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-Third Day: Friday, 31st May, 1946
(Part 3 of 13)

[GENERAL ALEXANDROV continues his cross examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 184]


Q. I will question you about that a little later, when the question arises concerning the employment of prisoners of war in the German industries.

Please tell me now, what was the attitude of the defendant Kaltenbrunner regarding these measures?

A. In this connection I met the defendant Kaltenbrunner on one single occasion during a conference - the date of which I cannot at present remember - at the Reich Chancellery, with Minister Lammers. I believe it was in I944. Apart from that, I had no interview of any kind with Kaltenbrunner, nor did I reach any agreements with him on questions of the employment of labour.

Q. Yet the defendant Kaltenbrunner placed police forces at your disposal for carrying out the recruitment of manpower, did he not?

A. I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that the recruitment of workers was no concern of the police. And I must ask my Defence Counsel to submit the relevant regulations, of which there are numerous specimens available. They prove quite clearly and unequivocally and irrefutably the division of tasks between the police and my department.

Q. Did the police participate in the execution of these measures or did it not? I am not reproaching you now.

A. In my opinion the police only participated in cases where the execution of administrative duties was rendered impossible in partisan areas. In White Ruthenia alone 1,500 native mayors were murdered by the partisans. This is obvious from the document.

Q. But was recruitment, even in normal circumstances, not carried out by police methods? Did you know nothing at all about that?

A. I shall tell you exactly what I know about it. There were, in the occupied European territories, about 1,500 districts (Kreise) - by district I mean the areas of the districts (Rayons) or departments, the military administrative headquarters - in other words, what we, in the German administration, would term as having the area of a district (Kreise); and these 1,500 districts contained 1,500 administrative centres staffed partly by native and partly by German personnel. In addition to this personnel, in the territories of the Soviet Union alone, 1,000 Russian workers, previously employed in Germany, were acting as recruiting officers. Now if each one of these administrative centres, which would correspond

[Page 185]

to a German "Landkreis" and had a population of 40,000 to 70,000 inhabitants, properly selected, examined and screened five persons daily, that is already 2,000,000 people a year: a perfectly clear method of administration, such as I ordered, organized and carried out to the best of my administrative possibilities.

Q. You are giving needlessly detailed explanations in reply to these questions, and under such conditions the interrogation is being greatly prolonged. I consider it necessary that you answer briefly. You are perfectly able to do this, for I am putting the questions to you clearly.

A. I am trying to answer as briefly as possible. I regret that a specialized field is always difficult to understand and calls for explanations; I found it very difficult myself.

Q. Please answer. What part did the defendant Kaltenbrunner play in the execution of measures bearing on the mobilization of manpower? Did he participate in this or did he not?

A. I have already given you that answer.

Q. I did not understand you. Did he participate or did he not?

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon. He said that he only met Kaltenbrunner on one occasion and that the task of the recruitment of labour was not one for the police. That is what he said.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: It is not necessary to multiply the number of meetings in order that Kaltenbrunner should participate in the execution of these measures. He did not have to meet defendant Sauckel at regular intervals.

THE PRESIDENT: General Alexandrov, I do not want you to argue with me. I have told you what his answer was. It seemed to be an answer to your question.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I am not arguing. I am merely explaining the reason for this question.


Q. As far as the participation of defendant Rosenberg is concerned, I shall not ask you any questions, since defendant Rosenberg gave sufficiently clear answers when questioned by my American colleague, Mr. Dodd. Now tell me, what part did defendant Frick play in the execution of these measures?

A. Defendant Frick, as Reich Minister of the Interior - I do not know how long he remained in office - scarcely participated at all. As far as I can remember, I had only the most necessary contacts with his Reich Ministry for the discussion of laws to be promulgated within Germany for the German workers, and of the validity of these laws. Apart from that, he had no further part in this task, since his task was quite a different one.

Q. We are discussing the question of foreign manpower. It was not merely by accident that you mentioned, in a letter to Lammers written after a meeting at Hitler's headquarters on 4th January, 1944, that the Ministry of the Interior was among the government offices detailed to operate with you. That is why I ask you, what part did defendant Frick play in the execution of these measures? You yourself asked for the co-operation of the Ministry of the Interior. Then how was this co-operation to be expressed?

