The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/28

Q. You were probably in Paris, also, and you spoke to the
German agencies there, is that right?

A. Yes. Every time I was in Paris, I took the opportunity to
talk to members of the agencies about current events.

Q. Did they not tell you about things which must have
surprised you?

A. With each major task we carried out we had some
difficulties, of course, and certain excesses. Once it was
reported to me among other things that there were impossible
conditions in the "Pipiniere" of a camp, a kind of transient
camp for people who were about to leave. These conditions
were reported immediately to the commandant of Paris, who
sent help. Then there were irregularities in the recruiting
in Marseille, in which the recruiting officers used
blackmail. This was also stopped immediately.

Beyond that, a fairly large number of individual cases were
brought to me. There were minor difficulties about
vacations, salaries, and so forth, which I transmitted each
time to the competent offices for further action.

Q. Was it part of your official duties, to follow these
things up?

A. As far as they came within my sphere, I took the
necessary steps immediately. As far as it was the business
of other departments, I immediately transmitted them to
these departments for further attention.

Q. Witness, I did not ask what you did, but whether it was
your official duty to look after these things.

A. The general problems of recruiting and statistical
checking of programmes came within my field of duty.
Questions of housing, pay and transport were

                                                  [Page 244]

dealt with by other departments. Of course, when I found out
about bad conditions, it was my duty to investigate them at
once, if only in the interests of further recruiting.

We considered it of the greatest importance that every abuse
should be stopped immediately, because it was only in this
way that further recruiting of volunteers could be
guaranteed. Compulsory labour conscription was therefore
considered as a last resort.

Q. Witness, I would like to know whether it was your
official duty or your moral duty to look after these things?

A. In this case, it was my moral duty as well as my official

Q. As regards the way transports were effected, I have one
question. Mention has been made of irregularities on
transports. That is why I would like you to tell us what
steps you took to have the transports that came from France
supervised and directed. Can you describe that briefly?

A. A Special Department was created with the Military
Commander in France for the carrying out of transports. For
each man who went to Germany, it was already settled to what
firm he was to be sent, because the recruiting was done on
the basis of planned contracts and regularised labour
conditions, so that the route to be taken was known.
Transports were assembled in such a way as to include as
many as possible, so that a definite number of workers would
go in the same direction and to the same firm.

Q. Witness, these details are of less interest to me than
the question of how you conducted these transports and kept
a check on them when something irregular happened on the

A. In giving a few details, I only wanted to indicate that a
detailed check was made of every person intended for
Germany. For each transport there was an exact list of
persons and of the firms to which they were sent. The
transports were given guides who brought them to their
destination, and there they were turned over to the
presidents of the provincial labour offices whose duty was
to take further care of them.

Q. I should like to put a concrete case to you. A case has
been reported here of a transport train which got stuck in
the Saar, and when it was opened after a few days, most of
the people had been frozen to death. Did you have any
control of such trains? Should that have been reported to
you? Could that train have been sent upon your orders? How
do you explain that?

A. Such an incident would have become known to us
immediately. Since the movement of transports was reported
beforehand to the presidents of the provincial labour
offices, we were informed immediately when they did not
arrive. That happened frequently, namely, when difficulties
arose because of some emergency on the way and a transport
was held up - for instance, in the last days of the war in
clearing up bomb damage, traffic obstructions and so on - so
that we could immediately search for the transports, and
that was always done.

I know nothing of the case which you have just mentioned.

Q. Witness, you must speak more slowly. The interpreters
cannot possibly follow.

Will you state your position as to the incident which I have
described of the train with the people who froze to death in
the Saar.

A. The incident could not possibly have occurred on
transports of labour recruits. These transports were well

Q. You have said that before.

A. Yes.

Q. How do you explain, then, the case of that transport?

A. I learned for the first time through the Press during the
last few months, that the SS also conducted transports to
Germany and that conditions such as you have just described
are said to have prevailed on them.

Q. Witness, were you present during the negotiations between
Sauckel and Laval?

                                                  [Page 245]

A. Yes, I was frequently present.

In what kind of atmosphere were these negotiations

A. These negotiations were conducted in a very friendly
manner, but occasionally, especially when promises on the
part of the French Government had not been kept, quite
violent disputes occurred. But real difficulties did not as
a rule arise during these negotiations. Arrangements were
made concerning the number of people who were to be sent to
Germany, for as a matter of principle, Laval was always
willing to put manpower at the disposal of Germany.

Q. And what, in particular, were the relations between Laval
and Sauckel? Did Laval speak well of Sauckel?

A. M. Laval expressed his gratitude from time to time for
the way in which things had been made easier for France. For
instance, as regards the status of French prisoners of war,
the permission given to the wives of French workmen to visit
their husbands and, the taking over of welfare work in aid
of the relatives of the French workmen in Germany. All these
things, as I have said, took the form of agreements whereby
one party put labour at the disposal of the other party, and
this party, in turn, gave back manpower or granted other
advantages. Laval stated repeatedly the urgent wish to do
more for Germany if he could only be given political
advantages for it. Therefore, he asked the German
plenipotentiary repeatedly to make it possible for him to
have discussions with the Fuehrer in order to create a
favourable atmosphere in France for further efforts.

