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 10 of 10)

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

[Page 171]

Q. Will you please look on the left in the corner. It says:
"The Trustee for the Four-Year Plan, the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour."
Is not that you? You talk of a subordinate. Are you trying to throw the responsibility on one of your subordinates?

A. No, I do not want to do that. I merely want to say that the letterhead belongs to some office, but I have never known anything about the letter. This is the first time in my life that I have seen it, and I myself did not have it prepared. I can say that on oath.

Q. With this letter is a request for a report on the replacement of the expelled Jews. Who else but you could have anything to do with this, you who were the General Plenipotentiary for Employment of Labour?

A. My department ... I told my Defence Counsel yesterday that my department of course had to furnish replacements if workers were taken away from a concern, either by calling up for service or some other measure. I did not always know the details.

Q. You are not answering my question, the fact that this letter -

A. Yes, I have answered your question properly.

Q. The fact that this letter contains a request relating to the replacement of workers, is that not proof that it comes from your department, you being the General Plenipotentiary for Manpower?

A. Such a request could not come from my department. The evacuation of Jews was entirely the responsibility of the Reichsfuehrer SS. I only had troubles because of such measures, as it was very difficult to replace workers. I was not in any way interested in it.

Q. In short, you deny that you ever proposed special working conditions for Jews?

A. That is just what I am denying. I had nothing to do with it. It was not my task.

Q. Would you please refer once more to Document 810 which I offered under No. 1516. We will hand it to you if you have not got it.

Will you look at Page 16, under the heading: "Gauleiter Sauckel"? I quote

A. I have not got the document available - yes, I have.

Q. This document was passed to you about two minutes ago. If you have not got it, it will be handed to you again.

A. Will you please give me the number again?

Q. Document 810 but I do not think it is marked on the photostat you have. Have you got that document?

A. Yes.

Q. You have it? Under the heading "Gauleiter Sauckel," I read - it is on Page 16 of the document:

"(Sauckel) - showed himself very annoyed when it was said that the internees in concentration camps and the Hungarian Jews constituted the best manpower as regards constructional work. This is not true to fact, because they furnish on an average 65 to 70 per cent. of the work of a normal worker, never 100 per cent. Besides, it is unworthy to put the German worker and the moral code of the German worker in the same category as those dregs and traitors. To an internee in a concentration camp and a Jew, work is not a title of nobility. Things cannot be permitted to reach the point where detainees in concentration camps and Jews become 'articles' in demand. It is absolutely essential that all concentration camp inmates and Jews working on building sites be kept apart from the remainder of the workers, including foreigners.

Gauleiter Sauckel ended by pointing out that as a matter of fact he did not object to the employment of Jews and of detainees, but only to the exaggerations, as mentioned above."

[Page 172]

I would ask you, Sauckel, you who yesterday described your own life as a workman, what you meant when you said: "To a detainee in a concentration camp and a Jew, work is not a title of nobility."

A. I want to say most emphatically that this paragraph is a very condensed and free rendering and not a shorthand report. I took an opposing stand because I assumed inmates of concentration camps would be traitors. I could not assume anything else, if these people were taken to the same places of work with the other workers, that is, the Jews as well. But I did not put them to work. That was the business of the Reichsfuehrer SS. At a conference of leaders I spoke in the interests of workers with a clean sheet and the other foreign workers, and I fought against their being put to work together.

Q. I ask you this question again. What did you mean when you said: "to a detainee in a concentration camp and a Jew, work is not a title of nobility"?

A. By that I meant that the work of men who had been found guilty of offences should not be compared with the work of free workers with a clean record. There is a difference if I employ detainees or if I employ free workers, and I wanted to see both categories separated.

Q. So that Jews were detainees, were they not?

A. In this case the Jews were detainees of the Reichsfuehrer SS. Actually, I regret the expression.

Q. You dispute, therefore, that this phrase is an expression of your hostility which you showed to Jews, for instance?

A. At that time I was, of course, against these Jews, but I was not concerned with their employment. I was against these workers, whose employment was the concern of the Reichsfuehrer SS, being put with the other workers.

