Fritz Sauckel 2
January 25, 1944:
From Speer to Sauckel:
I'm informed by Thyssen [armaments firm in the Ruhr] that in a transport of 509 just-arrived workers from the East were 161 children from 1 to 14 years old, and 49 men and 69 women incapable of performing work: it seems pointless to assign family groups to factory work for which, obviously, only young and unattached workers are suitable. The others, if anything, would surely be more useful on the land. ...
January 28, 1944:
My understanding is that 40,000 [armament workers in the Hamburg area], who apparently just wandered off, remain unaccounted for. It is essential to proceed very sharply indeed here; they are to be brought back from wherever they are and put to work in the places they were assigned to. (Sereny p. 413)
Speer berates Sauckel: From a press dispatch I note that the employment of women has progressed much further in England than here.
February 6, 1944:
From a report by Envoy Hemmen to the Foreign Office (1764-PS
Allocation of Labor in Germany: It started with the voluntary recruitment of workers which, up to the end of 1942, produced 400,000 men. During the first half of 1943 two further voluntary recruitments of 250,000 men each were effected. The first, by granting the privileges of the relève (French for relief, an unpopular policy championed by Vichy Prime Minister Pierre Laval)—which allowed leave for prisoners of war at a ratio of 1 prisoner to 3 recruits—or the granting of worker status, produced some 200,000; whereas the second could be carried out only by using the new compulsory service law, that is to say, coercion, and produced only 122,000 men. .... As the total result of the Sauckel Action 818,000 persons all told, mostly men, went to Germany; 168,000 of them owing to the compulsory service law. Of all these there were only 420,000 still there at the end of January 1944.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: May I remark in this connection that the Envoy Hemmen at the Embassy in Paris dealt with these questions there and they are given correctly. The decisive point is that because of the short term of the contracts, the French workers were changed every 6 months, thus only one half could be here at a time. As an explanation I should like permission to tell the Tribunal that while there was a ratio of 1 to 3—meaning that Germany gave back 1 prisoner of war in return for 3 workers—both the prisoner of war and the French civilian workers who had replaced him for the most part had returned to their own country after 11/ years, as each stayed for only 6 months. It was very hard to win the Führer over to this regulation.
February 14, 1944:
From a teletype message from Göring to Himmler (1584-PS, USA-221
At the same time, I ask you to put at my disposal as great a number of KZ (concentration-camp) 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 KZ convicts can be especially well concentrated at work and in the camp.
February 16, 1944:
From the minutes of a meeting of the Central Planning Board (R-124, USA-179
The armament industry employs foreign workmen to a large extent; according to the latest figures 40 percent.
From Max Timm’s IMT Testimony: The Central Planning Board was a branch of the Four Year Plan. Its task, as far as the GBA was concerned, was to collect the demands for workers made by the big employers, and to adjust these demands at regular sessions. As the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor could not judge himself the importance of the use made of workers by the various industries, this question was decided in the Central Planning Board. An attempt was made, for certain periods of time, for as long a time as possible, to work out a balance of workers.I cannot give the dates of the sessions exactly.
March 1, 1944:
From the transcript of a meeting of the Central Planning Board (USA-179
Sauckel: The most abominable point against which I have to fight is the claim that there is no organization in these districts properly to recruit Frenchmen, Belgians, and Italians and to dispatch them to work. So I have even proceeded to employ and train a whole staff of French and Italian agents of both sexes who for good pay, just as was done in olden times for 'shanghaiing,' go hunting for men and dupe them, using liquor as well as persuasion in order to dispatch them to Germany.
Moreover, I have charged several capable men with founding a special labor allocation organization of our own, and this by training and arming, under the aegis of the Higher SS and Police Führer, a number of indigenous units; but I still have to ask the munitions ministry for arms for these men. For during the last year alone several dozens of high-ranking labor allocation officials of great ability have been shot All these means must be used, grotesque as it may sound, to refute the allegation that there is no organization to bring labor to Germany from these countries.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: That is, as I can see, the report or record of a meeting of the Central Planning Board of the spring of 1944. During that year it had become extremely difficult for me to meet the demands of the various employers of labor represented in the Central Planning Board. At no time did I issue directives or even recommendations to "shanghai." In this conference I merely used that word as reminiscent of my days as a seaman, in order to defend myself against those who demanded workers of me, and in order to make it clear to the gentlemen how difficult my task had become, particularly in 1944. Actually, a very simple situation is at the root of this. According to German labor laws and according to my own convictions, the Arbeitsvermittlung (procurement of labor)—the old word for Arbeitseinsatz (allocation of labor)—was a right of the State; and we, myself included, scorned private methods of recruitment. In 1944 Premier Laval, the head of the French government, told me that he was also having great difficulties in carrying out the labor laws where his own workers were concerned.
In view of that, and in agreement with one of my collaborators, Dr. Didier, conferences were held in the German Embassy—the witness Hildebrandt, I believe, is better able to give information about that-with the head of the collaborationist associations, that is to say, associations among the French population which advocated collaboration with Germany. During these conferences at the German Embassy these associations stated that in their opinion official recruitment in France had become very difficult. They said that they would like to take charge of that and would like to provide recruiting agents from their own ranks and also provide people from among their members who would go to Germany voluntarily. Recruitment was not to take place through official agencies but in cafes. In these cafes, of course, certain expenses would be necessary which would have to be met; and the recruiting agents would have to be paid a bonus, or be compensated by a glass of wine or some gin. That way of doing things, naturally, did not appeal to me personally; but I was in such difficulties in view of the demands put to me that I agreed, without intending, of course, that the idea of "shanghai" with its overseas suggestions and so forth should be seriously considered. ... the suggestion was made by the French leaders of these associations.
At that time there had been many attacks on German offices and mixed German-French labor offices. The Director of the Department for the Allocation of Labor in the office of the military commander in France.
President Dr. Ritter, had been murdered. A number of recruiting offices had been raided and destroyed. For that reason these associations who were in favor of collaboration had suggested, for the protection of their own members, that a sort of bodyguard for the recruiting organization should be set up. Of course I could not do that myself because I had neither the authority nor the machinery for it. In accordance with the orders of the military commander, it had to be done by the Higher SS and Police Leader; that is, under his supervision. This was carried out in conjunction with the French Minister of the Interior at that time, Darnand; so as to be able to stand my ground against the censure of the Central Planning Board, I used an example in this drastic form. As far as I know, these hypothetical suggestions were not put into practice.
The actual recruitment of foreign workers was the task of the German offices established in the various regions, the offices of the military commanders or similar civilian German institutions. Several million foreign workers came to Germany voluntarily, as voluntary recruitment was the underlying principle.
from the above March :
, 1944 Central Planning Board transcript (USA-179
Kehrl: During that entire period, you brought a large number of Frenchmen to the Reich by voluntary recruitment.
Sauckel: Also by forced recruitment.
Kehrl: Forced recruitment started when voluntary recruitment no longer yielded sufficient numbers.
Sauckel: Of the 5 million foreign workers who came to Germany, less than 200,000 came voluntarily. ...
My duty towards the Führer, the Reich Marshal, Minister Speer, and you, gentlemen, as well as towards agriculture, is clear; and I will fulfill it. As a start we have already 262,000 new workers; and I hope and am firmly convinced that I shall obtain most of what has been asked. The labor will have to be distributed, of course, according to the needs of German armament first, and secondly, German industry as a whole; and I shall always be prepared, gentlemen, to see to it that closest contact is constantly maintained here and that closest collaboration is given by the subordinated labor exchanges, as well as by the Gau labor exchanges.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I see that this is another interruption which I made. All I wanted to say by it was that Herr Kehrl's opinion that all workers had come voluntarily was not quite correct. This proportion, which is put down here by the stenographer or the man writing the records, is quite impossible. How that error occurred, I do not know. I never saw the record; but the witness Timm, or others, can give information on that. ...
That is a similarly drastic remark of mine in the Central Planning Board which was never actually followed by an official order and not even by any prompting on my part. It was simply that I had been informed that in several departments in France the prefects or responsible chiefs supported the resistance movement wholeheartedly. Railroad tracks had been blown up; bridges had been blown up; and that remark was a verbal reaction on my part. I believe, however, I was then only thinking of a legal measure, because there did, in fact, exist a French law which made sabotage an offense punishable by death.
I did not deny that there was collaboration. Collaboration is necessary in every regime and in every system. Here we were not concerned with foreign labor only, but chiefly with German labor, even at that period. I did not dispute the fact that work was being carried on; but final decisions were not always made there. That is what I wanted to say.
I did not have representatives in the various administrative departments. I had liaison men, or else the administrative departments had liaison men in my office. The man who was constantly with Speer was not a liaison officer, but the man who talked over with the Minister questions of demand, et cetera, which were pending. As far as I remember it was a Herr Berk. I had no liaison officer with the Reich Minister of Labor. There were two departments in the Reich Ministry of Labor which concerned themselves with these problems in an administrative capacity.
From Speer's IMT testimony: In 1941 I had not yet anything to do with armament; and even later, during the period of Sauckel's activity, I did not appoint these delegates and did not do much to promote their activities. That was a matter for Sauckel to handle; it was in his jurisdiction. In 1943 I demanded in the Central Planning Board that the German labor reserves should be drawn upon, and in 1944 during the conversation of 4 January with Hitler I said the same thing. Sauckel at that time stated—and that can be seen from his speech of 1 March 1944, which has been submitted as a document—that there were no longer any reserves of German workers.
March 17, 1944:
But at the same time he also testified here that he had succeeded in 1944 in mobilizing a further 2 million workers from Germany, whereas at a conference with Hitler on 1 January 1944 he considered that to be completely impossible. Thus he has himself proved here that at a time when I desired the use of internal labor he did not think there was any, although he was later forced by circumstances to mobilize these workers from Germany after all; therefore my statement at the time was right.
The Plenipotentiary-General for Labor Commitment SECRET! (3819-PS
In my report of 2 December 1943 on the situation of labor commitment and in the subsequent conference at your headquarters I pointed out, as was my duty, that the total employment of war economy reached in 1943 can be maintained in 1944 only if it is possible to mobilize workers from the occupied territories on a large scale this year as well. The labor commitment program for 1944 which I thereupon setup and which was approved by you provided among other things for the supplying of one million French workers. Only if the Frenchmen are supplied can your figure of 4,050,000 workers to be recruited be reached. The organizational measures required for the mobilization of these forces were already taken, as far as my jurisdiction is concerned, in the last quarter of 1943. Now, however, the realization of my plan is encountering serious difficulties,which lie outside my competency and which I must submit to you with a respectful request for a decision.
