The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Seventh Day: Friday, January 18th, 1946
(Part 3 of 9)

[Page 392]

M. HERZOG: I have just reminded the Tribunal of the legislative framework through which the activity of the defendant Sauckel was exercised. This framework was reinforced by the defendant's own decree. The first document attests that Sauckel deliberately assumed the responsibility of the general policy for the recruiting of foreign workers - the decree of the 22nd August, 1942, which appeared in the "Reichsgesetzblatt," 1942, Part I, Page 382. This decree lays down the principle of forced recruiting, and makes the necessary provisions for all the human potential of the occupied territories to be put in the service of the German war economy.

Sauckel forces the inhabitants of the conquered countries to participate in the war of Germany against their Fatherland. It is not only a violation of International Law, it is a crime against the rights of nations. I submit the decree to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 17, and I shall read it:

"Ordinance No. 10 of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour regarding the Arbeitseinsatz in the occupied territories under date of 22nd August, 1942.

In order to mobilise the labour of the occupied territories in the new organisation of the Arbeitseinsatz within the European framework, one must submit these forces to one central authority; it is necessary to assure a maximum return as well as a useful and rational distribution of this force, in order to satisfy the labour needs of the Reich and of the occupied territories. By virtue of the full powers which are conferred upon me, I order:

(1) By virtue of the decree of the Fuehrer, under date of 21st March, 1942, relative to the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour and by virtue of the ordinance of the Trustee for the Four Year Plan, under date of 27th March, 1942, relative to the application of this decree, I likewise have powers to employ, when necessary, the labour of occupied territories, as well as to take all the measures necessary to increase its production. Those German offices which dealt with Arbeitseinsatz and for the policy of wages or my commissioners will, according to my directives, carry out this employment of labour and take all measures necessary to increase production.

(2) This ordinance extends to all the territories occupied during the war by the Wehrmacht, if they are under a German administration.

(3) The labour available in the occupied territories must be utilised in the first place to fulfil the primary war needs of Germany. This labour must be utilised in the occupied territories in the following order:

(a) For the needs of the army, of the services of occupation and of the civilian services.
(b) For the German armament needs.
(c) For the food and agriculture.
(d) For industrial needs other than those of armament, in which Germany is interested.
(e) For industrial needs of the population of the territory in question."
A second document shows the willingness of the defendant Sauckel to take the responsibility for the treatment of foreign workers. It is an agreement concluded on 2nd June, 1943, with the Chief of the German Labour Front. I shall not read this document to the Tribunal. The document has been

[Page 393]

discussed by Mr. Dodd. I recall that it was published in the "Reichsarbeitsblatt" in 1943, Part 1, Page 588. I submit it in support of my brief as Exhibit RF 18.

Designated by Hitler and by the defendants Keitel and Goering, in order to pursue, under the control of the latter, the policy of recruitment of compulsory labour, the defendant Sauckel has consequently carried out his task in virtue of the responsibilities which he had assumed. I request that the Tribunal bear this in mind.

I request the Tribunal, likewise, to note that the policy of recruitment of foreign workers involves the responsibility of all German Ministers responsible for the economic and social life of the Reich. An interministerial office, or at any rate, an interadministrative office, the Central Planning Board for the Four Year Plan, has proceeded to formulate the programme for the recruitment of foreign workers.

All departments interested in the labour problem were represented at the meetings of the Central Office. General Milch presided at the meetings, in the name of the defendant Goering.

The defendant Sauckel and the defendant Speer took part, in person, and I shall submit to the Tribunal certain statements made by them. The defendant Funk also took part; he therefore knew of, and approved, the programme for the deportation of workers. He even collaborated in its formulation. As proof thereof I produce three documents inculpating him.

The first is a letter of 9th February, 1944, in which Funk is summoned to a meeting of the Central Planning Board. It is Document 674, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 19. I read:

"Sir: In the name of the Central Planning Board, I invite you to a meeting concerning the question of the utilisation of labour. It will take place on Wednesday, the 16th February, 1944, at 10 o'clock, in a board-room of the Secretaries of State at the Air Ministry, Leipziger Strasse, in Berlin.

In the Appendix I transmit to you some statistics on the subject of the development of the utilisation of labour. These statistics will serve as a basis for the discussion at the meeting."

Funk was unable personally to attend the meeting, but he arranged to be represented by Undersecretary of State Hayler. He received the minutes of the meeting and, on 7th March, 1944, he wrote to General Milch, in order to excuse his frequent absences from the meetings of the Board. I submit this document to the Tribunal. It is Document 675, which I submit as Exhibit RF 20. It is the report of the fifty-third meeting of the Planning Board. The Tribunal will note on Page 2 of the French translation that Minister Funk received a report of this meeting. He is mentioned on the second line of the distribution list: Reich Minister Speer first and on the second line Reich Minister Funk.

