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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Fifty-Ninth Day: Thursday, 20th June, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[Page 5]

DR. FLAECHSNER: No, that must be a typographical error. It should be 42, Mr. President, it may be found -

THE PRESIDENT: What is the exhibit number?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Speer Exhibit 7.

THE PRESIDENT: What does 42 mean? What is the point of putting 42 on it if its Exhibit number is 7?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, that is the number according to which the document was admitted when we compiled the document book. However, the exhibit number 7 is the decisive number in this case.


DR. FLAECHSNER: It is only meant to facilitate reference to it in the document book. It is on Page 17 of the English text; and I might be allowed to call the attention of the High Tribunal to clause three of the decree. According to this the Central Planning Board had to decide on all the necessary new industrial projects for the increase in the production of raw materials, and their distribution, as well as on the co-ordination of the demands on the transport system. This decree does not provide for any regulation of the labour problem.


Q. Herr Speer, how did it come about that in spite of this latter fact, labour demands were discussed in the Central Planning Board?

[Albert Speer] A. These minutes of all, the sixteen meetings of the Central Planning Board, which took place from 1942 until 1945, are contained in the stenographic records. These five thousand typed pages give a clear report on the activities carried out and the tasks of the Central Planning Board. It is quite obvious to any expert that there was no planning with regard to manpower allocation, for it is clear that a plan regarding labour allocation would have to be revised at least every three months, just as we did for raw materials. In fact, three to four meetings took place in the Central Planning Board which were concerned with labour. These three or four discussions were held for the following reasons:

In the years 1942 and 1943 - that is, before I took over the management of the total economy - when soldiers were being recruited for the Wehrmacht, I had reserved for myself the right to determine the various recruitment quotas in the

[Page 6]

different sectors of production. At a meeting this allocation of quotas was determined by the Central Planning Board as a neutral assembly. At this meeting, of course, there was a representative of the General Plenipotentiary for Labour, since at the same time the problem of replacements had to be dealt with. Another problem which was discussed by the Central Planning Board was the distribution and allocation of coal for the following year. Just as in England, coal was the decisive factor in our entire war production. At these discussions we had to determine at the same time how the demands for labour supply for the mines could be satisfied by the General Plenipotentiary for Labour because only in agreement with him could proper plans be made for the following year. From these discussions resulted the assignment of Russian prisoners of war to mines, a matter which has been mentioned here.

Furthermore, two meetings took place at which the demands for labour supplies put forward by all interested parties were actually discussed, and in such a way as corresponds to some extent with the suggestion of the prosecution as to the activities of the Central Planning Board in such matters. These two meetings took place in February and March, 1944, and no others were held either before or after. Besides, these two meetings took place during my illness. At that time already it was not quite clear to me why, just when I was ill, Sauckel first complied with my wish to have the Central Planning Board put under my Ministry and then later on opposed the suggestion.

DR. FLAECHSNER: The prosecution has submitted various extracts dealing with meetings of the Central Planning Board.


Q. As far as you know, are these extracts taken from the stenographic records, or are they taken from the minutes?

A. They are taken from the stenographic records. Besides these stenographic records, minutes were made on the results of the meetings. These minutes are the official records of the results of the meetings. No material from the actual minutes has so far been submitted by the prosecution. The contents of the stenographic records are, of course, of remarks and debates which always take place when matters of such importance are dealt with, even when the authorities involved are not directly responsible for some of the matters which come up for discussion, such as those relative to labour commitments.

Q. Therefore, do these quotations which have been heard here concern decisions made by the Central Planning Board or by you?

A. I have already answered that.

Q. I would like to put one more question to you. You had another special position in the Four-Year Plan? What about that?

A. I was the Armaments Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan. In March, 1942, Goering, giving heed to my proposal, created the post of Armaments Plenipotentiary in the Four-Year Plan, and I was appointed Armaments Plenipotentiary. This was purely a matter of form. It was generally known that Goering had quarrelled with my predecessor, Todt, since armaments problems had not been put under his, Goering's, control. In assuming this post as Armaments Plenipotentiary, I had subordinated myself nominally to Goering. In fact, the Armaments Plenipotentiary never achieved any influence. I issued no directives whatsoever in that capacity. As Minister I had sufficient authority, and it was not necessary for me to use any authority I had under the Four-Year Plan.

