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 Forty-First Day: Wednesday, 29th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 9)

[Page 109]

DR. SERVATIUS: The French Delegation submitted Document RF-5. It is a recruiting brochure Europe works in Germany. I had also submitted this, and the Tribunal took judicial notice of it. I should like to submit it again and refer to three pictures contained therein. The essential thing about these pictures is that some of the workers coming from the East arrived barefoot, and later we see pictures where these workers are seen well dressed ire Germany, and it is evident

[Page 110]

that the situation as regards clothing of these workers had made considerable progress in Germany.

THE PRESIDENT: Is this Sauckel 5?

DR. SERVATIUS: No, it is a document of the French Delegation, RF No. 5.


What was the situation with regard to working hours, who regulated the working hours?

[Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel] A. The working hours were regulated on the basis of the decrees by the Fuehrer, the Council of Ministers, and later on by Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels. The carrying out of these decrees was my task.

Q. What was the average working time?

A. During the war one can hardly talk of an average working time in Germany. There was the legal working time of eight hours. For anything beyond eight hours overtime had to be paid.

In the year 1943 the average working time per week was at first set at fifty-four hours; later, as far as it was necessary, at ten hours (per day). When Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels became Reich Plenipotentiary for the total war effort he demanded and proclaimed, against my objections and against the objection of other offices, but on the basis of the authority which he had, a ten-hour work day for all offices and industries. However, this could not be carried through at all, for in many industries and offices work had to be regulated according to the difficulties which were already then appearing, difficulties of raw materials, power supply, the amount of orders coming in, etc. But in exceptional cases - which were not infrequent - where production demanded it, eleven and twelve hours of work were put in. German workers, as well, worked longer hours. Of course all workers were compensated accordingly.

Q. In the French Document RF-22, on Page 101 of the German text, the following is set down:

"From the interrogations by the agencies of the 'Ministere des Prisonniers' of deported workers who had returned home, it can be seen that the average time of work per week was at least seventy-two hours."
Then the source of this information is mentioned, but that does not interest us here.
"Sixty-four-hour weeks were not infrequent. Cases of hundred-hour weeks with thirty to thirty-eight consecutive hours were mentioned."
What can you tell us about this? Did such cases come to your attention? A. I cannot comment on these reports because I do not know whether they concern people who were being used in concentration camps or those who were used as civilian workers in the other sector for which I was responsible. It is correct that in very exceptional cases there were periods in which long hours of work were put in. That was determined by the industry and applied also to the German workers. But in such cases appropriate rest periods had to be interspersed. These long hours were worked only for the completion of important contracts. Where these people actually worked, I cannot determine from the interrogation, and therefore I cannot give you a precise answer.

Q. What were the provisions for free time?

A. Free time was at the disposal of the workers.

Q. Who was responsible for regulating free time?

A. Regulation of free time was the responsibility of the DAF, as far as the arrangements of details for the free time were concerned.

O. What was the situation regarding the employment of children and young people?

A. Under the German Reich Law, children under twelve years of age were not permitted to work. Children under fourteen were only permitted to work a few hours in agriculture.

[Page 111]

Q. Did you issue decrees about working hours for children?

A. I issued decrees, that is, I confirmed the laws which were already in existence in so far as they applied to this work.

Q. Now I shall hand you Document 345-PS, which is a letter written by Reich Minister Rosenberg, addressed to Dr. Lammers, dated 20th July, 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: Has this been put in before? Has this been offered in evidence before?

DR. SERVATIUS: This document was submitted in cross-examination. I myself have just received it.


Q. It deals with the recruitment of young people in the age group fifteen to twenty, for employment in the Reich during the war. Then the document refers to the transfer of young people in the age group ten to fourteen into the Reich, or the "Hay Action." And it goes on to say:

"The objective of this action is the further care of young people through the efforts of the Reich Youth Leadership, and the training of apprentices for the German economy in a manner similar to that in which the well-known White Ruthenia Youth Service has already successfully operated in co-operation with the GBA," which means you. (GBA-Plenipotentiary General for Labour.)
Please comment on whether you initiated the use of these young people.