I now produce as Exhibit RF 21 the letter in which Funk excuses himself to Marshal Milch because of his inability to be present at the meeting.

"Very honoured and very dear Field Marshal:

Unfortunately the meetings of the Central Planning Board have always been set for dates on which I am already engaged by other important meetings. So it is to my great regret that I shall be unable to be present on Saturday at the meeting of the Central Planning Board, inasmuch as I have to speak on that day in Vienna in the course of a great demonstration in honour of the Anniversary of the day of the Anschluss.

Secretary Hayler will likewise be in Vienna on Friday and Saturday, where there will be an important South- European Conference, in which foreign delegates will participate and at which I must also speak.

Under these conditions I beg you to allow Ministerial Director and

[Page 394]

General of Police, Brigadefuehrer of S.S. Ohlendorf, who is the permanent deputy of State Secretary Hayler, to attend as my representative."
THE PRESIDENT: Does this document tell us anything more than that the defendant Funk was unable to be present?

M. HERZOG: This document, Mr. President, was given to me by my American colleagues, who asked me to use it in the case on compulsory labour, because they have not had time to use it in their charge against Funk. It is presented to the Tribunal to prove that Funk was following the meetings of the Central Planning Board and that he had permanent representatives there to represent him on all occasions who, by their report, kept him in touch with the work of the Central Planning Board. That is why we present to the Tribunal this document on defendant Funk.

I shall continue to quote:

"Under these circumstances, I beg you to allow the Major- General of Police, Brigadefuehrer of the S.S., Ohlendorf, who is the permanent deputy of State Secretary Hayler, to attend as my representative. Herr Ohlendorf will have Ministerial Director Koelsen as a consultant for questions of consumer goods, and Counsellor of State Janke for questions concerning foreign trade."
The policy of the Central Planning Board for the Four Year Plan pursued by the defendant Sauckel is shown by the mass deportation of workers. The principle of this deportation is a criminal one, but the manner of its execution was even more criminal. I shall give the proof of this to the Tribunal by submitting, in succession, the methods of compulsory recruitment, its results and the conditions of deportation.

I wish here to thank the members of the French delegation and of the foreign delegations who have come to my aid in the preparation of my work, in particular, my colleague M. Pierre Portal, a Lyons barrister.

The brief which I have the honour of presenting to the Tribunal will be limited to the account of the recruiting of foreign labour in occupied territories of Western Europe, since the deportation of workers coming from Eastern Europe will be dealt with by my Soviet colleagues.

Throughout the occupation the local field commanders imposed requisitions of labour on the populations of the occupied territories. Fortification works considered necessary for the furtherance of military operations, and guard duties for the security of the occupation troops were carried out by the inhabitants of the occupied areas. The labour requisitions affected not only isolated individuals but entire groups.

In France, for instance, they affected, in turn, groups of Indo-Chinese workers, workers from North Africa, foreign workers, and Chantiers de Jeunesse (Youth workyards). I produce in evidence an extract from the report on forced labour and the deportation of workers drawn up by the Institute of Statistics of the French Government. This report bears the number 515 and I submit this to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 22. This document, because of its size, has been taken out of the document book. I quote first of all Page 17 of the French text and 17, likewise, of the German translation.

I read the second paragraph before the end -

THE PRESIDENT: Is this it? [indicating].

M. HEROG: No, it is the document in the blue cover, on Page 17.

"Paragraph 6: The Forced Labour Recruitment of Constituted Groups: Finally, a last procedure adopted by the Germans on a number of occasions during the whole course of the occupations for direct forced labour, as well as for indirect forced labour: the 'requisition' of constituted groups already trained and disciplined and consequently an excellent contribution.

(a) Indo-Chinese Labour (M.O.I.): This formation of colonial workers had been intended from the beginning of the hostilities to satisfy the needs

[Page 395]

of French industry in non-specialised labour. Under the control of officers and non-commissioned officers of the French Army, transformed into civilian functionaries after the month of July, 1940, Indo-Chinese labour was, from 1945 on, obliged to do part-time forced labour, directly as well as indirectly."
I leave out the table on Page 16 and I read:
"(b) The North African work: Between 17th August and 6th November, 1942, the home country received two contingents of workers from North Africa; one was composed of 5,560 Algerians, the other of 1,825 Moroccans. These workers were immediately obliged to do direct forced labour which brought the number of North African workers enrolled in the Todt organisation to 17,582.

