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-Second Day: Thursday, 30th May, 1946
(Part 3 of 10)

[M. HERZOG continues his cross examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 140]

Q. "Answer: In 1941 or 1942 Speer instituted his representatives for manpower."
I would merely ask you what you understand by that phrase. What did you mean when you said that "in 1941 or 1942 Speer instituted his representatives for manpower"?

A. I have to say, in this connection, that I never again saw the minutes after I had been interrogated. I cannot confirm this phrase about 1941-42 and I cannot imagine that I expressed myself in that way during the interrogation.

Q. The Tribunal will judge your answer. Is it correct that besides your representatives with the civil and military commanders, you installed administrative offices for manpower in the occupied territories?

A. That is not correct. They were already there.

Q. You confirm there that besides the delegates who represented you, there were recruiting agencies for manpower in the occupied territories?

[Page 141]

A. Yes. In the occupied territories, with all regional authorities, either civilian or military, there were departments dealing with manpower which were a part of the administrative set-up, and they were subordinate to the administration authorities.

Q. Can you give an indication of the size of the personnel of those various services in the occupied areas?

A. Do you mean the total number? I cannot tell you from memory the separate figures for the personnel of these administrative offices. I never have known these figures exactly.

Q. Do you remember the conference which took place with you as chairman on 15th and 16th July, 1944, at Wartburg, between the Heads of the Regional Labour Offices and the general delegates from the European occupied territories? On 13th July, 1944, in the afternoon, State Counsellor Borger gave an account of the personnel employed.

M. HERZOG: It is French Document 810, which I put in under the number of 1507.


Q. I will read on page 20. "Counsellor of State Borger. - Outside the frontiers of the Reich there are 4,000 people engaged in the administration of manpower/eastern area, 1,300; France, 1,016; Belgium and Northern France, 429; Netherlands, 194." Do you confirm this statement of Counsellor of State Borger?

A. Yes, in general it may be true.

Q. Apart from your representatives, apart from those services that we were talking about, did you not create, in France, commissions composed of specialists who were entrusted with organising the employment of manpower on the German pattern? ... Would you please answer?

A. I did not quite understand the question. Please repeat it.

Q. I shall repeat it. Apart from your representatives, apart from the services that we have been talking about, did you not create, in France particularly, commissions composed of specialists who were entrusted with organising the recruiting and the employment of manpower on the German pattern?

A. I told my defence counsel yesterday that I worked in collaboration with French units for recruiting manpower.

Q. That is not what I mean. I am talking about commissions composed of specialists. Do you not remember that, in order to ensure the recruiting of manpower in France, you thought of the system of attaching two French departements to a German Gau?

A. I recall now what you mean. This was the system of adoption arranged in agreement with the French Government, according to which a German Gau adopted a French departement. The main object was to inform the workers who were to come to Germany about conditions in Germany and to have mutual talks with the economic offices of the French departments about statistics.

M. HERZOG: I hand to the Tribunal Document 1293-PS, which becomes French Exhibit RF 1508.


Q. It is a letter bearing your signature, dated Berlin, 14th August, 1943, of which I shall read extracts.

M. HERZOG: The Tribunal will find it in the Document Book which I handed to them at the beginning of this session.


Q. I shall first read the last paragraph on page 1.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid I have not got it - 1293?

[Page 142]

M. HERZOG: Mr. President, the documents which figure in my Document Book were handed to the Tribunal this morning - unless I am making a mistake, for which I apologise in advance - in the order in which I intend to use them.

THE PRESIDENT: I have one. 1292, is that right?

M. HERZOG: I have attached a slip only to those documents which I think I shall use several times so that the Tribunal could find them more easily. May I now begin to read?

THE PRESIDENT: I am sorry but the documents had not been handed up to me, that is all. None of them had been handed up.


