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 8 of 13)

[DR. THOMA continues his redirect examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 205]


DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for the defendant Sauckel): Mr. President, the examination of the witness by the Defence Counsel for the defendant Rosenberg must limit itself to new matters which have been brought up and are the subject of argument. There was every opportunity, when his client was in the witness stand, to clarify these questions. At the time I wanted to clear up this question on my own initiative, but I was informed that I ought to ask Sauckel. He made a clear statement here and, in my opinion, there is no cause once more to come back in this connection to documents which belong to a previous period of the defence. I object to such questioning.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Dr. Thoma, I think you had better go on and ask your next question. I have not got the document before me yet that you are putting to the witness, or referring to. What is your next question?


Q. Witness, did you not in your programme assume all responsibility for labour mobilization?

A. I assumed responsibility, and I acknowledge it, within the limits of my powers - I cannot do more than that - for what I have ordered and for what I have caused to be done. This collection of decrees, Dr. Thoma, has been submitted and was presented to Herr Rosenberg -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, the defendant has been over all this before. He has been through this before - about his responsibility.

DR. THOMA: Mr. President, may I point out that regarding the question of responsibility, there is a certain paragraph-namely the decisive paragraph - which has not yet been read. It is Document o16-PS, concerning the labour mobilization programme, and it says on Page 21, figure 1 -

THE PRESIDENT: Just say what the document is again, will you, Dr. Thoma?

DR. THOMA: 016-PS, Page 21 of the German document; it says:

"All technical and administrative procedure of labour mobilization is subject exclusively to the jurisdiction and responsibility of the General Plenipotentiary for labour mobilization, the State labour offices and the labour offices - "
A. Inside Germany, Doctor. Outside Germany I was, of course, subordinate to the competent chiefs of the areas in question. That is quite obvious.

DR. THOMA: In reply to that answer I draw the attention of the Tribunal to Page 15 of this labour programme. Figure 1, which I have just read, comes under the paragraph, "Prisoners of War and Foreign Workers".

A. "To that extent that they were employed in Germany."

Q. May I point out that it states clearly under Figure 1:

"All technical and administrative procedure of labour mobilization."
A. And may I point out that it was not possible for me to interfere with Reich Commissioner Koch's authority. He had said expressly that he would not stand for that.

Q. Witness, the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan especially provided you with conscription powers in dealings with all authorities and, in my opinion, it is not

[Page 206]

right that you should now deny these methods of recruitment and pass responsibility for them on to the Minister for Eastern Affairs.

DR. THOMA: I have no further questions.

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, the Defence Counsel for defendant Rosenberg may engage in cross-examining, but it does not appear to me to be the right moment for him to make a speech of accusation against my client.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, I am well aware of the fact that there have been two cross-examinations, and I have no desire to go on with another one. However, we do have one document that we think is of some importance and which was turned over to General Alexandrov, but I think there must have been some language difficulty. The translation of it was not presented. I would like the permission of the Tribunal to ask one or two questions of this defendant about it and to present it. I think it is rather important that it be presented.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, the Tribunal does not think that this ought to create a precedent, but in view of your statement that the document was supplied to General Alexandrov and that, for some reason, he did not deal with it, we will allow you to cross-examine upon it.

MR. DODD: Very well, sir.



Q. Witness, do you remember an occasion in 1942, just after your appointment, when you met some officials of the Ministry of Labour and you discussed with them the programme which you were about to institute and over which you were about to take, or for which you were about to take responsibility? Do you recall it?

A. I cannot, of course, remember details of that discussion. Various points of the programme were discussed, and I might say in connection with the comments made by defence counsel for the defendant Rosenberg as well that what he has been quoting is -

Q. Just a minute, just a minute, I simply asked you if you remembered this meeting, and you said you did not, and now there is the document.

A. Details of that conference I do not remember.

Q. And now take a look at the minutes of the meeting.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the document?

MR. DODD: This is EC-318.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the exhibit number? Has it been offered or not?

MR. DODD: I am now offering it. I was waiting to get the number from the Secretary.

I will have to get the number a little later, Mr. President. I have not made preparations to submit this document, so I did not get the number in advance.


Q. Now I want to call your attention particularly to a few passages. You started out by telling the officials who were gathered there that you wanted to co-operate closely with them, and then, further on, you gave some idea of the number of workers whom you intended to recruit. You said there was an estimated requirement of one million, and you also made perfectly clear that day that you were to get most of your people, most of these workers from the East, and particularly from Soviet Russia.

You told these officials that you had talked for several hours with the Fuehrer and for eight hours with the Reichsmarschall, and that you all agreed that the most important problem was the exploitation of the manpower in the East.

You further stated - do you see that there?

[Page 207]

A. Where does it say "exploitation"? I do not find that word.

Well, do you find where you say you had discussed your task with the Fuehrer in a conversation that had lasted for several hours? Do you find that?

