Albert Speer
(4 of 8)

March 30, 1943: Speer visits the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria. He takes the 45-minute 'VIP tour,' where the worst excesses are hidden from view, providing a near-utopian display of camp conditions.

From Speer's IMT testimony: The work camps were established so that long trips to the factories could be avoided and in this way permit the workers to arrive fresh and ready for work. Furthermore, the additional food which the Food Ministry had granted for all workers, including the workers from concentration camps' would not have been received by these men if they had come directly from big concentration camps; for then this additional food would have been used up in the concentration camp. In this way, those workers who came from concentration camps received, in full measure, bonuses that were granted in the industry, such as cigarettes or additional food. My co-workers called my attention to this fact [that the workers from concentration camps had advantages if they worked in factories], and I also heard it when I inspected the industries. Of course, a wrong impression should not be created about the number of concentration camp inmates who worked in German industry. In toto, 1 percent of the labor personnel came from concentration camps. Of course, when on inspection tours of industries I occasionally saw inmates of concentration camps who, however, looked well fed . . . .

I learned, when I inspected industries at Linz, that along the Danube, near the camp at Mauthausen, a large harbor installation and numerous railroad installations were being put up so that the paving stone coming from the quarry at Mauthausen could be transported to the Danube. This was purely a peacetime matter which I could not tolerate at all, for it violated all the decrees and directives which I had issued. I gave short notice of an impending visit, for I wanted to ascertain on the spot whether this construction work was an actual fact and request stoppage of the work. This is an example for giving directives in this field even within the economic administrative sphere of the SS. I stated on that occasion that it would be more judicious to have these workers employed during wartime in a steel plant at Linz rather than in peacetime construction.

My visit ostensibly followed the prescribed program as already described by the witness Blaha. I saw the kitchen barracks, the washroom barracks, and one group of barracks used as living quarters. These barracks were made of massive stone and were models as far as modern equipment is concerned. Since my visit had only been reported a short time in advance, in my opinion it is out of the question that big preparations could have been made before my visit. Nevertheless, the camp or the small part of the camp which I saw made a model impression of cleanliness. However, I did not see any of the workers, any of the camp inmates, since at that time they were all engaged in work. The entire inspection lasted perhaps 45 minutes, since I had very little time at my disposal for a matter of that kind and I had inner repulsive feelings against even entering such a camp where prisoners were being kept.

No, I could not do that [learn about the working conditions in the camp], since no workers were to be seen in the camp and the harbor installations were so far from the street that I could not see the men who were working there. Naturally I had the utmost interest along this line [that a healthy and sufficiently trained labor supply should be at my disposal] even though I was not competent for this. As from 1942 we had mass production in armament, and this system with assembly-line workers demands an extraordinary large percentage of skilled workers. Because of drafting for military service, these skilled laborers had become especially important, so that any loss of a worker or the illness of a worker meant a big loss for me as well.

Since a worker needed an apprenticeship of 6 to 12 weeks and since even after this for a period of about 6 months a great amount of scrap must be allowed for-for it takes about that much time before quality work can be expected-it is evident that the care of skilled workers in industry was an added worry for us.

A change in the workers, in the way in which it was described here [through extermination by work], cannot be borne by any industry. It is out of the question that in any German industry anything like that took place without my hearing about it; and I never heard anything of that sort.

No, not in that form [used SS and Police against recalcitrant workers], for that was against my interests. There were efforts in Germany to bring about increased productivity through very severe compulsory measures. These efforts did not meet with my approval. It is quite out of the question that 14 million workers can be forced to produce satisfactory work through coercion and terror, as the Prosecution maintains.

April 4, 1943: Speer writes to Himmler, complaining that, during his visit to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, he had noticed 'lavish building projects' at the camp. He makes the following recommendation:

We must therefore carry out a new planning program for construction within the concentration camps, which, while allowing for the maximum success for present demands of the armament industry, will require a minimum of material and labor. The answer is an immediate switch to primitive construction methods. (Sereny)

April 11, 1943: Speer's opposite number in the SS, Oswald Pohl, head of the SS Office of Economic Administration, responds to Speer's letter of criticism of April 4:

Reichsminister Speer claims that we are engaged in luxury construction in the concentration camps, without adding that he was not only informed of every single building project, but that indeed he had authorized all requests for materials himself, with his signature, on February 2, 1943.

It is entirely unrealistic to suggest an immediate switch to primitive construction. The Minister appears not to realize that we have 160,000 prisoners and are constantly battling against epidemics and a disproportionately high death rate, both largely due to impossible sanitary conditions. It is my duty to warn you that a change to primitive construction [temporary wooden walls without plastering] is likely to result in a huge increase in the death rate in the camps.

April 12, 1943: At a meeting at the Berghof, the Goebbels/Speer/Goering 'conspiracy' confronts Bormann's man Sauckel in an attempt to further their plan for a Council of Ministers.

From Speer's Spandau Draft: Goering showed his true colors at once. Instead of calling Sauckel to task as he had promised, he immediately launched a violent attack against his own Secretary of State, Field Marshall Milch, who by prior arrangement was the one who raised our objection to Sauckel's labor-bookkeeping. How could Milch accuse that good party comrade Sauckel, who worked so hard for the Fuehrer, of wrongdoing, Goering thundered. Ironically, it was he who only two days earlier had proposed ur strategy od spearheading our general attack with an objection to Sauckel's fantasy-figure reports to Hitler.

And Himmler immediately joined the stifling of our initiative. "Isn't the most likely explanation for the million missing bodies that they are dead?" he asked equably. It was only when I learned in Nuremberg of the numbers of dead in the concentration camps that I understood what he meant.

April 22, 1943: General Adolf Galland had, along with Willy Messerschmitt, been an opponent of the development of the Me262 turbojet fighter aircraft. However, on this day Galand flies a Me 262 and does a 180. He now supports the aircraft unreservedly.

From Messerschmitt's US SBS interview: The ME 262 had a maximum speed of 560 miles an hour at level flight, both at altitude and near the ground. Its normal speed was approximately 500 miles an hour. The individual motors supplied for this aircraft varied markedly in efficiency. Due to difficulties with workmen and machines the airframes were inferior. Professor Messerschmitt was working on a specially built 262 with which he expected to achieve a speed of 575 miles an hour. The aircraft was capable of two hours flight at 27,000 feet without belly tanks. Professor Messerschmitt believed that conventional motors and propellers were satisfactory for designs involving speeds up to 500 miles an hour. Beyond that and until the speed of sound had been achieved, he believed a turbo-jet was the best type. For speeds in excess of sound, he had no definite opinion. (SBS)

April 22, 1943: From notes of the thirty-sixth meeting of the Planning Board:

Speer: There is a statement showing in what sectors the Russian PW's have been distributed, and this statement is quite interesting. It shows that the armament industry only received 30 percent. I always complained about that.

From Speer's IMT testimony: It can be elucidated very briefly. This is proof of the fact that the conception "armaments" must be understood in the way I have explained, because the two sectors from which the 90,000 Russians employed in armaments originated, according to this document, were the iron, steel, and metal industries with 29,000; and the industries constructing engines, boilers, vehicles and apparatuses of all sorts with 63,000 . . . .

That [the order that the deputies of the Reich Minister for arms and munitions are to be admitted to prisoner-of-war camps for the purpose of selecting skilled workers] was a special action which Dr. Todt introduced on the strength of an agreement with the OKW. It was dropped later, however. I believe that [the above] has been wrongly translated. It should not say "munitions industry"; it should say, "The armament industry received 30 percent." . . . But this is still no proof that these prisoners of war were employed in violation of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention, because in the sector of the armament industry there was ample room to use these workers for production articles which, in the sense of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement, were not armament products. However, I believe that in the case of the Russian prisoners of war, there was not the same value attached to strict observance of the Geneva Convention as in the case of prisoners from western countries . . . .

As far as I know, French prisoners of war were not used contrary to the rules of the Convention. I cannot check that, because my office was not responsible for controlling the conditions of their employment. During my numerous visits to factories, I never noticed that any prisoner of war from the western territories was working directly on armament products ... the allotment of prisoners of war, or foreign workers, or German workers to a factory was not a matter for me to decide, but was carried out by the labor office, together with the Stalag, when it was a question of prisoners of war. I received only a general survey of the total number of workers who had gone to the factories, and so I could get no idea of what types of labor were being employed in each individual factory.

