The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Sixtieth Day: Friday, 21st June, 1946
(Part 9 of 12)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of Albert Speer]

[Page 78]

Q. You had better listen to my questions and then answer them. I repeat you were collaborating with Hess, and you worked with Ley in the Labour Front. You were one of the leaders of the Nazi Party. We will not discuss whether it was a very high rank or not, but you did have a rank in the Nazi Party.

Yesterday, in Court, you said that you were one of Hitler's close friends. You now want to say that so far as the plans and intentions of Hitler were concerned, you only learned about them from the book Mein Kampf?

A. I can give you an explanation of this. I was in close contact with Hitler, and I heard his personal views; these views of his did not lead one to the conclusion that he had any plans of the sort which have been revealed in the documents here, and I was particularly relieved in 1939 when the non-aggression pact with Russia was signed. After all, your diplomats too must have read Mein Kampf; nevertheless, they signed the non-aggression pact. And they were certainly more intelligent than I am - I mean in political matters.

Q. I do not think we should now examine who read Mein Kampf and who did not; that is irrelevant.

So you contend that you did not know anything about Hitler's plans?

A. Yes.

Q. All right, please tell us this. As chief of the Main Office of Technology of the Nazi Party, what were your tasks?

[Page 79]

A. In the Party?

Q. You probably know it better than I, since you were the head of that office.

A. I only took over that task or that office in 1942; and in 1942, during the war, this Main Office of Technology of the NSDAP had no task to perform. I took the officials who were in that department into my ministry, and there they worked as State functionaries. Detailed information on this is available in the written testimony of the witness Sauer, and that is contained in my document book.

Q. What is contained in the testimony of the witness Sauer?

A. The document book also contains a decree which I issued at the end of 1942, and in which I ordered the transfer of these tasks to the State.

Q. But you did not answer my question. In order to clarify this, I will read what Sauer said on this point, and you will please state whether it is correct or not.

On the tasks of the Main Office of Technology of the Party, Sauer said:

"The task of the Main Office of Technology of the Party was the unified direction of technical organizations of German engineers in scientific, professional and political fields."
It was a political organization, was it not?

A. No, it was chiefly a technical organization.

Q. A technical organization which occupied itself with political questions.

In the document book which has been presented and partly quoted by your defence counsel, there are indications of the tasks of the Main Office of Technology. From one document it is obvious that the engineers were to be taught the National Socialist ideology, and that this organization was also a political one, and not only a technical one.

A. Where does it say so? May I have the document?

Q. Of course, the document book of the defence. I shall hand it to you, if you want to have it. You will see there the structure of the Kreis leadership.

A. The translation said it was from my document book, but it is not from my document book. It is from the organisational handbook of the NSDAP, and -

Q. That is the structure of the Kreis leadership of the NSDAP. That is Document 1893-PS, which has been presented by your defence counsel.

A. Yes, but in my document book it says that the Main Office of Technology in the NSDAP did not have a political task. This is an extract from the organisational handbook of the NSDAP, and I would not have included it in my document book if I had not had the precise impression that it demonstrates particularly well that, in contrast to all other agencies, the Main Office of Technology had a non-political task within the Party.

Q. Was the National Socialist Union of German Technicians a political organization?

A. By no means.

Q. By no means? Tell me, please, did not the leaders of this union have to be members of the Nazi Party?

A. They did not have to be members, as far as I know. I never paid any attention to whether they were members or not.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now?

(A recess was taken.)


Q. You were one of the leaders of the Central Planning Board. Was the search for new sources of raw materials part of your programme?

A. I do not understand the meaning of the question?

Q. Was the search for new sources of raw materials part of the programme of the Central Planning Board?

A. No, not actually.

[Page 80]

Q. All right. I shall read to you from your document book. Will you listen, please? Otherwise, we shall lose too much time with you. This is the order dated 22nd April, 1942, signed by Goering; it is in your document book in the first volume, Page 14 of the Russian text and Page 17 of the English text. It states:
"With a view to assuring priority of armaments as ordered by the Fuehrer, and to embrace all the demands which are thereby made on the total economy during the war, and in order to bring about an adjustment between a secure food supply and the raw material and manufacturing facilities in the economy, I order:
In connection with the Four-Year Plan a Central Planning Board shall be organized."
Farther on it mentions who the members of the Central Planning Board were. In the third part the tasks of the Central Planning Board are enumerated. I shall read that into the record:
"Point C: The distribution of existing raw materials, especially iron and metals, among the places requiring them.

Point B: The decision as to the creation of new plants for production of raw material or enlargement of the plants existing."

This is written in your document book.

A. Well, there is a difference. I was told "sources of raw materials"; I understand "sources of raw materials" to mean ore, for example, or coal beds. What this paragraph says is the "creation of new means of producing raw materials"; that means the building of a factory for steel production, for instance, or an aluminium factory.

I myself said that an expanding supply of raw materials for industry was important, and that I took over this task.

Q. Yes. Of course, it is rather difficult to deny it, since it is written here in the document.

A. No. These are technical expressions, and it may be that since they were retranslated into German, they were rendered inaccurately. The meaning of the paragraph is actually quite clear, and every expert can confirm it. It is the same activity -

Q. I understand the sense. Tell us, when you enumerated the members of the Central Planning Board, was it just accidental that you did not name Funk as a member of that board?

