The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, 19th June, 1946
(Part 9 of 11)

[Page 383]

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I only need to refer briefly to a few documents.

In Document Book 1, I submit Document 24, Page 86. I refer to the note:

"An agreement was reached with the prosecution to the effect that the fact should be accepted that the Enabling Act of 24th March, 1933, was preceded by two Enabling Acts in 1923."
I refer to Document Book 2, Document 63, an article from Stars and Stripes of 27th March, 1946. These are the peace efforts through Earle. The article is to supplement the interrogatory of Lersner.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say 36?

DR. KUBUSCHOK: No. 63, Page 153.

Furthermore, I refer to Volume 2 -

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. This document that you just put before us is a document of March 27th, 1946. What are we going to do with that? It is a newspaper article.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: It is a newspaper article on an interview with Earle. He was speaking with Lersner. To supplement the testimony of Lersner which we do not have here I should like to use this newspaper article. It adds to something which is briefly mentioned in Lersner's written testimony.

THE PRESIDENT: But you had the opportunity of getting an affidavit from Lersner or for putting what questions you wanted to Lersner, and now you are putting in a newspaper article dated in 1946 whilst the trial is going on.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Mr. President, since I cannot hear Lersner himself because of his absence - we intended to hear him as a witness - the question in the interrogatory was answered rather briefly. To complete it -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of the interrogatory?

[Page 384]

DR. KUBUSCHOK: The Lersner interrogatory is dated 15th April, 1946. It is Document 93. Date of the interrogatory, 15th April, 1946.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal does not think that this document ought to be admitted. Newspaper articles whilst the trial is going on are not the sort of evidence which the Tribunal thinks it right to admit.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: In Volume 3 I submit Document 99, an affidavit by Sehaffgotsch, Page 245. It is just being submitted, Mr. President. It is a brief affidavit concerning Papen's vain efforts in the spring of 1934 to reach Hindenburg.

Finally, as Document 100, I shall submit the appeal of the Reich Government of 1st of February, 1939, which was mentioned yesterday, and also an excerpt on foreign policy from Hitler's speech of 23rd March. Yesterday it was referred to during the proceedings.

Furthermore, I refer to all documents in all three Document Books which have been submitted and ask that you take judicial notice of them.

Then I have one final request. Yesterday, parts of the discussion of the affidavits of Schroder and Meissner were read into the record. I believe the prosecution, since they have not made use of the affidavits, will he willing that these parts be stricken from the record.

THE PRESIDENT: It was Meissner's affidavit which was used to some extent, was it not?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, it was. My Lord, I should have thought the most convenient course would be for the Tribunal to take it that I have merely put the facts out of the affidavit and not consider that the evidence of the affidavit was before them. Otherwise, I think it would be very difficult to correct the record, but of course I accept that position.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we think so. We will treat it as those facts having been put to the witness and the witness having answered them, without considering it as a sworn statement.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, purely as my questions.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I am now finished with the case of the defendant von Papen.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit on Saturday in open session from ten to one.

I call on counsel for the defendant Speer.

DR. FLAECHSNER (on behalf of the defendant Speer):

Mr. President, gentlemen of the Tribunal:

Perhaps the High Tribunal will recall the fact that, when we were discussing the material evidence which I had suggested for presentation in this case, I dispensed with the testimony of witnesses and stated that I would limit myself to the use of interrogatories and to the questioning of witnesses outside of the court-room.

I had hoped I should thus be able to produce my entire evidence. However, I am not in possession of all the interrogatories I sent out. I have only received part of them. I will use those replies which are at my disposal to the best of my ability in the examination of the defendant so that a special presentation of those interrogatories and of the protocol will be superfluous. Despite everything, I hope to conduct the examination-in-chief of the defendant in such a manner that, in my estimation, I shall be finished in seven hours or, at the most, in a day.

Now, with the permission of the High Tribunal I should like to call the defendant Speer to the witness box.


ALBERT SPEER, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:

[Page 385]


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Albert Speer.

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.)




Q. Herr Speer, will you please tell the Tribunal about your life up until the time you were appointed minister?

A. I was born on 19th March, 1905. My grandfather and my father were successful architects. At first I wanted to study mathematics and physics but studied architecture, more because of tradition than inclination. I attended the universities at Munich and Berlin and at the age of 24, in 1929, I was the first assistant at the technical college in Berlin.

At the age of twenty-seven, in 1932, I went into business for myself until 1942.

In 1934 Hitler noticed me for the first time. I became acquainted with him and, from that period of time onwards, I followed my profession with joy and enthusiasm, for Hitler was quite fanatical on the subject of architecture and I received many important constructional contracts from him. In addition to putting up a new Reich chancellery in Berlin and the various buildings on the Party grounds in Nuremberg, I was entrusted with the re-planning of the cities of Berlin and Nuremberg. I had draughted plans for buildings which would have been among the largest in the world, and the carrying through of these plans would have cost no more than two months of Germany's war expenditure. Through this predilection which Hitler had for architecture, I had a close personal contact with him. I belonged to a circle which consisted of other artists and his personal staff. If Hitler had had any friends at all, I certainly would have been one of his close friends.

Despite the war, this peaceful constructional work was carried on until December 1941, when the catastrophe in Russia put an end to it. The German personnel of the manpower was furnished by me for the reconstruction of the destroyed railway installations in Russia.

Q. The prosecution, in Document 1435-PS, which is Exhibit USA 216, has quoted a remark from your first speech as a minister, dated February 1942, in which you state that, at that time, you had placed ten thousand prisoners of war at the disposal of the armament industry.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this remark may be found in my document book on Page 4 of the English text and Page 1 of the French text.