A. To my very great regret, Reich Minister Frick was, at that time, no longer Minister of the Interior, but Himmler - if I remember correctly.

Q. What co-operation did you expect from the Ministry of the Interior?

A. It is, I believe, natural that in every form of government the internal and the general administration be kept informed of events occurring in so important a sphere as the employment of human beings, which, to be sure, calls for many ordinances. They must not only be informed - they must participate as well. I could not possibly issue legal decrees - nor had I authority to do so - I had to submit them to the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich. I could only issue technical directions, and that is quite a different thing altogether.

[Page 186]

Q. Were defendant Funk, as economic minister, and defendant Speer, as armament minister, the principal intermediaries between yourself and the industrialists as suppliers of manpower? Is that correct?

A. The end of your sentence contains a seriously erroneous conclusion. I was - They were not middlemen between myself and the industries, but the industries were responsible to the Armament Ministry, that is, the - Of course, there were personal instructions issued about this in the course of the year. I did not negotiate with the industries. They asked me for workers and they got them, the same as the agricultural industries.

Q. Please tell me, what part did defendants Funk and Speer play in the execution of these measures? I do not want any long drawn out explanations. Answer me briefly.

A. Those two ministers were heads of the very varied business enterprises inside the German economy, which fell within the jurisdiction of their ministries. They received their workers and that was the end of my task.

Q. Did the defendants Frank, Seyss-Inquart and Neurath participate in the execution of these measures for the mobilization of manpower in such territories as were under their jurisdiction? I mean the territories of Poland, Bohemia and Moravia, and Holland; is that correct?

A. These gentlemen, within the framework of their duties inside their own territories, supported me by the promulgation of decrees and laws, and they themselves attached great importance to the proper and humane drafting of these laws and decrees.

Q. What was the part played by defendant Fritzsche?

A. That I cannot tell you. I only met Dr. Fritzsche in Germany on one occasion - and that a very brief one - in, I believe 1945, the beginning of 1945. I never spoke to him at all about my work nor do I know whether he, in turn, had anything to do with it. I can only state that I repeatedly demanded and begged in the Reich Ministry for Propaganda that my instructions and directives - as contained in the document books submitted by my defence counsel - be widely circulated, particularly to the industries and other circles which received these workers.

Q. But one defendant is left - Bormann - and he is missing. What part did he play? He placed at your disposal the entire Party machinery of the NSDAP, did he not?

A. No, he did not. He placed the Gauleiters at my disposal; the instructions which I issued to the Gauleiters and the letters which I addressed to them - three of which are available here, and there never were many more of them - were to the effect that I was entitled to call on the Party for assistance in ensuring the welfare, feeding and clothing of the workers and in seeing that they received everything that was humanly necessary and all we could possibly supply in view of existing wartime conditions. That was the role played by the Party, in so far as it was asked to do so for me, and form a control for the benefit of the foreign and German workers employed in Germany. Otherwise the Party had nothing to do with it. Incidentally, I did not care overmuch for interference on the part of outside offices.

Q. That is incorrect. I would remind you of your programme for the utilization of manpower, which was issued in 1942. This is Exhibit USSR 365, which states that the Gauleiters are appointed as your plenipotentiaries where the question of manpower is concerned and that they will utilize this manpower.

A. May I see this document?

Q. You will be shown the document in one moment. I do not quote this sub-paragraph, I merely mention the contents, the gist of the sub-paragraph, where it states that the Gauleiters will use the Party organizations in the districts subordinate to them. I therefore assume that the Party machinery, as a whole, participated in the execution of these measures.

A. It does not say so at all.

[Page 187]

Q. Have you found it: "The plenipotentiaries make use of its - "?

A. Yes, and I only did this for the purpose I have described. Will you be good enough to read on?

Q. Read it yourself.

A. Thank you so much.

"The leaders of the highest Departments of the State and of Economy which are competent in their respective Gaue shall advise and instruct the Gauleiters on all important questions dealing with the employment of labour."
That means within the scope of their spheres of duty; and then these are specified: "The President of the Provincial Labour Department (Landesarbeitsamt)" - that is not a Party but a Government Department - "the Trustee for Labour (Treuhander der Arbeit)" is not a Party but a Government Department; "the Provincial Peasant Leader (Landesbauernfuehrer)" is not a Party but a Government Department. As for the "Gau Economic Adviser (Gauwirtschaftberater)" - now, that is a Party Department -

THE PRESIDENT: Please observe the light, to be sure the interpreters are getting it.

