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 9 of 10)

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

[Page 166]

Q. You therefore admit that if the output of one worker is smaller than that of another, his food rations must be smaller? Is that what I am to understand?

A: No, it is not right to interpret it that way. I should like to explain the system again. In Germany each worker received his ration as fixed by the Reich Food Minister. In addition to that there were special increases as a reward for increased output. At the beginning these increases were not granted to Russian workers, and it is these increases we are dealing with here, not with starving people or cutting down their standard food rations-additional rations for increased output.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now. (A recess was taken.)

[Page 167]

THE MARSHAL: If it pleases the Tribunal, the report is made that the defendant Raeder is absent.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Herzog, do you anticipate being able to conclude your cross-examination before half past four?

M. HERZOG: Yes, Mr. President, I think that I might even finish before that.



Q. Defendant Sauckel, I offered in evidence this morning Document 810, which is an account of the conference which you held on 15th and 16th July, 1944, at Wartburg with the heads of the regional labour offices. Do you remember?

A. Yes, I remember.

Q. Do you remember whether during this conference the question of the discipline to be imposed upon the workers was raised?

A. It is possible that during this conference - or, rather, conferences - this question was discussed. I cannot remember exactly; I did not participate in all the sessions.

Q. Do you know the Ministerial Counsellor Dr. Sturm?

A. Ministerial Counsellor (Ministerialrat) Sturm is not personally known to me.

Q. Do you remember the declarations made at the conference of the 15th and 16th July, 1944, by Dr. Sturm?

A. I cannot remember any particular statements from Dr. Sturm.

Q. I shall hand you once more the minutes of that meeting. It is Document 810 which was presented this morning as Exhibit RF-16. Will you please look at Page 25 of the German text. It is also Page 25 of the French version. There you see - I read the first line:

"Sturm gave the following report on his sector 'Discipline of Workers.' (Disciplinary Measures)."
I shall pass to the next page where I read:
"We are working with the Gestapo - "
THE PRESIDENT: Where is this?

M. HERZOG: Document 810, Mr. President; it is a document which is marked

THE PRESIDENT: I know it is 806, but I thought you told us that they followed on.

M. HERZOG: 810, sir, 810.

THE PRESIDENT: I have got that.

M. HERZOG: Page 25.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go on.

M. HERZOG: With your permission, I will begin again.

"Sturm gave the following report on his sector 'Discipline of Workers.' "
And on the following page:
"We are working with the Gestapo and the concentration camps, and we are certain we are going in the right direction."
BY M. HERZOG: Q. Did you make any observations when that declaration was made?

A. I did not hear that statement myself. He gave a specialized report on questions of labour legislation as it says at the beginning. I am seeing the record for the first time in my life. There were several parallel meetings at the same time. I did not hear it myself, but it is a matter of course that some sort of ruling regarding penalties had to be made, as is done in all labour legislation.

[Page 168]

Perhaps I may read to you from the same document, the beginning:
"Measures regulating the employment of labour and pay are only possible on the strength of a healthy working morale. The regulations of a disciplinary character for securing such morale require unified handling, the details of which will be dealt with in a subsequent meeting of experts on penal law."
That, of course, is not one of my offices.

Q. I asked you what you thought of Dr. Sturm's declaration.

A. May I read in connection with Dr. Sturm's declaration - at the end of the first page -

Q. Will you please answer my question first? What do you think of this declaration?

A. I did not know the statement, but I suppose it comes from some authority. I do not know whether it is the Ministry of Labour or some other authority, that I cannot say. I did not hear these statements -

THE PRESIDENT: Watch the light. Do you not see the light in front of you?

Q. Do you not remember that an agreement was reached between you and the Chief of Police and of the SS to hand over to the Gestapo those workers who were guilty of leaving their work?

A. Well, there had to be an authority in Germany which dealt with workers who left their place of work without being entitled to. It could not be done by any other authority than the police, there was not anybody else. In connection with this document, may I please be allowed to read some more from Page 1:

"Apart from that, the number of penalties imposed by the authorities on German workers, such as reprimands, fines, concentration camps, and legal penalties, was relatively surprisingly small. In cases dealt with by the Public Prosecutor the penalties inflicted amounted on an average to .01 to .02 for every thousand workers."
Q. What has that to do with the question which I asked you about your relations with the Gestapo and the concentration camps?

A. But there was not any other authority except the police in Germany which could arrest or detain if it was necessary and justified by court rulings.

Q. You admit, then, that it was with your agreement that the Gestapo proceeded to arrest workmen who had broken what you call their contract of work, and to send them to concentration camps?

A. Not to concentration camps, no, but into the custody which was prescribed. The penalties were decreed in accordance with certain regulations. I made no other agreement.

M. HERZOG: I submit in evidence Document 2200-PS which becomes Exhibit RF-1519. It is a service memorandum of the Gestapo addressed to the police officials in the Cologne and Aachen districts. It refers to the fight against those foreign workers who had broken their work contract.

Mr. President, it is the fourth document from the end in my Document Book. I read from it:

"The considerable number of refractory foreign workers is dangerous to the security of the Reich. There is always danger of actual sabotage in such cases. The Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police has reached an agreement with the Plenipotentiary for Labour that all complaints about absenteeism should be dealt with by the Gestapo. The Kreis police authorities are expected to examine anything bearing on this matter. They are authorized by me to give warnings to absentees and to hold them in custody up to 3 days in all cases of minor importance. The instructions concerning the attitude to be taken toward the individual groups of foreign workers are to be noted.

