The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Ninth Day: Tuesday, 16th April, 1946
(Part 10 of 10)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his direct examination of Alfred Rosenberg]

[Page 40]

Q. You are talking here largely about conditions in Germany, which did not come under your jurisdiction. What did you do regarding Koch? Is the memorandum of 16 March, 1943, which has already been mentioned here, a reply to these complaints? In that memorandum you write Koch that he must use only legal means and that he must bring the guilty to justice. Was that a reaction to these reports?

A. Yes, it was a reaction because by December, 1942, there had been quite a number of complaints already.

Q. And what did Koch reply?

A. Koch replied to me that he, for his part, also wanted and would employ legal means, but in the document read today in his report dated March, 1943, he complained several times that I did not always believe these assurances, but that in every case the Ministry for Eastern Affairs not only intervened, but even demanded of him a report on the carrying out of these instructions.

Q. Thus he denied considerable abuses?

A. Yes, he denied considerable abuses. He referred in the document to one particularly serious case, namely, that individual houses had been burned down in Volhynia because those who had been called upon to work had resisted the recruiting by means of force, and he said that he had no other course to take. He added that this case in particular had caused new complaints on the part of the Eastern Ministry.

Q. Was he entitled to such measures, in your opinion?

A. Reich Commissioner Koch had jurisdiction over the execution of all

[Page 41]

orders coming from the highest authoritative departments in the Reich. He was responsible for the execution of all measures and responsible for their execution in the framework of the instructions. He had now, I believe, often overstepped the framework of these instructions and acted on his own initiative in taking, as he thought, exclusively war economic measures. Sometimes I heard of these measures, and often I did not, as appears from the document.

THE PRESIDENT: The question you were asked was whether in your opinion he was entitled to burn houses because people refused to work, and you have given a long answer which seems to me to be no answer to the question.

A. (Continued) In my opinion he did not have the right to burn down houses, and therefore I intervened, and he tried to justify himself.


Q. In order to carry out the labour recruiting, there were to be recruiting measures, which, it is true, had to be carried out with a certain amount of administrative coercion. How far was the coercion permissible? Is there legal and illegal coercion, and how do you judge the measures that were carried out in practice?

A. I myself insisted up until 1943 on a voluntary recruitment. But in the face of the urgent demands from the Fuehrer I could not maintain this stand any longer and I agreed therefore - in order to have a legal form at least - that certain age groups should be called up. From these age groups all those were to be eliminated who were essential in the occupied Eastern Territories, and were working. But the others were to be brought from all parts with the help of their own administrations in the regional commissariat, that is, the little burgomasters in the occupied Eastern Territories, and there is no doubt, of course, in this connection that, so as to give force to these demands, the police stood at the disposal of the administration in the execution of this programme.

Q. If there were abuses, could Koch stop them; did you have no influence in the matter?

A. It was the duty of the Reich Commissioner to whom the regional government of the Ukraine was subordinated to investigate and to take action, in accordance with the instructions which he had received from me.

Q. But why did you go to Sauckel as well? Was it Sauckel s duty also to stop this?

A. Sauckel, as the deputy of the Commissioner for the Four- Year Plan, had the right to give instructions to me, as Minister for Eastern Affairs, and over and above that, he had the right to by-pass me and give instructions to the Reich Commissioners, a right which he used a few times in that he gave lectures in the general districts of the Ukraine and of the Eastern Territories.

Q. Was Sauckel responsible for the conditions in the Ukraine?

A. Sauckel was not responsible for the execution of these demands, but, of course, on the basis of the authority given him by the Fuehrer he made the demands so harsh and exact that the responsible regional governments of the Commissioner-General felt themselves bound to back the recruiting of labour with executive power, as appears for example from the report, Document 265-PS, from the Commissioner-General in Zhitomir, and, I think also, can be seen from the report, I can't give the exact number, from the district commissioner in Kaunas.

