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 5 of 13)

[GENERAL ALEXANDROV continues his cross examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 192]

Q. I asked you whether you knew of this document. You said "no", did you not?

A. I did not know it - I do know it now. I did not know it previously since it was not addressed to me.

Q. You said that, broadly speaking, you did know about this directive, and you asked me to allow you to acquaint yourself with it in detail. This is how it was translated to me.

A. Yes, I told you - and I should like to stress the fact - that I did not remember, that I only asked for this document to be placed before me later on. The document is not addressed to me. The office to which it is addressed is clearly indicated and according to this it never came into my hands or reached my office.

Q. In order that you may fully understand this question, I shall give you Exhibit USA 206. That is your directive of the 22nd August, 1944, with regard

[Page 193]

to supplying manpower by importation from the Occupied Territories. Do you know about this directive?

THE PRESIDENT: What is the PS number?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: One minute, please. Unfortunately, I do not have any information about the PS number. All I have is the Exhibit USA, which is number 206. Defendant Sauckel -

THE PRESIDENT: Have the United States Prosecutors got the corresponding number to USA 206?

MR. DODD: I could have it in a few minutes, Mr. President. I do not have it here at the moment, but I will obtain it.

THE PRESIDENT: Right, thank you.


Q. Defendant Sauckel, sub-paragraph 8 of this order states, "This order applies also to prisoners of war". Does it contain a reference of this description?

A. Yes.

Q. Therefore, you yourself did not differentiate between prisoners of war and the civilian population as far as their utilization in the German war industries was concerned. Do you admit that?

A. Yes, and I have already answered my Defence Counsel and I think it was yesterday, that I was shown a schedule according to which prisoners of war might be employed. But this paragraph 8 has nothing to do with this document, for that was an agreement or an order which did not come to me and was also not addressed to me.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, Exhibit USA 206 bears the following number: PS-3044.

Q. In addition to those statements to your Defence Counsel which you have already mentioned, you also declared that although employing prisoners of war in the German war industries, the provisions of the Geneva Conventions were nevertheless observed. Do you remember saying that?

A. Yes, and it is also proved by documentary evidence that in the Reich Labour Ministry and in my offices the directive was issued and circulated that the Geneva Convention was also to be observed with regard to Soviet prisoners of war.

Q. You did not differentiate at all between Soviet prisoners of war and civilian workers? Does that result from the foregoing?

A. No, that is not true at all.

Q. In other words, a violation of these conventions occurred in the utilization of manpower, inasmuch as they, the prisoners of war, were treated by you in the same way as the civilians and were utilised in the industries for the purpose of waging war.

A. I meant... In that case, I must have misunderstood you, or you may have misunderstood me. I particularly declared that I did attach importance to it, and that it was printed, and that during the time I was in office a special copy was published for the factories and the interested parties, in which it was stipulated that the Geneva Convention was to be observed. I could do no more than that.

Q. Your Defence Counsel questioned you in connection with the operation known under the code name of "Hay". You answered his question as follows, and I quote from the transcript:

"Sauckel: No, I had nothing to do with this particular measure."
I shall now hand you a letter from Alfred Meyer, dated 11th July, I944. This is Document PS-199. It is a letter addressed to you. Will you please study sub-paragraph 1, it reads:

[Page 194]

"Army Recruiting Staff 'Mitte' (Kriegseinsatzkommando 'Mitte'), hitherto stationed in Minsk, must continue its activities with regard to the recruitment of young White Ruthenian and Russian workers for military employment within the Reich. The staff has the additional task of conducting young folk between 10-14 years of age to the Reich."
Have you found this passage?

A. That is a... I have read the passage and wish to answer in this connection that the letter, to be sure, is addressed to me but it was only sent to me for my information, or, however, that I had nothing to do with this event, either in my office or personally. I have... yet that was... that has certainly been stated already in the case of the defendant Schirach, I did not carry it out within these offices, and Labour Allocation, as an office, was not involved in it. I personally do not remember, either.

Q. What were your relations with the Army Recruiting Staff "Mitte" (Kriegseinsatzkommando "Mitte")? Was that your Staff?

A. I do not understand your question. What Staff do you mean?

Q. The Staff referred to in Alfred Meyer's letter, Staff "Mitte", dealing with the utilization of manpower.

A. I cannot find the word "Staff".

Q. Right in the beginning of the sentence: "It is imperative that the Army Recruiting Staff."

A. The Army Recruiting Staff "Mitte" is a term completely unknown to me. I do not know what it was, or whether it was a military or a civilian office. It had nothing to do with me. I do not know it.

Q. You have testified, here and now, that the State Security Administration had introduced special identification marks for people brought in from the Occupied Territories. For the Soviet citizens the mark was... can you not hear me?

A. I cannot understand the translation.

Q. You have testified before the Tribunal that for people brought in from the Occupied Territories special identification marks were introduced. For the Soviet citizens the marking was "Ost", for Polish citizens it was the letter "P". You testified that you were not in agreement with the marking. What did you do to stop this insult?

A. I persistently tried to avoid the identification markings altogether. But the Reichsfuehrer SS categorically demanded - to the best of my knowledge there is a letter from him to that effect - that these foreign workers who, at my request, were free to move about Germany, had to be marked when they went out of their camps. It was no insult. I should like to emphasize expressly that I did not consider this as an insult.