1.The appointment of protection concerns [Schutzbetriebe S-concerns] for the purpose of safeguarding armament assignments and transferring civilian quotas occurred in the occupied western territories to such an extent and in such a form that it made a fluent and systematic commitment of labor impossible. I may note the following details in this connection. Since taking over my assignment I have constantly endeavored, on my own initiative, to promote the execution of the German tasks in the occupied territories with all means available.
It is true that I have always demanded, in the interest of making the best possible use of the whole European labor potential for the German war effort, that the foreign concerns are to conduct themselves in exactly the same way as the German concerns in regard to systematizing labor commitment, that is, that they can employ altogether only as many workers as they need to fulfill their urgent tasks and that they do not keep workers—especially members of age classes of military interest—from being taken by the Germans for employment in the Reich.
Moreover, I saw to it that the proportion of skilled workers (who are so urgently needed for the further expansion of German armament) is limited to the indispensable. The concerns were also urged to train assistants as skilled workers as far as possible—just as is done in German concerns. They were urged to employ women as much as possible, in order to free men. The introduction of these principles in no way endangered the German tasks in the occupied territories. This is shown by the constantly increasing turnover and production figures and the increasing number of persons employed in concerns working for German purposes. Now, however, approximately 5,900 armament concerns in France with 890,000 employees and approximately 8,500 civilian concerns with approximately 550,000 employees have been removed from my influence through appointment as S-concerns. In these concerns the need for workers can no longer be examined by my agencies.
I am not in a position to investigate whether workers are being hoarded, whether there are surplus skilled workers, to what extent members of the younger age classes are hiding in these concerns. Nor can my agencies any longer carry out a sensible exchange of labor commitment so that women and workers who cannot be exchanged are assigned to these concerns, in order to free fully capable workers for Germany. This exchange is essential, however, if one million workers are to be mobilized. I may remark that aside from the above-mentioned groups of S-concerns the following are also protected
Railroads and transportation with approximately 450,000 workers
Agriculture with 2,750,000 approximately workers
Organization Todt with 150,000 workers approximately
Luftwaffe construction, Navy construction, Armament sector approximately 200,000 workers
Wehrmacht agencies with approximately 140,000 workers
Forestry with approximately 250,000 workers
Gendarmerie with 130,000 workers approximately
Similar conditions exist in Belgium.
In view of this situation, it is essential that I again be given a free hand, in order to carry out a general systematic commitment of labor, which is in the most urgent interest of the war economy, for which I will of course assume the full responsibility that the war—important German tasks in the occupied territories are promoted in every way as far as labor commitment is concerned. I may report to you, my Führer, in this connection that in the last few months the workers needed by the Organization Todt for its urgent construction programs in the West were supplied. The RM concerns have likewise been constantly kept supplied with manpower.
2. Another difficulty for the execution of my plan lies in the completely inadequate executive means available in the occupied territories. An energetic executive is of decisive importance for success in view of the attitude of the French population which, as a result of the enemy propaganda and the terror acts, is becoming more antagonistic toward voluntarily going to Germany or fulfilling a duty assignment. Although I acknowledge the work done by the new police chief Darnand meanwhile to put in order and improve the French police, the fact remains that the French police does not carry out with enough success its tasks in connection with the "France" operation. The police is numerically too weak, not reliable enough as regards personnel, and inadequately armed. It hesitates to proceed against shirkers in order not to expose itself to retaliation measures of the terrorists. In the majority of the districts the disturbances caused by the terrorists continue to increase.
This terror is directed against those who want to go to Germany and against their families, against the government and its organs. It also threatens transportation, with the result that in entire Departments there are no passable roads to this very day.
The German police force is not strong enough numerically to be able to carry out a thorough search for service evaders besides its regular police duties. In recognition of the special significance of the France drive the military commander issued an order commanding the use of military police and if necessary even of troops, as far as other tasks permit. I myself am trying in collaboration with the Higher SS and Police Führer, to organize a protective corps which, as a supplement to the other police organs, is to seize service evaders by force and send them off. The assertion of state authority in the field of labor commitment is merely a part of the question of total authority. We must succeed in putting a stop to terrorist activity and thus guaranteeing that a given state order will be obeyed. It is necessary that, besides supporting the constructive work on the part of Police Chief Darnand, an increased number of troops will be employed especially in those cases in which troops or agencies are directly attacked.
I may report in summary that the strengthening of executive means is an essential prerequisite for the execution of the screening measures at present in progress. It is being investigated in the course of those screening measures how many surplus workers there are in these enterprises, how many are working at tasks less vital for the war effort, and in how many instances skills are not fully utilized. By removing dispensable workers to the Reich and by keeping order in labor commitment. within concerns in France, an attempt is being made to achieve the best possible increase in the total potential.
Should the screening measures not suffice to procure one million workers, we shall consider drafting workers by calling up certain age classes without exception or by mustering all males by communities in the form of a military requisition. For this also it is essential that the executive means be previously extended and intensified.
Respectfully and loyally yours, signed: Fritz Sauckel
From Speer’s IMT Testimony: [I was against such violent measures] because through violent measures of that kind a regular allocation of manpower in the occupied countries would not have been possible in the long run. However, I wanted production to be regulated and orderly in the occupied countries. Measures of violence meant to me a loss of manpower in the occupied countries, because there was the danger that these people would in increasing numbers take to the woods so as not to have to go to Germany, and thus strengthen the lines of the resistance movements. This, in turn, led to increased acts of sabotage and that, in turn, to a decrease of production in the occupied countries.
Therefore, time and again the military commanders, and the commanders of the army groups, as well as myself, protested against large-scale measures of violence as proposed. ...
I was especially interested in labor recruitment from France, Belgium and Holland-that is, countries in the West- and from Italy, because, beginning with the spring of 1943, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor had decreed that mainly workers from these regions were to be assigned for war production. On the other hand, the workers from the East were mainly to be used for agriculture, for forestry, and for the building of railroads. This decree was repeatedly stressed to me by Sauckel, even as late as 1944.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I was responsible to the Four Year Plan and to the Führer, and I had instructions from the Führer to meet the requirements of Reich Minister Speer as far as it was possible for me to do so. At all events Speer agreed, or he demanded, that workers should be put at his disposal. Sometimes, however, we did not entirely agree as to how it should be done; for instance, we did not agree about the protected factories in France.
April 5, 1944:
It did happen that, contrary to my instructions, labor transports were stopped, or transferred to other regions or to other factories. But whether the order always emanated from Herr Speer, or from an armament commission, or from another office, I do not know. It was not always from the same quarter. [I previously testified that the original destination of these transports was sometimes changed in order to satisfy the demands of Speer's offices]; but I meant by that something rather different. In that case I was informed about it. There were two kinds of changes, or deviations: those which I did not know about, and those which were agreed upon.
The red ticket system was applied when there was a demand for workers, mostly specialized or skilled workers, which had to take priority over all other demands because the work was necessary. The red ticket system was applied to the armament industry. That was a system which, in my opinion, was always intended to meet emergencies; there were variations, such as lists or red tickets. Originally, there were only lists, and the red ticket was added by decree. I should like to emphasize particularly that this red ticket system did not apply only to foreign workers; it applied especially to German workers too-German fulfilled workers. It applied to foreign workers as welt if they were specialists and declared their willingness. A factory was "blocked" if it was manufacturing articles which were not essential for war, or if it was a question of so-called luxury articles.
Sperrbetriebe were factories which worked for Speer in France, which had been agreed to by the French Minister Bichelonne, and they were blocked as far as labor recruitment was concerned. I asked Speer and I urged him, but I could not succeed in putting an end to the blocking of these factories. I was very insistent with Hitler about it, but I had no success. I did not ask for a general extension of my powers, but I asked that conditions should be allowed to remain as they had been previously, for—I ask to be permitted to explain this to the Tribunal—my task was to bring workers from France to Germany—may I make this statement:
The departments under Speer demanded skilled workers from me. There skilled workers already in the factories which Speer had blocked. Similar industries in Germany would, of course, be worse off if instead of having skilled French workers they were supplied with unskilled French workers, or men without experience in that particular trade. I had to procure workers in any case, but I considered it wiser for German economy to procure for it the right kind of workers and not workers who were unskilled.
In this German text it says: "In this situation, it is absolutely necessary that I should again have a free hand." That means that I should have a free hand once again, as I had had before the blocked industries were instituted. That is correct, for I was interested in a rational use of labor.
Speer writes to Hitler (3012-PS, USA-190
April 6-7, 1944:
On 17 March 1944 Gauleiter Sauckel as the Plenipotentiary-General for Labor Commitment sent you a memorandum in which he requests that the blocked concerns of armament and war production situated in the occupied territories be released for recruitment of labor according to his judgment.
On this matter I take the following viewpoint:
The expansion of armament and war production which has already taken place and is still expected demands that the occupied territories and friendly countries (Italy, Hungary) be incorporated to a constantly greater degree.
As long as the most vital armament factories of the Reich are not protected against air raids, I am also interested in having an extensive distribution to as many factories as possible. For this I need above all unhampered production in the occupied territories.
In the course of my conversations with Minister Bichelonno which took place in September 1943, the shifting to France was determined, and after that the concept of blocked enterprises was created for all the occupied territories in cooperation with Party Comrade Sauckel, after the continuous removal of workers to Germany from these enterprises vital for armament and war production had caused great alarm.
At that time blocked enterprises were created in the occupied areas with his consent and proclaimed by me, in accordance with the principle clearly laid down by me and previously always recognized by Party Comrade Sauckel, the principle that workers in armament and war production were not to be removed by him unless I gave my consent for a withdrawal or transfer.
At that time I renewed the promise given to the blocked enterprises after you my Führer, had stated expressly and without contradiction by Party Comrade Sauckel in the conference at Führer's Headquarters on 4 January 1944 that the blocked enterprises in the occupied territories should not have to part with any of their workers.
I am unable to deviate from the promise given to the blocked enterprises at the time they were created, since in each of these blocked enterprises a public notice issued by my office is posted expressly announcing the fact of protection from possible transfer to Germany.
Moreover, if it be granted that his offices may be permitted to interfere with armament and war production, according to Party Comrade Sauckel's request, it would mean a first and serious invasion of the total leadership of my sphere of work which I built up laboriously, and thus it would seriously endanger its further responsible leadership.
So far Gauleiter Sauckel has merely assigned workers to me for enterprises of armament and war production, while I alone made the decisions as to their use in my enterprises or their transfer.
