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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Sixth Day: Thursday, 7th March, 1946
(Part 3 of 5)

[DR. FLAECHSNER continues]

[Page 211]

Not only the ministry of the defendant Speer, but especially other authorities within the state administration, were concerned with that question, which the prosecution has brought to the notice of the Tribunal, and the authorities overlapped each other in regard to jurisdiction. Many times the jurisdiction of a single authority could not be determined, so that from time to time a solution would have to be found. These are all questions of importance, if the Tribunal is to judge to what extent this or that accusation of the prosecution, especially concerning the employment of foreign workers, is well founded. In addition we have to consider that that defendant, originally involved in this complex of economic questions, who could have helped very much, to clear up the question of jurisdiction, the defendant Ley, who, as head of the German Labour Front, played an important role in the question of labour employment, that is, the taking care of the labourers utilized - that this defendant Ley is no longer here. The question of the use of foreign labour of which the defendant Speer is in the main accused by the prosecution, must be discussed further. For this reason I requested that an expert be allowed to clear up these purely technical questions of the employment of labour as a help to the Tribunal.

The selection of such an expert is not easy. I proposed that one of the gentlemen who work in the Economic Branch in Washington might have examined the question of Speer's ministry; and might appear as an expert before this Tribunal. As I was told, this office does not exist any more, and the persons of whom the defendant Speer had the impression, on the occasion of an interrogation, that they really understood the situation, are no longer available. But, there is still an Allied authority here, which is concerned with, in all probability, economic questions; and perhaps it would be possible to select a suitable person within the circle of gentlemen who are working here, who would be in a position to clear up these questions for the benefit of the Tribunal.

I turn now to the question of witnesses. First of all I have to correct a wrong impression which may have been formed by the prosecution. If it is said that witnesses Nos. 1 to 5 - no, 1 to 6, 8, and 10 and 12 . . .

THE PRESIDENT: If you are leaving now the question of the panel of experts, this would be a convenient time to break off for the recess.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I am now turning to the question of witnesses and should like to make a general remark before I start.

The evidence to be offered by the witnesses, as I have already requested in writing, is somewhat more extensive for this reason: that those very witnesses who would have had the most comprehensive knowledge cannot be called. Those are the former chiefs of army armaments, General Fromm, and Schieber who for many years was the chief of the central office in Speer's ministry. The names which I have included in my list are in part, men who only later were called to these tasks. Witness Hupfauer, for instance, who is listed as No. 1, was active

[Page 212]

in this function only from 1st January, 1945, on, that is, barely four months, as chief of the central office, an office formerly held by the previously-mentioned Schieber.

I know very well that if I mention a number of witnesses who were employed in Speer's ministry, the appearance is thereby created that these witnesses might be cumulative because they are questioned in regard to the same points. In reality that is not the case. Indeed, although the witnesses concerned were active in Speer's ministry, they were not active as routine officials, that is, as professional civil servants in an office.

Speer's ministry as a war institution was organized along lines entirely different from those of a regular ministry. The main functions were delegated to industrialists, who took care of them in a sub-office. Rohland, witness No. 2, was, for instance, by profession, a director of the United Steel Works; witness No. 4 was director of the Zellwell A.G.; witness No. 6, a manufacturer and owner of a textile factory; witness No. 9, the director of the Upper Silesian mining works and of Huetten A.G. In addition to these functions, they had special functions in Speer's ministry. Therefore, they can testify only on a small section, namely, those functions delegated to them. I cannot follow therefore, the suggestion of the prosecution, that only two of these gentlemen be selected by me.

I do not know just how far each of these gentlemen is informed on the questions which I shall submit to him. I am not in the fortunate position of the prosecution, who can question their witnesses in advance and find out what they know. I must rely on an interrogatory and can only surmise that they are in a position to answer the questions submitted to them. If I were to follow the suggestion of the prosecution and select only two or three of these gentlemen, it may very well happen that I should select exactly the wrong people, those who do not know anything. Therefore, I cannot say that I could dispense with any one of these witnesses, who are to be here on the main question in the case against defendant Speer, namely, the employment of foreign labourers.

In the list of witnesses, I mentioned briefly the particulars about which these witnesses are to be heard. I believe that it is unnecessary for me to make further explanations in that regard; I believe my explanations are self-explanatory.

Now I am turning to the question of witness No. 7. This witness has already been granted me. I do not believe that further explanations in regard to him are necessary.

