The Nuremberg Trial – WHVA
SS Lieutenant-Generald Oswald Pohl and 17 other officials of the WVHA (the Economic and Administrative Office of the SS) were charged with crimes relating to the construction and administration of the thousands of concentration camps in Germany and the occupied countries.
The WVHA also profited from the mines, quarries and brick factories in which the prisoners were forced to work. Pohl and three other defendants were sentenced to death by hanging.
In summing up the case the tribunal concluded:
“Under the spell of National Socialism, these defendants today are only mildly conscious of any guilt in the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of civilians. The concept that slavery is criminal per se does not enter into their thinking. Their attitude may be summarized thus: ‘We fed and clothed and housed those prisoners as best we could. […] What is wrong with that?’
Slavery may exist even without torture. Slaves may be well fed and well clothed and comfortably housed, but they are still slaves if without lawful process they are deprived of their freedom by forceful restraint. We might eliminate all proof of ill treatment, overlook the starvation and beatings and other barbarous acts, but the admitted fact of slavery would still remain. There is no such thing as benevolent slavery. Involuntary servitude, even if tempered by humane treatment, is still slavery.”