At present the total number of protected workers in the blocked enterprises of armament and war production in the occupied western territories amounts only to about 2,700,000 employed; very soon, however, this number must be increased to about 3 million in order to meet the demands which I will have to make on the occupied western territories. Since the total population of the occupied western areas is 57 million, this is by no means a percentage which cannot be met. On the contrary, it is far below the percentage of workers employed in armament and war production in Germany. (Occupied areas 1:21, Germany 1:8)
It must be possible to dispense with these workers, in view of the total number available in France, without hampering the procurement of additional workers for Germany, I regret that Party Comrade Sauckel did not, before writing to you, my Führer, endeavor to reach an agreement with me regarding the treatment of the blocked concerns [Sperrbetriebe]. Many of the disputed points could doubtless be solved in mutual agreement, especially in view of the principle, hitherto consistently recognized by him, that the manpower in the industries of armament and war production, also in the occupied territories, is chiefly my responsibility.
Please order that (1), the blocked concerns in the occupied territories and in Italy continue to be protected in accordance with the agreements; (2) exceptions to this are to be allowed only by me or with my concurrence; and (3) the Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment is to contact me for the purpose of clarifying matters further.
I very much regret that I now have to bring this affair to your attention, my Führer, after having settled by myself other much more important and more significant matters, which distressed me much more, in order to give you, with your tremendous burdens, no unnecessary worries.
Heil my Führer! yours, ‘signed’ Speer
From Speer’s notes of his 2-day conference with Hitler (R-124, USA-179
Suggested to the Führer 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 a suitable site (preferably on gravel base and with transport facilities) in French, Belgian, or Dutch territory. The Führer agrees to this suggestion if the works could be set up behind a fortified zone. The strongest argument for setting up this plant in French territory is the fact that it would be much easier to procure the necessary workers. Nevertheless, the Führer asks that an attempt be made to set up the second factory in a safer area, namely the Protectorate. If it should prove impossible there, too, to get hold of the necessary workers, the Führer himself will contact the Reichsführer SS and will give an order that the required 100,000 men are to be made available by lounging in Jews from Hungary. Stressing the fact that in the case of the Industriegemeinschaft Schlesien the building organization was a failure, the Führer demands that these works must be built by the OT exclusively, and that the workers should be made available by the Reichsführer SS. He wants to hold a meeting shortly in order to discuss details with all the men concerned.
April 18, 1944:
From a letter written by General Field Marshal von Rundstedt (F-815, RF-1514
On the part of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor (Sauckel) the request was made that the Commander, West should be approached to the effect that in sectors where there are units belonging to the Commander, West, the commanders of these units should receive orders to support the execution of the tasks assigned to the Allocation of Labor by making troops available.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: In those areas where the Wehrmacht exercised jurisdiction I passed on to the military commanders or commanders-in-chief, through the Quartermaster General of the Army, the instructions I received from the Führer. I have no recollection of [asking the military authorities for] troops, but there were labor detachments there. It is true that in areas where there were uprisings or partisan fighting I asked that order be restored, so that the administration which had been disturbed or interrupted could be resumed. [I did not ask for troops to be put] my disposal. It was not my task to bring order to those areas. I explained that it was essential for the fulfillment of my own tasks and that I could only carry them out if proper administration were once more made possible by the establishment of order; it was not for recruiting purposes. I personally did not ask for them. This appears to be the administrative office West; this order is not known to me personally.
April 26, 1944:
As far as this question is concerned I cannot answer precisely, for I personally did not receive this letter. Instead it was sent to Paris, to the office there. This letter is not initialed by me. But in order to clarify my position, I should like to emphasize specifically that I did not demand troops in order to recruit workers. I asked for troops when in certain areas the administrative procedure could not be carried through because of resistance activities, et cetera. In that connection there is an error in this letter of Field Marshal von Rundstedt. But I did not receive this reply myself. It is initialed by the office of the military commander in Paris.
From a file note by Sauckel (1289-PS, RF-71
Only by a renewed mobilization of reserves in the occupied western territories can the urgent need of German armament for skilled workers be satisfied. For this purpose the reserves from other territories are not sufficient either in quality or in quantity. They are urgently needed for the requirements of agriculture, transportation, and construction. Up to 75 percent of the workers from the West have always been allocated to armament.
From Speer’s IMT Testimony: Up to the spring of 1943 I completely endorsed them. Up to that time no obvious disadvantages had resulted for me. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, workers from the West refused in ever-increasing numbers to go to Germany. That may have had something to do with our defeat at Stalingrad and with the intensified air attacks on Germany. Up to the spring of 1943, to my knowledge, the labor obligations were met with more or less good will. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, frequently only part of the workers who had been called up came to report at the recruiting places.
June 6, 1944
Therefore, approximately since June 1943, I established the so-called blocked factories through the military commanders in France. Belgium, Holland, and Italy soon followed suit in establishing these blocked industries. It is important to note that every worker employed in one of these blocked factories was automatically excluded from allocation to Germany; and any worker who was recruited for Germany was free to go into a blocked factory in his own country without the labor allocation authorities having the possibility of taking him out of this blocked factory. ...
After the establishment of the blocked factories, the labor allocation from the occupied countries in the West to Germany decreased to a fraction of what it had been. Before that between 80,000 and 100,000 workers came for instance from France to Germany every month. After the establishment of the blocked factories, this figure decreased to the insignificant number of 3,000 or 4,000 a month, as is evident from Document RF-22. It is obvious, and we have to state the facts, that the decrease in these figures was also due to the resistance movement which began to expand in the West at that time.
Allied forces invade Normandy in tremendous strength. Hitler issues the following order: "Chief of Staff Western Command emphasizes the desire of the Supreme Command to have the enemy bridgehead annihilated by the evening of June 6, since there exists the danger of additional sea and air-borne landings for support ... The beachhead must be cleaned up not later than tonight."
From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: "In the eerie mountain air of the Obersalzberg, from which Hitler was now trying to direct the most crucial battle of the war up to this moment—he had been saying for months that Germany's destiny would be decided in the West—this fantastic order seems to have been issued in all seriousness, concurred in by Jodl and Keitel. Even Rommel, who passed it on by telephone shortly before 5 o'clock that afternoon, an hour after his return from Germany, seems to have taken it seriously.
From an article written by Sauckel which appeared in the newspaper Die Ppicht
, published in the Gau of Thüringia (RF-1523):
The old and finest virtues of the sailors, airmen, and soldiers of Great Britain can no longer stop the Jewish plague of corruption which is making such rapid ravages in the body of their country. ... There is no example in the history of the world to show that anything of lasting value has been created in the course of centuries by the Jews and their foolish followers who were bound to them and corrupted by their customs and their women.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I meant [by a Jewish plague of corruption] that it was the outward sign of disintegration within the nations. It was my opinion that disintegration had set in among the nations owing to certain Jewish circles. That was my view.
June 12, 1944:
From a top-secret memorandum prepared for the Ministry of the Occupied Eastern Territories and approved by Rosenberg (031-PS, USA-71):
The Army group center has the intention to apprehend 40,000-50,000 youths at the ages of 10 to 14 who are in the Army territory and to transport them to the Reich ... It is intended to allot these juveniles primarily to the German trades as apprentices to be used as skilled workers after 2 years' training. This is to be arranged through the Organization Todt which is especially equipped for such a task by means of its technical and other set-ups. This action is being greatly welcomed by the German trade since it represents a decisive measure for the alleviation of the shortage of apprentices ...
June 29, 1944:
This action is aimed not only at preventing a direct reinforcement of the enemy's military strength but also at a reduction of his biological potentialities as viewed from the perspective of the future. These ideas have been voiced not only by the Reichsführer SS but also by the Führer. Corresponding orders were given during last year's withdrawals in the southern sector....Obergruppenführer Berger has received another memorandum on June 14, according to which the Reich Minister now has approved the action.
From a letter from one Paul Saab, a district commissioner in the territory of Wassilkov, to Rosenberg (254-PS, USA-188
According to a charge by the Supreme Command of the Army, I burned down several houses... in the territory of Wassilkov, Ukraine, belonging to insubordinate people ordered to labor service—this accusation is true. ...
July 11, 1944:
During the year of 1942 the conscription of workers was accomplished nearly exclusively by way of propaganda. Only rarely was force necessary. But in August 1942, measures had to be taken against two families in the villages of Glevenka and Soliony-Shatior, each of which were to supply one person for labor. Both had been requested in June for the first time but had not obeyed, although requested repeatedly. They had to be brought in by force, but succeeded twice in escaping from the collecting camp in Kiev or while in transit. Before the second arrest, the fathers of both of the workers were taken into custody as hostages to be released only when their sons appeared. When, after the second escape, the re-arrest of both the young men and the fathers was ordered, the police patrols detailed to do this, found the houses empty. ...
At that time I decided at last to take measures to show the increasingly rebellious Ukrainian youth that our orders have to be followed. I ordered the burning of the houses of the two fugitives. ...
The result was that in the future people obeyed, willingly, orders concerning labor obligations. However, the practice of burning houses has not become known for the first time by my actions, but was suggested in a secret letter from the Rein Commissioner for Allocation of Labor specifically as a coercive measure in case other measures should fail. This harsh punishment was acceptable to the local population because previous to this step both families had ridiculed on every hand the duty-conscious people who sent their children partly voluntarily to the labor allocation. ...
After initial successes, a passive resistance of the population started, which finally forced me to turn again to arrests, confiscations, and transfers to labor camps. After a whole transport of conscripted laborers overcame the police at the railroad station in Wassilkov and escaped, I saw again the necessity for strict measures. A few ring-leaders, who of course had long since escaped, were located in Plissezkoje and in Mitnitza. After repeated attempts to get hold of them, their houses were burned down. ...
My actions toward fugitive labor draftees were always reported to District Commissioner Dohrer, of the Wassilkov office, and to the Commissioner General in Kiev. Both of them knew the circumstances and agreed with my measures because of their success.
From notes from the ‘Increased Procuring of Foreign Manpower Executive Conference’ in the Reich Chancellery attended by Sauckel, Speer, Funk, Kaltenbrunner, and Raeder, among others (3819-PS
Participating in the executive conference were the departmental chiefs and representatives indicated in the attached lists of those present. No guarantee can be given for the absolute completeness of the lists, as all participants did not sign.
Reich Minister Dr. Lammers reported by way of introduction on the various proposals at hand by the Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment that serve the purpose of bringing about the increase in labor commitment in Germany which is absolutely essential for winning the final victory. He limited the theme of the discussions by saying that actually all possibilities were to be examined by which the present deficit of foreign manpower could be covered, for example the question of the reestablishment of an acceptable price and wage scale between the Reich and the extra-German territories.
