Fritz Sauckel 5
May 7-8, 1945
The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
: Sauckel is captured in a Thüringian cavern called the Drachenhöhle
(dragon's lair) on a tip from a German-American gymnastics teacher unfortunate enough to have been stuck in Germany by the war.
June 7, 1945:
Justice Jackson sends off a progress report to President Truman:
June 21, 1945:
Over a month ago the United States proposed to the United Kingdom, Soviet Russia and France a specific plan, in writing, that these four powers join in a protocol establishing an International Military Tribunal, defining the jurisdiction and powers of the tribunal, naming the categories of acts declared to be crimes, and describing those individuals and organizations to be placed on trial. Negotiation of such an agreement between the four powers is not yet completed.
In view of the immensity of our task, it did not seem wise to await consummation of international arrangements before proceeding with preparation of the American case. Accordingly, I went to Paris, to American Army Headquarters at Frankfort and Wiesbaden, and to London, for the purpose of assembling, organizing, and instructing personnel from the existing services and agencies and getting the different organizations coordinated and at work on the evidence. I uniformly met with eager cooperation. The custody and treatment of war criminals and suspects appeared to require immediate attention. I asked the War Department to deny those prisoners who are suspected war criminals the privileges which would appertain to their rank if they were merely prisoners of war; to assemble them at convenient and secure locations for interrogation by our staff; to deny them access to the press; and to hold them in close confinement...
During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration. Chosen mainly because their names are well known to the public, they are assumed to be criminals; little effort has yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that will be available against them. The initial ten: Göring, Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Ribbentrop, Ley (see October 25, 1945, below), Keitel, Streicher, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank and Frick. (Taylor)
July 16, 1945:
Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately referred to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed... ...they roll their own cigarettes." (Tusa)
July 17, 1945
International Conference on Military Trials:
From the minutes of this days Four Power conference session:
July 25, 1945
Niktchenko: It would not be necessary to write down in the charter anything about the rights of the defendant not giving answer, because, if he refuses to give answer to the prosecution and to the counsel and to the Tribunal, nothing is to be done, and therefore we do not think it would be necessary to point it out in the charter. But as regards the rights of the prosecutor to interrogate, that is very important. If we do write anything about the defendant's right not to answer, then it would look as if we were preparing the ground for him to do so, and, if he knows about it, he will take advantage of it and refuse to answer. Therefore it is not necessary to mention it...
International Conference on Military Trials:
During this days Four Power conference session:
July 31, 1945
From the letters of Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg:
Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France—but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip.
August 1, 1945
At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the subject of trying Nazi war criminals is raised:
Truman: You are aware that we have appointed Justice Jackson as our representative on the London Commission. He is an outstanding judge and a very experienced jurist. He has a good knowledge of legal procedure. Jackson is opposed to any names of war criminals being mentioned and says that this will hamper their work. He assures us that the trial will be ready within thirty days and that their should be no doubt concerning our view of these men.
August 8, 1945:
Stalin: Perhaps we could name fewer persons, say three.
Bevin: Our jurists take the same view as the Americans.
Stalin: And ours take the opposite view. But perhaps we shall agree that the first list of war criminals to be brought to trial should be published not later than in one month.
The London Agreement is signed: Charter of the International Military Tribunal
August 12, 1945:
Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Göring continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
August 12, 1945:
Justice Jackson releases a statement to the American press:
August 25, 1945:
The representatives of the United Kingdom have been headed by the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General. The Soviet Republic has been represented by the Vice President of its Supreme Court and by one of the leading scholars of Soviet jurisprudence. The Provisional Government of France has sent a judge of its highest court and a professor most competent in its jurisprudence. It would not be a happy forecast for the future harmony of the world if I could not agree with such representatives of the world's leading systems of administering justice on a common procedure for trial of war criminals...
Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Niktchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants (from the original list of 122), 21 of which are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Niktchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on October 28. (Conot)
August 28, 1945:
Just in time to stop the release of the names of the 22, Niktchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)
August 29, 1945:
The final list of defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody, is still listed; Raeder and Fritzsche are now included, though there is no longer a Krupp represented. (Conot)
August 29, 1945:
The Manchester Guardian
reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors—whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have—will try the vanquished.
August 30, 1945:
The Glasgow Herald
reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them.
September 1, 1945
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
This Saturday, I continued with Field Marshal Keitel. We discussed the killing of hostages: men, women and children in Poland and Russia and Italy. He admitted that he gave such orders but only after terrible attacks had been made on German soldiers. He even verified the wording of his order as calling for 'the most brutal measures even against women and children.' Whole towns were slaughtered and burned. Some few able bodied (people) were shipped back to Germany as slave labor. It is a degrading business for these once proud Prussians to admit these orders. Yet Keital is adamant. He said, 'I would do it all over again if the situation presented itself as it did then.'
September 4, 1945:
Fritz Sauckel is interrogated by two American officers:
Sauckel: I have been a convinced National Socialist since 1921 and agreed 100 percent with the program of Adolf Hitler. I worked actively to that end, and during the period from 1921 until the assumption of power I made about 500 speeches, the sense and contents of which represented the National Socialist standpoint. It was for me a particular satisfaction to have raised the Gau of Thüringia to a predominant position with regard to its National Socialist views and convictions. Until the collapse I never doubted Adolf Hitler, but obeyed his orders blindly.
September 17, 1945
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Niktchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations - mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it.
October 5, 1945
: From the interrogation of Sauckel:
Q: Was it necessary, in order to accomplish the completion of the quotas given, to have liaison with the OKW?
October 6, 1945:
A: I remember that the Führer had given directives to Marshal Keitel, telling him that my task was a very important one; and I, too, have often conferred with Keitel after such discussions with the Führer, when I asked him for his support.
Q: It was his task to supervise the proper performance of the military commanders in the occupied countries in carrying out their assigned mission, was it not?
A: Yes, the Führer had told me that he would inform the Chief of the OKW and the Chief of the Reich Chancellery as to these matters. The same applies to the Foreign Minister....
Q: For a moment, I want to turn our attention to Holland. It is my understanding that the quotas for the workers from Holland were agreed upon, and then the numbers given to the Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart to fulfill, is that correct?
A: Yes, that is correct.
Q: After the quota was given to Seyss-Inquart, it was his mission to fulfill it with the aid of your representatives; was it not?
A: Yes. This was the only possible thing for me to do and the same applied to other countries. ...
Q: Was the same procedure substantially followed of allocating quotas in the Government General of Poland?
A: Yes. I have principally to repeat that the only possibility I had in carrying through these missions was to get in touch with the highest German military authority in the respective country and to transfer to them the orders of the Führer and ask them very urgently, as I have always done, to fulfill these orders.
Q: Such discussions in Poland, of course, were with the Governor General Frank?
A: Yes. I spent a morning and an afternoon in Krakow twice or three times and I personally spoke to Governor General Frank. Naturally, there was also present Secretary Dr. Goebbels...
Q: Except for Speer, they would give the requirements in general for the whole field; but in Speer's work you would get them allocated by industry, and so on—is that right?
A: The others only got whatever was left. Because Speer told me once in the presence of the Führer that I am here to work for Speer and that, mainly, I am his man.
From an interrogation of the Defendant Rosenberg:
Q: Isn't it a fact that Sauckel would allocate to the various areas under your jurisdiction the number of persons to be obtained for labor purposes?
October 18, 1945:
Q: And that thereafter your agents would obtain that labor in order to meet the quota which had been given. Is that right?
A: Sauckel, normally, had very far-reaching desires, which one could not fulfill unless one looked very closely into the matter.
Q: Never mind about Sauckel's desires being far-reaching or not being far-reaching. That has nothing to do with it. You were given quotas for the areas over which you had jurisdiction, and it was up to you to meet that quota?
A: Yes. It was the responsibility of the administrative officials to receive this quota and to distribute the allotments over the districts in such a way, according to number and according to the age groups, that they would be most reasonably met.
Q: These administrative officials were part of your organization, isn't that right?
A: They were functionaries or officials of the Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine; but, as such, they were placed in their office by the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories.
