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 7 of 13)

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

[Page 201]

Q. On 31st March, 1942, you addressed a letter to the Reich Commissars. This letter will be presented to you in a few minutes. It is Exhibit USSR 137. Here you wrote as follows:
"I request that the recruitment for which you, together with the Commissars, are responsible to me, be speeded up on your part by adequate measures, and, if necessary, by resorting to the severest use of compulsory labour, in order to treble recruitment figures in the shortest possible time."
Did you issue this directive?

A. That is my directive and I issued it. By the severest use of compulsory labour I meant no wicked or criminal measures, but rather, a speeding up with reference to the figure to be reached.

Q. I shall now quote a few excerpts from the documents of other people. I shall begin by reading an excerpt from the transcript of a speech by defendant Rosenberg - Exhibit USSR 70 - which was delivered at the conference of the German Labour Front in November 1942. I shall quote a brief excerpt from this speech:

"Millions of Russians trembling with fright react in the same way - "
A. (Interposing.) I have not found it.

Q. You will be helped in one moment.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

DR. NELTE (Counsel for the defendant Keitel): I should like to draw the Tribunal's attention to the following fact: General Alexandrov this morning referred to Document PS-744. First of all, a document was given me which was described as a German translation. That translation contains things which are obviously impossible.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, you said 744?

DR. NELTE: PS-744.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not got any note that he referred to that document. I do not know whether he - Did you refer to PS-744 this morning, General Alexandrov?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I referred this morning to the document in question. It was a directive of the defendant Keitel, dated 8th July, 1943, referring to the employment of prisoners of war in the mining industry.

DR. NELTE: Then the Russian prosecution presented me with the original, that is, the photostat copy of a letter dated 8th July, 1943, signed by Keitel. I now have two German versions before me; not only do they differ greatly as far as the contents are concerned, but also the translation contains something additional which is not contained in the original: to the heading of the letter, "Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces", is added, "Army General Staff".

I do not want to waste your time by reading the other incorrect translations, but I must assume that you have before you the texts in the foreign languages which, as I see from the translation back into German, are incorrect. Since this document, the original, is the evidence and is not being objected to, I should like to ask you to order that the translations in the foreign languages which you have before you be checked in order to find out in how far they differ from the original document.

THE PRESIDENT: Had the document been put in evidence before? Had it been offered in evidence? Was it an exhibit?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, that does not mean that it has been put in evidence. That only means that it is identified in that way. Had it been offered in evidence before?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I do not know the Exhibit number of this document, but according to the date at my disposal I am able to state that it was submitted

[Page 202]

in evidence to the Tribunal. In the German copy, presented in the German language, it is written that the German translation was made on 26th November, 1945, by Second Lieutenant of the U.S.A. Infantry, Fred Niebergall. Inasmuch as Dr. Nelte discovers certain inaccuracies in the translation, I consider that the Translating Division be asked to check these divergencies.

DR. NELTE: I am convinced, Mr. President -

THE PRESIDENT: I think that is the best thing to do, to have it checked by the Translating Division. We will order that that shall be done at once.




Q. The transcript of defendant Rosenberg's statement will be handed over to you immediately. I shall limit myself to a very short excerpt from this transcript. Please read after me:-

"They believe in part that the road to Germany is somewhat similar to the road to Siberia."
And further:-
"I know that if one and a half million people are brought here, they cannot be given the best accommodation. The fact that thousands of people are badly housed or badly treated is self-evident. It is not worth while worrying about that. However, this is a very serious question. I believe that Gauleiter Sauckel has already discussed it or will do so. These people from the East are being brought to Germany in order to work and to achieve as high a production capacity as possible. This is a very serious matter. In order to get this production capacity it is not right to bring them in a frozen condition and then let them stand during the journey for hours. One must rather so treat them so that their strength will be conserved."
Does defendant Rosenberg correctly describe the conditions in which the workers you brought from the Occupied Territories found themselves or do you consider that defendant Rosenberg has not described them correctly?

A. I cannot say or guess when Rosenberg made this speech. I myself did not hear it or receive a copy of it, but I can definitely state that as soon as I came into office, I made far-reaching arrangements so that the conditions which Rosenberg discusses here - and which have nothing to do with my term of office - might be avoided under all circumstances, for it was for this purpose that I issued those far-reaching orders of mine. To prevent such conditions I drafted hundreds of valid and binding instructions of a legal nature which should affect every nationality working in Germany and which should make such conditions impossible down to the last detail. That is what I have to say to that. It cannot refer to conditions during my term of office.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, I shall limit myself to this one single excerpt from the statement of the defendant Rosenberg and I shall not avail myself of the numerous documents already presented to the Tribunal, documents which show, beyond all doubt, the criminal methods applied - with the full cognizance of the defendant Sauckel - for the mobilization of manpower in the Occupied Territories and for the exploitation of the workers as slaves in Germany.

I shall only submit to the Tribunal one single new document, listed as Exhibit USSR 458. This document is a worker's identity card, issued by the German authorities in Breslau to a Polish citizen, Maria Adler. This card is characterised by the fact that it is stamped on the reverse side with the image of a pig. Maria Adler has stated, on oath, that such workers' identity cards were issued to all foreign workers, in 1944, by the German authorities in Breslau. Together with

[Page 203]

this original document I am submitting a certificate of the Polish State Commission, which quotes the testimony of the witness, Maria Adler.


Q. Defendant Sauckel, have you looked at that worker's identity card? Have you found the image of a pig on that card?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know of the existence of such workers' cards, stamped with the image of a pig, as a degradation of all human dignity?