A. I cannot find it.

Q. You have the German there before you, have you not?

A. Yes, but will you please be kind enough to tell me the page?

Q. In the middle of Page 2. Have you found it?

A. General, I want expressly to point out to you the difference in German between the words "Ausnutzung" and "Ausbeutung". "Ausbeutung" (exploitation) is a word which, in the language of the workers, has a rather bad connotation, but "Ausnutzung" (utilization) is quite an ordinary concept; to utilize something means making it useful. There is quite a difference in meaning in the German language.

Q. Well, we will stand by ours and you may stand by yours, and the Tribunal will ascertain between the two of us who has the correct translation.

In any event, whether you said "utilize" or "exploit", you did say that the most important solution was either the utilization or the exploitation.

A. But that is not the same thing, General. In German there is an elementary difference in meaning. I must point out that the word "exploitation" is a word which I did not use and did not want to use.

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, would you speak a little bit lower. You quite drown the interpreter's voice.

THE WITNESS: I beg your pardon, my Lord.


Q. I am not concerned with whether or not you agree with the word "exploit".

That is a very unimportant part of this document, as I think you probably already recognize.

A. I beg to contradict you. That word is most important from the human point of view.

Q. I do not care to have any argument with you at all. We -

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, the Tribunal is perfectly well able to understand the difference between the use of the words, and you have given us the translation which you say is right.


Q. Now, if you move down a little, do you recall having said that one million Russians would have to be brought into Germany as rapidly as possible, to become available even prior to the offensive.

It is the next sentence or two there in your text. You will not see it by looking at me. Read the next sentence.

A. Yes, I should like permission to read the next sentence:

"The necessary condition for taking on the task would be the assurance that Russians would be given approximately the same ration allowance as was in force for the German civilian population".
Q. You have omitted the sentence that I want you to read. I know that one is there, but I want you to read the one where you say you would have to bring one million Russians into the Reich as rapidly as possible, and that is the very next or almost the next sentence after the one you have been discussing, about the words "exploit" or "utilize".

A. "- must be brought to the Reich as quickly as possible".

Q. That is all I want to know. Do you remember saying that?

A. Yes, I said that. I must say in connection with this that this is a record which I have never seen before or checked. Someone made it, but the record itself I was not familiar with and it was never submitted to me.

Q. Well, I suppose it could be truthful even though you did not make it.

[Page 208]

Let us move on here to the next to the last paragraph, and you will find a sentence which says or suggests:
"They" - referring to the Russians-"will have to be handled so roughly by the German administration in the East that they would prefer to go to Germany rather than stay in Russia".
Do you find that?

A. Will you tell me where that sentence is?

Well, it is right after the sentence where you talk about your negotiations with Himmler. Maybe that will help you.

Do you find where you say you had negotiations with the Reichsfuehrer SS? You succeeded in getting him to remove the barbed wire. Surely you have read that.

Now you find the sentence, do you?

"They would have to be handled so roughly by the German administration in the East that they would prefer to go to Germany rather than stay in Russia."
Do you remember saying that?

A. I cannot say that I used these specific words in speaking to him, for, as I have already stated, it is a record of statements in the nature of a proclamation which I myself did not check, and I cannot establish how a third person has written this down from memory. These are not shorthand minutes; it is merely a record which is not signed by anyone and in which -

Q. I do not think you need to give us any long dissertation on the fact that it is somebody else's minutes. It is not offered to you as being your own.

A. (Interposing.) Yes, but I have the right and the obligation to say so.

Q. I wish you would wait a minute and let me put a question to you once in a while. I have not suggested that these are your minutes. I have merely put it to you for the purpose of determining whether or not on seeing it you remember it. Do you or do you not remember it?

A. I certainly do not remember that passage. I can merely, read here something written by a third person, and I do not know who it was. He may quite well have misunderstood me; that is possible -

Q. Well, you also find you did have some conversations with the Reichsfuehrer SS. Do you remember having said that in the course of this conversation or speech or whatever it was that you were making?

A. The Reichsfuehrer SS approached me on several occasions and I had to get the Reichsfuehrer SS to remove the barbed wire fences. I did that. From the very beginning of my term of office I mitigated the severity of the instructions of the Reichsfuehrer SS and that, of course, caused strong arguments between us.

Q. Then that part of the minutes of this meeting is correct, is it not? The reporter, or whoever it was that took this down, correctly reported what you said about your negotiations with the Reichsfuehrer SS, did he? You find no fault with that?

A. What he wrote down in detail about what I am supposed to have said I have not yet read.

Q. Now, listen. You read back and look at that paper at which you have just been looking. You find fault with the sentence that reports that you said they were to be handled roughly in the East, but you do not find any fault with the sentence before it which says you had the barbed wire taken down, is that not so?

You seem to be complaining about the fact that this was somebody else's report and not yours. Have you read it?

A. No.

Q. Well, it is the sentence just before the one we have just been talking about.

Do you really mean you cannot find it? Do you want help?

A. Two pages appear in duplicate here.

[Page 209]

Q. All I have asked you, Witness, is whether or not the sentence about your meeting with Himmler is a fairly accurate report of what you said. Is it?

A. That I cannot tell you from memory. I very seldom spoke to Himmler and then only cursorily. It may have been negotiations carried out by my office on my order. That I cannot tell you.

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