- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression
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Copy of document 3720-PS
Testimony of Albert Speer, taken at Nurnberg,
Germany, 18 October 1945, 1430-1700, by Lt. Col.
M.I. Gurfein, AUS, OUSCC, Also present: Pfc.
Sonnenfeld, Interpreter and Miss Evelyn Low,
Q. You have already been sworn I take it?
Lt. Col. Gurfein to Interpreter:
Q. Do you solemnly swear that you will truthfully,
completely and accurately translate from English to German
the questions and from German to English the responses of
the witness given here today to the best of your ability, so
help you God?
A. I do.
Q. I wanted to ask you today about the Central Planning
Q. Were you the chairman of that office?
A. The Central Planning Board was no office as such, it was
a place where decisions were made. The Central Planning
Board was not led by me but the decisions were made by three
men in common — by Milch, Koerner and myself. After we took
over the production department from the Ministry of
Economics the fourth man, Funk, was added.
Q. And did you attend all the meetings of this Central
Planning Board yourself?
A. I took part in all sessions except from February until
May, when I was sick.
Q. In what year?
Q. And while you were away, during February to May 1944, did
you receive reports of the proceedings so as to be in touch
with the situation?
A. I was kept informed of all current events by the chief of
my ministry. The exact minutes of the sessions of the
Central Planning Board I only read later.
Q. So that when you returned to work in May 1944 you went
over all the minutes of the decisions and discussions of the
Central Planning Board, I take it?
A. I don’t remember this exactly but you must remember that
when I returned after my sickness I came into the middle of
much work and the plane attacks were going on at that time.
I more or less tried to catch up with the information that I
had missed with the use of certain key words in order to
denote what had happened in my absence. But I will say now,
frankly, that if a decision has been made, no matter what
its nature, that I will tell you about it if I know about it
now, even if I did not know about it at the time it was
Q. Who was your representative in the Central Planning Board
at the time of your illness?
A. In the case of absence of one of the members of the
Central Planning Board no deputy was chosen but one of the
other members took over the functions of the absentee.
Q. Who was it?
A. I believe that it was Milch in this case.
Q. You mean that you were acting as the Chairman of the
Central Planning Board before you became ill and that Milch
took your place as Chairman?
A. There was no Chairman in the Central Planning Board as
such, the three members had equal jurisdiction and powers,
thus Milch was not Chairman when I was absent. In practice,
however, it happened that Milch and I would usually agree
upon what to do and Koerner played a subordinate part more
Q. But to represent the production office of yours you must
have had a man to represent your interests during the time
of your illness?
A. May I say the following here. We agreed that in the
Central Planning Board Milch and I would not represent
special interests. If that had been so there would have had
to be other representatives besides us. For instance, there
should have been one for the Navy and also somebody to
represent other main factors. We agreed that we would be
impartial in representatives on the Board and that we would
not be there as representatives of our representative
Q. To put it clearly to you, did Kehrl work for you?
A. Kehrl was in charge of the Planning Board in 1944 and
this Planning Board made a draft for the sessions of the
Central Planning Board.
Q. Was Kehrl your deputy?
A. No. Well Kehrl as such had a very difficult position. He
had a double position. He was in charge of the Planning
Board of the Production Ministry and as such was responsible
for the plans of this Ministry.
Q. To whom, to you?
A. Yes, he was my subordinate.
Q. So that you were his Minister?
A. Yes. His second function was in connection with the
Planning Board of the Plenipotentiary General for Armaments.
In this capacity he was responsible for the total planning
which was outside the proper competence of my Ministry.
Q. And who, at that time, was the Plenipotentiary?
A. I was that and I also was the Chief of Kehrl.
Q. So that in both capacities in which Kehrl worked you were
his chief, is that right?
Q. When did you take over your position as chief of the
A. You must differentiate here between different phases. On
8 February 1942 I took over the Army Office for Armaments,
that is, I was the successor of Dr. Todt. In July 1943 I
took over the Armament Office of the Navy. In September 1943
I took over the Production Office of the Ministry of
Economics. And in August 1944 I took over the Armament
Office of the Air Force. That was after an interim stage had
been created after March of 1944 by the Jaegerstab.