But the primary consideration will have to remain the solution of the question whether and in what form greater compulsion will have to remain the solution of the question whether and in what form greater compulsion can be exerted to accept work in Germany. In this connection it must be examined how the executive forces, regarding the inadequacy of which the Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment raises lively objection, can be strengthened, on the one hand through an influence on the foreign governments and on the other through building up the indigenous administration (Executive), whether by an increased use of the Wehrmacht, of the police, or of other German agencies. Reichsminister Dr. Lammers then gave the floor to the Plenipotentiary General for Labor Commitment, Gauleiter Sauckel.
Gauleiter Sauckel states that the present deficit in the matter of the half-year program of 2,025,000 foreign workers, to be fulfilled by 30 June of the current year, amounted to 500,000 workers. Of the total of 1,500,000 workers procured up to now, no less than 865,000 were Germans, of whom half were apprentices and women, both of which categories cannot be regarded as workers of full value. Of the 560,000 foreigners who were put to work, three-quarters came from the East alone. This result is a scandal in contrast to the German people who are incorporated in the labor process to the greatest extent, and it represents the complete bankruptcy of German authority in Italy and France, where hundreds of thousands of workers were still idling. In executing the labor commitment we did not exert the necessary severity and in particular we were not able to achieve the necessary unity of the German authorities.
It would not do for German authorities to interfere irresponsibly with the tasks of the GBA (Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment). The latter must have much greater freedom of action, as was the case in 1942. With the present methods of recruitment for voluntary commitment we will not make any progress, for one thing because the volunteers still at hand exposed themselves to danger to life and limb from reprisals by their own fellow countrymen. If, on the other hand, they were forcibly obligated and decently treated in their work, they did completely satisfactory work. The treatment of the wage and price questions connected with the subject was desirable, but in the present situation no longer so important. If it were not dealt with now, then our labor commitment program would fail with the consequence that the fighting forces no longer would receive the arms that they need.
Staatssekretaer von Steengracht, Foreign Office, stressed that the Reich Foreign Minister from the beginning had favored the same standpoint as the Plenipotentiary General for Labor Commitment. The Foreign Office could, however, do nothing besides urging the federal governments more or less intensively to fulfill the German demands, which had been done consistently up to the present. The executive is in the hands of other offices which therefore would now have to express themselves on the subject of the conference.
The Deputy of the Head of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recently issued Führer order, according to which all German forces had to place themselves in the service of the work of acquiring manpower. Wherever the Wehrmacht was and was not employed exclusively in pressing military duties (as, for example, in the construction of the coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not actually be assigned for the purposes of the GBA. General
Warlimont made the following practical suggestions:
a. The troops employed in fighting partisans are to take over in addition the task of acquiring manpower in the partisan areas. Everyone, who cannot fully prove the purpose of his stay in these areas, is to be seized forcibly.
b. When large cities, due to the difficulty of providing food, are wholly or partly evacuated the population suitable for labor commitment is to be put to work with the assistance of the Wehrmacht.
c. The seizing of labor recruits among the refugees from the areas near the front should be handled especially intensively with the assistance of the Wehrmacht.
GauLeiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and expressed the expectation that certain successes could therewith already be achieved.
On behalf of the military commander of Belgium and Northern France. The Chief of the Military Administration, Reeder, put up for discussion the possibility of expansion of the Feldgendarmerie, at the time comprising only 70 men, and of the civilian searching service [Fahndungsdienst] consisting of Flemings and Walloons (1,100 people). If the Feldgendarmer were strengthened to 200 men, appreciable searching results could be accomplished. At the inquiry of Reichsminister Dr. Lammers, General Warlimont agreed for the OKW to this strengthening of the searching service.
On further inquiry by the Reichsminister Dr. Lammers, whether with the withdrawal of the troops the population suitable for recruiting could not be taken along, Colonel Saas (Plenipotentiary General for Italy) stated that Fieldmarshal General Kesselring had already decreed, that the population in a depth of 30 kilometers behind the front area was to be "captured." This measure could however, not be extended to areas situated farther behind the lines as thereby the sharpest shocks would occur in the whole structure of these areas, especially in regard to the industry not fully employed in production.
Gauleiter Sauckel was of the opinion that widest circles of the Wehrmacht saw in the labor recruiting program something disreputable. It had actually occurred that German soldiers had endeavored to protect the population from being taken by the German labor service. Therefore an instruction of the fighting forces on the extraordinary importance of labor recruiting seemed necessary. In opposition to the much too mild German method, it was part of the Bolshevist conception of war when occupying territories, immediately to have the fighting troops commit the whole population to labor.
The question of administration (Executive) thus was not one of mass recruiting, but of being consistent. One must finally proceed to establish examples, then the passive resistance would quickly change into active cooperation. One ought also not to shrink back from proceeding with drastic means against the administrative heads [Behordenleiter] themselves who sabotage the labor commitment. Not the, small refractory offenders should be punished, but the responsible administrative heads. In addition to these compulsory measures, other means too must be applied. Thus thought should be taken for the removal of a great part of the remaining exceptional Italian harvest in order to improve thereby the rations of the Germans and foreign workers.
A special problem was presented by the entirely insufficient alimentation of the Italian military internees who were almost starving. The Führer should be asked to have the statute for these military internees gradually altered. No inconsiderable working energies would be released thereby.
Reichsleiter Dr. Ley underscored these statements and suggested the establishment of a searching office made up of all German forces in the extra-German territories, that would carry out the ruthless enrolling's in large areas.
Against these proposals, doubts were expressed:
Reichsminister Funk anticipates from ruthless raids considerable disturbances of the production in the extra-German territories. The same opinion is held by the Chief of the Military Administration, of Italy, Staatssekretaer Dr. Landfried, who considers the German forces comprises in the executive body as too small and fears that the Italian population will escape the seizure in great numbers and will flee into uncontrollable regions.
Reichsminister Speer stated that he had an interest both in spurring on an increased labor recruiting for the Reich and also in the maintaining of the production in the extra-German territories. Up to the present 25 to 30 percent of the German war production had been furnished by the occupied Western territories and Italy, by Italy alone 12.5 percent.
The Führer recently decided that this production must be maintained as long as possible, in spite of the difficulties already existing, especially in the field of transportation. he executive is well in a position, in the opinion of Reich Minister Speer, to seize sufficient foreign workers with its present strength, as a relatively small number of executive men are sufficient for this purpose. All that is needed are stricter orders, but no violent measures nor large-scale raids may be carried out. One should, rather, proceed with clean methods step by step.
For the military commander in France, the military administration chief Dr. Michel referred to the statements of State Secretary Dr. Landfried and advanced the opinion that the situation in France was similar. The calling up of entire age classes is prepared in France, but has not yet begun, as the German military authorities have not yet been able to give their consent. The good will of the highest French authorities cannot be doubted, but it is in part lacking among the lower and middle authorities. These and the persons willing to work expose themselves, with a loyal attitude toward the German authorities, to reprisals by the French population.
Ambassador Abetz confirms these statements. The application of severe measures, such as the shooting of French functionaries, is of no use; it will only drive the population the more quickly into the Maquis. In these territories, in which the Wehrmacht is employed anyway, some 10,000 more workers would doubtless be seized. Then these same German forces could be employed for executive measures, which would also turn up large numbers of workers. In Paris, the evacuation of which was considered, 100,000 to 200,000 workers could be seized. In this connection, entire plant communities might be transplanted.
The chief of the security police Dr. Kaltenbrunner declared himself willing, when asked by the GBA, to place the security police at his disposal for this purpose, but pointed out their numerical weakness. For all of France he had only 2,400 men available. It was questionable whether entire age classes could be seized with these weak forces. In his opinion, the Foreign Office must exercise a stronger influence on the foreign governments.
State Secretary von Steengracht (Foreign Office) commented on this. The agreements made with the foreign governments were entirely sufficient. The governments had always been willing, on the request of the Foreign Office, to issue the corresponding orders. If these orders were not carried out, this was due to the inadequate executive of the foreign governments themselves. In France this had for political reasons been reduced to a minimum. In Italy there was no longer an executive in actuality. The Foreign Office was willing at any time, he said, to exercise stronger pressure on the foreign governments, but did not expect too much from that. State Secretary von Steengracht asked Ambassador Rahn to comment on this for Italy.
Ambassador Rahn believes that there is still a sufficient number of workers in Italy, so that in theory 1 million could still be taken out, although 2/3 of the Italian territory had been lost with respect, to population also. He had always been in favor of the system of drafting age classes. This was, until before the fall of Rome, in general successful, as can be seen from the fact that 200,000 Italians could be seized for military purposes. Since that time the situation in Italy has become extremely difficult, however, since the fall of Rome was an enormous shock to the Italian people.
The German authorities had attempted to intercept the effects and united the entire executive in the person of Marshal Graziani. At present, however, the use of violent methods on a large scale is not possible, since that would cause complete disorder and interruption of production. The best example for this is the retaliatory action ordered by the Führer because of the strikes in Turin through which 10% of the personnel were to be seized as unwilling to work. 4.000 German forces were collected for this purpose. The result was that the food supply to Turin was cut off by the resistance movement and the supply of energy was interrupted, so that 250.000 workers had to stop work. This could not be justified in view of the considerable contribution to the war of the Italian armament industry.
General Field Marshal Kesselring declared that a continuation of forced obligations would cause not only the loss of the armament production in the upper Italian area, but the loss of the entire theater of war. In the face of this statement, the hardest political will must keep silent. The only thing which could happen would be the execution of the forced obligations in the rebellious area proper. Ambassador Rahn believes the following practical suggestions could be carried out:
a. The recruitment of volunteers is to be continued.
b. To a limited extent, plants are to be transferred to the Reich with machinery and workers.
c. The transmittal of salary savings of the Italian workers in Germany to their homeland, which is not operating well, is to be safeguarded. For this purpose an automatic procedure is to be introduced, which Ambassador Rahn had already proposed in another connection.
d. The system of the induction of age classes will be reintroduced when the German military authorities consider the time ripe.
In answer to the reported remark of General Field Marshal Kesselring, General Warlimont (OKW) commented that this remark was unknown to the OKW. The OKW's approval of this standpoint could therefore not yet be assumed.
Gauleiter Sauckel declared that all these proposals were inadequate, since they were not suited to set into motion the masses of manpower which he needed. The execution of all these proposals had already been tried in practice, since the labor commitments authority had at no time limited themselves to one method. He still had to call it seriously damaging to the execution of the labor commitment that his far reaching competencies and powers had been made the subject of discussion. What he needed, as already said, was ‘elbow room."
