The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. How were these laws carried out?

A. The laws were published in the official publications and
gazettes and were made known through the Press and through
pesters in those territories.

Q. I mean the practical execution. How were the people
brought to Germany?

A. They were summoned to the local labour office, which was
mostly administered by local authorities. Cases had to be
examined individually, according to my directives which have
been submitted here. Cases of hardship in which the life of
the family was affected or other such cases had to be given
special consideration. Then, in the normal manner, as it was
done in Germany also, the workers drafted were brought to

Q. Were you present - did you ever witness the procedure?

A. I observed this procedure personally in a number of
cities in Russia, France, and Belgium, and I was satisfied
that it was carried through in good order.

                                                   [Page 97]

Q. If compulsion was necessary, what measures were taken?

A. At first, such compulsory measures as are justified and
necessary in every normal civil administration, were taken.

Q. And if they were not sufficient?

A. Then a request for the arraignment of the person
concerned was made.

O. These were legal measures, were they?

A. According to my conviction, they were legal measures.

Q. You have stated repeatedly in documents, which are
available here, that some pressure should be used. What did
you mean by that?

A. I believe that every administrative measure taken on the
basis of laws or obligations laid down by the State, in
one's own nation, or in some other respect, constitutes some
form of stress, duty, pressure.

Q. Were not measures used which brought about some sort of
collective pressure?

A. I rejected every kind of collective pressure. The refusal
to employ collective pressure is also evident from decrees
issued by other German offices in the Reich.

Q. Is it not true that in the East the villages were called
upon to provide a certain number of people?

A. In the East the administrative procedure was rendered
difficult on account of the great distances. In the lower
echelons, as far as I know, native mayors were in office in
every case. It is possible that a mayor was requested to
select a number of workers from his village or town for work
in Germany.

Q. And if nobody came; was the entire village punished? Is
that the same as collective pressure?

A. Measures of that kind I rejected entirely in my field of
activity, because I could not possibly, and did not want to,
bring into the German economy workers who had been taken to
Germany in such a manner that they would hate domicile and
their work in Germany from the very outset.

Q. What police facilities were at your disposal?

A. I had no police facilities at my disposal.

Q. Who exercised the police pressure?

A. Police pressure in the occupied territories coup be
exerted on the order or application of the chief of the
territory, or of the higher SS and Police Leader, if

Q. Then it was not within your competence to exert direct

A. No.

Q. Did you exert indirect pressure by your directives, by
cutting off food supplies or similar measures?

A. After the fall of Stalingrad and the proclamation of the
state of total war, Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels in Berlin
interfered considerably in all these problems. He ordered
that in cases of persistent refusal or signs of resistance,
compulsion was to be used by way of refusing additional food
rations, or even by withdrawal of ration cards. I,
personally, rejected measures of that kind very
energetically              because I knew very well that in
the western territories the so-called food ration card
played a subordinate role, and that supplies were sent to
the resistance             movement and its members on such
a large scale that such measures would have been quite
ineffective; I did not order or suggest them.

Q. At the meeting of the Central Planning Board of 1st
March, 1944, you also stated that if the French police were
unable to get results, then one might have to put a prefect
up against a wall. Do you still consider this to be legally
justified pressure?

A. That is a similarly drastic remark of mine an the Central
Planning Board, which was never actually followed by an
official order and not even by any prompting on my part. It
was simply that I had been informed that in several
departments in France the prefects or responsible chiefs
supported the resistance movement wholeheartedly; railroad
tracks had been blown up, bridges had been blown up,

                                                   [Page 98]

and that remark was a verbal reaction on my part. I believe,
however, I was then only thinking of a legal measure,
because there did, in fact, exist a French law which made
sabotage an offence punishable by death.

DR. SERVATIUS: May I refer to the document in this

THE PRESIDENT: Is it in R-124?

DR. SERVATIUS: It is on Page 1776, where it says that on the
basis of the law it would be necessary to put a mayor up
against a wall.


Q. Do you know what laws existed in France compelling
co-operation from the French authorities, or whether there
were such laws?

