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-Second Day: Thursday, 30th May, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[M. HERZOG continues his cross examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 153]

Q. Did you go to Belgium or to Holland in order to control the implementation of the laws on forced labour?

[Page 154]

A. Not to control. I was in Belgium and Holland only for a very short time. I had conferences there with the leading men, and according to my recollection I visited labour authorities in Antwerp and saw how they functioned.

Q. And in the course of these journeys you were preparing detailed measures for the implementation of the labour programme, is that not true?

A. I did not implement it during that journey; I talked about it - but of course I gave some part of my time to work.

Q. I submit to you Document PS-556, Exhibit RF-67. It is a letter which you wrote to the Fuehrer on 13th August, 1943. In this you declare, Paragraph I of the letter:

"My Fuehrer, I take the liberty of informing you of my return from France, Belgium and Holland, where I went on official business. In the course of difficult and long negotiations I imposed upon the occupied territories of the West for the five last months of the year 1943 the programme which is indicated below, and I also prepared detailed measures for its implementation in France with the military commander, the German Embassy, the French Government; in Belgium with the military commander, and in Holland with the officers of the Reichskommissariat."
Do you dispute, defendant, the fact that you went to Belgium and Holland in order to prepare detailed measures?

A. I have never denied that. I would like to say that I do not resent the expression, but only the way you presented it just now. It says quite clearly that I discussed, not I prepared.

Q. One last question on this matter: What is your estimate of the number of Dutch workers who were deported to Germany?

A. I cannot tell you exactly from memory how many Dutch workers were employed on the basis of contracts with them and on the basis of these laws. Maybe there were two to three hundred thousand, maybe more. I cannot tell you off-hand what these Dutch figures were.

Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the forced recruitment of foreign workers was implemented with brutality?

A. Regarding the instructions which I published, that was discussed adequately and clearly yesterday. My instructions are available practically in their entirety, and as to brutal or arbitrary -

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, you were not asked about your instructions, but you were asked whether brutality was shown. If you know, you can answer.

A. I cannot know. From time to time I heard about infringements and I stopped them at once. I protested against them at once, if I heard of them.


Q. Did you have knowledge of protests concerning the manner in which the recruiting of workers was implemented in the occupied territories?

A. I received protests, and that was discussed yesterday with my defence counsel.

Q. And when you received those protests, what did you do?

A. I had those cases investigated and left any further measures to the authorities concerned. I did everything at my end, and that is something that will be testified to here, to prevent and stop such occurrences.

Q. Is it correct that you appealed for the help of the Armed Forces to ensure the recruiting of foreign workers?

A. In those areas where the Armed Forces exercised jurisdiction I passed on, through the Quartermaster, the instructions I received from the Fuehrer to the Commanders-in-Chief.

Q. Is it correct that you asked the military authorities to put troops at the disposal of your offices and services?

[Page 155]

A. I have no recollection of these troops. There were the labour detachments. It is true that in areas where there were uprisings or partisan fighting, I asked that order be restored in those areas, so that the administration which had been disturbed or interrupted could once more work there.

Q. You therefore asked that troops should be put at your disposal?

A. Not at my disposal. It was not my task to bring order to those areas. I stated that a prerequisite for the fulfilment of my own tasks was that I could only carry them out if pacification would once more allow proper administration - it was not for recruiting purposes.

Q. Did you not ask that those troops should participate in the tasks assigned to the services for the recruitment of labour? I submit to you Document 815, which I put in as Exhibit RF-1514. It is a letter of 18th April, 1944, from General Fieldmarshal von Rundstedt and addressed to you. I read the first paragraph of it:

"The General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour" - that is you, is it not - "has addressed ..."
A. That's me, but there was another department in France, too -
Q. (continuing) . . . " has addressed a request to approach the Commander-in-Chief of the West for intervention in order that in sectors where there are units belonging to the Commander-in-Chief of the West, the Commanders of these units should receive the order to facilitate the execution of the tasks assigned to the services for recruiting labour by putting troops at his disposal."
Do you still deny that you requested that troops should be put at your disposal?

A. I personally did not ask for them. This appears to be the administrative office West -

Q. Are you not the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour?

A. Yes, but this order is not known to me personally.

Q. Do you know whether this request was seconded by the defendant Speer?

A. I cannot tell you.

Q. I submit to you Document 824-PS -

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you had better leave that over until after the adjournment.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

M. HERZOG: Mr. President, I believe that Mr. Dodd has a statement to make to the Tribunal.

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Tribunal, the report is made that the defendant Jodl is absent.

MR. DODD: Document 3057-PS, concerning which M. Herzog questioned the defendant this morning, was in the Document Book offered by the United States with reference to the slave labour programme, but it was not offered in evidence and I found the reference in Part 2, Page 3 59, of the transcript for the 13th December, 1945, and the President of the Tribunal particularly asked why we had not read Document 3057-PS and I answered, that we had intended to offer it but that Counsel for Sauckel had told me that his client maintained that he had been coerced into the making of the statement, and for that reason we. preferred not to offer it and were not offering it.

THE PRESIDENT: I want to announce that the Tribunal will rise this afternoon at half-past four to sit in closed session.

THE WITNESS: May I be permitted to give my explanation to that document?

[Page 156]


Q. What document are you speaking of?

A. I am referring to the letter of Field-Marshal von Rundstedt. This document represents a letter which is addressed to me -

THE PRESIDENT: I did not hear you ask any question. Did you ask your question?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President. It is the document which I presented before the recess and it shows that the official in charge of the recruiting and employment of labour - that means the defendant - asked that troops should be put at his disposal.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean 815 - yes, very well.

