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 4 of 10)

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

[Page 145]

Q. You therefore went on missions to Paris before the French authorities, the French de facto authorities, had published the legislative decrees of 4th September, 1942, of 16th February, 1943, and of 1st February, 1944. Is not that true?

A. I did not understand your question exactly.

Q. I asked you whether it is true, that before the French de facto authorities published the three big laws on forced labour of 4th September, 1942, 16th February, 1943, and 1st February, 1944, that you went on missions to France, to Paris?

A. I only went on journeys to Paris for the purpose of negotiating with the French Government, and I want to say to that, that for me and in accordance -

Q. Do you admit that in the course of these missions, you imposed on the French authorities the laws on forced labour?

A. That is not correct to put it in that way.

Q. You, therefore, contest the fact that the laws on forced labour were issued under pressure from you?

A. I dispute the word "pressure." I negotiated properly with the French Government before such laws were published. I resent the word "pressure"; and there were enough witnesses during these negotiations.

Q. Do you remember the telephone conversation that the defendant Speer had with you from the Fuehrer's headquarters on 4th January, 1943?

A. Yes, it is probable that I did have several discussions with Speer. I do not know which particular conversation you are referring to.

Q. Do you not remember a note that you sent to your various offices as a result of this telephone conversation of 4th January, 1943?

A. Yes. Quite probably I did make several notes. I had to make a note when I received a telephone conversation containing an instruction.

Q. I now submit Document 556-PS, which has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 194 and Exhibit RF 62. I will read that document, or at least its first paragraph:

"On 4th January, 1943, at eight o'clock in the evening, Minister Speer telephoned from the headquarters of the Fuehrer in order to inform me that according to a decision of the Fuehrer, it is not necessary in the future, when engaging specialists and auxiliaries in France, to show any special consideration for the French. Pressure or more severe measures can be used in order to procure labour."
I ask you, defendant, what you mean when you say that it is not necessary to show any special consideration for the French?

A. This note or rather this decision was not made by me. This was a communication which came from the Fuehrer's headquarters, based on a decision made by the Fuehrer. In spite of that - and I want to emphasize that particularly - my attitude towards the French Government did not change and it does not say so in this record either; I continued to adopt the same polite attitude in my

[Page 146]

negotiations with the Government and I ask the Tribunal to be allowed to make a short statement on how these negotiations with the French Government were conducted.

You will give it later in your examination. Do you remember the discussion that you had on 12th January, 1943, at the German Embassy in Paris, with the French authorities?

A. As far as I know, I have only talked to French ministers in the German Embassy in Paris.

Q. That is exactly what I am asking you. Do you remember this conversation that you had with the French authorities on 12th January, 1943?

A. Not in detail, no, but that I did negotiate is possible.

Q. Do you remember the persons who took part in this conversation?

A. Yes; usually the French Premier, the French Minister for Labour, Minister Bichelonne, used to participate in such discussions, and on the German side, the Ambassador and on behalf of the military Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Fischer, and as my representative, Dr. Hildebrandt or some other gentleman.

Q. And you do not remember what Laval said to you at this meeting of 12th January, 1943?

A. Very many matters were discussed in great detail during these conferences, and I do not know what you mean.

Q. Well, I will submit to you the minutes of this meeting. It is Document 809, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 1509.

In the course of this discussion, Laval made a long statement to you, more exactly, several statements.

THE PRESIDENT: Where shall we find this?

M. HERZOG: It is in my Document Book, Mr. President. It must be marked with a slip 809.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes, I have it.


First, I read Page 7 of the French text and of the German text:

"Gauleiter Sauckel demands a further 250,000 new workers. Gauleiter Sauckel knows very well, and his officers have certainly informed him about this, the difficulties which the French Government had in carrying out the programme last year. The Gauleiter must realize that as a result of the number of prisoners and workers who are already employed by Germany, the sending of another 250,000 workers will increase even further the difficulties of the French Government. I cannot conceal these difficulties from the Gauleiter because they are evident, and the Germans who are in Paris know these difficulties. When the Gauleiter reports that they have had to overcome the same difficulties in Germany, and French industry too must face them now, it seems to me that I can remind him that Germany not only demands workers of France, but is also beginning to take away the machines from factories in order to transport them to Germany. France may have nothing left but she still had, until now, her means of production. If these too are taken from her, France loses even the possibility of working.

I do everything to facilitate the German victory" - and you see Laval could hardly be suspect to you, defendant - "but I must also admit that German policy makes heavier demands on me nearly every day and that this does not form part of any definite policy.

Gauleiter Sauckel can tell the German workers that they must work for Germany. I cannot say that Frenchmen are working for France. I see that in many fields the French Government cannot act. One would almost believe that on the German side they set no value on the good will of the French, and that they are bent on instituting a German administration throughout France. My task is being made more difficult every day. It is

[Page 147]

true that I do not allow myself to be discouraged, but I esteem, however, that it is my duty to remind the Gauleiter of the gravity of Franco-German relations, and of the impossibility of continuing along this path. It is no longer a matter of a policy of collaboration, but, on the French side, a policy of sacrifice, and on the German side, a policy of constraint."
I pass to the next page, Page 11:
"The present state of mind in France, the uncertainty concerning the means which the French Government possesses, the half-freedom in which it finds itself, all these do not give me the necessary authority to furnish Gauleiter Sauckel with an immediate reply. We can do nothing. We are not free to change salaries; we are not free to combat the black market; we can take no political measure without everywhere coming up against a German authority which has substituted itself for ourselves.

I cannot guarantee measures which I have not taken. I am persuaded that the Fuehrer does not know that the French Government cannot act. There cannot be, in one country, two governments on questions which do not concern directly the security of the occupation forces."