At the suggestion of Reich Minister Dr. Lammers, Gauleiter Sauckel declared himself willing to set up several programmatic demands on which he wants to vote with the participants and which then are to be submitted to the Führer with a request for acknowledgment and legalization. A written formulation will follow. For the time being the GBA presents his demands as follows:
a. The proposals of General Warlimont will be discussed directly among the participants and will be executed together.
b. The GBA receives permission to establish national security and recruitment machinery for labor commitment, which will operate on the basis of orders and directives of the GBA without need of interference by other offices.
c. The regulations made by the French and Italian authorities in regard to German labor commitment are to be fortified by concrete execution regulations which guarantee the most active collaboration of foreign authorities in the acquisition of manpower.
Reich Minister Dr. Lammers, having made these statements, closed the meeting by pointing out that he would inform the Führer about its results and that he would leave the further treatment of the problem, as proposed, to those concerned.
[signed] L. [Lammers]
From Speer's IMT testimony: I had no influence on the method by which workers were recruited. If the workers were being brought to Germany against their will that means, as I see it, that they were obliged by law to work for Germany. Whether such laws were justified or not, that was a matter I did not check at the time. Besides, this was no concern of mine. On the other hand, by application of force and terror I understand police measures, such as raids and arrests, and so on. I did not approve of these violent measures, which may be seen from the attitude I took in the discussion I had with Lammers on 11 July 1944. At that time I held the view that neither an increase in police forces, nor raids, nor violent measures were the proper thing. In this document I am, at the same time, referred to as one of those who expressed their objections to the violent measures which had been proposed.
[I was against such violent measures] Because through violent measures of that kind a regular allocation of manpower in the occupied countries would not have been possible in the long run. However, I wanted production to be regulated and orderly in the occupied countries. Measures of violence meant to me a loss of manpower in the occupied countries, because there was the danger that these people would in increasing numbers take to the woods so as not to have to go to Germany, and thus strengthen the lines of the resistance movements. This, in turn, led to increased acts of sabotage and that, in turn, to a decrease of production in the occupied countries.
Therefore, time and again the military commanders, and the commanders of the army groups, as well as myself, protested against large-scale measures of violence as proposed. I was especially interested in labor recruitment from France, Belgium and Holland—that is, countries in the West—and from Italy, because, beginning with the spring of 1943, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor had decreed that mainly workers from these regions were to be assigned for war production. On the other hand, the workers from the East were mainly to be used for agriculture, for forestry, and for the building of railroads. This decree was repeatedly stressed to me by Sauckel, even as late as 1944.
During this meeting of 11 July I maintained my point of view. Once again I pointed to Germany's reserves, as becomes apparent from the minutes, and I announced that the transport difficulties should not be allowed to influence production, and that the blocked factories were to be kept up in those territories. Both I and the military commanders of the occupied territories were perfectly aware of the fact that with this the well-known consequences for these blocked factories would be the same as before, that is, that the transfer of labor from the occupied western territories to Germany would be stopped. The minutes of the meeting show, as I said before, that I opposed measures of coercion. I did not see Keitel's actual order.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: The Sperrbetriebe were industries which were the result of an agreement between Reich Minister Speer and, I believe, the French Minister of Economics, Bichelonne. They were industries which worked partly for German armaments and partly for German civilian requirements, and did not come under my offices. The number of workers brought from foreign countries to Germany, according to careful estimates and the records of the statistical department of the Reich Ministry of Labor, might be said to be about 5 million. I did not represent the German economy, and I myself could not decide the extent of the German armament and agricultural programs. ... I did not deny that in the combat area, and for the purpose of maintaining order in the rear areas, these measures were proposed, but they were not carried through. I believe Kaltenbrunner attended [the Berlin July 11, 1944] conference. The meeting had been called by Reich Minister Lammers.
In this connection I met the Defendant Kaltenbrunner on one single occasion during [this] conference—the date of which I cannot at present remember—at the Reich Chancellery with Minister Lammers. I believe it was in 1944. Apart from that, I had no interview of any kind with Kaltenbrunner, nor did I reach any agreements with him on questions concerning the employment of labor. I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that the recruitment of workers was no concern of the Police. I must ask my defense counsel to submit the relevant regulations, of which there are numerous specimens available. They prove quite clearly and unequivocally and irrefutably the division of tasks between the Police and my department. In my opinion the Police participated only in cases where the execution of administrative duties was rendered impossible in partisan areas. In White Ruthenia alone 1,500 local mayors were murdered by the partisans. This is seen from the document.
I will tell you exactly what I know about it. There were in the occupied territories of Europe about 1,500 districts—here I mean areas or departments, the Feldkommandanturen, which we in German administration would describe as being the size of a Kreis (district)—and these 1,500 districts contained 1,500 administrative centers staffed partly by local and partly by German personnel. In addition to this personnel, in the territories of the Soviet Union alone, 1,000 Russian workers who were previously employed in Germany were acting as recruiting officers. Now if each of these administrative centers, which would correspond to a German Landkreis and have a population of 40,000 to 70,000 inhabitants, selected in a proper way, examined, and tested five persons daily, that alone would amount to 2 million people a year; a perfectly clear method of administration, such as I ordered, organized, and carried out to the best of my administrative possibilities. I am trying to answer as briefly as possible. I regret that a specialized field is always difficult to understand and calls for explanations; I found it very difficult myself.
Defendant Frick, as Reich Minister of the Interior—I do not know how long he remained in office—scarcely participated at all. As far as I can remember I had discussions with his Reich Ministry of the Interior concerning the most necessary laws to be promulgated within Germany for German workers and the validity of those laws. Apart from that, he had no further part in this task; his work was quite different. To my very great personal sorrow Frick was at that time no longer Reich Minister of the Interior, but Himmler, if I remember correctly.It is, I believe only natural that in every form of government the internal and the general administration should be kept informed of events occurring and should participate as well, and so important a sphere as the employment of human beings calls for many ordinances. I could not possibly issue legal decrees, nor had I authority to do so. I had to submit them to the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich. I could only issue technical directions, and that is quite a different thing altogether.
Those two ministers [Funk and Speer] were heads of the various business enterprises inside German economy which came within the jurisdiction of their ministries. They received their workers, and that was the end of my task. These gentlemen [Frank, Seyss-Inquart, and Neurath ], within the framework of their duties inside their own territories, supported me in issuing decrees and laws, and they themselves attached great importance to the proper and humane drafting of these laws and decrees. I only met Dr. Fritzsche in Germany on one occasion—and that a very brief one—in, I believe, 1945, the beginning of 1945. I never spoke to him at all about my work, nor do I know whether he had anything to do with it. I can only state that I made repeated applications to the Reich Ministry for Propaganda to have my instructions and directives-as contained in the document books submitted by my defense counsel-widely circulated, particularly to the industries and other circles which received these workers.
From Funk's IMT testimony: The achievements of the occupied territories for the joint carrying on of the war were without doubt of great significance. I have always regarded the occupied territories synchronized with the total German economy as one great productive organism for carrying on the war, which would lead to a new order in Europe. Usually the same basic economic principles applied in the occupied countries as in Germany. In 1944 I had statistics compiled to show just how much the occupied countries had produced for the war effort in the 3 years of 1941, 1942, and 1943, and we reached the figure of 90,000 million Reichsmark. That is certainly an extraordinarily high figure, but one must not forget that the currencies of the various countries were converted into Reichsmark. That is, the reduced purchasing power of the various currencies is not expressed in these figures In truth, therefore, the production is lower than these Reichsmark figures might show.
At the same time Germany utilized at least two-thirds of her entire production, that is, about 260,000 million marks worth, for the European war effort, in other words, almost three times as much as the occupied countries. Almost up to the time of the invasion I succeeded, in the case of France, in regulating the financial and monetary system and thus also the economic and social order to such an extent that, at the end of the German occupation, French finances were actually much healthier than German finances, and if it had not been for the circumstances resulting from the elementary impact of the war, France would have been able to construct a healthy monetary system on this basis.
My statistics are confirmed to a certain degree by a document which was submitted here. This is Exhibit RF-22 (Document Number F-515), and deals with the French deliveries to Germany. It is an official report to the French Government about forced labor in France. In this report there are tables on Pages 38, 39, and 40 showing the amount of French deliveries to Germany in proportion to the entire French production. These figures show that out of the entire French production with which we are dealing, in these three years an average of 30 to 35 percent was sent to Germany for the joint war effort. In some fields, and especially those which are necessary for the provisioning of the French population, such as textiles, pharmaceutical supplies, gas, electricity, and so forth, these figures are considerably lower and in some cases amount to only 5 or 6 percent. But as an economist I admit without hesitation that if these matters are not regarded from the point of view of the joint carrying on of the war and the joint economic relationship, a deduction of 35 percent means a lot and must naturally have serious repercussions for the entire economy.
I have no specific figures at hand for the Russian territories. The Ministry of Economics itself was entirely excluded from the war economy of these territories; we merely attempted to allow certain firms or companies to operate in these territories as private enterprises there, that is to say, they were to buy and sell at their own risk. I did not participate otherwise in the management of these regions outside of the fact that I was chairman of the supervisory board of the Continental Oil Company, which operated in these regions in conformity with the provisions of the Four Year Plan and the orders of the Wehrmacht. But I personally, as chairman of the supervisory board, had only to manage the financial affairs of this company.
From Funk's pre-trial interrogation:
July 11, 1944:
Q. When did you lose jurisdiction over coal?
A. It was the middle of 1943.
Q. That was at the time when you became a member of the Central Planning Board, was it not?
A. That was the compensation which I was given for taking away from me the production questions.
Q. But up to the end of 1943, when you say you were in charge of consumer industries, you were in charge of coal as well?
A. Yes, until 1943 the coal came under the Minister of Economics.
Q. So that requirements for coal miners, for example, were part of your responsibility?
A. No, I had nothing to do with miners; that was the concern of the Ministry of Work.
Q. Didn't you have to ask for enough miners to keep up the coal production?
A. Well, of course, if the mines were short of workers or had difficulty with the miners they could come to the Minister of Economy and tell him that they were in difficulty and the Minister of Economy then consulted with the Four Year Plan which is turn would settle the matter with the Minister of Labor.
Q. But you had the responsibility then to insure through the Four Year Plan and Ministry of Labor a steady flow of laborers to work the coal mines that were under your jurisdiction?
A. It wasn't my responsibility, but I had to intervene when the coal industry came to me and complained about the shortage of workers. In that connection I would have to take action.
Q. And what kind of workers did you get for this? Were they all German workers or foreign workers or were some prisoners of war or what?
A. What sort of workers eventually arrived in the mines was no concern of mine. That was decided by the Ministry of Labor and later on by Sauckel, and later on Speer claimed additional authority, but I was in no way connected.