Q. Did Sauckel have an organisation of his own?

A. Yes, he had a staff, but I cannot make a statement on the size of it. He took care only that the civil administration had labour divisions attached to it, and his demands as far as civil administration in the East was concerned were handed over to the administrative offices for action. As far as I know, he did not have a large organisation.

Q. Before Sauckel came into your ministry was there not already a depart-

[Page 42]

ment of "Labour," which had its corresponding subordinate departments which were labour offices?

A. I cannot give you a precise answer to that. At any rate, I think a department "Labour and Social Policy" was set up almost at the beginning of the Ministry, but I am not able to tell you the exact date at the moment. Perhaps Dr. Beil's statement will contain some details.

Q. Thus, you are not informed regarding the organisation of this seizure of workers?

A. No, I am informed as far as I have just told you, only I can not give you exact information about the date of the foundation of this main department, "Labour and Social Policy," in the Ministry for Eastern Affairs.

Q. Did labour offices for the occupied Eastern Territories exist which had their head in your ministry?

A. Yes, so far as the main department "Labour and Social Policy" co-operated with the civil administration; that is, both Reich Commissioners had continuous contact and had correspondence with the appropriate department - namely the Labour Office attached to the Reich Commissioner. A correspondence on a lower level, with the general districts, was naturally not carried on, but there was continuous consultation with the appropriate department attached to the Reich Commissioner.

Q. In your letter you speak of "Sauckel offices." What offices do you mean by this?

A. Well, I mean, first of all, his immediate deputy Peuckert, who later, in order to guarantee co-operation with the least possible friction, formally took over the direction of this department. He was only very rarely at the Ministry for Eastern Affairs since he was officially working especially for Sauckel; and apart from that, Sauckel had a few other gentlemen with whom my main department negotiated continuously regarding the reduction of the quotas ...

THE PRESIDENT: Surely, the witness Sauckel will give all this information. What is the good of wasting our time putting it to Rosenberg.

DR. SERVATIUS: It is important in order to ascertain responsibility. Later I cannot call on Rosenberg as a witness again; a number of questions will arise, to which I ...

THE PRESIDENT: I understand that, of course, but these are all details of Sauckel's administration which Sauckel must know himself.

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, but I will have no opportunity later on to question the witness Rosenberg regarding the consequences of the organisations, namely, who was responsible, who had the right to supervise, who had the duty to intervene. Why were letters addressed to individuals? Did he have to react to them? One cannot understand that, if one does not ask the witness ... if he is not first asked about it. I would suggest that the witness Rosenberg should be called again in connection with Sauckel's case, after Sauckel has spoken; that would save time.

THE PRESIDENT: There is no issue with the prosecution about it. If there is no issue with the prosecution, then Sauckel's evidence about it will be quite sufficient.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, the witness Rosenberg, in his letter - in a letter addressed to Sauckel - mentioned the fact that his offices were using those methods which had been objected to, Since, in my opinion, such offices did not exist, and thus Rosenberg was addressing the wrong person, I must establish what offices there really were. It is a complaint about conditions that were distasteful to Rosenberg and he addressed himself to Sauckel instead of Koch.

THE PRESIDENT: Ask him some direct question, will you?


Q. What did Sauckel do upon receiving the letter you addressed to him?

[Page 43]

A. I didn't receive a letter in reply to it, but I heard that Sauckel at a meeting of his labour offices in Weimar went into these complaints in detail and that he tried to do his best to remove the grounds for these complaints.

Q. Did not that meeting take place a fortnight later, that is, on 6 January, 1943, and were you not present also?

A. Possibly. I spoke at a meeting in Weimar once; whether or not it was this one, I am not able to say.

Q. Did you hear Sauckel's speech at this meeting?

A. No, I have no recollection of it.

Q. Did you get the speech in writing later?

A. I cannot remember that either.

DR. SERVATIUS: Later on I want to submit the speech as a document in connection with Sauckel's case. I have a number of further questions.

