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 4 of 9)

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

[Page 105]

Q. I was going to ask you about the arrival of workers in Germany. What happened when a transport arrived in Germany?

A. Upon their arrival in Germany the people of the transport had not only to be properly received but also to be medically examined again and checked at a transit camp. One examination had to be made at the time and place of recruitment, and another examination took place at another point before the frontier.

Thus, from the time of recruitment until the time of placement three medical examinations and checks had according to my directives to be made.

Q. What were the transit camps?

A. These transit camps were camps in which the various transports of people were merged at the boundary and where they were examined and registered in the proper manner.

Q. I submit Document UK-39 to you. I have not the exhibit number.

THE PRESIDENT: It is a British exhibit?

DR. SERVATIUS: I could not establish whether it already has an exhibit number, I shall have to check on that. At any rate, it was given to me.

THE PRESIDENT: You gave the Number UK-39?


THE PRESIDENT: It must be a British exhibit number, must it not?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The series is not a British exhibit; our exhibits are "GB." It is an earlier series of documents that we have prepared. But we will try to find out.

BY DR. SERVATIUS: If you will look at this document, it is a letter of the Reich Security Main Office dated 18th January, 1943 concerning "Concentration Camp Herzogenbosch."

Then it says: "This camp will be equipped as a transit and reception camp."

Was that a place to which your workers were sent?

A. The manpower mobilization had nothing at all to do with these camps and concentration camps. This was not a transit camp for workers but was obviously

[Page 106]

a transit camp of a concentration camp. These were not at all known to me, I never had to and never did concern myself with such transports and transit camps; and I would not have done it.

Q. A report of the French Government was submitted here, it is UK-78 and French Document No. FR-274. The heading is "Third Study," it is a very comprehensive report, I shall quote from my notes. The report contains the following, roughly:

"Immediately upon their arrival the workers were taken to these real slave markets which were called sorting houses. The living conditions there were miserable."
Is that one of your transit camps which is so described?

A. That is absolutely impossible; such a camp never existed.

Q. How was the distribution of the workers carried out in practice? I refer once more to the Molotov report, Exhibit USSR-51. The Soviet Delegation says here that this document was submitted under that exhibit number. The report says that the workers were taken to the slave market and were sold for ten to fifteen marks. What do you have to say to that?

A. I believe every German employer who received these workers, either in agriculture or in war industry, is a witness to the fact that a procedure of this sort never took place in any form, that it was quite inconceivable to institute such slave markets through the authority of the Reich Ministry of Labour, but that these workers who passed through a National Socialist office of the Labour Mobilization programme received exactly the same contracts and conditions as the German workers themselves, with various changes, but in no case were they put to work like slaves without rights or pay, without contract, without sickness insurance, or without accident insurance. That may be seen from the numerous directives and decrees which were issued for every nation involved by the Reich Labour Ministry and by me.

Q. What were the general living conditions of foreign workers in Germany?

A. The general living conditions of foreign workers in Germany, as far as they were recruited through the Office of Labour Mobilization, were exactly the same as those of German workers who were in camps. Living conditions were dependent on the circumstances of war and, in contrast with peacetime, were subject to the same limitations as applied to the German population. The adjutant of Herr von Schirach, a man unknown to me, who appeared here as a witness yesterday, described conditions in Vienna and these conditions existed in other German cities too.

Q. What were the security measures in these camps?

A. In the camps themselves?

Q. Well, I mean generally.

A. The security measures were the responsibility of the police, not mine, .because the camps were subordinate to the various industries and the German Labour Front (DAF).

Q. Now, I submit Document EC-68. It contains directives which were issued by the Farm Association of the Land Baden regarding the treatment of Poles in Germany. This is Exhibit USA-205, to be found in the book "Slave Labour," Document No. 4. I shall now read the beginning of this document, which, of course, you have seen already; it says there:

"The offices of the Reich Food Administration (Reichsnaehrstand) Farm Association of the Land Baden, have received with great satisfaction the result of the negotiations with the Higher SS and Police Leader in Stuttgart on 14th February, 1941. Appropriate memoranda have already been turned over to the District Farm Associations. Below I promulgate the individual regulations, as they were laid down during the conference and are now to be applied

1. Fundamentally, farm workers of Polish nationality no longer have the right to complain and thus no complaints may be accepted by any official agency.