Q. When did you first find out that foreign workers were being brought to Germany to work in the coal mines?
A. That is another very difficult question. I assume that when workers became available in Russia some of them were transferred to the German coal industry.
Q. I want to ask you: when did you first find out that the involuntary--that is, that foreign workers who came against their will were first brought to Germany to work in the coal mines?
A. I can't say that at all, because I have never concerned myself with that question.
Q. When did you first find out that foreign workers were being brought to Germany against their will in any industry?
A. I don't know at all that foreign workers were brought to Germany against their will. That wasn't a task for the Minister of Economy.
Q. I didn't ask you whether it was a task for the Minister of Economy; I asked you when you first knew about it. Do you want the record to stand as it is, that you were probably the only man in Germany that didn't know that workers were brought to Germany against their will?
A. That could have only been after Sauckel was nominated. It was his task. Before that I never heard that workers in large numbers were forcibly transferred to Germany.
Q. Were you ever present in any meeting where the task of Sauckel was defined?
A. No, not which were concerned with the nomination of Sauckel.
Q. I don't mean the nomination of Sauckel; I mean the discussions concerning Sauckel's functions and what the general program was going to be about labor.
A. I believe that the first time that I was present at such discussion was when Speer was already in office.
Q. What discussion are you referring to now?
A. Such as referred to the transfer of foreign workers on a large scale to Germany by Sauckel.
Q. You mean against their will?
A. Well that I don't know. Sauckel never said during such conferences that they were brought in against their will.
Q. But you know? I just want to ask you. This is the first question: we will come to something important later. Certainly you knew that such a large number of people—millions—couldn't be brought to Germany voluntarily?
A. Certainly. Well yes, but you are referring to the statement by Sauckel that they were transferred against their will. That they did not come voluntarily was something, certainly, one would have to assume.
Q. When you were asking for labor on behalf of the coal industry for the Four Year Plan form the Minister of Labor, you knew that among those who would be recruited for those mines would be many who were foreign workers brought involuntarily to Germany?
A. That's right; yes. But there is something else I must say n the connection, that is, that such questions on behalf of the coal mines were made directly by Pleiger to Sauckel and had nothing to do with the Minister of Economy.
Q. But you said a little while ago, did you not—I listened to you very carefully, and it is perfectly clear that you said—that first you had jurisdiction over the mines until late in 1943; second, that the coal mine owners came to you for a labor supply which you in turn would have to request from the Four Year Plan and the Ministry of Labor; is that correct?
A. Yes, until Sauckel arrived and until Pleiger became the chief of coal questions. After that it was done by Pleiger independently.
Q. Leave out the coal situation for the moment. You also required workers for the consumer industries which were under your jurisdiction; did you not?
A. The consumer goods industries were restricted more and more every year. In fact, it has to concede workers to more important industries.
Q. As a matter of fact, you were using German workers for security reasons in war production industries and therefore required a substitution of foreign workers n the consumer industries?
A. Yes; but certainly no foreign workers on a large scale were used in the consumer goods industry at the beginning.
Q. But later? What happened later? Didn't you finally use foreign workers in the consumer industry?
A. Yes, but the consumer goods industry was deprived of every worker they could spare. They were deprived of more workers than any other industry. I fought continually against having to lose these workers from the consumer goods industry.
Q. Wait a minute. When you went on to this Central Planning Board in the Fall of 1943 did you receive copies if the minutes after that?
Q. As a matter of fact, you were present at many of the meetings, were you not?
A. I only joined the meeting of the Central Planning Board when I required something for my own small sector, that is to say, something to do with sport and consumer goods industries, for example, iron, and I had to fight on each occasion to get just a few thousand tons for my consumer goods industry.
Q. Yes, but during these meetings you attended you heard, did you not, discussions concerning foreign labor?
A. Oh, yes I did.
Q. And you knew from those meeting that the policy was to bring in more and more foreign workers to the Reich against their will?
A. Yes, certainly.
Q. And you never objected to that, I take it?
A. No. Why should I have objected? It was somebody else's task to bring those foreign workers in.
Q. Did you believe it was legal to take people against their will from their home and bring them to Germany?
A. Well, many things happen in wartime which aren't strictly legal. I have never racked my brains about hat. But there is another thing, and that is, that I tried my best to prevent the importation of too many workers from France, for instance, to see their industry at home kept going.
Q. Yes, but what about workers from the East, from the Ukraine, for example; you were interested in getting them into Germany to work, were you not?
A. I personally, no.
Q. But you were in agreement with the general policy?
A. Well that foreign workers should be brought into Germany from foreign countries, that I considered perfectly proper so that war production could continue and increase. But it was never aware that this was illegal.
From a letter written by Alfred Meyer addressed to Sauckel (199-PS
Army recruiting staff 'Mitte,' hitherto stationed in Minsk, must continue its activities with regard to the recruitment of young White Ruthenian and Russian workers for military employment within the Reich. The staff has the additional task of bringing into the Reich young folk from 10 to 14 years of age.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I have read the passage (above) and my reply is that the letter, to be sure, is addressed to me, but only for my information, and I had nothing to do with those proceedings either in my office or personally. I have—that was—it has been mentioned already in the case of the Defendant Schirach—that was carried out within those offices, and the Allocation of Labor, as an office was not involved in it. I personally do not remember it. The army recruiting staff Mitte is a term completely unknown to me. I do not know what it was, or whether it was a military or a civil office. It had nothing to do with me. I do not know it.
July 12, 1944:
From an account of a meeting in Berlin:
The Representative of the Chief of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recently issued Führer order, according to which all German forces had to participate in the task of raising manpower. Wherever the Wehrmacht was stationed, if it was not employed exclusively in pressing military duties (as, for example, in the construction of coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not be assigned expressly for the purpose of the GBA. General Warlimont made the following practical suggestions:
a) The troops employed in fighting the partisans are to take over, in addition, the task of raising manpower in the partisan areas. Everyone who cannot give a satisfactory reason for his presence in these areas is to be recruited by force.
b) When large cities are wholly or partly evacuated on account of the difficulty of providing food, those members of the population suitable for labor are to be utilized for labor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht.
c) The refugees from the areas near the front should be rounded up with special vigor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht. ...Gauleiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and expressed the expectation that a certain amount of success could be achieved by this means.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I am not aware that the Armed Forces have ever received an order mentioning the rounding-up of workers. I would like to say that I know of no such demand and I have not found any confirmation of it. The conference as such is unknown to me and so are the proposals you mentioned. It is new as far as I am concerned. ...But as far as I know it has never happened. I do not know that such an order was given. According to the record, this is a proposal made by General Warlimont, yes. ...I do not recollect that any order was given in this connection. I gather from the statement by Warlimont that discussions took place.
July 12, 1944:
From an account of a meeting in Berlin:
The Representative of the Chief of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recently issued Fuehrer order, according to which all German forces had to participate in the task of raising manpower. Wherever the Wehrmacht was stationed, if it was not employed exclusively in pressing military duties (as, for example, in the construction of coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not be assigned expressly for the purpose of the GBA. General Warlimont made the following practical suggestions: a) The troops employed in fighting the partisans are to take over, in addition, the task of raising manpower in the partisan areas. Everyone who cannot give a satisfactory reason for his presence in these areas is to be recruited by force. b) When large cities are wholly or partly evacuated on account of the difficulty of providing food, those members of the population suitable for labor are to be utilized for labor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht. c) The refugees from the areas near the front should be rounded up with special vigor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht . . . . Gauleiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and expressed the expectation that a certain amount of success could be achieved by this means.
From Speer's IMT testimony: The minutes of the meeting show, as I said before, that I opposed measures of coercion. I did not see Keitel's actual order. I know that the order was not carried out. To understand the situation, it is necessary to become familiar with the atmosphere prevailing about 20 July. At that time not every order from headquarters was carried out. As the investigations after 20 July proved, at that time in his capacity as Commander, West, Kluge was already planning negotiations with the western enemies for a capitulation and probably he made his initial attempts at that time. That, incidentally, was the reason for his suicide after the attempt of 20 July had failed.
July 15, 1944:
It is out of the question that Field Marshal Kluge, in the military situation in which he found himself, and considering his views, should have given orders for raids and measures of coercion at that moment. The release of the Sauckel-Laval agreement, which was mentioned in this document, had no practical significance, since the blocked factories were maintained, and thus this agreement could not become effective. This was well known to the officials in France, and the best proof for the fact that the order was not carried out is Document RF-22 of the French Prosecution, which shows that in July 1944 only 3,000 workers came to Germany from France. If the military authorities had used measures of coercion, it would have been a simple matter to send a very much larger number of workers than these 3,000 from France to Germany. I must state quite frankly that although I did use my influence to reduce the recruitment of labor or to put an end to measures of coercion and raids, I did not use it to stop the allocation of labor completely.
From a telegram from Keitel to all military commanders (F-814, RF-1516
The present situation demands the use of all conceivable means for the procurement of additional labor, because it is the fighting men who benefit first of all by all armament measures. In view of this fact, all questions concerning internal unrest, the increase of resistance and such matters must be put in the background. We must concentrate on giving every help and support to the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. I refer to my directives for the co-operation of the Wehrmacht in the procurement of workers from France. ....
Sturm gave the following report from his sector on work discipline ... We are working with the Gestapo and the concentration camps, and we are certainly on the right track.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I must emphasize here again that I did not dispute that these things had been planned and ordered. I did not dispute that fact, and I should like to emphasize that again. But these measures were not carried through, and I would like to emphasize that also. And besides that, I did not send this telegram. How far the Police carried through their measures in detail, I do not know, but I do know that they carried through some measures on their own accord. I considered both the SD and the Police to be regular and justified institutions, and I had to ask for their help when it was necessary. To support me in my tasks only where an orderly participation or the use of the Police was necessary from an administrative point of view-not for the recruitment of workers as such, but only to remove difficulties or disturbances in administration. On occasions when it was necessary to call in police aid; not in order to carry through the task itself.
July 15-16, 1944:
Sometimes [in the conferences which I held with the French authorities concerning the recruitment of labor] representatives of the Higher SS and Police Leader were present just as in the case of the French, where the Minister of the Interior or the Minister of the Police was present. I neither demanded that nor proposed it. Standartenführer Knochen was in Paris, and on occasions he was present at these conferences. To my recollection they attended various conferences, but that occurred at the proposal of the military commander, under whose direction these conferences took place.
