The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/27

THE WITNESS: No, I only want to read two more sentences,
your Lordship.

  "The worker's life is so varied that it cannot be
  recorded even in many volumes. But every human being
  harbours a feeling which tells him: here you have been
  treated with kindness and justice - "

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, that is enough. We have heard
enough of that.


Q. Defendant Sauckel, in July 1944 a conference was held at
Hitler's Headquarters to deal with the question of the
treatment of foreign workers in case of a further successful
advance of the Allied Armies. Do you know anything of this
conference or not?

A. May I ask once more - what was the date?

Q. I am asking you about the conference which was held at
Hitler's Headquarters in July 1944. Do you know anything
about this conference or do you not?

A. I cannot remember for certain. I must ask you to place
some document before me. I cannot remember any meeting in
July because, as from 20th June, 1944, or thereabouts, I was
no longer admitted to the Fuehrer for any discussions.

Q. That is enough for me. That means that you do not know
anything at all about this conference?

Tell me, for what purpose, for what kind of work were the
foreign labourers who had been imported into Germany
employed? Is it correct to state that they were primarily
employed in the armament and munition industries?

A. Workers were brought to Germany for employment in the
armament industry. Armament industry is a very far-reaching
concept and is not identical with the manufacture of arms
and munitions. The armament industry includes all such
products - from matches to cannon - as may have anything to
do with supplying the Army. It is, therefore, necessary,
within this broad, far-reaching concept, to limit or isolate
the manufacture of arms and munitions.

Moreover, workers were brought to Germany for all other
branches of civil economy, essential to the war effort, such
as agriculture, mining, skilled trades and so forth. We made
three distinctions:

War economy, which meant the entire German economy in

Armament economy meant -

THE PRESIDENT: Well, defendant, we do not want a lecture
upon that, you know. All you were asked was whether they
were brought there for work in the armament industry.

                                                  [Page 181]

THE WITNESS: A part of them.


Q. I should like you to answer whether the workers brought
to Germany were primarily employed in Germany's war
industries and for military purposes? Is that right or not?
I mean - in the broad sense of the word.

A. In the broad sense of the word, yes, including the entire
economy in wartime.

Q. Then the utilization of imported manpower was
subordinated entirely and fully to the conduct of the war of
aggression by Germany? Do you admit that?

A. That is stretching the concept too far. My own views,
according to which I acted, and only could act at the time,
excluded the word "aggressive".

Q. Please answer briefly if it appears to go too far. Tell
me, do you admit
it or do you not?

A. I have already answered.

Q. Your part as organiser of the mass drive into slavery of
the peaceful population of the occupied territories is
sufficiently clear. I should now like to pass over to the
elucidation of the part played by the individual ministries
in this matter. Please enumerate the ministries and other
governmental organizations which directly participated in
carrying out the requisite measures for the mobilization and
utilization of foreign manpower. Mention has already been
made of the Ministry of the Occupied Territories, of the
Armaments Ministry and of the OKW, so that it is not
necessary to speak about them again. Kindly enumerate the

A. The chart which has also been submitted to your
Delegation, General, contains small inaccuracies,
inaccuracies made by the compiler. I have not seen the
completed lay-out, but I take it for granted that the
original, as submitted to me, was correctly made by the
compiler. These small inaccuracies and deviations can be
rectified, and the chart will then be unequivocal and offer
the soundest explanation.

Q. Your Defence Counsel has stated here that this chart is
not sufficiently accurate. It is precisely for that reason
that I ask you this question and request you to elucidate
which ministries and other governmental agencies played an
immediate part in the mobilization and utilization of
foreign manpower, over and above those which I have already

THE PRESIDENT: General, he says that it is substantially
correct, and that there was only one minor alteration
suggested in it. Surely that is sufficient for us.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, Sauckel's Defence Counsel
has himself stated that there are a number of inaccuracies
in the chart. I will, however, endeavour to facilitate this
task. Please tell me, how was the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs connected with this matter?

A. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs was connected with this
matter as follows:

It had to establish connections in such countries where
Embassies, Ministries or German Delegations were acting.
Negotiations would then take place at times under the
chairmanship of the head of that Embassy or Delegation. The
Ministry for Foreign Affairs always made every effort to
conduct these negotiations in a suitable form and in a
proper manner.

Q. On 4th January, 1944, a meeting was held at Hitler's head
office. This is Document 1292-PS. It is written, in
sub-paragraph 4 of the minutes of this meeting, that "the
Plenipotentiary General for the Employment of Labour must,
before taking his measures, contact the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs." What did that mean in this particular case?

A. In this case it meant that if I had to negotiate with the
French or the Italian Governments, I would first have to get
in touch with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

                                                  [Page 182]

Q. After this meeting, which was held on 4th January, 1944 -
on 5th January, 1944, to be precise - you sent a letter to
Lammers, in which you raised the question regarding the
necessity for issuing a special directive as a result of
this meeting, in order that all aid be given you by the
following agencies - I shall enumerate them: The
Reichsfuehrer SS, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Field Marshal Keitel, the Minister for
the Occupied Territories in the East, Rosenberg, the
Governor General and others. Do you remember this letter?

A. I remember that letter; will you be kind enough to put it
before me? I cannot, of course, remember the contents in

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of that document, General?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: That is number 1292-PS, Page 6 of the
Russian text,

Q.  Have you found the passage?

A. Yes.  It is on the last page? May I ask if this is

Q. This means you considered that all these organizations
were to participate, one way or the other, in the execution
of measures for the recruitment and utilization of manpower.
Is that correct?

