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 10 of 13)

[Page 213]


Q. Defendant Sauckel, I want to ask you a number of questions. And will you try to speak a little more quietly and will you listen carefully to the questions and try to make your answers responsive to the questions?

[Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel] A. Yes.

Q. Now, first, I am going to ask you about your personnel. You had one large central office, I take it, did you not-one large central office?

A. I had a small central office, your Honour.

Q. A small central office. And how many people -

A. An office of my own.

Q. How many employees were in that office?

A. In this personnel office, your Honour, there were two personnel experts, a Ministerial Counsellor, Dr. Stothfang, a County Counsellor, Dr. -

Q. Just a moment; how many, just how many?

A. Two higher officials and about eight middle and lower officials as assistants and registrars.

Q. Did your inspectors work outside that office?

A. The inspectors belonged to Department 9 of the Reich Ministry of Labour, which had been installed there. That was a special department which was established in the Reich Ministry of Labour at my request, with higher officials who -

Q. Now the inspectors worked I suppose under your instruction and reported to you, did they?

A. The inspectors reported first to Department 5 in the Reich Ministry of Labour. I was informed in important cases. The inspectors had the right and the duty to correct bad conditions on the spot, when they found them in the labour administration.

How many inspectors were there?

A. There were in Department 9, I believe -

Q. No, no - in all, how many in all?

A. There were various inspection offices, your Honour. This inspection

Q. One moment, defendant. Just listen to the question. I said how many inspectors in all the inspection offices were there?

A. From my own knowledge I cannot say how many there were in the Labour Front. The extent of inspection offices in the Labour Front, that would have been a matter for Dr. Ley to speak about. That I do not know in detail.

Q. Well, do you know about how many inspectors were working on inspection work? You must know about how many were there, do you not?

A. I cannot give you accurate figures, but it may have been approximately sixty or seventy, if you take all of them together, including those of the German Labour Front.

Q. Now, did they go outside Germany, or did they work only in Germany?

[Page 214]

A. These inspectors worked for the most part only in Germany.

Q. And they would inspect such matters as ,food and travel and conditions of the camps, and so on, would they not?

A. That was their task.

Q. Yes. And the important reports would come to you?

A. No. According to an agreement, the reports had to be sent to the competent highest Reich authorities, in order that bad conditions be corrected. For bad conditions in industry and in camps the competent authority was the Industrial Inspection Office under Reich Minister of Labour Seldte. That was the highest -

Q. Well, did not any of them come to you?

A. Complaints were brought before me, but I could do nothing but send them back to the competent offices and ask that everything be done to correct the situation; and that is what I did.

Q. Did the inspectors' reports come to you, any of the inspectors' reports?

A. The reports did not come to me directly; they went through channels to those offices which were concerned with correcting the situation.

Q. Defendant, I am asking you not whether they came directly, but did they come to you eventually? Did you get them? Did you see them?

A. Very seldom did such reports come to me.

Q. So you do not know what the conditions were, then, since you did not get the inspectors' reports, is that right?

A. Twice or four times a year I also sent my assistants and these inspectors in person to the Gauleiters in the German Gaue, and I received reports on what they had discussed during these private conferences with the area offices and on what they had inspected and observed. There was nothing of a catastrophic nature, merely shortcomings in the execution of the directives which I had issued. I was informed about things of that sort -

Q. So you are telling us that you never got any reports or complaints of a catastrophic nature; is that right?

A. I did not quite understand that question.

Q. You never got any reports or complaints of what you call a "catastrophic nature"; is that right?

A. Within Germany - I received reports and complaints, such as I described to my counsel, from Field Marshal Kluge, or else they were made known to me in discussions with Rosenberg. Immediately I took the necessary measures. But that was not frequently the case -

Q. (Interposing.) Defendant, if you would listen to the question and try to answer it, I think we would get along much faster. You used the expression "catastrophic nature"; those were your words. Did you get any reports of a "catastrophic nature"?

A. I was informed by Field Marshal Kluge and by reports, which have been mentioned here, from Rosenberg, about a few cases; these I considered catastrophic and tried to correct.

Q. These were what you call "catastrophic" cases?

A. Yes.

Q. What were they?

A. There was the case in the East which Field Marshal Kluge reported to me, where cinemas were surrounded by recruiting agents. I considered that "catastrophic". The second case was the case of the transport back, where, according to the report - it is called the newer report, but I do not remember the number of the document - children are said to have died on the way and been placed outside the train. I considered that "catastrophic". But there could -

Q. You have answered.

A. But -

Q. (Interposing.) You have answered that now.

Did you get any complaints about Koch?

[Page 215]

A. At times, from Minister for Eastern Affairs Rosenberg, and from another source I received complaints about Koch. Koch, of course, always defended himself very vehemently.

