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 13 of 13)

[Mr. Biddle continues his examination of Ernst Friedrich Christoph Sauckel]

[Page 224]

Q. Do you say that you were advised by the Foreign Office, that you were entitled, under International Law, to force people to come from Russia to work in Germany?

A. The Foreign Office never told me anything to the contrary, but the Foreign Office, I believe, was not competent for questions concerning the East. I do not know.

Q. Whom did you ask for advice on the subject?

A. I found these regulations in existence before I took office. These regulations had already been issued. The Fuehrer expressly charged me to carry them out.

Q. Then, the answer is that you asked nobody? Is that right?

A. I did not ask anybody. I could not ask anybody because all offices wanted these measures and accepted them. There was never a discussion to the contrary.

[Page 225]

Q. And did you say that it was not the task of the police to enforce recruiting for labour?

A. It was not the task of the police to carry out recruitment.

Q. Well, why did you say at the conference on 4th January, 1944, which is reported in the Document 1292-PS, that you would do everything in your power to furnish the requested manpower in 1944, but whether it would succeed depended primarily on what German enforcement agents would be made available, and that your project could not be carried out with domestic enforcement agents? Does that not mean that the police would have to enforce your recruitment programmes?

A. No, it means - the reproduction of these minutes is not very exact - I explained to the Fuehrer that I probably would not be able to carry out his programme because there were very large partisan areas, and as long as these partisan areas were not cleared up so that a regular administration could be established there, no recruitment could take place there either. First of all, therefore, normal administrative conditions would have to be established again. This could be done only by those organs whose task it was.

Q. What did you mean by German enforcement agents?

A. By German enforcement agencies I meant the normal administration as such, but in some territories that was too weak.

Q. Well, then, why was it that the Reichsfuehrer SS explained that the enforcement agents put at his disposal were extremely few, if those enforcement agents were not police agents?

A. I did not understand the question correctly in the first place. The Reichsfuehrer, I believe, said, according to my recollection, that for the pacification of these areas he did not have troops enough because they were all at the front. That did not refer to the recruitment and administration, but to the re-establishment of normal conditions in these areas.

Q. Well then, are you saying that it was not the task of the police to help you in recruitment, but that it was the task of the military?

A. That would greatly depend on the various regulations in the territories. There were areas in which the military commanders had the sole executive power, and there were areas in which civilian authorities had the executive power on the German side. There was a third kind of area, zones of military operations with rear areas, in which the commanders-in-chief of the army had the executive power.

Q. Well, then, either it was the police or it was the military, or it was some other force which was going to carry out your forcible recruiting, is that right?

A. Yes, but in these areas as well, the machinery of the civilian administration was available, which was not identical with the military or with the police but represented within these Armed Forces organizations separate branches of the administration under a special administrative chief.

Q. Well, I do not understand then what you meant by saying that your project could not be carried out with domestic enforcement agents.

THE TRIBUNAL. (Mr. Biddle): That is all I have to ask. Then the defendant can return to the dock.


DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I am asking the Tribunal to look at Document 3, which is a list of Sauckel's offices, to see the position of the witness whom I am about to call.

Under Sauckel in the Reich Ministry of Labour there were various departments, one of which, the department of the witness Timm, was the so-called Europe Office, which had three sub-departments, one for the West, one for the East, and the third for the South and South-west.

With the permission of the Tribunal, I call the witness Timm.

[Page 226]

MAX Timm, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Will you state your full name.

A. Max Timm.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, you worked in the Reich Labour Ministry in the department Labour Mobilization?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Were you already there when Sauckel took office?

A. Yes, and I had been in the labour administration several years before that.

Q. What was the impression you had of your new superior when Sauckel took over the office?

A. When Sauckel assumed office, I had the impression of a very energetic, hard-working man, who was inclined to get excited at times, even angry, no doubt, and who demanded much of his co-workers, but also made great demands of himself.

Q. How did he act in carrying out his measures?

A. When he assumed office there was a good deal of confusion in the field of labour mobilization. Everybody had something to do with labour mobilization.

Q. Was that the reason why that office was created?

A. The previous chiefs had not had enough force to push their programme through against the opposition of various offices, and Sauckel was the strong man, and particularly the strong political figure, who should put things in order.

Q. How did Sauckel approach this new task? Did he adhere to the administrative regulations or did he do it in his own way, in - as one says - an unrestrained new manner?

A. He considered his task very much a political task, but he always did his best to handle administrative matters in an orderly way. He was generally known as a Gauleiter who was friendly to the office workers. Also, in order to instruct all the offices under his administration he held so-called staff conferences at regular intervals, in which the most important things were discussed.

Q. What was your position in that office?

A. In the department of Labour Mobilization I had first a sub-department and later a department.

Q. What did that department deal with?

A. That department had to deal with all questions concerning the assignment of labourers, particularly the classification of skilled workers, training of workers, vocational advice and employment agencies for apprentices.

Q. Was your office called the "Europe Office"?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have an over-all view of what went on in the office?

