Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 1520-PS

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Notes about a discussion with the Fuehrer at the Fuehrer Headquarters on the 8th of May 1942.

Present at first Reich Minister Dr. Lammers [also Bormann and Rosenberg, the author of the notes].

I began with reporting to the Fuehrer about the results of the 1941/42 collection of the NSDAP of books for the German Armed Forces resulting in more than 9 million books, from which 46,000 libraries were formed.

Then I dealt with certain reproaches raised against the Ministry East. The article in the "information service" of the Ministry for Propaganda concerning construction and aims of the Ministry East appeared without any knowledge whatsoever on my part. I had, as a matter of principle, agreed with the Ministry for Propaganda that no publications whatsoever regarding the occupied Eastern Territories should be published without my express consent. This became essential because even ministers talked about the "Policy of Colonisation" in the East.-Then it was also said that I had declared 650 men as unfit for war service and thus deprived the armed forces of them, and that I also left 90 officers without work as an advance command in Taganrog. I want to state that, because of the newly reinforced decree, the Ministry East has handed over 650 men; however, up to a few weeks ago only 240 men have been called away. As concerns the 90 men in Taganrog, this is not a measure taken by me but by the Economic Staff East and the armed forces armament staff, resp. Therefore, this matter was none of my affair. Furthermore, this advance commando has been dissolved.

As regards the re-settlement of the Germans from Lithuania, the Fuehrer said that he was under the impression that people who had already settled here would have to be re-settled again. I told the Fuehrer that it was not so, this was a matter concerning more than 30,000 settlers capable of resettlement who were still detained in camps and who were worn down by the prolonged camp life.

At last I referred to the new Molotov memorandum regarding supposed horrors and our economic measures, which, as a matter of fact, refers to some statements in the so-called "Green Folder" of the economic staff East of the 4-year Plan. Presumably such statements had been discovered on the body of a shot agrarian leader; a year ago I had already expressed my concern about the too-clearly expressed tendencies of those statements. A number of agrarian leaders already had been killed, also three territorial commissioners already have been killed fighting the partisans.

Thereafter I described to the Fuehrer the considerations which caused me to grant self-administration to the Baltic countries. First of all this was not proclaimed by Law, but it was only my decree to the Reich Commissioner with the corresponding directives. In practice it meant nothing beyond a confirmation of an already existing state of affairs and the abolition of a certain uncertainty. We were very short of officials and were thus forced to be most economical with human material. However, frequently efforts were noticeable to meddle with the trivialities of life which necessitates new demands and withdraws too many soldiers from the armed forces. It left the doors open for some people to escape army service. Furthermore, self-administration was connected with an increased willingness to work. After all there were enough safety clauses whereby the self-administration could not undertake anything without the sanction of the Commissioner General. In order to eliminate any possible political danger, and exception has been made with Riga. Riga has 1012,000 officials and was to receive a german mayor who is not subordinated to the Lithuanian self-Administration. Thereby a personal political policy of the Lithuanian Directorate would be avoided. By this measure Riga would be an experiment for annexed administration.

We also created an historical alibi and had demonstrated that we were meeting the Baltic nations more than half way. If at a later date this would not be acknowledged, we had every justification to proceed more drastically. The Fuehrer kept all decrees and regulations in order to examine them. Yet during the whole of the report he made no comments.

Afterwards the Fuehrer asked how all those economical measures were looked upon by the part of the Germans, whereupon I replied that, of course, the entire economical management was in German hands, and that this fact had produced a deterioration of the morale. Generally speaking the monopolistic companies and the ZHO [Zentralhandelsges. Ost-Eastern Central Trade], are fundamentally necessary, only they have to be supervised. Dr. Lammers interjected that private profits had to be throttled in order to avoid too strong a group of profiteers. I once more referred to the question of monopolies and wihsed to ascertain whether the fuehrer intended an absolute tobacco monopoly for here, whereupon he declared that he was particularly interested in the retail monopoly. The question of arranging for the producers could still be settled at al latter date. i replied that the economic leaders have not yet agreed upon the question of the producers. The opinion is frequently prevalent, that the production itself need not necessarily be a direct state monopoly. I told the Fuehrer that I shall have the whole question examined once again.