I omit two more pages, to Page 18, and I read only this sentence:
"It is not possible for me simply to be the advocate for the German measures of constraint."
That is the document which I submit to you, defendant, and I ask you two questions concerning it.

The first question is: What did you answer to Laval when he made this statement to you?

The second one is: Do you not think that here there is proof of the pressure which you contest?

A. To begin with, if the Tribunal would permit it, I should have to read my reply to Premier Laval. But then, it proved, and this has been confirmed to me by Premier Laval on various occasions, that I was correct in my negotiations with him, and in spite of the fact that I had orders not to conduct political conversations, but only to deal with my actual task, I always reported to the Fuehrer about these matters. But I think that the tone of my reply was definitely beyond reproach. These negotiations which I conducted -

Q. That is not the question that I asked you. I asked you what you answered him when he made that statement to you, when he said to you, for instance, that it was not possible for him simply to be the advocate for German measures of constraint.

A. I would have to read my answer. I cannot remember it now.

Q. Do you therefore contest the fact that this represents pressure?

A. Premier Laval did not complain about me in this connection. He was complaining about general conditions in France, because this was the time of occupation. The situation was that there was a German occupation army. It was war.

Q. Well, I am going to submit to you Document -

DR. SERVATIUS (interposing): Mr. President, regarding this note, I should like to draw your attention to an error of translation which will lead to considerable misunderstanding. According to this note, it says that the recruitment could be launched with emphasis and more severe measures, and the word "emphasis" has been translated by "pressure" in the English. But that is not meant. It is not "druck" (pressure), it is "nachdruck" (emphasis). That means that the next step could be energetically undertaken.

THE PRESIDENT: I am told that the translation we have is "emphasis."

DR. SERVATIUS: "Pressure."

THE PRESIDENT: I am told the translation is "emphasis." No, no, the translation is emphasis. It is in this document, and the translation in English is "emphasis."

[Page 148]

DR. SERVATIUS: Oh, I had the French translation.

M. HERZOG: I am going to submit to you Document

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Is this document in the PS series?

M. HERZOG: No, Mr. President, it is a new document which I am submitting now, a French document which will bear Exhibit No. RF 1509.

THE PRESIDENT: Where did this document come from?

M. HERZOG: That document comes, Mr. President, from the archives of the Majestic Hotel in Paris, which housed the German offices in Paris. Some months ago, these archives were found again in Berlin, and we have extracted the Sauckel documents.

I submit to the Tribunal the certificate of authentication for the Sauckel files, as well as for the documents which I intend to submit to the Tribunal in the course of my cross-examination. Perhaps, as the document is in French, the Tribunal would like me to read it.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, read it, will you? You mean this Proces Verbal? What is this Proces Verbal? By whom is it identified?

M. HERZOG: This Proces herbal is identified by two persons, by Commandant Henri, French liaison officer at the American Documentation Centre in Berlin, and by my colleague M. Gerthoffer, who, with Commandant Henri, took these archives.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you had better read this Proces Verbal so that it will go into the record.


"I, Charles Gerthoffer, Deputy at the Court of the Seine, on duty with the International Military Tribunal for the major war criminals, having gone to Berlin to the offices of the Ministerial Collecting Centre, Commandant Henri, Chief of the French Mission, gave me, with the authority of Colonel Helm of the American Army, Chief of the 6889 Berlin Collecting Centre, seven files from the Archives of the military commander in France concerning forced labour and registered as M.C.C. under the numbers: 3 DS, Nos. 1 to 213; 4 DS, Nos. 1 to 230; 5 DS, Nos. 1 to 404, and two appendices; 6 DS, Nos. 1 to 218; 7 DS, Nos. 1 to 118, and one appendix, 1 to 121; 50 DS, Nos. 1 to 55; 71 DS, Nos. 1 to 40.

I declared to Commandant Henri that I took the said files in order to submit them to the International Military Tribunal for the major war criminals in order that they might be used in the course of the proceedings and that they will thereafter be delivered to the French Ministry of Justice, whose property they remain.

This document, made in five copies of which one is to serve as an affidavit for the International Military Tribunal for the major war criminals.


This represents the certificate of authentication of the files themselves.

I have a second certificate.

THE WITNESS: May I make a remark regarding the first document, please?

M. HERZOG: I would ask you not to interrupt me.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Herzog, the documents came from the Hotel Majestic, did they?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Hotel Majestic was the place where the -

[Page 149]

M. HERZOG: The place in Paris where the offices of the German Military Command in France and the various occupation offices were situated. These documents, which had vanished at the time of the liberation, have been located again at the Ministerial Collecting Centre in Berlin. The document which I have just submitted to you is the certificate of authentication of these files, and I also have the certificate of authentication of the documents which I have extracted from these files and which I am now ready to read to the Tribunal, if the Tribunal so desires.

THE PRESIDENT: The Hotel Majestic was the place where the German Military Government was established in Paris; is that not right?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President, unless I am mistaken, I believe it was. Does the Tribunal desire that I should read the other certificate of authentication, that is to say at least in part, the one concerning the document itself?

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you had already read it.

M. HERZOG: No, Mr. President. I am submitting to the Tribunal two certificates of authentication. The first, the one which I have just read, is the certificate of authentication of seven files which contain a very large number of documents. From these seven files we have extracted only a certain number of documents which we are submitting to the Tribunal, and that is why, after having presented the certificate

THE PRESIDENT: The second document only says that the documents which you are submitting are documents which came from those files?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: And the files themselves came from the Hotel Majestic, which was the place where the German Military Administration was carried on. Will you put the second document on the record?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you offering in evidence the original German documents?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President.

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