Q. Did other departments, too, in the occupied territory, concern themselves with the seizure of labourers?

A. Yes. I received indeed some reports that also the so- called Todt Organisation engaged workers for the carrying out of their technical tasks, and I think also the railway administration and other offices in the East were making efforts to get new workers for themselves.

Q. Is it not correct that the armed forces were demanding workers, that workers were demanded for road construction, were needed by the domestic industry, and that there was a general effort to keep manpower at home and not let it go to Germany?

A. That is correct, and it is understandable in itself that the armed forces, the Todt Organisation and other offices wanted to keep at home as many labourers as possible for the growing amount of work there, and they probably did not like to give any of their workers up either. That is understandable.

Q. Sauckel repeatedly pointed out that workers must be produced under all circumstances and that all obstacles to their production must be removed. Did that refer to the resistance of the local offices which did not want to give up these workers?

A. It certainly referred to this and in a conference which I had with Sauckel in 1943, and which is also in evidence as a document here, but which was not submitted today, reference was made to it. Sauckel stated that by order of the Fuehrer he would have to raise a large number of new workers in the East and that in this connection, he was thinking particularly of the armed forces who had been, as he expressed it, hoarding workers who could have been actively employed in Germany.

Q. Did Sauckel have anything to do with the seizure of workers, which took place in connection with the Germanising of the East?

A. I cannot quite understand this question. What do you mean in this case by "Germanising"?

Q. The S.S. undertook the re-settlement in the East. In connection with this was manpower transferred? Was this manpower allotted to Sauckel upon his request?

A. First of all I do not know exactly what re-settlement you are talking about.

Q. A report has been presented to me which concerns the Jews who were sent into Polish territory. I assume that they reached your territory, too. Do you not know about that?

A. Based on my own knowledge, I can only say that this concentration of the Jewish population from Eastern Germany in certain cities and camps in the East was carried out under the jurisdiction of the Chief of the German Police, who also had this assignment for the occupied Eastern Territories. In connection with the re-settlement in camps and with the concentrations in certain

[Page 44]

quarters of the city, there probably also developed a shortage of labour. I merely do not know what that has to do with Germanisation.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Before we adjourn, I should like to know what the position is about the defendant Frank's documents. Does anybody know anything about that?

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I wish to say that in so far as we are concerned, we have been in consultation with Dr. Seidl for the defendant Frank as well as the representatives of the Soviet prosecuting staff. We are prepared to be heard at any time that the Tribunal would care to hear us on the documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then, Dr. Thoma, how many more witnesses have you got and how long do you think you will be in the defendant Rosenberg's case?

DR. THOMA: I have only one witness, your Honours, the witness Riecke. I believe that, as far as I am concerned, he can be examined in one hour at the most; I do not think it will take as long as that. After that, it depends on the cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Yes, then you may finish the defendant Rosenberg's case tomorrow.

DR. THOMA: It depends upon the cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, of course. Then, Dr. Seidl, will you be able to go on at once in Frank's case? Supposing we finish Rosenberg tomorrow - tomorrow is Wednesday, is it not? Will you be able to go on on Thursday morning in Frank's case?

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I can start with Frank's case as soon as Rosenberg's case is finished. As far as the documents are concerned, there was difficulty regarding only one document and I have forgone the presentation of this one document.

But apart from that, these documents are only those which have in a large degree already been presented by the other side.

THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one document in question, we can hear you upon it now. As I understand you, you have only one document about which there is any difference of opinion.

DR. SEIDL: That has been settled already; because I have given up presentation of this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. There is no further difference of opinion.

DR. SEIDL: There is no further difference of opinion.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, then, you are perfectly ready to go on?


THE PRESIDENT: Have the documents been translated yet?

DR. SEIDL: As far as I know, they have already all been translated.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, thank you.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 17 April, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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