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 6 of 9)

[Page 114]

DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for defendant von Papen): I ask permission for the defendant won Papen to be absent from the Court sessions to-morrow morning and afternoon. I need a fairly long consultation period with him for the preparation of his defence which, otherwise, I would not be able to have. Dr. Flexner will represent him during the session.


THE MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, a report is made that the defendant Goering is absent.

THE PRESIDENT: As I said this morning, the Tribunal will rise at 4 this afternoon.


Q. This morning we got as far as the inspections, but I should like to go back to one question.

You said that the head of the factory was responsible for the workers. Did that also apply to the prisoner-of-war and concentration camps?

[Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel] A. No. The army, or that part of the armed forces under whose authority these prisoners-of-war were kept, was responsible for the prisoner-of-war camps. In the same way, as far as I know, the concentration camps only were responsible for their inmates, even if they worked.

Q. You had formed a Department 9, as Reich Inspection Department in the Reich Ministry of Labour. What were the special tasks of this Inspection Department?

A. I had set up that Inspection Department, which had not existed before in the Ministry of Labour, because I wanted to study the unification and execution of contracts in the entire area of the Reich and in the occupied territories where German undertakings and German labour contracts were in progress; to study and control the unified administrative regulations, and moreover, to see whether my orders concerning food, lodging, treatment and care were being carried out and to what extent they were in need of change. All this was contained in the directions which I gave to the Inspection Department.

Q. What was the position of the Central Inspection Department in the German Labour Front - the Central Inspection Department for the care of foreign workers?

A. The Central Inspection Department of the DAF had the task of watching the welfare of foreign workers in the camps in Germany, that is, to see that they were fed, etc., in the prescribed way.

[Page 115]

Q. If there were any abuses, did the Inspection Department report that to you, or who received the report?

A. There was an agreement between the Fuehrer the German Labour Front, Dr. Ley, and myself, which was added as an annex to the decree concerning the formation of the Central Inspection Department, and this stated that where it was a question of conditions in camps, this Central Inspection Department had to deal directly with the Reich offices concerned, or the Industrial Inspection Office in the Reich Labour Ministry in order to remedy the conditions, whereas cases of shortage or surplus of manpower, etc., were to be reported to me.

Q. By this agreement, therefore, your rights were limited?

A. Yes.

DR. SERVATIUS: That is Document 1913-PS, which has been submitted. It is an agreement between Sauckel and Dr. Ley of 20th September, 1943; it is Exhibit USA 227. It is Document 41 in the English Document Book. I shall only refer to it, without quoting from it.

Q. What other kinds of inspection offices existed? I am thinking about the French.

A. Well, after I took office, men were appointed to act as liaison agents with the foreign workers. These men, in agreement with the German Labour Front, had the right to visit camps, talk to the workers themselves and hear their complaints. A special agreement had been reached with the French Government, in collaboration with the Reich Foreign Minister.

DR. SERVATIUS: That is Document Sauckel 31. It is at Page 79 of the English text in Document Book No. 1 - "French Agency for the care of the French employed in the Reich." That is a circular from Sauckel dated 30th April, 1942. I submit the document itself, which is in this collection. I quote the following communication of the Foreign Office of 10th April, 1942:

"The Government of the Reich has notified the French Government that it agrees to the following regulations regarding the care of the French voluntary workers in Germany:

Besides the already existing office for prisoners-of-war, an agency for French civilian workers will be established in Berlin under the direction of Ambassador Scapini. The Reich Government will furnish a building to house this agency. The agency has established branch offices in four other German cities.

The agency is charged with the care of the French workers in Germany. It will supervise the fulfilment of the contracts made by the engaged workers. It may accept proposals from the workers and transmit them to the competent offices, and see that conditions are remedied. It is entitled to issue certificates and documents to the workers for submission to the French authorities."