A. Yes, such laws existed.

Q. A number of reports which were submitted here concerning
the application of measures of compulsion, mentioned abuses
and outrageous conditions allegedly caused by recruitment
measures. What can you say about that, generally?

A. I did not quite understand your question.

Q. Concerning the use of compulsion a number of reports were
brought up here and you have heard them, reports setting
forth measures which must surely be generally condemned. You
heard of the burning down of villages and the shooting of
men. What can you say to that in general?

A. All these measures are clearly in contradiction to the
directives and instructions which I issued and which have
been submitted here in large numbers, and to these I must
refer. These are methods against which, when I heard as much
as hints of them, I took very severe measures.

Q. And who bears the immediate responsibility for such

A. The responsibility for such incidents rests with the
local authorities which did these things.

Q. Were there any other offices besides the local
authorities which dealt with recruitment of labour?

A. That is exactly what I was fighting for from the very
beginning - to eliminate and combat the intricate maze of
offices which, without restraint or control, recruited
workers by compulsion; that was part of my job.

Q. What kind of offices were they, local offices?

A. They were offices of all kinds. I myself heard about most
of them only here.

Q. What was the situation with regard to the "OT"?

A. The "OT" for a long time recruited and used manpower
independently in all spheres.

Q. Did the Labour Service have anything to do with that?

A. Do you mean the Labour Service of Labour Leader Hierl?

Q. Yes.

A. That I cannot say; it was a German military organization
for training workers.

Q. Were workers taken by the Armed Forces?

A. Workers were of course taken by army groups, by
construction and fortification battalions for local
projects, which I neither knew nor controlled, and for
urgent tasks. Road building -

Q. How about the Reichsbahn?

A. The Reichsbahn repaired its own tracks and recruited or
hired as many workers as it needed, whenever it needed them.

Q. These offices were not under your supervision?

A. No.

O. Did they carry out your instructions or were they
required to carry them out?

A. They were not required to carry them out and for that
very reason I sent out, and in a very emphatic form, that
manifesto which was mentioned yesterday; but since I myself
had no supervision over the authority charged with execution
of the orders, I had to leave it to the various offices to
take these instructions into consideration.

                                                   [Page 99]

Q. Was the number of workers recruited in the territories in
that manner very large?

A. There were certainly very large numbers of them.

Q. There were also Reich offices which dealt with the
question of manpower. What about the deportations carried
out by Himmler? Did you have any connection with those?

A. With reference to the question of deportations I can only
say that I did not have the least thing to do with it. I
never agreed, I never could have agreed, in view of my own
outlook, my development and my life, I could not have agreed
to  the use of prisoners or convicts for work in that
manner. That was absolutely foreign to my nature. I also
have the firm conviction that on account of my out-spoken
statements and actions, I was intentionally kept uninformed
of the whole matter, because it was quite contrary to my own
views on work and on workers. I said very often, and it can
he seen in documents here, that I wanted to win the
co-operation of the foreign workers for Germany and for the
German way of life and I did not want to alienate them.

Q. These then were the various offices which apart from you
had to do with recruitment of workers?

A. May I make a short statement in that respect? I heard the
word "deportation" a few times in Germany and I always
rejected the idea emphatically because I did not know of
these things. According to the use of the word in the German
language I understand "deportation" to mean the sending away
of prisoners and of people who have committed some
punishable act against the State. My own views of the ethics
of work eliminated all thought of deportations, and I never
carried them out. I gave the workers recruited through my
office - and that was the point on which I finally obtained
Hitler's consent at the beginning of my job, and it was not
an easy matter - I gave all foreign workers legal contracts,
whether they came voluntarily or on the basis of the German
labour draft. They were to receive, they had to receive the
same treatment, the same pay and the same food as the German
workers. That is why I rejected the concept of deportation
in my methods and my programme. I can testify here with a
clear conscience that I had nothing at all to do with the
deportations, the terrible extent of which I learned only

Q. You have pointed out repeatedly that these workers had to
be brought to Germany under all circumstances, that one had
to proceed ruthlessly, that it was an absolute necessity to
get the worker. Does that not show that you agreed to such