A. That is correct and I ask permission in this connection
to give the following explanation. It is obvious that I
myself, in my office, could not do certain things without
informing the high-ranking authorities of the Reich. It
merely proves that I was attempting to work correctly and
not wildly within the Reich, or to interfere with other
administrative departments.

Q. I would like you to explain the following: when the
Hitlerite Government resorted to these criminal measures for
driving off the population in the occupied territories into
slavery, did practically all the Government organizations of
Hitlerite Germany - besides yourself - and the Party
machinery of the NSDAP participate in these activities?
Would it be correct to say so?

A. I protest against the words "driving off"; I want to hear
my Defence Counsel on the subject in rebuttal.

Q. It is not a question of the word used. Answer me - is it
correct or not?

A. The word is extremely important.

Q. Did the entire machinery of State participate in this
matter or not?

A. In this form I must answer your question in the negative;
it -

Q. No other reply is demanded of you.

A. In the - I might explain this. In the collection of
workers, that is, in their engagement according to German
orders, it was the chief, duly authorized and appointed for
this purpose at the time, of a territorial government, a
Reich commissariat, or the like, who participated, for I
emphasize that I was unable to issue any laws in that field
and was not allowed to, so I could not interfere in any
government department; that is impossible in any government
system in the world.

Q. Yes. But you were obliged to co-ordinate the activities
of all these representative organizations in Germany. That
was the task assigned to you.

A. Not to co-ordinate, but to instruct them, and to ask for
their co-operation, as the case might arise, if it fell
within their jurisdiction.

Q. That is not quite so. I did not wish to touch on this
question. But I must revert to it, here and now, since you
have slightly minimised your part in this matter.

A. I request permission to reply to the word "minimise". The
distribution and direction of manpower in the Reich was my
principal task. Including the German workers, it covered
30,000,000 persons. I do not wish to minimise this task, for
I did my best to introduce order in this mass of workers, as
dictated by my sense of duty. I do not wish to minimise
anything. It was my task and my duty towards my people.

                                                  [Page 183]

Q. We need not argue on this subject. It would be much
simpler to consult the document. An order by Goering will be
handed to you in a moment.

A. I wish - I must apologise to you if you have
misunderstood me.

I - I have no intention of arguing. I am only asking for
permission to clarify my conception of duty with regard to
this task, since it was the most personal task I had.

Q. That is quite apparent in this order by Goering of 27th
March, 1942. It is Exhibit USSR 365. It will be handed to
you in a minute. I will read a brief excerpt from it,
showing the powers you were vested with.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of it?


THE PRESIDENT: Has it a PS number?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: No. This is a Soviet exhibit.

Q. Please read sub-paragraph 4, which clearly states:

  "The Plenipotentiary General for the Employment of
  Manpower has at his disposal, for the execution of his
  task, the following power assigned to him, by the
  Fuehrer, to issue directives to the highest authorities
  of the Reich, as well as to the Party, the Party
  organizations and branch offices, the Reich Protector,
  the Governor General, the Army Chiefs and the Heads of
  the Civil Services."

That is what we read in sub-paragraph 4 of this order. I
believe, therefore, that on the strength of this order you
were appointed Plenipotentiary General with extraordinary
powers for the employment of manpower. Is that correct or

A. That is correct. I should like to add that this authority
was limited to my own professional sphere, and take the
liberty of reading the following sentence:

  "Orders and directives of fundamental importance are to
  be submitted to me in advance."

And I might point out that my deputies received restrictive
orders later in the autumn. There is a witness who can make
a statement to that effect.

Q. I am not talking about your deputies. Your powers are
only too clearly defined in sub-paragraph 4 of Goering's

Now will you enumerate which of the defendants, at the same
time as yourself, directly and in his own sphere of action,
participated in the execution of measures for the mass
deportation into slavery of the population of the Occupied
Territories, and of their employment in Germany. Name them
in succession. Defendant Goering participated in all these
crimes, as your immediate chief and leader?

A. I want to point out, most emphatically, that I could not
possibly have been aware that entire populations had been
carried off, in view of lawful recruitments and of service
engagements based on legal decrees. I deny this. I had
nothing to do with measures concerning prisoners, etc., but

THE PRESIDENT (Interrupting): The question was, did the
defendant Goering participate with you in the bringing in of
foreign workers into Germany? You do not seem to me really
to be answering it at all.

A. I was directly subordinate to the Reichsmarschall of the
Greater German Reich in the question of the introduction of
foreign manpower.

THE PRESIDENT: Then why do you not say so?


Q. So the defendant Goering participated in the execution of
these criminal measures?

THE PRESIDENT: General Alexandrov, when you want to ask a
question of that sort, I think it would be much better that
you should not allege the fact

                                                  [Page 184]

that it is a crime. If you want to know whether the
defendant Goering took part with this defendant in the work
that he was doing, you can refer to that without calling it
a crime; and then he perhaps will answer you more easily.



Q. Did the defendant von Ribbentrop participate in carrying
out these measures on diplomatic lines, and did he sanction
the violation of international treaties and conventions
where the utilization of foreign workers and prisoners of
war in the German industries was concerned?

THE PRESIDENT (Interrupting): Well, there again, these
defendants are saying that there was no violation of
international law; so the question you should put to him is:
did von Ribbentrop participate with him in these measures as
far as diplomacy was concerned?

Q. I am now asking you what was the connection between the
defendant von Ribbentrop and the mobilization of manpower,
and I would like to receive an answer to this question.

A. The part played by defendant Ribbentrop consisted in
holding conferences with foreign statesmen or foreign
Government Departments in the occupied territories, as well
as in neutral and friendly countries abroad, and he
considered it highly important that they should be carried
out correctly and aim at the best possible conditions for
the foreign workers.

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