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 Fortieth Day: Tuesday, 28th May, 1946
(Part 8 of 10)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his direct examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 78]

Q. Did you have anything to do with the administration of the camp later on?

A. I never had anything to do with the administration of the camp. The Thuringian Government made an attempt at that time to influence the planning of the building by saying that the building police in Thuringia wished to give the orders for the hygienic arrangements in the camp. Himmler rejected this on the grounds of his position, saying that he had a construction office of his own and the site now belonged to the Reich.

Q. Did you visit the camp at any time?

[Page 79]

A. As far as I can remember, on one single occasion at the end of 1937 or the beginning of 1938, I visited and inspected the camp with an Italian commission.

Q. Did you find anything wrong there?

A. I did not find anything wrong. I inspected the accommodation - I myself had been a prisoner for five years, and so it interested me. I must admit that at that time there was no cause for any complaint as such. The accommodation had been divided into day and night rooms. The beds were covered with blue and white sheets; the kitchens, wash-rooms and latrines, were beyond reproach, so that the Italian officer or officers who were inspecting the camp with me said that in Italy they could not accommodate their own soldiers any better.

Q. Later on, did you hear about the events in that camp which have been alleged here?

A. I heard nothing about such events as have been alleged here.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the evacuation of the camp at the end of the war, before the American Army approached?

A. When the Mayor of Weimar informed me that they intended to evacuate the camp at Buchenwald and to use the camp guards to fight the American troops, I raised the strongest objections. As I had no authority over the camp, and for various reasons connected with my other office, I had had considerable differences with Himmler and did not care to speak to him, I telephoned the Fuehrer's quarters in Berlin and said that in any case an evacuation or a march back of prisoners into the territory east of the Saale was impossible and madness, and could not be carried through from the point of view of supplies. I demanded that the camp should be handed over to the American troops in occupation in an orderly manner. I received the answer that the Fuehrer would give instructions to Himmler to comply with my request. I briefly reported this to some of my colleagues and the Mayor, and then I left Weimar.

Q. The witness Dr. Blaha has stated that you had also been to the concentration camp at Dachau on the occasion of an inspection.

A. No, I did not go to the Dachau concentration camp and, as far as I recollect, I did not take part in the visit of the Gauleiter to Dachau in 1935 either. In no circumstances did I take part in an inspection in Dachau such as Dr. Blaha has described here; and consequently, above all, I did not inspect workshops or anything of the sort.

Q. Did you not, as Gauleiter, receive official reports regarding the events in the concentration camp, that is to say orders which passed through the Gau administrative offices both from and to the camp?

A. No. I neither received instructions for the Buchenwald camp, nor reports. It was not only my personal opinion, but it was the opinion of old experienced Gauleiter, that it was the greatest misfortune, from the administrative point of view, when Himmler, as early as 1934-1935, proceeded to separate the executive from the general internal administration. There were continual complaints from many Gauleiter and German provincial administrations. They were unsuccessful, however, because in the end Himmler incorporated even the local fire brigades into the Reich repair units of his police.

Q. Did you have any personal relations with the Police and the SS at Weimar?

A. I had no personal relations with the SS and the Police at all. I had official relations inasmuch as the industrial police and the local police of small boroughs still remained under the internal administration of the State of Thuringia.

Q. Did not the police have their headquarters near you at Weimar?

A. No, it was the ridiculous part of the development at that time, that, as I once explained to the Fuehrer, we had been changed from a Party State, and a State made up of provinces, into a departmental State. The Reich ministries had greatly developed, their departments being cut off from one another, and the individual district departments did not co-operate with the various administrations. Until 1934 Thuringia had its own independent police administration in its Ministry for Home Affairs. But from that time the headquarters of the Higher SS and the

[Page 80]

Police Leaders were transferred to Cassel, so that Himmler, in contrast to the rest of the State and Party organizations, obtained new spheres for his police. He demonstrated this in Central Germany where for example the Higher SS and Police Leader for Weimar and the State of Thuringia was stationed in Cassel, whereas for the Prussian part of the Gau of Thuringia - that is to say the town of Erfurt, which is 20 kilometres away from Weimar - the Higher SS and Police Leader and the provincial administration had their seat in Magdeburg. It is obvious that we, as Gau authorities, did not in any way agree with such a development and that there was great indignation amongst the experienced administrators.