A. Not completely, due to the fact that Gauleiter Sauckel at the same time remained Gauleiter in Thuringia, and that he worked in Berlin in the Thuringia House, whereas the special departments put at his disposal remained in the Ministry of Labour.

Q. No, you did not understand my question. The question was whether you, from your office, had an over-all view of what went on in labour mobilization without regard to Sauckel's activity.

[Page 227]

A. Yes, but not entirely because we were not informed about all events, due to the separation of the offices.

Q. What were the staff conferences? Who took part in them and of what kind of people were they composed?

A. For the most part the liaison men of the various branches were called to staff conferences.

Q. What kind of people were they?

A. There were various kinds of people, civil servants, but also economists and the like.

Q. But you should tell us from what offices these people came, or were they people who were in Sauckel's office?

A. They were mostly people from other branches, as, for instance, a representative of the Trustee for the Four-Year Plan, the representatives of the Armament Ministry, of the Ministry for Eastern Affairs and of other departments.

Q. Was that the so-called specialist labour staff?

A. That was the specialist labour staff.

Q. About how many people were in it?

A. In my estimate there were probably about fifteen to twenty people.

Q. Besides that, Sauckel had a personal labour staff. What kind of people were in that?

A. The personal labour staff consisted mostly of men whom Sauckel had brought with him from Weimar, men of his own immediate circle.

Q. Did he also have specialists? Who were these?

A. He had two personal specialists, County Counsellor Berg and Ministerial Counsellor Stothfang.

Q. And what position did Dr. Didier hold?

A. Dr. Didier, as far as I remember, was the Press official.

Q. How were these staff conferences carried on? What was discussed?

A. At those staff conferences all matters of labour mobilization, that is, the entire German labour mobilization programme, were discussed, and the sessions were generally opened with a complete report by Herr Sauckel, in which he explained his plans for the future.

Q. Were questions of recruitment in occupied territories also discussed, and, what is most important here, the difficulties which existed there, the methods of which we have heard? What was reported about that?

A. Questions of recruitment were generally not discussed there so much; rather questions concerning the Reich.

A. I asked you first about the Occupied Territories. Was, for instance, that case discussed which has been submitted here, the surrounding of a cinema and the seizing of people there, and similar cases?

A. Yes, the case of the cinema is known to me.

Q. That was discussed?

A. Yes, that was discussed.

Q. And what was done about it?

A. Sauckel at once charged several gentlemen - I do not remember whom - with making all possible investigations in order to clarify the case.

Q. Were other cases reported?

A. There were no other cases which could be compared in seriousness with that case which has just been described.

Q. Was there also discussion about the question of labour conditions in Germany for foreign workers?

A. There were discussions in the staff conferences about labour conditions.

Q. And was it not reported there that conditions existed in individual camps or industries which were objectionable?

A. Cases of that kind were discussed. In general, they concerned clothing, nutrition, and similar things.

[Page 228]

Q. How did these reports come to the staff conferences? Who conveyed them? From what source did one find out about them?

A. Herr Sauckel always attached importance to having these things examined on the spot and he maintained an extensive system of inspection in order to get an accurate picture of these questions, and these inspection reports were then discussed in detail in the staff conferences.

THE PRESIDENT: I have an announcement to make.

Upon consideration of the motion of the prosecution, dated 21st May, and the memorandum of the defence counsel in reply thereto, dated 29th May, the Tribunal makes the following order:

The motion of the prosecution that arguments as to the guilt or innocence of the individual defendants be heard at the conclusion of the evidence relating to the individual defendants and before the introduction of evidence relating to the accused organizations, is granted. The Tribunal, however, will not decide the question of the guilt or innocence of any defendant until after all the evidence has been heard; and, if any of the evidence relating to the accused organizations is thought by counsel for any defendant to support his defence, he may ask to be heard further with regard thereto. The Tribunal, at the conclusion of the evidence relating to the individual defendants, will accordingly hear first the argument in their behalf and then the summing up of the prosecution. The statements of each of the defendants in his own behalf will be heard at the conclusion of the trial before judgement.

The Tribunal is of opinion that the argument relating to the guilt or innocence of the individual defendants will be more helpful if heard immediately at the conclusion of the evidence bearing thereon, and before the Tribunal has departed from this and goes into the branch of the case relating to the organizations. This arrangement, furthermore, will give the Commissioners who are taking the evidence as to the organizations further time in which to complete their work. The defendants will not be prejudiced in any way by this arrangement; for, apart from the fact that their cases are essentially different from the cases of the organizations, they will be allowed to call to the attention of the Tribunal any circumstance developed on the hearing of the organizations which is thought to be helpful to their defence. The Tribunal finds nothing in the Charter which forbids this procedure, and Article 9 leaves to the discretion of the Tribunal the manner of hearing evidence in behalf of the accused organizations.

Counsel for the individual defendants will not be permitted to cross-examine the witnesses called by counsel on behalf of the organizations or to take part in such proceedings save when specially authorized to do so by the Tribunal.

That is all.

The Tribunal will sit tomorrow at ten o'clock in open session until one o'clock.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1st June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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