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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd July to 15th July 1946

One Hundred and Seventieth Day: Wednesday, 3rd July, 1946
(Part 8 of 10)

[Page 67]


The Fuehrer's Deputy, the Chief of the Reich Chancellery Dr. Lammers, Ministerprasident General Field-Marshal Goering's staff, Secretary of State Korner, Secretary of State Neumann, Councillor Bergbohm, and several others.

General Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration: Reichsminister Frick, Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, Uniformed Police Daluege; General Plenipotentiary for the Economy: Reichsminister Funk; the Reichsminister of Finance, Krosigk; Minister of Transport; General Inspector of German Roads, Dr. Todt; Supreme Command of the Armed Forces; Generaloberst Keitel, Warlimont; and Generalmajor Thomas.

Representing Supreme Command of the Army, General of Artillery Halder; Supreme Command of the Navy, Grossadmiral Raeder; Reich Minister for Airforce; Milch and Bodenshatz, both of whom were witnesses here.

The minutes of the meeting:

"Ministerprasident General Field-Marshal Goering, emphasized, in a preamble, that, according to the Fuehrer's wishes, the Reich Defence Council was the determining body in the Reich for all questions of preparation for war. It is to discuss only the most important questions of Reich Defence. They will be worked out by the Reich Defence Committee.

[Page 68]

Meetings of the Reich Defence Council are to be convened only for these decisions which are unavoidable. It is urged that the Departmental Chiefs themselves be present.


I. The President announced the following directives to govern the distribution and employment of the population in war time.

The total strength of the armed forces is determined by the Fuehrer. It includes only half the number of those fit and liable for military service. Nevertheless, their disposition will involve difficulties for economy, the administration and the whole of the civil sphere.

When a schedule of manpower is made out, the basis on which the question is to be judged is how the remaining number, after those required for the armed forces have been withdrawn, can be most suitably employed.

Of equal importance to the requirements of the armed forces are those of the armament industry. It, above all, must be organized in peace time, materially and as regards personnel, in such a way that its production does not decrease but increases immediately with the outbreak of war.

The direction of labour to the vital war armament industry and to other civilian requirements is the main task of the General Plenipotentiary for Economy.

War armament covers not only the works producing war materials, but also those producing synthetic rubber (Buna), armament production tools, hydrogenating works, coal mining, etc.

As a rule, no essential and irreplaceable workers may be taken away from vitally essential factories, on whose production depends the course of the war, unless they can be replaced.

Coal mining is the most urgent work: Every worker who is essential to coal mining is 'indispensable'.

Note: Coal mining has even now become the key point of the whole armament industry, of communications and of export. If the necessary labour is not made available for it now, the most important part of the export trade, the export of coal, will cease. The purchase of coal in Poland will stop. The correct distribution of labour is determinative. In order to be able to man these key points with the right people, severe demands will shortly be submitted to the Fuehrer which, even in the current mobilization year, will under certain circumstances lead to an exceptional direction of the war, namely to the immobilisation of lorries and to the closing down of unessential factories owing to lack of coal.

In addition, there is the supplying of Italy and other countries such as Scandinavia with coal (to maintain the German supplies of iron)."

I shall omit certain parts of the document which do not seem particularly important to our argument and pass to Item 2, Page 9 of the English translation:
"A second category of workers liable for military service will be called up during the war after their replacements have been trained. A decisive role is played by the extensive preliminary training and retraining of workers.

Preparations must be made for replacing the mass of other workers liable for military service, even by drawing on an increased number of women. There are also disabled servicemen.

Compulsory work for women in war time is of decisive importance. It is important to proceed to a great extent with the training of women in war-essential work, as replacements and to augment the number of male workers.

In order to avoid confusion when mobilization takes place, persons working in war-essential branches, that is administration, communications, police, food, will not at first be removed. It is essential to establish the degrees of urgency and the standard of value.

