The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/26

Q. You therefore went on missions to Paris before the French
authorities, the French de facto authorities, had published
the legislative decrees of 4th September, 1942, of 16th
February, 1943, and of 1st February, 1944. Is not that true?

A. I did not understand your question exactly.

Q. I asked you whether it is true, that before the French de
facto authorities published the three big laws on forced
labour of 4th September, 1942, 16th February, 1943, and 1st
February, 1944, that you went on missions to France, to

A. I only went on journeys to Paris for the purpose of
negotiating with the French Government, and I want to say to
that, that for me and in accordance -

Q. Do you admit that in the course of these missions, you
imposed on the
French authorities the laws on forced labour?

A. That is not correct to put it in that way.

Q. You, therefore, contest the fact that the laws on forced
labour were issued under pressure from you?

A. I dispute the word "pressure." I negotiated properly with
the French Government before such laws were published. I
resent the word "pressure"; and there were enough witnesses
during these negotiations.

Q. Do you remember the telephone conversation that the
defendant Speer had with you from the Fuehrer's headquarters
on 4th January, 1943?

A. Yes, it is probable that I did have several discussions
with Speer. I do not know which particular conversation you
are referring to.

Q. Do you not remember a note that you sent to your various
offices as a result of this telephone conversation of 4th
January, 1943?

A. Yes. Quite probably I did make several notes. I had to
make a note when I received a telephone conversation
containing an instruction.

Q. I now submit Document 556-PS, which has already been
submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 194 and Exhibit RF
62. I will read that document, or at least its first

   "On 4th January, 1943, at eight o'clock in the evening,
   Minister Speer telephoned from the headquarters of the
   Fuehrer in order to inform me that according to a
   decision of the Fuehrer, it is not necessary in the
   future, when engaging specialists and auxiliaries in
   France, to show any special consideration for the
   French. Pressure or more severe measures can be used in
   order to procure labour."

I ask you, defendant, what you mean when you say that it is
not necessary to show any special consideration for the

A. This note or rather this decision was not made by me.
This was a communication which came from the Fuehrer's
headquarters, based on a decision made by the Fuehrer. In
spite of that - and I want to emphasize that particularly -
my attitude towards the French Government did not change and
it does not say so in this record either; I continued to
adopt the same polite attitude in my

                                                  [Page 146]

negotiations with the Government and I ask the Tribunal to
be allowed to make a short statement on how these
negotiations with the French Government were conducted.

You will give it later in your examination. Do you remember
the discussion that you had on 12th January, 1943, at the
German Embassy in Paris, with the French authorities?

A. As far as I know, I have only talked to French ministers
in the German Embassy in Paris.

Q. That is exactly what I am asking you. Do you remember
this conversation that you had with the French authorities
on 12th January, 1943?

A. Not in detail, no, but that I did negotiate is possible.

Q. Do you remember the persons who took part in this

A. Yes; usually the French Premier, the French Minister for
Labour, Minister Bichelonne, used to participate in such
discussions, and on the German side, the Ambassador and on
behalf of the military Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Fischer, and
as my representative, Dr. Hildebrandt or some other

Q. And you do not remember what Laval said to you at this
meeting of 12th January, 1943?

A. Very many matters were discussed in great detail during
these conferences, and I do not know what you mean.

Q. Well, I will submit to you the minutes of this meeting.
It is Document 809, which I submit to the Tribunal as
Exhibit RF 1509.

In the course of this discussion, Laval made a long
statement to you, more exactly, several statements.

THE PRESIDENT: Where shall we find this?

M. HERZOG: It is in my Document Book, Mr. President. It must
be marked with a slip 809.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes, I have it.