Q. Did you ever conduct any propaganda against the Jews?

A. I did conduct propaganda against the Jews if they held positions in the Reich, which I was convinced should have been occupied by Germans.

Q. I will submit to you an article which you wrote in June 1944, at a time when I think in your Germany there were not very many Jews still occupying important posts. This article appeared in a newspaper The Duty which you published in the Gau of Thuringia. It is Document PS-857, which I offer to the Tribunal as No. 1523. I shall read extracts from this article.

(Witness was handed the document.)

First extract from Page 1, column one, last paragraph but one:

"The old and best virtues of the sailors, the aviators and soldiers of Great Britain can no longer stop the Jewish plague which is making such rapid ravages on the body of their country."
Then on Page 2, column two, last paragraph but one:
"There is no example in the history of the world showing that anything of lasting value has been created in the course of centuries by Jews and those idiots who were bound to them and corrupted by their customs and their women."
I ask you, defendant Sauckel, what do you understand by the "Jewish plague"?

A. I understand that to be the outward sign of disintegration among the nations.

Q. I ask you again. What do you understand by the "Jewish plague"?

A. It was my view that disintegration had set in among the nations owing to certain Jewish circles. That was my view.

M. HERZOG: The Tribunal will draw its own conclusions. Mr. President, I have no further questions.


Q. I would like to make a general summary of your activities in your function of General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. Tell me how many

[Page 173]

foreign workers were employed in German economy and industry at the end of the war?

A. As far as I can tell you without documents "not counting prisoners of war" there were about five million foreign workers in Germany at the end of the war.

Q. You already quoted that number during your direct interrogation by your defence counsel. I believe that number applies not to the moment of the capitulation of Germany but to the date of 24th July, 1942. I will quote somewhat different data on that subject and will use your own documents. You were nominated General Plenipotentiary on 21st March, 1942, On 27th July, 1942-that is to say four months later - you submitted to Hitler and Goering your first report. In this report you stated that from the 1st April to the 24th July, 1942, the mobilization quota of 1,600,000 persons was surpassed by you. Do you confirm this figure?

A. I quoted this figure and as far as I can remember that did not only include foreigners but also German workers.

Q. In the final part of your report you state that the total number of the population of the occupied territories evacuated to Germany up to 24th July, 1942, numbered 5,124,000 persons. Is that number exact? Do you confirm it?

A. Yes, but I believe that figure at the time included prisoners of war who had been included in the economic system. Then I must say in this connection that in the case of all neutral and Western and other allied nations there was a continuous exchange, because these workers worked either six months, nine months, or one year in Germany and at the end of their contracted periods they returned to their countries. That is why this figure may be correct; but towards the end of the year they could not have increased considerably, because there was this continuous exchange which you have to take into consideration.

Q. But the fact is that, according to your own figures, the population evacuated to Germany numbered 5,124,000. persons to the date of 24th July, 1942, is that so?

A. If it says so in the document, then it may be true. It is possible or rather it is probable that this takes into account the employed prisoners of war. I cannot say that without any records.

Q. I will show you this and other documents referring to this matter later. On the 1st December, 1942, you compiled a summary report on the utilization of manpower by 30th November, 1942. In this summary you quote a figure referring to the number of workers assigned to German war industries from 1st April to 30th November, 1942, and these workers number 2,749,652. On Page 8 of your report you come to the conclusion that by 30th November, 1942, in the territory of the Reich, 7,000,000 persons were employed. Do you confirm these figures?

A. I cannot confirm the figures without records. Again, I assume that French and other prisoners of war were once more included.

Q. But the figure of 7,000,000 employed in German industry, including foreign workers and prisoners of war, is that figure exact? Will you now say how many workers were brought to Germany from occupied territories during the year 1943? Tell me that figure.