[Page 69]

In the interests of the auxiliary civilian service, provided by every European nation to gain and maintain the lead in the decisive initial weeks of a war, efforts must be made to ensure by a trustworthy organization that every German in war time not only possesses his mobilization orders but has also been thoroughly prepared for his war-time activity. The workshops must be adapted to receive the replacements and additional workers."
I shall pass to the bottom of Page 10, Item 6:
"The General Plenipotentiary for Economy is given the task of settling what work is to be given to prisoners of war, to those in prison, concentration camps and penitentiaries.

According to a statement by the Reichsfuehrer SS, greater use will be made of the concentration camps in war time. The 20,000 inmates will be employed mainly in workshops inside the concentration camps.

Secretary of State Reich Minister of Labour Dr. Syrup made a report on the employment of labour in the event of mobilization and the schedule of manpower for the war."

This seems a little detailed, but it is, I think, very important, showing the totality of the mobilization planned months before the war started, and indicating, as we shall argue, preparations for a war more extensive than a conflict with Poland.
"The figures for the schedule of manpower drawn up experimentally could only be of a preparatory character and merely give certain guiding principles. The basis of a population of 79 million was taken. Of these, 56.5 million are between the ages of 14 and 65. It is also possible to draw upon men over the age of 65 and upon minors of between 13 and 14. Defectives and the infirm must be deducted from the 56.5 million. Most prisoners are already employed in industry. The greatest deduction is that of 11 million mothers with children under 14. After these deductions have been made, there remains an employable population of 43.5 million: 26 1/2 million men - after deducting 7 million members of the armed forces, 19 1/2 million. 17.3 million women - after deducting 250,000 nurses, 17.1 for the whole of Germany's economic and civil life. The President does not consider women over the age of 60 as employable.

The number of workers engaged in industry (two-thirds of those gainfully employed) distributed over 20 large branches of industry amounts roughly to the following: 24 million men (excluding 2 million servicemen), 14 million women.

No information was then available regarding the number which the armed forces will take from the individual branches of industry. Therefore an estimate was made of the numbers remaining in the individual branches of industry after 5 million servicemen had been called up.

The President's demand, that the exact number liable to be drawn upon be established, is being complied with. These inquiries are not secret apart from figures given and formations."

I shall miss the next paragraph, 10, as of no importance.
"Apart from the 13 .8 million women at present employed a further 3 .5 million unemployed women, who are included on the card-index of the population, can be employed.

12. Two million women would have to be re-directed: that is, a transfer can be made to agriculture and to the metal and chemical industry, from the textile, clothing and ceramic industries, from small trading, insurance and banking businesses and from the number of women in domestic service.

13. The lack of workers in agriculture, from which about 25 per cent of the physically fit male workers will be withdrawn, must be made up by women (2 in the place of 1 man) and prisoners of war. No foreign workers can be counted on. The armed forces are requested to release to a great extent

[Page 70]

works managers and specialist workers such as milkers, tractor drivers. 35 per cent are still liable for call- up.

14. The President emphasized that factory managers, police and the armed forces must make preparations for the employment of prisoners of war.

In the agricultural sphere, preparations must also be made to relieve individual employment through help from neighbouring farms, systematic use of all machines and making a store of spare parts available.

15. The President announced that, in the war, hundreds of thousands of workers from non-war-economy concerns in the Protectorate are to be employed under supervision in Germany, particularly in agriculture, and housed together in hutments. General Field-Marshal Goering will obtain a decision from the Fuehrer on this matter."

I shall omit 16.

If I may say so as I offer this, the detail is significant as showing the extent of preparation already accomplished at the time, in June of 1939.

"17. The result of the procedure of establishing indispensable and available workers is at present as follows: Of 1,172,000 applications for indispensability, 727,000 have been approved and 233,000 rejected."
I shall pass to "c" near the bottom of the page:
"The orders to supplementary personnel to report for duty are ready and tied up in bundles at the Labour Offices."
The meeting proceeds to consider production premiums in connection with wages and I pass to 21, a detail which I offer as indicating that a long war was ill anticipation.
"When labour is being regrouped, it is important, arid with specialist workers essential, that the workers are retrained for their work in the new factory, in order to avoid setbacks in the initial months of the war. After a few months have passed, it must be possible to replace most of the specialist workers."
I pass to the point "V".
"The General Plenipotentiary for Economy, Reich Minister of Economy Funk, stated his opinion of the consequences of the schedule of manpower, from the viewpoint of the carrying on of industry.

a. In accordance with the verbal agreements made with the OKW, the regulations regarding indispensable personnel have been laid down, and the certificates of indispensability issued."

