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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eighteenth Day: Wednesday, 12th December, 1945
(Part 8 of 9)

[MR. DODD continuies]

Now, this agreement further provided in Paragraph 12 on Page 2 of the English text, and Page 3, Paragraph 14 of the German text, as follows:-

"14. It is agreed that, in consideration of the intended aims of the Government for the clearing up of the Eastern problems, in future Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Russians and Ukrainians are no longer to be tried by the ordinary courts, so far as punishable offences are concerned, but are to be dealt with by the Reichsfuehrer S.S. This does not apply to civil lawsuits, nor to Poles whose names are announced or entered in the German Racial Lists."
Now, in September, 1942, the defendant Speer made arrangements to bring this new source of labour within his jurisdiction. Speer convinced Hitler that significant production could be obtained only if the concentration camp prisoners were employed in factories under the technical control of the Speer Ministry instead of the control in the camps. In fact, without defendant Speer's co-operation, we say it would have been most difficult to utilise the prisoners on any large scale for war production, since he would not allocate to Himmler the machine tools and other necessary equipment. Accordingly, it was agreed that the prisoners were to be exploited in factories under the defendant Speer's control. To compensate Himmler for surrendering this jurisdiction to Speer, the defendant Speer proposed, and Hitler agreed, that Himmler would receive a share of the armaments' output, fixed in relation to the man hours contributed by his prisoners. In the minutes of the defendant Speer's conference with Hitler on 20th, 21st, and the 22nd September, 1942, Document R-124, which is Exhibit USA 179, I wish to refer particularly to Page 34 of the English text. These are the defendant Speer's minutes on this conference. I am quoting from Page 34, Paragraph 36, beginning at the middle of the page, and it is at the top of Page 26 in the German text:-
"I pointed out to the Fuehrer that, apart from an insignificant amount of work, no possibility exists of organising armament production in the concentration camps, because: (1) the machine tools required are missing; (2) there are no suitable premises. Both these assets would be available in the armament industry, if use could be made of them by a second shift.

The Fuehrer agrees to my proposal that the numerous factories set up outside towns for A.R.P. reasons should release their workers for supplementing the second shift in town factories, and should in return be supplied with labour from the concentration camps - also two shifts.

I pointed out to the Fuehrer the difficulties which I expected to encounter if Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler should be able, as he requests, to

[Page 336]

exercise authoritative influence over these factories. The Fuehrer, too, does not consider such an influence necessary.

The Fuehrer, however, agrees that Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler should draw advantages from making his prisoners available; he should get equipment for his division.

I suggest giving him a share in kind (war equipment) in ratio to the working hours done by his prisoners. A 3 to 5 per cent. share is suggested, the equipment also being calculated according to working hours. The Fuehrer would agree to such a solution.

The Fuehrer is prepared to order the additional delivery of this equipment and weapons to the S. S., according to a list submitted to him."

After a demand for concentration camp labour had been created, and after a mechanism had been set up by the defendant Speer for exploiting this labour in armament factories, measures were evolved for increasing the supply of victims for extermination through work. A steady flow was assured by an agreement between Himmler and the Minister of Justice mentioned above, which was implemented by such programmes as the following, and I refer to Document L-61, Exhibit USA 177, and I wish to quote from Paragraph 3. That document, the Tribunal will recall, is the defendant Sauckel's letter dated 26th November, 1942, to the Presidents of the Landes Employment Offices, and I wish to quote from Paragraph 3 of that letter.
"The Poles who are to be evacuated as a result of this measure will be put into concentration camps and put to work whether they are criminal or asocial elements."
General measures were supplemented by special drives for persons who would not otherwise have been sent to concentration camps.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you not read that this morning?

MR. DODD: Yes, I did, your Honour. I was reading it again with particular reference to this feature of the proof.

For example, for "reasons of war necessity" Himmler ordered that at least 35,000 prisoners qualified for work should be transferred to concentration camps. I now offer in evidence Document 1063-PS D, which is Exhibit USA 219. This document is a Himmler order dated the 17th December, 1942. The order provides, and I quote in part, beginning with the first paragraph of that document:-

"For reasons of war necessity not to be discussed further here, the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police on 14th December, 1942, has ordered that until the end of January, 1943, at least 35,000 prisoners qualified for work, are to be sent to the concentration camps. In order to reach this number, the following measures are required:

(1) Up to this date (so far until 1st February, 1943) all Eastern workers or such foreign workers who have been fugitives, or who have broken contracts, and who do not belong to allied, friendly or neutral States are to be brought by the quickest means to the nearest concentration camps.

(2) The commanders and the commandants of the Security Police and the Security Service, and the chiefs of the State Police Headquarters will check immediately on the basis of a close and strict ruling:

(a) the prisons,
(b) the labour reformatory camps.