A. No, I had nothing whatever to do with this action, and in the index of addresses my name is not mentioned. I do not know of this matter.

Q. So you did not violate your own rules by issuing special directives?

A. No. This was an incident with which I did not concern myself.

Q. Then I should like to submit another letter to you, which was also submitted by the prosecution in connection with the Schirach case. It is Document 1137-PS, a letter dated 19th October, 1944. On Page 3 of this document, the following is set down:

"In addition to these, other (labour) forces were supplied to the German armament industry already earlier, namely, first of all 3,500 boys and 500 girls to the Junkers works; secondly, 2,000 boys and 700 girls to the OT .... The agencies headed by the Hitler Youth have procured from the occupied Eastern territories for the armament industry" - I leave out what does not interest us - "5,500 boys and 1,200 girls."
Did you authorize the use of this labour, or did this matter pass through your hands?

A. No.

Q. How were these people brought into the armament industry?

A. Well, I personally am- unable to explain that in detail. Apparently this took place on the basis of an agreement between agencies of the Eastern Ministry or those of Hauptbannfuehrer Nickel. However, only during the proceedings here did I hear that the young people involved were of an age at which work is prohibited for them. I understood that it was more in the nature of pre-employment care. But. ...

Q. That is known.

A. ... it did not go through me or through my office.

Q. What about the use of foreign women?

A. Women from foreign countries were used in exactly the same way as German women. No other conditions.

Q. Document 025-PS has been submitted here. This is Exhibit USA 698, which was also submitted only now, and is not contained in the books. This is the record of a conference which took place in your office and in which you spoke at length on the use of female labour. In the third paragraph it says:

[Page 112]

"To this end the Fuehrer has ordered the use of 400,000 to 500,000 Eastern female workers from the Ukraine, between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five, for domestic purposes, and the GBA" - that is you - "has been charged with the carrying through of this action which is to be concluded in approximately three months."
It goes on:
"It is in accord with the specific wish of the Fuehrer that as many girls as possible shall be Germanised if they prove satisfactory."
Will you please comment on this?

A. Yes; this is a decree of the Fuehrer to bring four hundred to five hundred thousand female workers into the Reich from the Eastern region for German households, but especially in order to lighten the work of the German farmers' wives. I should like to mention, in connection with this record, that I did not compile it, and that my office did not compile it either. Most likely these minutes were written down on the basis of notes which somebody had taken. With reference to these proposed four hundred to five hundred thousand domestic servants, it must be said that they were only to be brought or only permitted to be brought into the Reich on a voluntary basis. Actually only perhaps thirteen to fifteen thousand - I believe - came into the Reich. The concept "to Germanise" as used here, also refers only to their free will or wish to remain in Germany.

What was the medical attention which the foreign workers received? Various things were mentioned here, for instance, that "if the worker can no longer work, he is no longer a concern of ours," that is supposed to have been your principle. Then it goes on: "Work, food and pay must be brought into relationship with each other. If the worker can no longer work, he is just a dead weight."

What can you say in regard to these accusations?

A. Would you show me where I said that, I am not familiar with it.

Q. This is in the transcript of a court session; I have the page here, in the German transcript 2789. It says there:

"If the worker can no longer work, he is no longer a concern of ours."
Did you advocate this principle? A. On the contrary; there exist hundreds of precise decrees and orders which I issued. They were published in the Reich Law Gazette, in special issues sent to the factories and the employment agencies, and in special collections, in which it is set down clearly that the foreign workers, who were brought into the Reich through the labour mobilization programme, had to be treated in accordance with German laws, regulations and directives, as far as medical treatment and care, including insurance, are concerned. There were also ....

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, were you putting to the defendant a document where it was alleged he had said that after they were unfit to work, that it is no more his concern? Was it the document you were putting to him?

DR. SERVATIUS: This document was submitted to him with regard to the female workers of whom he is alleged to have said that they were to be Germanised. I am no longer dealing with that document but have turned to the question of medical care.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that was in Document 025-PS, Exhibit USA 698?

