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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninetieth Day: Tuesday, 30th July, 1946
(Part 1 of 11)

[Page 62]

GENERAL RUDENKO: Gentlemen of the Tribunal!

I have already indicated in my opening statement that the action of deporting civilians-men, women and children-for forced labour into Germany was one of the most important in the chain of foul crimes committed by the German Fascist invaders.

The decisive role in this sinister crime was enacted by the defendant Fritz Sauckel.

During cross-examination in this courtroom, defendant Sauckel could not help but admit that during the war about ten million enslaved labourers, originating both from occupied territories and from the ranks of the prisoners of war, were utilized in German industries and partly for German agricultural labour.

Whilst admitting the deportation to Germany and the utilization for the war industries of Hitlerite Germany of millions of workers from the occupied territories, Sauckel denied the criminal character of this action, affirming that the recruitment of labour was allegedly carried out on a voluntary basis.

This assertion is not only a lie but a slander against the millions of honest patriots of the Soviet Union, of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, France, and Holland, who, devoted to their country, were forcibly sent for labour into Hitlerite Germany.

The attempts of defendant Sauckel to depict his part of Plenipotentiary General as consisting merely in the co-ordination and control of other Government labour organizations, are futile. As the Plenipotentiary General for employment of labour, Sauckel was invested by Hitler with supreme and all-encompassing powers, and was, in these activities, directly and personally subordinated to Goering.

And Sauckel extensively used these full powers in order to deport to Germany labour from the occupied territories.

There is no need to refer to the extensive documentary evidence presented to the Tribunal and which irrefutably establishes the criminal character of the methods of mass deportation into slavery of the population of occupied territories as well as the role of the defendant Sauckel in organizing these crimes.

How far these crimes extended is shown in the operation carried out by the German military and civil authorities, coded under the name "Seno," which provided for the forced deportation of children from the ages of ten to fourteen into slavery, as well as for the deportation of Ukrainian girls destined by Hitler for Germanization.

The defendant Sauckel has tried to assure the Tribunal that he had strictly complied with the demands of the Geneva and Hague Conventions concerning the utilization of labour of prisoners of war. His own instructions, however, fully expose his lies.

The defendant Sauckel had planned beforehand the forced utilization of Soviet war prisoners for the war industry in Germany and never made any difference between them and the civilian labour forces.

The inhuman conditions under which the foreign workers and prisoners of war deported for slavery lived are testified to by the numerous documents submitted as evidence.

[Page 63]

The defendant Sauckel himself was obliged to admit that foreign workers were kept in camps with barbed wire and were obliged to wear special identification badges.

The witness Dr. Willielm Eger, summoned to the Tribunal by counsel for the defence, was obliged to give an awful picture of the conditions under which the enslaved workers at Krupp's works existed.

After all this, the deposition of the other witness Fritz Wishofer seems ridiculous because, in trying to exonerate Sauckel, he manifestly overdid it by informing the Tribunal that he allegedly saw foreign workers walking and enjoying themselves in the Prater in Vienna.

The defendant Sauckel showed great activity in committing all these crimes. In April, 1943, he personally visited the towns of Rowrio, Kiev, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie, Simferopol, Minsk, Riga, and in June of the same year - Prague, Cracow, and again Kiev, Zaporozhic and Melitopol in order to force the deportation of labour.

And it was as a result of his journey to the Ukraine in 1943 that Sauckel expressed his gratitude for the successful mobilization of labour forces, to the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine, Koch, known for the drastically cruel measures which he applied to the Ukrainian population.

And it is not mere chance that the criminal activities of Sauckel were so highly appreciated in Hitlerite Germany.

On 6th August, 1942, the defendant Goering declared at the conference of the Reich Commissars for the Occupied Territories:

"I do not wish to praise Gaulciter Sauckel. He does not need it. But what he has done in this short time in order to gather workers and to have them brought to our enterprises is a unique achievement. I must tell everybody, gentlemen, that if each of you applied but one tenth of the energy applied by Gauletier Sauckel, it would be easy indeed to fulfil the tasks imposed upon you ... "
In the articles published in the Reichsarbeitsblatt for 1944, and dedicated to Sauckel's fiftieth anniversary, it was said:
"True to his political task, he pursues his responsible course with unyielding consistency and tenacity and with a fanatical belief. As one of the most faithful adherents of Hitler, he gathers his creative and spiritual strength from the Fuehrer's trust in him."
When estimating Sauckel's criminal activity, your Honours will surely consider the tears shed by the millions of people who languished in German slavery, of the thousands of people tortured in inhuman conditions in the workers' camps - you will consider this and will judge accordingly.

The defendant Artur Seyss-Inquart was appointed by Hitler chief of the civil administration in Southern Poland at the beginning of September, 1939, and since 12th October of the same year Deputy Governor-General of Poland. Heoccupied this post till May, 1940.