DR. FLAECHSNER: For the benefit of the High Tribunal, when dealing with the question of the Central Planning Board, perhaps I might refer to the fact that statements were made relative to it by the witness Schieber in his questionnaire under figures 4 and 45, and by the witness Kehrl in his questionnaire under figure 2.

Now I shall turn to the problem of the responsibility for the number of foreign workers in. general.

[Page 7]


Q. Herr Speer, the prosecution charges you with co-responsibility for the entire number of foreign workers who were transported to Germany. Your co-defendant Sauckel has testified in this connection that principally he worked for you in this matter so that his activity was primarily determined by your needs. Will you please comment on this?

A. Of course, I expected Sauckel to meet all the demands of war production, but it cannot be maintained that he primarily took care of my demands, for, beginning with the spring of 1943, I received only a part of the workers I needed. If my requirements had been the principal care of Sauckel, I should have received all the workers I asked for. But this was not the position. For example, some two hundred thousand Ukrainian women were made available for housework, and it is quite certain that I was of the opinion that they could have been put to better use in armaments production.

It is also clear that the German labour reserve had not been fully utilised. In January, 1943, these German reserves were still ample. I was interested in having German workers - and, of course, women - and this non-utilization of German reserves indicates that I cannot be held solely responsible for demanding foreign workers to meet my labour requirements.

DR. FLAECHSNER: I should like to point out that the following witnesses have made statements in connection with this problem in their respective questionnaires: The witness Schmelte in answer to questions 12, 13 and 16; the witness Schieber to 22; the witness Roland to 1 and 4, and the witness Kehrl to 9.


Q. Herr Speer, if you or your office demanded workers, then, of course, you knew that you would receive foreign workers amongst them. Did you need these foreign workers?

A. I needed them only for part of my production. For instance, the coal mines could not be fully operated without Russian prisoners of war. It would have been quite impossible to employ German reserves, which consisted mainly of women, in these mines. There were, furthermore, special assignments for which it was desirable to have foreign experts, but the majority of the needs could be met by German workers, even German female workers. The same principle was followed in the armament industries in England and America, and certainly in the Soviet Union, too.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you not go on, Dr. Flaechsner? There is no need to wait.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes. In my documentary evidence I shall return to this point in more detail.


Q. Herr Speer, I should like to go back to your testimony of 18th October, 1945 In it you stated several times that you knew that the workers from occupied countries were being brought to Germany against their will. The prosecution alleges that you approved of the use of force and of terror. Will you comment on that?

A. I had no influence on the method by which workers were recruited. If the workers were being brought to Germany against their will that means, as I see it, that they were obligated by lawful measures to work for Germany. Whether these legal measures were justified or not, that was a matter I did not check at the time. Besides, this was no concern of mine. On the other hand, by application of force and terror I understand police measures such as raids and arrests and so on. I did not approve of these violent measures, which may be seen from the attitude I took at the discussion I had on this question with Lammers on 11th June, 1944.

[Page 8]

At that time I held the view that neither an increase in police forces, nor raids, nor violent measures were correct. In this document I am, at the same time, referred to as one of those who expressed their objections to the violent measures which had been proposed.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the document?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, that is Document 3819-PS, which the prosecution submitted in the cross-examination of, I believe, the defendant Keitel and of the defendant Sauckel. I did not include it in my document book.


Herr Speer, why were you against such violent measures?

A. Because through violent measures of that kind, a regular flow of manpower supply in the occupied countries would not have been possible in the long run. I wanted production to be regulated and orderly in the occupied countries. Measures of violence meant to me a loss of manpower, because people, in increasing numbers, fled to the woods so as not to have to go to Germany and strengthened the ranks of the resistance movement. This led to increased acts of sabotage and that, in turn, to a decrease of production in the occupied countries.

Therefore, time and again the military commanders, and the commanders-in-chief of the army groups, as well as myself, protested against these proposed large-scale measures of violence.

