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-Fourth Day: Saturday, 1st June, 1946
(Part 1 of 7)

[Page 229]

DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for defendant von Papen): May I ask permission for the defendant von Papen to be absent on Monday and Tuesday to prepare his case.

He will be represented by my colleague, Dr. Nelte.

MAX TIMM (Resumed)



Q. Witness, yesterday we were speaking, at the end, of the staff conferences. I should like to leave this question now, but we will come back to it later when we talk about controls. First, I should like you to explain the relationship of Sauckel's agency to the higher agencies. Whom did Sauckel come under?

A. The General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour was under the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan.

Q. And what did he have to do with Hitler?

A. He kept in the closest contact with Hitler and as far as possible he presented his plans to Hitler at personal discussions.

Q. Was there a constant connection with the Four-Year Plan through a liaison man or how was that done?

A. There were various ways of keeping the contact active. There were liaison men on both sides. The General Plenipotentiary sent men from his more restricted staff to report to the office for the Four-Year Plan to obtain there beforehand a vote on his plans, and on the other hand, as far as I can recall, there were almost constantly delegates from the office of the Four-Year Plan who took part in the staff conferences.

In addition, the General Plenipotentiary more frequently had personal talks with the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan.

Q., How was the co-operation with the other ministries conducted? With Goebbels, to begin with?

A. The General Plenipotentiary felt in principle that it was important to keep as close a contact as possible with the other departments and to have his plans and intentions approved beforehand. Co-operation with the Ministry of Propaganda was no longer good, especially at the time when the Minister, Dr. Goebbels, was commissioner for the total war effort.

Q. After the proclamation of total war, was Sauckel subordinate to Goebbels?

A. The relationship was never quite clear. In my opinion it had to be looked at this way: The commissioner for the total war effort received comprehensive powers for all tasks, and was therefore, in fact, superior to the G.B.A. (General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour).

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, what was the date of the proclamation of total war?

[Page 230]


Q. Does the witness know when total war was declared?

A. I do not remember the date.

Q. It was after the fall of Stalingrad. I cannot give you the exact date.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, please.

Q. As to relations with Himmler, what co-operation was there with him?

A. I know nothing of any close personal relations between the G.B.A. and Himmler. In Sauckel's labour staff there was a liaison man from the Reichsfuehrer SS, who was used especially for any general police questions that might arise in the programme for the employment of labour.

Q. What kinds of questions were there?

A. Various kinds of questions, especially the question of badges in connection with the occupations for foreigners.

Q. And probably also questions concerning barbed wire?

A. Yes. Barbed wire questions; all those questions which arose in the police spheres.

Q. Problems of labour training camps?

A. Since I was not an expert on those questions, I cannot remember very well, and I do not know whether there were any detailed conferences about them.

Q. Now, I should like to take up the relations with the offices in the Occupied Territories.

With whom were negotiations carried on; to whom did one apply when making demands in the Occupied Territories?

A. One had to apply to the district governments at the time whether they were military commanders, Reich commissioners or something similar.

Q. What kind of position did Sauckel's deputies have?

A. The deputies were organized to exert a direct and vigorous influence on the execution of Sauckel's plans, instructions and orders.

This goal, however, was not reached as they were not able to succeed. I recall that the General Plenipotentiary, therefore, intended to ask Hitler for a more comprehensive order and more comprehensive powers.

I seem to recall that the General Plenipotentiary once announced that he had learned from Hitler himself, or from his entourage, that Hitler was not inclined to extend these powers as he could not release the local governments, especially the military commanders, from their comprehensive responsibility and powers, so that the General Plenipotentiary had only one recourse, that of putting forward his wishes through the direct channel of negotiations.

Q. Why were the deputies not able to accomplish their ends?

A. The deputies could only try to consult with the existing local governments, but the opposition was so strong that they could not assert themselves.

Q. Did these deputies not have another position at the same time?

A. Since they could not achieve an independent position, the deputies were generally incorporated into the existing local administration by way of negotiations. With few exceptions, they were entrusted with the direction of the labour section, or were incorporated into the section for economy and labour.

In general, they were placed with military commanders as administrative officials, and this was the position which they held ostensibly.