THE WITNESS: I apologise, your Lordship.

- "the Gau Leader (Gauobmann)" of the DAF is a department of the Labour Front, the Regional Leaders of the Nazi Women's League (Gaufraunschaftsleitung)" -
Q. Everything is perfectly clear, you do not have to enumerate. I should like to draw your attention to sub-paragraph 6. It clearly states that the Gauleiters, functioning as plenipotentiaries for the utilization of manpower, will, in their own districts, make use of the Party organizations subordinate to them. Is it written there?

A. Yes.

Q. It next enumerates the methods by which this task was executed, also through what institutions and what authorities. I conclude, from this subparagraph which states that they will utilize the Party institutions under their control, that the entire organization of the NSDAP participated in the execution of these measures, and I wish you to answer "yes" or "no".

A. No.

Q. There is no more to say.

A. No. May I supplement this reply of "no". You, in your first reply, told me that my description was not quite correct. My description is absolutely correct, that the Party was employed to deal with the welfare of German and foreign workers and to see to it that they were properly cared for and supplied. And the Party organizations mentioned here were only entrusted with this kind of task, and could have had no other; and I, a former workman myself, was eager that these workers, both German and foreign, should be cared for as far as wartime conditions allowed. Hence this employment of the Party organizations and no others. Therefore, my reply was absolutely correct.

Q. Did the District Leaders of the Hitler Youth also participate in the execution of these measures?

A. The District Leaders of the HJ participated in order to protect and care for the young people in accordance with the demand of Reich Leader Schirach and, later, of Reich Youth Leader Axmann. Protection had to be provided for the young people against any danger. The Hitler Youth did this, including young people employed from foreign countries. I must expressly emphasize this.

Q. Did you, personally, approve of the policy of the Hitlerite Government with regard to the deportation into slavery of the population from the Occupied Territories, in order to ensure the waging of a war of aggression? Did you approve of that policy?

A. I am forced to consider your question in the light of an accusation.

[Page 188]

I personally have said over and over again that I had nothing to do with either foreign or domestic policies, nor was I a soldier, I meant to say. I was given a task and I received orders. As a German, I tried to carry out that task correctly for the sake of my people and its government and to carry it out to the best of my ability, since it was made perfectly clear to me that the fate of my people depended on the accomplishment of this task. I worked with this in mind, and I admit that I did my utmost to accomplish that task in the manner which I have here emphasized. I conceived this to be my duty and must acknowledge this fact here.

Q. In order to define your personal attitude to these crimes, I would like to remind you of a few of your own statements. These are taken from Exhibit USSR 365. This document is a programme for the utilization of labour in 1942, Page 9. You will now be shown the passage which I am about to quote: "I beg you to believe me, as an old and fanatical National Socialist Gauleiter - " Is it written there?

A. That is written there.

Q. Now we will go on to Document 566-PS. It is your telegram to Hitler dated 20th April, 1943, which you sent during your flight to Riga. This telegram will now be handed to you and you will be shown the excerpt which I am about to read.

"I shall apply my entire strength with fanatical will-power to accomplish my task and to justify your confidence." Is that correct?

A. It is correct. I saw in Hitler whom, at that time, I worshipped, a man who was the leader of the German people, who had been chosen by the German people, and I - as a German and a member of a German Government Department - considered it my duty to justify the confidence shown me by the Head of the State, by my work in my own sphere. I should like to state, further to this telegram...

Q. No explanations are needed about this telegram. I am not interested in your attitude towards Hitler. I am only interested in your personal attitude to those measures for the recruitment and utilization of labour which were carried out by you. It is essential to keep all questions within these limits. Now follows Document 1292-PS. This is a record of the meeting at Hitler's headquarters on the 4th January, 1944 -

A. I request the permission of the Tribunal to add a few words to your last statement. I was unable to see anything criminal in Hitler at that time and I never felt he was one, but I did feel obliged to do my duty and nothing else. I never supported crime, both as a human being and as a result of my whole life's training.

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