May 17, 1943: Sauckel to Hitler:

In addition to the labor allotted to the total German economy by the Arbeitseinsatz since I took office, the Organization Todt was supplied with new labor continually . . . . Thus the Arbeitseinsatz has done everything to help make possible the completion of the Atlantic Wall.

From Speer's IMT testimony: 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 . . . .

Those workers [the 50,000 skilled workers] had been working on the Atlantic Wall. From there they were transferred to the Ruhr to repair the two dams which had been destroyed by an air attack. I must say that the transfer of these 50,000 workers took place without my knowledge, and the consequences of bringing 50,000 workers from the West into Germany amounted to a catastrophe for us on the Atlantic Wall. It meant that more than one-third of all the workers engaged on the Atlantic Wall left because they, too, were afraid they might have to go to Germany. That is why we rescinded the order as quickly as possible, so that the French workers on the Atlantic Wall should have confidence in us. This fact will show you that the French workers we had working for the Organization Todt were not employed on a coercive basis, otherwise they could not have left in such numbers when they realized that under certain circumstances they, too, might be taken to Germany. So these measures taken with the 50,000 workers from the Organization Todt in France were only temporary and were revised later. It was one of those mistakes which can happen if a minister gives a harsh directive and his subordinates begin to carry it out by every means in their disposal . . . .

I do not deny that a large number of the people working for the Organization Todt in the West had been called up and came to their work because they had been called up, but we had no means whatsoever of keeping them there by force. That is what I wanted to say. So if they did not want to work, they could leave again; and then they either joined the resistance movement or went into hiding somewhere else.

May 17, 1943 Operation Chastise: Using a specially developed bouncing bomb, Royal Air Force Squadron No. 617 (subsequently known as the Dambusters) attack the Moehne and Eder dams in Germany's Ruhr valley. A catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley results. 53 of the 133 aircrew who participate in the attack are killed in action and three bail out to be made prisoners of war. This represents a casualty rate of almost 40%. (Davies)

From Speer's US SBS interview: In the case of the Moehne, it was the water supply of the Ruhr that was principally concerned. The attacks—which were also directed against the Sorpo and another small dam—indicated an intention to flood the Ruhr valley and destroy the summertime drinking water supplies of that area. The plan was excellent and might well have been expected to paralyze the Ruhr area. That it did not succeed was due only to the fact that the Moehne valley basin emptied and we were able to pump water from the other side of the Rhine at that time. The English probably did not know that as yet. The flooding filled the pumping stations in the power plants with mud, several units were soaked and had to be dried; this took weeks, but constituted no special loss for the industry. The Edor dam and the power plant below it is of no special importance as a source of power, but serves to regulate the water level of the Wesor for ship traffic. The attack was of little importance to us, and we did not understand what reasons lay behind it. Other than these two we never experienced attacks on power generating plants. (SBS)

From Speer's IMT testimony: After the attack on the Moehne Dam and the Eder Dam in April and May 1943, I went there and in that period I ordered that a special group from the Organization Todt should take over the restoration of these plants. I did this because I also wanted the machinery and the technical staff on the spot. This special group right away without asking me brought the French workers along. This had tremendous repercussions for us in the West because the workers on the building sites on the Atlantic Wall, who had up to that time felt safe from Sauckel's reach.

June 2, 1943: Rudolf Wolters, Speer's friend and archivist, meets Speer's parents in their Heidelberg home. From Wolters' diary:

[Speer's mother] told me about her three sons; the youngest, Ernst, had died in the battle for Stalingrad; it emerged quite clearly that he had been the parents' favorite. She said she didn't really have much contact in earlier years with Albert; he passed all his exams without any trouble and went his own way. He had been difficult when young. She didn't say it in so many words, but I already knew that one of the reasons for this difficulty was that the parents, particularly Speer's mother, had considered his wife socially unacceptable. "Albert was very stubborn," she said, "and avoided his home and his parents for years." The whole family, she admitted, was surprised by his sudden career. (Sereny)

June 1943: The Anglo-American Combined Bomber Offensive is officially launched as Operation Pointblank.

From Messerschmitt's US SBS interview: In June 1943, Professor Messerschmitt took the matter up personally with Hitler. He was then disturbed about the program for production of V-weapons. Messerschmitt explained to Hitler that, in his opinion, unless a production of 80- to 100,000 V-weapons per month could be achieved, the entire program should be scrapped. He argued that 50 per cent of the V-weapons would be ineffective. Messerschmitt felt that it would be possible for Germany to build 100,000 V-weapons a month when the US was capable of building 4,000,000 automobiles a year. He urged Hitler that one thing or the other should be done; either V-weapons should be produced in overwhelming quantities or everything should be done to build up the Luftwaffe. In Messerschmitt's personal opinion, if the Luftwaffe were not strengthened the war would be lost . . . . As a result of his insistence upon increased aircraft production in many Air Ministry meetings ... several of Messerschmitt's friends warned him to be careful or he might be sent to a concentration camp. (SBS)

June 26, 1943: Goebbels speaks at the opening of the 7th German Art Exhibition:

War is indeed a great destroyer, but it also contains constructive elements that suddenly appear in the midst of its destructive work. It robs us of our senses, yet also gives them back. Never before have our continent's people been able to see so clearly where Europe stands and what we must do. Times of comfortable peace may make the lure of material comfort seem all too satisfying. War wipes it all away. It drives away dullness and indifference, and returns us to the roots and sources of our strength, teaching that man does not live by bread alone. Never have the German people had such a drive toward intellectual and spiritual things as they do today. I am not speaking of the less pleasant manifestations of war, which are always there. But one should look to our theaters, concert halls, museums, and art exhibitions. Day and night, summer and winter, tens and hundreds of thousands of Germans sit or stand there astonished at so much beauty. We have become richer, more fulfilled, and better as a result of the war...

June 27, 1943: Sauckel to Hitler:

My Fuehrer: Herewith I beg to report my return from my official trip to France. Inasmuch as the free labor reserves in the territories occupied by the German Armed Forces have been, numerically, absorbed to saturation point, I am now carefully examining the possibilities of mobilizing additional labor reserves in the Reich and the occupied territories to work on German war production. In my reports of 20 April I was allowed to point out that intensive and careful utilization must be made of European labor forces in territories submitted to direct German influence. It was the purpose of my recent stay in Paris to investigate the possibilities still existing in France for the recruitment of labor by extensive conferences and my own personal inspection. On the basis of a carefully established balance sheet I have come to the following decision:

1. Assuming that war economy measures are carried out in France which would at least prove partially effective or approximately approach, in efficacy, the measures carried out in Germany, a further million workers, both men and women, could be assigned to the French war and armament industries up to December 1943 for work on German orders and assignments. In this case additional German orders might be placed in France.

2. In consideration of these measures and given a careful study of the subject together with the co-operation of our German armament services and the German labor recruiting offices, it should be possible to transfer a further 500,000 workers, both men and women, from France to the Reich between now and the end of the year. The prerequisites for the realization of this program, drafted by me are as follows:

1. Closest collaboration between all German offices especially in dealing with the French services.

2. A constant check on French economy by joint commissions, as already agreed upon by the Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production Party Member Speer, and myself.

3. Constant, skillful, and successful propaganda against the cliques of De Gaulle and Giraud.

4. The guarantee of adequate food supplies to the French population working for Germany.

5. An emphatic insistence on this urgency before the French Government, in particular before Marshal Petain, who still represents the main obstacle to the further recruiting of French women for compulsory labor.

6. A pronounced increase in the program which I have already introduced in France, for retraining workers to trades essential to war production . . . . I therefore beg you, my Fuehrer to approve my suggestion of making available I million French men and women for German war production in France proper in the second half of 1943 and, in addition, of transferring 500,000 French men and women to the Reich before the end of the current year. Yours faithfully and obediently, Fritz Sauckel.

