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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-First Day: Wednesday, 29th May, 1946
(Part 3 of 9)

[DR. SERVATIUS continues his direct examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 101]


Q. If you go through that document you will see that Rosenberg complains about the methods used by your agents and assistants. What are these agencies for which you are being made responsible here?

A. There is an error in this letter on the part of Rosenberg, because it was not I who had offices there, but the Reich Commissioner.

Q. In other words, you are saying that he addressed himself to the wrong person?

A. Yes.

Q. Then will you put that document aside.

A. Rosenberg writes on Page 2: "I empowered the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine - "

Q. You assume, therefore that the writer of this letter did not himself know exactly how the authorities in his territory were divided?

A. Yes, that was quite possible, because I myself had only been in office a short time.

Q. What did you do as a result of the complaint which Rosenberg made? Did you do anything at all?

A. After receipt of his letter I had a discussion with Rosenberg immediately. Since it was shortly before Christmas, 21st December, 1942, I called, by telegram, a meeting at Weimar for 6th January, to which representatives of various offices in the East wore invited. I also invited Reich Minister Rosenberg to that meeting. And at that conference, these officials were again clearly and plainly told that it was their duty to use correct and legal methods.

DR. SERVATIUS: In that connection I would like to refer to Document S-82. It is in Sauckel Document Book No. 3, Page 207. I submit the handbook itself, which contains a number of documents.

I quote one sentence from the speech which Sauckel made there before 800 people who were employed in the Arbeitseinsatz programme, about the principles of recruiting.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say 800?

DR. SERVATIUS: Page 206.

THE PRESIDENT: It is 8,000 in my copy. Isn't it 8,000?

DR. SERVATIUS: The third book, Page 206 Document Number 82.

THE PRESIDENT: I am looking at Document Number 82. I thought you said 800 men were employed. I am looking at the beginning of Document 82.

DR. SERVATIUS: It begins on Page 204. He spoke before 800 people, not 8,000. It should be 800. That is a mistake in the translation of the document.


DR. SERVATIUS: The following is stated here:

"Principles of Our Recruiting:

(1) Where the voluntary method fails (and experience shows that it fails everywhere) compulsory service takes its place."

I omit a few sentences:
"It is bitter to tear people from their homeland, from their children. But we did not want the war. The German child who loses its father at the front, the German wife who mourns her husband killed in battle, suffers far more. Let us abandon every false sentiment now."
THE PRESIDENT: You have left out some of the document, have you not?

DR. SERVATIUS: I did not quite understand.

THE PRESIDENT: You have left out some of the document.

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, I omitted some sentences and I said so. But I can read all of it.

[Page 102]

THE, PRESIDENT: I only mean on Page 206. I did not mean the whole document. On Page 206 you have just left out two sentences.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have four sentences there. I will read them again:

"Where the voluntary method fails, compulsory service takes its place."
Then I omitted two sentences, which I shall now read:
"This is the iron law for the employment of labour in 1943: In a few weeks from now there must no longer be an occupied territory in which compulsory service for Germany is not the most natural thing in the world."
THE PRESIDENT: Did you not also leave out the words "experience shows that it fails everywhere"?

DR. SERVATIUS: I read that the first time; I wanted to save time.

"We are going to discard the last remnants of our silly talk about humanitarian ideals. Every additional gun which we procure brings us a minute closer to victory. It is bitter to tear people from their homeland, from their children. But we did not want the war. The German child who loses its father at the front, the German wife who mourns her husband killed in battle, suffers far more. Let us abandon every false sentiment now.

Let us be guided by the realization that in the long run a high output can be demanded of foreign workers only if they are satisfied with their lot. I will not tolerate that human beings are treated badly.

(3) Under no circumstances are you, as the recruiting commission abroad, permitted to promise things which, according to the directives and regulations issued, are not possible and cannot be carried out on account of the war. It is much better to introduce labour conscription and say: 'You must take this upon yourselves and in return you will enjoy the rights of the workers employed in Germany.' Anyone who works in Germany has a right to live in Germany, even if he is a Bolshevist. We shall watch very carefully to ensure that the German name is not sullied. You can demand of me any protection in your field of work, but none for any crimes. The name of our nation is holy. For the first time in German history you must represent for the Reich the principles of German labour. Be conscious of that at all times."