[Page 337]

All prisoners qualified for work, if it is essentially and humanly possible, will be committed at once to the nearest concentration camp, according to the following instructions, for instance if penal procedures were to be established in the near future. Only such prisoners who in the interest of investigation procedures are to remain absolutely in solitary confinement can be left there.

Every single labourer counts!"

Measures were also adopted to ensure that this extermination through work was practised with maximum efficiency. Subsidiary concentration camps were established near important war plants. The defendant Speer has admitted that he personally toured Upper Austria and selected sites for concentration camps near various munitions factories in the area. I am about to refer to the transcript of an interrogation under oath of the defendant Albert Speer.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, do you understand the last document you read, 1063-PS to refer to prisoners of war or prisoners in ordinary prisons or what?

MR. DODD: We understood it to refer to prisoners in ordinary prisons. In view of the Tribunal's ruling this morning, I think I should state that, with respect to this interrogation of defendant Speer, we had provided the defendants' counsel with the entire text in German. It happens to be a brief interrogation, and so we were able to complete that translation, and it has been placed in their Information Centre.

DR. FLAECHSNER (Counsel for defendant Speer): In reference to the transcript of the interrogation the reading of which the prosecutor has just announced, I should like to say the following:-

" It is true that we have received the German transcript of the English protocol, if one may call it a protocol. A comparison of the English text with the German transcript shows that there are, both in the English text and in the German transcript, mistakes which change the meaning and which I believe are to be attributed to misunderstandings on the part of the certifying interpreter. I believe, therefore, that the so-called protocol, as well as the English text, does not actually give the contents of what defendant Speer tried to express during the interrogation. It would, therefore, not further the establishment of the truth should this protocol ever be used."
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, when was the German translation given to counsel for the defendant?

MR. DODD: About four days ago, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, is there any certification by the interrogator as to the English translation?

MR. DODD: There is, your Honour. There is a certification at the end of the interrogation by the interrogator and by the interpreter, and by the reporter as well. There are three certifications.

THE PRESIDENT : I think the best course will be in these circumstances to receive the interrogation now. You will have an opportunity, by calling the defendant, to show in what way he alleges, or you allege, that the interrogation is inaccurately translated.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Thank you, sir.

[Page 338]

MR. DODD: May I respectfully refer your Honour to the last document in the document book, four pages from the end?

THE PRESIDENT: Which page do you refer to?

MR. DODD: I refer to the page bearing the number 16 of the English text of the transcript of the interrogation and Page 21 of the German text. The answer quoted is:-

"The fact that we were anxious to use workers from concentration camps in factories and to establish small concentration camps near factories in order to use the manpower that was then available there was a general one, but it did not come up only in connection with this trip." - Exhibit USA 270, i.e. Speer's trip to Austria.
THE PRESIDENT: I think I ought to say to defendant's counsel that if he had waited until he heard that piece of evidence read, he would have seen that it was quite unnecessary to make any objection.

MR. DODD: Defendant Goering endorsed this use of concentration camp labour and asked for more. We refer to our Document 1584-PS, Part I, which is Exhibit USA 221. This document is a teletype message from Goering to Himmler dated 14th February, 1944. I quote from the document beginning with the second sentence:-

"At the same time I ask you to put at my disposal as great a number of concentration-camp-(K.Z.) convicts as possible for air armament, as this kind of manpower proved to be very useful according to previous experience. The situation of the air war makes subterranean transfer of industry necessary. For work of this kind concentration-camp-(K.Z.) convicts can be especially well concentrated at work and in the camp."
Defendant Speer subsequently assumed responsibility for this programme and Hitler promised Speer that if the necessary labour for the programme could not be obtained, 100,000 Hungarian Jews would be brought in by the S.S.

Speer recorded his conferences with Hitler on 6th April and 7th April, 1944, in Document R-124, which is Exhibit USA 179, already in evidence. I quote from Page 36 of the English text, Page 29 of the German text as follows:-

"Suggested to the Fuehrer that, due to lack of builders and equipment, the second big building project should not be set up in German territory, but in close vicinity to the border on suitable soil (preferably on gravel base and with transport facilities) on French, Belgian or Dutch territory. The Fuehrer agrees to this suggestion if the works could be set up behind a fortified zone. For the suggestion of setting up works in French territory speaks mainly the fact that it would be much easier to procure the necessary workers. Nevertheless, the Fuehrer asks that an attempt be made to set up the second works in a safer area, namely, in the Protectorate. If it should prove impossible there, too, to get hold of the necessary workers, the Fuehrer himself will contact the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and will give an order that the required 100,000 men are to be made available by bringing in Jews from Hungary. Stressing the fact that the building organisation was a failure, the Fuehrer demands that these works must be built by the O.T. exclusively and that the workers should be made available by the Reichsfuehrer S.S. He wants to hold a meeting shortly in order to discuss details with all the men concerned."