From Speer's IMT testimony: But here again I must add something. This report is dated June 1943. In October 1943 the whole of the Organization Todt was given the status of a "blocked factory" and thereby received the advantages which other blocked factories had. I explained that sufficiently yesterday. Because of this, the Organization Todt had large offers of workers who went there voluntarily, unless, of course, you see direct coercion in the pressure put on them through the danger of their transfer to Germany, and which led them to the Organization Todt or the blocked factories. That [the workers were kept in labor camps] is the custom in the case of such building work. The building sites were far away from any villages, and so workers' camps were set up to accommodate the German and foreign workers. But some of them were also accommodated in villages, as far as it was possible to accommodate them there. I do not think that on principle they were only meant to be accommodated in camps, but I cannot tell you that for certain.

July 8, 1943: From a letter to Speer from the OKW:

All prisoners of war taken in the East after 5 July 1943 are to be brought to the camps of the OKW and from there, either directly or by barter through other employing agencies, will be turned over to the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor for commitment in coal mining . . . . All male prisoners from 16 to 55 years of age captured in guerrilla fighting in the operational army area of the eastern commissariats, the Government General, and the Balkans, will in the future be considered prisoners of war. The same applies to males in the newly conquered regions of the East. They are to be sent to prisoner-of-war camps and from there committed for labor in the Reich.

July 24, 1943: The large port city of Hamburg is hit by a large raid of 740 aircraft killing about 1,500 people. Only 12 aircraft are lost, 1.5% of the force. (Davies)

From Speer's US SBS interview: The first heavy attack was that against Hamburg. The attack against Hamburg caused me great concern that our production might be handicapped by a speedy continuation of similar attacks. Losses in Hamburg were very heavy then, the greatest we had ever suffered through air attack, mostly because of burning houses. The population was extraordinarily depressed. Loss of production in some places seemed to be very heavy. After this attack I went to the Fuehrer to tell him that it would be a great shock to armament production if we were to get about 6 or 8 such attacks against big cities. The effect of this attack consisted less in actual damage than in shock, and it may have been the mistake of all the attacks before and after Hamburg that they conditioned us systematically for air attack. That can be said as well for all previous attacks which were being increased as for the attack; against Hamburg which never reoccurred that severely. Hamburg remained a special case for a long time. (SBS)

July 27, 1943: Goebbels' Diary:

The Pope is playing games. The Italian aristocrats and their monarch show their true ungrateful colors . . . . What best to do? Everybody at HQ is confused. Except the Fuehrer, who, always in his element at a crisis, shows total calm and inner superiority, demonstrating time and again his complete mastery of the situation . . . . He proposes that we take over Rome . . . . Ribbentrop and I manage to persuade him of the inadvisability of occupying the Vatican . . . . The situation is too sensitive . . . . It would be dangerous to explain too much to the people ... there are those here, too, who might decide to take advantage of it . . . . By the evening, the Fuehrer is exhausted and dines alone, while at our table it emerges clearly that virtually none of our leading brains assembled there--Ribbentrop, Rommel, Doenitz, Keitel, Bormann--has any concept of the scope of our problem here ... except Speer, with whom I have a long talk after dinner. Of all the leading men in Germany, he is one of the few whose analysis of the situation is hard, bold and totally realistic.

July 28, 1943: Goebbels' Diary:

The last raid brought about 100 percent stoppage of production in the Krupp works. Speer himself is much concerned and worried about it.

August 2, 1943: The large port city of Hamburg is hit again by a large raid, this time of 791 aircraft. 30 aircraft are lost, 4.1% of the force. (Davies)

August 17-18, 1943: Peenemuende is attacked in a devastating raid by 517 British bombers, forcing the production of the A-4 underground. Eventually, tests will move to an alternate range at Blizna, Poland. (Verrier)

August 17 1943: A second wave force of 230 USAAF 8th Air Force B-17s encounter 300 defending fighter aircraft and intense anti-aircraft artillery while attacking Schweinfurt-Regensburg--the location of most of the Reich's ball-bearing production. As a result only 184 aircraft are able to actually strike their targets while 36 bombers will never return to their bases in England. (Davies)

From Speer's US SBS interview: At the first Schweinfurt raid we weren't prepared and so we were badly frightened by the results of this raid. As a matter of fact this raid had a serious effect on us. Aiming was good, and production at Schweinfurt was nearly paralyzed. At that time our only reserves consisted in the fact that the so-called 'Verlauf' for ball-bearings consisted, on the average, of several weeks' supply and that we reduced this 'Verlauf' after the first raid to eight days ... 'Verlauf' is the amount of ball-bearings that is enroute from the ball-bearing plants to the producers. Thus, if the ball-bearing plants were hit, the 'Verlauf' continues into production. So we were able to add the production of half a month to the available production. Beginning with this raid, because of the reduction of the 'Verlauf' to only eight days, occurred that some tanks and airplanes could not be finished due to the lack of ball-bearings. In these cases we had to haul ball-bearings by truck using soldiers as couriers. (SBS)

August 22, 1943: Hitler orders Heinrich Himmler to utilize concentration camp workers for A-4 production and decides to shift some prisoners from Buchenwald to Nordhausen.

From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: I knew of the subterranean works which were near Nordhausen, though I never was there myself. But they had been established at a rather early period. Nordhausen produced mainly V-1's and V-2's. With the conditions in Camp Dora, as they have been described, I am not familiar. I also believe that they are exaggerated. Of course, I knew that subterranean factories were being built. I was also interested in the construction of further plants for the Luftwaffe. I cannot see why the construction of subterranean works should be something particularly wicked or destructive. I had ordered construction of an important subterranean work at Kahla in Thuringia for airplane production in which, to a large extent, German workers and, for the rest, Russian workers and prisoners of war were employed. I personally went there to look over the work being done and on that day found everyone in good spirits. On the occasion of my visit I brought the people some additional rations of beverages, cigarettes, and other things, for Germans and foreigners alike. The other subterranean works for which I requested concentration camp internees were not built any more.

From Speer's IMT testimony: It soon became clear that it was Himmler's intention to gain influence over these industries and in some way or other he would undoubtedly have succeeded in getting these industries under his control. For that reason, as a basic principle, only part of the industrial staff consisted of internees from concentration camps, so as to counteract Himmler's efforts. And so it happened that the labor camps were attached to the armament industries. But Himmler never received his share of 5 to 8 percent of arms, which had been decided upon. This was prevented due to an agreement with the General of the Army Staff in the OKW, General Buhle.

September 2, 1943: From a Hitler decree concerning the concentration of the war economy:

Taking into consideration the stricter mobilization and uniform commitment of all economic forces required by the exigencies of war, I order the following: . . . . The powers of the Reich Minister for Economy in the sphere of raw materials and production in industry and trade are given to the Reich Minister for armaments and munitions. The Reich Minister for armaments and munitions, in view of the extended scope of his tasks, will be known as Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Immediately after taking over production in September 1943, I agreed with Bichelonne that a large-scale program of shifting industry from Germany to France should be put into operation, according to the system I already described. In an ensuing conference, Bichelonne stated that he was not authorized to talk about labor allocations with me, for Minister Laval had expressly forbidden him to do so. He would have to point out, he said, that a further recruitment of workers on the present scale would make it impossible to adhere to the program which we had agreed upon. I was of the same opinion. We agreed, therefore, that the entire French production, beginning with coal, right up to the finished products, should be declared as "blocked industries." In this connection both of us were perfectly aware of the fact that this would almost inhibit the allocation of workers for Germany, since, as I have already explained, every Frenchman was free to enter one of these blocked factories once he had been called up for work in Germany. I gave Bichelonne my word that I should adhere to this principle for a protracted period, and, in spite of all difficulties which occurred, I kept my promise to him.

September 6, 1943: From a document signed jointly by Speer and Funk:

Insofar as existing laws establish the authority of the Reich Minister of Economy in the regulation of goods traffic, this authority for the period of the war will be exercised by the Minister for Armaments and War Production.