Q. Apart from the information which you received from Rosenberg, did you receive any other reports concerning recruiting methods?

A. Apart from the information from Rosenberg and his letter of that time I did not receive any other direct complaints. But I had issued emphatic orders that any complaints received by my office were to be immediately forwarded to the competent Reich authorities for investigation, punishment, and elimination of the deficiencies. I should like to state this: My office received many complaints for which I was competent. But those were complaints about insufficient workers provided by me. It was my duty to correct this. For the correction of inadequacies m the administration, fur eliminating unjust measures in various fields or various agencies, I was not competent. The Reich offices themselves were competent in that respect.

Q. But it should have been of great interest to you what happened there. Did you not hear anything of these incidents? Was not anything reported to you?

A. That I was interested from a humane and personal point of view can be seen from the fact that I was concerned about these things although they were not within my competence.

Q. But you spoke here about one case in which it was reported to you that a cinema had been surrounded. Perhaps you remember that case?

A. On the occasion of a visit to Field Marshal Kluge I heard from him that he had been informed that in the area of his army or army group, a cinema had been surrounded and the people attending the cinema had been brought to Germany to

[Page 103]

work. I immediately had that case most carefully investigated, and the investigation took three months. Witnesses can testify to that when they appear here. The result of the investigation was the following: it was not a case of labour recruitment for Germany but the facts were these: a construction group near Rovno was celebrating in that theatre the end of one of its tasks, and in the middle of that celebration the order was received that this group had to be used for   new job at a different place of work. The manager thereupon interrupted the celebration in a very drastic way by authorising the immediate transportation of these workers by the police. So that, of course, had nothing to do with my task and my organization, but it took me three months to discover the true facts of this complaint by Field Marshal Kluge. In every case where such complaints came to my attention I investigated and dealt with them and condemned them, because they did not help me.

Q. We will leave this matter of recruitment now and turn to the question of the transportation of these people to Germany. Who was responsible for their transportation?

A. For the transportation the German Reichsbahn and the offices designated in my Directive No. 4, regional offices and regional labour departments were responsible. Immediately upon assuming my office, I had a detailed discussion with Dr. Dorpmuller, Reich Minister of Transport, his State Secretary, Dr. Ganzenmuller, and before him Dr. Kleinmuller, and reached an agreement with the Minister that the transportation of workers to Germany should be carried out in a smooth manner, that the transport trains should be supplied with food for the duration of the journey, that if Russians were included in these transports, the cars should, under no circumstances, be overcrowded and that, if at all possible, coaches should be used for these transports. We agreed on this, though the Reich Minister of Transport said that he could not be expected to provide the people with better transport than the German soldiers, but he could at least guarantee that the cars would not be overcrowded.

Q. You have seen the Molotov report, that is Document USSR-51. You know its contents, describing the conditions of these transports, saying that the cars were overcrowded, that the dying were thrown out, and left lying on the tracks, and that newly born children died immediately. Were such conditions reported to you or did you hear of them in your official position?

A. Such incidents were not reported to me in my official position and they could not possibly have involved worker transports of my office.

Q. What kind of transports could they have been, then?

A. As far as I could determine from the proceedings here, they must have been transports of inmates of concentration camps who were being evacuated. I do not know it positively but I cannot explain it otherwise because I would not tolerate such conditions under any circumstances, nor did I hear of them. Such conditions were of no advantage to us.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is that document, USSR-51?

DR. SERVATIUS: Document USSR-51, is the official report which I received in printed form. I have a printed German copy. I assume that it has been submitted to the Tribunal already. If not, I shall obtain it and submit it myself.

THE PRESIDENT: If it has got the number USSR-51, it must have been submitted to the Tribunal. That is the exhibit number. I wonder whether it has some other number by which we can identify it.