First, I read Page 7 of the French text and of the German

  "Gauleiter Sauckel demands a further 250,000 new workers.
  Gauleiter Sauckel knows very well, and his officers have
  certainly informed him about this, the difficulties which
  the French Government had in carrying out the programme
  last year. The Gauleiter must realize that as a result of
  the number of prisoners and workers who are already
  employed by Germany, the sending of another 250,000
  workers will increase even further the difficulties of
  the French Government. I cannot conceal these
  difficulties from the Gauleiter because they are evident,
  and the Germans who are in Paris know these difficulties.
  When the Gauleiter reports that they have had to overcome
  the same difficulties in Germany, and French industry too
  must face them now, it seems to me that I can remind him
  that Germany not only demands workers of France, but is
  also beginning to take away the machines from factories
  in order to transport them to Germany. France may have
  nothing left but she still had, until now, her means of
  production. If these too are taken from her, France loses
  even the possibility of working.
  I do everything to facilitate the German victory" - and
  you see Laval could hardly be suspect to you, defendant -
  "but I must also admit that German policy makes heavier
  demands on me nearly every day and that this does not
  form part of any definite policy.
  Gauleiter Sauckel can tell the German workers that they
  must work for Germany. I cannot say that Frenchmen are
  working for France. I see that in many fields the French
  Government cannot act. One would almost believe that on
  the German side they set no value on the good will of the
  French, and that they are bent on instituting a German
  administration throughout France. My task is being made
  more difficult every day. It is

                                                  [Page 147]

   true that I do not allow myself to be discouraged, but I
   esteem, however, that it is my duty to remind the
   Gauleiter of the gravity of Franco-German relations, and
   of the impossibility of continuing along this path. It
   is no longer a matter of a policy of collaboration, but,
   on the French side, a policy of sacrifice, and on the
   German side, a policy of constraint."

I pass to the next page, Page 11:

   "The present state of mind in France, the uncertainty
   concerning the means which the French Government
   possesses, the half-freedom in which it finds itself,
   all these do not give me the necessary authority to
   furnish Gauleiter Sauckel with an immediate reply. We
   can do nothing. We are not free to change salaries; we
   are not free to combat the black market; we can take no
   political measure without everywhere coming up against a
   German authority which has substituted itself for
   I cannot guarantee measures which I have not taken. I am
   persuaded that the Fuehrer does not know that the French
   Government cannot act. There cannot be, in one country,
   two governments on questions which do not concern
   directly the security of the occupation forces."

I omit two more pages, to Page 18, and I read only this

  "It is not possible for me simply to be the advocate for
  the German measures of constraint."

That is the document which I submit to you, defendant, and I
ask you two questions concerning it.

The first question is: What did you answer to Laval when he
made this statement to you?

The second one is: Do you not think that here there is proof
of the pressure which you contest?

A. To begin with, if the Tribunal would permit it, I should
have to read my reply to Premier Laval. But then, it proved,
and this has been confirmed to me by Premier Laval on
various occasions, that I was correct in my negotiations
with him, and in spite of the fact that I had orders not to
conduct political conversations, but only to deal with my
actual task, I always reported to the Fuehrer about these
matters. But I think that the tone of my reply was
definitely beyond reproach. These negotiations which I
conducted -

Q. That is not the question that I asked you. I asked you
what you answered him when he made that statement to you,
when he said to you, for instance, that it was not possible
for him simply to be the advocate for German measures of

A. I would have to read my answer. I cannot remember it now.

Q. Do you therefore contest the fact that this represents

A. Premier Laval did not complain about me in this
connection. He was complaining about general conditions in
France, because this was the time of occupation. The
situation was that there was a German occupation army. It
was war.

Q. Well, I am going to submit to you Document -

DR. SERVATIUS (interposing): Mr. President, regarding this
note, I should like to draw your attention to an error of
translation which will lead to considerable
misunderstanding. According to this note, it says that the
recruitment could be launched with emphasis and more severe
measures, and the word "emphasis" has been translated by
"pressure" in the English. But that is not meant. It is not
"druck" (pressure), it is "nachdruck" (emphasis). That means
that the next step could be energetically undertaken.

THE PRESIDENT: I am told that the translation we have is

DR. SERVATIUS: "Pressure."

THE PRESIDENT: I am told the translation is "emphasis." No,
no, the translation is emphasis. It is in this document, and
the translation in English is "emphasis."

