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 6 of 7)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his examination of Walter Stothfang]

[Page 247]


Q. Witness, what was your position with Sauckel?

A. I was personal adviser to the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour.

Q. When did you assume that position?

A. One year after the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour had assumed office; that was on 19th April, 1943.

Q. Was the witness Timm there when you came?

A. Yes.

Q. The witness Hildebrandt?

A. Yes.

Q. What orders did you receive when you came?

A. The General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour did not give any special personal directives because his general principles could be clearly seen in his decrees and programmes, and I only started work one year later.

Q. Before that, had you been in the Labour Ministry?

A. Yes, I had been connected with that type of work since 1926; and for the last eight years I was the personal assistant of the State Secretary, Dr. Syrup, in the Reich Labour Ministry.

Q. Was it a considerable change when you came to Sauckel?

A. No.

Q. What did your colleagues in the office tell you about all the work and Sauckel's attitude to the work?

A. The work, as such, was carried out according to principles and decrees, which were not essentially different from previous ones. In practice of course, they were much more far-reaching than anything previous.

Q. Did you work very closely with Sauckel in your field? You were his personal assistant.

A. As far as this was necessary for carrying out the task of the General Plenipotentiary for the war effort. Sauckel was not only General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, but at the same time he had remained governor and Gauleiter in Thuringia. Besides that, during the last year and a half of his activity he was very much occupied with the development of an underground factory in Kahla, in Thuringia. Therefore -

Q. We will come back to that later.

[Page 248]

A. He could be in Berlin only from time to time, at the most one day a week and often only half a day.

Q. And what was your task as his personal assistant?

A. We had to receive incoming mail, sort out what had to be reported and pass on the rest to the competent departments. We also had to submit newly arrived drafts to the Plenipotentiary.

Q. Who called staff conferences? Do you know that?

A. That was generally done by the office.

Q. You always attended these conferences?

A. Yes, from the time I first came into the office.

Q. Did you participate in conferences to which individual members returned from so-called inspection trips and made their reports?

A. Later that no longer happened or only very seldom. It was only in the beginning.

Q. That you were present, or that inspection trips took place

A. No, that reports were made.

Q. There were fewer reports later?

A. Yes.

Q. What was the reason for that?

A. I do not know the reason.

Q. During your term of office, did you learn of anything particularly shocking as regards irregularities in Germany? We will include everything: transports to Germany, transit camps, the workshops themselves, the camps and the factories?

A. I myself found out about some irregularities on the occasion of inspection trips which I made on orders, but these were at once discussed with the competent offices and steps taken to put a stop to them.

Q. Sauckel had to work with a number of offices. Was there any special opposition to overcome here?

A. With the exception of two cases, no.

Q. What cases were these?

A. One was the Party Chancellery, and the other was the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the Secret State Police.

Q. Do you know of specific instances in the case of the Reichsfuehrer SS?

A. The general treatment of foreign workers, particularly of those coming from the East, so far as it was determined by the Reichsfuehrer SS and the principles of the Reichsfuehrer SS, was contrary to the attitude of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. The Reichsfuehrer SS was not inclined to meet the far-reaching, positive demands of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. The same was true, in other fields, of the head of the Party Chancellery.

Q. What fields were these?

A. For example, that of social insurance. In this case, the Party Chancellery was of the opinion that equality with German workers was not justified on either practical or political grounds. Nor as high a rate of pay.

Q. And what did Sauckel say to that?

A. He tried, again and again, to adjust all these matters to his principles. In some things he was quite unsuccessful, and in others he was successful only after great efforts. I want to remind you of the equal status given to the Eastern workers which, to all practical purposes, was only carried out in March, 1945, by a decree.

Q. Did you receive from the Gauleiter who were appointed deputies for the Employment of Labour any special reports, or did you speak to the Gauleiter?

A. There was a directive that on inspection trips the competent Gauleiter of the district visited had to be called on so that any questions arising could be discussed with him.

Q. Did you take part in meetings of the Central Planning Board?

A. I went to one single meeting of the Central Planning Board with the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour.

[Page 249]

Q. Witness, .you have just mentioned March, 1945, as the date when the Eastern workers were given equality with the rest of the workers. Are you not mistaken? Was it not 1944? I will show you the decree.

