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-Eighth Day: Monday, 11th March, 1946
(Part 7 of 12)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of General Field-Marshal Milch]

[Page 284]

Q. Now, Germany had ordinary prisons for criminal prisoners, had she not?

A. Of course.

Q. And those prisons had sufficed for a good many years to take care of the criminal population, had they not?

A. I could not say.

Q. And the concentration camp was something new that came in after 1933?

A. Yes. It is true I never heard of anything like that in Germany before.

Q. Did you see any Jews in the concentration camp when you inspected it?

A. Yes; there was one hut which contained Jews, but they all were under heavy sentences for economic misdemeanours and crimes, such as forging of documents, etc. We passed right through, and each one told us, without even being asked, what his sentence was and the reason for it, and not one of them told us that he was there for political reasons. The only political prisoners were the SA men.

Q. You could not find a single prisoner there who claimed he was innocent of a crime?

A. No; everyone with whom we spoke related his case.

Q. Who accompanied you on that trip?

A. As far as I remember, General Weber, who at that time was Chief of the General Staff. I believe also General Udet and several other gentlemen. But at the moment I do not remember who they were.

Q. And who showed you through the concentration camp? Who guided you?

A. I cannot recollect his name. It was one of the officials of the SD. I assume it was the commander of the camp himself, but I do not know his name.

Q. And who was running the concentration camp? What organization was in charge of it?

A. I could not say, but I presume it was one of Himmler's offices.

Q You have said that the march into the Rhineland was a great surprise to you?

A. Yes.

Q. Where were you on your leave when this occurred?

[Page 285]

A. I was on winter leave in the mountains, abroad. I was in the Alps; I believe it was Southern Tyrol, which, at that time, was in Italy.

Q. Did you not hear of a meeting, the minutes of which are in evidence here as Exhibit GB 160, concerning the Reich Defence Council meeting held on 26th June, 1935, some nine months before the occupation of the Rhineland?

A. I cannot say whether I was present. I can no longer remember.

Q. There were, according to the evidence, twenty-four members of the Wehrmacht and five members of the Luftwaffe present, as well as twenty-four State and Party officials. Were you one of those present at that conference at which this discussion took place?

A. May I ask again for the date?

Q. The 26th of June, 1935.

A. I cannot remember. I do not know.

Q. Did you ever learn of that meeting?

A. At the moment I really cannot remember. What is supposed to have been said at that meeting?

Q. That the preparations for the occupation of the Rhineland were to be kept secret, and the plan was made to invade the Rhineland? Did you never learn of that meeting?

A. I cannot remember that. I do not think I was present.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If your Honours please, the usual time for adjournment is here. I intend to take up a different subject involving some documents. It might be a convenient time to adjourn.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)


Q. I want to ask you some questions regarding your duties and activities on the Central Planning Board. You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And what was the period of your membership?

A. From the beginning - I believe that was in the year 1941 or 1942 - until the end.

Q. Members of that Board, in addition to yourself, were the defendant Speer?

A. Yes.

Q. The defendant Funk?

A. Yes, but only later.

Q. When did he come on the Board?

A. At the time when a large part of the civil production was turned over to the Speer Ministry, the Ministry for Armament.

Q. And Koerner? Koerner was a member of the Board?

A. Koerner? Yes.

Q. Who was Dr. Sauer?

A. Sauer was an official in the Speer Ministry, but he did not belong to the Central Planning Board.

Q. But he did keep some of the minutes, did he not?

A. No, in my opinion, he did not keep them.

Q. Sauckel frequently attended the meetings, did he not?

A. Not frequently, but occasionally.

Q. What were the functions of the Central Planning Board?

A. The distribution of raw materials to the various groups which held quotas; that is the Services: Army, Navy, Air Force, and civilian requirements for various branches such as industry, mining, industrial and private building, etc.

Q. And labour.

A. Pardon me, labour? We did not have to distribute that.

[Page 286]

It had nothing to do with labour? Do I understand you correctly?

A. We could make suggestions, but not the distribution.

Q. You mean by that not the distribution amongst different industries which were competing to obtain labour?

A. That was a point which concerned Armament Industry more than the Central Planning Board.

Q. Did you know that Speer turned over to the United States all of his personal papers and records, including the minutes of this Central Planning Board?

A. I did not know that; I just hear it now.

Q. I will ask that the minutes, volumes of minutes which constitute Document 124-R, offered in evidence as Exhibit RF 30, be made available for examination by the witness in the original German, I shall ask you some questions about it.

A. Yes.

Q. If you will look at. Page 1059, Line 22; this, witness, purports to be the minutes of Conference No. 21 of the Central Planning Board, held on the 30th of October, 1942, at the Reich Ministry of Armament and Munitions, and the minutes show you to have been present. Do you recall being there at that meeting?

A. From that one sentence, I can not see it, but I can well assume it.

Yes, I see here in the minutes that my name is frequently mentioned.

