The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt//tgmwc/tgmwc-15/tgmwc-15-139.09

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-15/tgmwc-15-139.09
Last-Modified: 2000/03/24

Q. I have another question, witness: Do you know whether yon
Schirach actually tried to bring about an understanding
between the Hitler Youth, of which he was the leader, and
the youth of other countries, and can you tell us, for
instance, what he did and what steps he took to that end?

A. The establishment of a cordial understanding between
German youth and world youth, generally, was undoubtedly one
of those tasks the importance of which Schirach constantly
emphasized to his Youth Leaders, and I always had the
impression that this task was, as I might almost say, his
own particular passion. I myself at his order - and perhaps
I am a cardinal witness on precisely this point - visited
the various European countries, from 1935 onwards, at least
once a year and sometimes even twice or three times in the
year, so that I could get in touch with

                                                   [Page 36]

existing youth organizations and with organizations of
combatants of the First World War, in order to establish
contact with them.

Q. Which countries?

A. It can truthfully be said that the Hitler Youth sought
contacts with all the countries of Europe; and I myself, at
the direct order of von Schirach, visited England several
times. There I met the leader of the British Boy Scouts and
his colleague, but also -

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think those facts are in dispute. It
is merely the inference that is to be drawn from the facts
that the prosecution will rely upon. Therefore it is not
necessary for you to go into the facts again, as to the
connection of the Hitler Youth with the foreign youth.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President.

Q. Witness, you have just heard that these facts are not in
dispute. We can therefore turn to another topic: You were
the "Stabsfuehrer" of the Hitler Youth in the Reich Youth
Leadership. Do you know whether the Leadership of the Hitler
Youth maintained spies or agents abroad, or whether it
trained people for the so-called Fifth Column - and I take
it you know what that is - in other countries or whether it
brought young people over to be trained as parachutists in
Germany and then sent them back to their own countries.
During your whole period of office as "Stabsfuehrer," did
you ever learn of anything like that?

A. The Hitler Youth did not have spies, agents or
parachutists to operate in any country in Europe. I would
have been bound to learn of such a fact or such an
arrangement in any circumstances.

Q. Even if Schirach had made such an arrangement behind your
back, do you believe that you would have been bound to learn
of it in all circumstances through the channels of reports
from District Leaders and similar channels?

A. I would in all circumstances have learned of this or have
observed it in these districts on some of my many official

Q. Then, witness, I should like to turn to another topic.
The other day you told me about a discussion: after the
Polish campaign - that would be, presumably, at the end of
September or beginning of October, 1939 - and before the
actual campaign in France you had a meeting with the
defendant von Schirach in your residence in Berlin-Dahlem,
on which occasion the defendant von Schirach voiced his
attitude to the war. Will you describe this conversation
briefly to the Tribunal?

A. Yes. Von Schirach came to see me at the end of September
or beginning of October, 1939. He visited me in the house
which I occupied at the time in Berlin. The conversation
very quickly turned to war, and Schirach said that, in his
opinion, this war should have been prevented. He held the
Foreign Minister of that time responsible for having given
Hitler inadequate or false information. He regretted the
fact that Hitler and the leading men of the State and Party
knew nothing about Europe and the world generally and had
steered Germany into this war without having any idea of the

At that time he was of the opinion that if the war could not
be brought to an end in the shortest possible time, we
should lose it. In this connection he referred to the
enormous war potential of the United States and England. He
said - and I remember the expression very well - that this
war was an unholy one and that if the German people were not
to be plunged into disaster as a result of it, the Fuehrer
must be informed of the danger which would arise for Germany
if America were to intervene, either through deliveries of
goods or through actual entry into the war. We considered at
the time who would inform Hitler, who, in fact, could even
obtain access to him.

Schirach at that time suggested trying in some way to
introduce Colin Ross into Adolf Hitler's presence. Colin
Ross was to call Hitler's attention to the threatened
catastrophe and to inform Hitler of the facts. This was to
be done outside the competency of the Foreign Minister and
without the Foreign Minister

                                                   [Page 37]

being present. At that time, Colin Ross was not yet in
Germany. I remember that when he returned he was introduced
into Hitler's presence by Schirach.