Q. That is your point of view. Did you discuss the matter at all with your immediate superior, the defendant Goering?

A. I can no longer remember today whether I spoke directly with Goering or not. I can only declare that I made repeated efforts to stop the practice, and that in March 1944, I believe, my efforts were actually crowned with success and the small identity mark, "Ost", was changed to a national badge on the sleeve, as had been suggested by liaison officers for the various peoples in the East.

Q. I asked you whether you discussed the matter with Goering?

A. I cannot remember. It could be. Yes, it could be. The matter was frequently discussed.

THE PRESIDENT: General Alexandrov, I think you might pass on from this.

Q. In reply to questions by your Defence Counsel and by my French colleague in regard to Speer's attitude to your appointment as Plenipotentiary General, you mentioned that you did not know anything at all about it. You will now be handed an article from the newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter. This is Exhibit USSR 467, and I am submitting it to the Tribunal. This article was

[Page 195]

published on 28th March, 1942, in connection with your appointment as Plenipotentiary General. It has even got your photograph, as you can see for yourself. Have you found the passage with the following statement:
"The appointment, by the wish of Reich Minister Speer, of Gauleiter Sauckel was also due to the extraordinary importance of labour allocation (Arbeitseinsatz) in the armament industry".
We assume that you must have read the article. Did you read the article?

A. I really cannot say so positively at this moment. It is, however, possible or probable. I never had much time to read the papers. But I should like to tell you very definitely, General, that during my term of office I transferred over five million German workers from the most widely different branches of German industry into the armament economy. Therefore, it was a task, which dealt principally with German workers and their transfer.

Q. I was interested in something else: Why was defendant Speer interested in your personal appointment as Plenipotentiary General? That is what I wanted to ascertain. Can you tell me anything in this respect?

A. I cannot tell you why Reich Minister Speer was interested in my appointment. I have already told my Defence Counsel that I myself was surprised at the time.

Q. You maintain that owing to the existing shortage of native manpower, the Hitlerite Government embarked on the criminal method of driving civilian populations into slavery and of utilising both the prisoners of war and the peace- loving citizens of the Occupied Territories in the German war industries? Is that what you maintain?

THE PRESIDENT: General Alexandrov, I have already pointed out to you twice that it is not right for you to put questions using such language as that - crimes or violation of treaties - for it involved assuming the guilt of the defendants.


Q. You maintain that owing to a shortage of native manpower within the country, the Hitlerite Government undertook the mobilization and utilization, in the war industries of Germany, of the peaceful citizens in the Occupied Territories as well as of the prisoners of war. Is that correct?

A. I have already answered this question in great detail to my Defence Counsel. I clearly stated that on my appointment I proposed a different programme, but the Fuehrer and other offices were not satisfied with this programme and gave me their respective orders, accompanied by relevant comments and directives.

Q. You yourself affirmed that Germany's manpower reserves were exhausted. Did you mention that?

A. In the performance of my duties I repeatedly pointed out that both in Germany as well as in the Occupied Territories, labour allocations had been exhausted by existing economic tasks, and could no longer be carried out properly. That is clear from my manifesto. Moreover -

Q. I shall now refer to a letter from defendant Speer, addressed to you on 22nd January, 1944. I quote this document, which is in the Document Book of the defendant Speer. It is numbered "Speer 06". In this document the defendant Speer draws your attention to the insufficient utilization of manpower.

DR. FLAECHSNER (Counsel for defendant Speer): I have selected from my document book a document which refers to a subject about to be discussed here.

Whether I shall make use of the document will only appear in the course of the proceedings. I do not consider it proper for the prosecution to use my documents before I myself can actually join in the proceedings. I therefore ask for the decision of the Tribunal.

THE TRIBUNAL: The Tribunal thinks the motion should be granted and that you ought not to be allowed to use the document until the defendants' counsel have used the document.

[Page 196]

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I must then ask you to exclude from the transcript the preceding question alluding to shortage of native manpower resources in Germany, for it then loses its sense.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, if you wish it.



Q. Your Defence Counsel acquainted you with Document ETs-68 during the session of 29th May. This document deals with the treatment of foreign workers of Polish nationality. I shall not dwell upon the subject, since your Defence Counsel has already quoted the document in detail, and I will limit myself to your reply intended for your Defence Counsel, as it appears in the transcript of that session. I read from the transcript:

"Sauckel: 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 destroyed..."
(The word "revoked" used in the above quotation during the session of 29th May has been translated as "destroyed" by the interpreter.)

Do you remember these depositions given at the session of the 29th May of the current year?

A. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: General, I am told that this is an incorrect translation. It was "revoked" and not "destroyed". You said "destroyed", did you not?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I am reading from the Russian transcript and perhaps there are certain inaccuracies in it, but I do not object to replacing "destroy" by "revoke". The meaning remains the same.

THE WITNESS: May I ask for the context to be repeated - it is not quite clear.


Q. No, I do not want to revert to Document ETs-68. All I want is to establish what you did say in reply to your Defence Counsel in connection with this document. You do not contradict your testimony which I have just read into the record? Does it correspond to the statement you made here on the 29th May?

A. No, but I do not understand what the word "destroyed" has to do with it.

Q. We should not use the word "destroyed" but use the word "revoked".

A. That is possible.

Q. You confirm the testimony which I have just read into the record from the transcript?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, tell us, do you remember the living conditions you imposed on the Ukrainian women and girls from the Occupied Territories, on those who had been mobilised for work in German agriculture?

I shall now hand you Exhibit USSR 365 - I beg you pardon, 383.

(Witness handed document.)

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