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-Eighth Day: Saturday, January 19th, 1946
(Part 2 of 5)

[M. HERZOG continues]

[Page 427]

The fourth Sauckel action, therefore, was directed in such a manner as to utilise all of France's manpower. The French resistance and the development of the military operations hindered the execution of the Sauckel plan. The defendant, in the meantime, had contemplated such extraordinary measures as would have to be taken on the day the Allied Armies landed. I quote again Document 1289-PS, Exhibit RF 71, and I read on Page 3:
"Measures concerning compulsory labour in the case of invasion:

To some extent precautions have been taken to evacuate the population of those areas invaded and to protect valuable manpower from being seized by our enemies. In view of the actual situation of labour utilisation in Germany, it is necessary to induct efficient workers to the greatest extent

[Page 428]

possible into efficacious employment within the Reich. Orders to this effect on the part of the Wehrmacht are indispensable for carrying out these measures.

The following text is proposed for an order by the Fuehrer... "

I shall not read the text of the order proposed by Sauckel.

The Allied victory, however, came so quickly that Sauckel did not have the chance to realise fully his plan of mass deportation. All the same, he started to carry it out, and deportations of workers went on up to the day of liberation of the territory. Several hundred thousand French workers were finally stationed in Germany as a result of the various Sauckel actions. Will the Tribunal, please, bear this in mind.

The compulsory labour service was introduced in Norway in the same manner as in France. The defendants imposed upon the Norwegian authorities the publication of a law instituting the compulsory registration of Norwegian citizens, and ordering their enrolment by force. I quote in this respect the preliminary report on the crimes of Germany against Norway, a report prepared by the Norwegian Government and submitted to the Tribunal as U.K. 79. I now submit it as Exhibit RF 72, and I quote from the first page, third paragraph:

"The result of Sauckel's order in Norway was the promulgation of the Quisling law of 3rd February, 1943, concerning the compulsory registration of Norwegian men and women for the so-called national labour effort.

Terboven and Quisling openly admitted that the law had been promulgated to enable the Norwegian people to utilise its manpower for the benefit of the German war effort.

In a speech of 2nd February Terboven incidentally declared that he himself and the German Reich supported this law with their authority, and he threatened to use force against any one attempting to oppose its application."

In Belgium and in the Netherlands the German authorities used a direct procedure. The compulsory labour service was organised by decrees of the occupying power.

In Belgium these were decrees of the Military Commander, and in the Netherlands decrees of the Reich Commissar. I remind the Tribunal of the fact that the authority of the Military Commander in Belgium extended to the North of France.

A decree of 6th March, 1942, established the principle of compulsory labour in Belgium. It was published in the Belgian "Verordnungsblatt" of 1942, Page 845. I submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 73, and I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it.

The decree of 6th March excluded the possibility of forced deportation of workers to Germany. However, such deportation was ordered by a decree of 6th October, 1942, which was published in the Belgian "Verordnungsblatt" of 1942, Page 1060. I submitted it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 57 in the course of my explanations.

The German activities in Belgium gave rise to interventions and protests by leading Belgian personalities, among others the King of Belgium and Cardinal van Roey.

The decrees instituting compulsory labour in Belgium and the North of France bore the signature of General von Falkenhausen, but the latter proclaimed his decree of 6th October on the order of Sauckel. I refer once more to the testimony of General von Falkenhausen, which I submitted to the Tribunal yesterday as Exhibit RF 15. I ask your permission to quote the following passages, first page, fifth paragraph:

[Page 429]

"Q. On 6th October, 1942, a decree was published which instituted compulsory labour in Belgium, and in the Departments of Northern France, for men between the ages of 18 and 50 years, and for single women between the ages of 21 and 25 years.

A. I was Commander-in-Chief for Northern France and Belgium.

Q. Does the witness recall having promulgated this decree?

A. I do not remember exactly the text of this decree because it was issued following a long dispute with the labour deputy Sauckel.

Q. Did you have any trouble with Sauckel?

A. I was fundamentally opposed to the establishment of compulsory labour, and consented to promulgating the decree only after receiving orders.

Q. Then this decree was not issued on the initiative of von Falkenhausen?

A. On the contrary.

Q. Who gave instruction in this matter?

A. I suppose that at that time Sauckel was already responsible for manpower and that at that time he gave me all instructions on Hitler's orders."