Then the problem of religious freedom for the occupied Eastern territories was discussed. The Fuehrer consulted Reichsleiter Bormann, who already had gathered much experience by the preparations for the Wartheland and for Austria. I explained the situations in the East was that various large ecclesiastical groups being formed, but that one should not allow such development to take place without supervision, but that one ought to direct same and that the intended decrees, respectively orders, were for the purpose of protecting us from unanticipated surprises. Bormann entirely agreed with this attitude, he merely questioned if the Reichminister East, who also had some standing in Germany, would not produce too close a dependency by a law which might have repercussions inside the Reich. What was to be understood under "religious freedom" was to be interpreted by the Churches, and he could anticipate, that such a law would produce hundreds of new letters and complaints on the part of the churches within the Reich. The Fuehrer considered a number of twists and forms which would eliminate such a danger, and after discussing its suitability the Fuehrer read the decree and gave his consent. Finally it was agreed that the whole question was not to be settled by myself in the from of a law, but that the Reich Commissioners take the existing religious freedom so to speak for granted and would decree the necessary executive orders. I was then to watch the development continuously and retain the executive control. It is easily possible that the leaders of the churches in the Ukraine would combine in order to elect a patriarch. I pointed out that this was already the case for all practical purposes and that a steering of the matter is necessary. The Fuehrer asked me if I really thought that all the Ukrainians were faithful adherents of the church. i replied that with the older generation and the women it was certainly the case, the youth were already somewhat unaccustomed to church. Furthermore I had transported from Kiev to Berlin the "Atheist Museum". In this the writings of the national writer of the Ukraine, Schewischenko, are quoted and may be possible to publish them in the Ukrainian language in a sense which in truth was not for the church. Also such freedom of expression of opinion has also to be guaranteed. Moreover the Fuehrer emphasized that after the war he would proceed against the churches with the fitting measures; he believed that he was still able to do something because of his authority which at a later date would be difficult for anybody else. He would not forget the attitude of the church during the war. i told the Fuehrer that I carried out church political lectures in a small circle in my lecture house in Dahlem, in which the whole problem was thoroughly examined, so that in the future the necessary ideological fight would also be carried out with the necessary knowledge and on the necessary scale.

Then the treatment of the countries which were Germany's wards was discussed. I pointed out that some representatives interpreted the point of view of the master race, by travelling up and down the country with the whip. It is true, formerly one used to say of the Slavs that they liked to be thrashed. But this had changed radically. Now the situation was that the public thrashing meant the same as for the Orientals "the losing of face." Even the Bolshevics mistreated the prisoners abominably behind the walls, but never in public view. A number of incidents had occurred caused by thoughtless talk. It is necessary that our foreign representatives also know how to keep silent. The Fuehrer read the draft of my decree for the Reich Commissioner Ukraine and gave his consent to it.

I then described to the Fuehrer the reception of the three delegations of farmers in grateful acknowledgment of our agrarian legislation and produced all our propaganda, such as circulars, pamphlets, posters, translations of German writings, etc. The difficulty here, too, was that it had taken a long time until the 18 waggons could be transported. A part had remained in the Government General. The whole action was very successful. I then submitted to the Fuehrer photographs of Ukrainian men and women who were working in the Heinkel works. The Fuehrer expressed his surprise at the extraordinary good looks and even beauty of the people.

