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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninety-First Day: Wednesday, 31st July, 1946
(Part 7 of 11)

[Page 132]

DR. SERVATIUS: With the permission of the Tribunal, I will call the last witness, Hupfauer. He is for the technical offices, especially the German Labour Front.

(The witness Hupfauer steps into the box.)

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?

WITNESS: Dr. Theo Hupfauer.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will tell the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

DIRECT EXAMINATION of the witness Dr. Theo Hupfauer

BY DR. SERVATIUS (for the Corps of the Political Leaders):

Q. Witness, when were you born.

A. On 17th July, 1906.

Q. You were, for eight years, from 1936 to 1944, a political leader in the supreme office of the DAF, the German Labour Front, in the Central Bureau with Dr. Ley, and after that, up to 1945 you were the liaison official between the Armament Ministry of Minister Speer and the German Labour Front, is that correct?

[Page 133]

A. I was -

Q. Witness, you must wait for the answer until the interpreter has translated the question.

A. Up to 1914 [sic] I wasoffice Chief (Amtsleiter) in the central office of the German Labour Front.

Q. And as such a political leader?

A. As such a political leader. After my appointment I was from 1942 liaison official of the German Labour Front to the Armament Ministry and from the endof 1944 I was Chief of the Central Bureau in the Armament Ministry.

Q. Was the German Labour Front an organization affiliated to the Party, wifist the political direction originated from the Party itself?

A. The German Labour Front was an organization with organizational,, financial and personnel independence. It was affiliated to the Party. The tasks of the political direction were, however, matters for the Party itself.

Q. Did the leaders of the DAF, who were political leaders, have political tasks and were they political leaders for that reason?

A. The leaders of the DAF had purely social-political tasks. These leaders of the DAF were political leaders who were appointed as such.

Q. The German Labour Front was represented in the Gau, Kreis, and local districts by so-called Obmaenner. Were these Obmaenner political leaders with the Party staffs?

A. These Obmaenner were political leaders only in so far as they were appointed as such.

Q. Were there, in the German Labour Front, political leaders who were not active in the Party staff?

A. In the Party staff only the local Obmaenner were active. All other functionaries of the DAF who were political leaders had no office in the Party.

Q. Was the number of these who had no office very great, but were nevertheless political leaders in the DAF?

A. The majority of the functionaries who were political leaders held no office in the Party.

Q. Can you estimate approximately how many people there were?

A. I cannot give a figure nor can I give a percentage, but in the offices of which I was in charge it was by far the majority.

Q. What was the occupation and duty of these political leaders who were not on the staff?

A. The political leaders who were not on the Party staff had the same duties as those who were on the Party staff, consequently social-political and technical tasks.

Q. All persons holding office in the DAF, the functionaries, were called Amtswalter, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Were all these Amtswalter appointed at the same time as political leaders?

A. No, only part of the Amtswalter were appointed. For example, it could happen and it did happen that if there were two functionaries who directed equally important offices, one was a political leader and the other was not. It also happened that the superior did not have the rank of political leader, but his colleague, his subordinate, was a political leader.

Q. What was the purpose of appointing political leaders. Did such officials receive special political tasks and special rights?

A. Special tasks and special rights were not connected with the appointment as political leader.

Q. What was then the sense of appointing them as such?

A. That was essentially for representational purposes and, in effect, it was connected with the authority-of the Party abroad, the economy and the State, but was not conne&ed with the office, as such.

[Page 134]

Q. What were the duties of the political leaders as Obmaenner in the Party staffs?

A. The Obmaenner who were political leaders in the Party staff had to advise the Hoheitstraeger, with regard to their own specialized branch.

Q. What was the numerical relationship of the political leaders of the DAF to the total number of all political leaders. Did they constitute a considerable part?

A. The DAF was a membership organization consisting of about 20,000,000 persons. The organization therefore extended to the local districts and to the factories. Thus it had a large number of functionaries, and therefore a large number of these functionaries were political leaders. This explains the fact that the majority of all the political leaders most certainly belonged to the DAF.