In more serious cases of absenteeism the papers referring to the cases will be sent to the Gestapo (Koeln, Aachen, Bonn) by the Kreis police

[Page 169]

authorities. The Gestapo will look into the matter and order the necessary measures (detention, sending to workers' re-education camps, concentration camps) to be taken."

Q. Do you still deny that it was with your agreement that refractory workers were first handed over to the Gestapo, and then handed over to concentration camps?

A. I did not deny it, but as stated in the first paragraph, this only happened if public order was disturbed by punishable offences, that is, in serious cases, or when there were breaches of contracts. There was nobody except the police to undertake the search for such people, and I consider the procedure to be perfectly correct.

Q. You find that it is a correct manner of procedure to hand over foreign workers to the Gestapo and concentration camps? I take note of your answer.

A. Only in the case of serious offences. It says "in serious cases" in the document. That was the demand imposed on me.

Q. At what period was that?

A. When the demands were made?

Q. At what period did you have knowledge of these atrocities which were committed in concentration camps?

A. I can say with a good conscience that I gained knowledge of the cruelties which were committed in the concentration camps only here after the collapse of the Reich.

Q. Do you think that it was the same with all the Hitlerite chiefs?

A. I cannot speak for the others. I myself did not know of such measures, which I abominate, until I heard of them here.

Q. Do you think that the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, for example, was aware of the atrocities which were committed in the concentration camps?

A. I cannot say whether the Reichsfuehrer SS knew of them, whether he himself instigated them. During the whole of my career I hardly ever spoke with the Reichsfuehrer SS because our personal relations were rather strained.

Q. During the interrogation by your Counsel yesterday you declared that you once visited the concentration camp of Buchenwald; is that so?

A. Yes, in 1937 or 1938. I cannot tell you that from memory now.

Q. You declared you made this visit in the company of an Italian commission, is that so?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Do you know that there is in existence an album of official photographs of the concentration camp in Buchenwald?

A. I do not know about that.

M. HERZOG: I offer that album in evidence to the Tribunal as Exhibit RF-1520. It bears the number D-565. It is a document of the British Delegation.


Q. Do you recognize yourself in these photographs?

A. Yes, I recognize myself in this picture.

Q. With whom are you there?

A. That is the Reichsfuehrer SS.

Q. Himmler?

A. Himmler, yes.

Q. Thank you. And you contend that you, Gauleiter and Governor for Thuringia, visited this camp in the company of the Reichsfuehrer SS and - I call your attention to this - in the company of the commander of the camp without knowledge of what was happening inside the camp?

A. I cannot tell you when this picture was taken and whether it was taken in the camp itself. I was once outside the camp together with the Reichsfuehrer SS;

[Page 170]

there was another large site. But I was never inside the camp together with the Reichsfuehrer SS. I was only there once with an Italian commission.

This picture does not show that there was an inspection. Here you see some troops -

M. HERZOG: The Tribunal will decide about that.

I offer in evidence, under No. 1521, the certificate establishing the origin of this album.


Q. In October of 1945, you were interrogated on the expulsion of Jews from industry. You said this:

"I never had anything to do with it myself. I had nothing to do with the question of the eviction of Jews from industry. I had no influence in this matter. It was a mystery to me."
Can you confirm this declaration?

A. That is perfectly correct. I did not say the eviction of the Jews was a secret to me; I said that, to the best of my recollection, I had nothing to do with it.

Q. Your Counsel gave you a document yesterday, L-61, which you thought you had to contest.

A. Yes.

Q. The point that you raised against this document was that this document was dated 1942 and that it dealt with questions prior to your appointment.

Did I understand you correctly yesterday?

A. The enclosures to the document deal with questions that had already been started before I was nominated.

Q. I offer in evidence Document L-156, which becomes Exhibit RF-1522. It is a letter written under the authority of the Trustee of the Four-Year Plan, the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour, that is you. It is dated 26th March, 1943. It is addressed to the Chiefs of the Agricultural Labour Offices, and it deals with the question of the eviction of the Jews. It begins thus:

"After agreement with me and the Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions, the Reichsfuehrer SS, for reasons of state security, removed from their place of work at the end of February those Jews not living in camps who were working as free workers. They have been formed into self-contained working units or assembled for deportation. In order not to endanger the efficacy of this measure, I have avoided issuing any notification of this measure beforehand, and I have notified only those Agricultural Labour Offices in whose district free Jewish manpower was employed in large numbers.

So as to have a general view of the effect of those measures upon the manpower position, I ask you to let me have, by 31st March, 1943, a return showing how many Jews were removed from their work, and a return of their replacement by other workers which has been found necessary.

When giving the numbers of the establishments and of the Jews employed by them, one should take into account the situation which existed before the evacuation. The enclosed form should be used in reporting."

Do you still say that you had no part in the matter of the eviction of Jews and their replacement by foreign workers?

A. Here again I must state emphatically that this letter was never put before me. It has no signature and here again it comes from a sub-department in the Reich Ministry of Labour at Saarlandstrasse 96. Some official was dealing with it. I myself have absolutely no recollection that I have ever bad knowledge of the letter. I did not write it, it does not come from my office, and it has been written on behalf of someone else and the signature is not mine.

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