A. I did not have such a card and I do not have knowledge of it. I cannot quite make out this image, what it is meant to be. I have nothing at all to do with this. I am not familiar with such an identification mark on a card and do not know what I should say about it. I do not know if it was possible for a labour administration to use such identification marks or not. I should like permission to see the original.

Q. Did you know of the existence of such cards and of their use?

A. No, I had no idea of the existence of such cards with such images. I had no interest in and no reason at all for offending those people who worked in Germany. I had no idea of that and I do not know what this was meant to be.

Q. I shall now quote a brief excerpt from Document 179. This is a transcript of the minutes of a conference held at Reichsmarschall Goering's headquarters on 6th August, 1942. I shall quote that part of the statement in which the defendant Goering expresses his appreciation of your activities.

"To that I must say that I do not wish to laud Gauleiter Sauckel; he does not need it. But what he has done in this brief time in order to collect workers from all over Europe and to bring them to our factories with such rapidity is a unique feat, I must say to all: if everybody in his own area would apply a tenth of the energy which Gauleiter Sauckel has applied, then indeed, the tasks which have been assigned to you would easily be fulfilled. That is my inner conviction and not mere words."
Did you hear such an appreciation of your activities from the lips of Reichsmarschall Goering?

A. It is possible that the Reichsmarschall said that. I cannot remember the details of a meeting that took place so long ago. What is correct is that I, as a human being and as a member of my nation, was obliged to do my duty. My documents prove that I tried to do my duty decently and humanely. I did my utmost to do that.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I now submit to the Tribunal a document listed as Exhibit USSR 462. It is an article by Dr. Friedrich Giegler, published in the Reichsarbeitsblatt of 1944-45. This is an official publication of the Reich Labour Ministry and of the General Plenipotentiary for Manpower. The article is entitled, "Fritz Sauckel, on his 50th Birthday".

I do not intend to quote this article as it is written entirely in praise of Sauckel's activities and there is no reason to dwell on it. I only wish to ask you, defendant Sauckel, are you acquainted with this article?

A. I do not know this article. I cannot say what is in it. I was not always able to read through the Reich Labour Gazette - it was not published by me; it is an old publication of the Labour Ministry which contains all the decrees published by that Ministry and also my decrees The decrees in the Reich Labour Gazette all testify to my concern for foreign and for German workers.

Q. Then you will have to acquaint yourself very rapidly with the contents of this article. It will be handed to you immediately.

THE PRESIDENT: What document is this he is reading?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: It is an article in the Reichsarbeitsblatt, entitled "Fritz Sauckel, on his 50th Birthday". We are submitting this document for the first time as Exhibit USSR 462.

[Page 204]


Q. Are you now conversant with it? Tell us, does this article correctly characterise your political and governmental activity?

A. The author of this article is not an expert. I cannot make any further Comments on the contents of a birthday article. It contains a very cursory description of my career and my sphere of work.

Q. And now, one last question. In your speech at the first meeting of the Staffs for the Utilization of Manpower, held in Weimar, in January 1943, you stated - and I quote from the third Document Book of your Defence Counsel, Document No. 82. I read:

"Now, where the foundations of our work are concerned..." (I omit point 1 and pass directly to point 2.) "We are faithful to the Fuehrer and to our people. This loyalty justifies our application of the harshest measures."
A. I did not hear you.

Q. I repeat:

"Now, where the foundations of our work are concerned..." (I omit point 1 and pass directly to point 2.) "We are faithful to our Fuehrer and to our people. This loyalty justifies our application of the harshest measures."
And at the end, "In this respect I will assume ever-increasing responsibility."

Tell us now, are you assuming responsibility for the enforced mass deportation into slavery of the population of the Occupied Territories, for the suffering and misery of the millions you drove into slavery, for the grim period of slave-holding which you revived in the twentieth century?

A. I am most grateful to you that you quoted this document at this very moment. I should be grateful to you if you would show me this document so that I can give the correct representations of my views as contained in it.

Q. If necessary, your Defence Counsel will acquaint you with this document.

Mr. President, I have finished my cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, do you want to examine?

BY DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

Q. Witness, what was Rosenberg's role as Minister for Eastern Affairs in carrying out the labour mobilization programme?

A. It was up to the Minister for Eastern Affairs, in carrying out the labour mobilization programme, to pass on my wishes and demands to the offices under him in the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, in so far as they related to my tasks. I cannot, of course, comment on the other departments in the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, which I do not know.

Q. Did not Rosenberg tell you repeatedly that he would give Reich Commissioner Koch directions to make use of his authority?

A. That is correct. It was one of Rosenberg's tasks to give orders to Reich Commissioner Koch, who was under him in every field of the administration there.

Q. So that the way you understood it was that he was to give him instructions. In what way?

A. Rosenberg did and should - as we had expressly agreed - give instructions to Koch to put a stop to any wild and impermissible methods which were contrary to my instructions; and that Rosenberg did, as far as I know.

Q. Rosenberg, by referring to the authority of the Reich Commissioner, wanted to say that your recruiting methods were to be prohibited, and that it was no longer to be permitted that your mobilization groups take away Eastern workers?

A. That Rosenberg never said to me; rather he denied it, for these commissions, for the time of their duration in the Ukraine, were under and a part of the labour mobilization department of Reich Commissioner Koch. Koch was

[Page 205]

the supervising authority and the administrative authority for such matters. Those are the undeniable facts.

DR. THOMA: May I point out to this High Tribunal that a document, Rosenberg 10, shows that Sauckel did not understand this statement of Rosenberg's.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you refer to some document there, Dr. Thoma?

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