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 Sixtieth Day: Friday, 21st June, 1946
(Part 1 of 12)

[Page 45]



THE PRESIDENT: Have you finished, Dr. Servatius?


THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Do any other defendants' counsel want to ask any questions?

BY DR. KRAUS (counsel for the defendant Schacht):

Q. Witness, on the 25th of January, 1946, you handed two statements to my client here in the prison at Nuremberg. During his examination Dr. Schacht made mention of these and for the sake of brevity I should like the Tribunal to allow me to read out the statement which the defendant gave me that day so that its truth may be confirmed. It is very brief. The first statement reads as follows:

"I was on the terrace of the Berghof on the Obersalzberg waiting to submit my building plans - this was in the summer of 1937 - when Schacht appeared at the Berghof. From where I was on the terrace I could hear a loud argument between Hitler and Schacht in Hitler's room. Hitler's voice grew louder and louder. At the end of the discussion Hitler came out on the terrace and, visibly excited, he told the people around him that he could not collaborate with Schacht, that he had had a terrible argument with him, and that Schacht's finance policy was going to upset his plans."
Now, that is the first statement. Is it correct?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. It is correct. The second statement deals with the events after the 20th of July. It reads as follows:

"It was on about the 22nd of July that Hitler said in my presence to a fairly large group of people ..."
THE PRESIDENT (interposing): What year?

DR. KRAUS: 1944, your Lordship.

Q. (continuing): "... that Schacht, as one of the opponents of the totalitarian system, should be one of those to be arrested. Hitler went on to speak harshly of Schacht's activities and of the difficulties which he, Hitler, had experienced through Schacht's economic policy as regards rearmament. He said that actually a man like Schacht ought to be shot for his hostile activities before the war."
The last sentence of the statement says:
"After the harshness of these remarks, I was surprised to meet Schacht here alive."
Is this statement correct, too?

A. Yes, it is.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other defendants' counsel want to ask questions?

Then, does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?

[Page 46]



Defendant, your counsel divided your examination into two parts, the first being relative to your personal responsibilities, and the second concerned with the political part of the case, and I will follow the same plan.

You have stated a good many of the matters for which you were not responsible, and I want to make clear just what your sphere of responsibility was.

You were not only a member of the Nazi Party after 1932, but you held high rank in the Party, did you not?

A. Correct.

Q. And what was the position which you held in the Party?

A. I have already mentioned that in my pre-trial interrogations.

Temporarily in 1934 I became a departmental head in the German Labour Front and dealt with the improvement of labour conditions in German factories. Then I was in charge of public works on the staff of Hess. I gave up both these activities in 1941. Notes of the conference I had with Hitler about this are available. After the 8th of February, 1942, I automatically became Todt's successor in the Central Office for technical matters in the Reich Directorate of the NSDAP.

Q. And what was your official title?

A. Party titles had just been introduced, and they were so complicated that I cannot tell you at the moment what they were. But the work I did there was that of a chief of a department in the Reich Directorate of the NSDAP. My title was Hauptdienstleiter or something of the kind.

Q. In the 1943 directory it would appear that you were the "Hauptamt fur Technik."

A. Yes.

Q. And your rank appears to be "Oberbefehlsleiter"?

A. Yes, that is quite possible.

Q. ... which as I understand corresponds roughly to a lieutenant general in the army.

A. Well, compared to the other tasks I had, it was a very small one.

Q. And you attended Party functions from time to time and were informed in a general way as to the Party programme, were you not?

A. Before 1942 I joined in the various Party rallies here in Nuremberg because I had to take part in them as an architect, and, of course, I was generally present at official Party meetings or Reichstag meetings.

Q. And you heard discussed, and were generally familiar with, the programme of the Nazi Party in its broad outlines, were you not?

A. Of course.

Q. You ... There is some question as to just what your relation to the SS was. Will you tell me whether you were a member of the SS?

A. No, I was not a member of the SS.

Q. You filled in an application at one time, or one was filled in for you, and you never went through with it, I believe, or something of that sort.

A. That was in 1943, when Himmler wanted me to get a high rank in the SS. He had often wanted it before when I was still an architect. I got out of it by saying that I was willing to be an ordinary SS man under him because I had already been an SS man before. Thereupon, Group Leader Wolff filled in a questionnaire, a temporary one, and wanted to know what my previous SS activities had been in 1933. It came up during his inquiries that in those days I was never put down as a member of the SS and, because of this, they never insisted on my membership as I did not want to become a new member then.

Q. And why did you not want to be a member of the SS, which was after all one of the important Party formations?

[Page 47]

A. I became well known for turning down all these honorary ranks. I did not want them because I felt that one should only hold a rank when one had responsibility.

