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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Day: Thursday, 23rd May, 1946
(Part 10 of 10)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of Baldur von Schirach]

[Page 355]

Q. What were its salient points?

[Page 356]

A. I must explain that briefly. Because of the fact that the Reich Commissariat was subdivided I had to meet from time to time with the Reich governors of other provinces in order to discuss the most important questions, especially concerning our food economy. However, I believe it was in 1943, Dr. Ley came to me in Vienna and brought me an official order from the Fuehrer according to which it was considered illegal - that was the way he expressed it - for more than two Gauleiter to meet for a conference.

At that time I looked surprised at Dr. Ley, and he said, "Yes, that does not concern you alone. There is still another Gauleiter who has called a conference of several of them, and that fact alone is already considered as virtual mutiny or conspiracy."

Q. Witness, when you were in Vienna, did you get a further mission which took up much of your time? Please tell us briefly about that.

A. I had just started to work in Vienna when, in October 1940, I received an order to appear at the Reich Chancellery.

Q. Will you please be very brief.

A. And there Hitler personally gave me the mission of carrying out the evacuation of all German youth from areas endangered by aerial attack, and at the same time of carrying out the evacuation of mothers and infants; and he said that that should begin in Berlin and then gradually take place in the entire Reich. He said that education was of secondary importance now; the main thing was to maintain the morale of the youth and preserve life. However, I asked at once that I be given the opportunity of establishing an educational organization, and I did so.

I do not wish to speak about details, but one of the demands which I made at once - this is important in connection with the Indictment - was that there should be no difficulties placed in the way of young people participating in church services. That was promised to me, and it was expressed very clearly in my first directives for the children's evacuation. The youth leaders who were active in this field of my organisational work will confirm this.

Q. This evacuation of children to the country was a very extensive task, was it not?

A. It was the most difficult, and from a psychological point of view, the most complicated work which I ever carried out. I transferred millions of people in this way; I supplied them with food, with education, with medical aid, and so on. Of course that work took up my time fully or to a large extent only during the first years. After that I had trained my assistants for that kind of work.

Q. Later, as I have heard from you, you tried from time to time to report to Hitler about your successes and about problems requiring decision. How often during all the years of the war were you admitted in order to discuss that important field of work with Hitler?

A. Counsel, I am afraid I have to correct you. I never tried to report to Hitler about my successes, but only about my problems.

Q. Problems, yes.

A. About that entire programme of evacuation of children I could only report to him twice, the first time in 1940, after I had the whole programme under way, and the second time in 1941, when the evacuation had reached very large proportions.

And about Vienna I could only report on very rare occasions, and in 1943 even the possibility of reporting ceased altogether with the breach of relations which I will describe later.

Q. Then, during your period in Vienna, you became the Chairman of the Wurzburg Literary Society.

A. That is an honorary office.

DR. SAUTER: No. 1 of the Schirach Document Book makes reference to that matter, and I submit it as a piece of evidence. It is an affidavit by an old anti-

[Page 357]

Fascist, Karl Klingsporn, an honorary member of the society, who gives valuable information about the character of the defendant von Schirach.


Q. And in addition, Herr von Schirach, I believe you were the chairman of the South-east Europe Society, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. In brief, what was the mission of that society?

A. It had the task of improving the trade relations, the economic relations, with the South-east. Its functions were essentially in the field of research and representation.

Q. Witness, what was the centre of your Viennese activities?

A. My principle activities in Vienna were social work and cultural work, as I have already explained before.

Q. Social work and cultural work

A. They were the two activities which dominated my entire political life.

Q. I come now to the particular accusations which have been made against you by the prosecution concerning that period in Vienna. Among other things you have been accused of participating in the so-called slave labour programme, and I ask you to state your position concerning that, and in that connection also to deal with Directive No. 1 of the Plenipotentiary for Manpower Mobilization of 6th April, 1942, which was presented, I believe, as Document 3352-PS. Please go ahead.

A. Maybe I would do best to start with that decree by which Gauleiter were appointed plenipotentiaries for manpower under the general plenipotentiary.

Q. 6th April, 1942?

A. In the way of documentary material, that decree contains no more than that the Gauleiter could make suggestions and present requests to the competent offices for the employment of manpower. But they were held responsible - I do not know whether by this decree or another one - for the supervision of the feeding and quartering of foreign workers, etc. This feeding and quartering, etc., of foreign workers was, in my Gau and I believe also in all other Gaue of the Reich, mainly in the hands of the German Labour Front.

The Gau Leader of the German Labour Front in Vienna reported to me very frequently about the conditions among German workers and foreign workers in the Gau. He frequently accompanied me on inspection tours of industries, and from my own observations I can describe my impressions here of the life of foreign workers in Vienna as far as I could see it.

I well remember, for instance, my visit to the large soap factory where I saw barracks in which Russian and French women were living. They had better quarters there than many Viennese families which lived six or eight people to the usual one-room apartments with kitchen.

I remember another inspection where I saw a billet of Russian workers. It was clean and neat, and among the Russian women who were there I noticed that they were gay, well nourished, and apparently satisfied.

I know about the treatment of Russian domestic workers from the circle of my acquaintances and from the acquaintances of many assistants, and here, also, I have heard, and in part observed myself, that they were extremely well treated.

Let me say something in general about Vienna as a place for foreign workers. For centuries foreign workers have worked in Vienna. To bring foreign workers from the South-east to Vienna is no problem at all. One likes to go to Vienna just as one likes to go to Paris. I have seen very many Frenchmen and French women working in Vienna, and at times I spoke to them.