Q. Now, again I call your attention to Page 1059, Line 22, to the following entry and ask you if this refreshes your recollection about the functions of that Board: "By Speer: The question of slackers is another point to be dealt with. Ley has ascertained that the number of people reporting sick decreased to one-fourth or one- fifth where there are factory doctors and the workers are examined by them. SS and Police could go ahead with the job and put those known as slackers into undertakings run by concentration camps. There is no other choice. Let it happen a few times, and the news will soon go round." Were you not concerned with the discussion of the labour situation in that conference, and does that not refresh your recollection as to the dealing with the labour question?

A. I do recall that the question of slackers came up, but only concerning those who were not normally employed in peace time, but as a result of the total mobilization of manpower, were compelled to work during the war years. I repeat that among these people who did not belong to the ranks of the workers, there were some slackers who upset the good spirit of the workers. It was these people we had in mind.

Q. Those were to be sent to concentration camps as you know?

A. Yes, I was told that. But no decision was arrived at. Moreover, it was not for us to send anybody to a concentration camp.

Q. Well, was it not said that there was "nothing against the SS" taking them over? You knew that the SS was running the concentration camps, did you not?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. And, therefore, you knew that turning them over to the SS and sending them to, the concentration camps was a means of forcing them to produce more goods, was it not?

A. Yes, of course, these people should be forced to do so. They were Germans who refused to do their duty to their country.

Q. Did this apply only to Germans?

A. As far as I know this applied to Germans only. By slackers - they were also called casual workers - was meant only those people who went from place to place, who practically every week changed their job and who were reported to us mainly by the representatives of our own workers. Our own workers complained that these people availed themselves of all privileges as to food, etc., though they did not do anything, that they always gave up the job in time, and that every establishment was glad to get rid of them.

[Page 287]

Q. And got rid of them by sending them to the concentration camps under the SS?

A. They had to be taught, and we were told that if these people had their additional - not their basic - rations made dependent on their output, as was the case in the concentration camps, they would very quickly learn.

I do, however, remember that it was proposed to limit this treatment to two or three months, after which they would be brought back and, if they had learned their lesson, continue as free workers.

Q. Now, did you have anything to do on the Central Planning Board with the work of prisoners of war?

A. No, in my opinion, not.

Q. Well, I ask that you be shown minutes of the 22nd Conference of the Central Planning Board, minutes of the meeting held on 2nd November, 1942, Page 1042, at Line 24, which quotes you. The English translation is on Page 27.

I ask you to refresh your recollection by reading this paragraph:

"Milch: I think that agriculture must get its labour quota. Assuming that we had given agriculture 100,000 more workers, we would now have 100,000 more people who would be decently fed, whereas, the human material we are now receiving, particularly the PWs, are not sufficiently fit for work."
Did you make that statement?

A. I cannot remember details. But I suppose I did. I do not know if I have seen these minutes; but I know that we dealt with the question that agriculture, if possible, should get its workers because the food problem was so very important, and the land could feed its workers over and above the rations which the civilian population received. This proposal to put these people on the land was quite in accordance with my views, but these were merely suggestions by the Central Planning Board. I know Sauckel was present at that meeting. We also made suggestions to the armament representatives as to how their problems could be solved.

Q. And you made recommendations to the Reichsmarshal, did you not?

A. I cannot remember having done so. I do not know.

Q. You never did?

A. I do not know. I cannot remember.

Q. Then you knew the Reichsmarshal's wishes in reference to the utilization of prisoners of war, did you not?

A. That prisoners of war were also working was known to me. Especially on the land many prisoners of war were put to work.

Q. Did you attend a meeting between the Fuehrer and Minister Speer?

A. On which date?

Q. The 5th of March, 1944.

A. The 4th of March?

Q. The 5th of March, 1944.

A. On the 5th of March, yes. I attended a meeting with the Fuehrer. At that time there was a question of creating a "fighter staff," that is, a general effort by the entire armament industry to produce as many fighter planes as possible.

Q. Well, now I will ask that you be shown Speer's memorandum of that meeting with the Fuehrer at which General von Bodenschatz; and Colonel von Below were also present. Were they not?

The English translation is on Page 35, the German on Page 139.

I call your attention to this paragraph:

"I told the Fuehrer of the Reichsmarshal's wish to further utilize the producing capacity of prisoners of war by placing the Stalag under the SS, with the exception of the English and Americans. The Fuehrer approves this proposal and has asked Colonel von Below to take the necessary steps."
I ask you how the SS could increase the production of the prisoners of war: what steps you expected to be taken?

[Page 288]

Now, just answer my question. What steps did you expect the SS to take to increase the production of the prisoners of war?

A. I cannot remember now. At any rate at that time we did not know about what was being done by the SS - about their methods as we now know them.

Q. This was in March of 1944?

A. Yes.

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