(c) Foreign labour: The law of 11th July, 1938, concerning the organisation of the nation in time of war provided for the cases of foreigners living in France, and obliged them to render services; under-officers and non-commissioned officers transformed into civilian functionaries by the law of the 9th October, 1940, the foreign labour was progressively subjected by the Germans to direct forced labour."

I leave out the table and I read:
"(d) Youth workyards (Chantiers de Jeunesse): On 29th January, 1943, the labour staff of the German Armistice Commission in Paris announced that the Commander-in- Chief 'West' was examining whether and in which way the formations of French workers might be called upon to perform tasks important for both countries. This resulted in partial recruiting and was followed by demands for young people from the workyards to supply direct labour."
Similar requisitions took place in all the other territories of Western Europe. These requisitions were illegal: they were carried out by virtue of Article 52 of the Appendix to the Fourth Hague Convention. In reality they systematically violated the letter and the spirit of this text of International Law.

What does Article 52 of the Appendix to the Fourth Hague Convention say? It is worded as follows:

"Requisitions in kind and services shall not be demanded from municipalities or inhabitants except for the needs of the Army of Occupation. They shall be in proportion to the resources of the country and be of such a nature that the populations will not be obliged to take part in operations against their own country. These requisitions and services shall only be demanded on the authority of the commander of the locality occupied."
Thus the terms in which Article 52 authorises the requisition of services by an Army of Occupation are expressly formulated. These terms are four in number:
1. The rendering of services can be demanded only for the needs of the Army of Occupation. All requisitions made for the general economic needs of the occupying power are thus forbidden.

2. Services demanded by way of requisition must not entail an obligation to take part in military operations against the country of those rendering them. The rendering of any service exacted in the interests of the war economy of the occupying power, all guard duties or exercise of military control are forbidden.

3. Services rendered in a given area must be in proportion to its economic resources, the development of which must not be hampered. It follows that any requisitioning of labour is contrary to International Law if it results in the impeding or prevention of the normal utilisation of the riches of the occupied country.

4. Finally, labour requisitions must, under the provisions of the second paragraph of Article 52, be carried out in the area of the locality under the

[Page 396]

administration of the occupation authority who has signed the requisition order. The transfer of conscripted workers from one part of the occupied area to another and, especially, their deportation to the country of the occupied power are prohibited.
Labour requisitions exacted by German civilian and military authorities in the occupied areas did not conform to the spirit of Article 52. They were carried out to satisfy either the needs of German economy or even the needs of military strategy of the enemy forces. They deliberately refused to acknowledge the need of ensuring facilities for a reasonable utilisation of local resources; they finally took the form of migrations of workers. The case of those workers who were conscripted from all countries of Western Europe, and formed an integral part of the Todt organisation to help in building the system of fortifications known under the name of the "Atlantic Wall," may be taken as a typical example.

This violation of international agreements is a flagrant one; it called forth repeated protests from General Doyen, delegate of the French authorities with the German Armistice Commission. I ask the Tribunal to accept as evidence the letter of General Doyen, 25th May, 1941. This letter constitutes Document 283, and it is placed before the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 23. I read:

"Wiesbaden, 25th May, 1941. From the General de Corps d'Armee Doyen, President of the French delegation at the German Armistice Commission to Monsieur le General der Artillerie Vogl, President of the German Armistice Commission.

On several occasions, and notably in my letters No. 14,263/A.E. and 14,887/A.E. of 26th February and 8th March, I respectfully protested to you against the use for which French labour has been employed within the framework of the Todt organisation in the execution of military work on the coast of Bretagne.

I have to-day the duty of calling your attention to other cases in which the occupation authorities have had recourse to the recruiting of French civilians to carry out services of a strictly military character, cases which are even more serious than those which I have already called to your attention.

If, indeed, in the case of the workers engaged by the Todt organisation, it could be argued that certain workers among them accepted voluntarily an employment for which they are being remunerated (although in practice most often they were not given the possibility of refusing this employment), this argument can by no means be invoked when the prefects themselves are obliged, at the expense of the departments and the communities, to set up guard services at important points, such as bridges, tunnels, works of art, telephone lines, munitions depots, and areas surrounding aviation fields.

The accompanying note furnishes some examples of the guard services which have been imposed upon Frenchmen in this way, services which before this were assumed by the German Army and which normally fall to the latter, since it is a question of participating in watches or of safe- guarding the German Army against risks arising from the state of war existing between Germany and Great Britain."

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