October 6, 1943: Speer speaks before a conference of Reichsleiter’s and Gauleiter’s in the town hall of Posen, in Nazi occupied Poland. Speer's speech is in the morning, following those of industrial experts, including Walter Rohland, Germany's steel czar. An excerpt as recorded in Speer's memoirs:

You will please take note of what I am saying. The manner in which some of the Gau have hitherto obstructed the shutdown of consumer goods production will no longer be tolerated . . . . I can assure you that I am prepared to apply the authority of the Reich government at any cost. I have discussed this with Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, and from now on districts that do not carry out within two weeks the measures I request will be dealt with firmly.

October 6, 1943: From Goebbels' Diary:

They didn't say that much that was new for me, but ... there black on black descriptions of the state of the war ... and war production ... were a good introduction for Speer's own fifty-minute address . . . . Based on solid facts and figures, he demonstrates as clearly as can be that nothing will now help ... except ... total effort for total war ... as--for all the good it did--I already said in my speech at the Palace of Sports [in February] . . . .

Speer told them very bluntly that no protests and no arguments would deter him [from converting plants to war production]. He is, of course, right: The Fuehrer has ordered him to transfer a million workers into armaments at once and, furthermore, to release sufficient young men from the armaments industry to form about twenty divisions. The Gauleiter are screaming holy murder, for of course it means the end of most of their flourishing industries. But they'll have to go along with him.

October 6, 1943: Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler speaks at the same conference in Posen in the evening [Note: This speech should not be confused with a similar speech Himmler delivered two days earlier to SS leaders]. Speer will hereafter maintain that he had left the conference before Himmler made his speech and knew nothing of the Holocaust. Historians cite Himmler's direct reference to Speer as proof of his presence. A few pertinent excerpts:

I ask of you that that which I say to you in this circle be really only heard and not ever discussed. We were faced with the question: what about the women and children? I decided to find a clear solution to this problem too. I did not consider myself justified to exterminate the men--in other words, to kill them or have them killed and allow the avengers of our sons and grandsons in the form of their children to grow up. The difficult decision had to be made to have this people disappear from the earth. For the organization which had to execute this task, it was the most difficult which we had ever had . . . .

I felt obliged to you, as the most superior dignitary, as the most superior dignitary of the party, this political order, this political instrument of the Fuehrer, to also speak about this question quite openly and to say how it has been. The Jewish question in the countries that we occupy will be solved by the end of this year. Only remainders of odd Jews that managed to find hiding places will be left over . . . .

This entire [Warsaw] ghetto was producing fur coats, dresses, and the like. Whenever we tried to get at it in the past we were told: Stop! Armaments factory! Of course, this has nothing to do with Party Comrade Speer. It wasn't your doing. It is this portion of alleged armaments factories that Party Comrade Speer and I intend to clear out in the next few weeks and months. We will do this as unsentimentally as all things must be done in the fifth year of the war--unsentimentally but with a large heart for Germany...

From Adolf Hitler, by John Toland: He [Himmler] was like Brutus, forcing his colleagues to dip their hands in Caesar's blood. The Final Solution was no longer the burden only of Hitler and Himmler but theirs [the Reichsleiter’s and Gauleiter’s], a burden they must carry in silence.

Bormann closed the meeting with an invitation to lunch in the adjoining hall. During the meal Schirach and the other Gauleiter’s and Reichsleiter’s wordlessly avoided each others eyes. Most guessed that Himmler had only revealed the truth so as to make them all accomplices and that evening they drank so much that a good number had to be helped to the train that was taking them to Wolfsschanze. Albert Speer, who had addressed the same audience just before Himmler, was so disgusted by the drunken spectacle that the next day he urged Hitler to read his party leaders a lecture on temperance.

Speer claims to this day [1976] that he knew nothing of the Final Solution. Some scholars have accused him of attending Himmler's speech since during it the Reichsfuehrer specifically addressed him. Speer insists he left for Rastenburg immediately after his own speech. Field Marshal Milch confirmed this [to Toland while he was writing the book]. Granted that Speer was not present, it is difficult to believe he did not know about the extermination camps. From the text of Himmler's speech it is clear that he thought he was talking directly to Speer--and assuming that he was one of the high-ranking conspirators.

Note: In October 1971 American Professor of History Erich Goldhagen—the father of author Daniel Goldhagen—in an article that will appear in the magazine Midstream, will accuse Speer of having been at the conference and present during Himmler's speech. "One of the men to whom Himmler revealed the great secret was Albert Speer, Goldhagen writes. While Speer never denied participating at this meeting, he has always denied being present for Himmler's speech. Goldhagen remarks that Speer, in his memoirs and subsequent interviews, "says nothing, simply nothing, about Himmler's speech, much less about Himmler's presence. He secretly washed his hands clean of the blood of those to whose deaths he contributed, and he remorsefully beats his breast with his seemingly clean hands: 'I am a murderer, even though I neither saw, nor heard, nor knew about the deaths of my victims.' It is, to put it mildly, a despicable spectacle."

Goldhagen's article will put Speer in a panic. Speer will again protest that he had left before Himmler spoke, and will subsequently obtain sworn affidavits from two of his friends--and fellow conference participants--to 'prove' he had not heard the Reichsfuehrer's address. Following is an excerpt from the affidavit of Walter Rohland, who had spoken before Speer:

From the affidavit of Walter Rohland: As the Gauleiter were scheduled to confer with Hitler in Rastenburg the next day and Speer feared that by that time our addresses would have dissipated, we drove to Hitler's HQ that same day in order to convince him of the urgency of our demands and the need for him to be tough with the Gauleiter. This is what I wrote a year ago, without having communicated with Speer about it in any way. Our trip took place in Speer's fast Mercedes which he drove himself. We left Posen after a snack and arrived at Hitler's HQ just after dark . . . . I declare under oath that the above information, given from my best recollection, is the truth. Signed, at Ratingen, July 6, 1973.

From the affidavit of Harry Siegmund [administrative aide to the Gauleiter of Posen]: I remember clearly that Speer left [Posen] in his car shortly after lunch. As I was responsible for organization and protocol, I was in constant touch with the hotel's director to make sure that everything would go off smoothly. I was therefore informed about all arrivals an departures. I also recall that when, in the course of a conversation on a later occasion with the liaison officer of the local army command, Prinz Reuss XXXVII, we compared Speer's cool presentation of the armament situation with the ominous rumors about Himmler's speech, Prinz Reuss emphasized that Albert Speer was not present during this speech . . . . [Himmler was extremely shortsighted] I would therefore doubt that Himmler during his speech could have noticed who was present, especially since, considering the 'Romanic' style of Posen Castle, bright lights were avoided. I declare on oath that the preceding statement, made from my best recollection, is the truth. Badenweiller, October 22, 1975.

Note: In 1978, Speer will answer these charges in the German periodical Controversies, edited by German historian Adelbert Reif. Nine years later, Speer's biographer, Gitta Sereny, will find Speers first draft of his 'Reply' in his papers. Twice as long as the published version, it also contains four more argument/explanations:

1) It is impossible that I could have gone by air to Rastenburg after Himmler's speech, at about 7 PM, because according to a declaration on oath by my former pilot, Lufthanasa Captain Hermann Nein (ret.), in order to fly I would have had to leave Posen shortly before 4 PM as the Rastenburg airport was not equipped for night landings.

Note: This assertion by Speer is questionable. Hitler's personal pilot, Hans Baur, in an interview with Sereny, stated that it was not true that it was impossible to fly into Rastenburg at night: "I won't say it was easy, because it wasn't. It's true that the airport was not specifically equipped for night flights. For night flights we put up temporary lighting, and therefore preferably used a larger airport nearby. But I certainly flew into Rastenburg at night."

2) It can be assumed that I covered the 430 kilometers between Posen and Rastenburg on straight roads virtually free of traffic in about five hours. Thus Dr. Rohland and I could have arrived at Hitler's HQ between 6:30 and 7 PM.

3: Hitler's appointment list [Terminkalender] shows no fixed dates between 5 PM and 9:10 PM on October 6, 1943, except for 9:10 with two permanent members of his HQ staff . . . .There were thus, including supper, about two hours available fop Hitler's meeting with Rohland and me.

[Note: Speer assumes that the Terminkalender was an appointments list, but it was not. It was a record kept by Hitler's valet Heinz Linge of Hitler's activities written after the fact. While the Terminkalender records Speer's presence at supper and tea on the following day, October 7, it does not confirm his presence on the 6th. It is therefore safe to say that it did not happen as Speer would have liked it to.]

