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 12 of 12)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his redirect examination of Albert Speer]

[Page 90]

Q. Labour conditions could be improved only through material deliveries, through food deliveries, and so forth.

A. Of course, but in the last analysis the Plenipotentiary for Labour Mobilization was responsible for working conditions. That is obvious from the decree which Goering signed. Naturally, it was also the concern of other authorities to create good working conditions; that is quite clear.

[Page 91]

Q. But, after all, it was not a question of issuing a decree, but of giving practical help.

A. Practical help after air raids was not given by the central agency, that was impossible since transport and telephone connections were generally dislocated; but it was given by the local authorities.

Q. In other words, Sauckel could not do anything?

A. No, not personally, but his local offices under him participated in rendering aid.

Q. But he had to turn to you for any material, since everything was confiscated for armament?

A. As far as building material was concerned, he could get it only from me, and he did in fact receive large amounts of it. I must add that Sauckel did not receive the material himself, but, as far as I recall, generally the German Labour Front received it, since the DAF actually took care of the camps.

Q. Which were the responsible agencies? Were you not the agency which cared for the plants?

A. Not in the sense which you mean. You want me to answer that I was responsible for the working conditions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, the Tribunal thinks that we have been over all this already with the witness.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I think this question has not yet been dealt with. Yesterday internal administration was discussed. A second series of agencies existed for taking care of the factories, namely through the Armament Commission and the Armament Inspection Office, and there was a third possibility open to the witness Speer for making contact with the factories, the Labour Mobilization Engineers. In this connection I wanted to ask him another question.

THE WITNESS: I shall be glad to answer it.


Q. Did not the Labour Mobilization Engineers constitute your only real possibility of improving conditions in the concerns and did you have direct supervision?

A. I must define for you the task of the Labour Mobilization Engineers: it was an engineering task, that is shown in their title.

Q. It was limited to this engineering task?

A. Yes.

DR. SERVATIUS: Then, I have no more questions.

DR. FLAECHSNER (counsel for the defendant Speer): Mr. President, I have only two questions arising out of the cross-examination.



Q. One of the questions is this: Herr Speer, I refer once more to the answer which you gave to Justice Jackson at the end of the cross-examination, and to clarify that answer I would like to ask you this: In assuming a common responsibility, did you want to acknowledge measurable guilt or co-responsibility under the penal law, or did you want to record an historical responsibility before your own people?

A. That question is very difficult to answer; it is actually one which the Tribunal will decide in its verdict. I only wanted to say that even in an authoritarian system the leaders must accept a common, united responsibility, and that it is impossible after the catastrophe to avoid this responsibility. If the war had been won, the leaders would presumably have laid claim to full responsibility. But to what extent that is punishable or immoral, that I cannot decide and it is not for me to decide.

[Page 92]

Q. Thank you. Secondly the American prosecution showed you a number of documents which, for the most part, I believe even entirely, were relative to the conditions of the Krupp labour camps. You said that you yourself had no knowledge of these conditions. Did I understand you correctly?

A. I did not know the details necessary to be able to deal adequately with these documents individually.

DR. FLAECHSNER: I have no more questions, Mr. President. However, I must reserve the right, in connection with these affidavits introduced as evidence against my client - the position is actually not quite clear to me - to decide whether it is necessary to cross-examine the persons who made the affidavits. I regret that, but I may possibly have to do it. I had no previous knowledge that these would be introduced here.

Then, Mr. President, I need just five minutes to finish my documentary evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Dr. Flaechsner, with reference to these affidavits, if you want to cross-examine any witness you must apply in writing to do so, and you must do so promptly. Because there are only two - I think I am correct in saying that there are only two other of the defendants to be examined, and unless the application comes in soon, it will not be possible to find the witnesses or to bring them here in time.

Now, you say you will finish in five minutes?


THE PRESIDENT: I think you may as well finish now, then. However, Dr. Flaechsner, first the Tribunal has one or two questions to put to the defendant.


Q. Defendant, you spoke of not using the Western prisoners in war industry and in the making of munitions, do you remember?

A. Yes.

Q. Were there regulations to that effect?

A. Yes.

Q. There were regulations to that effect?

A. Yes, as far as I know, but my memory may be faulty on this point. I only recall talks with Keitel about employment in individual cases, and these Keitel turned down. Otherwise I had no knowledge.

Q. You never saw any regulation which made that distinction, did you?

A. No.

Q. And with respect to civilians from non-occupied countries, they were used in war industries, I suppose, were they not?

A. Foreign workers were employed without consideration for any agreement.

Q. That is just what I want to know.

Now, you said the concentration camps had a bad reputation, remember? I think those were your words, were they not, "a bad reputation"? Is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you mean by "bad reputation"? What sort of reputation, for what?

A. That is hard to define. It was known in Germany that a stay in a concentration camp was an unpleasant experience. I knew that, but I did not know any details.

Q. Well, even if you did not know any details, is not "unpleasant" putting it a little mildly? Wasn't the reputation that violence and physical punishment were used in the camps? Was not that the reputation that you meant? Is not it fair to say that, really?

A. No, that is going a little too far, on the basis of what we knew. I assumed that there was ill-treatment in individual cases, but I did not assume that it was the rule. I did not know that.