I then dealt with the employment of foreign workers in the occupied Eastern territories. I had appointed a special delegate for this who had been very active lately to cultivate all those existing connections and to institute new ones. At first the Danish minister Larsen had travelled the Eastland with the General Director Junker who was the chief of the Danish committee for employment in the East. This journey already had produced tangible, practical results: in Port Kunda a large cement works was being rebuilt, the machinery would be delivered within a few weeks. After an initial starting time about 75,000 tons of cement will be produced annually. Further erections of cement works would be possible. The completion of peat works could now be prepared in order to benefit from it in the following year. two experts had to be sent there, and within a few weeks one could start with the installations. The same applies to large plaster factory, to the completion of concrete and wooden shoe factories. Since it will probably become impossible in the future to continue to provide the population with leather shoes. The factory will be capable of a daily output of 10,000 shoes. Furthermore, a number of other business plannings are also being considered. Especially the oil factory at Libau is ready to be taken over, also creameries, shipbilding plants, etc. All those works thus promise a considerable increase in production for the coming years. Negotiations had taken place also with the Dutch, and Reich Commissioner Seyss Inquart had just now submitted a first draft regarding the employment of Dutch people in the region of Libau. It is planned to hand over to the Dutch people 500,000 ha of land to be cultivated under stipulation that after delivery of all that is claimed by the German administration, they are permitted to export the surplus to Holland. Some of the details had still to be settled. The Fuehrer thought one could as a matter of principle admit Dutchmen to the East, because if there were not more than 1000 people, then they would be absorbed. He did not wish large colonies. The matter was left undecided, to be thoroughly investigated. Moreover the DAF German Workers Front had bought a wharf at Varna in order to tackle the building of concrete ships.

I then reported to the Fuehrer the planning of central office for planning in the East, and I gave him the names on the committee for the general policy, economics, etc. The supreme authorities of the Reich had sent their emmisaries. Naturally nothing would be done at this stage in which might somehow hamper the war production.

Then the discussion turned to Caucasia and the policy of the AA [Foreign Ministry] towards the Eastern territories. I reported to the Fuehrer that, for some time, we had picked out the best of the prisoners by commissions of the Ministry East. The OKW had now established the Turkestan Legion through direct collaboration with us. According to my information received from the manager of chief section "Policy", the camp is in perfect condition, the commander has learned the Turkestan language, and the Turkestans have accepted German military terms and have an anti-Bolshevist attitude. The legions of the Caucasians would be modeled on similar lines. If one had not in the beginning on the part of the SD, called all those peoples "Asiatics", had them shot or left to their fate, there would be more troops at the disposal of the German Reich today. A new flag was created for the Turkestan legion, the half moon was done away with and in its place put bow and arrow. I showed the Fuehrer the individual symbols for the designs for flags for the Georgians, Armenians, Aserbeidschanians, Cubancossacks, and Kalmucks. The Fuehrer had no objections against these designs, however, he asked my opinion about the Armenians. I stated the Armenia was the best bolt between Turkey and Aserbeidschan, and thus could stop a Panturanian movement towards the East. Generally speaking the Armenian people themselves are stationary, a people of farmers who had considerable industrial skill.

I then described to the Fuehrer our relationship with the Foreign Ministry. The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs claimed the political handling of the Eastern territories, in as far as it has not been taken over directly within our administration. I said that the Reich Foreign Minister had formed a large Eastern committee and had despite our protests convoked in increasing measure the most varied emigrants. I read to the Fuehrer a list of emigrants from Turkey, from Paris, from Switzerland, all of whom were staying at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. Two of them, according to our information, were well-known espionage agents. I thought it extremely risky to assemble here these emigrants from all parts of the world. The Fuehrer listened in surprise. I said that we prepared years ago already for the Eastern question. In this connection we had made possible the studies of Dr. Benzing and assigned him upon request for a certain period to the AA. The AA then created for him a separate department for planning and appointed him to be a Regierungsrat [Advisor of the Government].