I omit one paragraph:
"Moreover, the Head of the French representatives is granted the diplomatic privileges of personal immunity for the execution of his tasks, as well as exemption from German jurisdiction and from coercion by the police."
That is the citation.


Q. How did that office work with you?

A. That office worked together with the DAF and with me. The representative of that office took part in the negotiations in France with the French Government.

The office changed later, inasmuch as the care of the civilian workers was taken over by M. Brunedon in the place of M. Scapini, who only took care of prisoners-of-war.

[Page 116]

Q. Then it was only a change of personnel?

A. Yes, it was only a change of personnel. I frequently talked with these gentlemen and acted according to their wishes.

Q. What did the Central Inspection Department for the Peoples of the Eastern Territories do?

A. The Central Inspection Department for the Peoples of the Eastern Territories was an office under the Reich Commissar for the Eastern Territories.

Q. How did that office work?

A. It worked in the same way as the French office except that it was a German organization and Germans were in charge. It had the confidence of the eastern workers who worked with us as allies.

Q. Did you receive any complaints from that side?

A. None, apart from the cases which Rosenberg reported to me and which I discussed with him. Everything was taken care of there.

Q. Now I come to the question of the maintenance of labour discipline. What sort of regulations were there in order to maintain labour discipline - punctuality and good work? What kind of regulations existed?

A. In Germany, the regulations concerning labour discipline were a matter for the factories themselves. Each factory had its regulations which in normal times were agreed to between the management, the foreman and the workers' council. This council could take disciplinary action in the form of fines. During the war labour discipline had become more strict because it was not possible, owing to the scarcity of workers, to maintain the right of the employer or the employee to give notice. The German worker and German labour and industry were under war time decrees and laws. In order to enforce these, I later issued Decree No. 13 at the suggestion of the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich. This decree, which has been submitted, provides, first of all, for varying degrees of punishment within the industries for infractions of labour regulations, unpunctuality and unexcused absence from work.

DR. SERVATIUS: That is Document 23, Sauckel Document Book, in the English Book, No. 1, Page 62. The witness has given you the essential contents. I merely refer to it now.

THE WITNESS: These measures within the industries for the maintenance of labour discipline started with a warning and then went up to a fine, or loss of a day's or week's pay.


Q. What happened in the case of gross offences?

A. If they could not be dealt with by the Courts of Honour of the Labour Front, cases of constant and obstinate bad conduct had to be reported to the police.

Q. This law applied to foreigners as well as to Germans?

A. Yes, that referred to Germans and foreigners.

Q. And what was done in case of criminal offences?

A. They also had to be reported to the police. The labour authorities had no competence in criminal and similar cases.

Q. To whom were the complaints sent if these regulations were not applied correctly? That is if, instead of fines, corporal punishment had been used?

A. Complaints of this kind were sent to the Labour Front, that is to say, to the liaison men for the foreign workers.

Q. Were any such cases reported to you?

A. None were reported to me, because that was not within my competence.

Q. What were the labour training camps?

A. These camps were institutions of the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. Who was put into these camps?

A. Those who were punished by the offices for infractions of labour discipline, and who could not be dealt with by the factory regulations.

[Page 117]

O. Were they the same as concentration camps?

A. No; in my opinion, no. These labour training camps were not under the supervision of the Reich Labour Ministry, nor under mine. They were a police institution.

Q. You know from these proceedings that quite a number of workers did, in fact, come into the concentration camps. How can you explain that?

DR. SERVATIUS: I shall hand you Document 1063, Exhibit USA No. 219, a letter of 17th December, 1942; in the English Document Book No. 28 in the Slave Labour Book. It is a letter marked "secret" sent by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD to all SS offices; at any rate, not to you. I quote:

"For reasons of war necessity which cannot he discussed further here, the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police ordered on 14th December, 1942, that by the end of January 1943 at the latest, at least 35,000 prisoners fit for work are to be sent to the concentration camps. In order to obtain this number, the following measures are required: 1. As from now (until 1st February, 1943) Eastern workers, or those foreign workers who are fugitives or have broken their contracts, are to be brought by the quickest means to the nearest concentration camps ..."
THE PRESIDENT: Presumably, the witness knows the document.