Q. Were you especially interested in the recruiting of workers from various countries, and if so, why?

A. Yes. I was especially interested in the labour recruitment from France, Belgium and Holland - that is, countries in the West - and from Italy, because, beginning with the spring of 1943, the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Commitment had decreed that mainly the workers from these regions were to be assigned for war production. On the other hand, the workers from the East were mainly to be used for agriculture, for forestry, and for the building of railways.

This decree was repeatedly stressed to me by Sauckel, even as late as 1944.

DR. FLAECHSNER: In this connection, I should like to refer to Document 3072-PS, which is Exhibit USA 790. This document is found on Page 79 of the English text, and Page 76 of the French text of my document book. I quote from the conference of the Economic Inspectorate South in Russia:

Peukert - the delegate for Sauckel in Russia - states here, and I quote: "Provisions have been made for employing workers from the East principally in agriculture and in the food economy while the workers from the West, especially those skilled workers required by Minister Speer, are to be made available to the armament industry."
Document 7289-PS, which is Exhibit RF 77, may be found on Page 42 of the English text of my document book and Page 39 of the French and German texts. Here we are concerned with a remark by Sauckel, on 26th April, 1944, and I quote:
"Only by a renewed mobilization of reserves in the occupied Western territories can the urgent need of German armament for skilled workers be satisfied. For this purpose the reserves from other territories are not sufficient either in quality or in quantity. They are urgently needed for the requirements of agriculture, transportation, and construction. Up to 75 per cent of the workers from the West have always been allocated to armament."
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flaechsner, speaking for myself, I do not know what the problem is that you are trying to solve, or what argument you are putting forward in the very least. I do not know what relevance this has at all. What does it matter whether they came from the West or whether they came from the East? I understand your argument, or the defendant's argument, that the armament industry, under the Geneva Convention, does not include a variety of branches of industry which go eventually into armament, and it only relates to things which are directly concerned with munitions. But when you have placed that argument before us, what is the good of referring us to this sort of evidence?

[Page 9]

I mean, I only want to know because I do not understand in the least what you are getting at.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this is to prepare for the problem to which we are now turning, and that is the problem of the blocked or protected industries (Sperr Betriebe). By setting up these blocked industries, Speer, if I may put it that way, wanted to put an effective stop to the transfer of workers from the West to Germany. Therefore I first have to show that up to that time his workers, the labour for his industries, mainly came from the West. I want to establish that -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Supposing he did want to stop them from coming from the West, what difference does it make?

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, Speer is being charged with actively having taken part in the deportation of workers from the West, workers who were used in his armament industries. Now, the date is important here.

He says that beginning with the year 1943, he followed a different policy. Before that time, as may be seen from the evidence, the workers who had come to Germany had, to a large extent, been voluntary workers.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course, if you can prove that they were all voluntary workers it would be extremely material, but you are not directing evidence to that at all.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this is the final reason for my evidence. I should like to carry it through, if possible, to the end.

THE PRESIDENT: I am only telling you that I do not understand what the end is. Go on; do not wait any further.


Q. Herr Speer, the General Plenipotentiary for Labour designated Italy and the occupied Western countries as the countries from which foreign workers would mainly be recruited for armament purposes.

How far did you endorse Sauckel's measures in these countries?

A. Up to the spring of 1943 I completely endorsed them. Up to that time no obvious disadvantages had resulted for me. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, workers from the West refused, in ever-increasing numbers, to go to Germany. That may have had something to do with our defeat at Stalingrad and with the intensified air attacks on Germany.

Up to the spring of 1943 to my knowledge, the labour commitments were met with more or less good will. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, frequently only part of the workers who had been called up came to report at the recruiting offices.

Therefore, approximately since June, 1943, I established the so-called blocked industries, through the Military Commander-in-Chief in France. Belgium, Holland and Italy soon after also introduced the system of blocked industries. The important feature was that every worker employed in these blocked industries was automatically excluded from assignment to Germany; and any worker who was recruited for Germany was free to go into a blocked industry in his own country without the labour assignment authorities having the power to take him out of this blocked industry.

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