|Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1|
|Prev||Chapter 10. CHAPTER X - THE SLAVE LABOR PROGRAM, THE ILLEGAL USE OF PRISONERS OF WAR, AND THE SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF SAUCKEL AND SPEER THEREFOR||Next|
The use of prisoners of war in the manufacture of arms and munitions, allocated thereto by Sauckel, was confirmed by Speer. Speer stated in an interrogation under oath on 18 October 1945 that 40% of all prisoners of war were employed in the production of weapons and munitions and in subsidiary industries:
"* * * A. In the last phase of production, that is, in the year 1944 when everything collapsed, I had 40% of all prisoners of war employed in the production. I wanted to have this percentage increased.
"Q. And when you say employed in the 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 is the total extent of my task." (3720-PS)
The minutes of the 36th Meeting of the Central Planning Board, of 22 April 1943, report Speer's statement that:
"* * * 90,000 Russian prisoners of war employed in the whole of the armament industry are for the greatest part skilled men." (R-124)
Speer actively 'participated in the planning and execution of the vast program of forcible deportation and enslavement of the citizens of the occupied countries. As Reich Minister of Armaments and Munitions and Chief of the Organization Todt, both of which positions he acquired on 15 February 1942, and by virtue of his later acquisition of control over the armament offices of the Army, Navy and Air Force and the production offices of the Ministry of Economics, Speer was responsible for the entire war production of the Reich, as well as for the construction of fortifications and installations for the Wehrmacht. Proof of the positions held by Speer is supplied by his signed statement. (2980-PS)
The industries under Speer's control were the most important users of manpower in Germany. According to Sauckel, Speer's labor requirements received unconditional priority over all other demands for labor. In an interrogation under oath on 22nd September 1945, Sauckel stated:
"The others I only got whatever was left. Because Speer told me once in the presence of the Fuehrer that I am here to work for Speer and that mainly I am his man." (3721-PS)
Speer has admitted under oath that he participated in the discussions during which the decision to use foreign forced labor was made, that he concurred in the decision, and that it was the basis for the program of bringing foreign workers into Germany by compulsion. The transcript of the interrogation under oath of Speer, on 18 October 1945, contains the following colloquy:
"Q. But is it clear to you Mr. Speer, that in 1942 when the decisions were being taken 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 taken 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." (3720-PS)
This admission is confirmed by minutes of Speer's conferences with Hitler on 10, 11, and 12 August (R-124). In these meeting s Speer related the outcome of negotiations concerning the forcible recruitment of a million Russian laborers for the German armaments industry, and stated that Hitler would agree to any necessary compulsion.
The use of force was again discussed by Hitler and Speer on 4 January 1943. It was decided that stronger measures were to be used to accelerate the conscription of French civilian workers. (556-13-PS).
Speer demanded foreign workers for the industries under his control and used these workers with the knowledge that they had been deported by force and were being compelled to work. Speer has stated under oath, in an interrogation on 18 October 1945 that:
"I do not wish to give the impression that I want to deny the fact that I demanded manpower and foreign manpower from Sauckel very energetically." (3720-PS)
Speer also admitted, in the course of the same interrogation, that he knew he was obtaining foreign labor, a large part of which was forced labor:
"Q. So that during the period when you were asking for labor, it seems clear, does it not, that you knew that you were obtaining foreign labor as well as domestic labor in response to your requests and that a large part of the foreign labor was forced labor.
"Q. So that, simply by way of illustration, suppose that on January 1, 1944 you required 50,000 workers for a given purpose, would you put in a requisition for 50,000 workers, knowing that in that 50,000 there would be forced foreign workers?
"A. Yes." (3720-PS)
Speer has furthermore stated under oath that he knew at least as early as September 1942 that workers from the Ukraine were being forcibly deported for labor in Germany. He also knew that the great majority of the workers of the Western occupied countries were slave laborers forced against their will to come to Germany. These facts are revealed in his interrogation under oath on 18 October 1945:
"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 that 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 goes, 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 time was either in July, August or September of 1942.
"Q. But many workers did come from the West, did they not, to Germany?
"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.
"A. Yes." (3720-PS)
This admission is borne out by other evidence. In April 1943 Speer was informed at a meeting of the Central Planning Board, that in all countries conscription for work in Germany could be carried out only with the active assistance of the police, and that the prevailing methods of recruitment had provoked such violence that many German recruiting agents had been killed. (R-124). Again, at a meeting with Hitler to discuss overall manpower requirements for 1944, Speer was informed by Sauckel that labor requirements for the German war economy (including Speer's requirements of 1,300,000 additional laborers) could be met only if German enforcement agents were furnished to carry out the enslavement program in the occupied countries. (1292-PS)
Notwithstanding his knowledge that foreign workers were being conscripted and deported for use as slave laborers in Germany, Speer formulated requirements for the foreign workers and requested their allocation to industries subject to his control.
At another meeting of the Central Planning Board, Speer stated:
"Speer: Now, the labor problem in Germany. I believe it is still possible to transfer some from the western territories. The Fuehrer stated only recently he wishes to dissolve these foreign volunteers as he had the impression that the army groups were carting around with them a lot of ballast. Therefore, if we cannot settle this matter ourselves, we shall have to call a meeting with the Fuehrer to clear up the coal situation. Keitel and Zeitzler will be invited to attend in order to determine the number of Russians from the rear army territories who can be sent to us. However, I see another possibility; we might organize another drive to screen out workers for the mines from the Russian Ps/W in the Reich. But this possibility is none too promising." (R-124)
At another meeting of the Central Planning Board, Speer rejected a suggestion that labor for industries under his control be furnished from German sources instead of from foreign countries, for these reason:
"Speer: We do it that way: Kehrl collects the demands for labor necessary to complete the coal-and-iron-plan and communicates the numbers to Sauckel. Probably there will be a conference at the Reich Marshal's in the next week, ad an answer from Sauckel should have arrived by then. The question of recruitment for the armaments industry will be solved together with Weger.