DR. SERVATIUS: This Document 025 refers only to female workers. This question has already been dealt with. I have turned to the question of medical care in general and am no longer dealing with the question of female workers.


Did you receive reports about catastrophic conditions regarding the state of health and the medical care of foreign workers?

A. No. Not only German physicians were employed as official physicians in the industries and camps to deal with the hygiene and health of the workers,

[Page 113]

but also numerous physicians and medical assistants from the home countries of the foreign workers were assigned to these camp.

Q. How did you check on the execution of your decrees and what other controlling agencies existed?

A. There were the following controlling agencies: first of all ....

DR. SERVATIUS: Just a moment. I should like to refer to Document No. 2. In it I have made a survey of the control and inspection agencies concerned with supervision. I shall explain this diagram briefly: In the centre, there is the Reich Labour Ministry under Seldte; underneath, the supervision agencies in peace time, the trade supervision agencies including the policing office for trade and construction (Gewerbe-und Baupolizei). That was the only agency which had police powers, that is, it was in a position to act against the resistance of those recruited for work. Besides this several other agencies were created to handle the difficult problem of welfare. There is, first of all, if you look at the right-hand side, the German Labour Front, an agency encompassing the interests of the employers, the industry, and the workers, and in some respect it took the place occupied in the past by the trade unions. From there the care was turned over to the i ndustries. A special inspection agency was created, the Reich Inspection Office of the German Labour Front, with an agency for the foreign workers which had its own liaison men in the plants to accept complaints. In the enterprises themselves, certain foreign workers, too, were able to report on conditions there.

Then, turning further to the right, is the Reich Food Ministry, which also through the State food offices - had direct insight into questions pertaining to food and care. The reports which went to the Reich Foreign Minister through diplomatic channels were eventually also passed on to Sauckel as we shall see later. Then there is a special agency for Eastern workers under the Rosenberg Ministry, that is the central agency for the peoples of the East, and this last letter which we have here apparently came from one of the gentlemen in this agency. This central agency for the peoples of the East in turn also had its agents in the industries and they made reports directly. All these reports were turned over to Sauckel.

Now, I turn to the left part of the diagram. Sauckel himself instituted for inspectional purposes a personal staff which was sent around to visit enterprises. We heard from several witnesses that these inspectors appeared and saw to it that everything was in order. Then he established a special office, the "Reich Inspectorate." Complaints which came from the German Labour Front and other sources were sent to this inspectorate. When Sauckel, as he says, immediately passed on these complaints, they were sent first to the Reich Inspectorate which in turn advised the necessary offices and ultimately made use of the compulsory measures of the Reich Labour Ministry. Then also the Gauleiter were given the task of supervision and the witnesses who have appeared here, witnesses who, were Gauleiter in their time, have confirmed that they exercised control as plenipotentiaries for the Labour Mobilization programme. Further to the left is shown the Reich Ministry for Enlightenment and Propaganda which had taken over a supervisory function in the direction of the camps and the workers. Then, finally on the far left, comes the Wehrmacht which had its own supervisory machinery through its inspectors who independently took care of prisoners of war and who saw to it that the Geneva and other Conventions were adhered to. The reports of all these agencies were sent to Sauckel, and he testified here that catastrophic conditions were not reported to him, that he could only make his influence felt through directives and that he gave his instructions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, will you ask the defendant whether that was. a correct statement on the meaning of the chart?


Q. Witness, this explanation which I have given, and this diagram which you have seen; are they correct?

[Page 114]

A. Yes.

Q. They are correct.

A. Yes.

Q. Would you comment now on the activity of the Gauleiter as plenipotentiaries? How did you supervise the Gauleiter?

A. I could not supervise the Gauleiter themselves, as I had no disciplinary or official control over them. But I had the Gaue visited by members of my staff at intervals of about three months; on the occasion of these visits the complaints of the Gauleiter were heard and then factories and camps were inspected jointly and checked to see how far my directives were or were not carried out. I should like to remark that these inspectors naturally had nothing to do with control of concentration camps and the work in the concentration camps, that was a different field which was under the control of Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl and in which I had no authority and no insight.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

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