I take up the quotation again on Page 3 of the French translation, fourth paragraph:
Q. Since you were opposed to the idea of compulsory labour, did you not protest when you received these instructions ?

A. There were unending quarrels between Sauckel and myself. In the end this contributed greatly to my discharge."

The violence of the pressure exerted by the defendant Sauckel in Belgium, in order to impose his plan of recruitment by force, is also demonstrated by the document which I have just submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 67. The Tribunal will remember that it is the report addressed on the 13th August, 1943, by Sauckel to Hitler on his return from France, Belgium and Holland.

Finally, I have to deal with the introduction of compulsory labour in the Netherlands. I request the Tribunal to charge the defendant Seyss-Inquart, as well as the defendant Sauckel, with the institution of compulsory enrolment in the occupied Dutch territories.

As a matter of fact, the deportation of the Dutch workers was organised by decrees of the Reich Commissar. They established all the more the responsibility of the defendant, who, in his quality as Reich Commissar, derived his powers directly from the Fuehrer.

The defendant Seyss-Inquart introduced the compulsory labour service in the Netherlands by a decree of 28th February, 1941, published in the Dutch "Verordnungsblatt" of 1941, No. 42. I referred to this decree as Exhibit RF 58 in the course of my explanation yesterday, and asked the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it.

As in Belgium the compulsory labour service could originally be enforced in the interior of the occupied countries only, but, just as in Belgium, it was soon extended in order to permit the deportation of workers to Germany. The extension was made effective by a decree of Seyss-Inquart of 23rd March, 1942, which appeared in No. 26 of the "Verordnungsblatt." I submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 74, and I ask the Tribunal to add it to the record.

The defendant Seyss-Inquart had thus paved the road on which the defendant Sauckel was to be enabled to proceed to action. Sauckel actually utilised all the human potential of the Netherlands. New measures were soon necessary, measures which Seyss-Inquart adopted.

A decree dated 6th May, 1943, "Verordnungsblatt," 1943, Page 173, ordered the mobilisation of all men from 18 to 35 years of age. I submit this decree to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 75.

[Page 430]

Moreover since the 19th of February, 1943, Seyss-Inquart had issued a decree which permitted his services to take all measures in the utilisation of manpower which he considered to be opportune.

This decree, which appeared in the "Verordnungsblatt" of 1943, has been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 76.

The extent of deportation from Holland in 1943 is attested to by a letter of 16th June, 1943, from Sauckel's representative in the Netherlands. This letter, which bears the French document number 664, is submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 77. I quote:

"In conformity with the census decree of 7th May, the 1920 to 1924 classes have been registered on filing cards. Although this involved very much work it was nevertheless possible to send 22,986 workers to the Reich, and, in addition, the prisoners of war put at our disposal. During the month of June the deficiency of the month of May will be made up.

These classes include, according to the Statistical Service of the Kingdom of Holland, 80,000 each. It is from these classes that transfers to the Reich have been made so far. 446,493 persons have been transferred to the Reich up to 1st June, 1943, and a number of them have returned from there. The figures as per index are as follows:

1921 class, 43,331;
1922 class, 45,354;
1923 class, 47,593;
1924 class, 45,232.

As up to 80 per cent. have been deferred, it is now imperative to begin transporting entire classes to the Reich. The Reich Commissar has given his agreement to this action. The other authorities involved, of Economy, Armament, Agriculture, and the Armed Forces, pressed by necessity, have given their approval."

At the end of the year 1944, the German authorities increased their pressure on the Netherlands. During that period tens of thousands of persons were arrested within two days in Rotterdam. Systematic raids took place in all the larger cities of Holland, sometimes improvised, sometimes after the population had been publicly summoned to appear in places named. I submit to the Tribunal various proclamations of this kind. They form Document 1162-PS, and have already been submitted to the Tribunal by Mr. Dodd. I shall not read them again. I use them in support of my argument and submit them as Exhibit RF 78.

These documents do not reveal isolated facts; they show a systematic policy which the defendants were to pursue up to 5th May, 1945, when the capitulation of Germany brought liberation to the Netherlands.

I still owe the Tribunal a supplementary explanation. The defendants did not stop at introducing compulsory labour service in the occupied territories. I declare that they proceeded to criminal coercion in order to ensure that the mobilisation of foreign workers was carried out. I am going to prove this fact.