Q: You recognized, did you not, that the quotas set by Sauckel could not be filled by voluntary labor; and you did not disapprove of the impressment of forced labor. Isn't that right?
A: I regretted that the demands of Sauckel were so urgent that they could not be met by a continuation of voluntary recruitments, and thus I submitted to the necessity of forced impressment...
Q: The letters that we have already seen between you and Sauckel do not indicate, do they, any disagreement on your part with the principle of recruiting workers against their will? They indicate, as I remember, that you were opposed to the treatment that was later accorded these workers, but you did not oppose their initial impressment...
Did you ever argue with Sauckel that perhaps in view of the fact that the quotas could not be met by voluntary labor, the labor recruiting program be abandoned, except for what recruits could be voluntarily enrolled?
A: I could not do that because the numbers or allotments that Sauckel had received from the Three to meet were absolutely binding for him, and I couldn't do anything about that ... In those matters I mostly discussed the possibility of finding the least harsh methods of handling the matter, whereas in no way did I place myself in opposition to the orders that he was carrying out for the Führer.
From the interrogation of the Defendant Speer:
Q: Let me understand; when you wanted labor from prisoners of war did you requisition prisoners of war separately, or did you ask for a total number of workers?
October 19, 1945:
A: Only Schmelter can answer that directly. As far as the commitment of prisoners of war for labor goes, it was effected through employment officers of the Stalags. I tried several times to increase the total number of prisoners of war that were occupied in production, at the expense of the other demands.
Q: Will you explain that a little more?
A: In the last phase of production, that is, in the year 1944 when everything collapsed, I had 40 percent of all prisoners of war employed in production. I wanted to have this percentage increased.
Q: And when you say 'employed in production', you mean in these subsidiary industries that you have discussed and also in the production of weapons and munitions, is that right?
A: Yes. That was the total extent of my task...
Q: But is it clear to you , Mr. Speer, that in 1942 when the decisions were being made concerning the use of forced foreign labor, that you participated in the discussions yourself?
Q: So that I take it that the execution of the program of bringing foreign workers into Germany by compulsion under Sauckel was based on earlier decisions that had been made with your agreement?
A: Yes, but I must point out that only a very small part of the manpower that Sauckel brought into Germany was made available to me; a far larger part of it was allocated to other departments that demanded them...
Q: When did you first find out then that some of the manpower from the Ukraine was not coming voluntarily?
A: It is rather difficult to answer this here, that is, to name a certain date to you. However, it is certain that I knew that at some particular point of time the manpower from the Ukraine did not come voluntarily.
Q: And does that apply also to the manpower from other occupied countries; that is, did there come a time when you knew that they were not coming voluntarily?
Q: When, in general, would you say that time was without placing a particular month of the year?
A: As far as the Ukraine situation ages. I believe that they did not come voluntarily any more after a few months, because immense mistakes were made in their treatment by us. I should say offhand that this was either in July or August, or September of 1942...
Q: But many workers actually did come from the West to Germany, did they not?
Q: That means then, that the great majority of the workers that came from the western countries—the western occupied countries—came against their will to Germany?
British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment.
Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Sauckel scores 118, above average but nevertheless the third lowest in the dock. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Andrus is not impressed by the results: 'From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit.' (Tusa)
November 19, 1945:
After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted handcuffed into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats.
November 19, 1945:
The day before the opening of the trial, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:
November 20, 1945
The Defense of all defendants would be neglectful of their duty if they acquiesced silently in a deviation from existing international law and in disregard of a commonly recognized principle of modern penal jurisprudence and if they suppressed doubts which are openly expressed today outside Germany, all the more so as it is the unanimous conviction of the Defense that this Trial could serve in a high degree the progress of world order even if, nay in the very instance where it did not depart from existing international law...
On Day 1
of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the indictment in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle, and though some know each other quite well, there are many who've never met.
November 21, 1945
On Day 2
, the defendants enter their pleas:
The President: I will now call upon the defendants to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. They will proceed in turn to a point in the dock opposite to the microphone...
November 21, 1945
Sauckel: I declare myself in the sense of the Indictment, before God and the world and particularly before my people, not guilty.
Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:
Jackson: Perhaps the deportation to slave labor was the most horrible and extensive slaving operation in history. On few other subjects is our evidence so abundant or so damaging.
November 27, 1945:
From the interrogation of General Von Falkenhausen by the head of the Investigation Section of the French Delegation:
Q: Can the witness tell us what was the line of demarcation between his own powers and the powers of the Arbeitseinsatz?
November 29, 1945
A: Up to a certain moment there existed in my department a labor service which was engaged in the hiring of voluntary workers. I no longer remember the exact date perhaps autumn 1942—when this labor service was placed under the order of Sauckel, and the only thing I had to do was to carry out the orders which came through this way. I don't remember, but Reeder, who is also in prison (Reeder was a civilian official on the staff of General Von Falkenhausen) is very well informed about the dates and can undoubtedly give them better than I can.
Q: Before the question of labor was entirely entrusted to Sauckel's organization, did there exist in the General Staff or in its services an officer who was in charge of this question? Afterwards was there a delegate from Sauckel's service in this department?
A: Until Sauckel came into power there was, in my service, Reeder, who directed the Bureau of Labor in my office. This labor office functioned as an employment office in Germany, that is to say, it concerned itself with demands for labor which would naturally be voluntary.
Q: What took place when the change happened?
A: After the change the office continued to exist, but the orders were given directly by Sauckel to the Arbeitseinsatz and passed through my office.
On Day 8
the prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps.
December 4, 1945
On Day 12
, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, delivers his opening statement:
Shawcross: Human memory is very short. Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon the sympathy and magnanimity of their victors, so that the true facts, never authoritatively recorded, become obscured and forgotten. One has only to recall the circumstances following upon the last World War to see the dangers to which, in the absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement, a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With the passage of time the former tend to discount, perhaps because of their very horror, the stories of aggression and atrocity that may be handed down; and the latter, the credulous, misled by perhaps fanatical and perhaps dishonest propagandists, come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of that which they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal, acting, as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by the victorious powers, with complete and judicial objectivity, will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth, and future politicians for warning.
December 11, 1945
On Day 17
the prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, 'The Nazi Plan,' compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreels.
December 11, 1945
Following the viewing of the film, Mr. Thomas J. Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the case for the Exploitation of Forced Labor:
Mr. Dodd: This labor policy was a policy as well of underfeeding and overworking foreign laborers, of subjecting them to every form of degradation, brutality, and inhumanity. It was a policy which competed foreign workers and prisoners of war to manufacture armaments and to engage in other operations of war directed against their own countries. It was a policy, as we propose to establish, which constituted a flagrant violation of the laws of war and of the laws of humanity. We shall show that the Defendants Sauckel and Speer are principally responsible for the formulation of the policy and for its execution: that the Defendant Sauckel, the Nazis' Plenipotentiary General for Manpower, directed the recruitment, deportation, and the allocation of foreign civilian labor, that he sanctioned and directed the use of force as the instrument of recruitment, and that he was responsible for the care and the treatment of the enslaved millions.
December 11, 1945
From the notes of the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, Dr. Gilbert:
Sauckel was trembling as if I had come to torture him. He immediately began to defend himself with trembling voice and wringing hands. “I want to tell you that I know absolutely nothing of these things, and I certainly had absolutely nothing to do with it! It was just the opposite. I wanted to make conditions as good as possible for the foreign workers."
December 12, 1945
On Day 18
, Dodd continues the case for the Exploitation of Forced Labor:
Mr. Dodd: In France these slave-masters intensified their program in the early part of 1943, pursuant to instructions which the Defendant Speer telephoned to the Defendant Sauckel at 8 o'clock in the evening on the 4th day of January 1943 from Hitler's headquarters...
December 13, 1945
“On 4 January 1943 at 8 p.m. Minister Speer telephones from the Führer's headquarters and communicates that on the basis of the Führer's decision, it is no longer necessary to give special consideration to Frenchmen in the further recruiting of specialists and helpers in France. The recruiting can proceed with vigor and with sharpened measures."