Q. The Jaegerstab was a branch dealing with fighter planes,
was it not, in connection with aeroplane production?
Q. And you had a co-ordinate jurisdiction with Goering or
Milch at that time, in the spring of 1944?
A. Yes, the Jaegerstab tried to get out of the way of any
jurisdictional disputes because it could not prevent it that
Goering would not give over to me completely the manufacture
of air planes, even of fighter planes alone.
Q. That means that during your career in charge of armaments
you went from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from
responsibility to responsibility, always taking on more
Q. So that each time that you took on a new jurisdiction you
were cognizant already of the many and different problems
that you were multiplying by taking on the new
A. Partly this made things more difficult and partly this
facilitated things. When I took over the Production
Department of the Ministry of Economics this had the purpose
of giving a total and more comprehensive jurisdiction over
all these matters of production. Looked at as a whole, the
overall control that was vested in me over production
facilitated things rather than making them more difficult
because it eliminated the brakes that were naturally put on
it before, through control by the three separate branches of
the Armed Services with their own separate branches of the
Armed Services with their own separate Supreme Commander.
Q. That means that you were able in the first place, as you
increased your jurisdiction, to get a better overall view of
what resources you had at your disposal. Is that correct?
A. Yes, of course I had better possibilities of co-
ordination by that and they could better meet the problems
created by attacks.
Q. Your basic problems were, first, the obtaining of raw
materials needed for your armaments production, is that
A. This is a very complicated subject and it depends really
at which phase you are looking. However, if you take a rough
cross section of the whole problem then it is right to say
that the raw materials created the greatest difficulties and
among them certain products of the steel industry.
Q. Secondly, you also had the problem as a result of the
bombing of where to locate factories and indeed the whole
question of having adequate factory facilities?
A. This is a question that is extremely difficult to answer.
It was my position that we should repair existing factories
by committing everything we had at our disposal for this
purpose. Others took the position that those factories
should be relocated. I could not afford the change over to
new localities from old localities because such a move
always entails the loss of at least a half year's
production. For instance, the aircraft industry after the
intensive attacks on the fighter plane industry of February
1944 received the order to cease all production in the
Q. But in general the question of factory facilities,
together with the question of raw materials were two of the
larger problems that you had to meet?
Q. There was always a third, was there not, and that was the
question of obtaining a sufficient supply of labour?
Q. In connection with the obtaining of a sufficient labour
supply, what were the alternatives that you had before you?
I am now talking of the sources of labour supply?
A. To the first degree the manpower which I should receive
from the employment offices, that is through Sauckel's
department. Do you want me to mention all the details?
A. So far as Sauckel is concerned, the manpower we received
from him was that which was made available by the shifting
of German industry and we knew these under the heading of
"Fluctuation". Then German manpower that could be naturally
mobilized. Then the foreign manpower that was made available
by Sauckel from abroad. Then a great source was also the
prisoners of war, that is for total production. However,
most of these were already distributed before my time. That
is so because there were almost no prisoners of war coming
in after 1942. The next were the workers that came from
Q. And this now represented all the sources of labour that
you had at your disposal?
A. In the great outline, yes.
Q. Without pausing to discuss the various types of German
labor that were available because that is fairly obvious,
what types of foreign labor did you have available?
A. When you talk of foreign workers you cannot look at it in
that way that they were directly available to me. It was
handled in such a manner that the employment officers would
assign German and foreign workers and then I would be
informed about the total numbers of workers that were
Q. Obviously, the number of workers that were available or
were to be supplied fluctuated, did it not?
A. Yes, they fluctuated.
Q. So that when you say that before you took office the
foreign workers had already been distributed or allocated,
naturally after you took office there had to be constant
additions to the numbers?
A. There is a mistake. Only the prisoners of war were
distributed before I entered my office, not the foreign
workers. That is so because the bulk of the prisoners of war
were taken in 1940 and 1941 and were then distributed.
Q. Do you mean by that that up to the time when you took
office foreign workers were not being used in Germany?
A. Yes, I believe they were already there but I cannot say
exactly in what numbers.