Q. Do you know that document?

A. I saw that document here for the first time.

Q. You have not looked through it yet?

A. I saw an excerpt here in Nuremberg for the first time.

Q. Then I should like to draw your attention to the relevant passage. Will you please read at the bottom of the first page. It says the following:

"In case of necessity, offices not directly involved must be given to understand that each and every one of these measures is an indispensable police security measure, and be told the specific reasons in individual cases, so that complaints can be prevented, and in any case eliminated."
What did you know about that decree?

A. Nothing was known to me about that decree. It explains many things which puzzled us. It would appear to be a letter from Gruppenfuehrer Muller, and to my surprise, it states quite clearly that other offices - and they can only refer to my offices or Speer's - should be informed that these measures are necessary security police measures. That was downright fraud with the intention of misleading us.

Q. What do you understand ....

THE PRESIDENT: Before you pass from this document, I understood the defendant to say that workers were sent to labour camps for infraction of labour rules. That was what you said, was it not?

THE WITNESS: If workers, in spite of repeated warnings and fines in the factory, did not show improvement or continued the offences, they were reported by the factories, not by me, to a police office. As far as I know, this police office had an agreement with the Reich Minister of Justice according to which ....

THE PRESIDENT: I asked you where they were sent, when you said that they were sent to labour camps for infraction of labour rules and for no other reason. Did you say that?

THE WITNESS: For no other reason; for infractions or for criminal offences.

THE PRESIDENT: Then how do you explain the first words of Paragraph 1 of this document: "As from now, all Eastern workers must be sent to the nearest concentration camps?"

[Page 118]

THE WITNESS: It says here, in the German text, your Lordship: "As from now, until 1st February, 1943, Eastern workers, or those foreign workers who are fugitives or who have broken contracts, who do not belong to allied, friendly or neutral states, are to be brought by the quickest means to the nearest concentration camps, while observing the necessary formalities as listed under No. 3."

That is the arbitrary directive of that office, which I was not acquainted with.


Q. What do you understand by "extermination by labour"?

A. I heard that expression, "extermination by labour" for the first time here in the Courtroom. Such a concept was of necessity absolutely contrary to the interests which I represented in my position.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the employment of concentration camp inmates?

A. I had nothing to do with the employment of concentration camp inmates, and I also told my colleagues that we would have nothing to do with the employment of that kind of manpower. I had nothing to do with punitive measures of any kind.

Q. Who put the concentration camp inmates to work in the armament industries.

A. I cannot tell you that from personal knowledge because I had nothing to do with it, and I never participated in conferences dealing with this subject.

Q. It has been alleged here that you used the "Nacht and Nebel" Order to get workers to Germany.

A. I did not know the "Nacht and Nebel" Order. I only found out about it here. It had nothing to do with employment of labour and my tasks.

Q. What about the employment of Jewish workers?

A. I had nothing to do with the employment of Jews. That was exclusively the task of the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. I submit the Document R-91. That is Exhibit USA-241, and RF-347. It is not included in the Document Book. That is a letter from the Chief of Security Police and SD, Muller, to the Reichsfuehrer SS, field command post, dated 16th December, 1942. It says there and I quote:

"In connection with the increased assignment of manpower to the KL" - that should probably read KZ - "which is ordered to take place before 30th January, 1943, the following procedure may be applied in the Jewish sector: Total number, 45,000 Jews."
Then there is a more detailed specification, and among other things, it says a the end, "3,000 Jews from the occupied territories of the Netherlands," and further, "The number of 43,000 includes those unfit for work." What had you to do with that letter?

A. I have just learned of that letter for the first time. I was not acquainted with it before, and I can only emphasize that these transports and this procedure had nothing to do with my work, and that I had nothing to do with them at any time.

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