To overcome resistance to his slave labor program, the Defendant Sauckel improvised new impressment measures which were applied to both France and Italy by his own agents and which he himself labeled as grotesque.
On Day 19
, Dodd continues: Mr. Dodd:
Sauckel expressly directed that the assembly and operation of rail transports and the supplying of food therefor was the responsibility of his agents until the transports arrived in Germany. By the same regulation Defendant Sauckel directed that within Germany the care of foreign industrial workers was to be carried out by the German Labor Front and that the care of foreign agricultural workers was to be carried out by the Reich Food Administration. By the terms of the regulation, Sauckel reserved for himself ultimate responsibility for all aspects of care, treatment, lodging, and feeding of foreign workers while in transit to and within Germany.
December 20, 1945
After this days session, the trial adjourns until Wednesday, the 2nd of January, for a Holiday break.
December 23, 1945
Many of the defendants, most of whom are Protestant, attend Christmas Eve services conducted by Pastor Gerecke.
January 18, 1946
On Day 37
, M. Jacques B. Herzog, Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic, presents the prosecution case concerning Nazi slave labor activities in France:
Herzog: Sauckel deliberately assumed the responsibility of the general policy for the recruitment of foreign workers...Sauckel forced the inhabitants of the invaded countries to participate in the war of Germany against their own fatherland. It is not only a violation of international law, it is a crime against the law of nations.
January 19, 1946
On Day 38
, M. Jacques B. Herzog continues the prosecution case concerning Nazi slave labor activities in France:
Herzog: The figures are as follows: 738,000 workers were pressed into compulsory labor service in France; 875,952 French workers were deported to German factories; 987,687 prisoners of war were utilized for the Reich war economy. A total of 2,601,639 workers of French citizenship thus were pressed into work serving the war effort of National Socialist Germany. From the official report of the Belgian Government it appears that 150,000 persons were pressed into compulsory labor; and the report of the Dutch Government gives a figure of 431,400 persons; but it should be noted that this figure does not take into account the systematic raids undertaken during November 1944, nor the deportations carried out in 1945. I am submitting to the Tribunal exact figures which cover all the stages of the policy of recruiting foreign labor. These figures are taken from the reports of the Defendant Sauckel himself.
February 7, 1946
On Day 53
, the French prosecution presents its case against Sauckel:
When the Defendant Sauckel claims, as he probably will do, that he had absolutely nothing to do With the institution now spurned by everyone, known as the Gestapo, we may answer him by official German documents showing that for the recruitment of labor he really did employ the police with all the more or less condemned means already pointed out to you. As for France alone, the demand for workers at the beginning of 1944 amounted to one million; and this figure was over and above the number of men and women workers already sent to Germany, who in June 1944 numbered one million to one and a half million. The Defendant Sauckel, therefore, committed the offenses.
February 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal:
On Day 54
, the Chief Prosecutor for the USSR makes his opening statement:
Outstanding in the long chain of vile crimes committed by the German fascist invaders is the forced deportation to Germany of peaceful citizens, men, women, and children, for slave and forced labor. Documentary evidence proves the fact the Hitlerite Government and the German Supreme Command carried out the deportation of Soviet citizens into German slavery by deceit, threats, and force. Soviet citizens were sold into slavery by the fascist invaders to concerns and private individuals in Germany. These slaves were doomed to hunger, brutal treatment, and, in the end, to an agonizing death.
February 15, 1946
Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinement; part of a strategy designed to minimize Göring's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)
February 22, 1946
In a further move to minimize his influence, Göring is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups.
March 11, 1946
On Day 78
, General Erhard Milch, a witness for Göring, is cross-examined by Sauckel's counsel:
Milch: The request for more workers came from the factories. We supported the factories in their negotiations with Sauckel by telling him that such and such an industry had applied for so and so many workers. We also told him which of their figures were too high according to our calculations.
March 15, 1946
Servatius: Did the figures represent the total sum of the workers needed?
Milch: No. It was a general figure according to the statistics supplied by Sauckel's labor exchanges.
Servatius: Who fixed the requirements, Sauckel or the applicants for labor?
Milch: The factories did.
On Day 82
, Hermann Göring testifies in his own defense:
Dr. Stahmer: What was Sauckel's official relation to you?
March 21, 1946
Göring: I mentioned that in the Four Year Plan in 1936 there was already a Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. In the year 1942, after he had become ill and was being represented by somebody else, I was taken aback by the direct appointment of a new Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor—an appointment made directly by the Führer, and without my being consulted. But at that time the Führer had already begun to intervene much more strongly and directly in such problems. If he did it here too, he did so because the labor problem became more acute from day to day. It had been suggested to him that he should appoint a new deputy for the time being, perhaps a Gauleiter of a different name, the one from Silesia. But the Führer decided on the Gauleiter from Thuringia, Sauckel, and made him plenipotentiary. This order was countersigned by Lammers, not by me, but that is of no significance; and it was formally included in the Four Year Plan, for the Four Year Plan had general plenary authority for all matters concerning economy. For this reason, up to the end even the appointment of Goebbels as Plenipotentiary General for the total war, which had nothing at all to do with me, was also included in the plenary power of the Four Year Plan, since otherwise the entire legislative work of the Four Year Plan, which I had gradually built up with its plenary powers, would have collapsed and we should have had to create entirely new conditions.
If Sauckel from that time on received his orders mainly from the Führer, it was because the Führer now intervened more effectively in all these matters; but I welcomed the appointment of Sauckel, for I considered him one of the calmest and most reliable Gauleiters and was also convinced that he would fully dedicate himself to this new task. The connection with the offices of the Four Year Plan was of course maintained, and in the case of important legislative decrees Sauckel and my offices of the Four Year Plan worked together, as far as I know. Sauckel himself spoke to me on several occasions after he had been with the Führer, and sent me also a few of the reports which he sent to the Führer. Even if not in full detail I was, on the the whole, informed.
On Day 87
, Hermann Göring's cross-examination by the prosecution continues:
General Rudenko: But you do not deny the underlying meaning that you were speaking here of millions of people who were carried off forcibly to Germany for slave labor.
May 23, 1946
Göring: I do not deny that I was speaking of 2,000,000 workers who had been called up, but whether they were all brought to Germany I cannot say at the moment. At any rate, they were used for the German economy.
General Rudenko: You do not deny that this was forced labor, slavery?
Göring: Slavery, that I deny. Forced labor did of course partly come into it, and the reason for that I have already stated.
General Rudenko: But they were forcibly taken out of their countries and sent to Germany?
Göring: To a certain extent.
From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:
When I consider the utter uselessness of acres of paper and thousands of words and that life's slipping away. I moan for the shocking waste of time, I used to protest vigorously and suggest matters to save time, but I have now got completely dispirited and can only chafe in impotent despair.
May 23, 1946
Soviet prosecutor General N. D. Zorya dies of a shotgun wound at the headquarters of the Russian delegation. General Rudenko explains to General Gill that the death was due to 'the incautious usage of the fire-arm by General Zorya.' (Maser)
From Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: [Describing Sauckel] A second-string Nazi ... A pig-eyed little man, rude and tough, he was, as Goebbels mentioned in his diary, 'one of the dullest of the dull.' In the dock at Nuremberg, he struck this writer as being a complete nonentity, the sort of German who in other times might have been a butcher in a small-town meat market.
May 28, 1946
On Day 140
, Sauckel testifies on his own behalf:
Sauckel: I heard a speech of Hitler's. In this speech he said that the German factory worker and the German laborer must make common cause with the German brain worker. The controversies between the proletariat and the middle class must be smoothed out and bridged over by each getting to know and understand the other. Through this a new community of people would grow up, and only such a community, not bound to middle class or proletariat, could overcome the dire needs of those days and the splitting up of the German nation into parties and creeds. This statement took such hold of me and struck me so forcibly, that I dedicated my life to the idea of adjusting what seemed to be almost irreconcilable contrasts. I did that all the more, if I may say so, because I was aware of the fact that there is an inclination to go to extremes in German people, and in the German character generally. I had to examine myself very thoroughly to find the right path for me personally. As I have already said, I had hardly taken any interest in political questions. My good parents, who are no longer alive, brought me up in a strictly Christian but also in a very patriotic way. However, when I went to sea, I lived a sailor's life. I loaded saltpeter in Chile. I did heavy lumber work in Canada, in Quebec. I trimmed coal on the equator, and I sailed around Cape Horn several times. All of this was hard work.