Q. Herr Speer, what do you have to say to us about this document?

A. At that time, in my capacity as an architect, I had nothing to say as to whether these workers were to be taken into armaments or not. They were put at the disposal of the prisoner-of-war organization of the OKW. I took it as a matter of course that they would be utilised in the armament industry.

Q. Herr Speer, did you ever participate in the planning and preparation of an aggressive war?

A. No. Since I was active as an architect up until the year 1942, there can be no question about that whatsoever. The buildings which I constructed were completely representative of peacetime activities. As an architect, I used up material, manpower and money in considerable amounts for this purpose. This material, in the last analysis, was lost to armaments.

Q. Were you -

[Page 386]

A. One moment, please.

The carrying out of these large building plans which Hitler sponsored was, actually and especially psychologically, the antithesis to armament.

Q. The prosecution asserts you had been a Reichsleiter.

A. No, that is a mistake on the part of the prosecution.

Q. You wore the Golden Party Emblem. When and why did you receive it?

A. I received the Golden Party Emblem from Hitler in 1938. It was because I had completed the plans for a new building programme in Berlin. Besides myself, five other artists received this Golden Party Emblem at the same time.

Q. Were you a member of the Reichstag?

A. In 1941 I was made a member of the Reichstag by Hitler, that is, without being elected, as replacement for a member who had left the Reichstag. Hitler At that time said that he wanted me in the Reichstag as representative of the artists.

Q. Did you ever receive a donation?

A. No.

Q. How did your activity as a minister start?

A. On 8th February, 1942, my predecessor, Dr. Todt, was killed in an aeroplane crash. Several days later, Hitler declared I was to be his successor in his many offices. At that time I was thirty-six years of age. Up until that time, Hitler considered the main activity of Todt to be in the building sphere, and that is why he called me to be his successor. I believe that it was a complete surprise to everyone when I was appointed as minister.

Immediately upon my assuming office, it was plain that not building but armament production was to be my main task. Because of the heavy losses of material in the battles in Russia during the winter of 1941-1942, Hitler called for considerable intensification of armament production.

Q. When you assumed office, did you find the Reich Ministry for Munitions well and completely organized?

A. No, Dr. Todt had neglected this function of his up to that time, and in addition, in the autumn of 1941, Hitler had issued a decree according to which the armament of the army was to take second place to the armament of the air force. At that time he foresaw a victorious outcome of the war in Russia and had decreed that armament was to be concentrated on the imminent war against England, and was to be converted to that end. Because of this unbelievable optimism of his, the rescinding of that order was postponed until January 1942, and only from that date onward, for a month - that is, during the last month of his life - did Dr. Todt start to build up his organization. Therefore, I had the difficult task, first of all, to make myself acquainted with a completely new field of activity; secondly, at the same time to create all organisational prerequisites for my task; and thirdly, to increase armament production for the army, and to increase production generally as much as possible within the next few months. As is very well known today, I succeeded in doing that.

Q. What promises did you receive from Hitler about the duration of your task and about your staff of collaborators?

A. Hitler promised me that I should consider my task only as a war task and that after the war I might once more resume my profession of architect.

DR. FLAECHSNER: At this point I should like to mention a passage from Document 1435 which deals with a speech delivered by Speer on 24th February, 1942, ten days after he assumed office. This document shows that he was very reluctant about changing his profession of architect for that of a minister. I quote:

"Finally, I can say for myself that my personal contribution is a very large one. Up until very recently I lived in a world of pure ideals."
In Document 1520-PS, which is Exhibit GB 156, which is on Page 2 of my Document Book; Page 5 of the English text and Page 2 of the French and Russian texts, on 8th May, 1942, Hitler stated, and I quote

[Page 387]

"The Fuehrer thereupon stated several times that the Reich Ministry Speer would be dissolved on the day when peace was concluded."
I should further like to submit Speer Document 43, which is a memorandum from Speer to Hitler, dated 20th September, 1944. Mr. President, this may be found on Page 6 of the English text, Page 3 of the French and Russian texts. From this document you can see that Speer was considered hostile to the Party ("parteifremd" and "parteifeindlich") by Bormann and Goebbels because of his circle of collaborators. Speer writes in his memorandum, and I quote:
"The task which I have to fulfil is a non-political one. I was content in my work, as long as I personally and my work were evaluated only according to professional achievements and standards. I do not feel strong enough to carry out successfully and without hindrance the technical work to be accomplished by myself and my co-workers if it is to be measured by Party political standards."

Q. Herr Speer, can you describe the fundamental principles according to which you built up your ministry?

THE PRESIDENT: What exhibit number are you giving that?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Exhibit No. 1, Mr. President.


Q. Herr Speer, can you describe the fundamental principles which you followed in building up your ministry?

A. I personally was no expert, and I did not want to act as an expert. Therefore, I selected the best possible experts to be found in Germany as my co-workers. I believed that these men were to be found within industry itself. Therefore, I made up my ministry of honorary industrial co-workers. This was done in the United States in a similar way during the war in matters of production. Professional civil servants were lacking in my ministry and you cannot really consider my ministry as one set up on normal lines.

In June 1944 I delivered a speech in Essen about the fundamental principles upon which I founded my ministry and its work, to defend myself against the various attacks on my system in Party circles.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I believe that the High Tribunal is not yet in possession of my Document Book containing the interrogatories. I would have been glad to point out that the statements given by witnesses Sauer and Schieber in this connection are summed up in this answer. Now I shall submit -

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