Q. And you did not want any responsibility in the SS?

A. I had very little contact with the SS, and did not want any responsibility in that connection.

Q. Now there has been some testimony about your relation to concentration camps, and, as I understand it, you have said to us that you did use and encourage the use of forced labour from the concentration camps.

A. Yes, we did use it in the German armament industry.

Q. And I think you also recommended that persons in labour camps who were slackers should be sent to the concentration camps, did you not?

A. That was the question of the so-called idlers or slackers (Bummelanten), and under that name we understood workers who did not get to their work on time or who pretended to be ill. Severe measures were taken against such workers during the War, and I approved of these measures.

Q. In fact, at the 30th October, 1942, meeting of the Central Planning Board, you brought the subject up in the following terms, did you not:

"We must also discuss the slackers. Ley has ascertained that the sick list decreased to one fourth or one fifth in factories where doctors on the staff examined the sick men. There is nothing to be said against SS and police taking drastic steps and putting those known as slackers into concentration camps. There is no alternative. Let it happen several times and the news will soon go around."
That was your recommendation?

A. Correct.

Q. In other words, the workmen stood in considerable terror of concentration camps, and you wanted to take advantage of that to keep them at their work, did you not?

A. It is certain that concentration camps had a bad reputation with us, and the transfer to a concentration camp or threat of such a possibility was bound to reduce the number of absentees in the factories right from the beginning. But at that meeting, as I already said yesterday; there was nothing further said about it. It was one of those remarks one makes in war time when one is upset.

Q. However, it is very clear - and if I misinterpret you I give you the chance to correct me - that you understood the very bad reputation that the concentration camps had among the workmen and that the concentration camps were regarded as being much worse places to be in than labour camps.

A. That is correct. I knew that. I did not know, of course, what I have heard during this trial, but that was a generally known fact.

Q. Well, it was known throughout Germany, was it not, that the concentration camps were pretty tough places in which to be put?

A. Yes, but not to the extent which has been revealed during this trial.

Q. And the bad reputation of the concentration camp, as a matter of fact, was useful in making people afraid of being sent there, was it not?

A. No doubt concentration camps were a means, a menace used to keep order.

Q. And to keep people at work?

A. I would not like to put it that way. I would say that a great number of the foreign workers in our country did their work quite voluntarily once they had come to Germany.

Q. Well, we will take that up later. You used the concentration camp labour in production on the agreement that you were to divide the proceeds of the labour with Himmler, did you not?

A. That I did not understand.

Q. Well, you made an agreement finally with Himmler that he should have five per cent, or roughly five per cent, of the production of the concentration camp labour while you were to have 95 per cent?

[Page 48]

A. No, that is not quite true.

Q. Well, tell me how it was. That is what the documents indicate, if I read them aright.

A. Yes, it is put that way in the Fuehrer record, but I should like to explain the meaning to you. Himmler, as I said yesterday, wanted to build factories of his own in his concentration camps. Then he would have been able to produce arms without any outside control, which Hitler, of course, knew. The five per cent arms production which was to have been handed to Himmler was to a certain extent a compensation for the fact that he himself gave up the idea of building factories in the camps. From the psychological point of view it was not so simple for me to get Himmler to give up this idea when be kept on reminding Hitler of it. I was hoping that he would be satisfied with the five per cent arms production we were going to give him. Actually this five per cent of the production was never handed over. We managed to arrange with the Operation Staff of the OKW and with General Buhle so that he never got the arms at all.

Q. Well, I am not criticising the bargain, you understand. I do not doubt you did very well to get 95 per cent, but the point is that Himmler was using, with your knowledge, concentration camp labour to manufacture arms, or was proposing to do so, and you wanted to keep that production within your control?

A. Could the translation come through a bit clearer? Would you please repeat that?

Q. You knew at this time that Himmler was using concentration camp labour to carry on independent industry and that he proposed to go into the armament industry in order to have a source of supply of arms for his own SS?

A. Yes.

Q. You also knew the policy of the Nazi Party and the policy of the Government towards the Jews, did you not?

A. I knew that the National Socialist Party was anti-Semitic, and I knew that the Jews were being evacuated from Germany.

Q. In fact, you participated in that evacuation, did you not?

A. No.

Q. Well, I gather that impression from Document 156-L, Exhibit RF 1522 - a letter from the Plenipotentiary for Manpower, which is dated 26th March, 1943, which you have no doubt seen. You may see it again, if you wish. In which he says -

A. I know it.

Q. "At the end of February, Reich Leader SS, in agreement with myself and the Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions, for reasons concerning the security of the State, removed from their places of work all Jews who were still working freely and were not in camps, and either transferred them to a labour corps or collected them for removal."
Was that a correct representation of your activity?

A. No.

Q. Will you tell me what part you had in that. There is no question that they were put into labour corps or collected for removal, is there?

A. That is correct.

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