For seven months Seyss-Inquart personally, under the leadership of Frank and jointly with him, had been propagating a regime of terror in Poland, and he took an active part in elaborating and realizing the plans for the extermination of many thousands of people, for the economic plunder and enslavement of the people of the Polish State. On 17th November, 1939, Seyss-Inquart addressed the chiefs of the administration and departments of the Warsaw Government, mentioning, among other things, that when the German administration acted in the General Government " its leading principle should be the interests of the German Reich. By means of a severe and unrelenting administration this region should be utilized for German economy, and in order not to show any unnecessary charity one should remember how the Polish race had usurped the German territory."

Two days later Seyss-Inquart instructed the Lublin Governor Brigadefuehrer SS Schmidt on the same question in the following way:

[Page 64]

"The resources and the inhabitants of this country should serve Germany, and they may prosper only within these limits. The development of independent political thinking cannot be permitted. Perhaps the Vistula will have an even greater significance for the fate of Germany than the Rhine."
From the report on the official journey of Seyss-Inquart we learn that the Governor of Warsaw, Fischer, informed the defendant that all valuables of the Warsaw bank in gold, precious metals and bills of exchange were transferred to the Reichsbank, whilst the Polish inhabitants were obliged to leave their deposits in the banks; that the German administration was employing forced labour; that the Lublin Governor Schmidt declared in the presence of Seyss-Inquart:
"This territory with its strongly marked swampy nature could serve as a region for the Jews, where conditions could be created to shoot every tenth of them."
1 draw the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that it was exactly at Maidanek near Lublin that the Hitlerite henchmen created an enormous death machine in which they exterminated about one million and a half of human beings.

It is also known that Seyss-Inquart, as Frank's deputy, fulfilled "special tasks" on his behalf.

On 8th December, 1939, Seyss-Inquart took part in a conference at which the following subjects were discussed: The appointment of Frank as authorized plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan and the tasks of the Governor- General to "obtain from the economy of the Government-General all that is best and useful for the Reich," the arrival of numerous trains with Jews and Poles since ist December from the re-annexed territories, which transportations would continue, according to Obergruppenfuehrer SS Krueger, till the middle of December, and the issue of a supplementary order extending labour recruitment to persons of the age of fourteen to eighteen.

On 21 st April, 1940, the defendant took part in the conference at which measures for forced deportation of Polish workers to Germany were elaborated.

On 16th, May, 1940 the defendant took part in the elaboration of the AB operation, which was nothing but a plan of wilful mass extermination of the Polish intellectuals.

In connection with the appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Reichskommissar for Netherlands, Frank and his worthy deputy exchanged farewell speeches:

"I am exceedingly glad," said Frank, "to assure you that the memory of your work in the Government-General will live for ever when the future world Reich of the German nation has been created. . . ."

"I have learned much here " - answered Seyss-Inquart - " above all about initiative and firm leadership of the kind I saw in my friend, Dr. Frank. . . . All my thoughts are connected with the East. In the East we have a National Socialist mission, in the West we have functions."

The function of Seyss-Inquart in the West, as well as the function of the other Reich Ministers and Kommissars in all territories occupied by the Germans, is well known: it was the function of henchman and plunderer.

My colleagues have given the details about the criminal part played by Seyss-Inquart when annexing Austria and realizing other aggressive plans of the Hitlerite conspiracy; they have clearly shown how Seyss-Inquart applied in the Netherlands the bloody experiment learned by him whilst collaborating with Frank in Poland. For this reason I may fully support the charges against Seyss-Inquart as they are formulated in the Indictment.

As early as 1932, whilst still Reich Chancellor of the German Republic, the defendant Franz von Papen had actively contributed to the development of the Fascist movement in Germany.

Von Papen rescinded the decree of his predecessor Bruening prohibiting the activities of the SA attacking units. It was he who had overthrown the Braun-Severing Social-Democratic Government in Prussia. These measures strengthened greatly the position of the Fascists and contributed to their accession to power.

[Page 65]

Thus von Papen cleared the way for Hitler. Having secured the power for the Nazis, von Papen himself assumed the post of Vice-Chancellor in Hitler's Cabinet. In this capacity von Papen participated in the elaboration and the promulgation of a series of legislative acts aimed at the consolidation of German Fascism.

And later on, for many years, until the collapse of Hitlerite Germany, von Papen remained true to his Fascist friends jand participated to trie utmost of his abilities the realization of the criminal conspiracy.

The defendant von Papen is attempting now to explain his role in the development of the Nazi movement and in Hitler's seizure of power by the political situation of the country which, as he said, made Hitler's accession to power unavoidable.

The real motives which guided von Papen were his convictions, he himself being a convinced Fascist devoted to Hitler.

Speaking at Essen on 2nd November 1933, during the election campaign for th Reichstag, von Papen declared:

"Ever since Providence called upon me to become the pioneer of nation resurrection and the rebirth of our homeland, I have tried to support with a my strength the work of the National Socialist movement and its leader; an just as I, at the time of taking over the Chancellorship, have advocated paving the way to power for the young fighting liberation movement, just as I, on 30th January, was selected by a gracious fate to put the hands of our Chancellor and Fuehrer into the hand of our beloved Field-Marshal, so do I today again feel the obligation to say to the German people and all those who have kep confidence in me:

'The kind Lord has blessed Germany by giving it in times of deep distress a leader who will lead it, through all distresses and weaknesses through all crises and moments of danger, with the sure instinct of the statesman into a happy future.'"