Q. Witness, will you tell us more about the discussion which
you mentioned as having taken place in 1939. I should like
you to answer this question: How did he come to choose Dr.
Colin Ross in particular? How did you happen to think of

A. I have already mentioned that the leaders of the National
Socialist State and of the Party were almost totally lacking
in knowledge of the world and foreign countries generally,
and had consequently hit upon this man, who had seen so much
of the world. Colin Ross had occasionally attended meetings
of the Hitler Youth Leaders before 1939 and had addressed
them -

Q. What about?

A.  - and thus he was known to Schirach and the Hitler

Q. What were the topics he discussed before the Hitler

A. Colin Ross spoke of his experiences in other countries.

Q. How did Colin Ross become known to the Hitler Youth? On
this occasion did you also speak of whether an attempt
should be made to find a solution of the Jewish problem, so
that it would be easier to reach an understanding with other
countries, and if so, on what basis?

A. Yes. In the course of this conversation, Schirach
referred to the excesses of 9th November, 1938, and to the
speech he made immediately afterwards; and said that in the
circumstances it would, naturally, be extremely difficult to
start discussions, with America; that we might have to try
beforehand - if circumstances permitted, and he wished to
suggest this to Hitler during an interview -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal does not think it is
really sufficiently important to go into Schirach's private
discussions with this witness. If he can say anything as to
what Schirach did, it may be different, but now the witness
is simply reciting the discussions which he had with
Schirach, nothing more than private discussion.


Q. Witness, what steps did Schirach actually take towards
peace or to shorten the war as a result of these discussions
with you? Did he take any steps; and what were these steps?

A. Yes, as he told me at a later discussion, Schirach made
use of every opportunity at the beginning of the war to
convince Hitler of the need for discussions with America,
and with this purpose in view, he actually brought Colin
Ross to Hitler, as he told me later. Colin Ross was with
Hitler for several hours. When Colin Ross visited me at
Hanover, he told me about this discussion, and on this
occasion he said that Hitler was very thoughtful. He did
also say, however, that a second discussion which had been
planned with Hitler had not materialised, for, according to
his version, the Foreign Office had protested against this
kind of information.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal thinks that this
witness is dealing in great detail with matters which are of
very little importance and the Tribunal wishes you to bring
his attention to something which is of real importance.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I have in any case only one more


Q. One last question, witness. You have not been with
Schirach since 1940. I believe you became a Gauleiter.

A. Yes.

                                                   [Page 38]

Q. Schirach went to Vienna. But in 1943 you again had a long
talk with him, mainly about why Schirach did not resign from
his post. My reason for putting this question to you is that
one member of the prosecution has already discussed the
question today. Will you tell us briefly what reasons
Schirach gave at the time for retaining his office or why he
did not resign and what his views on the war were in 1943
-at that time, I mean?

A. In March, 1943, when I made an unofficial visit to
Vienna, a very long conversation took place between von
Schirach and myself. At that time, von Schirach talked very
pessimistically about the prospects of the war and told me
that we should soon be fighting outside Vienna, in the Alps
and along the Rhine. On that occasion he said that he had
not been able to see Adolf Hitler for a very long time; that
he had had no further opportunity of reporting to him, as
had formerly been the case; and that the Chief of the Party
Chancellery, Bormann, had consistently prevented him from
seeing the Fuehrer and talking to him alone; and that he
therefore no longer had any opportunity whatsoever of
discussing Viennese questions or general questions with
Hitler. In this connection he also stated that Bormann came
to him with objections and complaints every day, cancelling
orders and directives he had issued in his capacity of
"Gauleiter" in Vienna, and that in view of all this, it was
no longer possible for him to remain in office and to
shoulder the responsibility.

At a later stage of that conversation, in the course of
which we considered all kinds of possibilities, he said,
that, as he had sworn an oath of allegiance to Hitler, he
felt bound to remain in office whatever happened and that,
above all, he could not take the responsibility in the
present military situation for abandoning the population
over which he had been appointed "Gauleiter."

He saw the catastrophe coming but said that even his
resignation or any action that he might take would have no
influence on the leaders of the State or on Hitler himself
and that he would, therefore, remain true to his oath, as a
soldier would, and retain his appointment.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, that concludes my examination of
this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defence Counsel want to ask
him any questions?

DR. SERVATIUS (Defence Counsel for Sauckel):

Q. Witness, were you "Gauleiter" in Hanover from 1940?

A. Yes, from December, 1940.

Q. You were also Plenipotentiary for Labour in that

A. Yes.

Q. Were there many foreign labourers in your "Gau"?

A. Yes, there were a great many foreign labourers in my
district. This was mainly due to the "Reichswerks Hermann
Goering,'' which had been established near Braunschweig.

