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 9 of 9)

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

[Page 127]

Q. In this report did you especially notice the following paragraph on the first page (a) "With few exceptions the Ukrainians who are being employed in the Reich as individual workers, for example in small trade enterprises, on farms -

A. Will you please tell me where it says that?

Q. On Page 1, the last paragraph:

"Judging from the discussions with the gentlemen and the reading of the reports it can be said in general ..."
A. Which documents? There are several documents.

Q. I mean 054, of course.

A. Which?

Q. It is the first, second, third - paragraph "d" - the second paragraph.

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. It says there that the Ukrainians who were being employed as individual workers in the Reich were "very satisfied with the conditions."

"On the other hand the Ukrainians living in community camps complain a great deal ...."
Is that correct?

A. Yes. In my testimony I quoted the passage in which the author of the letter said that this was the case during the first few months only, for I immediately had the camps inspected and improved. I even went so far as to get the Reich Labour Minister to issue a new camp regulation, all as a result of this complaint.

Q. Did you personally visit the Eastern Occupied Territories on several occasions, and speak to the administrative authorities there, for example in Riga, Kovno, Zhitomir?

A. Not only did I speak to the administrative authorities there, but I compiled this manifesto in Russia and had it published there, and everything that is contained in the manifesto was communicated to these offices in the same way.

Q. Yes. But is it correct that you emphasized the special urgency of the Fuehrer decree?

A. That was my duty; that was what I was there for.

Q. That is not right from the legal point of view, for your actual authority came from Goering, as the Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan?

A. Yes, that is correct. This was the channel: Fuehrer, Goering, Four-Year Plan, that was the order of procedure.

Q. Then, if you said it was the Fuehrer's order, you did so to give a certain emphasis?

[Page 128]

A. No, that was not my intention. The Fuehrer charged me with replacing the loss of German soldiers, Herr Doctor. These were instructions which I received directly from the Fuehrer or Goring on the basis of the demands of the requirements boards.

Was a written order sent to you?

A. Yes, written orders were also sent.

Q. From Hitler personally?

A. Yes, from Hitler and from Goering from both of them.

Q. Do you recall that you made an agreement with Rosenberg to the effect that Eastern workers in Germany, after their return to their own country, were to receive land so that they would not be at a disadvantage as compared with the people who had remained?

A. Yes, that was agreed between Rosenberg and myself; that is correct.

Q. Was this actually carried out?

A. Just how far this was carried out, I am unable to state. That was a task for the Ministry of Eastern Occupied Territories. I assume that it was carried out as far as possible.

Q. Do you recall that Rosenberg constantly advocated doing away with the so-called Eastern emblem?

A. Rosenberg as well as I myself advocated the abolition of the Eastern emblem. There is a letter from the Reichsfuehrer SS rejecting this, but, I know for certain that at the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944 we succeeded in abolishing this Eastern emblem and it was replaced by a national emblem, as worn by the other foreigners.

Q. Why was this Eastern emblem to be done away with?

A. This Eastern emblem was to be done away with for various reasons, but above all, so that the Eastern workers would not feel that they were being discriminated against by having a special distinguishing mark.

Q. I have one last question: You said that you did not recall having received any complaints, except for those that you discussed with Rosenberg. Now, numerous complaints were constantly being investigated by the Central Agency for Eastern Peoples, together with the DAF (German Labour Front). Did the DAF report to you on this?

A. The DAF reported that, in accordance with my directives, it had put a stop to abuses and bad conditions wherever they were found. That was its duty In order to remedy these abuses, the DAF had to turn not to me, but to the industrial supervision branch ("Abteilung Gewerbeaufsicht") of the Reich Labour Ministry, whose task it was.

Q. Did you make sure whether this agency stopped these abuses?

A. I installed my own inspection agencies, as Dr. Servatius mentioned. However, the industrial supervision branch was the only authorized agency which had the legal authority to use compulsory measures and it was supervised by the Reich Labour Minister.

DR. THOMA: I have no further questions. Thank you.


Q. What is the emblem that you have been speaking about?

A. The Eastern emblem consisted of a blue-bordered square which had a blue inscription "OST." The Reich Leader SS first ordered it to be worn on the right side of the chest; later on, on the sleeve, and still later, I was instrumental in getting this changed to a national emblem - I believe blue or something similar, like the Russian colours. The people themselves wanted it.

DR. NELTE (on behalf of the defendant Keitel):


Q. Herr Sauckel, the defendant Keitel and the OKW are accused by the prosecution of the "deportation of civilian people for the purpose of manpower

[Page 129]

mobilization." You were also interrogated on this matter before the start of this trial, as to whether the OKW and Keitel, as Chief of the OKW, participated in the procurement, recruitment and drafting of people in the occupied territories.

A number of things which were not clear and which are contained in the record have been cleared up by your testimony, and in answering the last question of my colleague, Dr. Thoma, you made it clear to us that the organisational official channel is as follows: GBA (General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour), Four-Year Plan, Goering and Fuehrer. Is that correct?

A. Generally speaking, yes.

Q. I am interested in determining whether, in this official channel, the OKW was included, or the Fuehrer in another function as Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht.

A. I myself was not a soldier and I am not familiar with the detailed organization of the OK W and of the OKH; it was often difficult for a layman to make the distinction between these things. It is true that the OKH was competent for the recruitment of workers in occupied countries controlled by army groups. Therefore, labour decrees in the occupied countries, which were under the sovereignty of the Army, had to be issued by laws or directives of the General Staff of the Army.

Q. You probably mean General Quartermaster of the Army?

A. The General Quartermaster was, as far as I know, next to the Commander-in-chief of the Army.

Q. And by this you mean to say that the OKW and the defendant Keitel had no competence concerning the procuring, recruitment and drafting of manpower in the occupied territories?