[Page 107]

2. Farm workers of Polish nationality may no longer leave the localities in which they are employed."
Now, I shall omit some points, and just confine myself to the vital parts. I turn to Point 5:
"Visits to theatres, cinemas or other cultural entertainment are strictly prohibited for farm workers of Polish nationality."
Other regulations follow, prohibiting use of the railway, and under No. 12 there is a vital provision:
"Every employer of Polish farm workers has the right of administering chastisement."
Please comment on this document and tell us to what extent you approve of it.

A. First of all, I should like to point out that this document is dated 6th March, 1941, that is, more than a year before I assumed office. Such a nonsensical and impossible decree never came to my attention during my term of office. But since I am now being confronted with the document and am seeing it, I should like to refer to my own decrees which I issued entirely independently of the past, and whereby such decrees were automatically revoked. In order to prevent such nonsensical decrees, issued by some agency in the Reich from being effective, I had my decrees collected and published in a manual in which it says .... Because of the time factor and because of my respect for the Tribunal, I cannot ask that the Tribunal look at all of them, but they are in direct contradiction to such views; and I would like to ask that I be permitted to quote just one sentence from the manifesto already referred to which is directed against such nonsense and against the misuse of manpower, and which refers particularly to my directives for fair treatment; it reads as follows:

" ... these orders and directives as well as their supplements are to be brought very emphatically to the attention of the employers and directors of camps for foreign nationals as well as their personnel at least four times a year by the State labour offices. Actual adherence to them is to be constantly supervised."
Does the manifesto end with that?

A. That is a paragraph from the manifesto which refers specifically to my orders prescribing just and humane treatment, sufficient food and free time, and so forth.

Q. You issued a great number of directives. Did you observe any resistance toward your basic rulings, and if so, what did you do?

A. Of course, as soon as I noticed resistance, I drew attention and stressed my decrees, because they had been approved by the Fuehrer upon my recommendations for my field of activity.

Q. As far as care and welfare were concerned, did the DAF (German Labour Front) play a special role? And what was the task of the DAF?

A. The task of the DAF was to care for German workers and look after their interests. In this capacity, it had to concern itself, as a matter of course, with the welfare of foreign workers. That was its ordinary task, and at the same time it had a corrective influence upon the National Labour Administration, an influence similar to that exerted by the trade unions upon State Control, as far as there is one, in other countries.

Q. What tasks did the employers (Betriebsfuehrer) have?

A. The employers had the task of regulating the total production of their enterprises and, of course, they were fully responsible for their workers and the foreign workers who had been assigned to them.

Q. Were they primarily responsible or was the German Labour Front responsible?

A. The employers were primarily responsible, according to the law regulating German labour.

Q. Now, the workers were mostly housed in camps. Who supervised and controlled the arrangements of these camps?

A. The arrangements of these camps were supervised by the Deutsche Gewer-

[Page 108]

beaufsicht (German Trade Supervision Office) which vas under the German Labour Ministry. The Trade Supervision Office had the authority and power to force employers who failed to comply with the orders of the Reich Minister of Labour to adhere to them.

Q. Did you yourself issue any orders or decrees concerning the camps?

A. I personally issued orders pertaining to the camps, but they could only be put into effect and supervised by the German Labour Minister.

Q. So much about the arrangements of the camps. Now, what were the living conditions within the camps? Who was responsible for them?

A. In the camps themselves the camp commandants were responsible. The camp commandant was appointed by agreement between the DAF and the employer, and to my knowledge - this was not within the range of my duties - his appointment had to be confirmed and accepted by the security agency.

Q. You are speaking of the security agency. To what extent was the police active in the surveillance of these camps, the maintenance of discipline and such matters?

A. Surveillance of the camp and maintenance of discipline was the task of the camp commandant, and had nothing to do with the police. The police had, as I believe is true in every country, surveillance and control rights as regards espionage and the secrecy of the plant, etc. Beyond that, the police had nothing to do with the camp.

Q. Were these camps shut off from the outside world? What was the situation in that respect when you assumed office?

A. When I assumed office, the camps, particularly of the Eastern workers, were very much shut off from the world, and fenced in with barbed wire. To me, this was incompatible with the principle of employing productive and willing workers and, with all the personal energy I could muster, I succeeded in having the fences and barbed wire removed and I also reduced the limitations on free time of Eastern workers outside the camp, so that the picture which was presented here yesterday could eventually be realised. Anything else would have been incompatible, technically speaking, with the workers' willingness to work which I wanted.