A. No. Actually Funk worked hardly at all on the Planning Board, and therefore I did not list him. He became a member officially only in September, 1943, but even after that time he took part in only one or two meetings, so that his activity was very slight.

Q. I did not ask you about his activity; I am asking you whether Funk was a member of the Central Planning Board.

A. Yes, from September, 1943.

Q. And it was purely through accident that you did not name him? Or did you have any particular purpose in not naming him?

A. I actually named only the three members who were on the Central Planning Board from the very beginning, since its foundation, because I was speaking only of the foundation of the Board. That explains the error. I did not want to occupy the Tribunal's time with something which was generally known.

Q. All right. You have maintained here that you were concerned only with peaceful construction, and that, as far as the appointment to the post of Minister of Armaments was concerned, you accepted it without any particular desire, and you even had your qualms about it. Do you still maintain the same view?

A. May I have the question repeated?

Q. If you please. You stated here several times, in replying to the questions of your defence counsel, that you accepted the post of Minister of Armaments

[Page 81]

without any special desire for it, and that you had your qualms about it; and you did not particularly care to accept it. Do you still maintain that now?

A. Yes.

Q. I shall remind you of what you said to the representatives of industry in the Rheno-Westphalian district. Do you remember what you said to them? I shall quote one paragraph from your speech. You said:

"In the spring of 1942, without hesitation I accepted the demands propounded by Hitler as a programme which must be fulfilled, which I am fulfilling now, and which will be fulfilled."
Did you say that?

A. Yes. But this has nothing to do with your statement. The demands which are meant here are demands for an increase in military armaments. Those are the demands I accepted. But, in addition, it was a matter of course that I immediately accepted the appointment as Armament Minister without any qualms. I have never denied that. I only said that I would rather be an architect than an armament minister, which has probably been misunderstood.

Q. And now we shall listen to what you said to the Gauleiter in your speech in Munich:

"I gave up all my peace-time activities, including my actual profession (architecture), to dedicate myself without reservations to the war task. The Fuehrer expects that of all of us."
Is this the sort of thing which you are saying now?

A. Yes, I believe that was the attitude in your country, too.

Q. I am not asking you about our country. We are now talking about your country. I am asking you whether you now affirm before the Tribunal what you then said to the Gauleiter.

A. Yes. I only wanted to explain this to you, because apparently you do not appreciate why in time of war one should accept the post of Armament Minister. If the need arises, that is a matter of course, and I cannot understand why you do not appreciate that and why you want to reproach me for it.

Q. I understand you perfectly.

A. Good.

Q. When you made your speech before the Gauleiter, you did not, of course, think that you would be held responsible before the International Military Tribunal for the words which you then spoke.

A. Excuse me; one moment, please. I want to say something else in answer to your question. That this is my view, and that I think it quite proper, is evident from the fact that you quoted it from my document book, otherwise I would not have included it in my own document book. I hope you consider me sufficiently intelligent to be capable of making up my document book correctly.

Q. Quite so, quite so. But these documents are not only in your possession, they are also in the possession of the prosecution. However, we shall pass on to the next question.

In response to the questions of your defence counsel, you testified about the principles and tasks of your ministry. In connection with this, I should like to ask you a few questions. Do you remember the contents of your article entitled "Increase of Production," which was published in Das Reich on 19th April; 1942?

You will be given a copy of this article in a second.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I submit this article as Exhibit USSR 479.


Q. I shall remind you briefly of what you wrote about the principles of your ministry.

[Page 82]

"One thing, however, will be necessary, and that is energetic action, including the most severe punishment, in cases of offences committed against the interests of the State ... severe prison sentences or death ... The war must be won."
Did you write this?

Now, I shall remind you of another article of yours. You will be given a copy of it.

A. Just a moment. May I ask you to read the whole paragraph? You left out a few sentences in the middle.

Q. Yes, yes, I omitted something, but I shall ask you some questions on that later.

A. But it shows for what offences prison and death sentences were provided. That is surely relevant. I believe you should quote the passage fully, otherwise a wrong impression is given.

Q. You will give your comments or explanations to the questions afterwards. But meanwhile listen to the questions as I put them to you. If you want to give your explanation with regard to this, you are entitled to do so later.

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, General Raginsky, the Tribunal would prefer to have the comments now.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, if the defendant wishes to give an explanation with regard to this article, I shall let him do so, of course.

THE WITNESS: The text which you omitted reads as follows:

"At my suggestion, the Fuehrer ordered that those heads of concerns and employees, and also those officials and officers who attempt to secure material or labour by giving inaccurate information will receive severe prison sentences or the death sentence."
The reasons for this were as follows: When I took over my office, the demands addressed to the central department were increased by the intermediate departments handling the demands. Each of the many intermediate departments added something of its own, so that the demands reaching me were quite enormous and incredible, and made planning quite impossible.

For example, on account of these additions, the demands which I received for copper in one year amounted to more than the whole world's yearly production of copper. And in order to prevent this and obtain accurate indications, I issued an order to deter these officials, officers, heads of concerns, and employees from giving false figures.

In my Gauleiter speech I spoke of this, and I said the result of this decree would surely be that no one would any longer dare to forward false information and demands to higher offices, and that was the purpose of the decree; I said that it would never be necessary to put the decree into effect, since I did not believe that the heads of concerns, employees, officials and officers would, in view of such a severe penalty, have enough boldness to continue supplying such false statements.

In fact, no penalty was ever imposed, but the result of the decree was that demands for materials and workers reaching me decreased considerably.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.