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 10 of 10)

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

[Page 87]

Q. Will you put the document aside now, please.

What authority did you have to carry out your task?

A. I had authority from the Four-Year Plan to issue instructions. I had at my disposal - not under me, but at my disposal - Sections 3 and 5 of the Reich Labour Ministry.

Q. What departments did they have?

A. The Departments for the "Employment of Labour" and for "Wages."

Q. Could you issue directives and orders?

A. I could issue directives and orders of a departmental nature to those offices.

Q. Could you carry on negotiations with foreign countries independently?

A. I could carry on negotiations with foreign countries only through the Foreign Office or, when I had received permission, with the ambassadors or envoys in question.

Q. Could you give your orders independently or was agreement necessary and consultation?

A. My field of work, as in every large branch of an administration, made it absolutely necessary for me to discuss the questions and have consultations about them with neighbouring departments. I was obliged to do so according to instructions.

Q. With whom did you have to consult, apart from the Four-Year Plan under which you were placed?

A. I had first of all to consult the departments themselves from which I received the orders, and in addition the Party Chancellery, the office of Reich Minister Lammers - the Reich Chancellery, the Reich Railways, the Reich Food Ministry, the Reich Defence Ministry.

Q. Did things go smoothly, or were there difficulties?

A. There were always great difficulties.

Q. Did you have any dealings with Himmler?

A. I had dealings with Himmler only in so far as he gave instructions. He was Reich Minister and was responsible for security, as he said.

Q. Was not that a question which was very important for you in regard to the treatment of workers?

A. In the first months or in the first weeks, I believe, of my appointment I was called to see Heydrich. In a very precise way, Heydrich told me that he considered my programme, which had been approved by the Fuehrer, fantastic, and that I must realise that I made his work very difficult when I demanded that barbed wire and similar fences should not and must not be put around the labour camps, but that they should be taken down. He said then very briefly that I must realize that if it was I who was responsible for the Employment of Labour, it was he who was responsible for Security. That is what he told me.

Q. Were you satisfied that these strict police measures did exist?

[Page 88]

A. Through constant efforts I had these police measures permanently removed as far as they concerned the workers who were employed in Germany through my agency and my office.

Q. What did your authority to issue instructions consist of? Could you issue orders or had you to negotiate, and how was this carried out in practice?

A. The authority I had to issue instructions was doubtful from the beginning because, owing to the necessities of war, the lack of man-power, etc., I was forbidden to establish any office of my own or any other new office or organization. I could only pass on instructions after negotiation with the supreme authorities of the Reich and after detailed consultation. These instructions were, of course, of a purely departmental nature. I could not interfere in matters of administration.

Q. How was this right to issue instructions exercised with regard to the high authorities in the occupied territories?

A. It was exactly the same, merely of a departmental nature. In practice it was the passing on of the Fuehrer's orders which were to be carried out through the individual machinery of each separate administration.

Q. Could you give categoric instructions to military authorities, to the Economic Inspectorate East, for example?

A. No, there was a strict order from the Fuehrer that in the army and operational areas of the commanders-in-chief the latter only were competent, and, when they had examined military conditions and the situation, everything had to be regulated according to the needs of these high military commands.

Q. Did that apply to the military commander in France, or could you act directly there?

A. In France I could, of course, proceed only in the same way, by informing the Military Commander of the instructions which I myself had received. He then prepared for discussions with the German Embassy and the French Government, so that with the Ambassador presiding, and the Military Commander taking an authoritative part, the discussion with the French Government took place.

Q. And what happened as far as the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern territories was concerned?

A. In the case of that Ministry I had to transmit my orders to the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories and had to consult with him. With Reich Minister Rosenberg we always succeeded in arranging matters between ourselves in a way that we considered right. But in the Ukraine, particularly in the East, there was the Reich Commissioner who was on very close terms himself with Headquarters, and, as is generally known, he was very independent and acted accordingly and claimed this independence.

Q. How did these authorities in the occupied territories take your activities at first?

A. In the occupied territories there was naturally much opposition at the start of my work because I brought new orders and new requirements and it was not always easy to reconcile conflicting interests.

Q. Was there any apprehension that you would intervene in the administration of the territories?

A. I refrained entirely from any intervention from a personal point of view, and I always emphasized that in order to dispel any such apprehensions, as I myself was not the administrator there; but there were many selfish interests at work.

Q. We will discuss this on another occasion.

Now I should like to ask you: You had deputies for the Arbeitseinsatz - when did you obtain them?

A. I was given these deputies for the occupied territories through a personal decree of the Fuehrer on the 30th of September 1942, as far as I remember.

Q. What was the reason?

A. The reason for appointing these deputies was to do away more easily with the difficulties and the lack of direction which prevailed to some extent in these areas.

[Page 89]

DR. SERVATIUS: I refer in this connection to Document 12, "The Fuehrer's decree concerning the execution of the decree of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour." No, it is Document 13. "Decree concerning the appointment of deputies" - on page 13 of the English Document Book, so also is Document 10 which has already been submitted as Document 1903-PS, Exhibit USA 206.


Q. Did you not have two different kinds of deputies, I mean were there already some deputies there previously?

A. There were previously deputies of the Reich Labour Ministry who in allied or neutral countries were assigned to the German Ambassador. They must be distinguished from those deputies who were assigned to the chiefs of the German military or civilian administration in the occupied territories.

Q. What position did the deputies hold in the occupied territories?

A. In the occupied territories the deputies had a dual position. They were the leaders of the "labour" sections in the local government there, - a considerable difficulty for me - and, at the same time they were my deputies who were responsible for the uniform direction and execution of the principles of the Arbeitseinsatz as laid down by me.