"Kehrl: I wish to urge that the allotments to the mines should not be made dependent on the recruitment of men abroad. We were completely frustrated these last three months because this principle had been applied. We ended December with a deficit of 25,000 and we never get replacements. The number must be made up by men from Germany.
"Speer: No, nothing doing!" (R-124)
Speer also advocated terror and brutality as a means of maximizing production by slave laborers who worked in the industries under his control. In the course of a discussion concerning the supply and exploitation of labor, Speer stated:
"Speer: We must also discuss the slackers. Ley has ascertained that the sick list decreased to one fourth or one fifth in factories where doctors are on the staff who are examining the sick men. There is nothing to be said against SS and Police taking drastic steps and putting those known as slackers into concentration camps. There is no alternative. Let it happen several times and the news will soon go round." (R-124)
Speer is also guilty of compelling Allied nationals and prisoners of war to engage not only in the production of armaments and munitions, but also in direct military operations, against their own country and its actively resisting allies. Speer, as Chief of the Organization Todt, is accountable for its policies which were in direct conflict with the laws of war. The Organization Todt, in violation of the laws of war, impressed allied nationals into its service. Proof of its activity is furnished by an International Labor Office Study of Exploitation of Foreign Labor by Germany:
"The methods used for the recruitment of foreign workers who were destined for employment in the Organization did not greatly differ from the methods used for the recruitment of foreigners for deportation to Germany. The main difference was that, since the principal activities of the Organization lay outside the frontiers of Germany, foreigners were not transported to Germany, but had either to work in their own country or in some other occupied territory.
"In the recruitment drives for foreign workers for the Organization methods of compulsion as well as methods of persuasion were used, the latter usually with very little result * * *." (L-191)
Similar violations of the laws of warfare are disclosed in (407-VIII-PS).
As Chief of German war production, Speer sponsored and approved the use of prisoners of war in the production of armaments and munitions which were used against their own country and its actively resisting allies. This fact has been demonstrated by the evidence already discussed. To recapitulate:
1. After Speer assumed responsibility for armament production, his primary concern in his discussions with his co-conspirators was to secure a larger allocation of prisoners of war for his armament factories. In a meeting of the Central Planning Board on 22 April 1943, Speer complained that only 30% of the Russian prisoners of war were engaged in the armament industry. (R-124)
2. In an earlier speech, Speer stated that 10,000 prisoners of war were put at the disposal of the armaments industry upon his orders. (1435-PS)
3. Finally, Speer advocated returning escaped prisoners of war to factories as convicts. He said, at a meeting of the Central Planning Board:
"We have to come to an engagement with the Reichsfuehrer SS as soon as possible so that prisoners of war he picks up are made available for our purposes. The Reichsfuehrer SS gets from 30 to 40,000 men per month. First of all they have to be divided up. From what classes do these people come, anyhow? There certainly is a certain percentage of miners among these people who are picked up. These few thousand men have to go to the mines automatically. Certainly, some educational work has to be done. The men should be put into the factories as convicts. But they have to return to the factories where they were before * * *." (R-124)
Speer is also guilty of having approved and sponsored the program for using concentration camp labor in Nazi armament factories, which was part of the larger program of extermination through work. The proof of this activity may be summarized and supplemented as follows:
1. Speer proposed measures for the exploitation of the concentration camp labor in armament factories under his jurisdiction. At a meeting with Hitler Speer proposed and Hitler agreed that armament production should not be established within concentration camps but that concentration camp labor should be made available to established armament factories. (R-124)
2. Speer, by arranging for the use of concentration camp laborers in factories under his control, created an increasing demand for such labor. This demand was filled in part by placing in concentration camps persons who would not ordinarily have been sent there. (1063-D-PS)
3. Speer participated in the exploitation of the victims of the Nazi program of extermination through work. He personally selected sites for subsidiary concentration camps which were established near factories in Upper Austria, and knew and approved of the general practice of locating concentration camps near industrial plants which they supplied with labor (Speer's interrogation under oath on 18 October 1945. (3720-PS)
Speer visited the concentration camp Mauthausen and factories such as those of Krupp, where concentration camp labor was exploited under barbarous conditions. Despite personal and first-hand knowledge of these conditions, Speer continued to direct the use of concentration camp labor in factories under his jurisdiction. In Speer's interrogation under oath on 18 October 1945, he stated:
"Q. But, in general, the use of concentration camp labor was known to you and approved by you as a source of labor?
"Q. And you knew also, I take it, that among the inmates of the concentration camps there were both Germans and foreigners?
"A. I didn't think about it at that time.
"Q. As a matter of fact you visited the Austrian concentration camp personally, did you not?"
"A. I didn't-well I was in Mauthausen once but at that time I was not told just to what categories the inmates of the concentration camps belonged.
"Q. But in general everybody knew, did they not, that foreigners who were taken away by the Gestapo, or arrested by the Gestapo, as well as Germans, found their way into the concentration camps?
"A. Of course, yes. I didn't mean to imply anything like that."
"Q. Did you ever discuss, by the way, the requirements of Krupp for foreign labor?
"A. It is certain that it was reported to me what Krupp had in foreign workers.
"Q. Did you ever discuss it with any of the members of the Krupp first?
"A. I cannot say that exactly, but during the time of my activities I visited the Krupp factory more than once and it is certain that this was discussed, that is, the lack of manpower." (3720-PS)