It subsequently refused to return him to us. The same applies in the case of the Turkestanian Kayum. The questions had long been discussed with him. We had merely loaned him to the AA for the purpose of broadcasting propaganda. Now the AA was sending him to Paris, in order to collect emigrants. The fuehrer gave the strictest instructions to the Reich Minister Dr. Lammers, to inform the AA officially that it had to discontinue its activities in the East instantly. It was also to release the retained personalities to the ministry East, and he did not wish any further inquiries. i further explained that I had talked to State Secretary v. Weizsaecker a few weeks ago and requested him to inform the Reich Foreign Minister that i was looking forward to speaking to him personally. Weizsaecker said that the two points of view differed. When Weizsaecker was asked about it after some time, he said that he did not understand from this talk that he was to arrange the meeting between Ribbentrop and myself. We have interpreted this remark that the matter was to be put off until after the Congress of emigrants had been convoked in Berlin. Some days ago we were informed by a liaison man of the AA that they did not at all consider the attitude which I had reported to the Fuehrer in regard to the Caucasian people, as binding for them but that it was of a purely private character. The Fuehrer once more emphasized his point of view.

I then reported to the Fuehrer on the work of the preparatory reconstruction staffs. With the exception of a few personalities whom the Fuehrer preferred not to have employed or preferred to be used in Germany the Fuehrer accepted the proposed list of personalities. The tasks of Reich Minister Speer and his relationship with me were then thoroughly discussed. the fuehrer said that he, for example, had made the worst experiences in regard to the matters of railroad traffic by the fact that the Government General had its own railroad administration between the front lines and the Reich. Because of these circumstances a lot of misunderstandings and frictions were caused. The separate administrations did not function and interfered with the uniform technical direction so that very nearly catastrophic conditions resulted, if the entire administration of railroad traffic had not been transferred to the Reich Ministry of Communication. Only by these means had it become gradually possible to increase the daily number of trains from 125 to 220. For the construction of main thoroughfares and armament works it is also necessary that a central office has control, and Speer already proved at the beginning of his official duties that he knew how to tackle a job well. He succeeded to solve many a technical task in very short time, which normally would have taken months, and he, the Fuehrer, was most satisfied with this choice. I told the Fuehrer that I had promised my utmost support to Speer from the very beginning and that I had accepted in principle his first drafts for an arrangement, with the only exception of two points, that is this arrangement should remain in force beyond the duration of the war and secondly, that the department Chief of the O.T. [Organisation Todt], who should have a rank of about Oberregierungsrat, should be able to pass a decision against the Reich Commissioners.

The Fuehrer thereupon stated repeatedly that the Reich Ministry Speer would be dissolved on the very day peace was declared and all his present tasks would be split up. The management of the artery roads through the East, however, had still technically to be centrally conducted. They are, therefore, tasks for the immediate war effort. Speer also neither has the intention nor the commission to start building houses now, but he must be empowered to prevent the building anywhere of large administrative places or similar buildings, which are not war essential. Dr. Lammers suggested to include by way of agreement or decree of the Fuehrer, that this decree was only for the duration of the war. I then described to the Fuehrer the present general situation, according to which new plenipotentiaries-in-chief endeavoured to carry out direct actions in the occupied Eastern territories, overlooking those dignitaries who were appointed by the fuehrer himself. At the moment the problem of the employment of labor was under discussion. In those places where the commissioners-in-chief had been informed in good time and had the possibility to enlighten the populations concerned, it was possible to achieve a considerable voluntary readiness for work. In many other instances one adopted measures of enforcement immediately, without taking any consideration of the commissioner-in-chief, with the result that in certain towns a flight into the woods took place, in order that they would not be-to use their own phrase-deported. Those men would decidedly increase the number of partisans and thus endanger our lines of supply. Other forced laborers had left the trains going into the Reich during the night, with the result that they arrived half empty at the frontier of the Government General. They, too, would constitute a danger. As a result at places which were included in the Four year Plan themselves, the very Four year Plan had withdrawn workers who were partially lost, and thus the opposite result was achieved, that is a noticeable deterioration of the situation and ill feeling of the population. I already received a number of reports from the Ukraine and from Latvia which confirm this state of affairs. If now medium or lower technicians proceeded similarly without regard of the commissioners-in-chief, these conditions would deteriorate considerably without thereby achieving the technical effects. I point out that development. If Reich Minister Speer would retain his authority in its old form, I would be forced to decline the responsibility for conditions in the future and, in any case, could not be subjected to criticism if the political situation would worsen very decisively thereby. The Fuehrer listened to the report most attentively, as was my impression, and then he said that, in any case, the arterial roads had to be secured by technical means in order to supply the frontier with guns and ammunition. The matter was then discussed once more. I pointed out what great effort it took me to restrain the supreme Reich authorities from interfering with the occupied Eastern territories; the arguments, however, were so convincing, that one realized to a large extent that the direction of the East could only be carried out centrally. If this painfully achieved position was now to be broken by such a far-reaching decree for Speer, the tendency would revive everywhere to interfere with the occupied Eastern territories disregarding the Ministry East. The Fuehrer said that under no circumstances should that happen, and he instructed Dr. Lammers, that he was to reject such demands on the Fuehrer's orders.

