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 12 of 13)

[Mr. Biddle continues his examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 221]

Q. So when a man was sent to a labour training camp, he was not sent simply to labour, he was being punished, was he not, for having broken the law? That must be right, must it not?

A. To my knowledge, he came to a labour training camp in order to be trained to be punctual for work, and, at the same time, it was a punishment for his offences at the factory.

Q. Were there any decrees with respect to the labour training camps, any regulations?

A. I know of no regulations. They had to be issued by the Reichsfuehrer SS, by the Chief of Police. I issued no regulations.

Q. So, although part of your duty was to look after the foreign labourers who were brought over here, that stopped after they were turned over to the police, and you had no more jurisdiction; is that right?

A. That is right, but in one respect I have to correct that. I did not have the task of caring for the workers; I had merely the task of getting workers for the industries. The supervision of the camps and caring for the workers was in no way my task. I have -

Q. Stop, defendant, we clearly understand that. You had practically no executive functions but you repeatedly said that you passed decrees - by the hundreds, you said - for improving the condition of the men. Now, we know that you did not have the job to feed them or to house them but you did have as one of your main jobs-one of your main jobs was to try to keep them in as good condition as possible and that was the reason you were interested in any complaints. We all understand that, do we not; that is correct - one of your functions was to do that, was it not?

A. I had taken over this task; it was not one of the duties with which I had been charged; rather the complaints with which I was confronted every day were to the effect that there were not enough workers available. My task was the direction and the acquisition of workers, but for my own interests, I pointed out the necessity of caring for the workers and keeping them in good condition.

Q. I see, that was a voluntary job on your part. It was not part of your duty but nevertheless you did it. But, now, let me deal with the workers themselves. I think we are very clear or comparatively so as to the numbers that were brought in. I want to know how many were voluntary and how many were involuntary. Now, before you answer that, I mean those workers who were brought in not under any law but simply who volunteered for work of their own accord. There were not very many of those, I suppose, were there?

A. Yes, there were a great many workers who volunteered, without legal compulsion and as a result of propaganda and recruitment, and because of the fact that in Germany wages and such things were comparatively high and regulated. There with a great many workers -

Q. Let us examine that. There came a time when the laws applying to German workers were applied to workers for foreign countries; is that not true?

A. Yes.

Q. I mean, every German had to work, did he not, under the law? Right?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. And that law was finally applied to foreign workers as well, as you just said. Right?

A. That law was also introduced into the Occupied Territories.

Q. Right. For everyone alike. So that after that law was introduced, there was no such thing as voluntary work because after that law was introduced, everyone had to work, did they not?

A. Yes, as far as they were requested in Occupied Territories and elsewhere, according to need.

Q. So when you were talking about voluntary work, that must have applied to the time before that law was passed? Right?

[Page 222]

A. Yes, however -

Q. When was the law passed?

A. That law was introduced at various dates in the late autumn of 1942. I cannot tell the exact dates in the various territories, but I should like to say under this law as well voluntary workers still came to Germany. They -

Q. You are right. If they had not, they would have gone involuntarily, would they not?

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Only certain quotas were levied; not all the workers were demanded for Germany.

Q. Well, then those certain quotas that were requested would have to have gone involuntarily: right?

A. No. There was also a voluntary recruitment carried out and that has to be understood to mean that among the workers -

Q. Wait, wait, defendant. Do not let us quibble over this. It is quite simple. If there was a law which made it necessary for men to work when their quotas had been called up, they had to work, did they not? Right?

A. Yes, they had to work, in their own countries first of all, but they also could volunteer to work in Germany instead of working in their own country. And we attached great importance to this.

Q. In other words, a man had a choice of forced labour in an industry in France or in Germany, so in that sense it was voluntary; is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, just two or three more questions. You have answered clearly, I think. I just want to ask you about three documents. I think that is all. I am not going into detail. Do you remember the document known as R-124, which was the conference on 1st March, 1944? You remember that conference?

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Would someone show him the German notes of that, please, if you have them?


Q. Do you remember the conference? Have you looked at the notes?

A. That was the conference about the Central Planning Board.

Q. Yes, that is right. Did you look over those notes?

A. Now?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes.

Q. Do they roughly tell what took place in substance? In substance, there was an account of the conference, was there not?

A. Yes, at this moment - I beg to be excused - I cannot remember the concrete topic of discussion at that conference.

Q. Well, did you find anything in the notes, as you read them over, which you thought in substance was a great mistake?

A. I cannot say now, what subject is meant.

Q. Have you read the notes, have you read them?

A. I did not read all the notes about the Central Planning Board. At that time the notes about the Central Planning Board were not available to me. Therefore I did not know that notes were taken about the Central Planning Board.

Q. Do not go on with all this talk. I simply asked you whether you read them and you said you had not read them all. That is all we need.