[Page 339]

The unspeakably brutal, inhuman, and degrading treatment inflicted on Allied nationals and other victims of concentration camps while they were indeed being literally worked to death is described in Document L-159, which is not in the document book. It is an official report prepared by a U.S. Congressional Committee, U.S. Senate Document 47. This Congressional Committee had inspected the liberated camps at the request of General Eisenhower. It will be Exhibit USA 222. 1 would like to quote from the document briefly, first. from Page 14, the last paragraph, and from the first two paragraphs of the English text.
"The treatment accorded to these prisoners in the concentration camps was generally as follows: They were herded together in some wooden barracks not large enough for one-tenth of their number. They were forced to sleep on wooden frames covered with wooden boards in tiers of two, three and even four, sometimes with no covering, sometimes with a bundle of dirty rags serving both as pallet and coverlet.

Their food consisted generally of about one-half of a pound of black bread per day and a bowl of watery soup at noon and night, and not always that. Owing to the great numbers crowded into a small space and to the lack of adequate sustenance, lice and vermin multiplied, disease became rampant, and those who did not soon die of disease or torture began the long, slow process of starvation. Notwithstanding the deliberate starvation programme inflicted upon these prisoners by lack of adequate food, we found no evidence that the people of Germany, as a whole, were suffering from any lack of sufficient food or clothing. The contrast was so striking that the only conclusion which we could reach was that the starvation of the inmates of these camps was deliberate.

Upon entrance into these camps, newcomers were forced to work either at an adjoining war factory or were placed 'in commando' on various jobs in the vicinity, being returned each night to their stall in the barracks. Generally a German criminal was placed in charge of each 'block' or shed in which the prisoners slept. Periodically he would choose the one prisoner of his block who seemed the most alert or intelligent or showed most leadership qualities. These would report to the guards' room and would never be heard of again. The generally accepted belief of the prisoners was that these were shot or gassed or hanged and then cremated. A refusal to work or an infraction of the rules usually meant flogging and other types of torture, such as having the fingernails pulled out, and in each case usually ended in death after extensive suffering. The policies described constituted a calculated programme of planned torture and extermination on the part of those who were in control of the German Government ..."

I quote next from Page 11 of the English text beginning with the second sentence of Paragraph 2, a description of Camp Dora at Nordhausen; Page 12, Paragraph 1 of the German text, quoting as follows:-
"On the whole, we found this camp to have been operated and administered much in the same manner as Buchenwald had been operated and managed. When the efficiency of the workers decreased as a result of the conditions under which they were required to live, their rations were decreased as punishment. This brought about a vicious circle in which the weak became weaker and were ultimately exterminated."

[Page 340]

Such was the cycle of work, torture, starvation and death for concentration camp labour - labour which the defendant Goering, while requesting that more of it be placed at his disposal, said had proved very useful; labour which the defendant Speer was "anxious" to use in the factories under his control.

The policy underlying this programme, the manner in which it was executed, and the responsibility of the conspirators in connection with it has been dwelt upon at length. Therefore, we should like, at this point, to discuss the special responsibility of the defendant Sauckel.

The defendant Sauckel's appointment as Plenipotentiary General for Manpower is explained probably first of all by his having been an old and trusted Nazi. He certified in Document 2974-PS, dated 17th November, 1945, which is already in evidence before this Tribunal as Exhibit USA 15, that he held the following positions:

Starting with his membership in the N.S.D.A.P., he was thereafter a member of the Reichstag; he was Gauleiter of Thuringia; he was a member of the Thuringian Legislature; he was Minister of Interior and head of the Thuringian State Ministry; he was Reichsstatthalter for Thuringia; he was an S.A. Obergruppenfuehrer, S. S. Obergruppenfuehrer; he was Administrator for the Berlin-Suhler Waffen and Fahrzeugwerke in 1935. He was head of the Gustloff Werke Nationalsozialistische Industrie-Stiftung, 1936, and the Honorary Head of the Foundation. And from 21st March, 1942, until 1945, he was the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Allocation.

Sauckel's official responsibilities are borne out by evidence. His appointment as Plenipotentiary General for Manpower was effected by a decree of 21st March, 1942, which we have read and which was signed by Hitler, Lammers, and the defendant Keitel. By that decree Sauckel was given authority as well as responsibility subordinate only to that of Hitler, and Goering, who was the head of the Four Year Plan, subordinate only to those two for all matters relating to recruitment, allocation, and handling of foreign and domestic manpower.

The defendant Goering, to whom Sauckel was directly responsible, abolished the recruitment and allocation agencies of his Four Year Plan and delegated their powers to the defendant Sauckel, and placed his far-reaching authority as deputy for the Four Year Plan at Sauckel's disposal.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.