Q. So it was a combination of two or more positions vested in one person?

A. It was, to a certain extent, a combination of different positions in one person in which without doubt the most important was the position of section chief in the existing local government.

Q. With whom did this arrangement of a dual position originate. Was it Sauckel who insisted on it or the supreme authorities who were responsible locally?

A. As far as I know, it resulted from talks with the local governments on the question of the position of the deputies. The local governments did not in any case

[Page 231]

want any men in their districts who were independent of their administration and had special powers.

Q. Then this took away the driving force from the deputies?

A. Their driving force as originally planned was no doubt taken away.

Q. How did Sauckel exercise his authority to issue instructions?

A. The authority to issue instructions to the offices abroad was, in general, exercised by means of directives and decrees through normal administrative channels, via the central offices.

Q. Could he issue instructions to cover everything that happened, or were there other offices whose business was to obtain labour?

A. At that time, unfortunately, the situation was such that even after the appointment of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, outside agencies repeatedly interfered in labour matters or carried on recruiting too - that is, agencies which neither had the power nor were authorized to do so.

THE PRESIDENT: What time is he talking about; he says "at that time"?

DR. SERVATIUS: I did not quite understand.

THE PRESIDENT: I say at what time. He said "at that time". At what time? What time is he speaking about?


Q. What time are you speaking about?

A. It was at that time when the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour had been appointed.

Q. When was he appointed?

A. He was appointed in March, 1942.

Q. In what way did the recruiting take place? Was it voluntary? Can you distinguish the types?

A. In principle, recruiting was carried out on a voluntary basis because from the technical point of view - that is, from the point of view of the utilization of the labour recruited - only voluntary recruiting could lead to success. That is to say, only voluntary recruiting could produce people who were happy and willing to work and who would give necessary output.

Q. Was that the point of view which Sauckel emphasized?

A. During the whole time that I worked with Sauckel in the Labour Ministry I never heard of any events which indicated any other point of view. He repeatedly emphasized that the basis of recruiting would have to be voluntary.

Q. Yes. He issued many directives and made many speeches within the inner circle -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, and witness, will you try and pause between the sentences and between the questions and the answers. The witness's sentences seem to me to be running on, whereas if he would pause it would give the interpreter some chance?



Q. Sauckel issued a number of directives and made speeches to that effect. Did he not give you more precise and stricter instructions?

A. The instructions which we received always agreed in principle with the instructions which he issued to larger circles.

Q. What was the result of voluntary recruiting? Workers came solely on the basis of that recruiting, that is, on the basis of the conditions as described to them?

A. Yes.

Q. About how many were there?

A. Of course, it is not possible for me to give exact figures. When I think about it, I believe I can say that about two to three million workers could be called voluntary workers.

[Page 232]

Q. Other workers came on the basis of the Labour Conscription Law which was introduced in those countries.

A. Yes.

Q. How high do you estimate the number of those people to be?

A. I can hardly give an estimate. Since about two to three million were volunteers, the rest must reach this figure too.

Q. People were deported too. Are you sure you know what "deportation" means?

A. If I may ask, does that mean the people who were transported for military or other reasons? I am not quite clear as to what you mean by that.

Q. You do not know what deportations are?

A. You mean forcible deportations, do you not? I cannot remember anything about such measures in connection with the activities of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour.

Q. In connection with the obtaining, recruiting, and conscription of labour, there are a number of serious charges concerning abuses which occurred. To what extent did you learn of them?

A. I understand your question to mean abuses in the recruiting itself?

Q. Yes.

A. I have no practical knowledge of the recruiting itself. So far as I had a general view of the situation, serious abuses such as you mention in your question were not reported to the GBA. Yesterday, in an answer, I pointed out that I knew of the case of the surrounded cinema, and that I could recall no events surpassing that case in gravity.

Q. Now I come to conditions in Germany. Have you heard anything about conditions of the worst kind there? You probably read the papers and know what these charges mean. Since you were one of the people most closely involved there, what did you learn?

A. Complaints about the treatment of foreigners came through various channels, to the GBA too. They referred in general to questions of clothing and food and that of barbed wire, which came up repeatedly, and the question of badges and the identification of foreign workers.

Q. Witness, the prosecution is speaking here of Crimes against Humanity.

A. Yes.

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