Q. The DAF was a so-called affiliated formation. Are you in a position to testify on the position of the political leaders in any other professional or technical organizations?

A. As an Amtsleiter of the DAF, I was, of course, in contact with the functionaries of other organizations. I can, therefore, give information on these organizations not in detail but in principle.

Q. Was the position of the political leaders in these professional and technical organizations and in the social organizations regulated in the same way as in the DAF?

A. It was essentially organized in the same way; that is, the local leaders of these formations were also bound up in the Party. They had no duties of political leadership, but as leaders of organizations they had to look after the interests of their members.

Q. Within this specialized formation, were there also political leaders who were not active in the Party agencies, for example, in the NSV?

A. There also were political leaders who were not on the Party staff.

Q. Can you give us the most important of these specialized formations, professional organizations, and the corresponding offices in the Gau, Kreis and Ortsgruppenleitung?

A. I can recall the following formations and their corresponding offices: The NSV was the office for People's Welfare; the Teachers' League was the office for education; the Civil Servants' League was the office for civil service problems; the German Technicians' League was the office for technology; the Lawyers' League was the legal office.

Q. Are these offices which you havp added in each case established in the Party offices in the Party Staff?

A. These offices are established in the Party Staff and were generally directed by the local leader of the organization of the affiliated organization.

Q. What were the tasks of these political leaders?

A. The tasks of these political leaders were also specialized tasks and not political leadership tasks. It was their duty to look after the interests of their members.

Q. What was the numerical relationship of these political leaders of the specialized groups, those who sat on the Party Staff as heads of these offices, including those who were in the associations? Was that also a great number?

A. The number depended mainly on the size of the organization.

Q. What was probably the largest of those mentioned?

A. Of the organizations which I mentioned, apart from the DAF the NSY was the largest.

Q. Did the German Labour Front destroy the trade unions in 1933?

A. The German Labour Front did not really exist on 2nd May, 1933. There were functionaries of the National Socialist Factory Groups (Betriebszellen), called NSBO, which did not destroy the unions at that time but took over the leadership of the unions and continued their work.

[Page 135]

Q. What was the purpose of this measure, was it possibly to break the resistance of the workers against the Party and thus to remove the internal opposition against the policy of a war of aggression?

A. In May, 1933, the first visible effects for the German worker were already felt by the elimination of unemployed millions. The situation was that the German workers were again sure of getting work and bread. Therefore, there can be no question of any resistance of these workers against the Party. The foundation of the DAF served the following purposes: In the first place, in order to carry out economic reconstruction without interference, and to regulate the labour market, it was necessary to avoid any trouble through labour struggles which might interfere with social economy, such as strikes and lockouts. It was, therefore, necessary to find an equitable balance between the interests of employees and employers. This was best done in a joint organization of employers and employees.

Q. Then the employers' organizations were also dissolved at that time?

A. The employers' organizations were also dissolved, with the view of creating a joint organization which would eliminate class struggle, thereby securing the essential prerequisites for the establishment of a really socialistic order.

Q. Were not the unions taken over by force with the help of the SA, SS and police, and were not the union leaders arrested?

A. On 2nd May, the trade union houses were in reality occupied by the police, or through measures by the auxiliary police in which SA and SS men and Stahlhelm men participated. For a short time, too, the union leaders were arrested. This measure served the purpose, at this moment, of preventing misuse of the available union funds so that the work in these organizations could be carried on.

Q. Did the National Socialist Factory organization (NSBO) then claim for itself the funds which had been taken over, and what did it do with them?

A. These union funds were not claimed for the use of the NSBO as this organization financed itself from the dues of its members. The funds of the unions were used in order to carry on the social work, and furthermore they were used to guarantee the long-standing legal claims of the union members; that is to continue paying invalids, sick, death benefits, and so forth to these union members.

