The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/27

Q. That is all right.

A. But that was -

Q. (Interposing.) No, that is all right.

Now I would like to know a little bit about what you call
this private recruitment. Who appointed the agents who were
to do private recruiting? Who appointed them? Did the
employers hire agents to get workmen for them?

(No response.)

Q. Do you know what I mean by "private recruiting"?

A. Yes.

Q. That was done by agents, was it not?

A. Only in one case in the year 1944 in France and in part
in Belgium, by way of exception, I permitted agents to act
on the basis of agreements with these French organizations.

Q. Again, Witness, I did not ask you that at all. You do not
listen. I said: Who appointed these agents that worked as
private recruiting agents? Who appointed them?

A. In these countries, the commissioner for labour
mobilization appointed them - I myself could not appoint
them - together with the French organizations. That was an
understanding, not a set appointment -

Q. (Interposing.) I see. And they would be paid on, I think
you said, a commission basis; is that right? They would be
paid, in other words, so much per workman? Every workman
they brought in, they would get a fee for that; is that

A. Yes. I do not know the details myself, but for the most
part that is correct.

Q. Now, I take it when you used the word "shanghai", which
you referred to and explained, that simply means private
recruiting with force. That is all it means, is it not?

(No response.)

Q. That is all it means, is it not? Private recruiting with

A. No -

Q. Now, wait a minute. Can you shanghai a man without using
force? You do not mean that you shanghai them by persuasion?
Do you?

A. Yes, for I wanted to recruit these French organizations
in just this voluntary, friendly way over a glass of beer or
wine in a cafe and not in the regular office. I do not mean
"shanghai" in the bad sense, as I recall it being used from
my sailor days. This was a rather drastic expression but not
a concrete representation of the actual procedure. Never,
your Honour, in France or anywhere else, did I order
shanghaiing, but rather -

Q. Oh, I know you did not order it. That was not my
question. You mean "shanghai" just meant that you had a
friendly glass of wine with a workman and then he joined up?
Was that what you meant?

A. I understood it in that way, as I described it to the
Central Planning Board, but in somewhat drastic form, in
order to answer the demands made of me with some plausible
counter-arguments as to the efforts I was making.

Q. Why did you object to this private recruitment? What was
the objection to it?

A. In this case I did not object, but it was contrary to
German ideas about the recruiting of labour. According to
the German principles and

                                                  [Page 218]

Q. Was it contrary to German law?

A. It was against my conviction and contrary to German laws.

Q. I did not ask you that. I am not interested for the
moment in your convictions. I said, was it contrary to
German law? It was, was it not, against law?

A. It was, in general, contrary to the German labour laws.
As far as possible no private recruitment was to take place.
But may I say as an explanation, your Honour, that after the
labourer had been won over, he nevertheless entered into an
obligation, on the basis of a State contract. Thus it is not
to be understood to mean that the worker in question came
into the Reich without a contract approved by the State.
That contract was granted to him as it was to all others.

Q. You mean, a labourer who was "shanghaied" by private
agents had the same rights, once he was in the employment,
as anyone else; is that what you mean?

A. The same rights and assurances that everyone else had.

Q. That is right. Now I am going to come to another subject
for a moment.
I simply want to understand your defence and what your point
of view is. Now see if this is correct. You did no
recruiting yourself. The police did no recruiting. Your main
job was, in the first place, to see that everything was done
lawfully and legally. Was not that right? That was your
important function?

A. That was my endeavour.

Q. In order to do that you had to arrange to have the proper
laws passed so as to have the recruiting done under the law;
that is right, is it not? That was your job?

A. Yes.

Q. Yes. And very often those laws By the way, those laws
were simply decrees, of course. They were just orders that
were signed by the Fuehrer or by you or by some of the
ministers. When you say "laws" you mean, of course, decrees?

A. The laws in the Occupied Territories for the recruitment
of manpower had to be decreed by the Fuehrer and issued by
the chiefs in the territories.

Q. What I mean is, in order to make this use of foreign
labour lawful, you simply had to get certain decrees signed;
that was part of your duty, to get them signed? Now -

A. I did not sign these decrees -

Q. I understand that. I did not say you signed them. I
understand that. You have explained that in great detail.
Now let us see where the police came in. They had nothing to
do with the recruiting. Once a decree was signed, it became
law, did it not? When a decree was signed it was law?

A. Yes.

Q. And if any man resisted being brought in as a workman or
did not register or did not live up to his contract, he
became a criminal; that is right, is it not?

A. In this case he violated the law. We did not call it a
crime, but rather an offence.

Q. But he broke the law?

A. Yes.

Q. You mean he did not commit a crime. Did he or did he not
commit a crime? Supposing a man failed to register when he
was told to register for work, was that a crime?

A. No, that was not a crime. We called that an offence in

Q. And then when he committed this he was turned over to the
is that right?

A. Not immediately; in the preliminary proceedings he was
told by the local Labour Office to appear and to report and

Q. Well, you explained all that. He got three or four days
and then if he did not finally register, for the offence he
was turned over to the police; is that right?

                                                  [Page 219]

A. How that was actually handled in the various territories
I cannot say. It differed greatly and was in part very lax.

Q. You have told us already in your cross-examination that
if a man broke the law that was when the police came in. The
police were there simply to see that the law was not broken;
that is right, is it not? That was their function?