4) I spoke twice to the Gauleiter in Posen, on October 6, 1943, and on August 3, 1944. Both times I went to Hitler's HQ at Rastenburg after my speech: once with the Gauleiter's Special Train as I described it in Inside the Third Reich and once in my car. When I wrote my book, I mixed up the two journeys.

[Note: This is also false. The two conferences were completely different in tone and content and would be difficult to confuse with each other. In addition, Goebbels' Diary entry of August 3, 1944 establishes that Speer didn't leave from the latter conference for Rastenburg until midnight and in the company of Goebbels: "At midnight I travel with Speer to headquarters".]

Gitta Sereny, in Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth writes: The fact is that the more Speer tries to explain away awkward facts [about Posen], the clearer it is that he is trying desperately to avoid facing the truth. There is simply no way Speer can have failed to know about Himmler's speech, whether or not he actually sat through it. I believe that this was the turning point in his relationship with Hitler, even though it took a long time for it to be a complete reversal—if it ever was.

October 9, 1943: Goebbels records his thoughts on Himmler's October 6 speech in Posen, at which he was in attendance. From Goebbels' Diary:

Regarding the Jewish question, he [Himmler] gives a very unadorned and frank picture. He is of the conviction that the Jewish question can be solved by the end of this year. He advocates the most radical and most severe solution, namely to exterminate Jewry, bag and baggage. Of course, if brutal, this is a consistent solution. Because we must take on the responsibility of entirely solving this question in our time. Subsequent generations will doubtlessly no longer dare address this problem with the courage and obsession as we are able to do today.
October 14, 1943: 8th Air Force mounts a second attack on Schweinfurt-Regensburg. It proves to be even more costly than the first and will become known as 'Black Thursday.' Of 291 B-17s, 229 complete their missions while 60 are lost. Note: Schweinfurt will be bombed 22 times altogether by the USAAF and the RAF by a total of 2285 aircraft. (Davies)

October 1943: Women prisoners from Birkenau begin working for the armaments firm Weichsel Union Metallwerke, an armaments plant owned by a company associated with Krupp. The plant makes fuses for artillery shells. (THC)

From Speer's IMT testimony: Generally speaking one can say that in the end every article which in wartime is produced in the home country, whether it is a pair of shoes for the workers, or clothing, or coal is, of course-is made to assist in the war effort. That has nothing to do with the old conception, which has long since died out, and which we find in the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention. I was at the Krupp plant five or six times ... when I went to visit these plants, it was mostly in order to see how we could do away with the consequences of air attacks. It was always shortly after air raids, and so I got an idea of the production. As I worked hard I knew a lot about these problems, right down to the details. Of course, Krupp had labor camps. I cannot give the percentage, but no doubt Krupp did employ foreign workers and prisoners of war. I do not know the details. I do not know the figures of how many workers Krupp employed in all. I am not familiar with them at the moment. But I believe that the percentage of foreign workers at Krupp was about the same as in other plants and in other armament concerns.

That [the percentage of foreign workers] varied a great deal. The old established industries which had their old regular personnel had a much lower percentage of foreign workers than the new industries which had just grown up and which had no old regular personnel. The reason for this was that the young age groups were drafted into the Armed Forces and therefore the concerns which had a personnel of older workers still retained a large percentage of the older workers. Therefore the percentage of foreign workers in Army armaments, if you take it as a whole and as one of the older industries, was lower than the percentage of foreign workers in air armaments, because that was a completely new industry which had no old regular personnel. But with the best will in the world I cannot give you the percentage.

November 1943: From the book Germany at War (Deutschland im Kampf):

On the basis of the Fuehrer decree of 2 September 1943 relative to the concentration of war economy, and of the decree of the Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich and the Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan for Central Planning of 4 September 1943, Reich Minister Speer will now direct the entire war economic production in his capacity as Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production. He alone is competent and responsible for guiding, directing, and applying the industrial war economy.

November 1, 1943 Moscow Declaration:

Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusers in order that justice may be done. The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of German criminals whose offenses have no particular geographical localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the government of the Allies...

November 7, 1943: From a speech by General Jodl at Munich before an audience of Gauleiter:

The dilemma of manpower shortage has led to the idea of making more thorough use of the manpower reserves in the territories occupied by us. Here right and wrong conceptions are mixed together. I believe that as far as labor is concerned, the utmost has been done, but where this is not yet the case, it would appear preferable from the political point of view to abstain from compulsory measures and instead to aim at order and economic effort. In my opinion, however, the time has now come to take steps with remorseless vigor and resolution in Denmark, Holland, France, and Belgium to compel thousands of idle persons to carry out fortification work, which takes precedence over all other tasks. The necessary orders for this have already been given . . . .

My most profound confidence is however based upon the fact that at the head of Germany there stands a man by his entire development, his desires, and striving can only have been destined by fate to lead our people into a brighter future. In defiance of all views to the contrary I must here testify that he is the soul not only of the political but also of the military conduct of the war and that the force of his willpower and the creative riches of his thought animate and hold together the whole of the German Armed Forces, with respect to strategy, organization and munitions of war.

November 8, 1943: Hitler speaks in Munich:

The task of those at home is to support and strengthen those at the front line in their struggle to achieve what seems impossible, or what may seem impossible to bear, so that those at the front recognize clearly that the fate of our entire People, of our women and children and of our entire future depends on the mobilization of our total strength to force a decision in our favor; that every sacrifice which we make today is nothing compared to the sacrifices which we would be forced to make if we were not to win the war; that therefore our only thought must be to conduct the war ruthlessly with the unalterable goal of achieving victory, no matter what the situation and where we have to fight.

From Speers' Nuremberg Draft [a fifty-nine page profile of Hitler's regime drafted by Speer while a prisoner at Eisenhower's HQ in 1945]: One thing is certain: All those who worked closely with him were to an extraordinary degree dependent on and servile to him. However powerful they appeared in their domain, in his proximity they became small and timid . . . .

In the autumn of 1943, after a visit to Fuehrer HQ, Doenitz and I once discussed this hypnotic quality of his. And we realized that both of us had reduced our attendance at Fuehrer HQ to once every few weeks for the same reason: to maintain our inner independence. Both of us were certain that we could no longer function properly if, like Keitel for example, we were continuously near him. We were sorry for Keitel who was so much under his influence that he was finally nothing but his tool, without any will of his own.

November 18, 1943: Berlin is attacked by 440 Avro Lancasters and four de Havilland Mosquitos, but suffers little damage. (Davies)

From Messerschmitt's US SBS interview: It was Professor Messerschmitt's opinion that area attacks on cities did no critical damage to war production and that they resulted in a stiffening of morale. (SBS)

From Speer's IMT testimony: It must have been toward the end of 1943 . . . . It was at the Fuehrer's headquarters in East Prussia in front of Goering's train. Galland had reported to Hitler that enemy fighter planes were already escorting bomber squadrons as far as Liege and that it was to be expected that in the future the bomber units would travel still farther from their bases escorted by fighters. After a discussion with Hitler on the military situation Goering upbraided Galland and told him with some excitement that this could not possibly be true, that the fighters could not go as far as Liege. He said that from his experience as an old fighter pilot he knew this perfectly well. Thereupon Galland replied that the fighters were being shot down, and were lying on the ground near Liege. Goering would not believe this was true. Galland was an outspoken man who told Goering his opinion quite clearly and refused to allow Goering's excitement to influence him.

Finally Goering, as Supreme Commander of the Air Force, expressly forbade Galland to make any further reports on this matter. It was impossible, he said, that enemy fighters could penetrate so deeply in the direction of Germany, and so he ordered him to accept that as being true. I continued to discuss the matter afterward with Galland and Galland was actually later relieved by Goering of his duties as Commanding General of Fighters. Up to this time Galland had been in charge of all the fighter units in Germany. He was the general in charge of all the fighters within the High Command of the Air Force.

November 22, 1943: A bombing raid kills 2,000 Berliners and renders 175,000 homeless.