A. I should like to point out the following differentiation:
My directives and instructions can be seen clearly in
numerous documents. I could only issue these because I had
no executive power and no machinery of my own: All these
directives from the very beginning prescribe legally correct
and just treatment. It is true, however, that I used the
words "under all circumstances" in my correspondence with
German offices - the Fuehrer himself had impressed these
words on me - and that I used the word "ruthlessly" in
addressing German offices, but not with respect to the
treatment of workers but with respect to the many arguments,
disputes, arbitrary acts and individual desires which the
German offices, with which I had to contend fiercely, had
amongst themselves and against me. For the most part they
did not understand the meaning of the employment of manpower
as an economic measure in time of war. The military, the
army commanders very often told me, for instance, it was
nonsense to bring these people to Germany; there was the
"Vlassov Army" under the Russian general of that name and
the military wanted these Russian workers to join the
"Vlassov Army." I opposed that, I did not consider it right,
nor did I consider it sufficiently reliable. These were the
things against which I had to proceed ruthlessly, in my
dealings with the German administration in these

Q. Were there other circumstances, too, which led to the
transportation of people to Germany?

                                                  [Page 100]

A. Yes, there were other circumstances also in connection
with the use of manpower, but not directly, only indirectly,
and they often, took me by surprise; for example, the
evacuation of military zones, which frequently had to be
carried through at a moment's notice or after only a short
time of preparation. And in connection with such an
evacuation, it was the task of the local labour offices to
remove the population from evacuated areas to work in areas
in the rear, or to bring them to Germany, as far as they
could be used there.

This sort of employment of labour brought about considerable
difficulties for me. There were families and children among
the evacuated people and they, of course, also had to be
provided with shelter. It was often the very natural wish of
the Russian fathers and mothers to take their children with
them. That could not be done, not because I did not want it,
but because it could not be managed.

Q. And did you always use this labour, or only occasionally?

A. To a large extent these people were used by the local
authorities in these territories, and put into agriculture,
industry, railways, bridge building, and so on.

Q. Did you have anything to do with resettlement?

A. I never had anything to do with resettlement. According
to a decree of the Fuehrer, that task was expressly
delegated to the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. Did Rosenberg not report to you about bad conditions
which existed in his sphere?

A. Yes. I had about four conversations with Rosenberg, at
his request, and he told me about bad conditions. There was
no doubt on my part that such conditions were to be utterly

Q. Did he speak about Koch?

A. The Reich Commissariat was mainly involved. There were
considerable differences between the Minister for the
Eastern territories, Rosenberg, and the Reich Commissioner,

Q. Were you in a position to take measures against Koch?

A. Koch was not subordinate to me either directly or
indirectly. I could not give him any directives in such
matters. I let him know, from the outset, that I could not
possibly agree with such methods which I had heard about, to
some extent, through Rosenberg, although I could not offer
any proof.

Koch was of the opinion - and he explained that in his
letters to Rosenberg - that in his territory he was the sole
authority. He also pointed that out to me.

Q. Did not Rosenberg think that the cause for these
conditions was that your demands were too high?

A. I also spoke to Herr Rosenberg about that. I, personally,
was of the opinion that if the demands could be divided up
and orderly recruitment and conscription could take place,
it was quite possible to fill the quotas. But after all I
had orders and directives from the Fuehrer and the Central
Planning Board.

Q. Did you ever talk about the methods which should be used?

A. The methods that should be used were not only frequently
discussed between us, but I made them very clear in many
directives. I even went so far as to issue and distribute my
manifesto over the head of this higher authority to the
lower-level offices, so that they could be guided by it.

However, I have to point out emphatically that these were
incidents which occurred for the most part before my
directives came into effect and before my appointment.

Q. I want to refer you to Document 018-PS. That is in the
"Slave Labour Brief," Page 10.

THE PRESIDENT: That is not Page 10. It is Number 10.

DR. SERVATIUS: It is Exhibit USA 186. In the English "Slave
Labour" book, it is Document 10. That is a letter of 21st
December, 1942.

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