Q. When you took over your office for the first time you
must have made a survey of the available manpower for the
armaments industry generally, did you not?
A. When I took over my office for the first time you must
remember that I was an architect and not an expert in these
matters. In other words I had to get familiar with the job
first and I did not find any exact information about it. To
this must be added that I received intensive programs for
armaments from the Army Armament office. These had already
been given to Todt who was my predecessor but for the
realization of these plans, this department (the Armament
Office of the Army) calculated the necessary supply of
materials and manpower.
Q. When for the first time did you make a survey of what the
available manpower was in Germany to meet your tasks?
A. I never made any such investigation because it was not my
task to ascertain what the total manpower was in Germany
that would be available.
Q. I didn’t mean for you to make the survey directly but you
could have asked somebody for it, as for example, Sauckel?
A. I made a survey at that time how much manpower I could
obtain from the building program, that is, if building was
to be interrupted for an extended period of time. This
survey showed that approximately one and a half million
labourers or workers could be drawn from the building
program if drastic reductions were effected. If I remember
correctly this calculation was not precise but merely
estimated. It did not only include the workers who worked
directly in the building industries but those who gave
material assistance to the building industry.
Q. Did there come a time when you had to estimate the needs
for foreign workers in Germany?
A. I never estimated it in this manner.
Q. In what manner did you estimate the needs for foreign
workers for the German armaments industries?
A. It was not my task to estimate how many or how much
manpower I needed from abroad but rather I had to rely upon
the amount of foreign and German workers that Sauckel could
make available to me. I want to say the following here. I do
not wish to give the impression that I want to deny the fact
that I demanded manpower and foreign manpower from Sauckel
Q. With respect to this foreign manpower that you were
requesting from Sauckel, what means did you discuss as to
how these foreign workers could be brought into Germany?
A. I believe that regarding the first phase and I think that
we are talking about that right now, Sauckel emphasized the
fact that the foreign manpower was coming voluntarily into
Germany. As far as I remember the voluntary manpower at that
time was the manpower originating in the Ukraine.
Q. What period are you talking about now when you discuss
this voluntary coming of workers, especially from the
A. I don’t know how long the manpower from the Ukraine
actually came voluntarily.
Q. When did you first find out then that some of the
manpower from the Ukraine did not come 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. And as to the other occupied countries, for example
Poland, when did you find out that foreign workers were
being brought in against their will?
A. I believe that I received almost no manpower from Poland.
That was because Polish manpower usually was allocated into
agriculture, that was an old tradition or old practice with
Q. Just by the way, you used Polish workers in the mines
A. Yes, but they lived there. That was in the Polish part of
the Upper Silesia. In the Ruhr coal mines Russian prisoners
of war were used in the main. And by the way I only took
over this aspect of production in September 1943.
Q. With respect to the Czechs, when did you first find out
that Czech workers were being sent into Germany against
A. As far as Czech workers are concerned, I believe that
only on one occasion was a recruitment program carried out
there and that was done by the Air Force. If I remember
correctly 80,000 Czech workers were recruited to be taught
certain techniques in German and then returned to their
homes. The Governor Frank of the Protectorate had a hard
fight against this taking away of manpower from his area and
in exchange he always offered an increase of production in
Q. With respect to Dutch workers for example, when did you
first find out that Dutch workers that were not volunteers
were being brought into the Reich for work?
A. With the best intentions I cannot make a differentiation
here between the different nations because, as such, I was
not interested in the distribution of manpower that came
from the west.
Q. But many workers actually 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?
Q. Who made the decision to take these foreign workers
against their will into Germany?
A. It was the task of Sauckel to make decisions like that.
Q. But surely Sauckel by himself could not make a decision
of as far-reaching international importance as that?
A. Sauckel as Gauleiter stood in immediate connection with
Bormann and Bormann, if asked by Sauckel, would report on
this to Hitler. It was necessary to give the competent
military commanders the decisions that had been reached in
this matter and I believe that nobody outside of Goering or
Hitler would have been able to so instruct the military
commanders and as far as I remember the Foreign Minister of
the Reich had to be consulted several times in order to come
to some agreement with the French Government.
