SS Auxiliaries, 2354 White Ruthenian SS Auxiliaries, 1012 Lithuanian SS Auxiliaries."
Then he comes to the air force:
"3,000 Esthonian Air Force Auxiliaries " (and so on).
Some went to the Navy. I am not going to read all of it; but it gives you an idea of what distribution was made of these men, or young boys and girls, rather than men.

You will notice that a considerable number went to the SS.

A. Yes, but Hauptbannfuehrer Nickel's letter bears a stamp with the words "Reich Minister for Eastern Occupied Territories." That means, he was not acting on behalf of the Reich Youth Leader's department but on behalf of the Reich Ministry for the East.

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