I also talked to French foremen in factories. They lived as tenants somewhere in the city, just like any other private person. One saw them in the Prater. They spent their free time just as our own native workers did.

[Page 358]

During the time I was in Vienna, I built more factory kitchens than there are in any other Gau in Germany. The foreign workers took their meals at these kitchens just as much as the native workers.

About treatment at the hands of the population: I can only say that the population of a city which has been accustomed for centuries to work together with foreign elements, will spontaneously treat any worker well who comes from other places.

Really bad conditions were never reported to me. From time to time it was reported that something was not going well here or there. It was the duty of the Gau leader of the Labour Front to report that to me. Then immediately I issued a directive by telephone to the regional food office or the quota office for the supply of material, for kitchens or heating installations, or whatever it was. At any rate, I tried within 24 or 48 hours to take care of all complaints that came to me.

While we are on the subject I would like to give my impression of the use of manpower in general. I was not responsible for the importation of labour. I can only say that what I saw in the way of directives and orders from the General Plenipotentiary, namely the co-defendant Sauckel, always followed the line of humane, decent, just and clean treatment of the workers who were entrusted to us. Sauckel literally flooded his offices with such directives.

I considered it my duty to state that in my testimony.

Q. These foreign workers who were in the Gau Vienna and for whom you do not consider yourself responsible, were they employed in the armament industry or elsewhere?

A. A large portion was employed in agriculture, some in the supply industry. Whether there were some directly in the armament industry I could not say. The armament industry was not accessible to me in all its ramifications, even in my functions as Gauleiter, because there were war production processes which were kept secret even from the Reich Governors.

Q. Witness, in connection with the subject of Jewish forced labour, a letter was read, Document 3803-PS. It is, I believe, a hand-written letter from the defendant Kaltenbrunner to Blaschke. Blaschke, I believe, was the second mayor of Vienna.

A. He was the mayor of Vienna.

Q. This is a letter of 30th June, 1944. In that letter Kaltenbrunner informs Blaschke that he, Kaltenbrunner, had directed that several evacuation transports should be sent to Vienna-Strasshof.

"There are four transports," it says in the letter, "with about 12,000 Jews, which will arrive in the next few days."
So much about the letter. Its further content is only of importance because of what it says in the end - and I quote:
"You will arrange further details with the State Police Office, Vienna, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Hebner, and SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Kumei, of the Special Duty Command Hungary, who is at present in Vienna."
Did you have anything to do with that matter, and if so, what?

A. I do not know of the correspondence between the co-defendant Kaltenbrunner and the mayor of Vienna. To my knowledge Camp Strasshof is not within Gau Vienna at all. It is in a different Gau. The designation "Vienna, Strasshof," is, therefore, an error. The borderline runs between.

Q. And were you informed of the matter itself at that time, or now and here, in the courtroom for the first time?

A. I have heard of that matter only in this courtroom, but I remember that mention was made about the use of Jewish workers in connection with the building of the South-east wall or fortifications. The South-east wall, however, was not in the area of Reich Gau Vienna. It was a project in the area of Gau Lower Danube, Lower Austria, or Styria. I had nothing to do with the construction of that defence installation; that was in the hands of Dr. Jury, that is, the O.T.

[Page 359]

Q. O.T. is the Organization Todt?

A. The Organization Todt. And in the other part of the border it was in the hands of Dr. Ueberreiter the Gauleiter of Styria, and his technical assistants.

Q. So I can sum up your statement to mean that you had nothing to do with these things because they were matters which had nothing to do with the area of your Gau.

A. Yes. I cannot understand what connection should arise therefrom for Gau Vienna. Whether the Mayor intended to divert some of these workers for special tasks in Vienna is not known to me. I do not know about that matter.

In the same connection, witness, another document has been submitted, 1948-PS, a file note of 7th November, 1940. That was a date on which you had already been Gauleiter in Vienna for several months and it, too, concerns forced labour of the Jews who were capable of work. That file note was written on stationery with the heading, "The Reich Governor of Vienna," and apparently the note in question was written by a Dr. Fischer. Who is Dr. Fischer? What did you, as Reich Governor, have to do with that matter? What do you know about it?

A. First of all, Dr. Fischer is not known to me personally. I do not want to dispute the possibility that he may have been introduced to me once and that I do not remember him; but I do not know who Dr. Fischer is. At any rate, he was not an expert working in my central office. I assume that he may have been an official, because his name appears in connection with another document also. He was probably the personal consultant of the provincial President (Regierungsprasident). The note shows that this official used my stationery, and he was entitled to do that. I believe several thousand people in Vienna were entitled to use that stationery, according to the usage of German offices.

He marked down a telephone conversation with the Gestapo from which it can be seen that the Reich Security Main Office - that is, Heydrich - was the office which decided about the use of Jewish manpower by internal directives to the Gestapo.

The provincial President (Regierungsprasident) wanted to know more about that, but, in my opinion, one cannot draw the conclusion from this that I was informed about cruelties committed by the Gestapo as the prosecution has concluded. It is doubtful whether I was in Vienna at all at that time. I want to remind you of my other tasks, which I have described before.

However, if I was there, I certainly did not concern myself with the work of cleaning up the streets. But I should like to say, on principle, that the variety of my tasks caused me to establish an organisational structure which did not exist in other Gaue, namely, the Central Office of the Reich Leader.

Q. Perhaps you will tell us, before concluding for today, approximately how many officials in Vienna were subordinated to you.

A. I think it may have been about 5,000 officials and employees.

DR. SAUTER: Shall I continue, Mr. President. It is 5 o'clock.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 24th May, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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