From Speer's US SBS interview: Later on I had an opportunity to witness the effects of numerous night attacks on Berlin for the period from about June, July 1943 until February 1944. Those, though they always had considerable effect, speedily hardened the population. They did not mind air attacks very much any longer. The effects of industry were indirect only in that labor first remained absent for a few days in those plants not directly hit. But one must say that the German worker possesses an extraordinary resistance and up to the end, and in spite of air attacks, returned to the plants and worked again. I for my part had always to underline that we owe our achievements almost exclusively to our German Workers. Attacks against towns or city centers can only make sense if the nations do not have the necessary resistance. (SBS)

December 10, 1943: Albert Speer visits the Nordhausen Mittelwerk V-2 rocket plant at Camp Dora. (Sellier, IMT)

December 24, 1943: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat:

During the last two days in Teheran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead; ahead to the days and months and years that will follow Germany's defeat. We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might. The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word 'respectable' - for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the Master Race...
December 31, 1943: The Birkenau women prisoners that walk daily from Weichsel Union Metallwerke, are moved to the women's camp established on the grounds of the extension of the main Birkenau camp. (THC)

January 4, 1944: Hitler orders that 1 million additional workers are to be brought from France to Germany.

From Speer's IMT testimony: The [labor] program was extended to Belgium, Holland, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. The entire production in these countries was also declared blocked, and the laborers in these blocked industries were given the same protection as in France, even after the meeting with Hitler on 4 January 1944, during which the new program for the West for 1944 was fixed. I adhered to this policy. The result was that during the first half of 1944, 33,000 workers came from France to Germany as compared with 500,000, proposed during that conference; and from other countries, too, only about 10 percent of the proposed workers were taken to Germany.

His [Hitler's] decision was a useless compromise, as was often the case with Hitler. These blocked factories were to be maintained, and for this purpose Sauckel was given the order to obtain 3,500,000 workers from the occupied territories. Hitler gave the strictest instructions through the High Command of the Armed Forces to the military commanders that Sauckel's request should be met by all means. Contrary to the Fuehrer's decision during that meeting, I informed the military commander of the way I wanted it, so that in connection with the expected order from the High Command of the Armed Forces the military commander would have two interpretations of the meeting in his hands. Since the military commander was agreeable to my interpretation, it could be expected that he would follow my line of thought.

January 6, 1944: Speer writes to Sauckel:

Dear Party-Comrade Sauckel, I ask you, in accordance with your promise to the Fuehrer, to assign these workers so that the orders issued to me by the Fuehrer may be carried out on time. In addition there is an immediate need of 70,000 workers for the Todt Organization to meet the time limit set on the Atlantic Wall by the Fuehrer in Order Number 51; notification of the need for this labor was given more than 6 months ago, but it has not yet been complied with.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I should like to summarize the entire subject and say a few words about it. We had a technique of dealing with inconvenient orders from Hitler that permitted us to by-pass them. Jodl has already said in his testimony that for his part he had developed such a technique too. And so, of course, the letters which are being submitted here are only clear to the expert as to their meaning and the results they would have to have.

January 7, 1944: Speer and Milch meets with Hitler at his headquarters. The Fuehrer informs them that analysis of English periodicals reveals that the English are near to achieving success in the testing of experimental jet aircraft. Hitler demands that production of the Me 262, the Germans' turbojet fighter aircraft, be put on top priority.

January 25, 1944: Speer writes to Sauckel:

I am informed by Thyssen [an armaments firm in the Ruhr] that in a transport of 509 just-arrived workers from the East were 161 children from 1 to 14 years old, and 49 men and 69 women incapable of performing work: it seems pointless to assign family groups to factory work for which, obviously, only young and unattached workers are suitable. The others, if anything, would surely be more useful on the land . . . .

My understanding is that 40,000 [armaments workers in the Hamburg area], who apparently just wandered off, remain unaccounted for. It is essential to proceed very sharply indeed here; they are to be brought back from wherever they are and put to work in the places they were assigned to. (Sereny)

January 25, 1944: Speer writes to Hitler:

I need hardly emphasize to you, Mein Fuehrer, that I have never aspired to enter the realm of politics, either in wartime or after the war. I regard my present activities simply as wartime service, and I am looking forward to the time when I will be able to devote myself to artistic matters which are more to my liking than any ministerial post or political work.

January 28, 1944: Speer berates Sauckel: From a press dispatch I note that the employment of women has progressed much further in England than here.

January 30, 1944: Hitler addresses the Reich by radio:

God the Almighty has made our nation. By defending its existence we are defending His work. The fact that this defense is fraught with incalculable misery, suffering and hardships makes us even more attached to this nation. But it also gives us that hard will needed to fulfill our duty even in the most critical struggle; that is, not only to fulfill our duty toward the decent, noble Germans, but also our duty toward those few infamous ones who turn their backs on their people. In this fateful battle there is therefore for us but one command: He who fights honorably can thus save his own life and the lives of his loved ones. But he who, because of cowardice or lack of character, turns his back on the nation shall inexorably die an ignominious death...

February 14, 1944: Goering to Himmler:

I received your request to from another squadron of airforce group for special purposes 7(Z.B.V.7) and ordered examination by the air force operational staff [Luftwaffenfuehrungsstab]. At the same time I ask you to put at my disposal as great a number of Concentration Camp [KZ] convicts as possible for air armament, as this kind of manpower proved to be very useful according to previous experience. The situation of the air war makes subterranean transfer of industry necessary. For work of this kind Concentration Camp convicts can be especially well concentrated at work and in the camp. Such installations are necessary in order to secure production of the now fully developed most modern airplanes. The Fuehrer upon his visit in Insterbrug has attached great value to these airplanes. Intermediate negotiations have already been held between my and your departments. I would be especially grateful for your support in carrying out this task.

February 15, 1944: The largest raid by the RAF on Berlin hits important war industries in the large Siemensstadt area. (Davies)

From Speer's US SBS interview: Several times the bombs came close, but with Siemensstadt we always had incredible luck. Despite the many raids we never had a collapse of production, but this was an exceptional case. This was because Siemens has high concrete buildings which can be totally destroyed with heavy bombs. With medium or small caliber’s it sometimes happened that if the bombs hit the top a few upper floors were destroyed and we could continue to work downstairs. Concrete buildings are generally very good as air raid protection. (SBS)

February 18, 1944: Most Honored Reich Marshal:

Following my teletype letter of 18 February 1944, I herewith transmit a survey on the employment of prisoners in the aviation industry. This survey indicates that at the present time about 36,000 prisoners are employed for the purposes of the Air Force. An increase to a total of 90,000 prisoners is contemplated. The production program is being discussed, established, and executed by the Reich Ministry of Aviation and the chief of my Economic Administrative Main Office, SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS Pohl. We assist with all the forces at our disposal.

The task of my Economic Administrative Main Office, however, is not solely fulfilled with the allocation of the prisoners to the aviation industry, as SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl and his assistants take care of the required working speed through constant control and supervision of the work-groups (Kommandos) and therefore have some influence on the results of production. In this respect I may suggest consideration of the fact that in enlarging our responsibility through a speeding-up of the total work, better results can definitely be expected." I pass now to the last two paragraphs of the letter, which will be found on the next page of the translation:

The movement of manufacturing plants of the aviation industry to subterranean locations requires further employment of about 100,000 prisoners. The plans for this employment on the basis of your letter of 14 February 1944 are already under way. I shall keep you, most honored Reich Marshal, currently informed on this subject.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I received the letter on or about 15 May in Berlin, when I returned after my illness. Its contents greatly upset me because, after all, this is nothing more than kidnapping. I had an estimate submitted to me about the number of people thus being removed from the economic system. The round figure was 30,000 to 40,000 a month. The result was my declaration in the Central Planning Board on 22 May 1944, where I demanded that these workers, even as internees, as I called them, should be returned to their old factories at once. This remark, as such, is not logical because, naturally, the number of crimes in each individual factory was very low, so that such a measure was not practicable. Anyhow, what I wished to express by it was that the workers would have to be returned to their original places of work. This statement in the Central Planning Board has been submitted by the Prosecution.

