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 11 of 11)

[Page 391]

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection, I should like to submit three pieces of evidence - first of all, Speer Document 11. Mr. President, this is found on Page 10 of the English text, Page 7 of the French text. In this document, upon Speer's request, in March 1942, it was put down and I quote:
"That the Russians under all circumstances were to receive sufficient food and that Russian civilians were not to be put behind barbed wire and be treated as prisoners of war."
As my next piece of evidence, which will be Exhibit 4, I would like to submit Speer Document 13.

According to this document, in May 1943, Hitler decided, at the suggestion of Speer, that the German as well as Russian miners should receive a substantial amount of supplementary rations; it is also particularly specified there that the Russian prisoners of war are to receive rewards in the form of tobacco and similar items, for special efforts and achievements.

The next piece of evidence is Speer Exhibit 5 and it is Document 9. Mr. President, this is found on Page 12 of the English text and Page 9 of the German text in the Document Book. According to this document the food supply in

[Page 392]

Italian armament plants is to be raised to about the level of the German rations. In this connection it is important to note that Speer at the same time issued directives that also the families of these workers receive equivalent care.

I had other documents of this type at my disposal, but, in order to save the time of the translation department, I did not include them in my Document Book.


Q. Herr Speer, to whom did the bonuses of the armament industry go, and of what did they consist?

[Albert Speer] A. We gave out many millions of packages to armament plants. They contained additional food, chocolate, cigarettes, and so forth, and these bonuses were given in addition to all the extra food rations which were allowed by the Food Ministry for those who worked longer hours or who did heavy work. In the industries, these bonuses were given to all workers without distinction, including the foreign workers, prisoners of war and the workers from concentration camps.

Q. I shall again refer to the fact that these bonuses were also given to armament workers from concentration camps later on when discussing another document.

In what form did your ministry put its demands to the industries?

A. It is important to note that the demands put to industries were only in the manner of production schedules. It was up to the industries to make their requests as to manpower, machinery and material on the basis of these schedules.

Q. Was there often an unusual increase in working hours in industry, and how did this happen?

A. In theory, working time should remain uniform in modern assembly line production during the entire month. But due to the bombing attacks, delays in supplying tools and raw materials set in. As a result the number of hours in industry varied from eight to twelve a day. The average, according to our statistics, was 60 to 64 hours a week.

Q. What were the working hours of the factory workers who came from concentration camps?

A. They were exactly the same as for all the other workers in the industry, for the workers from concentration camps were on the whole only a part of the workers employed, and these workers were not called upon to do any more work than the other workers in the factory.

Q. How is that shown?

A. There was a demand on the part of the SS that the inmates of concentration camps should be kept in one part of the factory. The supervisors consisted of German foremen and specialists. The working hours, for organisational reasons, had to be co-ordinated with those of the entire industry.

Q. It is shown unequivocally from two documents, which I shall submit in another connection, that also the workers from concentration camps employed in army, naval, and air armament branches worked on the average 60 hours per week.

Herr Speer, were special KZ Camps, the so-called work camps, established next to the industries?

A. The work camps were established so that long trips to the factories could be avoided and so enable the workers to arrive at the factories fresh and ready for work.

Furthermore, the additional food which the Food Ministry had granted for all workers, including the workers from concentration camps, would not have been received by these men if they had come directly from big concentration camps; for then this additional food would have been used up in the concentration camp. In this way, those workers who came from concentration camps received in full measure bonuses which were granted in the industry, such as cigarettes, or additional food.

Q. Did you know, during your activities, that the workers from concentration camps had advantages if they worked in factories?

[Page 393]

A. Yes. My co-workers called my attention to this fact, and I also heard it when I inspected the industries. Of course, a wrong impression should not be created about the number of concentration camp inmates who worked in German industry. In toto one per cent of the labour personnel came from concentration camps.

Q. When you inspected establishments, did you ever see concentration camp inmates?

A. Of course, when on inspection tours of industries I occasionally saw inmates of concentration camps, who, however, looked well fed.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Concerning the report which Herr Speer made about concentration camps and the treatment which the inmates received in factories, I refer to a confidential letter from the Office Chief Schieber to Speer, dated 7th May, 1944. I submit it as Speer Document 44, Exhibit 6.

Mr. President, I am sorry, this will also be found in the second Document Book which has not yet been submitted. But it would be a pity if I were not to discuss it at this time, for it fits so well into this pattern. Therefore, I should like to quote briefly from it.

The Office Chief Schieber writes to his minister as follows:

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, the Tribunal thinks it would be much more helpful to them to have the document before them.

We are told that the book will be ready tomorrow afternoon, and that it will not be ready before tomorrow afternoon.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I believe that I did everything possible at the time to see that the documents were put at the disposal of the translation department in good time. The difficulty must have arisen from the fact that the interrogatories did not come back in time. I assume that is what happened.

The quotation from this document is not long, Mr. President. I believe I might as well quote from it now. Or do you wish that -

THE PRESIDENT: No; go on, if it is more convenient to you. I do not mind. You may go on.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Thank you very much.

The Office Chief Schieber writes to his minister:

"Owing to the care of the workers from camps by our factory managers in spite of all the difficulties, and the generally decent and humane treatment which foreign and concentration camp labourers received, both the Jewesses and concentration camp labourers work very efficiently, and do everything in order not to be sent back to the concentration camps.

These, facts really demand that we transfer still more concentration camp inmates into armament industries."