The International Military Tribunal will fully estimate the criminal activities of the defendant von Papen, who played a decisive part in the seizure of power by Hitler and, in doing so, contributed to the creation of the dark powers of Nazism which brought on bloody wars in the world and caused innumerable calamities.

Long before the Nazi came to power the architect Albert Speer was a personal friend of the architect's draughtsman, Hitler, and remained so till the end. Not only common professional interests but political interests also brought them together. Speer began his career in 1932 with the reconstruction of the " Brown House " - the headquarters of NSDAP in Berlin, and in ten years' time he was at the head of all the military construction and war production in Fascist Germany. Starting with the construction of the building of the Reichs "Parteitag," Speer ended by setting up the "Atlantic Wall."

Speer held an important post in the Government and military machinery of Hitler's Germany and played a direct and active part in planning and realizing the criminal conspiracy.

What is Speer's line of defence" at the trial? Speer presents his case in the following way: he was pressed upon by Hitler to take on the post of Minister; he was an intimate friend of Hitler's, but he knew nothing about his plans; he had been a member of the Nazi Party for fourteen years, but he was far from politics and had never even read Mein Kampf. It is true that upon being given the lie Speer confessed that he had lied during his preliminary interrogation at the inquest.

Speer lied when he denied that he had never belonged to the SA, and then to the SS. The Tribunal possesses the original file of the SS man Albert Speer, who belonged to the personal staff of the SS Reichsfuehrer Himmler.

Speer held also a rather high rank in the Nazi Party. In the Party Chancellery, he was delegate for all technical questions, he headed the chief technical administration of the Party, he directed the union of German National Socialist technicians,

[Page 66]

he was plenipotentiary for the staff of Hess and a leader of one of the major German Labour Front organizations.

After all this can Speer's declaration that he was a specialist indifferent to politics be taken into consideration? In reality, as a close collaborator of Hitler, Hess, Ley and Goering, he directed the German technique not only as Reichsminister, but also as a Nazi political leader.

Upon succeeding to Todt, Speer, as he himself said in his speech before the Gauleiter, devoted himself completely to the solution of war problems. By means of the pitiless exploitations of the population in the occupied territories and of the prisoners of war of the allied countries, at the expense of the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of people, Speer increased the prQduction of armament and ammunition for the German army. By plundering the raw materials and other resources of the occupied territories, Speer increased the war potential of Hitler's Germany. His powers grew with every month of the war. By Hitler's decree of 2nd September 1943, Speer became plenipotentiary and responsible for the supply of raw materials, for the direction and production of war industry. He was even commissioned to regulate the turnover of commodities and, by Hitler's decreeof 24th August, 1944, Speer was, in effect, made dictator of all German authorities in Germany as well as in the occupied territories whose activity was in any way connected with the strengthening of German military power.

And when the Fascist flyers bombed peaceful towns and villages, killing women, old men and children, when the German artillery bombarded Leningrad, when the Hitlerite pirates sank hospital ships, when the "V" bombs destroyed towns in England, all this came as a result of Speer's activity. Under his leadership, the production of gas and of other means of chemical warfare had been widely increased. The defendant himself, when interrogated by Mr. Justice Jackson at the trial, confessed that three factories had been turning out products for chemical warfare and that they were working at full speed till November, 1944.

Speer not only knew of methods used by Sauckel for deporting the population from the occupied territories for slave labour, but he himself took part, together with Sauckel, in conferences with Hitler and in the administration of "Central Planning" where decisions were taken to deport millions of people to Germany from the occupied territories.

Speer kept up a close contact with Himmler; he received from Himmler prisoners for work in war factories; branches of concentration camps were organized in many factories subordinated to Speer; in recognition of Himmler's services Speer supplied the SS with experienced specialists and with supplementary war equipment.

Speer has said a lot here about his having sharply criticized the Hitler environment, that he allegedly had very serious dissensions with Hitler and that, in his letters to Hitler, he had written about the uselessness of continuing the war. When the representative of the Soviet prosecution asked Speer which of the persons close to Hitler he had criticized and in what connection, the defendant answered: "I shall not tell you."

It is quite evident that Speer not only did not want to, but could not tell, for the simple reason that he had never criticized anyone who was close to Hitler; moreover, he could not criticize as he was a convinced Nazi himself, and belonged to this close environment. As to the so-called "serious dissensions ", they began - as Speer admitted - when it became clear to him that Germany had lost the war. Speer's letters to Hitler are dated March, 1945. At that time Speer could, without great risk, depict Germany's hopeless condition. It was apparent to everyone and was no longer a subject of discussion. And it was not by accident that after these letters Speer still remained Hitler's favourite. It was precisely Speer whom Hitler appointed on 30th March, 1945, to direct measures for the total destruction of the industrial enterprises, by obliging all Party, State and military offices to render him extensive help.

[Page 67]

That is the true picture of the defendant Speer and the real part played by him in the crimes committed by Hitler's gang.

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