A. As far as I remember, it was March, 1945.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I will have it shown to the witness in a moment; we are looking for it.


Q. What was the relationship between Speer and Sauckel?

A. Apparently the appointment of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour was made in accordance with a suggestion which Minister Speer had made to the Fuehrer.

DR. SERVATIUS: I refer to Document 58, in Document Book 2, Page 167 of the German text, and Page 156 of the English text. That is the decree concerning the conditions of employment of Eastern workers, of 25th March, 1944, and I read paragraph 2:

"Remuneration for work.

The same wage and salary conditions apply for Eastern workers as for other foreign workers. Eastern workers are paid wages only for work they actually do."

THE PRESIDENT: How did the wages compare with the wages of the German workers?

THE WITNESS: It was a fundamental rule that they must be based on the German wages for the same type of work, in order to avoid additional profits for the industries which used Eastern workers.


Q. Do you remember a conference at which Goebbels stated his opinions to Sauckel as regards the labour policy in respect of social questions and questions of wages.

A. Yes.

Q. Can you describe it to us?

A. I myself did not take part in that conference. I only knew about it from the description given by my colleague, Dr. Hildebrandt, who was present at the meeting with Gauleiter Sauckel.

It was the first discussion between the two gentlemen after Reich Minister Goebbels had become Reich Plenipotentiary for the total war effort. At this conference, Minister Speer was also present, and in the course of the conference Minister Dr. Goebbels reproached the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour with the fact that his previous measures -

THE PRESIDENT: He is now telling us, is he not, what Hildebrandt told him?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, Hildebrandt has been in the witness box and he has not been asked about it.

DR. SERVATIUS: There has been confusion of the two witnesses. They arrived only a short time ago. I ask permission for this witness to say what Hildebrandt told him. It can be explained by the fact that the witness was only here for a very short time.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, the Tribunal does not think that you ought to be allowed to ask him that question.


Q. Were there any difficulties with Speer?

A. Not at the beginning. In the course of years, difficulties arose because of the fundamentally different ideas of the two men.

[Page 250]

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): We have had the relationships between Sauckel and Speer gone into elaborately.

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes. I will withdraw that question.


Q. What did the offices have to do with the assignment of concentration camp prisoners? Did they deal with them?

A. No.

Q. Did you not receive reports about the fact that manpower disappeared from other industries, and in this way there had to be recourse to concentration camp workers?

A. No reports were received about that.

Q. Are you aware that concentration camp workers were assigned in large numbers for work?

A. It was the general practice of the police to put prisoners to work.

Q. You did not receive any reports about that, did you?

A. No. An effort was made to gain influence to the extent of having reports sent to the offices of the labour administration on the employment of concentration camp prisoners so that they could be considered in the general planning of the employment of labour.

But these reports were not received by the labour offices.

Q. Then I have only a few more questions concerning the control offices and other control agencies which had been established in order to investigate conditions among the workers in Germany. Do you know how far foreign workers themselves were included in that control system? I am thinking of the office of Ambassador Scapini. How did this office work? Did you hear anything about it?

A. I know nothing detailed about the office of Scapini; I know of its existence, but to the best of my knowledge, Scapini's office was chiefly occupied with the welfare of French prisoners of war, rather than with the welfare of Italian civilian workers, because for the latter a special office existed under M. Bruneton. But generally the foreign workers were represented in the German Labour Front. So-called Reich liaison offices were set up everywhere from the central office via the Gaue all the way down to the small districts, and from time to time they employed several people who visited the camps, listened to complaints and negotiated with the offices of the German Labour Front or with other offices of the Labour administration.

Those were German employees that you mentioned?

A. No; they were foreign employees from countries abroad, in fact from almost every State.

Q. In the factories themselves, did the workmen have any representatives who had contact as liaison men with the supervisory offices of the German Labour Front?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. For the Eastern workers, there was also a control office. Do you know that office?

A. In Rosenberg's offices there was a special one for that purpose.

Q. How did that office work? Did you hear anything about it?

A. Yes. It had regular contact with the technically competent offices of the labour administration.

Q. And whom had this office to contact if it had complaints? The Labour Front, Sauckel's office, or the Ministry of Labour? To whom did they have to go?

A. That depended on the nature of the irregularities or complaints which were made.

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