It is possible that during this conference—or conferences—this question [of discipline to be imposed upon the workers] was discussed. I cannot remember exactly; I did not participate in all the sessions. I did not hear [Dr. Sturm's] statement myself. He gave a specialized report on questions of labor legislation, as it says at the beginning. I am seeing the record for the first time in my life. There were several parallel meetings at the same time. I did not hear it myself, but it stands to reason that some sort of ruling regarding penalties had to be made, as is done in all labor legislation. Perhaps I may read to you from the same document, the beginning:
"Measures regulating the employment of labor and wages are only possible on the basis of a healthy working morale. Regulations of a disciplinary and penal character for securing such morale require unified handling, the details of which will be dealt with at a subsequent meeting of experts on penal law."
That is, of course, not one of my offices. I did not know of this statement, as Sturm, I believe, came from some other department. I do not know whether he belonged to the Ministry of Labor itself, or to some other department; that I cannot say. I did not hear these statements.
From notes of a conference of Au (foreign) labor chiefs at Wartburg attended by Sauckel (F-810, RF-1507
As regards the employment of European labor and the problems, methods, and means for the same, Timm made the following remarks: 1) Northern Europe; 2) Southeast; 3) Italy; 4) France. ... The Führer has approved the use of measures of coercion to the fullest extent.
From Max Timm’s IMT Testimony: At Wartburg there was a conference of the presidents of the Au labor offices. I was there for that conference. I have no intention of denying anything. I can only say that Sauckel probably had powers from the Führer to use all reasonable means to speed up the procurement of workers. Measures were introduced and carried out in France which, even if they were approved by Laval, the Premier at the time, might nevertheless be termed compulsory. As far as I can remember, Gauleiter Sauckel always reported the results of his talks in Paris to the Führer. It is possible that he reported to the Führer the question of recruiting methods which he had discussed with Laval; and it was customary for him, as I have already said in my testimony, always to make sure of the Führer's approval, so, that he did not work against the Führer's ideas.
July 20, 1944:
Hitler survives an assassination attempt (bomb explosion) during a war conference.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: The Socialist Deputy August Frohlich was my strongest and most important opponent. He was the leader of the Thüringian Social Democrats and was for many years the Social Democrat Prime Minister of Thüringia. I had great respect for him as an opponent. He was an honorable and upright man. On 20 July 1944, through my own personal initiative, I had him released from detention. He had been on the list of the conspirators of 20 July, but I had so much respect for him personally that, in spite of that, I asked for his release and obtained it. I also had a politician of the Center Party I knew in my home town of Schweinfurt released from detention.
From Inside The Third Reich, by Albert Speer: In my work I preferred "uncomfortable associates to compliant tools." The party, on the other hand, had a deep distrust for nonpolitical specialists. Fritz Sauckel, always one of the most radical of the party leaders, once commented that if they had begun by shooting a few factory heads, the others would have reacted with better performances. For two years my position was unassailable. After the generals' putsch of July 20, 1944, Bormann, Goebbels, Ley, and Sauckel prepared to cut me down to size. I quickly appealed to Hitler in a letter stating that I did not feel strong enough to go on with my job if it were going to be subjected to political standards.
July 20, 1944:
From a letter written by Reich Minister Rosenberg to Lammers concerning the transfer to the Reich of young people aged 10 to 14 years; that is the "Hay Action” (345-PS):
The object of this action is the further care of young people through the Reich Youth Leadership and the training of apprentices for German economy in a manner similar to that which has already been successfully carried out with the White Ruthenia Youth Service in co-operation with the GBA (Sauckel).
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: By German Reich law children under 12 years of age are not permitted to work. Children under 14 are only permitted to work a few hours on the land. I issued decrees or confirmed the laws which were already in existence insofar as they applied to this work. I had nothing whatever to do with this action; and in the index of addresses my name is not mentioned. I do not know of this matter. This was a transaction with which I did not concern myself.
July 23, 1944:
Majdanek is liberated.
July 25, 1944:
From a Sauckel Decree concerning female workers from the East:
Every week the female Eastern Worker is to have an adequate amount of free time ... The regular working hours, including rest periods and preparation for work, are to fall between 0600 and 2100 hours, unless special conditions call for other arrangements.
July 25, 1944:
From a letter from the Commander of the West, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, from his headquarters (F-824, RF-1515
One can conclude from this that on the order of the Führer, and after the abrogation of all contrary decrees, the desires of the Plenipotentiary General for the allocation of Labor (Sauckel) and of Reich Minister Speer must in principle be carried out. Following my telegraphic communication, on the basis of the conference of ministers of 11 July in the Reich Chancellery, concerning which the Commander of the West will be informed by the military commander, the following directives are in force from now on:
Without taking into account justified misgivings concerning security and order within the country, recruiting must start everywhere where the possibilities referred to in my telegram present themselves. As an only exception the Fuehrer has decided that in the actual fighting zone no methods of coercion will be used against the population as long as the latter are helpful to the Wehrmacht. On the other hand, the recruiting of volunteers among refugees from the combat zones is to be handled energetically. Moreover, all means will be considered justified, in order to recruit as much labor as possible from elsewhere by means at the disposal of the Wehrmacht. ...
In order to make the measures undertaken as effective as possible, the troops must be informed of the necessity of the Arbeitseinsatz organization so that they may put down the many acts of subversive and open resistance. The field commanders and military administration offices must give as much aid as possible to the delegates of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor and refrain from encroaching on their activities which are in conformance with instructions. I therefore ask you to give the necessary directions to this effect. ...
The Commander of the West reported to the Chief of the OKW on 23 July as follows:
1) In spite of anxieties concerning internal security, I have authorized the application of the Sauckel-Laval agreement of 12 May 1944.
2) I shall issue further instructions for the application of these measures in the combat zone in agreement with OKW/WFSt/Qu. (Verw. 1) 2 (West) Number 05201/44, Secret, of 8 July 1944.
The Commander of the West, signed von Kluge, Field Marshal.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: I should like to remark in this connection that I do not dispute what has just been described. At that time the commander-in-chief was under the stress of battle and the evacuation of the population. But I can testify that after the date of 25 July 1944 these things did not apply any longer, for the withdrawal of German troops was much too rapid; so that this decree, which had been issued by the Führer, was no longer in effect. ... There was a case in the East which Field Marshal Kluge reported to me, where motion picture houses were surrounded by recruiting agents. I considered that catastrophic. The second case was the case of the returning transport, where according to the report—it is called the later report, but I do not remember the number of the document—children are said to have died on the way and been placed outside the train. I considered that catastrophic.
October 12, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes:
Adolf "the Riverboat Gambler" Hitler takes Speer aside at the daily situation conference. He confides that he is planning a decisive move; a great, surprise offensive in the West utilizing all available forces. "For that you must organize a special corps of German construction workers, one sufficiently motorized to be able to carry out all types of bridge building even if rail transportation should be halted. Stick to the organizational forms that proved their value in the western campaign of 1940," Hitler continues: "Everything else must be put aside for the sake of this. No matter what the consequences. This will be the great blow which must succeed." (Speer)
October 22, 1944
Churchill to FDR:
Major War Criminals. UJ (Churchill and FDR refer to Josef Stalin as Uncle Joe, or UJ, in their correspondence) took an unexpectedly ultra-respectable line. There must be no executions without trial otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law but he replied if there were no trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements.
October 27, 1944:
Sauckel celebrates his fiftieth birthday.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: On my fiftieth birthday in October 1944 I was surprised to get a letter from the Führer through one of his adjutants. In that letter there was a check for 250,000 marks. I told the adjutant that I could not possibly accept it; I was very surprised. The Führer's adjutant—it was little Bormann—the old Bormann, not Reichsleiter Bormann—told me that the Führer knew quite well that I had neither money nor any landed property and that this would be a security for my children. He told me not to hurt the Führer's feelings. The adjutant left quickly and I sent for Demme who was both a colleague and a friend of mine and the president of the State Bank of Thuringia. He was unfortunately refused as a witness as being irrelevant.
November 28, 1944:
The only income I had from my official positions was the salary of a Reich Regent.The salary of a Reich Minister; I cannot tell you exactly what it was. I never bothered about it. It was something like 30,000 marks. I have not saved any money and I never had any property.
Himmler orders the gas chambers at Auschwitz destroyed.
December 16, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes:
Hitler's big gamble in the West, the Battle of the Bulge, gets underway in Belgium and Luxembourg.
January 4, 1945
Churchill to Eden:
Treatment of Germany after the war. It is much too soon for us to decide these enormous questions. Obviously, when the German organized resistance has ceased the first stage will be one of severe military control. This may well last for many months, or perhaps for a year or two, if the German underground movement is active.
2. We have yet to settle the practical questions of the partition of Germany, the treatment of the Rhur and Saar industries, etc. These may be touched upon at our forthcoming meeting, but I doubt whether any final decision will be reached then. No one can foresee at the present moment what the state of Europe will be or what the relations of the Great Powers will be, or what the tempers of their peoples will be. I am sure that the hatreds which Germany has caused in so many countries will find their counterpart here.
3. I have been struck at every point where I have sounded opinion at the depth of the feeling that would be aroused by a policy of ‘putting poor Germany on her legs again.’ I am also well aware of the arguments about ‘not having a poisoned community in the heart of Europe’… I remember so well last time being shocked at the savage views of the House of Commons and of the constituencies, and being indignant with Poincare when he sent the French into the Ruhr.
In a few years however the mood of Parliament and the public changed entirely. Thousands of millions of money were lent to Germany by the United States. I went along with the tolerant policy towards Germany up to the Locarno Treaty and during the rest of Mr. Baldwin’s Government on the grounds that Germany had no power to harm us. But thereafter a swift change occurred. The rise of Hitler began. And thereafter I once again found myself very much out of sympathy with the prevailing mood.
From Göring's IMT testimony: When, after 12 January 1945, the Russian offensive pushed forward to the Oder and at the same time the Ardennes offensive had not penetrated, it was then that I was forced to realize that defeat would probably set in slowly. Up to that time I had always hoped that, on the one side, the position at the Vistula toward the East and, on the other side, the position at the West Wall towards the West, could be held until the flow of the new mass produced weapons should bring about a slackening of the Anglo-American air war ...
January 16 1945:
I knew that enemy propaganda emphasized that under no circumstances would there be negotiations with Hitler. That Hitler did not want to negotiate under any circumstances, I also knew, but not in this connection. Hitler wanted to negotiate if there were some prospect of results; but he was absolutely opposed to hopeless and futile negotiations. Because of the declaration of the enemy in the West after the landing in Africa, as far as I remember, that under no circumstances would they negotiate with Germany but would force on her unconditional surrender, Germany's resistance was stiffened to the utmost and measures had to be taken accordingly. If I have no chance of concluding a war through negotiations, then it is useless to negotiate, and I must strain every nerve to bring about a change by a call to arms ... As long as Hitler was the Führer of the German people, he alone decided whether the war was to go on. As long as my enemy threatens me and demands absolutely unconditional surrender, I fight to my last breath.