From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: It was plain that Sauckel was much bigger than he looked and much abler than one might conclude on finding his name near the bottom of Dr. Gilberts IQ test. He gave hundreds of public speeches and published articles and a couple of books.. He was both the Party and the governmental leader of Thuringia. The eminent Berlin journalist Louis Lochner regarded him as “one of the toughest of the Old Guard Nazis.” Still, Sauckel was a regional potentate, and if he had remained only the boss of Thuringia there would have been little likelihood of finding him in the dock at Nuremberg. Sauckel was charged on all four Counts of the Indictment, but he had virtually no military or diplomatic connections, and there was literally no basis for conviction under Counts One and Two...
May 29, 1946
Accordingly, the Sauckel case involved exclusively the conduct of his office as Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor ... As a last question, Servatius asked his client 'whether today you consider your activity justified or not.' Sauckel answered: “From the point of view of the war situation and of German economy, and as I saw and tried to carry out my allocation of labor, I consider it justified.” It was a frank answer, but not likely to promote an acquittal.
On Day 141
, Sauckel testifies on his own behalf:
Sauckel: During these conferences at the German Embassy these associations (associations among the French population which advocated collaboration with Germany) 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.
From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: Sauckel was a short, pudgy man, bald and with a little Hitler moustache. A journalist noticed that he walked “on the balls of his feet like a referee at a wrestling match.” Fellow defendants who were aristocrats or just plain snobs mocked his plebeian accent. His style of giving testimony was long-winded, irrelevant and personal—like Schirach's, but more so. It took an excessively long time before he could be weaned away from talking about his father's life as a postman, his mother's heart trouble, his own adventures as a seaman on a sailing ship going to Australia in 1914 and his happy life with his devoted wife and ten children. No wonder that when he began to explain his reasons for joining the Nazi Party, Lawrence (The President of the Tribunal) snapped: “It seems to me that we are having it inflicted on us by nearly every one of the defendants.” ...
May 30, 1946
He claimed never to have heard of 'extermination by labor,' never to have seen letters with his typed signature, not to remember meetings he attended. All this took up three and a half days. The correspondent of the Daily Telegraph found it was 'difficult to write objectively of such a performance...of the injured innocence, sanctimonious self-justification and flat contradiction by Sauckel (of) remarks he is shown by several minutes to have made at a series of conferences but now is anxious to disclaim.' Sauckel's evasions were soon exposed, however, by an effective cross-examination by the French counsel, Herzog.
On Day 142
, Sauckel undergoes tough cross-examination by French counsel:
M. Herzog: I would ask you then, Defendant Sauckel, if you confirm the statements which were made under oath, voluntarily and without any duress, on 4 September 1945 (above), and which contradict those that you made yesterday and which you have just made to me.
May 31, 1946
Sauckel: I confirm that my signature is appended to this document. I ask the Tribunal's permission to state how that signature came about. This document was presented to me in its finished form. I asked to be allowed to read and study this document in my cell in Oberursel and decide whether I could sign it. That was denied me. During the conversation an officer was consulted who, I was told, belonged to the Polish or Russian army; and it was made clear to me that if I hesitated too long in signing this document I would be handed over to the Russian authorities. Then this Polish or Russian officer entered and asked, "Where is Sauckel's family? We know Sauckel, of course we will take him with us; but his family will have to be taken into Russian territory as well" I am the father of 10 children. I did not stop to consider; and thinking of my family, I signed this document. When I returned to my cell, I sent a written message to the commandant of the camp and asked permission to talk with him alone on this matter. But that was not possible, because shortly afterwards I was brought to Nuremberg.
M. Herzog: Is not your signature at the end of this document in which you declared that you "made the above declarations voluntarily and without any duress"?
Sauckel: That is correct, but in this situation...
M. Herzog: I think your explanation is sufficient.
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
We didn't get very far with Sauckel—the French and Russians cross-examined him at great length. I put a very few questions to him, then Biddle wanted to show off and in a most injudicious manner proceeded to go over a lot of ground that was quite adequately covered. He is impossible! What an ass of a man he is.
May 31, 1946
On Day 143
, Sauckel undergoes very tough cross-examination indeed, some of the deftest of the trial:
Mr. Biddle: Now, I take it when you used the word shanghai, which you referred to and explained, that simply means private recruiting with force. That is all it means, is it not? (There was no response from the defendant) That is all it means, is it not? Private recruiting with force?
Mr. Biddle: Now, wait a minute. Can you shanghai a man without using force? You do not mean that you shanghaied them by persuasion? Did you?
Sauckel: Yes, for I wanted to recruit these French associations in just this voluntary, friendly way, over a glass of beer or wine in a cafe, and not in the official offices. I don't mean shanghai in the bad sense as I recall its being used from my sailor days. This was a rather drastic expression, but not a concrete representation of the actual procedure. Never, Your Honor, in France or anywhere else, did I order men to be shanghaied, but rather...
Mr. Biddle: Oh, I know you did not order it. That was not my question. You mean that "shanghai" just meant that you had a friendly glass of wine with a workman and then he joined up? Was that what you meant?
Sauckel: I understood it in that way.
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: Sauckel's attorney, Robert Servatius, had applied for some thirty witnesses and affidavits, but received almost no response, for everyone summoned was afraid of being prosecuted later. 'I may have to consider withdrawing my motion altogether because I have to admit that the amount of material reaching me is very small,' Servatius chagrinly told the court. Those witnesses for Sauckel that were brought to Nuremberg through the medium of the tribunal's secretariat more often than not turned out to be the subject of erroneous identification. 'Yesterday the witness Hildebrandt arrived, but it was again the wrong Hildebrandt,' Servatius complained. 'This is the third witness who has appeared here in this comedy of errors. It was the wrong one for Mende, the wrong for Stothfang, and the wrong one for Hildebrandt.'
May 31, 1946
The bald-headed Sauckel provided, with his Hitler mustache, an unpleasant reminder of the Nazi era. He had difficulty uttering his thoughts coherently, and, as unlikely as it might seem, was even less comprehensible than Ribbentrop or Rosenberg. Time and again Servatius, who had studied in London and Moscow and spoke English, French, and Russian warned him: 'The interpreters cannot translate your long sentences properly. You must make short sentences and divide your phrases, otherwise no one can understand you and your defense will suffer a great deal ... Herr Sauckel, you must formulate your sentences differently, the interpreters cannot translate them. You must not insert one sentence into another.' Servatius's exhortations were, to a large extent, futile.
Sauckel's intertwined verbiage was compounded by his apparent evasiveness; seldom did he provide a direct answer. In his proletarian heart, Sauckel had wished that all workers, foreign as well as German, should be treated humanely; and Speer had spoken in his favor at Dustbin: 'I must emphasis that Sauckel always did his best to secure decent treatment and food for the foreign workers in Germany. He worked on this with all his energy.' But in his Nazi soul Sauckel had subordinated his humanitarian instincts to the ruthless exploitation of men, women, and children.
: On Day 143
, Sauckel's defense calls Max Timm of the Reich Labor Ministry to the stand:
Dr. Servatius: What was the impression you had of your new superior when Sauckel took over the office?
May 31, 1946
Timm: When Sauckel assumed office, I had the impression of a very energetic, hard-working man, who was inclined to get excited at times, even angry no doubt, and who demanded much of his co-workers, but also made great demands on himself.
Dr. Servatius: How was he in carrying out his measures?
Timm: When he assumed office there was a good deal of confusion in the field of labor allocation. Everybody had something to do with labor allocation.
Dr. Servatius: Was that the reason why that office was created?
Timm: The previous chiefs had not had enough force to push their program through against the opposition of various offices; and Sauckel was the strong man, and particularly the strong political figure, who was to put things in order.