Q. I am reading at the bottom of Page 1:

"The solving of these two great manpower problems demands the immediate setting up of a stronger and better German organization of manpower in France, possessing the necessary powers and means. This will be done by a system of adoption by German provinces. France has got about 80 departements. Greater Germany is divided into 42 political Gaue and for the procurement of manpower it is divided into 42 labour office districts. Each German district will take over and adopt say two French departements. Each German district will furnish for these departements a commission of specialists, made up of the ablest and most reliable experts. These commissions will organize the employment of manpower in these adopted departements according to the German pattern."
I continue reading at the bottom of Page 2 of the French text. That is Page 3 of the German translation:
"There is no doubt that this projected system of adoption by German Gaue for the employment of French manpower in Germany, and especially the necessary transformation in the interest of Germany of French civilian workers into workers for the German armament industries in France, will bring enormous advantages."
I am passing to the bottom of Page 3 of the French text. I am reading No. d2:
"The Central German Labour Office in Paris, that is, the representative of the Plenipotentiary and his office."
You told me a short while ago that the German offices for the recruitment of Labour in the occupied territories were not under you as Plenipotentiary for Labour but depended on the local authorities. How do you explain this phrase?

A. It can be explained very simply. These men in the labour department were subordinate to the military Commanders-in-Chief. They were sent from Germany and they were taken from the Labour Offices and put into the administration.

Q. You say "the Central German Labour Office in Paris," that is the representative of the Plenipotentiary and his Offices. The Central German Labour Office in Paris was therefore your representative?

A. The Central German Labour Office in Paris was a part of the civilian administration of the military Commander-in-Chief of France. This is not expressed in this sentence, for I took it for granted that the Gauleiter knew this; and the position as I explained it is entirely correct.

Q. I shall continue reading:

"The Central German Labour Office in Paris" - that is, the representative of the Plenipotentiary and his office - "will therefore have in the whole of France a reliable apparatus which will make it a great deal easier for him to solve the problems in France, in spite of any potential or even real passive resistance on the part of French bureaucracy at all levels."
I omit two lines.

[Page 143]

"I have therefore charged the presidents or the leading commissars of the newly formed Gau Labour Offices to set up a corresponding organization in the departements which they have adopted, and I request you, as my Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, in agreement with Reichsleiter Bormann, to promote and give your fullest support to the new task allotted to your Gau Labour Office. The president or the leading commissar of your Gau Labour Office will keep you informed of all details concerning the carrying out of these measures."
Are not these measures an attempt to subordinate French territory to German territory as far as the organization of labour is concerned?

A. Yes. But I should like to ask you and the High Tribunal to be permitted to submit the following in explanation. On the first Page, paragraph 1 - I quote from the third line - it says, " ... with the full consent of the Fuehrer I have been charged to take far-reaching and urgent measures in France when negotiating with the head of the French Government and the competent" - now comes the important part - "German administrative offices," that is, the military Commander- in-Chief with whom these Labour Authorities and this delegate were incorporated and to whom they were subordinate.

And on Page 4, I should like to read, "The special purpose of this adoption system should not be unfriendliness" - I am reading from Page 4 in the German text, under the letter "A' - "prejudice, suspicion, lack of care, failure to redress and take care of complaints" - that is, complaints by the workers - "which are prejudicial to the employment of manpower in Germany, all of these things can be practically eliminated by the relations between the Gau and the adopted departement."

Now I am reading under Point B:

"Every French worker in such departement knows exactly where and under what conditions he will have to work in Germany. German propaganda and notices will tell him about the locality in which he will have to work, and about all matters which are of interest to him."
And that was the purpose of that arrangement. It was something favourable, something I wanted to do for the French workers, while looking after German interests.

Q. Please answer me "yes" or "no." Was this arrangement an attempt to bring about a joint administration between the French departements and the German Gaue as far as the employment of labour was concerned? Answer me "yes" or "no."

A. No. I should like to give an explanation here. The purpose of this scheme was to clear up unsolved problems between the French Government, between the French departements between French industrialists and factories on the one hand, and the administrative offices in Germany where the French workers were to be put to work. That was the real purpose - to settle complaints and clear away mistrust.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Defendant, is it true that your co-defendant Goering placed under your control all the organizations of the Central Office of the Four-Year Plan which were concerned with the recruiting of labour?