                                                  [Page 148]

DR. SERVATIUS: Oh, I had the French translation.

M. HERZOG: I am going to submit to you Document

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Is this document in the PS

M. HERZOG: No, Mr. President, it is a new document which I
am submitting now, a French document which will bear Exhibit
No. RF 1509.

THE PRESIDENT: Where did this document come from?

M. HERZOG: That document comes, Mr. President, from the
archives of the Majestic Hotel in Paris, which housed the
German offices in Paris. Some months ago, these archives
were found again in Berlin, and we have extracted the
Sauckel documents.

I submit to the Tribunal the certificate of authentication
for the Sauckel files, as well as for the documents which I
intend to submit to the Tribunal in the course of my
cross-examination. Perhaps, as the document is in French,
the Tribunal would like me to read it.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, read it, will you? You mean this Proces
Verbal? What is this Proces Verbal? By whom is it

M. HERZOG: This Proces herbal is identified by two persons,
by Commandant Henri, French liaison officer at the American
Documentation Centre in Berlin, and by my colleague M.
Gerthoffer, who, with Commandant Henri, took these archives.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you had better read this Proces
Verbal so that it will go into the record.


  "I, Charles Gerthoffer, Deputy at the Court of the Seine,
  on duty with the International Military Tribunal for the
  major war criminals, having gone to Berlin to the offices
  of the Ministerial Collecting Centre, Commandant Henri,
  Chief of the French Mission, gave me, with the authority
  of Colonel Helm of the American Army, Chief of the 6889
  Berlin Collecting Centre, seven files from the Archives
  of the military commander in France concerning forced
  labour and registered as M.C.C. under the numbers: 3 DS,
  Nos. 1 to 213; 4 DS, Nos. 1 to 230; 5 DS, Nos. 1 to 404,
  and two appendices; 6 DS, Nos. 1 to 218; 7 DS, Nos. 1 to
  118, and one appendix, 1 to 121; 50 DS, Nos. 1 to 55; 71
  DS, Nos. 1 to 40.
  I declared to Commandant Henri that I took the said files
  in order to submit them to the International Military
  Tribunal for the major war criminals in order that they
  might be used in the course of the proceedings and that
  they will thereafter be delivered to the French Ministry
  of Justice, whose property they remain.
  This document, made in five copies of which one is to
  serve as an affidavit for the International Military
  Tribunal for the major war criminals.
  (Signed) CHARLES GERTHOFFER.   (Signed) HENRI."

This represents the certificate of authentication of the
files themselves.

I have a second certificate.

THE WITNESS: May I make a remark regarding the first
document, please?

M. HERZOG: I would ask you not to interrupt me.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Herzog, the documents came from the Hotel
Majestic, did they?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Hotel Majestic was the place where the -

                                                  [Page 149]

M. HERZOG: The place in Paris where the offices of the
German Military Command in France and the various occupation
offices were situated. These documents, which had vanished
at the time of the liberation, have been located again at
the Ministerial Collecting Centre in Berlin. The document
which I have just submitted to you is the certificate of
authentication of these files, and I also have the
certificate of authentication of the documents which I have
extracted from these files and which I am now ready to read
to the Tribunal, if the Tribunal so desires.

THE PRESIDENT: The Hotel Majestic was the place where the
German Military Government was established in Paris; is that
not right?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President, unless I am mistaken, I
believe it was. Does the Tribunal desire that I should read
the other certificate of authentication, that is to say at
least in part, the one concerning the document itself?

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you had already read it.

M. HERZOG: No, Mr. President. I am submitting to the
Tribunal two certificates of authentication. The first, the
one which I have just read, is the certificate of
authentication of seven files which contain a very large
number of documents. From these seven files we have
extracted only a certain number of documents which we are
submitting to the Tribunal, and that is why, after having
presented the certificate

THE PRESIDENT: The second document only says that the
documents which you are submitting are documents which came
from those files?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: And the files themselves came from the Hotel
Majestic, which was the place where the German Military
Administration was carried on. Will you put the second
document on the record?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you offering in evidence the original
German documents?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

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