Q. The question is: Did you co-operate with these offices and did you have friendly association with the officials in the regime and therefore know what was going on in Buchenwald?

A. On the contrary, it was a continual battle. Each separate organization shut itself off from the others. At such a period of world development this was most unfortunate. For the people it was disadvantageous and it made things impossible for any administration.

Q. Was there persecution of the Jews in your Gau?

A. No.

Q. What about the laws concerning the Jews and the execution of those laws?

A. These Jewish laws were proclaimed in Nuremberg. There were actually very few Jews in Thuringia.

Q. Were there no violations in connection with the well-known events, following the murder of the envoy in Paris, which have repeatedly become the subject of discussion in this Trial?

A. I cannot recollect in detail the events in Thuringia. As I told you, there were only a few Jews in Thuringia. The Gauleiter were in Munich at the time, and had no influence at all on that development, for it happened during the night - when all the Gauleiter were in Munich.

Q. My question is this: What happened in your Gau of Thuringia, and what instructions did you give as a result?

A. There may have been a few towns in Thuringia where a window was smashed or something of that sort. I cannot tell you in detail, I cannot even tell you where or whether there were synagogues in Thuringia.

Q. Now one question regarding your financial position.

On the occasion of your 50th birthday the Fuehrer made you a donation. How much was it?

A. On my 50th birthday in October 1945 I was surprised to get a letter from the Fuehrer through one of his adjutants. In that letter there was a cheque for 250,000 marks. I told the adjutant that I could not possibly accept it - I was very surprised. The Fuehrer's adjutant - it was little Bormann, the old Bormann, not Reichsleiter Bormann - told me that the Fuehrer knew quite well that I had neither money nor any landed property and that this would be a security for my children. He told me not to hurt the Fuehrer's feelings. The adjutant left quickly and I sent for Demme who was both a colleague and a friend of mine and the President of the State Bank of Thuringia. He was unfortunately refused as a witness as being unimportant -

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is enough if we know whether he ultimately accepted it or not.


Q. Let us drop that question. What happened to the money?

A. Through the president of the State Bank in question the money was placed into an account in the State Bank of Thuringia.

Q. What other income did you receive from your official positions?

A. The only income I had from my official positions was the salary of a Reich Regent.

Q. How much was that?

[Page 81]

A. I cannot tell you exactly what the salary of a Reich Minister was. I never bothered about it. It was something like thirty thousand marks.

Q. And what means have you today apart from the donation in that bank account?

A. I have not saved any money and I never had any property.

DR. SERVATIUS: That, Mr. President, brings me to the end of those general questions and I am now coming to the questions relating to the employment of labour.

THE, PRESIDENT: We will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. SERVATIUS: To aid the Tribunal I have prepared a chart showing how the direction of labour was managed which should help to explain how the individual authorities co-operated and how the operation was put into motion.

I will concern myself mainly with the problem of supplying the demand, that is with the question of how the labour was obtained. I shall not concern myself much with the question of the use made of the labour and the needs of industry. That is more a matter for Speer's defence which does not quite agree with my presentation of things. But those are details which escaped me in error because I did not go into such matters thoroughly when the chart was being prepared. Fundamentally there are no differences.

If I may explain the chart briefly: At the top there is the "Fuehrer" in red; under him is the "Four-Year Plan"; and under that, as part of the Four-Year Plan there is the office of Sauckel, who was General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour (Arbeitseinsatz) and came directly under the Four-Year Plan. He received his instructions and orders from the Fuehrer through the Four-Year Plan, or, as was the Fuehrer's way, from him direct.

