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-Third Day: Friday, 31st May, 1946
(Part 1 of 13)

[Page 176]




Q. Defendant Sauckel, I did not get a satisfactory answer yesterday to my question as to how many foreign workers were imported into Germany from the occupied territories. You will now be handed Document 1296-PS. It is your report of the 27th July, 1942. In addition, Document 1739-PS will also be handed to you. It is your survey of conditions as of 30th November, 1942. I wish to explain to you that in this case we are dealing with the number of foreign workers imported into Germany, including prisoners of war. The loss of this manpower in this case is of no importance, since it will not change the number of persons imported into Germany. They were brought to Germany, but later perished either as a result of work beyond their strength, or else were returned as incapable of work. Did you receive these documents?

A. Yes. Please let me look at the documents, since we are dealing with figures.

Q. Please do so. In Document No. -

A. I have not yet finished. I cannot -

Q. It is not essential that you acquaint yourself with the contents of all the documents. In Document 1296-PS, on the last page of the report, at the end, you will find Section 5. It is entitled "General Summary." Have you found it?

A. No, I have not yet found the passage. Which document, please?

Q. Document 1296-PS. Have you found it?

A. Yes, I have found this passage.

Q. It gives the total figure as 5,124,000. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT: Twelve million, did you say? Twelve million?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: 5,124,000 persons.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. The translation said twelve million.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: That was an error.

A. In connection with this document I must state emphatically that the figure here is indicated as 5,124,000. It includes 1,576,000 prisoners of war, but these do not rank with the civilian workers. The prisoners were the responsibility of the Armed Forces and during their employment, especially during their employment by the commanders in charge of the prisoner-of-war camps, they were housed and cared for in the respective military areas.

Q. They were employed in the German industries. Please read after me, sub-paragraph 5: "General Survey of Foreign Workers employed at that time in Industries in Germany."

A. Yes. That is correct.

Q. That is all I want. Now take -

[Page 177]

A. Please, have I your permission to explain that these prisoners of war were not housed and cared for by the factories or the DAF (German Labour Front) but in the prisoner-of-war camps under the jurisdiction of the officers commanding the military areas, and they were consequently not included with the civilian workers in my statistics.

Q. As far as the number of prisoners of war working in your organization is concerned, a supplementary question will be asked later on. Actually, I am interested in knowing how many civilians and how many prisoners of war were employed in the German industries. Do you confirm this figure of 5,124,000? Is this figure correct or not?

A. That is a correct figure for that particular tine. But in order that the Tribunal may get an exact picture of the procedure, I should like to be allowed to refer to a very accurate document. That would be Document 1764-PS. It deals with the exact enumeration of individual workers from individual countries, and of prisoners of war, about six months later, which I submitted to the highest Reich offices, that is, Party offices in Poznan. It was also submitted to the Fuehrer and to the Reich offices.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I have to interrupt you -

A. Please, allow me to complete my explanation. I must completely clarify these matters here and now. My conscience demands that I do so before the entire world.

In February 1943, that is half a year later, there appears, on Page 7 of Document 1764, another exact enumeration with a figure of 4,014,000 civilian workers, and 1,658,000 prisoners of war: the sum total - this figure was very accurate - was 5,672,000. That in spite of this the inclusion of more foreign civilian workers did not materially increase this figure, has been proven by the fact - as I already stated yesterday - that civilian workers from western, southern and south-eastern territories for the most part had labour contracts binding them for six months only, and whenever possible, when under my charge, these contracts were observed, for otherwise, had I failed to adhere to the contracts, that is, if I had not insisted on so doing, I would never have received any more workers.

If I employed several hundred thousand workers for half a year and then sent them back again, this figure would always vary. Therefore, far more civilian workers entered Germany than officially stated at any one time - than appeared in the total amount, since the number of those returning would always have to be deducted. The latter were very many.

A French document has been presented; it is a report from Ambassador Kemmen, in Paris. Perhaps my counsel will be good enough to tell me the PS number later. It shows that French workers, about 800,000 of them, came to Germany not in accordance with figures issued by my department, but in accordance with a statement from the French Embassy. In 1944 there were only four hundred thousand left in Germany, since on the strength of the time limits governing their contracts, these contracts would expire every day and thousands would return home daily. Roughly fifty per cent of the contracts would have expired while fifty per cent would still be working. That is an exact explanation of this statement, made in all good faith.

Q. As to what these labour contracts actually were, those so-called labour contracts, I shall mention at a later date. My French colleague, during his examination, proved the criminal methods used in the mobilization of workers in the West. How this was done in the East I will tell you a little later on. I should now like you to confirm the figures of your report, 5,124,000. Is this an exact or is it not an exact figure? I am not asking for any superfluous explanations. You are only asked to state whether this figure is correct or not.

A. It was correct at the time this statement was made, but it changed constantly for the reason I have mentioned.

[Page 178]

Q. This figure is dated 24th July, 1942, that is quite clear to everybody.

Now, take the second document, 1739-PS.



Q. The last page of 1739-PS, where you will find the following sentence:

"Only then can we be sure that the immense number of foreign workers, both men and women, in the territory of the Reich, which has now reached seven million, including all working prisoners of war, will furnish the greatest possible assistance to the German war industry."
Does that sentence occur there?