Charles Malcolmson, a member of the American delegation, dies of a heart attack. Funeral services are held at the Church of the Resurrection in Nuremberg. Among the pallbearers are journalists Richard L. Stokes and Walter Cronkite. (Maser)
June 1, 1946
Nuremberg Tribunal: On Day 144
, Sauckel's witness, Max Timm, undergoes cross-examination:
Mr. Biddle: They were taking people out of industry also who were not needed for the Army, weren't they? I mean Jews. They were taking Jewish people out of industry, were they not? Sauckel said yesterday that Jewish people were being taken out of industry. You admit that, don't you?
June 1, 1946
Timm: Yes. Jews were eliminated from industry.
Mr. Biddle: All right; and I suppose the Central Planning Board was given the number of Jewish people that were taken out of industry, were they not?
Timm: I do not know that. In the conferences at which I was present...
Mr. Biddle: Do you not assume that that must have been the case, if they had to find the number of replacements. It must have been so, mustn't it?
Timm: I cannot judge as to that because I learned only the total number of men to be drafted, independently of the Jewish question. I will not venture an opinion; I do not know.
Mr. Biddle: Do you not know that Himmler and the SS told the Central Planning Board the number of Jews that were being taken out of industry for whom replacements were needed? You know that as a fact, don't you?
Mr. Biddle: You do not?
Timm: No. I know only that we received certain statements from the Reichsführer SS that people were being taken out of industry, and owing to the objections of the Plenipotentiary General, who had to supply the replacements—I remember that this measure was partly withdrawn.
Mr. Biddle: And you do know that one of the duties of the Reichsführer SS was to withdraw Jews from industry? You know that?
Timm: I know from statements in reports that Jews were to be withdrawn from industry.
On Day 144
, Sauckel's defense calls Walter Stothfang to the stand:
Dr. Servatius: Was Sauckel accused by other offices of looking after the workmen too well? And was there not, in some cases, even envy of the situation of certain foreign workers?
June 3, 1946
Stothfang: Yes. Such accusations came from three places. First, from the two offices I mentioned before, which offered general objections and resistance to the far-reaching demands of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. Then Bormann's office, and Himmler's office. It went so far that the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was even suspected of being pro-Bolshevik.
On Day 145
, Sauckel's defense calls Dr. Wilhelm Jager to the stand:
Dr. Servatius: Does that mean that the foreign workers received bad meat?
June 19, 1946
Jager: One must define the expression Freibankfleisch. That was meat which was not released for general consumption by the veterinary but which, after being treated in a certain way, was quite fit for human food. Even in times of peace and afterwards, the German population bought this meat. During the war the German population received in return for their coupons a double quantity of Freibankfleisch.
Dr. Servatius: Then the veterinary allowed it for consumption?
Jager: Meat which had been condemned at first was released for human consumption after it had been treated in a certain manner and was then not harmful.
Dr. Servatius: Then the expression "condemned by the veterinary" means that it was first condemned and then allowed?
Jager: Yes, then allowed.
On Day 158
, Speer testifies on his own behalf:
Dr. Flachsner: Your Codefendant Sauckel testified to the effect that with the carrying out of the recruiting of workers for the industries, his task was finished. Is that correct in your opinion?
June 20, 1946
Speer: Yes, certainly, as far as the placing of workers is concerned, for one of the subjects of dissension between Sauckel and me was that the appropriate employment of workers in industry itself had to be a matter of the works manager and that this could not be influenced by the labor office. It applied however only to labor recruitment and not to the observance of labor conditions. In this connection, the office of Sauckel was partly responsible as supervising authority.
Dr. Flachsner: To what extent could the works manager conform with the decrees of Sauckel as to labor conditions and so on?
Speer: The decrees issued by Sauckel were unobjectionable.
From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:
When Flachsner (Speer's counsel) succeeded Kubuschok (Papen's counsel) at the microphone, it became clear that there were lower depths of advocacy to be reached, unbelievable as it sounds.
June 20, 1946
On Day 159
, Speer testifies on his own behalf:
Dr. Flachsner: Herr Speer, you stated in your testimony of 18 October 1945 first, that you categorically demanded new laborers from Sauckel; secondly, that you knew that among these laborers there would be foreigners; thirdly, that you had known that some of these foreign workers were working in Germany against their will. Please comment on this statement.
June 20, 1946
Speer: This voluntary statement is quite correct. During the war I was very grateful to Sauckel for every laborer whom I got through him. Many a time I held him responsible for the fact that through lack of manpower the armament industry did not achieve the results it might have, but I always emphasized the merits which accrued to him because of his activity on behalf of armaments.
Dr. Flachsner: Now, when in your testimony of 18 October 1945, and at present again, you refer to manpower, do you mean all manpower in general, including German workers, foreigners from occupied countries, and foreigners from friendly or annexed states, and also prisoners of war? Speer: Yes. Beginning with the middle of 1943, I was at odds with Sauckel over questions of production and about the insufficient availability of reserves of German labor. But that has nothing to do with my fundamental attitude toward Sauckel's work.
Nuremberg Tribunal: In his cell later, Göring reacts to Speer’s testimony:
This was a bad day. Damn that stupid fool Speer! Did you see how he disgraced himself in court today? Gott im himmel! Donnerwetter nochamal! How could he stoop so low as to do such a rotten thing to save his lousy neck! I nearly died with shame! To think that Germans will be so rotten to prolong this filthy life—to put it bluntly—to piss in front and crap behind a little longer! Herr Gott, Donnerwetter! Do you think I give that much of a damn about this lousy life? For myself, I don't give a damn if I get executed, or drown, or crash in a plane, or drink myself to death! But there is still a matter of honor in this damn life! Assassination attempt on Hitler! Ugh! Gott im Himmel! I could have sunk through the floor.
June 21, 1946
On Day 160
, Speer undergoes cross-examination:
Speer: The workers were brought to Germany largely against their will, and I had no objection to their being brought to Germany against their will. On the contrary, during the first period, until the autumn of 1942, I certainly also took some pains to see that as many workers as possible should be brought to Germany in this manner.
June 21, 1946
Mr. Justice Jackson: You had some participation in the distribution of this labor, did you not, as among different plants, different industries, that were competing for labor?
Speer: No. That would have to be explained in more detail—I do not quite understand it like that.
Mr. Justice Jackson: Well, you finally entered into an agreement with Sauckel, did you not, in reference to the distribution of the labor after it reached the Reich? Speer: That was arranged according to the so called priority grades. I had to tell Sauckel, of course.
From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:
Oscar Wilde began De Profundis by asserting that 'suffering is one long moment' and the truth of that decision cannot be better exemplified than in this awful cross-examination, which the Tribunal is compelled to suffer and endure.
July 18, 1946
On Day 181
, Dr. Servatius delivers his final speech in Sauckel's defense:
Dr. Servatius: He admits having negotiated "compulsory labor" in the form of obligatory labor which, as stated before, has been termed "slave labor" in general. He denies, however, having demanded "slave labor," which might be looked upon as inhuman labor, in other words, enslavement. A different standard applies, just as for deportation, to these two categories; "obligatory labor" is only a war crime and must be judged according to the rules of war; crimes against humanity, as I already stated above in connection with deportation as a crime against humanity, bear the additional characteristics of being connected with war crimes or crimes against peace. If it can be proven that the mobilization of manpower as ordered by the Defendant Sauckel was permitted by the rules of war, then the same act cannot be held to be a crime against humanity.
July 22, 1946
On Day 187
, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Sauckel:
Justice Jackson: The Defendant Sauckel, Plenipotentiary General for the Utilization of Labor, is authority for the statement that "out of 5,000,000 foreign workers who arrived in Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily". It was officially reported to Defendant Rosenberg that in his territory "recruiting methods were used which probably have their origin in the blackest period of the slave trade." Sauckel himself reported that male and female agents went hunting for men, got them drunk, and "shanghaied" them to Germany. These captives were shipped in trains without heat, food, or sanitary facilities. The dead were thrown out at stations, and the newborn were thrown out the windows of moving trains...