Q. Did you have your own organization with the deputy at the head, or was that an organization of the district government?

A. I did not have any organization of my own. The district governments were independent separate administrations with an administrative chief as head to whom the various departments were subordinated.

Q. How many such deputies were there in one district?

A. In the various "States" I had one deputy in each of the highest offices.

Q. What was the task of the deputy?

A. The task of the deputy, as I have already said, was to guarantee that German orders were carried out in a legal way and, as member of the local administration, to regulate labour questions which arose there.

Q. What tasks did they have as regards the interest of the Reich and the distribution of labour for local employment and in the Reich?

A. It was expressly pointed out that they were to produce labour in reasonable proportions with consideration for local conditions; they also had to see to it that my principles were observed with respect to the treatment, feeding and so forth, of workers from the occupied zones. That is laid down in the form of a directive.

Q. Did you not have your own recruiting commissions?

A. There were no recruiting commissions in the sense in which the expression is often used here and in our own documents. It was a question of reinforcements of skilled workers which were being demanded by the district government in order to carry out the tasks in the countries affected.

Q. What instructions did these recruiting commissions have?

A. They received the instructions which are frequently and clearly expressed in my orders, and which, as they have been laid down, I need not mention.

Q. I refer hereto Document 15 which has already been submitted as Document 3044-PS Exhibit USA 206 and also as Exhibit USSR 384. That is the Order No. 4 of the 7th of May 1942, which settles in principle all the problems relating to this question, and gives the necessary directives to the deputies regarding recruitment.

Q. Were those directives, which you issued, always adhered to?

A. The directives I issued were not always adhered to as strictly as I had demanded. I made every effort to carry them out through constant orders, instructions and punishments which, however, I could not impose.

Q. Were these orders meant seriously? The French prosecution has submitted in a government report one of your speeches which you made at that time in Posen.

[Page 90]

It was a speech of apology. I ask you whether these principles were meant seriously or whether they were only for the sake of appearances, for you yourself believed, as the document stated, that they could not be carried out?

A. I can only emphasize that in my life I had worked so much myself under such difficult conditions that these instructions expressed my full conviction as to their necessity. I ask you to hear witnesses as to what I thought about it and what I did in order to have these instructions carried out.

Q. Was there any noticeable opposition to your principles?

A. I have already said that to a certain extent my principles were considered troublesome by some authorities and injudicious as far as German security was concerned.

For reasons that have been mentioned, as I was attacked on that account, in addition to a number of instructions to German Gauleiter, I issued a manifesto to all the highest German government offices which came into the question.

DR. SERVATIUS: May I remark that this is Document S-84, in Document Book 3, page 215.

I submit the document once more in German because of the form in which it is printed. It is in the form of an urgent warning and was sent to all the authorities.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it Document No. 84?


Q. Witness, did you, in a meeting of the Central Planning Board -

A. May I be allowed to say a word with regard to this manifesto.

Q. Yes.

A. When I issued the manifesto, I was met with the objection, mainly from Dr. Goebbels, that a manifesto should really be issued only by the Fuehrer and not by a subordinate authority such as myself. Then I saw that I should have difficulties in getting the manifesto printed. After I had had one hundred and fifty thousand copies printed for all the German economic offices, for all the works managers and all the other offices which were interested, I had it printed again myself in this emphatic form and personally sent it once more, with a covering letter, to all those offices.

In this manifesto, in spite of the difficulties which I encountered, I especially advocated that in the occupied territories themselves the workers should be treated in accordance with my principles and according to my directives and orders.

I respectfully ask the Tribunal to be allowed to read a few sentences from it:

"I therefore order that for all the occupied territories, for the treatment, feeding, billeting and payment of foreign workers, appropriate regulations and directives be issued similar to those valid for foreigners in the Reich. They are to be adjusted to the respective local conditions and applied in accordance with their meaning.

In a number of the Eastern territories native men and women civilian workers engaged in the German war industry, or working for the German Wehrmacht, are undernourished. In the urgent interests of the German war industry in this territory this condition should be remedied. It is checking production and is dangerous. An endeavour must therefore be made by all means available to provide additional food for these workers and their families. This additional food must be given only in accordance with the output of work. It is only through the good care and treatment of the whole of the available European labour on the one hand, and through its most rigid concentration," - here I mean organisational - "leadership and direction on the other hand, that the fluctuation of labour in the Reich and in the occupied territories can be limited to a minimum and a generally stable, lasting and reliable output be achieved."

[Page 91]

May I read one more sentence:
"The foreign workers in the Reich and the population in the occupied territories who are being used for the German war effort must be given the feeling that it is to their own interests to work loyally for Germany and that therein alone will they see and actually find their one real guarantee of life."
May I read still one sentence in the next paragraph
"They must be given absolute trust in the justness of the German authorities and of their German employers."
THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better not go further in this document. Can you indicate to us at all how long you are likely to be with this defendant?

DR. SERVATIUS: I shall probably need the whole day tomorrow.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, would it be convenient for you some time to deal with the documents of the remaining defendants?

MR. DODD: Yes, Mr. President, any time that you might set aside.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know how far the negotiations and agreements with reference to documents have gone.

MR. DODD: I do with some, but not with all. I can ascertain the facts tonight, or before the morning session, and advise you at that time.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, and you will let us know tomorrow what time will be convenient?

MR. DODD: Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn. (The Tribunal adjourned until 29th May 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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