A. The various organizations of the Four-Year Plan which had to do with manpower were dissolved. Departments five and six of the Ministry of Labour continued to deal exclusively with these matters.

Q. Is it true that the powers of the Minister of Labour concerning the employment of labour were transferred to you, and that as a result of this transfer, you had powers to issue regulations and to legislate?

[Page 144]

A. Only in so far as the work of Departments three and five was connected with my own task. Otherwise the functions of the Ministry of Labour remained independent, under the Reich Minister for Labour.

Q. But within this department you exerted the powers of the Reich Minister of Labour, before your appointment; that is to say, as Plenipotentiary for Labour?

A. Within my department, as Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. But I must emphasize that these departments were not under me; they were merely at my disposal. Great importance was attached to this difference at the time. The departments continued to work independently within the whole framework of the Ministry of Labour.

Q. But as a result of this situation, you exerted administrative autonomy in matters concerning labour?

A. Not an autonomy; it was done by vote. I could not issue decrees, but could only give instructions; in every case I had to get the agreement of the administrative authorities and Reich Ministries, and, of course, the Fuehrer's agreement.

Q. Did you not have carte blanche from the Fuehrer for the recruiting and the utilization of labour?

A. Not for the recruiting and exploitation, but for the steering and directing. If I may express it in this way, it was never the case of the workers' agent - that is, of course, what organization of labour really means - employing these workers himself. The firms employed the workers, not the agent.

Q. For the recruiting of labour you had carte blanche from the Fuehrer. Is that not true?

A. Not absolutely and only after there had been a vote and after the agreement of the regional authorities concerned had been obtained, especially in foreign countries. I never recruited workers in France without the express agreement of the French Government and their collaborators. The French administrative apparatus came into this.

Q. Defendant Sauckel, you have on several occasions mentioned the agreements and arrangements made in France with those whom you yourself call, "the leaders of collaboration." You know better than any other that these leaders of collaboration, imposed upon France by the enemy, bound only themselves, and that their acts were never ratified by the French people as a whole. Besides, these leaders of collaboration, whose testimony cannot be suspect to you, have themselves revealed that pressure was exerted upon them, and we will discuss that now. Is it true that on 16th of April, 1942, that is to say, less than a month after your appointment, you stated in a letter to the defendant Rosenberg which sets out your programme, and which was presented to you yesterday - you included the recruiting of foreign workers in your programme for the utilization of labour?

[NB. The word " utilization " used in the ad verbatim French was wrongly interpreted into German as "Ausbeutung," meaning exploitation.]

A. I resent the expression "exploitation." By strictest orders from the Fuehrer, it is true, recruitment of foreign workers had to be included in my programme.

Q. Is it true that you included the recruiting of foreign workers in your programme of 16th April, 1942? You admitted this yesterday, and I ask you to confirm it.

A. Yes, it is true. I only emphasize that I did it on the strictest orders from the Fuehrer.

Q. Is it true that this programme of 16th April, 1942, that is to say, three weeks after your appointment, already contained the principle of forced recruiting?

A. It was done by special order of the Fuehrer, in case voluntary recruitment proved to be inadequate. I said that yesterday to my counsel.

Q. Do you remember the decree that you issued on 29th August, 1942 - this decree dealt first and foremost with the employment of labour in occupied

[Page 145]

territories; Decree No. 10 of 22nd August of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour. It was handed to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 17. Do you remember it?

A. I do remember Decree No. 10.

Q. Was this decree applicable to the occupied territories which were under German administration?

A. As far as I can remember - I have not the exact wording and the separate paragraphs before me - it dealt with the regulation of working conditions applied by German firms. The purpose was to prevent a muddle.

Q. Is it true that you went on a mission to Paris in August, 1942?

A. That is possible but I, of course, cannot remember the individual dates.

Q. Is it true that you went on a mission to Paris in January, 1943?

A. That is also possible, even probable.

Q. Is it true that you went on a mission to Paris in January, 1944?

A. Also probable, yes, but I do not know the individual dates.

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