Q. Did the unions have large funds available at that time?

A. 1933 was the end of the economic crisis which began in 1930. This economic crisis, of course, also had a detrimental effect on the unions. It is certain that, owing to millions becoming unemployed, the union membership was constantly decreasing and old members of these unions were becoming unernpIoyed in greater numbers so that a great Percentage of them could no longer pay their dues; also, a still greater percentage of them had to draw upon the union funds, thus depleting these funds.

Q. Did not Dr. Ley himself admit that he used the union funds illegally, and had the Fuehrer not given legal sanction to the confiscation of the funds would not he have stood in danger of being imprisoned?

A. If I recall correctly, Dr. Ley made this statement at a Party rally here in Nuremberg, in a report on the achievement of the German Labour Front. He wanted thereby to emphasize that he was interested in having this confiscation of the funds sanctioned legally, a confiscation which had been carried out through political action. In the same speech he speaks of the recorded achievements of the German Labour Front and points out that these funds were used in the interest of the German workers.

Q. Was not the purpose of the creation of the German Labour Front that of securing an instrument to fight against the will to peace of the workers?

A. The German Labour Front -

[Page 136]

THE PRESIDENT Is not this all contained in the summary?

DR. SERVATIUS: I did not see this summary; I do not know it.

THE PRESIDENT Well, it extends over six or seven pages.

DR. SERVATIUS: I did not see it.

THE PRESIDENT: No, but at any rate, is it not all gone into in the evidence the witness gave before the Commission?

DR. SERVATIUS: It is unavoidable that certain things have to be brought up here once more. I have endeavoured to summarize them, to give an overall picture. I have finished the problem of the unions and I come to the subject of the care for foreign workers.


Q. Witness, did not the workers suffer disadvantages through the DAF did they not protest against the change?

A. In answer to one of the previous questions I explained that the German Labour Front worked in the interest of its members and of German workers as a whole.

Q. That will suffice. Did the DAF receive instructions for the preparation of a war of aggression?

THE WITNESS: I did not hear the question.

Q. Do you know of any instructions to the DAF which refer to a war of aggression?

A. I do not know of any written or oral announcement which brought the war of aggression to the notice of the DAF in any respect.

Q. Was the German Labour Front entrusted with care of foreign workers during the war?

A. The German Labour Front, as far as I can recall, voluntarily took over the care of foreign workers as early as 1939.

Q. Witness, we are interested here in the question of those foreign workers who came to Germany during the war and particularly those who came compulsorily.

A. The German Labour Front took over the care of all foreign workers during the war.

Q. What did the task of the DAF consist of?

A. The task of the DAF consisted in the first place in supporting the factory managers who, according to the law, were responsible for the welfare of their workers. Furthermore, through its own special measures, it endeavoured to lighten the factory manager's task.

Q, Did the Labour Front fulfil this duty?

A. The conditions were particularly difficult during the war, especially in those districts which were the targets of enemy bombers. I may, however, state that the German Labour Front did everything humanly possible to care for these workers.

Q. During the severe air raids on the Ruhr in 1943 and 1944, you were sent there by the Labour Front, especially in order to carry out the difficult task of taking care of the workers; is that correct?

A. About July, 1943, I received an order to go myself to the Ruhr in order to see that industrial production was maintained in spite of the air raids, and with this object to support the competent local authorities.

Q. Do you know about the conditions at Krupp's firm in Essen at this period?

A. I do not know details of factory conditions at Krupp's but I can give information about essential matters, since I myself visited the Krupp concern two or three times during this period, not over the whole of it but over a part.

[Page 137]

Q. What was undertaken there on the whole in the field of social welfare?

A. Essentially, there were two things that had to be taken care of, i.e., food for the workers and the provision of lodgings. Since Krupp's, as well as the city of Essen, were repeatedly and everlastingly attacked by bombers, this concern was working under extraordinarily difficult conditions and it was often necessary for outside institutions to assist, that is, through the DAF, the Regional Economic (flice and similar institutions.