Q. Then you had complaints from several people about Koch?

A. Yes. I could -

Q. And the complaints said what Koch was doing, did they?

A. I did not receive complaints from many sides about Koch, but rather from one side -

Q. (Interposing.) Now, wait -

A. (Interposing.) But from several people -

Q. (Interposing.) Wait. Will you not answer the question? I did not ask you if you had received many complaints. I said, "The complaints said what Koch was doing." Is that right?

A. Yes, in some cases.

Q. And what did you do with those complaints?

A. In so far as my field of work was concerned, when I received complaints such as have been discussed here, I called a conference in my office. That was immediately after the complaints from Rosenberg; and on that occasion I took the position which my defence counsel cited and pointed out with respect to that conference of 6th January, 1943.

Q. And the Koch matter ended after the conference, I take it? That was all you did?

(No response.)

Q. That was the end of it as far as you were concerned?

A. As far as I was concerned, I personally pointed out to the Fuehrer on several occasions that I considered it quite out of the question to treat the Eastern workers and the people in the East badly; and by means of the decrees which I issued continuously and which are contained in my documents, I did whatever I could to prevent these things. I ask -

Q. (Interposing.) I have asked you about your central office. Did you have any branch offices?

A. No, I had no branch offices; two departments of the Ministry of Labour, 5 and 6, were put at my disposal for the carrying out of my tasks of an administrative and technical nature.

Q. All right. That is enough.

A. There business matters of an administrative nature were carried on. I ask -

Q. (Interposing.) Wait a minute. Now, were the recruitment offices in the Ministry of Labour?

A. No. In the Ministry of Labour -

Q. (Interposing.) Never mind. That is all you have to say.

Where were they - where were the recruitment offices?

A. The recruitment offices were in the Occupied Territories.

Q. I understand that. But under what office? What administration? What department?

A. The Departments "Labour" were themselves incorporated in the administration of these territories, as can be seen very clearly from my Decree 4, for that had been done in the same manner before I came into office. They were integral parts of the territorial administration.

Q. Of the local administration. When you mentioned the 1,500 district offices, were those the recruitment offices?

A. Those were the offices in the various territories in their entirety which represented these various administrations on the lowest level, as I have just mentioned.

Q. You do not answer the question. I asked you whether they were recruiting offices. Were they recruiting offices?

[Page 216]

A. They were not only recruiting offices; they were the offices of the territorial labour administrations on the lowest level.

Q. So they did administration and recruiting?

A. (No response.)

Q. They did recruiting, did they not?

A. I understand that that was one and the same. The recruitment was carried on, according to German principles, as part of the administration. Outside the administration recruitment could not be carried on.

Q. They were recruiting offices, then? The answer is "yes", is it not? They were recruiting offices?

A. Yes.

Q. Right. You should have said that in the beginning. That is what I wanted to know. Now, I want to know the relation of your offices to the Party offices. The Gaue and the Gauleiters worked in co-operation with you as plenipotentiaries, working with you, did they not?

A. No, your Honour, that is a mistake. The Gauleiters had nothing to do with recruiting; that was -

Q. Now, wait. I said nothing about recruiting. I asked you the relation of your offices to the Gauleiters. The Gauleiters co-operated with you in the general programme, did they not?

A. Not in the general programme, your Honour; only in the programme of caring for German and foreign workers.

Q. I see. The Gauleiters, then, had nothing to do with recruiting; is that right?

A. That is right.

Q. That is right? They looked after the care and comfort of the men who were recruited, is that right?

A. If they were working in the Reich, yes.

Q. In the Reich?

A. In the Reich.

Q. Did the Gaue outside the Reich in the Occupied Territories also work for you, or do you consider that they were part of the Reich?

(No response.)

Q. Let me ask the question again. I do not think it is very clear. Certain of the Occupied Territories had been incorporated into the Reich, had they not?

A. In the East only the territories Wartheland and West Prussia were incorporated into the Reich.

Q. (Interposing.) Now again I am not asking you the number that was incorporated; I just said certain of the Occupied Territories, certain parts of them, were incorporated into the Reich. Is that right?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Yes, and when you say the Gauleiters in the Reich, that includes, does it not, the Gauleiters in those territories which had been incorporated into the Reich; is that right?

A. Yes, but in this connection they could not function in their capacity as Gauleiters; but only if they were Reich Governors, that is, only if they had a State administration under them. These were two entirely separate institutions with different personnel.

Q. Did each Gauleiter have a labour office connected with his Gau, in his Gau?

A. May I ask, do you mean all German Gaue, or only these of which we have just spoken, your Honour?

Q. I mean only the Gaue of which we have just spoken. They each had a labour office, did they not?

A. They had a labour administration at the head of which there was a Gau labour president.

[Page 217]

Q. That is right. That is enough. Now, do you know the organization of the Gau in the labour administration? Did they also have a Kreisleiter who attended to the labour work?

A. No, they did not have that.

Q. And I take it there were no Ortsgruppenleiters that worked on the labour programme, then?

A. No, that was not the case; rather that was a strictly separate administrative concept -

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