Dr. Lammers was ordered to draft a formulation of the tasks of Reich Minister Speer in the occupied Eastern territories in relationship to myself for the duration of the war.

In the course of the discussion a number of other matters were also dealt with. The Fuehrer approved the final version regarding uniforms of the occupied territories. I reported to him the results of the exhibition in Agram, Bruxelles and of the work progress of the exhibition "Fight for Europe".

The question of the awarding the iron cross to the Estonians, Lithuanians, and Latvians to a problem of the OKW. The Armed Forces are in favor of such awards. However, there are some political objections. The Fuehrer believes to see a danger in it, that in case of future complications the bearer of the EK [iron cross] might have to be subjected to disciplinary punishment. I explained that soldiers of the Baltic nations-according to many utterances-looked upon an award as a guarantee for Reich citizenship. Thereby the political effect of a Germanisation and on the other hand the skimming of nationalistic forces would become possible. The matter was to be examined once again.

I informed the Fuehrer of my intention to start my first official journey into the Eastland on the 14th May. The Fuehrer authorized me to extend his greetings to the appointed administrative corps.

I then reported to the Fuehrer the results of metal collection in the Eastland which produced 2,500 tons. By collecting those metals still available in the economy, the figure would be raised to 3,500 tons. The collection of wools too had reached the average of the Reich.

I handed the Fuehrer a file note regarding the development of rubber plantations, which has been fostered by the foreign policy office of the NSDAP since 1936. Despite all the official refusals the plants were at first cultivated in Athens, later on the Reich Food Minister granted a few acres of land in Germany. Now it is cultivated in the Wartheland and in the Government General, and later on in the Ukraine where from 1943 on more than 100,000 ha will be worked. The harvest will then provide enough to fill the gap which is still open from synthetic rubber production.

During the report I turned the conversation toward the planning departments of the ministry. I said that after nearly one year no high official had yet been appointed because of the many discussions with the competent Reich departments. I mentioned the case of party member Cranz who was supposed to be my immediately subordinated chief of press in the East, but whom the ministry of finance did not want to grant to me as a Ministerial-direktor. Dr. Lammers was of the opinion that one could not start right away with the highest ranks. If Cranz was now appointed Ministerialrat then he could be promoted within a year. I said that Cranz was already a year in the Ministry. Nor was it a question of appointing the major Cranz, but of the journalist who had followed this profession for nearly 20 years. I said that the ministry also had to be on an equal footing in its negotiations with the Reich Commissar. This was not an ordinary Special department ministry [Ressortministerium], but it had other, far more extended tasks. The Fuehrer agreed with this point of view and asked about how large the Reich Commissioners Offices were. After mentioning the number of rooms I added that a Reich Commissioner was in reality like a minister president, who was governing a large country. Here, too, the Fuehrer agreed, and he said that to begin with he was not much in favor to create a ministry for the East Commission. I was surprised, because Dr. Lammers had made out to me that just the creation of a ministry was the wish of the Fuehrer. I told the Fuehrer that at that time I had made special propositions. I then requested Dr. Lammers to give me his support in this matter.

Signed: R.
Berlin, 13th May 1942.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

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