Q. That is Herr von Ribbentrop you mean?
A. I cannot say this exactly because I was not present but I
do believe that Bormann instructed Ribbentrop personally
about the wishes of the Fuehrer.
Q. At any rate, it is clear is it not, that you understood
at the time that you were requesting labour through Sauckel
that a good
part of this labour was coming from foreign workers who were
being involuntarily brought to the Reich?
Q. Were you personally present at any discussions concerning
the advisability or the necessity of obtaining foreign
workers by coercive means?
A. Sauckel usually effected his discussions with the Fuehrer
alone. I was present at one discussion which took place in
January 1944 and I mentioned it to you the other day. That
is one where I was present.
Q. Would you mind repeating the substance of that very
A. This already belongs to a period where I had differences
with Sauckel about the exploitation of the occupied areas of
the west and I think it would be going too far if I was to
go into all the details all over — it appears in a previous
interrogation. At that time I tried to increase the
productive output of the western countries and thus exploit
their industrial potential and I was very much against the
coercive measures used by Sauckel. Thus it was difficult for
me not only to find manpower there but they also fled the
factories where they had worked.
Q. That relates to 1944. Let us go back to as early as 1942.
Did you ever have any conferences with the Fuehrer
concerning the necessity or the desirability of using means
A. I have handed over all the minutes of the conferences
which I had with the Fuehrer. In itself the commitment of
labour may be a very important thing. However, it was only a
small part of my total activity. If there is any reference
made in those minutes then I might be able to tell you more
about it when I read it again.
Q. Without looking at the minutes to start with, were you in
general in agreement with the policy of forcing civilian
labour from the occupied territories to come to the Reich
against their will?
A. Yes, I concurred in that because it was my opinion that
this was done in an orderly and legal manner. I believe that
I didn’t have to go into all the details but I think that
you may be well familiar with all the reasons why one could
concur in such a policy. The last analysis of this ends in
the legality of the French Government.
Q. How about the workers from the Ukraine, will you please
state what reasons you had for concurring with that policy?
A. No, there are no reasons.
Q. How about with the Dutch?
A. There are no reasons there either. In the last analysis
the individual responsibility for the manpower being
deported out of the country was the competent deputy of
Adolf Hitler in that country. I believe that I could not
have refused to use the manpower that came from abroad any
more than a factory manager can have done that.
Q. Leaving out the question of your own responsibility for
the moment, is it your view then that the deputy of the
Fuehrer in Holland, for example, was guilty of a crime in
forcing these Dutch people to come into the Reich against
A. I cannot answer that question.
Q. Before, you started to say that there was no legal
reason, as I understood it, why it was possible to bring in
foreign workers against their will and you stated that in
the case of France it depended upon the recognition of an
independent French Government but that in the case of the
Dutch workers for example there was no reason that you could
Q. I ask you, then, when you state that there were no
grounds to offer, I understood you to mean that there were
no grounds legally which could be offered to support or
defend the bringing in of Dutch workers against their will
A. No, I cannot defend that and it was not my task either to
investigate these things or to defend them.
Q. But I ask you now as you sit here whether there is any
argument or ground that you can advance to justify legally
the deportation into Germany of these Dutch workers against
A. You mean on legal grounds?
Q. Or a moral one?
A. I had a correspondence with Sauckel in the Spring of 1944
and in a letter he accused me that I was calling the foreign
workers in Germany deported workers. He stated that those
foreign workers had been legally taken to Germany and there
could be no talk of deportation.
Q. But when you wrote to Sauckel in the spring of 1944 you
believed, did you as you state, that these workers had in
fact been deported from Holland?
A. Yes, it was my opinion that they had been forced to come
Q. And that opinion you held for a considerable period of
time before you wrote the letter to Sauckel?
Q. Did you ever object to anybody about this policy of
bringing labour from the occupied countries into Germany
against their will?
A. Yes, I did that at the moment when the transport of
foreign workers did great damage to me as far as the
production in the occupied areas is concerned.