As far as Malzacher, witness No. 9, is concerned, the prosecution asserts that this witness would be cumulative to witness No. 1. But that is not so. The vital question which is to be put to this witness is the question as to how the distribution of manpower to the various industries was made by the labour office. The second question is, whether, and to what extent, the offices of Speer's ministry and the industries had the opportunity of influencing the distribution of available manpower. This witness is of decisive importance in regard to this question. I have further questions to put to this witness, and I should include in the interrogatory these questions which refer in particular to destruction, etc.

I wanted my list to be as concise as possible, and, therefore, mentioned only the main points. I therefore request that this witness be admitted, since I shall make use of the interrogatory only insofar as the witnesses can state therein something which is really relevant. If an interrogatory comes back to me which does not contain relevant material, I shall, of course, refrain from abusing the time and the patience of the Tribunal, by not presenting that interrogatory.

The prosecution is of the opinion that witnesses 12 and 13 are cumulative. That is not correct. Perhaps I expressed myself too concisely in regard to the facts on which these witnesses are to testify.

The prosecution has, only incidentally to be sure, produced a Document, 3568-PS, which contained an interrogatory which gave information regarding Speer's membership in the SS. This document did not, according to the defendant

[Page 213]

Speer, come from him, and therefore I name his secretary as a witness to this fact, that is, she should receive an interrogatory.

Witness 13 is to testify on an entirely different matter. The Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler had the intention of making Speer an SS man and of taking him into his personal staff. Witness Wolff had received from Himmler the official statement, which he was to hand to Speer. And Wolff is to testify that this statement was never forwarded to Speer, for which reason there is no question of Speer's membership in the SS.

Even if, in respect to the charge in the Indictment, this is a very minor point, it must, nevertheless, be considered, since Document 3568-PS has been submitted by the prosecution, and used as evidence for their case.

I agree with the prosecution that questioning of witness No. 22 can be dispensed with.

As far as the questioning of the other witnesses is concerned, I ask to be allowed to use interrogatories.

THE PRESIDENT: May I ask you what you have to say about No. 14? Surely, the secretary can speak as to the fact that the defendant was ill in the spring of 1944....

DR. FLAECHSNER: Yes, Mr. President, I did not include this question in the interrogatory, but I can add it, and we can dispense with witness 14.

THE PRESIDENT: Would it, do you think, Sir David, expedite matters or help the defendant's counsel if he were to be allowed to issue all these interrogatories and then were to consider them with you and see what was then cumulative?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, I should be quite prepared to do that. They are all witnesses who are giving their evidence in writing so that I shall be quite prepared to ...

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal will consider that aspect of the matter.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If the Tribunal saw fit, I should be very happy to co-operate.

THE PRESIDENT: Then you can now deal with the documents, Dr. Flaechsner, or Sir David will.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the Documents 1 to 8 deal with the defendant Speer's being against the importation into Germany of foreign labour, and they seem relevant, apart from No. 1, which seems rather a non sequitur, for the amount used in the armament industry does not seem to have any connection, as far as we can see, with the prisoner-of- war convention, 1929. And No. 6, as to the calling-up of women in Germany, seems rather remote. But, perhaps, these matters can be more conveniently dealt with when counsel seeks to introduce the documents.

Nos. 9 to 13 show the general attitude of the defendant Speer to the treatment of foreign workers and therefore appear relevant. No. 14 deals with the point on which I think it is desired also to have evidence from the witness Milch.

Nos. 15 to 18 are reports showing the hopelessness of the economic situation in Germany from June 1944 onwards. The prosecution makes no objection at the moment. Of course, all these matters will have to be considered when the document is used. Nos. 19 to 41 all deal with the efforts of the defendant Speer to prevent destruction of bridges and railways and water transport undertakings and the like, during the last few weeks of the war. They might have a bearing on the sentence, and therefore the prosecution make no objection.

Perhaps learned counsel will set out the quotations which he wants admitted in that regard. It is not a matter on which the prosecution have called any contrary evidence and therefore, if counsel will indicate what the matters are that he wants submitted, it may be that we shall be able to agree and shorten the presentation.

[Page 214]

With regard to Documents 38 to 41, these are said to be in the possession of the French delegation. They are not in the possession of the French delegation at the moment, but they have asked for them to be sent here.

I think that covers our position as to documents.

DR . FLAECHSNER: I should like to comment briefly on one factor. Document No. 1 is of value only if the Tribunal decides to call an expert on the general themes which I described to the Tribunal before the recess.