[Page 93]

Q. Did you not know that violence or physical force was used to enforce the regulations if the internees did not obey them?

A. No, I was not aware of that. I must explain that, during the time I was a Minister, strange as it may sound, I became less disturbed about the fate of concentration camp inmates than I had been before I became a Minister, because while I was in office I heard only good and reassuring reports about the concentration camps from official sources. It was said that the food was being improved, and so on and so forth.

Q. Only one other question. I was interested in what you said at the end about all of the leaders being responsible for certain general principles, and certain fateful decisions. Can you particularize? What did you mean? What principles? Did you mean going on with the war, for instance?

A. I think that, for example, the beginning of the war or the continuing of the war were basic decisions which ...

Q. You deem the beginning of the war and the continuing of the war were basic decisions for which all the leaders were responsible?

A. Yes.

MR. BIDDLE: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant can return to the dock.

THE PRESIDENT: You may as well finish tonight, Dr. Flaechsner.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes, gladly.

I should like, supplementing yesterday's evidence, to submit a letter from Speer to Sauckel, of 28th January, 1944, which was quoted here yesterday; it will be Exhibit 31.

Then, another letter from Speer to Sauckel of 11th March, 1944; that will be Exhibit 32.

Then, the executive order for implementing the decree for destruction mentioned by the defendant yesterday, which the Tribunal will find on Page 81 of the English Document Book; I submit it as Exhibit 33.

Then, as Exhibit 34, I should like to submit a letter from Hitler to Speer, dated 21st April, 1944.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you give us the date of Exhibit 33? You said Page 81. Did you mean Page 81 of the original which is 85 in the English?

DR. FLAECHSNER: No, in the English text, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of the document?

DR. FLAECHSNER: It is an execution order for the Fuehrer decree of 19th March, 1945,

THE PRESIDENT: That does not seem to be right, because Page 81 of our copy is the end of -

MR. BIDDLE: It is on Page 80.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the decree of 22nd March, 1945? Is that the thing you mean?


THE PRESIDENT: Then it is on Page 80.

DR. FLAECHSNER: It is the execution order for the Fuehrer decree of the 19th of March ....


DR. FLAECHSNER: The next document, Mr. President, is on Page 55 of the English text and Page 52 of the original, the same as the French text. It is the letter from Hitler to Speer, already mentioned, dealing with the instructions given to Dorsch for the construction of fighter planes. That is Exhibit 34.

[Page 94]

I have to submit Exhibit 35 later.

As Exhibit 36 I submit the interrogatory of Kehrl. It is signed by the witness, Hans Kehrl, and the signature is certified by an officer of the internment camp; the signature of a representative of the prosecution and my own signature are also on it.

THE PRESIDENT: What page is that - 36?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Exhibit 37 is the -

THE PRESIDENT: No. 36. We want the page of it.

DR. FLAECHSNER: 36 is on Page 105 in the original.

On Page 113 of the document book, Mr. President, is an excerpt from the interrogation of the witness Schieber, which I submit as Exhibit 37. It is submitted in German and English. The record is certified by a member of the prosecution and by me.

In the second book, on Page 127, the Tribunal will find the interrogation of the witness Schmelter, which I submit as Exhibit 38. It is certified in the same way. On Page 136 of Document Book 21 submit the testimony of the witness Hupfauer, who was also mentioned here today. That will be Exhibit 39.

On Page 142 of Document Book 2 the Tribunal will find the interrogation of the witness Sauer. I submit this as Exhibit 40, again in English and German. The English record is certified by a member of the prosecution and by me.

On Page 148 of my second document book the Tribunal will find the record of the examination of Frank, carried out in Ludwigsburg by the prosecution and by me. The record is certified by the prosecution and by me.

THE PRESIDENT: That was 41, was it not?

DR. FLAECHSNER: That was 41, Mr. President.

On Page 153 of the document book is the record of the examination of Roland, which will be Exhibit 42. This also is in English and in German, and is certified in the usual way.

On Page 165 of the document book is the record of the examination of the witness Kempf, carried out on 3rd May at Kransberg by the prosecution and by me. It is certified in the usual way, and will be Exhibit 43.

THE PRESIDENT: How many more have you got?

DR. FLAECHSNER: There are two more.

On Page 176 of the document book is the interrogatory of Guderian, who was questioned at Hersbruck. The record is in English and German, and the English is certified by me and the prosecution. That is Exhibit 44.

On Page 181 of the document book - this will be Exhibit 45 - the Tribunal will find the testimony of the witness Stahl, also in English and German, the English being certified by the prosecution and by me.

Finally, on Page 186 of the document book there is the interrogatory of Karl Brandt, which is certified by the camp authorities. It is in English and German, and will be Exhibit 46.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that all?

DR. FLAECHSNER: That is all.

Mr. President, yesterday the defendant referred to excerpts of the Fuehrer conference of 3rd to 5th January. This document has not yet been translated, and with your permission, I shall submit it later. The prosecution has already seen it and has no objection.

Those are the documents I wanted to submit. I believe that the Tribunal does not wish to hear comments on the documents in the document book, especially as the documents have already been presented by the Soviet prosecution in great detail. That concludes my case for the defendant Speer.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 22nd June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

[Page ]

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