A. He had no competence in this respect. I came into contact with Fieldmarshal Keitel, because the Fuehrer repeatedly charged me to ask Fieldmarshal Keitel to transmit his instructions to the army groups by telephone or through directives.

Q. And what about the question of the engagement of workers? Did the OKW, and, specifically, the defendant Keitel as Chief of the OKW, have any competence concerning the employment of workers at home?

A. No. For the workers were used in those economic branches for which they were needed and they had nothing at all to do with the OKW.

DR. NELTE: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any members of the prosecution wish to cross-examine?



Q. Defendant Sauckel, you joined the National Socialist Party in 1925, did you not? Is not that correct?

A. I joined the National Socialist Party for the first time as an ordinary member as early as 1923. When the Party was reorganised in 1925, I again became a member.

Q. But you supported the policy of National Socialism since 1921, did you not?

A. From 1921 onwards, I supported a German policy. In 1921, I did not yet belong to the Party. I knew about the Party and I was in sympathy with its ideas; that is probably the right way to put it.

Q. Did you not make speeches in favour of National Socialism from that time on?

A. From about the middle of 1921 I made speeches in favour of Germany, not expressly for the Party, but only in a very small way, in small gatherings and in the way my conscience dictated.

Q. You have been Gauleiter, member of the Landrat, Minister of the Interior, and Governor ("Reichsstatthalter") of Thuringia; is it correct that in this capacity you brought about the nazification of your Gau?

[Page 130]

A. I was Ministerprasident for Thuringia beginning with August of 1932 and I was Minister of the Interior as well.

Q. I am asking you the question again: Is it correct that in your capacity as Gauleiter and Governor of Thuringia, you brought about the nazification of your Gau?

A. Nazification is a concept with which I was not familiar nor do I consider it correct. I recruited for the National Socialist Party and I supported it.

Q. You were ObergruppenFuehrer of the Organization of the SS, were you not?

A. I do not quite understand - of the SS?

Q. You were Obergruppenfuehrer of the Organization of the SS?

A. I have already stated in my preliminary interrogation that I was an honorary Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS. I myself never served in the SS nor did I exercise any functions in the SS.

Q. When did you become Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS?

A. According to my recollection, I became an Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS in 1934.

Q. And you were that until when?

A. Until the end.

Q. Among the documents which you have presented in your Document Book, there is Sauckel Document 95; I read the following passage on Page 252 of the French translation:

"My dear fellow-countrymen, our magnificent SA and SS, persecuted and insulted during a whole decade as the scum of the German people, have carried through, supported, and sustained this revolution with an unshakeable discipline ...."
Is it correct -

THE PRESIDENT: What are you reading from?

M. HERZOG: From Document 95 of the defendant's Document Book; Sauckel Document 95, which was submitted yesterday by the learned Counsel for the defence, Page 252 of the French translation. It is in the third Document Book of the defendant.


Q. I put the question again and read:

"My dear fellow-countrymen, our magnificent SA and SS, persecuted and insulted during a whole decade as the scum of the German people, have carried through, supported, and sustained this revolution with an unshakeable discipline ...."
Do you confirm this declaration?

A. Yes, but I request that I be shown the document in cross-examination so that I can define my attitude in detail.

Q. This document is taken from your own Document Book which you yourself submitted.

A. Yes, I remember it well.

Q. Were the Nuremberg laws concerning Jews in accordance with your convictions?

A. I had no influence upon law-making such as culminated in the Nuremberg laws. My conviction is that any people and any race has the right to exist and to demand respect and protection through itself. What I demand and have demanded for my own people is exactly the same.

Q. Did you see to it that the Nuremberg laws were strictly applied in the Gau of Thuringia?

A. The Nuremberg laws could apply to Thuringia only in so far as my authority to appoint or dismiss employees was involved, and, of course, according

[Page 131]

to German law, it was my duty to carry out the law. The carrying out of this law by me entailed neither ill-usage nor any other inhuman treatment.

Q. Did you approve of Hitler's theory of "living space"?

A. The Fuehrer wrote about "living space" in his book. How far I agreed or disagreed with him cannot, in my opinion, be dealt with in this trial, for I had no influence on how the Fuehrer himself interpreted the word "Lebensraum."

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that you must answer the question, whether or not you approve of the doctrine of "Lebensraum."

THE WITNESS: Please pardon me, but I am not fully acquainted with the statements made by the Fuehrer about the concept "Lebensraum." I should like to emphasize that I never thought of "Lebensraum" in connection with the carrying out of wars or wars of aggression; neither did I promote the idea; but the concept "Lebensraum" is possibly characterised best by the fact that the population of Europe in the last hundred years has increased threefold, from one hundred and fifty million to four hundred and fifty million.


Q. Did you or did you not approve of the theory of "Lebensraum"? Answer yes or no.

A. I did not agree with the theory of "Lebensraum" if it had to do with wars of aggression.

Q. Did you approve of Hitler's theory of the "master race"?

A. I could prove abundantly that I personally always rejected putting emphasis on the idea of a "master race" and said so in my speeches. I am personally much more interested in proficiency than in "master race" ideas.

Q. Then you did not think that the foreign policy of Germany should have been conducted according to these two theories: the theory of "Lebensraum" on the one hand, and the theory of the "master race" on the other hand?

A. I have already stated to my Counsel that I did not concern myself with foreign policy and was not informed about it as I am not versed in foreign policy matters.

Q. On the contrary, did you not approve of all the measures of foreign policy, and did you not participate in them?

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better break off now, and you can repeat the question tomorrow.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 30th May, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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