Q. Did you have to look after them?

A. Yes, my assignments as Plenipotentiary for Labour were
confined to looking after foreign civilian workers.

Q. Did you receive instructions from Sauckel on that point?

A. I, like all other "Gauleiter" of the NSDAP, constantly
received instructions from Sauckel with regard to the
recruitment of labour; that is to say, regarding the welfare
of these civilian workers.

Q. What type of instructions were they?

A. The instructions which I received as Gauleiter, consisted
almost exclusively of repeated demands to do everything to
satisfy the foreign workers in matters of accommodation,
food, clothing and cultural welfare.

Q. Was that carried out in practice?

A. It was naturally carried out within the limits of
existing possibilities.

Q. Did you inspect camps or factories where these workers
were employed?

                                                   [Page 39]

A. Yes. I, myself inspected such camps and, especially, such
factories on my official trips. Apart from that, I had, as
my Gau Supervisor of the German Labour Front, a man who
assisted me in this task on such occasions.

Q. Did you or your Gau Supervisor establish the existence of
catastrophic conditions?

A. Yes. After the air raids from which Hanover and
Braunschweig suffered particularly badly from 1943 onwards,
I found conditions in foreign civilian labour camps just as
I did in the living quarters of German people - which I
would call, perhaps not catastrophic, but certainly very
serious; and after that I tried as far as possible to have
these destroyed dwellings repaired, for instance, or to have
new ones built.

Q. Did you see any abuses for which these industrial
enterprises or the supervisory agencies were directly

A. Yes, I do remember two such cases.

Several firms in Hanover had formed a kind of industrial
association - a kind of union - and had established a camp
for their foreign civilian workers. The trustees of these
firms were responsible for this camp. One day, the Gau
Supervisor of the German Labour Front reported to me that
living conditions did not comply with instructions received
and asked my permission to intervene - that is to say - to
be allowed to assume responsibility through the German
Labour Front for that collective camp. I gave him this
assignment; and some time afterwards, he reported that these
difficulties had been eliminated.

The "Reichswerke Herman Goering" constitute another example
of this kind. Since I am speaking under oath here, I must
mention the fact that that firm disregarded Sauckel's
instructions in many respects. On one occasion they
recruited workers independently, outside the jurisdiction of
the Labour Administration through their branches in the
Ukraine and other countries. These labourers came to
Watenstedt, in the area supervised by the Executive Board of
the Party, outside the quota fixed by the Plenipotentiary
for Labour, and consequently outside of his jurisdiction.

I myself had very considerable difficulty in obtaining
admission to the work and the camp. For as Gauleiter and
Plenipotentiary, I was not by any means in a position simply
to -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. What has this got to do with
the defendant Sauckel?

DR. SERVATIUS: I asked him about any abuses which he had
found, for, as Plenipotentiary for the recruitment of
foreign workers, it was his duty to ascertain whether such
bad conditions existed and to report them so that they would
finally be brought to Sauckel's notice. He has digressed
rather widely and has just been describing the Hermann
Goering Works.

THE PRESIDENT: You should stop him, Dr. Servatius. You know
the question you were asking.


Q. Witness, did you establish the existence of abuses in the

A. I was unable to enter the camp, because entry was

Q. Did Sauckel himself address the workers in your Gau?

A. No, not during my period of office. But he frequently
sent representatives.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have now some questions to put on behalf of
the political leaders, whom I represent.


Q. Did you receive special instructions from the Fuehrer on
your appointment as Gauleiter?

A. No. When I was appointed Gauleiter, I was merely
introduced by Herr Hess as "Gauleiter," during an assembly
of Gauleiter. But I received no special instructions on the
occasion of that meeting and during my -

                                                   [Page 40]

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, the answer was "no" and you did not
need to add to it at all.


Q. Did you talk to the Fuehrer later on? Did you receive any
special or secret instructions?

A. I only sat the Fuehrer one and again at Gauleiter's
meetings and I never had any official discussions with him.

Q. Do you know anything about the activities of Block
Leaders (Blockleiter)? In particular, I want to ask you:
Were they used as spies?

A. No.

Q. But there seems to be a widespread belief that in fact
Block Leaders did act as spies and informers and that has
been brought up by the prosecution. Perhaps the SD used
Block Leaders for this purpose?

A. The SD had its own agents, its own trusted men who were
not known to the Party. At any rate, the Block Leaders had
no instructions to work for the SD.

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.