Q. A report of Dr. Jaeger's was shown you in the Commission, Document D-288. It mentions abuses in connection with the treatment of workers. Does this report correspond to the facts as you found them?

A. Personally, of course, I cannot verify to what extent this report of Dr. Jaeger's corresponds to the facts. On the basis of my own experience, however, I am under the impression that in some respects, matters were described in a somewhat exaggerated form by Dr. Jaeger, certainly with the good intention of influencing the administration offices which were to help him. I recall that Dr. Jaeger once said that the foreign workers only received a thousand calories. I would like to say in this connection that in Germany, even during the war, there was never a ration of only a thousand calories a day, even for normal consumers.

Q. Can the conditions, described by Dr. Jaeger about a few camps, be applied to all the camps of the Krupp firm?

A. Dr. Jaeger, as far as I recall, describes the conditions in two camps and only describes individual incidents there. Conditions were difficult at Krupp's. In spite of that, these circumstances cannot be applied to all camps. If Dr. Jaeger points out that for weeks rain poured into one particular hut, then I can only say that in the city of Essen rain poured for weeks into thousands of houses, and the people who had any shelter at all were happy there, even if the rain did bother them a little.

Q. In the Commission, other documents referring to the treatment of the workers at Krupp's were shown to you. Do these give an approximate picture of conditions throughout the Reich?

A. The following may be said about that: In the Reich we had tens of thousands of medium-sized and large concerns, and one cannot under any circumstances, with regard to the treatment of foreign workers in Germany just generalize the conditions found at Essen and consider them as normal.

Q. Were security measures taken so that no unsuitable elements from the DAF would be entrusted with this welfare work?

A. The German Labour Front (DAF), on the Reich, Gau and Kreis level, had an office which was theoffice for Labour Commitment which dealt exclusively with these problems of foreigners. All orders issued by this office to the administration offices and to the firms, constantly reiterate in some form or another the necessity of correct and just treatment of the foreign workers for reasons of humanity as well as for reasons of production. To prevent men who had in any way misused their powers from coming again into contact with the foreign workers, this office for Labour Commitment issued to the Kreise and Gaue a so-called cautionary card index of camp-leaders. This list contained the names of all men who had misused their powers, listing the punishment they had received for doing so, and it was stressed that they were no longer to be used as camp-leaders. Orders were even issued enjoining correct treatment, such as for instance, the prohibition of corporal punishment.

Q. Does this not show that such orders were necessary so as not to generalize such abuses?

A. In every organization there are anti-social elements and I do not deny that a functionary of the German Labour Front also sometimes misused his powers. This fact was the reason for such an order. On the other hand, this order is to be considered as a collection of all the many decrees which had been issued up

[Page 138]

to that time. One can also say the following about it: In every civilized State there are laws prohibiting murder, robbery and so forth, with threats of punishment.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to go into all these details?

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, it is only because the witness was repeatedly asked this question by the Commission that I also wanted to present it to the Tribunal. I do not see what great interest the prosecution has in this question but it was repeated many times. I shall now proceed with the next question.


Q. What measures were taken to safeguard the supervision and execution of the orders concerning social welfare?

A. Besides theoffice for Labour Commitment I already mentioned, which was in itself competent, Dr. Ley set up a so-called camp inspectorate within the Labour Front, which was under the direction of a DAF functionary outside the jurisdiction of the Labour Commitment office, his task was to inspect the camps for foreigners and on his part to see that the regulations were taken care of, should there be disorder anywhere. This arrangement also served the tactical purpose of preventing other organizations outside the DAF from meddling in this problem.

Q. Were you yourself able to observe anything about the inhuman treatment of the workers, or was there any reported to you? You travelled extensively through the different works. What was your general impression?

A. These things were not reported to me direct since I was not the competent official chief for these matters. However, as deputy for the production output of German factories I have been in hundreds of factories and camps, and I must say that.apart from individual cases things were in order there.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I have no more questions to put to this witness and I have examined all my witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

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