Q. But I mean on moral or legal grounds, did you ever
A. I cannot remember that but I will think about it.
Q. So that during the period when you were asking for labour
it seems clear, does it not, that you knew that you were
obtaining foreign labour as well as domestic labour in
response to your requests and that a large part of the
foreign labour was forced labour?
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
Q. One of the other categories that you mentioned at the
beginning was labour from the concentration camps. Do you
Q. This labour that was in the concentration camps, did you
requisition that as you did other labour?
A. As far as I know, the allocation of manpower from
concentration camps was directly negotiated between the
Commandants of the concentration camps and the factory
managers without consultation of my department for the
commitment of labour but not of Sauckels. Sauckel knows
exactly what I thought about it but I cannot say with
certainty just how this was.
Q. So that I take it that in the case of the concentration
camp labour your office was in even more direct relation to
it than in the case of the foreign workers because Sauckel
did not have to intervene in the matter?
A. I believe yes but I cannot say exactly but this can be
ascertained. At any rate Sauckel was excluded from this
matter. I cannot say whether this would be applicable in
every case, Sauckel could tell you, I don’t know whether the
was excluded in every such case because they had to
ascertain the needs.
Q. But, in general, the use of concentration camp labour was
known to you and approved by you as a source of labour?
Q. And you knew also, I take it, that among the inmates of
the concentration camps there were both Germans and
A. I didn’t think about it at the 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 Mauthaussen once but at that
time I was not told just 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
A. Of course, yes. I didn’t mean to imply anything like
Q. Were there any other special categories of foreign
workers that were separately treated as, for example, Jews?
A. A. In 1942 for instance we used Jews in German factories.
Q. Foreign Jews or German Jews?
A. I believe German Jews.
Q. Put your mind on foreign Jews. Did you use those for
forced labour in Germany?
A. As far as foreign Jews are concerned, Hungarian Jews were
used in the building program.
Q. And when was that — in 1944?
A. Yes that was in 1944.
Q. Who made the decision to use the Hungarian Jews for this
A. There is a history to that. Do you want me to tell you
Q. Yes please, briefly?
A. Hitler had the intention to build great underground
aeroplane factories in the fall of 1943. He gave an order to
that effect. However, I did not concur in that and therefore
I did not execute the order in all its strictness. In March
of 1944 the director of the Central Organization Todt office
submitted plans for those to Hitler. This was during the
period of my illness. In this connection he stated that the
building should be finished within six months. Hitler gave
Dosch a direct order build these
six factories outside the normal competence of my Ministry.
There were several big differences in this question between
Goering and myself and also between Hitler and myself. As a
result of these differences I received a written order from
Hitler that Dosch was to build the six factories. The order
should still be there. As far as I know the Hungarian Jews
were made available for the building of these six factories
by direct negotiations that Dosch carried out.
Q. Carried out with whom?
A. I don’t know exactly and I cannot say this because all
this took place during the period of my illness but I
believe there is a note about that with the official papers
that are in your possession.
Q. When did you recover from your illness?
A. In the middle of May 1944.
Q. Did you transact any business during April 1944 before
you were completely recovered?
A. Of course I always had to do a few things in spite of my
Q. Where were you actually while you were ill?
A. At first I was in Hohenlychen, that was because I had an
infection of the knee, from there I went to Klessheim, near
Saltzburg and from there to Merano.
Q. And where were you in April 1944?
A. In Merano.
Q. Did you transact business from Merano?
A. Yes, I did this in a restricted measure. I was there to
recover but every three or four days something came up.
Q. And did your people bring you papers to sign also?
A. Yes, I believe, yes.
Q. I want to ask you again, did you not personally order the
arrangements to be made for the deportation of 100,000
Hungarian Jews for the project you have described?
A. No, I did not order that personally.
Q. I want to show you a letter of 17 April 1944, a
photostat, and ask you to read it through and tell me
whether you wrote that letter or dictated it?
A. As is apparent from the two letters TAE and the No. 474-
44 it is evident that this originated in the Technical
Department. The minutes of the discussions with the Fuehrer
were always published under my name in order to give them
the greatest possible authority. This is the result of such
a discussion which took place during my illness. I did not
write this. Sauer was the author of this document.