A. No, I have not read them all.

Q. In the portion that you read, did you find any mistakes?

A. I found inexact passages, yes.

Q. Inexact passages?

A. For instance, the report of my interpolation "200,000 to five million"; that is an utterly impossible proportion.

[Page 223]

Q. Quite. Now, you used one expression in those notes which I did not understand and I am going to ask you what you meant by it. You spoke of your special labour supply executives. Was that the committee for social peace that you spoke about yesterday, about a thousand people in it? Do you remember?

A. Yes.

Q. That is the same thing? That was the committee that you said had to be specially trained by the SS, I think, and by the police in France or wherever they were used?

A. Yes.

Q. By the way, you spoke of them being armed. Why were they armed? Why did they carry arms?

A. For their own protection and for the protection of those whom they recruited, they had to have some means of defence against attacks.

Q. You did not usually have anything to do with the police, did you? Why did you organize this police corps? Why did you help organize this police corps, an armed police corps; why did you do it?

A. That was not an armed police corps in the usual sense, rather it was -

Q. Never mind describing it. We know what it was. Why did you organize it? I thought you kept away from police measures.

A. In order to have protection for these people and for these places which frequently were raided, demolished or harassed by the resistance movement.

Q. I se what you mean. This was an organization to protect the recruiting that was going on; is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. I see. Now, I just want to ask one question about another manuscript. 016-PS, which was dated 20th April, 1944, was the labour mobilization programme. That is the programme which you issued and signed, is it not? You look at it. That is the programme you signed?

A. No.

Q. It is not? I do not know what you mean.

A. I have not understood you correctly, I believe. I understood 1944. It was -

Q. No, no, on 20th April, 1942. You issued the labour mobilization programme. Is that the programme signed by you shown in Document 016-PS? That is the programme, is it not?

A. The programme - may I say the following in this connection: It was a programme which did not become effective immediately -

Q. Defendant, please answer the question. All I want to know is, first, you did issue a mobilization programme, did you not?

A. That I did, but -

Q. Right. And that is the one shown in that document, is it not? I am simply identifying it.

A. Yes.

Q. Right. I wanted to ask you about bringing the youths of the Occupied Territories into the Reich. Certain of the youths were brought in, were they not?

A. Youths were brought in, but against my -

Q. Against your desires, you said. How many were brought in?

A. That I cannot possibly say from my own knowledge. I do not know. There were youths -

Q. Well, what were the ages? How young were they?

A. That I could not say either, what the ages of the youths were, because there were members of families who came into the Reich as a result of refugee measures for the evacuation of other localities. Then the second time, in connection with the so-called "Hay Action" in 1944, youths came to the Reich, but without my having anything to do with it.

Q. You know there were young adolescents, of course, young adolescent children, do you not? You know that, do you not?

[Page 224]

A. Yes.

Q. What was the purpose of bringing them in? Were they recruited for labour, or were they to be trained in the Reich and educated?

A. There are various explanations for the fact that youths were brought into the Reich. Some of these youths were not recruited or brought in by agents; rather they came with their families, at the latter's wish, when refugee and evacuation measures were carried out. Others came -

Q. Wait a minute. We will leave out the ones that came with the families. Some were recruited for labour, were they not - some for work, were they not?

A. Youths under the age of fourteen years could not be brought in for work. By agreements, such as can be found in the documents, other offices brought youths in to train and care for them.

Q. You just do not answer the questions. I asked you whether some were brought in for work; children over fourteen who were still under twenty were brought in for work, were they not - recruited for work?

A. But only volunteers were brought. in.

Q. Only volunteers were brought in?

A. Youths were supposed to be brought in only as volunteers.

Q. You did not recruit any youth involuntarily; you mean that?

A. I did not.

Q. I do not mean you personally; I mean the administration.

A. No, the labour administration was not supposed to bring in any youths, especially girls, by compulsion; only voluntarily. Domestic servants were only volunteers.

Q. Some were brought in to be educated in Germany and to become German citizens, were they not?

A. That I found out from the documents, but that was nothing that I had occasioned.

Q. You did not know about that before? Did anyone advise you that it was in accordance with International Law to force people in occupied countries to come to Germany to work?

A. The Fuehrer urgently requested me to take that measure, and it was described to me as admissible. No office raised any objections to or had any misgivings about this measure; rather it met with the requirements of all offices.

Q. I did not ask you that. I asked you whether anybody advised you that it was in accordance with International Law.

A. No.

Q. You knew, did you not, that the Foreign Office had to consider such matters?

A. I spoke with the Foreign Office on various occasions and this was found to be in order, because we were convinced that in these territories, on the basis of the terms of surrender, the introduction of German regulations was permissible and possible under the conditions prevailing and in view of existing agreements. That was my belief.

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