M. HERZOG: That is correct, Mr. President.


Q. I ask you whether you recognize that this document establishes the fact that you requested troop commandos?

A. As far as this question is concerned, I cannot answer it precisely for I personally did not receive this letter. Instead it was sent to Paris to the office there. This letter is not initialled by me. But in order to clarify my position I should like to emphasize specifically that I did not demand troops in order to recruit workers. I asked for troops when in certain areas the administrative procedure could not be carried through because of resistance activities. In that connection there is an error in this letter. But I did not receive this reply myself. It is initialled by the office of the Military Governor in Paris.

Q. I submit Document 824, which I hand to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF-1515. This Document 824 is a letter from the Commander-in-Chief of the West, from his headquarters, dated 25th July, 1944. I quote:

"One can conclude from all this that on the order of the Fuehrer and after the abrogation of all contrary dispositions, the desires of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour ..."
This General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour is yourself, is that not true?
" ... and of Reich Minister Speer must in principle be carried out. Following my teletyped communication, on the basis of the Conference of Ministers of the 11th of July in the Reich Chancellery concerning which the Commander-in-Chief in the West will be informed by the Military Commander the following directives are in force from now on:

Without taking into account justified misgivings concerning security and order within the country, the recruiting will have to start everywhere where the possibilities referred to in my teletype present themselves. As an only exception the Fuehrer has decided that in the actual fighting zone no methods of coercion will be used against the population as long as they are helpful to the Wehrmacht. On the other hand, the recruiting of volunteers among refugees from the combat zones is to be handled energetically. Moreover, all means will be considered good in order to recruit as much labour as possible from elsewhere by the means at the disposal of the Wehrmacht."

Do you again deny that on your request, and on that of the Reich Minister Speer, troop commandos carried out the recruiting of labour?

A. I should like to state in this connection that I do not dispute what has been described just now. At that time the Commander-in-Chief was under the stress of the fighting and the evacuation of the population. But I can testify that after 25th July, 1944, these things did not apply as the withdrawal of German troops was much too rapid, so that this decree, which had been issued by the Fuehrer, was in no way effective any longer.

[Page 157]

Q. Do you remember the conference, the Ministers' Conference of 11th July, 1944, to which the document which I have just read refers?

A. Yes, I recall it.

Q. Do you remember the persons who were present at this meeting?

A. Not all of them.

Q. I submit to you the minutes of this meeting. It is Document 3819-PS, which has been handed to the Tribunal under number -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like you to read the last passage in Document 824, that is not the last, but the last on that page beginning with " Afin . . ." It is on Page 346 of the French translation.


Q. " In order to make the measures undertaken as effective as possible, the Armed Forces, moreover, have to be informed of the necessity of the organizations for the recruiting of labour, to enable them to put down the many acts of underground and open resistance. The Field Commanders and military administration offices must give as much aid as possible to the delegates of the General Plenipotentiary far the Employment of Labour and refrain from encroaching on their activities which are in conformity with instructions. I therefore ask you to give instructions to this effect."
Do you still contest the fact that on your request the army was not used for the recruitment of workers?

THE PRESIDENT: There is a passage on the next page, too, in the supplementary note, Paragraph 1.


Q. " Supplementary note for the Commander-in-Chief in the West:

The Commander-in-Chief in the West reported to the Chief of the OKW on the 23rd of July as follows:

(1) In spite of anxieties concerning internal security, I have authorized the application of the Laval-Sauckel agreement of 12th May, 1944.

(2) I shall issue further instructions for the application of these measures in the combat zone in agreement with OKW-West Q. Administration 05201. Secret. 8th July, 1944.

The Commander-in-Chief West, signed von Kluge, General Fieldmarshal.

Further instructions follow. For the Commander-in-Chief West.

The Chief of the General Staff." etc.

I come back to the conference of 11th July, 1944. I submit to you No. 3819, submitted under Exhibit GB 306. The Tribunal will find it under 3819 in the first part of my Document Book. It represents the minutes of the Ministers' Council which took place on 11th July, 1944, in Berlin, a gathering of Ministers, Chiefs of the Party and administration.

You will find on Page 6 of the French translation the list of all the persons who were there. Do you remember who, among the defendants, were amongst those present? Do you recognize the signature of defendant Funk? That of defendant Speer?

A. I have not found it yet.

Q. Have you found them?

A. I have not found Speer's signature as yet.

Q. Was defendant Speer present at this conference?

A. I cannot tell you from memory. I cannot find his name.

Q. Were you yourself present at this conference?

A. Yes, I participated.

Q. Do you remember the proposals which, in the course of this conference, General Warlimont made to you in the name of the General Staff? Do you remember the reply that you made to these proposals?

[Page 158]

A. I recall a conversation between General Warlimont and myself on that occasion and I gave an answer, but I cannot give you it verbatim without having some data at my disposal.

Q. Well, I am going to read you the text. It is on Page 10.

M. HERZOG: The Tribunal will find it at the bottom of the page.


Q. "The representative of the Chief of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recent order of the Fuehrer according to which all German forces would have to be used in the task of recruiting labour. Where the Wehrmacht can be used, whenever it is not engaged exclusively in military tasks (such as the construction of coastal fortifications) - but it cannot be diverted solely for the purposes of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour (GBA) - General Warlimont made the following practical proposals: (a) Troops which are in action against partisans will also have to be utilised for the recruiting of labour in the zones held by partisan bands . . . ."
A. Would you please tell me where that is? I have not that passage on this page. Will you please show me the page?

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