Q. And before this document was written you already knew and
participated in the discussions as you have previously told
us, about the obtaining of 100,000 Hungarian Jews for this
A. I believe that this is the same but it is out of the
question that I participated in it because I was sick at the
Q. But you did tell us the history of the thing a little
while ago concerning the requirements for the Dosch project
and as I understood it you said that you knew that the
Hungarian Jews were to be brought into Germany for the
purposes of this project. Is this correct?
A. I only didn’t know the date any more. I didn’t know
whether this was before or after. At any rate it was not
before the discussion that took place with Hitler at that
Q. Was that not before, the letter or the knowledge?
A. What I mean to say is that I didn’t know about the coming
of those 100,000 Hungarian Jews to Germany before this
letter was written or before the discussion took place with
Q. But when you recovered and before the Hungarian Jews
actually came you knew about it, is that what you mean?
A. When I recovered, of course I knew that those Hungarian
Jews were coming to Germany. I didn’t know at this time they
actually were in Germany and had been obtained for this
Q. Did you object in any way to the use or to the transport
of these Hungarian Jews by force?
Q. I just wanted to ask you with respect to the coal miners,
did you ever issue instructions to the effect that foreign
workers to be used as coal miners should not be given the
same medical examinations as German miners?
A. No. As far as I know the right society for coal and coal
products determined the foreign workers in the camps and
determined whether they were to be used as miners.
Q. Do you remember being at a meeting of the Central
Planning Board on the 22 July 1942?
A. I cannot say it just like that but it must be so.
Q. I want to show you a copy of the minutes of the meeting
and ask you whether you recognize that you were present at
A. Do you want me to read all of it?
A. I believe that the verbatim report of this should still
be in existence and from that it could be determined who
made the suggestion that the “Knappschaft should be informed
that prisoners of war should be judged differently from
German miners.” I could not give directives of any kind to
the Knappschaft doctors, not even in my capacity as being a
member of the Central Planning Board.
Q. Well Germany was an authoritarian state at the time.
Somebody could give orders to the coal miners doctors as to
the physical standard they should apply, could they not?
A. Yes, but I didn’t know who that was and in my opinion it
was the Ministry of Labour who was competent in any social
questions. Or the trade supervisors which were in the Labour
Q. At any rate you do not deny that you were present at the
meeting at which the suggestion was made and you did not
take exception to it?
A. I cannot remember it any more but I certainly did not
object to it.
Q. I asked you towards the beginning whether you ever had
any conversations with Hitler concerning the policy decision
of employing compulsion with respect to the obtaining of
foreign labour. Do you remember that?
A. Yes I remember it and I repeat my answer that I could
find out from the minutes whether such discussions took
Q. I will show you a protocol of the conferences with the
Fuehrer on the 10th, 11th and 12th August 1942, written up
by you and call your attention particularly to what is
recorded as Page 16 and ask you to read it and see if it
refreshes your recollection?
A. It is certain that the conference took place, otherwise
it would not have been contained here.
Q. Does that, after looking at it and thinking about it,
refresh your recollection a little as to the circumstances
of the meeting and the discussion?
A. May I have the night to think about it and I am sure that
I will remember something about it then. You must take into
account that during a conversation with the Fuehrer thirty
or forty different points were brought up and that such
discussions took place almost every three weeks. You must
furthermore take into account the fact that all these
documents you show me now, you received from me, so then you
can believe me that I am not trying to hide anything.
Q. The question I want to ask you is not so much whether you
remember this particular conference as whether it does not
remind you that you did discuss at some time or other with
Hitler the question of compulsion of foreign labour?
A. That was certainly the case and it is apparent from this
note. To this I must add that Hitler would rather see
foreign workers in Germany than in production in the foreign
countries. I further wish to add that if you go through the
minutes of the conferences with Hitler you will find that
the commitment of labour was frequently discussed at the
beginning, that is in August and September 1942 and that
from there on there are no further points on this subject
contained therein. This is due to the fact that at that time
the differences between me and Sauckel already existed in
that Sauckel discussed his problems either directly with
Hitler or Bormann.