Q. Now the food problem, what was the food of these foreign workers?

A. The feeding of the foreign workers corresponded to the system that applied to the feeding of the German people, and accordingly additional rations were allotted to people doing heavy, heaviest, or over-time work.

Q. Did this situation exist when you assumed office?

A. When I assumed office and received the order from the Fuehrer that, in addition to the foreign workers who were already in the Reich, I was to bring in further quotas into the Reich, the first step which I took was to visit the Reich Food Minister, for to me it was obvious that bringing in foreign workers was in the first place a feeding problem; poorly fed workers, even if they want to, cannot turn out satisfactory work. I had many detailed conversations with him and by referring to the Reich Marshal and the Fuehrer I succeeded in securing a proper diet for the workers and a law fixing food quotas. It was not easy to do this, because the food situation even for Germans was always strained, but without these measures it would not have been possible for me also from a personal point of view to carry through my task.

Q. Details of the food situation were mentioned here which would justify the assumption that extremely bad conditions existed. Was nothing of this sort brought to your attention? Or did you not yourself hear anything?

A. As far as bad feeding conditions in the cork camps of civilian labourers are concerned, I never had any very unfavourable reports. I, personally, made repeated efforts to have this matter in particular constantly controlled. The employers themselves took the problem of food very seriously.

Q. Did you not, in a decree and letter to the Gau labour offices and the Gauleiter, deal with the subject of good treatment of foreigners, and did you not on that occasion criticise existing conditions?

[Page 109]

A. Immediately after I assumed office, when the Gauleiter were appointed Plenipotentiary for Labour in their Gaue, I called their attention to the food question and ordered them to give their attention to the problem of food and shelter. I had word from two Gaue that my directives were not being taken seriously enough. In one case I immediately travelled to Essen personally and remedied the situation there - it concerned the barbed wire - and in the other case in eastern Bavaria I also intervened personally.

Besides that I used these two incidents to write to the Gauleiter and to the governments of the German States and again stress the importance of adhering to these decrees.

DR. SERVATIUS: I am referring to Document I9, in the English Book I, Page 54, Document Sauckel 19.


DR. SERVATIUS: This is Document No. 19, in the first Document Book, Page 54. Only a portion of this is reproduced. In a circular to all the Gau Labour offices and Gauleiter, it says the following:

"If in a Gau district the statement 'if any one in the Gau has to freeze this winter, the first ones to freeze should he the Russians' (that is, the Russian civilian labourers employed for work in the Gau), if a statement of the sort can still be made, as it was made recently, such an utterance shows plainly that in that region of the Gau the contact between the administrative office: of labour mobilization and the competent political offices is as yet not close enough; for it is one of the most important tasks in the mobilization of labour and in the collaboration between you and the Gauleiter as my deputies for the mobilization of labour, to see to it that the foreign labour recruited for work in the German armament industry and food economy be looked after in such manner as to enable it to give the maximum in efficiency. It would therefore be entirely wrong to think of protection against want only for German fellow countrymen, and to be unhesitatingly satisfied with inadequate provisions for labourers of foreign origin. On the contrary, it is imperative to be constantly aware of the fact that in order to bring about victory, a maximum of efficiency must be demanded not only of the German fellow countrymen but also of the foreign workers, and that it would be absurd to bring foreign workers into the country at considerable expense, set them to work for the German economy, and then to fail in their proper care, with a resultant decline or even ruin of their efficiency."
In conclusion there follows a reminder to comply with the decrees of Sauckel.


Q. What was the situation with regard to the clothing of foreign workers?

A. The clothing of foreign workers from the Western regions gave us relatively little trouble, for these workers were well supplied with clothing, and were also compensated for their clothing. But the clothing of the Eastern workers was a problem. On behalf of the Eastern workers I applied to the Reich Minister of Economy for a quota of clothing, and provided one and a half million workers with all necessary under and outer clothing. 10,000 workers were required to supply this quota of clothing, as well as 30,000 tons of raw materials. Thus, all possible concern was given to the question of clothing, and this clothing was actually issued.

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