July 23, 1946
Sauckel ordered that "all the men must be fed, sheltered, and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure." About two million of these were employed directly in the manufacture of armaments and munitions..Hitler, in announcing his plan to attack Poland, had already foreshadowed the slave-labor program as one of its corollaries when he cryptically pointed out to the Defendants Göring, Raeder, Keitel, and others that the Polish population "will be available as a source of labor." This was part of the plan made good by Frank, who as Governor General notified Göring that he would supply "at least one million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich", and by Sauckel, whose impressments throughout occupied territory aggregated numbers equal to the total population of some of the smaller nations of Europe...
Sauckel, the greatest and cruelest slaver since the Pharaohs of Egypt, produced desperately needed manpower by driving foreign peoples into the land of bondage on a scale unknown even in the ancient days of tyranny in the kingdom of the Nile.
On Day 188
, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Shawcross: What is the crime of Sauckel whose Gau contained the infamous camp of Buchenwald? Sauckel may now seek to put a gloss on his order to shanghai Frenchmen, to deny that he advocated the hanging of a prefect or a mayor to crush opposition, to say that references to ruthless action referred to interdepartmental disputes and that reformatory labor camps were purely educational institutions. You who have seen the documents which attest the horrors perpetrated in what we are now told was the product of an emergency—the urgent need for workers to feed the Nazi war machine, you who have heard and read of the conditions in which 7 million men, women, and children torn from their homes were dragged into slavery at his orders can need no further proof of his guilt.
On Day 189
, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Dubost: They stopped at nothing in order to achieve their end: Violation of treaties, invasion, and enslavement in peacetime of weak and peaceful neighbors, wars of aggression, and total warfare, with all the atrocities which these words imply. Göring and Ribbentrop cynically admitted that they took both a spiritual and a material part in it; and the generals and admirals did their utmost to help matters forward. Speer exploited to the point of exhaustion and death the manpower recruited for him by Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, the NSDAP Gauleiter, and the generals. Kaltenbrunner made use of the gas chambers, the victims for which were furnished by Frick, Schirach, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Jodl, Keitel, and the rest.
July 30, 1946
But the existence of the gas chambers themselves was only made possible through the development of a political ideology favorable to such things; there, inextricably merged, we find the responsibility of all of them—Göring, Hess, Rosenberg, Streicher, Frick, Frank, Fritzsche, down to Schacht himself, the pro-Jewish Schacht. Did he not say to Hirschfeld: "I want Germany to be great; to accomplish this I am prepared to ally myself with the very devil." He did enter into this alliance with the devil and with hell. We may include Papen, who saw his secretaries and his friends killed around him and still continued to accept official missions in Ankara and Vienna because he thought he could appease Hitler by serving him.
On Day 190
, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
Rudenko: Forced labor into Germany was one of the most important in the chain of foul crimes committed by the German fascist invaders. The decisive role in this sinister crime was enacted by the Defendant Fritz Sauckel. During cross-examination in this courtroom, Defendant Sauckel could not help but admit that during the war about 10 million slave laborers, originating both from occupied territories and from the ranks of the prisoners of war, were utilized in German industries and partly for German agricultural labor. While admitting the deportation to Germany and the utilization for the war industries of Hitlerite Germany of millions of workers from the occupied territories, Sauckel denied the criminal character of this action, affirming that the recruitment of labor was allegedly carried out on a voluntary basis. This assertion is not only a lie but a slander against the millions of honest patriots of the Soviet Union, of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, France, and Holland who, devoted to their country, were forcibly sent for labor into Hitlerite Germany.
August 30, 1946
On Day 216
of deliberations, the defendants make their final statements. Final Statement of Fritz Sauckel:
Gentlemen of the Tribunal: I have been shaken to the very depths of my soul by the atrocities revealed in this Trial. In all humility and reverence, I bow before the victims and the fallen of all nations, and before the misfortune and suffering of my own people, with whom alone I must measure my fate. I come from a social level completely different from that of my comrades accused with me. In my nature and thinking I remained a sailor and a worker. After the first World War, the course of my life was determined through my own experience of the sorrows and needs of the masses of my people who were struggling for their existence. Inner conflicts forced me into politics. I could be nothing else but a Socialist. But I could not embrace the Communist manifesto. I was never antireligious or even irreligious, but quite the contrary. I fought a hard struggle with myself before I turned to politics.
September 2, 1946
And so I finally dedicated myself to socialist love and justice toward those whose only wealth is their labor and, at the same time, to the destiny of my nation. In this I saw the only possible connection between socialist thinking and true love of one's country. This belief alone determined my life and my actions. I saw here no contradiction to the laws of humanity. I recognized no arbitrary dictatorship or tyranny in the principle of leaders and loyal followers. My error was perhaps the excess of my feelings and my confidence in, as well as my great veneration of, Hitler. I knew him only as the champion of the German people's rights to existence and saw him as the man who was kind to workers, women, and children, and who promoted the vital interests of Germany. The Hitler of this Trial I could not recognize. Perhaps my loneliness and submersion in the world of my imagination and my work was a further defect. I hardly ever had social contact with the occupants of high positions in the Reich; what little spare time I had belonged to my family. I was and am happy that my wife is the daughter of a worker, who himself was and remained a Social Democrat. In this, my last word, I solemnly assure you that I was completely surprised by all foreign political events and the beginning of all military actions. Under no circumstances would I have cooperated as a German worker—and for German workers—to help plan the madness of unleashing a war of aggression.
I only became a National Socialist because I condemned class struggle, expropriation, and civil war, and because I firmly believed in Hitler's absolute desire for peace and understanding with the rest of the world, and in his work of reconstruction. Because I was a worker, I always did everything possible in my own field of activity to prevent excesses, arbitrary acts, and brutality of any kind. I was sufficiently naive, against the opposition of Himmler and Goebbels, to put through my manifesto and many other decrees for the employment of labor, which prescribed humane and correct treatment of foreign workers as compulsory for all offices. I never would have been able to bear the knowledge of these terrible secrets and crimes without protest, nor, with such knowledge, would I have been able to face my people or my 10 innocent children. I had no part in any conspiracy against peace or against humanity, nor did I tolerate murders or mistreatment.
During the war itself I had to do my duty. I received the position of Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor in 1942, at a time of grave military crisis, and it came as a complete surprise to me. I was bound by the existing labor laws, the orders of the Führer, and the decrees of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich. I do not know why it was just I who received this task. In my own Gau I had particularly gained the confidence of the workers, farmers, and artisans, and even before 1933, that is, before Hitler assumed power, I had been elected by a large majority in free parliamentary elections as the chief of the state government there. I believe that Providence endowed me with a good talent for organization and practical work, as well as with a capacity for enthusiasm. Perhaps that was the reason why I received my task. It was a heavy burden for me.
The soil of Berlin was completely alien to me. Because I am a worker, I never thought of making slaves of foreign human beings. My requirement that people be managed economically does not in any way mean their inhuman exploitation, but rather their economic, rational, and correct employment in labor. It was never my intention to commit crimes against international law, the laws of war, or the laws of humanity. Not for a single moment did I doubt the legality and admissibility of my task, for I thought it completely out of the question that the German Government would break :international law. If, however, you tell me that, in spite of that, German labor laws could not be applied in the occupied territories, then I beg to reply that even high-ranking Frenchmen, Belgians, Poles, and also Russians have told me that they were supporting Germany with labor in order to protect Europe against a threatening Communist system, and in order to prevent unemployment and mass suffering during the war. However, not only did I work for the fulfillment of my task with the greatest zeal, but at the same time I tried with all my might and with all possible means, immediately upon assuming office, to eliminate the critical conditions in the organization and care of foreign laborers, which had developed through the winter catastrophe of 1941 to 1942, and to do away with all shortcomings and abuses. I also believed, as my documents prove, that we could win the foreign workers over to our German cause by giving them the proper treatment I demanded. Perhaps in the eyes of Himmler and Goebbels I was a hopeless Utopian—they were my foes.