A. No, that was not my task; that was the task of the
service authorities.

Q. Well, why do you always say, "it was not my task"? I did
not ask you if it was your task. I am just talking about the
police; I am not talking about you. Now when those labour
decrees were violated, then it was, at a certain time, the
police began to function; is that not right?

A. That would have been the normal way, the correct way.

Q. Good. Or after the men, let us say in Paris, were rounded
up, if they offered physical resistance, then the police had
to be called in, did they not? If there was physical
resistance you had to call in the police, did you not?

A. Yes, but I can say that that was hardly ever reported to
me. Mostly it was not done. It can be clearly seen from the
lists of the workers' transports, for instance, in the year
1944, that of a large programme not even ten per cent. came
to Germany. Then nothing was left for us to do but to

Q. Please do not go on. You have given all that evidence
before. I just want to get a picture of the whole system.
Now the army: I think you said, the role the army played was
where there had been sabotage or resistance in the Occupied
Territories; the army would have to clean that up so that
the labour administration could work. That would be right,
would it not?

A. In so-called resistance areas in which the administration
was handicapped by resistance movements, not only in the
field of labour mobilization but also in other functions,
and in which the public safety of German troops could no
longer be guaranteed.

Q. I am not interested in other functions. I am interested
particularly in the field of manpower at this time. So that,
for instance, in Poland or Russia, where it was impossible
to recruit people on account of the resistance to the
recruiting or the resistance to the army, the army would go
in and help with the recruiting. It would not be unfair to
say that, would it?

A. One can say that.

Q. That is right. Now, by the way, these workmen who
resisted or who broke the law or who did not register after
three days, were they ever tried by a court or were they
simply handled by the police if necessary? They were never
tried by court, were they?

A. That I cannot tell you in detail or in general. Probably
there were various ways of handling that. I do not know the

Q. Well, let us get that clear in particular. Did any of
your decrees provide for trial by a court of such persons?

A. No, my decrees did not do that, and I was not authorized
to issue such decrees within the territories in regard to
court proceedings because I was not the competent authority
in the territory.

Q. All right. I am not very clear on this picture of camps.
Let us look at that for a moment. There were what you
called, I think, distribution or transit camps, were there

A. Yes.

Q. How many?

A. That I cannot tell you from memory.

Q. No, of course not, but do, you think there were more than
a hundred?

A. No, I do not believe that.

Q. Hardly. But perhaps nearly a hundred?

A. No, I do not believe that is quite correct either.

Q. You could give no figure on that?

                                                  [Page 220]

A. I assume that perhaps in the Reich there were thirty or
forty transit camps.

Q. In the Reich?

A. In the Reich.

Q. And were those transit camps also in the Occupied
Territories, or in France?

A. In the Occupied Territories? Whether there were any
transit camps in France, and, if so, how many, that I cannot
say. There were in the West, along the border, reception
stations, and in the East, along the border, there were
transit camps, which had as their purpose an additional
physical examination, delousing of clothing and -

Q. I think that is enough. I think you have answered that
sufficiently. Now there were also what you called the labour
training camps. Do you remember, you said there were also
labour training camps?

A. These training camps

Q. Can you not say "yes" or "no"?

A. No.

Q. How many?

A. Of that I have no idea -

Q. So you have no idea of that. Maybe fifty or a hundred?

A. No. I cannot tell you even approximately how many because
I have never received a list. They were not under me.

Q. Whom were they subordinate to?

A. They were subordinate exclusively to the police, that is
as far as I know, to Gruppenfuehrer Muller.

Q. And I presume that they were staffed and officered by the
SS as were the other concentration camps?

A. I have to assume that also, but I cannot say definitely
because I have never seen any such camp.

Q. But that would not be improbable, would it?

A. No. These camps were subordinate exclusively to the

Q. To the police. Now who went to the labour training camps,
who was sent to them?

A. According to my knowledge - I heard very little about
that - people were sent there who in a number of cases had
committed violations of the labour regulations or of
discipline in the industries and so on.

Q. That is right. That is fine. Thank you very much. That is
all I want to know about that point. In other words, people
who did not turn up for registration or who broke their
contracts were sent for training. Now what was the training?
What does that mean, "training"?

A. That I cannot tell you. I assume that they had to work. A
period of time was provided of about eight days to fifty-six
days, I believe; I cannot say exactly. I also heard about
that in this courtroom for the first time.

Q. Well, let us get a little more light on that subject. You
see, you were after all, were you not, Plenipotentiary, so
you must have known something about these matters. There
were labour camps as well as labour training camps, were
there not?

A. Yes, and I want to distinguish between them

Q. I will distinguish. Let me ask you the question. The
labour camps were camps where workmen were sent and housed
who were working in industry; is that not right? They were
simply camps where workmen were housed and lived; is that

A. They were camps where workers were lodged, where they

Q. That is right; and the labour training camps were
different from the labour camps, were they not?

A. They were basically different. The labour training camps
were an institution of the Reichsfuehrer SS; the labour
camps in which they lived were set up by the factory or
group of factories where the workers were employed.

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