Hitler departs Bad Nauheim and arrives for the final time in Berlin. He will spend the next few days above ground in his embattled capital before moving permanently into the Führerbunker.
January 17, 1944:
From a Sauckel speech (Sauckel-88):
The foreign workers must be treated better. The reception camps are not to be primitive; rather they must be a recommendation for us. ... The more I do for the foreign laborers working in Germany, the better I treat them, the more I influence them, the greater the extent of their available production capacity.
January 17, 1945:
The Red Army liberates Warsaw, whose prewar population of 1,300,000 has been reduced to almost nothing, with 90% of the city destroyed. At Mlawa, 320 Poles, mostly partisans, are shot by the Germans in one of many last-minute executions around Warsaw. In the next 18 days, Soviet troops will advance a further 300 miles into German-held territory.
January 18, 1945:
An internal accounting is made of the remaining prisoners in the assorted labor and concentration camps: Birkenau; 15,058 Jews remain. Auschwitz: 16,226 people remaining, mostly Poles. Monowitz; 10,233 Jews, Poles and assorted prisoners remaining. Factories of Auschwitz: Another 16,000 Jews, Poles and prisoners. The order for immediate evacuation—by forced march, if necessary—is given.
January 18, 1945:
The Red Army drive against Berlin begins. Hitler, along with his cooks, adjutants, two or three dozen support, medical and administrative staff, his senior military staff and even his dog, Blondi, move into the Führerbunker, which is located underneath the Chancellery garden in Berlin.
February 19-20, 1945:
From notes of a conferences between Grand Admiral Dönitz and Hitler:
The Führer is considering whether or not Germany should renounce the Geneva Convention... The Führer orders the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy to consider the pros and cons of this step and to state his opinion as soon as possible.
Dönitz: On the contrary, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Even from a general standpoint it appears to the Commander-in-Chief that this measure would bring no advantage. It would be better to carry out the measures considered necessary without warning, and at all costs to save face with the outer world. (IMT)
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: The employment of prisoners of war was quite complicated, because it had to take place in agreement with the general in charge of the Prisoners of War Organization. The so-called technique of transposition caused me difficulties. Allow me to explain this.
January 20, 1945:
There existed the Geneva Convention, or the Hague Convention, according to which prisoners of war could not be used in armament or ammunition industries. When, however, we spoke of prisoners of war being engaged in the armament industry that meant that so-and-so many German women or workers were transferred to industries in which the Geneva Convention prohibited the use of prisoners of war, and that prisoners of war took their place. That was done in agreement with the offices of the general in charge of the Prisoners of War Organization. The general in charge of the Prisoners of War Organization and we ourselves, or the "Arbeitseinsatz" administration, adhered to the rules of the Geneva Convention and several times compiled a catalog of the types of work for which prisoners of war could be used. Also during my time, in 1943 and 1944, a special edition of this catalog was published, and it can be found in the so-called Blue Book.
Certain agreements were made with the French Government, as far as volunteers were concerned, and this applied to a certain extent to Eastern Workers. The offices of the general in charge of the Prisoners of War Organization were solely responsible.
FDR, is inaugurated to his record fourth term in office as 32nd president of the United States. Harry S. Truman is sworn in as Vice President.
January 25, 1945 Beleidigender Ardennes:
Hitler's big gamble, the Battle of the Bulge, collapses. The last of the German reserves are now gone. German forces in East Prussia are cut off and begin evacuations by sea using the cruisers Emden and Hipper (above), as well as a large number of passenger ships and almost the entire remaining surface fleet. Many will fall victim to RAF dropped mines and submarines of the Soviet Baltic fleet.
January 27, 1945:
Advancing Soviet troops, after losing 250 soldiers fighting against the camps guards, enter the Monowitz camp of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. They find nearly 600 sick and dying Jews, Poles and Gypsies remaining of the 850 inmates that had been left behind when the camp was evacuated on January 17. The Lithuanian port of Memel falls to the Soviets.
January 27, 1945:
From the notes of a Führer conference:
Hitler: Do you think the English are enthusiastic about all the Russian developments?
February 24, 1945:
Jodl: No, of course not. They have quite different plans. Perhaps we'll discover the full extent of their plans later.
Göring: They certainly didn't plan that we hold them off while the Russians conquer all of Germany... If this goes on we will get a telegram (from the English) in a few days. They were not counting on us defending ourselves step by step...holding them off like madmen while the Russians drive deeper and deeper into Germany, and practically have all of Germany now...
Jodl: The English have always regarded the Russians with suspicion.
Hitler: I have given orders that we shall play a trick on the English—an information sheet telling them the Russians are organizing 200,000 of our men (German POWs) led by German officers, all of them infected with Communism, and they will be marched into Germany. I have ordered this report to be delivered to the English. I have discussed it with the Foreign Minister (Ribbentrop). That will be like sticking them with a needle.
Göring: They entered the war to prevent us from going East, not to have the East reaching out to the Atlantic.
Hitler: That's quite clear. It is something abnormal. The English newspapers are already saying bitterly: Is there any sense in this war?
Göring: On the other hand I have read a report in Braune Blaetter that they can support the Russians with their air force. They can reach the Russian forces with their heavy bombers, even though it is a long flight. But the information comes from an absurd source.
Hitler: Tactically, the English cannot support them. Since we don't know where the Russians are and where we are, how on earth can the English know?
Hitler then assures the assembled participants that this strategy—instilling the fear of unchecked Russian expansionism in the hearts of the British and Americans—will yet prevail. However, the conference ends with no decision being made as to the defense of the Oder. (Payne, Shirer, Read)
Hitler addresses the Reich by radio:
April 10, 1945:
Right itself is nothing but the duty to defend the life entrusted to us by the Creator of the world. It is the sacred right of self-preservation. Whether this self-preservation will be successful depends solely on the greatness of our efforts and on willingness to make any sacrifice to preserve this life for the future...
Medics of the US 3rd Armored Division report that they have discovered Nordhausen Death Camp on the way to Camp Dora. In the two adjacent camps they discover 5,000 corpses. 1,200 patients are soon evacuated, with 15 dying on their way to the hospital area and another 300 subsequently dying of malnutrition. The American Third Army liberates the prison camp at Buchenwald, where nearly 57,000 prisoners (mostly Jews) had perished. (Sellier)
From an affidavit of Sauckel's son, Dieter Sauckel (Sauckel-94): Between 4 and 7 April 1945, approximately, I was present when my father, Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, had a conference in his study. On this occasion the question of the Buchenwald Camp was discussed, and the following was decided: A certain number of guards should remain in the camp until the arrival of the enemy in order to hand the camp prisoners over to them.
April 11, 1945:
American forces find more than 20,000 people still alive—4,000 of them Jews—when they enter Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Around 56,000 people had murdered in the Buchenwald camp system.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: When the mayor of Weimar informed me that they intended to evacuate the camp at Buchenwald and to use the camp guards to fight the American troops, I raised the strongest objections. As I had no authority over the camp, and since for various reasons connected with my other office I had had considerable differences with Himmler and did not care to speak to him, I telephoned the Fuehrer's headquarters in Berlin and said that in any case an evacuation or a transfer of prisoners into the territory east of the Saale was impossible and madness, and could not be carried through from the point of view of supplies. I demanded that the camp should be handed over to the American occupation troops in an orderly manner. I received the answer that the Fuehrer would give instructions to Himmler to comply with my request. I briefly reported this to some of my colleagues and the mayor, and then I left Weimar.
April 12, 1945:
President Roosevelt dies; Truman becomes President.
April 13, 1945:
Vienna, the first foreign capital to be occupied by Hitler, is liberated by the Russians under Fedor Tolbukhin. Meanwhile, American and British troops discontinue the march towards Berlin. The Soviets now have the road to Berlin to themselves.
April 13, 1945:
At the daily situation conference, a newly confident Hitler—whom Ribbentrop will later recall was "in seventh heaven" this day with the news of FDR's death—announces that he has decided that the war will be won in Berlin, and he intends to stay in the city and direct the battle. He orders that units falling back from the Oder form a hard nucleus for the purpose of drawing the Soviet columns towards them, while the remaining German forces attack the columns from the sides. Most of his generals are skeptical, and a few try to talk him into moving to the relative safety of Berchtesgaden, but Hitler refuses to even consider it. He will make his last stand in Berlin. (Read)
April 13, 1945:
Former US Attorney General and now Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice Robert Jackson, speaks before the American Society of International Law:
All else will fail unless we can devise instruments of adjudication, and conciliation, so reasonable and acceptable to the masses of people that future governments will have always an honorable alternative to war. The time when these institutions will be most needed will probably not come until the names that signify leadership in today’s world will have passed into history.
April 30, 1945:
An announcement on the German wireless: "It has been reported from the Führer's headquarters that our Führer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon..."
[For a full telling of The Last Days Of The Third Reich and Hitler’s Suicide
, Click here
May 2, 1945: Executive Order of US President Truman
Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal.
From Sauckel’s IMT Testimony: As far as I can tell you without documents, not counting prisoners of war, there were about 5 million foreign workers in Germany at the end of the war. In 1944 a total of 4 million, including Germans, was demanded. But of these 4 million only 3 million were supplied, and of these approximately 2,100,000 were Germans and 900,000 foreigners. As far as I know and remember there were 5 million foreign workers in Germany at the end of the war. Several million workers returned to neutral and allied and western countries during the war, and they had to be replaced again and again, which was the cause of those new programs which were constantly being made. That is the explanation. Those workers who were already there before my time, and those who were brought in, probably might have reached a figure of 7 million, but during the war there were several millions who returned to their home countries. I maintain that at the end of the war there were, according to my statistical department and as far as I can remember, 5 million workers in Germany, because millions of workers continuously returned. The experts can give you a better answer than I. The contracts with the others were only 6 and 9 months, you see.
I would estimate 7 million [foreign workers altogether were employed in Germany], but I cannot give you the exact figures because I am not sure about the figures before my time. At any rate, there must have been millions who returned home. I can say that only with the reservation that I do not know how many were actually there before my time. That may be correct as a guess, and including all prisoners of war who were assigned for work. You have, however, to deduct the prisoners of war from the civilian workers who were brought into the country.
[Next, Part Five.]
[Part One, Click Here.]
[Part Two, Click Here.]
[Part Three, Click Here.]
[Part Four, Click Here.]
[Part Five, Click Here.]
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