A. The number of foreign workers brought to Germany during the year may have amounted to one and a half to two millions. Various programmes had been made in that connection which were continuously being rectified.

Q. I am now interested to know how many workers were brought to Germany in 1943, approximately. You need not give an exact figure. Approximately.

A. I have already said one and a half to two millions. I cannot be more exact.

Q. I understand. Do you remember what task was assigned to you for the year 1944?

A. In 1944 the number demanded of me amounted to a total of 4,000,000, including Germans; but of these 4,000,000 only 3,000,000 were supplied, and of these, approximately 2,100,000 were Germans and 900,000 foreigners.

[Page 174]

Q. Now can you give us at least a general summary of your activities? How many persons were brought to Germany from the occupied territories during the war and how many were employed in economy and industry at the end of the war?

A. In accordance with my recollections and knowledge there were 5,000,000 foreign workers in Germany at the end of the war. Several million workers were returned to neutral and allied and Western countries during the war and they had to be replaced again and again, which was the cause for those new programmes that were made. That is the explanation, that those workers who were already there before my time and those who were brought in, probably could have reached the figure of 7,000,000, but during the war there were several millions who returned to their home countries.

Q. And also, a large number perished as a result of slave labour. I do not doubt that for a moment. In your documents you probably meant real manpower and not those who perished or those who were absent. Could you tell us how many were brought to Germany from occupied territories during the war? What numbers were brought there, actually?

A. I have already given you the figure.

Q. Five million?

A. Yes.

Q. You continue to assert that that is so?

A. I maintain that at the end of the war there were, so far as were counted by my statistical department and as far as I can remember, there were five million workers in Germany, because millions of workers continuously returned. The experts of the department can give you a better answer than I. The contracts with the others were only six and nine months, you see.

THE PRESIDENT: Your question is, is it not, how many were brought into Germany, how many foreign workers, during the whole of the war? Is that the question you are asking?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Yes, it is, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: What is your answer to that?

THE WITNESS: I have already stated that, including the workers who were there before my time, before I came into office, and including those who were there at the end, there may have been about seven millions. In accordance with my records, there were five millions at the end, because the others had gone back.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but that is not what you are being asked. You are being asked: How many persons were brought to Germany from foreign countries during the whole of the war? You say there were five million at the end of the war, and there were constant changes in the preceding years. It follows that there must have been more than five million people brought to Germany in the course of a year.

THE WITNESS: I would estimate seven million, but I cannot give you the exact figure because the figure which existed before my time is something I do not know reliably. At any rate, there must have been millions who returned home.


Q. In November of 1942 you quoted a figure of seven million of imported labour.

A. Workers employed in Germany, and that includes prisoners of war, in 1942.

Q. All right, including prisoners of war, seven million? Is that right, seven million by 30th November?

[Page 175]

A. I cannot tell you for certain. It may be correct, but I cannot tell you without documentary evidence.

Q. I will show you the document tomorrow. Today, in answering my question, you said that during 1943, a further two million workers were imported.

A. In 1943?

Q. Yes, in 1943.

A. I said one and a half to two million.

Q. That is to say, seven million plus two million makes nine million in all. Is that correct?

A. No. I said expressly that some went back all the time, and I did not add the prisoners of war to the new imported labour.

Q. You do not seem to understand me. I am speaking of those who were brought to Germany from the occupied territories, who passed through your hands. It is of absolutely no importance how many of than perished in Germany or how many left. That does not change the total number of workers brought to German territory from abroad.

If, therefore, by 30th November, 1942, there were seven million persons in Germany, and, according to you, in 1943 two further million were brought in, and in 1944, as you just said, nine hundred thousand were again brought in, then, according to you, the total number of workers imported to Germany during the war must have amounted to ten million. Is that right?

A. I can say only that with the reservation that I do not know how many were actually there before my time. That may be correct as a guess, and it may include all prisoners of war who were working. However, you have to deduct the prisoners of war from the civilian workers who were brought into the country.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 31st May, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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