Sauckel's Headquarters were at the Reich Ministry of Labour. It is the big space outlined in yellow to the left, below Sauckel's office which is in brown. Sauckel only became included in the Reich Labour Ministry by having a few offices put at his disposal. The Reich Minister of Labour and the whole of the Labour Ministry remained.

In the course of time Sauckel's position became somewhat stronger, individual departments being necessarily incorporated into his, over which, to a certain extent, he obtained personal power, but the Reich Ministry of Labour remained until the end.

I should now like to explain how the "Arbeitseinsatz" was put into operation. Owing to operations in Russia and the great losses in the winter, there arose a need for two million soldiers. The Wehrmacht, marked in green at the top next to "The Fuehrer," "OKW," demands soldiers from the industries. It is marked here in the green spaces which run downwards below the "OKW." The line goes left then downwards to the Industries which are marked as having thirty million workers. The Wehrmacht withdraws two million workers but can only do so when new labour is available. It was at that moment that Sauckel was put into office in order to obtain this labour.

The number of men needed was determined by the higher authorities through the so-called "Requirements Board" marked at the top in yellow, which represented the highest offices: the Armaments and Production Ministries, the Ministry of Air, Agriculture, Shipping, Transport, and so on. They reported their requests to the Fuehrer and he decided what was needed.

Sauckel's task was carried out as follows: Let us go back to the brown square.

On the strength of the right of the Four-Year Plan to issue orders, he applied to the office indicated on the right where the squares are outlined in blue. They are the highest district offices in the occupied territories - the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Territories - i.e., Rosenberg; then come the military authorities, and as things were handled a little differently in each country, here are the various countries, Belgium, Northern France, Holland, etc. marked in yellow. These

[Page 82]

agencies received the order to make labour available. Each through its own machinery referred the order to the next agency below and so on down to the very last, the local labour offices, which are under the district authorities, and here the workers were assigned to the factories. That is the reserve of foreigners. Beside that there are two other sources of labour available, the main reserve of German workers, which is marked in blue to the left at the bottom, and the reserve of prisoners of war.

Sauckel had to deal with all these three agencies. I will now put relevant questions to the witness. This is only to refresh our memories and to check the explanation.

I will submit other charts later. There is a list of the witnesses drawn up according to their offices so that we know where they belong; and later there will be another chart showing the inspection and controls which were set up.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, you will no doubt be asking the witness whether he is familiar with the chart and whether it is correct.


Q. Witness, you have seen this chart. Is it correct? Do you acknowledge it?

A. To the best of my memory and belief it is correct, and I acknowledge it.

Q. On the 21st of March, 1942 you were made General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. Why were you chosen for this office?

A. The reason why I was chosen for this office was never known to me and I do not know it now. Because of my engineering studies and my occupation I took an interest in questions concerning labour systems, but I do not know whether that was the reason.

Q. Was your appointment not made at Speer's suggestion?

A. Reichsleiter Bormann disclosed that in the preamble to his official decree. I do not know the actual circumstances.

DR. SERVATIUS: I beg to refer to Sauckel Document NO. 7. It is in Document Book 1, page 5.

THE WITNESS: I should like to add that this appointment came as a complete surprise to me, I did not apply for it in any way. I never applied for any of my offices.

THE PRESIDENT: What number are you giving to this document?

DR. SERVATIUS: Document No. 7.

THE PRESIDENT: I mean the chart. What number are you giving to the chart?

DR. SERVATIUS: Document 1.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see, and Document No. 7, page 5.,

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes. This document is a preamble added by Reichsleiter Bormann to the decree and which shows it was Speer who suggested Sauckel for this position.


Q. Was it an entirely new office which you then entered?

A. No. The Arbeitseinsatz had been directed by the Four-Year Plan before my appointment. A ministerial director, Dr. Mansfeld, held the office then. I only learned here, during these proceedings, that the office was already known before my time as the office of the General Plenipotentiary.

Q. On taking up your office did you talk to Dr. Mansfeld, your so-called predecessor?

A. I neither saw Dr. Mansfeld nor spoke to him, nor did I take over any records from him.

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