Q. Did these friendly relations prevail until the end?

A. Until the last negotiation, which I think took place at
the end of 1944.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I believe the question of the
"Releve" and "Transformation" has been clarified
sufficiently, so that I need not question the witness about
it again.


Q. Witness, in what manner did the negotiations with the
German commander take place? Did Sauckel give orders there?
Was he the highest authority or was it the Military

A. The negotiations were never carried out in the form of a
transmission of orders: the General Plenipotentiary
described the situation in Germany and what needs

Q. Witness, you can be very brief.

A. I only want to say the following: Of course, the military
commanders, just like the civil administration in Holland,
were more interested in giving orders to be carried out than
in sending manpower to Germany, and that led to conflicts.
The offices had to be convinced each time that manpower had
to be sent to Germany, for agriculture for example, the full
needs of which could not be met in Holland, and similarly
for a number of branches of the German armaments industry.

Q. Witness, a few questions concerning Belgium and Northern
France: was the attitude of Sauckel to the chief authorities
there the same as in France on the whole, and was everything
conducted similarly, or were there any differences?

A. No, the conditions were the same as in France, only that
the deputies of the General Plenipotentiary were already
incorporated into the military administration.

Q. Did you receive any reports or discover anything yourself
about irregularities in that territory?

A. Yes. There were isolated cases of irregularities. For
instance, I was informed one day that reprisals were to be
taken against relatives of members of age groups who had not
appeared when they were called up. We stopped that
immediately by discussing the matter with the
representatives of the military commander.

Q. And how did Sauckel negotiate with the military

                                                  [Page 246]

A. He also presented his demands to von Falkenhausen, who,
of course, was interested in the first place in having
orders for the German armaments industry carried out in
Belgium; but later agreed to manpower being sent to Germany.
At the same time Sauckel was concerned about the protection
of students, school children, and members of younger
age-groups in special cases.

Q. Witness, I will show you the minutes of an interrogation
of General von Falkenhausen on 27th November, 1945. I want
you to look at a few sentences. If you take Page 2, you find
there, in the middle of the page, the question: "Is the
witness in a position - "

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number of the document?

DR. SERVATIUS: It is Exhibit RF-15.


Q. It is the following question: "Is the witness in a
position to define the limitations of his powers and the
competence of the Administration for the Employment of
Labour". Answer by General von Falkenhausen:

  "Up to a certain time there was a labour office in my
  territory which was concerned with the recruiting of
  voluntary workers. I cannot remember the exact date any
  longer. It may have been in the autumn of 1942 - when the
  labour office was put under Sauckel; and from then on I
  had only to carry out the orders I received from him."

Is this attitude of the military commander von Falkenhausen
to Sauckel correct?

A. It is incorrect in several paints. In Belgium there was
not just one labour office, but a number of labour offices
which looked after the recruiting of volunteer and also a
number of recruiting offices which worked alongside of them.
But from the very beginning, these labour organizations
worked under the supervision of the field commanders in
Belgium. These field commanders' offices were offices of the
Military Commander. There was no question of the General
Plenipotentiary taking over the work; on the contrary,
before he appointed his deputies, he could only send his
requests directly to the military administration, to General
von Falkenhausen, but not directly to a labour office.

Q. What were the conditions in Holland? Who was the
competent district head there?

A. It was the Reich Commissioner.

Q. And was there a deputy of Sauckel's with him?

A. Yes, a deputy was appointed there too, who was a member
of the administration of the Reich Commissioner.

Q. Who issued the labour service decrees there?

A. The Reich Commissioner.

Q. And who carried out the recruiting, German or Dutch

A. As far as I remember there were Dutch offices. The heads
of these offices were Germans; the rest of the personnel was
mainly Dutch. These offices took the necessary steps for the
allocation of labour.

Q. Now, I have one more question concerning Germany. The
metal industries came into your field, did they not?

A. Yes.

Q. Krupp, for instance?

A. Yes.

Q. What kind of reports did you receive about the conditions
in the Krupp works as far as the care of the workmen was

A. I had no unfavourable reports about Krupp. The personal
adviser of the General Plenipotentiary, Landrat Berg,
visited the Krupp Works frequently, and reported to me on
requests made by the firm and on the impressions he had
received, but he never said that proper care was not taken
of foreign workmen. I myself never visited the Krupp firm
during the war.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions, Witness.

                                                  [Page 247]

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the German Counsel want to ask


M. HERZOG: Mr. President, we have the same problems here.
The Tribunal has already heard explanations on these points.
The Tribunal is in possession of the documents which I have
submitted, and I have, therefore, no questions to put to the

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. SERVATIUS: Then with the permission of the Tribunal, I
will call the witness Stothfang.

WALTER STOTHFANG, a witness, took the stand and testified as


Q. Would you state your full name?

A. Walter Stothfang.

Q. Will you repeat these words after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

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