DR. SERVATIUS: The prosecution handed me Document 054-PS; that is Exhibit USA 198. That is in the "English Slave Labour Book" No. 13.


There, on Page 4, mention is made of a return transport and in connection with it very bad conditions are described and censured.

[Page 104]

The passage begins
"Very depressing effects on the morale of the skilled workers and the population are caused, above all, by people returning from Germany in a condition unfit for work, and those who had already been unfit before they came to Germany."
A. These can only be incidents which -

THE PRESIDENT: We have not had the question yet, have we? The question did not come through, I think.

DR. SERVATIUS: I will put the question again.

In this document mention is made of return transports from Germany to the East and two transports are criticized on account of the catastrophic conditions which are described.

I quote from the document:

"Very depressing effects on the morale of the skilled workers and the population are caused, above all, by people returning from Germany in a condition unfit for work and those who had already been unfit before they came to Germany. Several times already transports of skilled workers on their way to Germany have passed returning transports of such unfit persons and have stood on the tracks alongside of each other for quite a long while. On account of the insufficient care given in these returning transports (sick, injured or weak people, fifty to sixty to a car, often many days without sufficient care and food, because usually escorted by only three or four men), through frequently very unfavourable - even though surely exaggerated - statements of these repatriates on their treatment in Germany and en route, added to what the people could see with their own eyes, a psychosis of fear developed among the skilled workers and others on their way to Germany. Several transport heads, especially those of the 62nd and the 63rd transport, reported details in this connection. In one case the head of the transport of skilled workers observed with his own eyes how a person who had died of hunger was deposited on the side track from a returning transport. (1st Lt. Hofmann of the 63rd transport, Station Darnitza.) On another occasion it was reported that en route three dead - "
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need read all of this to the defendant. He probably knows it and he can give his answer upon it.


Q. You can see the reference to this report, will you comment on it?

A. Concerning this report, may I say the following: These terrible conditions had to be investigated at once by the local authorities concerned. A report about the result of the investigation did not reach me. This report here was also not made to me. I may point out that the transportation to Germany of sick people unfit for work was strictly prohibited by me, because that would have been a crime and, economically speaking, an impossible situation. I could not possibly say who returned these transports. It was also not established what kind of transports they really were. The report describes conditions which already existed before I came into office. I, personally - and I should like to emphasize this particularly - issued decrees according to which sick people or pregnant women .... I personally issued orders that if a return transport of sick people were necessary, the German Red Cross was to furnish personnel to accompany these people all the way back to their native town. These orders can be found among the collection of laws. Such terrible cases of neglect and crime are, therefore, in open contradiction to the clear regulations issued by the German labour authorities.

Q. Did you not install Bad Frankenthal for sick people who could not return?

A. In my own Gau it was not Bad Frankenthal but Bad Frankenhausen at the Kyffhaeuser which I made available for sick Soviet workers, and in addition, I had a large school set aside in Edendorf near Weimar, with one hundred beds for

[Page 105]

typhoid patients and Russian prisoners of war. So on my own initiative, I myself did everything possible to help in dealing with cases of sickness. It was also prohibited to return people while they were in a sick condition.

THE PRESIDENT: We had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. When the workers arrived in Germany -

A. (Interposing) May I say something about Document 54 to supplement my testimony? It is very important.

Q. Yes.

A. On Page 5, near the centre of the page, I should like to call your attention to the following sentence of the reporter, this is a report within a military authority:

"These extreme incidents which took place in transports in the first few months, did not, to our knowledge, repeat themselves in the summer."
In the first months of the year 1942, I was not even in office, and my programme did not commence until May. In the summer of that year, as it is correctly stated here, an end was put to this state of affairs.

Furthermore, I should like to call attention in the same document, 054-PS, I believe on Page 10, to a copy of a letter of complaint which says:

"As I informed you m my letter of 20th April, '42."
It is evident therefore that this letter deals with complaints about conditions which must have appeared before I assumed office.

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