And a few lines farther down:
"I have discussed this whole matter in great detail with the delegate of Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, Sturmbannfuehrer Maurer, and especially pointed out that, by a decentralisation of concentration camp labourers, it might be possible to fully utilize their working strength and at the same time give them better nourishment and care."
Then he goes on to say:
  "Moreover, Maurer especially points out - "
THE PRESIDENT: You need not make such long pauses as you are making.
DR. FLAECHSNER: "Moreover, Maurer especially points out that Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl stated the food situation of concentration camp inmates working in factories is being improved constantly, and, because of special bonuses in the form of food and constant medical attention, there had been a marked increase in their weight, and, because of these things, better work was being achieved."

[Page 394]

In another document, No. 46, we see that the using of concentration camp workers in armament industries is recommended in that it brings advantages to these workers and that for this reason concentration camp inmates are glad to work in armament industries.

I refer, in this connection, to Document 1992-PS, which may be found on Page 11 of the Document Book. It is Page 14 in the English text. This document shows that already in 1937 inmates of concentration camps were being employed in workshops and that this employment was quite popular.


Q. Herr Speer, what do you know about the working conditions in subterranean factories?

A. The most modern equipment and the most modern weapons were installed and stored in subterranean factories. This equipment required perfect conditions of work, air which was dry and free from dust, good lighting facilities, big fresh air installations, so that the conditions which applied to such a subterranean factory would be about the same as those for night shifts in ordinary factories.

I should like to add that contrary to the impression which has been created here in court, these subterranean factories, almost without exception, were staffed with German workers, because we had a special interest in having these modern installations manned by the best workers who were at our disposal.

Q. Can you tell us about how many of these factories there were?

A. It was an insignificant number at the end of the war. We were using 300,000 square metres for subterranean factory buildings, and we had planned for 3,000,000 square metres.

Q. Herr Speer, in the year 1943, you visited the concentration camp at Mauthausen? Why did you visit this camp?

A. I learned, when I inspected industries at Linz, that along the Danube, near the camp at Mauthausen, a large harbour installation and numerous railway installations were being erected, and that the stone coming from the quarry at Mauthausen was to be transported to the Danube. This was purely a peace-time matter which I could not tolerate at all, for it violated all the decrees and directives which I had issued. I gave short notice of an impending visit, for I wanted to ascertain on the spot whether this construction work was an actual fact, and if so, to demand a stoppage of the work. This is an example of giving directives in a field within the economic administrative sphere of the SS. I stated on that occasion that it would be more judicious to have these workers employed during war time in a steel plant at Linz rather than in peace-time construction.

Q. Will you describe the visit to the camp?

A. My visit ostensibly followed the prescribed programme as already described by the witness Blaha. I saw the kitchens, laundry, and living quarters of the barracks. These barracks were made of massive stone, and were models as far as modern equipment is concerned. Since my intention of visiting had only been announced a short time before my arrival, in my opinion it is out of the question that big preparations could have been made before my visit. Nevertheless, the camp, or the small part of the camp which I saw, appeared to me to be very clean. But I did not see any of the workers, any of the camp inmates, since at that time they were all engaged in work. The entire inspection lasted perhaps forty-five minutes, as I had very little time at my disposal for a matter of that kind, and I had a repugnance to visiting such a camp where prisoners were being kept.

Q. The main purpose of your visit, then, was to request the stoppage of the work which you considered non-essential to the war effort?

A. Yes.

Q. On your visit, were you able to learn about the working conditions in the camp?

[Page 395]

A. No, I couldn't do that since no workers were to be seen in the camp and the harbour installations were so far from the street that I could not see the men who were working there.

Q. Did you learn, on your visit to Mauthausen or on another occasion, about the cruelties which took place at this concentration camp and at other concentration camps?

A. No.

Q. Now, I should like to conclude my questions on the utilization of workers by asking you:

Did you have any interest in the fact that a healthy and sufficiently trained labour supply should be at your disposal?

A. Naturally, I had the utmost interest in this matter even though labour supply was not within my province. Beginning in 1942, we had mass production, and this system with assembly line workers demands an extraordinarily large percentage of skilled workers. Because of conscription for military service, these skilled labourers had become especially important, so that any loss of a worker or the illness of a worker meant a big loss for me.

Since a skilled worker needed an apprenticeship of six to twelve weeks, and even after that training for a period of about six months, the loss in production is considerable, for it takes about that much time before work of quality can be expected. Thus it is evident that the care of skilled workers in industry was a matter of considerable anxiety to me.

Q. The prosecution has mentioned the so-called extermination by work. Could a change of personnel, arising from extermination by work, be tolerated at all by an industry?

A. No. A change in the workers in the way in which it was described here would not be tolerated in any industry. It is out of the question that, in any German industry, anything like that could have taken place without my hearing about it; and I never heard anything of that sort.

Q. Herr Speer, the prosecution asserts that you used methods of terror and brutality to increase to the utmost the output of the compulsory workers -

A. No

Q. Just a moment. I have not finished. The prosecution is of the opinion that you used SS and police against recalcitrant workers and favoured and recommended the use of concentration camps for the same. Is that correct?

A. No, not in that form, for that was against my interests. There were efforts in Germany to bring about increased productivity through very severe compulsory measures. These efforts did not meet with my approval. It is quite out of the question that 14,000,000 workers can be forced to produce satisfactory work through coercion and terror, as the prosecution maintains.

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection, please refer to Page 7 of the English text, Page 4 of the French text. I should like to quote from Speer Document 143. It says there:

"I do not believe that the second system which might be applied in our economy - the system of compulsion by Industrial Commissioners, and punishment when output is insufficient - can lead to success."
Now, Mr. President, I have come to the end of my first part.

THE PRESIDENT: The Court will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 20th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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