I shall pass to point No. 25 on Page 15:
"In reply to the request by the speaker, that when withdrawing workers for the naval dockyards, more consideration should be shown for the important sections of industry, particularly export and newspaper concerns, the President pointed out the necessity of carrying out the naval building programmed as ordered by the Fuehrer in its entirety."
I pass to the large heading VI.
"The General Plenipotentiary for Administration, Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Frick, dealt with the saving of labour in the public administration.

'The task is primarily a problem of organization. A scan be seen from the surveys showing how the authorities, economic and social services are organized, which were submitted to those attending the conference, there are approximately 50 different kinds of officials in the District Administration, each quite independent of the other - an impossible state of affairs. Formerly there were in the State two main divisions, the State Civil Service and the Wehrmacht. After the seizure of power, the Party and the permanent organizations were added to these, with all their machinery from top to bottom. In this way the number of public posts and officials was increased many times over. This makes public service more difficult.

[Page 71]

Since the war, tasks have increased enormously.' (The context make it clear that that is the preceding war.) 'The organising of total war naturally requires much more labour, even in the public administration, than in 1914. But it is an impossibility that this system should have increased its numbers twenty to forty-fold, in the lowest grade alone. For this reason, the Reich Ministry of the Interior is striving for co-ordination of administration.'"
A small conference - small commission was created. I offer point No. 29, in connection with Goering's testimony that the Council ceased to function. "Instead of further discussions before the whole assembly, the forming of a small commission was recommended, which will make definite proposals. Extensive preparatory work has been undertaken." And a note by the committee that the committee had been functioning.

Point 30. "The President requested that the commission's proposals be submitted. It was an important section for the preparation for war."

I shall pass to the large sub-division "C" which relates to increasing the efficiency of the communications service, starting with the receipt of a report from the Army General Staff.

"The result of the examination of the work necessary for strategic concentration a year and a half ago showed that the transport service could not meet all the demands made on it by the armed forces. The Minister of Transport agreed. The 1938 section of the Four-Year programme will presumably be completed in August, 1939.

Shortly after this programme was drawn up, demands were made on the Wehrmacht, which completely changed the usual employment of the Wehrmacht at the beginning of a war. Troops had to be brought to the frontier, in the shortest possible time, in numbers which had until then been completely unforeseen. The Wehrmacht was able to fulfil these demands by means of organisational measures but transport could not.

In the transportation sphere Germany is at the moment not ready for war."

I offer the detail which follows, in contradiction of the statements repeatedly made by a number of witnesses that the movements of the Wehrmacht in the Rhineland, the Anschluss and all the rest of it, even occupation of Czechoslovakia, were surprise movements.
"In the case of the three operations in 1938-1939 there was no question of an actual strategic concentration. The troops were transported a long time beforehand near to the area of strategic concentration by means of camouflaged measures. This stop-gap is of no use whatever when the time limit cannot be laid down and known a long time beforehand, but an unexpected and almost immediate military decision is required instead. According to the present situation, transport is not in a position, despite all preparations, to bring up the troops."
"a" is unimportant for my purposes, "a" on Page 18.

"b" and "c" represent steps to be taken to meet the deficiency.

On Page 19, I shall not bother to read the statements under No. 38, showing the preparation of highways from east to west and from north to south.

I read No. 39, if I may: "The President remarked that even in peace time certain vital supply stores of industry and the armed forces are to be transferred to the war industrial centres to economise in transport later on."

I shall pass to point No. 41 on Page 20: "To sum up, the President affirmed that all essential points had been cleared up at this meeting."

The American branch of the prosecution has some additional documents which Mr. Dodd will submit, if it is agreeable to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: We well adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

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