But I honestly fought to have the foreign workers receive the same rights and conditions as the German workers. This is also attested, to by the numerous documents of my defense counsel and has been confirmed by all the statements of the witnesses before this Tribunal. If my work was incomplete nobody can regret it more deeply and painfully than myself. Unfortunately that was only partly in my power, as my counsel has proved. The evidence has shown that things happened in the occupied territories on which I and the labor employment office, which was civilian-controlled, could exercise no influence whatsoever. However, all German enterprises and agencies requiring labor complained to me that I was always delivering too few workers for the war effort, and that it would be my fault if the war economy and food economy were threatened by dangerous crises. These heavy responsibilities and worries dominated me so much that I found and had no time at all for other developments. This I regret. I assume responsibility for my decrees and for my employees.
I never saw the records of the Central Planning Board before this Trial; otherwise I would have corrected false or unclear passages, as, for instance, the passage with reference to the impossible figure of only 200,000 volunteer workers. This also applies to a number of other statements which were incorrectly taken down by third parties and never actually put into practice. Because I am a worker and have personally served on foreign ships, I am grateful to the foreign workers who were in Germany, for they helped us greatly and they worked well. This, perhaps, is proof of the fact that on the whole they were treated decently and humanely. I myself often visited them. Because I was a working man, I spent the Christmas celebrations of 1943 and 1944 with foreign workers in order to show my attitude towards them. My own children worked among foreign workers, under the same working conditions. Could I, or German workers and the German people, consider that as slavery? The necessity for this was our emergency.
The German people and the German workers would never have tolerated conditions comparable to slavery around them. My defense counsel has presented the complete truth about my case with extreme objectivity. I thank him for this from the bottom of my heart. For his own part, he was strict and correct in investigating my case. My intentions and conscience are clean. The shortcomings and the necessities of the war, the frightful conditions it produced, have touched my heart deeply. I myself am prepared to meet any fate which Providence has in store for me, just like my son, who was killed in the war. The Gauleiter whom I employed as plenipotentiaries for the allocation of labor had the sole task of providing for the proper treatment and care of the German and foreign workers. God protect my people, whom I love above all else, and may the Lord God again bless the labor of German workers, to whom my entire life and effort were devoted, and may He give peace to the world.
As the defendants await the courts judgment, Colonel Andrus somewhat relaxes the conditions of confinement and allows the prisoners limited visitation.
September 30, 1946
Nuremberg Tribunal: On Day 217
of this historic trial, the final judgments are read in open court:
Sauckel is indicted under all four Counts. Sauckel joined the Nazi Party in 1923, and became Gauleiter of Thuringia in 1927. He was a member of the Thüringian legislature from 1927 to 1933, was appointed Reichsstatthalter for Thuringia in 1932, and Thüringian Minister of the Interior and head of the Thüringian State Ministry in May 1933. He became a member of the Reichstag in 1933. He held the formal rank of Obergruppenführer in both the SA and the SS.
October 1, 1946
Crimes against Peace: The evidence has not satisfied the Tribunal that Sauckel was sufficiently connected with the common plan to wage aggressive 'war or sufficiently involved in the planning or waging of the aggressive wars to allow the Tribunal to convict him on Counts One or Two.
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: On 21 March 1942, Hitler appointed Sauckel Plenipotentiary General for the 'Utilization of Labor, with authority to put under uniform control "the utilization of all available manpower, including that of workers recruited abroad and of prisoners of war." Sauckel was instructed to operate within the fabric of the Four Year Plan, and on 27 March 1942, Göring issued 'a decree as Delegate for the Four Year Plan transferring his manpower sections to Sauckel.
On 30 September 1942, Hitler gave Sauckel authority to appoint commissioners in the various occupied territories and "to take all necessary measures for the enforcement" of the decree of 21 March 1942. Under the authority which he obtained by these decrees, Sauckel set up a program for the mobilization of the labor resources available to the Reich. One of the important parts of this mobilization was the systematic exploitation, by force, of the labor resources of the occupied territories. Shortly after Sauckel had taken office, he had the governing authorities in the various occupied territories issue decrees establishing compulsory labor service in Germany. Under the authority of these decrees Sauckel's commissioners, backed up by the police authorities of the occupied territories, obtained and sent to Germany the laborers which were necessary to fill the quotas given them by Sauckel. He described so-called "voluntary" recruiting by "a whole batch of male and female agents just as was done in the olden times for shanghaiing." That real voluntary recruiting was the exception rather than the rule is shown by Sauckel's statement on I March 1944, that "out of five million foreign workers who arrived in Germany not even 200,000 came voluntarily."
Although he now claims that the statement is not true, the circumstances under which it was made, as well as the evidence presented before the Tribunal, leave no doubt that it was substantially accurate. The manner in which the unfortunate slave laborers were collected and transported to Germany, and what happened to them after they arrived, has already been described. Sauckel argues that he is not responsible for these excesses in the administration of the program. He says that the total number of workers to be obtained was set by the demands from agriculture and from industry; that obtaining the workers was the responsibility of the occupation authorities, transporting them to Germany that of the German railways, and taking care of them in Germany that of the Ministries of Labor and Agriculture, the German Labor Front, and the various industries involved. He testifies that insofar as he had any authority he was constantly urging humane treatment.
There is no doubt, however, that Sauckel had over-all responsibility for the slave labor program. At the time of the events in question he did not fail to assert control over the fields which he now claims were the sole responsibility of others. His regulations provided that his commissioners should have authority for obtaining labor, and he was constantly in the field supervising the steps which were being taken. He was aware of ruthless methods being taken to obtain laborers and vigorously supported them on the ground that they were necessary to fill the quotas. Sauckel's regulations also provided that he had responsibility for transporting the laborers to Germany, allocating them to employers and taking care of them, and that the other agencies involved in these processes were subordinate to him. He was informed of the bad conditions which existed. It does not appear that he advocated brutality for its own sake, or was an advocate of any program such as Himmler's plan for extermination through work. His attitude was thus expressed in a regulation: "All the men must be fed, sheltered, and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure." The evidence shows that Sauckel was in charge of a program which involved deportation for slave labor of more than 5,000,000 human beings, many of them under terrible conditions of cruelty and suffering.
Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Sauckel is not guilty on Counts One and Two. He is guilty under Counts Three and Four.
On the 218
th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed down: "Defendant Fritz Sauckel, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging."
Speer, from a later interview with Gitta Sereny: The time I felt really badly about [Sauckel], was earlier on, during the trial, when out of the blue he suddenly said to me one day that he was sorry about the difficulties we had had. I mumbled something about it having been Bormann who had created the difficulties, which was true but meaningless in the context of his friendly remark. And that's what I thought of first when I heard about his sentence: that he had said something generous to me, and that I had not known how to return the kindness. (Sereny, p. 314)
Lord Shawcross, in a later interview with Speer biographer Gitta Sereny, opined that Speer was “quite lucky to have avoided a death sentence. . . . My own view was one of great surprise that Speer was so leniently dealt with, and I still think it quite wrong that his subordinate, Sauckel, who worked under his instructions, was sentenced to death while Speer escaped." (Sereny, p. 30)
From The Nuremberg Trial by Joe J. Heydecker and Johannes Leeb: Sauckel found it more difficult than the other prisoners to accept the death sentence. He pestered the barber, the doctor, and the psychologist with the idea that the verdict of the Court must have been due to an error in translation. He was firmly convinced that the mistake would still be discovered and the verdict revised. The story of his doubts quickly went around the prison, and eventually it was Seyss-Inquart, himself sentenced to death, who wrote a letter of condolence to Sauckel. Dr. Ludwig Pflücker, the German prison doctor, brought it to the one-time leader of slave-labor.
October 1, 1946
From a letter from Seyss-Inquart to Sauckel:
Dear Party Member Sauckel, You are bitterly critical of the verdict. You think that the verdict has been given against you because a word of yours has been wrongly translated and interpreted. I do not share this impression. It was established, as you must note with satisfaction, that you did not work on the principle of extermination through work, although the Prosecution went to great pains to charge you with this. It was assumed that you had exploited to the utmost the forced, or as we would say conscripted, laborers for the benefit of the German war economy. The court did not inquire whether this was the most rational thing to do either from the physical or economic point of view. From the viewpoint of humanity such exploitation or rather utilization of labor is a crime. You were not accused of having deliberately engineered the abuses which took place; it was merely stated that you should have known about them—a charge of secondary significance. In principle anyone who, in whatever form, exploits conscripted labor for war purposes, will be condemned.