Immediately after the meeting of the Central Planning Board I went to see Hitler, and there I had a conference on 5 June 1944. The minutes of the Fuehrer conference are available. I stated that I would not stand for any such procedure, and I cited many arguments founded entirely on reason, since no other arguments would have been effective. Hitler declared, as the minutes show, that these workers would have to be returned to their former work at once, and that after a conference between Himmler and myself he would once again communicate this decision of his to Himmler.

March 1, 1944: At a meeting of the Central Planning Board, Sauckel makes the following declaration:

My duty towards the Fuehrer, the Reich Marshal [Goering], Minister Speer, and you, gentlemen, as well as towards agriculture, is clear; and I will fulfill it. As a start we have already 262,000 new workers; and I hope and am firmly convinced that I shall obtain most of what has been asked. The labor will have to be distributed, of course, according to the needs of German armament first, and secondly, German industry as a whole; and I shall always be prepared, gentlemen, to see to it that closest contact is constantly maintained here and that closest collaboration is given by the subordinated labor exchanges, as well as by the Gau labor exchanges.

From Sauckel's IMT testimony: I did not deny that there was collaboration. Collaboration is necessary in every regime and in every system. Here we were not concerned with foreign labor only, but chiefly with German labor, even at that period. I did not dispute the fact that work was being carried on; but final decisions were not always made there. That is what I wanted to say. I did not have representatives in the various administrative departments. I had liaison men, or else the administrative departments had liaison men in my office. The man who was constantly with Speer was not a liaison officer, but the man who talked over with the Minister questions of demand, et cetera, which were pending. As far as I remember it was a Herr Berk.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In 1941 I had not yet anything to do with armament; and even later, during the period of Sauckel's activity, I did not appoint these delegates and did not do much to promote their activities. That was a matter for Sauckel to handle; it was in his jurisdiction. In 1943 I demanded in the Central Planning Board that the German labor reserves should be drawn upon, and in 1944 during the conversation of 4 January with Hitler I said the same thing. Sauckel at that time stated--and that can be seen from his speech of 1 March 1944, which has been submitted as a document--that there were no longer any reserves of German workers.

But at the same time he also testified here that he had succeeded in 1944 in mobilizing a further 2 million workers from Germany, whereas at a conference with Hitler on 1 January 1944 he considered that to be completely impossible. Thus he has himself proved here that at a time when I desired the use of internal labor he did not think there was any, although he was later forced by circumstances to mobilize these workers from Germany after all; therefore my statement at the time was right.

March 15, 1944: Reports that von Braun and a few of his colleagues had expressed regret that they were working on weapons instead of spaceships, and that they also had expressed opinions that the war was going against Germany, prompt the Gestapo to arrest him. He is taken to a Gestapo cell in Stettin, Poland, where he will be held without any charges being filed against him. (Braun)

March 30, 1944: 781 British bombers attack Nuremberg. (Davies)

April 26, 1944: From a Hitler Order:

In case of an invasion [of France by the Allies] able-bodied labor must at all costs be kept out of the hands of the enemy. The armament situation in the Reich requires that such labor be immediately placed at the disposal of the German armaments plants in as large numbers as possible.

April 26, 1944: From a file note by Sauckel:

Only by a renewed mobilization of reserves in the occupied western territories can the urgent need of German armament for skilled workers be satisfied. For this purpose the reserves from other territories are not sufficient either in quality or in quantity. They are urgently needed for the requirements of agriculture, transportation, and construction. Up to 75 percent of the workers from the West have always been allocated to armament.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Up to the spring of 1943 I completely endorsed them. Up to that time no obvious disadvantages had resulted for me. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, workers from the West refused in ever-increasing numbers to go to Germany. That may have had something to do with our defeat at Stalingrad and with the intensified air attacks on Germany. Up to the spring of 1943, to my knowledge, the labor obligations were met with more or less good will. However, beginning with the spring of 1943, frequently only part of the workers who had been called up came to report at the recruiting places.

Therefore, approximately since June 1943, I established the so-called blocked factories through the military commanders in France. Belgium, Holland, and Italy soon followed suit in establishing these blocked industries. It is important to note that every worker employed in one of these blocked factories was automatically excluded from allocation to Germany; and any worker who was recruited for Germany was free to go into a blocked factory in his own country without the labor allocation authorities having the possibility of taking him out of this blocked factory.

After the establishment of the blocked factories, the labor allocation from the occupied countries in the West to Germany decreased to a fraction of what it had been. Before that between 80,000 and 100,000 workers came for instance from France to Germany every month. After the establishment of the blocked factories, this figure decreased to the insignificant number of 3,000 or 4,000 a month, as is evident from Document RF-22. It is obvious, and we have to state the facts, that the decrease in these figures was also due to the resistance movement which began to expand in the West at that time.

At that time the first serious difference arose about the "blocking" of these workers from labor allocation in Germany. This came about through the fact that the loss of laborers, which I had in the production in the occupied countries, was larger than the number of workers who came to Germany from the occupied countries of the West. According to it perhaps 400,000 workers came from France to Germany in 1943, especially during the first half of the year. Industrial workers in France, however, decreased by 800,000, and the French workers in France who worked for Germany decreased by 450,000.

According to my opinion there was still a considerable latent reserve in the German production, since the German peace economy had not been converted into a war economy on a sufficiently large scale. Here was, in my opinion, next to the German women workers, the largest reserve of the German home labor supply.

At that time, I had already worked out the following plan. A large part of the industry in Germany produced so-called consumer goods. Consumer goods were, for instance, shoes, clothing, furniture, and other necessary articles for the Armed Forces and for the civilian requirements. In the occupied western territories, however, the industries which supplied these products were kept idle, as the raw materials were lacking. But they nevertheless had a great potential. In carrying through this plan I deprived German industries of the raw materials which were produced in Germany, such as synthetic wool, and sent them to the West. Thereby, in the long run, a million more workers could be supplied with work in the country itself; and thus I obtained 1 million German workers for armament. All these plans failed. Before the outbreak of war the French Government did not succeed in building up armament production in France, and I also failed, or rather my agencies failed, in this task.

Through this plan I could close down whole factories in Germany for armament; and in that way I freed not only workers, but also factory space and administrative personnel. I also saved on electricity and transportation. Apart from that, since these factories had never been of importance for the war effort they had received hardly any foreign workers; and thus I almost exclusively obtained German workers for the German production, workers, of course, who were much more valuable than any foreign workers.

The disadvantages were considerable, since any closing down of a factory meant the taking out of machinery, and at the end of the war a re-conversion to peacetime production would take at least 6 to 8 months. At that time, at a Gauleiter meeting at Posen, I said that if we wanted to be successful in this war, we would have to be those to make the greater sacrifices.

April 1944: From the British Observer:

[Speer is] the man who actually directs the giant power machine. The Hitler's and the Himmler’s we may get rid of, but the Speers, whatever happens to this particular man, will long be with us. (Conot)
May 1944: Hitler decides to produce the ME 262 as a fighter-bomber.

From Hermann Goering's US SBS interview: The first aircraft were primarily experimental ships and their engines had a lifetime of about four to five hours. Then again, they were completely new machines of which a great number had to be used for the training of pilots. Furthermore, we had to shake out the 'bugs' from the engines. So that a lot of the first machines were lost through forced landings. Another thing, the ship had a kind of brake which had to be applied very carefully, otherwise it would roll off the runway and until we had corrected that, we lost a number of machines this way. It was hard to throttle it back because it was very fast. A lot of other things came into it. It was just a completely new ship and a completely new type of engine. But toward the end, everything was under control, and what was needed was a little more experience for the pilots, so that they might know how to fly this ship at its high speeds...The Fuehrer had originally directed that it be produced as a fighter, but in May, 1944, he ordered that it be converted into a fighter-bomber. This conversion was one of the main reasons for the delay in getting this plane into action in any quantity. (SBS)

May 7, 1944: From a letter from office chief Schieber to Speer:

Considering the care which the manpower from camps received from our factory managers in spite of all the difficulties and considering the general decent and humane treatment which foreign and concentration camp laborers received, both the Jewesses and concentration camp laborers work very efficiently and do everything in order not to be sent back to the concentration camp. These facts really demand that we transfer still more concentration camp inmates into armament industries. . . .