Q. But is it clear to you, Mr. Speer, that in 1942 when the
decisions were being taken concerning the use of forced
foreign labour that you participated in the discussions
Q. So 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.
A certain number of these foreign workers were used
specifically for the armament industries under your control,
were they not?
A. I don’t quite understand the question that you are
putting to me. It goes without saying that a certain amount
of the workers were employed by me it was no specific part
of the workers.
Q. So that some of the workers at least who were brought
into Germany against their will from the occupied countries
were used for the manufacture of munitions of war and
A. Not just some of them, a great part of them.
Q. Did you ever, in connection with the obtaining of foreign
civilian labour from the occupied countries, participate in
any discussions about making them prisoners of war and then
taking them into Germany?
A. I remember that something similar to that was discussed.
I remember that this question came up in connection with
Russia and when we retired from there. The soldiers said
that the male
population was used to fill the Russian ranks and they were
bring armed and it was discussed whether it would not be
better to make them prisoners of war and take them to
Germany instead of having them fight against us.
Q. In other words, you say that you were present at a
discussion where it was proposed that ordinary civilians who
were not bearing arms or in uniform were to be arrested and
made prisoners of war as if they had been combatants?
A. I cannot say it in just this manner but I suppose you
have a document which makes this apparent.
Q. No, but I would like you to rely on your own recollection
too, if you were present as you said you were. But please
tell us from your own memory?
A. Look here, you really must not expect too much from my
memory. I had a great number of worries but rest assured
that I would say so if I remembered that such a discussion
had taken place. As far as I know it was not only a question
of committing manpower but also a military question. With
the best intentions I could not swear to it.
Q. I want to show you then a minute of a conference with the
Fuehrer which you signed, dated 8 July 1943 with a No. 17 on
it and ask you please to read it through?
A. This is quite so as Hitler said that in these cases very
determined action had to be taken.
Q. And you did not object to it, I take it?
A. No, I did not object.
Q. I would like to call your attention, if I may, to the
fact that the reason given is that Russian prisoners of war
are needed in the amount of approximately 150,000 to 200,000
for the mines and that if these prisoners could not be
released by the Army then action would be taken against the
A. That is what the document says, yes.
Q. So that the basis of the decision, as explained in the
document, was not [sic] protect the military interests but
for the purpose of obtaining needed labour. Is that not
A. I don’t know this exactly but it is a fact that in July
1943 I was not responsible for coal; as the document sets
forth Sauckel and Pleiger were responsible to execute these
orders and that they were to report to Hitler. As the
document furthermore states, I merely requested a copy of
this report for myself.
Q. So that, as I understand it, these Russian civilians that
were to be brought in were not to be used only for the coal
mines but also for the armament industry as well?
A. No, I believe that coal in the first degree. It should
also be investigated whether this was ever carried out. You
cannot say that every order that was given by Hitler was
always carried out. And I believe that at this time the
Supreme Commanders of the Army Groups had different worries
than just to carry out such measures.
Q. What interests me was that you said that you wanted a
copy to be sent to you and you also state that you did not
have coal mines in your jurisdiction but in fact you did
have the armament industry in your jurisdiction and I ask
you whether those workers that were not suitable for coal
mines were not to be put under your supervision for armament
A. There are two reasons why I was interested in a copy of
this. The reason you gave is undoubtedly correct. It is
evident that only a part, say about half those workers, were
suitable to work in coal mines. The other half was available
for other purposes. In the Central Planning Board Pleiger
was responsible for the handling of the coal production and
then as a member of the Central Planning Board I was
interested whether the manpower that was promised by Sauckel
would be actually available. This was because coal
production was the base of the total production.
Q. Let me ask you another thing with respect to this
memorandum of the 8 July meeting 1943, it is stated in that
-- and I will read it in German and then translate it:
“The Fuehrer ordered at the same time that these
prisoners of war who are not fit for the mines
should immediately be placed in the Iron industry
in the manufacturing and supply industry and in
the armament industry.”
Was that the general policy with respect to the use of
prisoners of war?
A. No. The fact was that the remainder of the workers that
could not be used in coal mining were free for other uses.