A. The figure of seven million is quoted here and includes all prisoners of war employed as labour at that particular time.

Q: I know what is written there. I am asking you: Is this figure of seven million contained in the document or not?

A. Yes, it is written in this document.

Q. It is the correct figure?

A. It is the correct figure and I am asking the Tribunal that I be allowed to read the two following sentences as well, because you are accusing me of resorting to criminal methods. I, on my part, have used my entire knowledge, all the influence I had, to prevent the use of criminal methods. This is proved by the two following sentences which I shall now read, and which state -

Q. I am obliged to interrupt you once more.

A. Please, may I add to the explanation I have already given, in accordance with the privileges granted to me by the Tribunal, two more sentences in support of my declaration: "undernourished, half - "

Q. Defendant Sauckel -

THE PRESIDENT: Let him read the two sentences he wants to read.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: They have absolutely nothing to do with the question of the number of workers imported into Germany.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not got the translation of the document, so I cannot tell. I want to hear him read the sentences.


Q. Then read them, please.

A. "... for instance, half-desperate Eastern workers would be more of a hindrance to the war economy than of assistance.

It is a prerequisite that all the Government offices, right down to the factories concerned" - for these, I must add, I was not responsible - "have to be quite clear on the subject and that is my constant aim."

I merely wanted to prove my conscientiousness by those two sentences and how sincerely I endeavoured to fulfil the task which, for me, was an extremely difficult one.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, defendant, will you kindly answer the questions and only give explanations when it is necessary to explain the answer. All you were asked was whether the figure of 5,124,000 in the first document was correct and whether the figure of seven million in the second document is correct and you said both of them were.

Now go on, General.

BY THE WITNESS: I have already answered that it is correct, that the figure seven million is given in this document -

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we do not want any more explanations.


Q. I can understand perfectly well that you are not interested in increasing these appalling figures even by a unit, let alone by several millions.

[Page 179]

Yesterday you stated that in 1943 two million more foreign workers came to Germany and in 1944 a further 900,000 persons.

A. I must definitely correct that. I did not say that, but it is true that as from July 1942 until the end of '43 about two million foreign workers came to Germany, not in '43 only. From February '43, for instance, until the end of '43, only one million came to Germany because we were experiencing considerable difficulties at the time. But from July '42 until the end of '42 about one and a half million arrived, so that in one year and a half two more million were added to the number I mentioned yesterday.

Q. It is already known how many you received in 1942. Yesterday you stated quite definitely that in 1943 about two million workers came to Germany. Is that correct? I am talking of 1943.

A. If I am supposed to have expressed myself that way yesterday, then I do not remember it, for it is not true, but the truth is that from about July '42 until the end of '43 about two million foreign workers were sent to Germany.

THE PRESIDENT: General, the Tribunal is not really interested in the exact number of foreign workers who came to Germany. It does not seem to us to make very much difference whether five million or six million or seven million came there. It is extremely difficult to follow the figures.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I do not intend to determine the numbers of workers brought to Germany with mathematical precision. I do, however, consider it quite indispensable to realize the scale on which these crimes were committed. I would like the defendant Sauckel to state definitely how many workers were brought to Germany during the war.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just told you we do not consider it important. You say that you do not want to ascertain with mathematical accuracy, but we have spent a considerable time in attempting to do so.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: This can be explained by the fact that the defendant Sauckel does not give a precise reply to the questions put to him.

Q. Tell me, do you consider such methods, that is, the mass driving into slavery of millions of people from the occupied territories, as honourable methods of warfare, methods in accord with the laws and customs of war and human morality in general?

A. I do not consider slavery and deportation admissible. Please allow me to add the following explanation to this clear reply. Personally, I was firmly convinced that it is no crime

Q. Please do not evade the question.

A. I am not evading the question, and I have the right to give an explanation of my reply. I have already given the answer.

Q. Give a direct answer.

A. It is necessary for my defence -

Q. I do not think it is necessary. Answer directly: do you consider these methods criminal or do you not?

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. General, you asked the defendant whether he considered it honourable. Let him answer it in his own way. It is not a simple question whether a thing is honourable. He is entitled to answer it freely.

THE WITNESS: Now that I have given a clear reply, to the best of my belief, to the effect that I could not be convinced I was committing a crime, I ask permission to read out the principal sentences from Sauckel Document Book 3, in proof of my contention. They contain the instructions which I gave to my department and to the industries.

[Page 180]

"We are not concerned with material things but, and I would emphasize this again very definitely, with human beings, with many millions of human beings, every single one of whom - whether we want it or not - must exercise his right to criticise, from his own point of view, be he a German or a foreign worker.

On the other hand, the output of the individual, be he a Volksgenosse (that means a German) or not a Volksgenosse (that means an alien), be he a friend or an enemy of Germany, will always depend on the fact whether he, in his own soul, recognises that he is being treated justly, or whether he comes to the conclusion that he has been exposed to injustice. Be just" - I may add that this was my order to my departments - "Be just: many questions are presented to you which you cannot always answer if you only content yourselves with studying my instructions, or the Gesetzblatt or the Reichsarbeitsblatt - "

THE PRESIDENT: We do not want to go into a very long speech, you know, about a question like that. I mean, you do not want to read all your instructions to your subordinates again.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.