I have discussed this whole matter in great detail with the delegate of Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, Sturmbannfuehrer Maurer, and especially pointed out that by a decentralized dividing-up of concentration camp laborers it might be possible appropriately to utilize their forces while affording them better nourishment and satisfactory lodging . . . . Aside from that, Maurer especially points out that Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl constantly improved the food situation of concentration camp inmates working in factories and that by granting additional protein foods, given under constant medical supervision, a marked increase in weight was obtained and thereby better work achieved.

May 10, 1944: From a speech by Speer:

In 1940, when Dr Todt was appointed Minister of Armaments and Munitions, the Fuehrer summoned me officially. Hitler told me that Todt's job of equipping the armed forces was so overwhelming that one person could not also handle the construction program at the same time. I asked the Fuehrer to reconsider his intention of putting me in charge of construction. For it was evident to me how much this job meant to Dr Todt and what an inner struggle he would have before he could relinquish it. He would have been very unhappy with this solution. The Fuehrer reconsidered.

May 12, 1944: The Allies simultaneously attack several German hydrogenation plants. (Davis) From Speer’s US SBS interview: I flew to Poelitz on the same day to look at the bombed plants. I continued my journey the following night to Obersalzberg to get a special authorization which I transferred to Geilenberg who carried through the reconstruction of the hydrogenation plants with special effort. The happenings of the 12th of May had been a nightmare to us for more than two years. As a result of the first attacks on the hydrogenation plants we had to concentrate an enormous amount of labor for reconstruction of these plants. It was our good luck that you always gave us a little (more) time between attacks than we needed for reconstruction so that it was possible for us to maintain production for a short time ... we produced several tons through the process of hydrogenation until December 1944. Accordingly your attacks were not carried out in so quick a succession that they could have destroyed us completely . . . .

Summarizing the situation I have to say that seen from my side of the picture the American attacks with the effect as of May 1944 brought about the decision of the war, the attacks on the hydrogenation plants were so extensive that our troops on the front could not be supplied with the necessary amount of fuel.

May 13, 1944: Hitler finally consents to von Braun's release after Speer and others come to his defense:

In the matter concerning B. I will guarantee you that he will be exempt from persecution as long as he is indispensable for you, in spite of the difficult general consequences this will have. (Speer)

May 25, 1944 Jodl's Diary:

All partisans captured in enemy uniform or civilian clothing or surrendering during combat are to be treated in principle as prisoners of war. The same applies to all persons encountered in the immediate fighting area who may be considered as supporting the partisans, even when no combat action can be proved against them. Partisans in German uniform, or in the uniform of an allied army, are to be shot after careful interrogation if captured in combat. Deserters, no matter how they are dressed are, on principle, to be well treated. The partisans must hear of this.

From Speer's IMT testimony: The "Hiwi" mentioned in the document are the so-called auxiliary volunteers who had joined the troops fighting in Russia. As the months went by, they took on large proportions, and during the retreat they followed along, as they would probably have been treated as traitors in their own country. These volunteers were not, however, as I desired it, put into industry, since the conference that was planned did not take place.

May 29, 1944: Speer writes to Jodl:

I am tormented by the thought that someday all the bridges over the Rhine will be destroyed. According to my observations of the density of the Allied bombings recently, it should be possible for the enemy to do this. What would the situation be if the enemy, after cutting off all traffic the armies in the occupied territories, did not carry out his landings at the Atlantic Wall, but on the North Sea coast in Germany? Such a landing would probably be practicable, since he already possesses absolute air superiority that is surely the prime prerequisite for a successful landing on the north German coastal area. At any rate his casualties would certainly be less by such an approach than by a direct assault on the Atlantic Wall.

May 30, 1944: A conference is held at which the question is discussed of how the office of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor came to be established.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I should like to say that I wanted a delegate to deal with all labor allocation problems connected with my task of military armament production. My chief concern in the allocation problem, at the beginning of my term of office, was with the Gauleiter, who carried on a policy of Gau particularism. The nonpolitical offices of the Labor Ministry could not proceed against the Gauleiter, and the result was that manpower inside Germany was frozen. I suggested to Hitler that he should appoint a Gauleiter whom I knew to this post-a man named Hanke. Goering, by the way, has already confirmed this. Hitler agreed. Two days later, Bormann made the suggestion that Sauckel be chosen. I did not know Sauckel well, but I was quite ready to accept the choice. It is quite possible that Sauckel did not know. anything about the affair and that he assumed--as he was entitled to do--that he was chosen at my suggestion.

The office of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was created in the following way: Lammers declared that he could not issue special authority for a fraction of labor allocation as that would be doubtful procedure from an administrative point of view, and for that reason the whole question of manpower would have to be put into the hands of a plenipotentiary. At first they contemplated a Fuehrer decree. Goering protested on the grounds that it was his task under the Four Year Plan. A compromise was made, therefore, in accordance with which Sauckel was to be the Plenipotentiary General within the framework of the Four Year Plan, although he would be appointed by Hitler. This was a unique arrangement under the Four Year Plan. Thereby Sauckel was in effect subordinated to Hitler; and he always looked upon it in that way.

June 3-5, 1944: A Fuehrer conference is held.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Immediately after this conference I went to see Himmler and communicated to him Hitler's decision. He told me that no such number had ever been arrested by the Police. But he promised me that he would immediately issue a decree which would correspond to Hitler's demands; namely, that the SS would no longer be permitted to detain these workers. I informed Hitler of this result, and I asked him once more to get in touch with Himmler about it. In those days I had no reason to mistrust Himmler's promise because, after all, it is not customary for Reich Ministers to distrust each other so much. But anyhow, I did not have any further complaints from my assistants concerning this affair. I must emphasize that the settling of the entire matter was not really my affair, but the information appeared so incredible to me that I intervened at once. Had I known that already 18 months before Himmler had started a very similar action, and that in this letter, which has been submitted here.

Had I known this letter, I would never have had enough confidence in Himmler to expect that he would correctly execute his order as instructed by Hitler. For this letter shows quite clearly that this action was to be kept secret from other offices. These other offices could only be the of lice of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor or my own office.

Finally, I want to say in connection with this problem that it was my duty as Minister for Armament to put to use as many workers as were possibly available for armaments production, or any other production. I considered it proper, therefore, that workers from concentration camps, too, should work in war production or armament industries. The main accusation by the Prosecution, however, that I deliberately increased the number of concentration camps, or caused them to be increased, is by no means correct. On the contrary I wanted just the opposite, looking at it from my point of view of production.

At a Gauleiter meeting in the summer of 1944 Hitler had already stated-and Schirach is my witness for this-that if the German people were to be defeated in the struggle it must have been too weak, it had failed to prove its mettle before history and was destined only to destruction. Now, in the hopeless situation existing in January and February 1945, Hitler made remarks which showed that these earlier statements had not been mere flowers of rhetoric. During this period he attributed the outcome of the war in an increasing degree to the failure of the German people, but he never blamed himself. He criticized severely this alleged failure of our people who made so many brave sacrifices in this war.

June 5, 1944 Jodl's Diary:

Skeletal divisions are to be created in Germany into which in an emergency the men on leave and the convalescents can be pumped. Speer will provide weapons by a crash program. There are always three hundred thousand men on furlough at home; that means ten to twelve divisions.

From Speer's IMT testimony: From August 1944 [I used my influence to prevent destruction in the occupied countries], in the industrial installations in the Government General, the ore mines in the Balkans, the nickel works in Finland; from September 1944, in the industrial installations in Upper Italy; beginning with February 1945, in the oil fields in Hungary and the industries of Czechoslovakia. I should like to emphasize in this connection that I was supported to a great extent by Generaloberst Jodl, who quietly tolerated this policy of non-destruction. As far as industries were concerned, those executive powers [to carry out orders of destruction] were vested in me. Bridges, locks, railroad installations, et cetera, were the affair of the Wehrmacht. The industrial region of Upper Silesia, the remaining districts of Poland, Bohemia and Moravia, Alsace-Lorraine, and Austria, of course, were protected against destruction in the same way as the German areas. I made the necessary arrangements by personal directives on the spot-particularly in the Eastern Territories.


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