The measures taken by the National Socialist authorities to guarantee the forced enlistment of foreign workers cannot be dissociated from the procedures they applied to ensure the so-called voluntary enlistment. The pressure was more violent, but it sprang from the same spirit. The method was to deceive, and, where this proved unsuccessful, to use coercion. The defendants very soon realised that no kind of propaganda would lend the cloak of justice to compulsory labour in the eyes of its victims. If they had any doubts in this respect, these would have been dissipated by the reports of the occupation authorities. The latter were unanimous in their reports of the political trouble provoked by this compulsory enlistment and of the resistance encountered by them. That is why the defendants once again used force in their attempt to ensure that the civilian mobilisation decreed by them was carried out.

First in line among the coercive measures to which the Germans had recourse, I mention the withholding of the ration cards of defaulters. The Tribunal

[Page 431]

knows from the circular letter of Dr. Manfeld, submitted as Exhibit RF 26, that this measure had been proposed since January, 1942, and will recall that by decree of the Fuehrer of 8th September, 1942, which I submitted as Exhibit RF 55, this measure was put into effect. This order provided that food and clothing ration cards were not to be issued to persons incapable of proving that they were working, nor to those who refused to do compulsory work.

Hitler's order was put into effect in all occupied territories. In France, circulars by the occupation authorities prohibited the renewal of ration cards of those French people who had eluded the census of 16th February, 1943. In Belgium, the forfeiture of ration certificates was regulated by an order of the Military Commander. It is the order of 5th March, 1943, published in the "Verordnungsblatt" for Belgium, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 79.

General von Falkenhausen, the signatory of this order, admitted its grave significance during the interrogation, which I have submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 15, and to which I refer again. General von Falkenhausen declared that the defendant Sauckel was the originator of this order, and that he had refused to grant an amnesty proposed by the General. I quote, Page 4 of the French translation, fifth paragraph:

"Q. Does the witness remember an order of 5th March, 1943, by which those refusing to enter the compulsory labour service had their ration cards withdrawn?

A. I do not remember. At the time when the order was issued for men from 18 to 50 years old, the implementing orders were not given by myself but by my offices, and I am not conversant with the details of the application of reprisals. I was not the executive head of the administration. I was above it.

Q. But at that time you were informed of the means of pressure and manner of treatment which the authorities thought fit to employ?

A. I do not wish to deny my responsibility for everything for, after all, I was aware of many things. I remember in particular the order regarding ration cards, because on various occasions I proposed that an amnesty be declared for persons who were obliged to live illegally, and who did not have a ration card.

Q. To whom was this proposal made?

A. To Sauckel, with the consent of President Revert.

Q. What was the attitude taken by Sauckel at that time?

A. He refused to grant such an amnesty."

In Holland likewise the renewal of ration certificates which did not bear the stamp of the labour office was prohibited.

The defendants, however, used a method of coercion which was even more criminal than the forfeiture of ration cards. I refer to the persecution directed against the families of those who refused to do compulsory labour. I call this method criminal, because it is based on the concept of family responsibility, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of the penal law of civilised nations. It was, nevertheless, sanctioned by several legislative texts issued or imposed by the National Socialists.

In France, I quote the law of 11th June, 1943, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 80, with the request that it take judicial notice thereof.

In Belgium, I refer to the order of the Military Commander of 30th April, 1943, and particularly to paragraphs 8 and 9. I submit this order to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 81, with the request that it take judicial notice thereof.

Judicial action by the defendants was likewise directed against the employers and against the officials of the employment bureaux. In France, the action was initiated by two laws of 1st February, 1944. I emphasise that these laws were issued on the same day as the Compulsory Labour Law, and I confirm

[Page 432]

that they were imposed at the same time. In support of my statement, I submit the admission of the defendant Sauckel, in his letter of 25th February, 1944, which I read a little while ago to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 70. I submit to the Tribunal the laws of 1st February, 1944, as Exhibit RF 82, with the request that it be added to the record.

There were still other measures of coercion. One of these, for instance, was the closing of the faculties and schools to defaulting students. It was decreed in Belgium on 28th June, 1943; in France, on 15th July, 1943. In Holland the students were victims of a systematic deportation from February on. I quote in this connection a letter of 4th May, 1943, from the Higher Chief of the S.S. and Police. This is Document 665, which I produce as Exhibit RF 83.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this is a good time to break off.

(A recess was taken.)

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