It was my purpose in this conference to secure at the same
time those workers for other purposes that could not be used
in the coal mines. It was the general line that Sauckel was
responsible for the distribution and allocation of manpower.
I want to add here that it is not certain that Sauckel
actually carried out such a plan.
Q. What I meant to ask you generally is, was it the policy
to employ prisoners of war in the armaments factories?
A. Not only the armaments industry came under my
jurisdiction but also the subsidiary industry of the Iron
Products Industries. And my total competence was not defined
as that of a
Minister for Production, as is done in other countries, but
as a Minister for Armaments.
Q. But regardless of your competence or jurisdiction, was it
a general practice to employ prisoners of war in the making
A. I believe that prisoners of war were employed in armament
factories but I did not pay any attention to this fact.
Q. Did they include only Russian prisoners of war or did
that also include British, American, French, Polish, Dutch,
Belgian, Norwegian prisoners of war?
A. That includes all prisoners of war. It was not my opinion
that I had any obligation to pay attention to this, and I
don’t know whether the conditions which I found in 1942 as
far as it concerns prisoners of war were ever changed during
Q. Let me understand; when you wanted labour from prisoners
of war did you requisition prisoners of war separately or
did you ask for a total number of workers?
A. Only Schmelter can answer that exactly. As far as the
commitment of prisoner of war labour 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 the production at the expense of other
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% of all prisoners of war
employed in the production. I wanted to have this percentage
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.
Q. Did you ever discuss any means of raising the productive
capacity of prisoners of war?
A. Yes. As a matter of fact we sent circulars to the factory
managers in order to tell them how the prisoners of war
should be treated so that their productive capacity could be
raised. One circular was sent out in either April or May
1944. I know that because I just read it. I believe that it
is exemplary so far as the recommendations go for the
prisoners of war.
Q. And did that include also the treatment of prisoners of
war who were working in weapons and munitions factories?
A. This was a general circular that was sent to all the
managers of the factories. You must remember the fact here
some of the armament industry also produces other goods,
take Krupp for instance, in addition to producing armaments
they produce locomotives and other products.
Q. Did you ever discuss, by the way, the requirements of
Krupp for foreign labour?
A. It is certain that it was reported to me what lack Krupp
had in foreign workers.
Q. Did you ever discuss it with any of the members of the
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
Q. Did you ever discuss the labour problem with Gustav Krupp
von Bohlen und Halbach?
A. I think that this is out of the question because Krupp
was very old and I only saw him once during the years of my
activity. If any such question came up it was discussed with
the responsible directors of the factory.
Q. Did these directors ask you for foreign labour?
A. It is probable that they reported to me the total needs
in manpower. It is not probable that they informed me about
their requirements for foreign labour unless they had the
opinion that at that time German manpower was not available.
Q. Coming back to the full use of the capacities of
prisoners of war, was it ever suggested in any conference
that you know about that the productive powers of prisoners
of war could be increased by giving jurisdiction over them
to the SS?
A. No, I cannot remember that.
Q. Did you ever see the minutes of such a meeting? I will
show you a memorandum of a conference of Sauer with the
Fuehrer and others, dated 6 March 1944 in Berlin?
A. I cannot say whether this was the case. This conference
took place in March of 1944, that is, during the period of
my illness. If there is a notation on the document --
Gesehen Speer, then I saw the document after my illness.
Q. In connection with your trip to Austria, was it the
purpose of your trip to establish concentration camps close
to the side of factories so that the concentration camp
inmates could be readily used as labour in the new
A. When was that trip to Austria?
Q. Was that in 1941?
A. In 1941? I was not a Minister then.
Q. What were you then?
A. I was an architect in 1941. That was not 1941 it must be
Q. You had discussions with --
A. I cannot remember the name at the moment.
Q. Do you know Eigruber?
A. Yes, it must have been about 1943 or 1944 but I don’t
know exactly. I will think about it. The fact that we were
anxious to use workers from concentration camps in factories
and to establish small concentration camps near the
factories in order to use the manpower that was available
there was a general fact. But it did not only come up in
connection with this trip.
(Whereupon at 1700, 18 October 1945, the hearing was