The fact that we obeyed the Führer cannot take the responsibility from those of us who had the courage and strength to stand in the front line in this fight for the existence of our people. Our enemies have defeated Germany and now they are doing away with her leaders. Whether that is just or wise is another question but it will not reduce our achievements on behalf of the German people.Your self-sacrifice has in fact a special significance for the German people. Whether you are rightly or wrongly accused of it, this method of employment of labor ranks as a crime. The German people will base their future legislation on this fact and, after your self-sacrifice, others will not be able to evade this moral principle in the long run.Your significance thereby appears in its true light. Your family too will give you your due; no doubt they are now silently drawing strength from this thought. For us the thought should be this: the worst charge against us would have been that of failure to do our utmost in our peoples life-and-death struggle. In the days of triumph we stood in the front rank, and thus we have the privilege of standing in the front rank in misfortune. By our example we help to build a new future for our people. I shake your hand, my dear Party comrade Sauckel, whom I have learned to appreciate and love. Germany! Yours, Seyss-Inquart. (Heydecker, Maser)
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: The eleven condemned to death were no longer permitted to exercise in the yard. Whenever one emerged from his cell, he was handcuffed to a guard. For a few minutes a day, one at a time, they were marched up and down in the center of the cell block in lock step with a military policeman. When they saw their attorneys in the Palace of Justice, a GI sat with each of them like a Siamese twin joined at the wrist...
October 5, 1946:
The Allied Control Council ordered the executions carried out on the fifteenth day after sentencing. The condemned, however, were not informed of the date. Kaltenbrunner, Ribbentrop, Sauckel, and Streicher were in such a state of anguish that it was questionable whether they would retain their sanity till the fatal day...Sauckel, agonizing over what would happen to his wife and the seven children still living with her, wept periodically...
The British and French were so apprehensive about demonstrations or a possible attempt to rescue the prisoners that they insisted that no prior announcement of the executions be made.
Dr. Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor, visits all the condemned defendants and records their moods in his diary:
During my rounds on October 5, I find all those sentenced in a calm frame of mind ... Sauckel is still lamenting that too little notice was taken of his instructions for the treatment of foreign workers. The court would have had to acknowledge, he says, that his intentions were only of the best. An error of translation made one of his comments refer to exploitation of labor when he had meant utilization.
Dr. Pflücker will later write:
I had to spend some time with Sauckel and go over with him the regulations issued for the treatment of foreign workers. Since he had been a workman himself, he said, he knew that satisfactory output could only be achieved if men were well treated and worked willingly; again and again he had issued instructions in this sense. Admittedly pressure had been employed in recruitment, but responsibility for that lay, not with him, but with the agencies of the Wehrmacht and civil administration in the occupied territories. He was firmly convinced that the judgment against him was wrong and would have to be altered. He would fight for this to the last moment. I have the impression that he actually fails to take an overall view and honestly believes that what he wanted and did was for the best. He shut his eyes to everything that did not fit into his picture. A few photographs from a convalescent home for foreign workers, a few regulations and instructions enabled him to forget the hardships implicit in any forced labor, including removal from home and family separation. He forgot all the horrors of the journey, the increasingly inadequate food and accommodation in impoverished Germany and the high mortality among deportees. Undoubtedly he did not actually want all this but such horrors are the inevitable accompaniment of any forced labor system and will always be so. (Maser)
October 13, 1946:
From Spandau Diary
by Albert Speer:
A guard goes from cell to cell. He asks whether we want to make use of our right to a daily walk on the ground floor. The yard is still barred to us. I have to get out; the cell is beginning to feel unbearably oppressive. So I ask to go. But I shudder at the prospect of seeing the men on death row (Note: The 11 condemned men are housed in cells on the ground floor; the 7 sentenced to prison time are being kept in an upper tier of cells). The guard holds out the chrome handcuffs. Linked together, we have some difficulty descending the winding staircase. In the silence, every step on the iron stairs sounds like a thunderclap. On the ground floor I see eleven soldiers staring attentively into eleven cells. The men inside are eleven of the surviving leaders of the Third Reich...
Then there is Fritz Sauckel, a sailor who rose to be one of Hitler's Gauleiter's and who was overtaxed intellectually and morally, by the wartime assignment to provide Germany with slave laborers from the occupied territories...
As the rules prescribe, most of them are lying on their backs, hands on the blanket, heads turned toward the inside of the cell. A ghostly sight, all of them in their immobility; it looks as though they have already been laid on their biers. Only Frank is up, sitting at his table and writing away. He has wound a damp towel around his neck; he used to tell Dr. Pflücker he did that to keep his mind alert. Seyss-Inquart looks out through the doorway; he smiles at me each time I pass, and each time that smile gives me the chills. I cannot stand it for long. Back in my cell, I decide not to go back down again. (Speer II)
: German author Werner Maser, in Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial
, commented critically on the above passage by Speer:
These and the comments immediately following are typical of Speer's usual fanciful descriptions. Since he was handcuffed to a guard, he could not have seen what was going on in the cells. His remarks on his fellow-defendants speak for themselves.
October 13, 1946:
Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners that all appeals have been turned down. In his appeal to reduce Sauckel's sentence Dr. Servatius, realizing that Speer had 'unburdened a considerable part of his culpability onto Sauckel,' had told the Allied Control Commission:
Sauckel had nothing to do with concentration camp labor—this was a secret enterprise of Himmler who collaborated directly with Speer. One cannot fail to contrast the personalities of Speer and Sauckel. Sauckel was a tireless worker, and carried out his task with a strict sense of duty without looking to the right or left. As a workingman he remained a stranger among the leaders. Speer was a close friend of Hitler. (Conot)
October 14, 1946:
The condemned men, most of whom have become convinced that the executions will be carried out on the 15th, spend this day as if it were their last.
October 16, 1946:
From Spandau Diary
by Albert Speer:
At some hour of the night I woke up. I could hear footsteps and indistinguishable words in the lower hall. Then silence, broken by a name being called out: 'Ribbentrop!' A cell door is opened; then scraps of phrases, scraping of boots, and reverberating footsteps slowly fading away. Scarcely able to breathe, I sit upright on my cot, hearing my heart beat loudly, at the same time aware that my hands are icy. Soon the footsteps come back and I hear the next name: 'Keitel!' Once more a cell door opens, once more noises and the reverberation of footsteps. Name after name is called. To some of these men I was linked with common work and mutual respect; others were remote to me and scarcely crossed my path. Those I feared, primarily Bormann, then Himmler, are missing; likewise Goebbels and Göring. Some I despised. More footsteps. 'Streicher!' A loud, excited exclamation follows. From our floor comes a shout: 'Bravo, Streicher! To judge by the voice, that is Hess. Below, the calling of the names goes on. (Speer II)
October 16, 1946:
Sauckel's last words:
October 16, 1946
"I pay my respect to the American officers and soldiers but not to American justice. ... I'm dying innocently, my sentence is not just. God protect Germany!
Ich sterbe unschuldig, mein Urteil ist ungerecht. Gott beschütze Deutschland!
October 16, 1946:
After the executions, the former defendants' cells are cleaned thoroughly. Colonel Andrus is unpleasantly surprised by the amount of contraband articles subsequently discovered, and what that says about his security regime. Nearly all the prisoners had squirrelled away something in anticipation of eventual desperation. Sauckel had obtained a broken-off, sharp-edged spoon. (Heydecker)
: From The Devil's
by Anthony Read:
They were photographed, wrapped in mattress covers, sealed in coffins then driven off in army trucks with a military escort to a crematorium in Munich, which had been told to expect the bodies of fourteen American soldiers. The coffins were opened for inspection by American, British, French and Soviet officials, before being loaded in the cremation ovens. That same evening, a container holding all the ashes was driven away into the Bavarian countryside, in the rain. It stopped in a quiet lane about an hour later, and the ashes were poured into a muddy ditch.
[Part One, Click Here.]
[Part Two, Click Here.]
[Part Three, Click Here.]
[Part Four, Click Here.]
[Part Five, Click Here.]
FB: Horrific 20th Century History
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