An expert, for practical purposes an industrial expert, can draw, from the old distribution plan, conclusions which the jurist is generally not in a position to draw. If the expert is considered superfluous by the Tribunal, then Document No. 1 is also superfluous, so far as I can see.

The other documents requested by me are of importance, but not because, as the prosecution seem to assume, I am trying to produce evidence of the fact that we did not want any foreign labourers; this should not be expressed so pointedly.

The defendant Speer had the task of producing armaments and needed workers for that. Nothing is farther from his intentions than, in any way, to deny or lessen his responsibility in respect to that. But what I have to consider important - and for this purpose these documents, which I am requesting, are essential - is the task of defining the extent to which the defendant is responsible.

I believe that this explains the question of documents.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not quite clear as to whether you are suggesting that the Tribunal should call the panel of experts, or whether you would like to nominate the persons who would form that panel.

DR. FLAIECHSNER: The selection of experts I wish to place in the hands of the Tribunal. At the moment I, myself, should not have the opportunity of finding a suitable person. I am fully aware, though, that in the Department of Economic Warfare, there were persons who would be very suitable as experts, and who have the knowledge which is necessary in the judgement of these questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Then, supposing that the Tribunal were not to accept your contention as to appointing a panel of experts, there is nobody whom you wish to add to your list of interrogatories?

DR. FLAECHSNER: I believe not, Mr. President.

I have only one more request. This expert should voice an opinion as to whether the figures given by Herr Deuss in his affidavit (Document 2520-PS) would stand up under close examination.

In this affidavit, Herr Deuss stated statistically, how many of all the workers employed in Germany were foreign workers in the armament industry.

Important technical objections can be raised to the method of computation used by Herr Deuss. If the Tribunal is not to grant the use of an expert in this matter, I wish to ask for permission to submit certain questions to Herr Deuss, in the form of an interrogatory, naturally, in order to give him the opportunity of checking his figures.

The affidavit as given by Herr Deuss and the statements contained therein, were considered relevant by the prosecution at the time; I assume that the objections made to Herr Deuss' figures will also be considered relevant. I should then have to ask permission to call his attention, by means of an interrogatory, to these points, which, in my opinion, are technically incorrect.


COLONEL POKROVSKY: Please forgive me. I have not had the time to exchange opinions on the subject with my friend, Sir David, and my other colleagues. Therefore, at the present time, I am merely expressing the point of view of the Soviet Delegation on the subject of experts.

[Page 215]

I do not consider that the appointment of a board of experts would be a method of solving the problem which could be recognized as correct. We would object to the introduction of experts for the clarification of circumstances interesting the defendant Speer and his counsel, as set forth in the document submitted by them. We do not consider it right that a question like the procedure governing the request for manpower for Speer's ministry, and the ratification of this request by Sauckel, as well as the allocation of workers by the competent local labour offices, should call for the findings of a board of experts. We do not consider it right that questions of technical schedules, as emanating from Speer's ministry, should call for expert opinion.

I could say as much with regard to all the subsequent points. We are inclined to defend the point of view that all these problems can be adequately elucidated by the high Tribunal, and this without the intervention of experts. Therefore the Soviet prosecution object to the granting of this claim and request the Tribunal to reject the application for a board of experts.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon counsel for the defendant, von Neurath.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, with regard to the witnesses of the defendant, von Neurath, the prosecution make no objection to No. 1, Dr. Koepke, who was the director of the Political Division in the Foreign Office.

Then, No. 2, Dr. Gauss, is the witness who has already been granted for the defendant Ribbentrop.

With regard to the third, Dr. Dieckhoff, the Tribunal granted this witness on 19th December, but the prosecution, having considered the basis of the present application, respectfully suggests that it might be covered by interrogatories.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN (counsel for defendant von Neurath): Mr. President, I agree, and I have already worked out an interrogatory which will be submitted to the General Secretary today; but I wish to reserve the right of asking under certain circumstances that, when the interrogatory is returned to me, the witness nevertheless be heard in person before the Tribunal; but in principle, I agree to his being heard by means of an interrogatory.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am much obliged.

And the same view is taken by the prosecution of No. 4, the witness Pruefer again it seemed to be largely a historical matter and they suggested an interrogatory. There is no objection to the evidence of the witness being brought before the Tribunal.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: This interrogatory has already been submitted by me to the General Secretary several weeks ago. I assume that it will be returned to me, answered, within a reasonable period of time.

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