|Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1|
|Prev||Chapter 10. CHAPTER X - THE SLAVE LABOR PROGRAM, THE ILLEGAL USE OF PRISONERS OF WAR, AND THE SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF SAUCKEL AND SPEER THEREFOR||Next|
The purposes of the slave labor program, namely, the strengthening of the Nazi war machine and the destruction or weakening of peoples deemed inferior, were achieved by the impressment and deportation of millions of persons into Germany for forced labor, by the separation of husbands from their wives and children from their parents, and by the imposition of conditions so inhuman that countless numbers perished.
Poland was the first victim. Frank, as Governor of the Government-General of Poland, announced that under his program 1,000,000 workers were to be sent to Germany, and recommended that police surround Polish villages and seize the inhabitants for deportation. These intentions appear in the following letter from Frank to Goering, dated 25 January 1940 (1375-PS):
"1. In view of the present requirements of the Reich for the defense industry, it is at present fundamentally impossible to carry on a long term economic policy in the General-Government. Rather, it is necessary so to steer the economy of the General Government that it will, in the shortest possible time, accomplish results representing the maximum that can be gotten out of the economic strength of the General-Government for the immediate strengthening of our capacity for defense.
"2. In particular the following performances are expected to the total economy of the General-Government * * *" "(g) Supply and transportation of at least 1 million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich -among them at least 7,500,000 [sic] agricultural workers of which at least 50% must be women-in order to guarantee agricultural production in the Reich and as a replacement for industrial workers lacking in the Reich.' (1375-PS)
The methods by which these workers were to be supplied were outlined by Frank in his diary entry for Friday, 10 May 1940 (2233-A-PS):
"* * * Then the Governor General deals with the problem of the Compulsory Labor Service of the Poles. Upon the demands from the Reich it has now been decreed that compulsion may be exercised in view of the fact that sufficient manpower was not voluntarily available for service inside the German Reich. This compulsion means the possibility of arrest of male and female Poles. Because of these measures a certain disquietude had developed which, according to individual reports, was spreading very much, and which might produce difficulties everywhere. General Fieldmarshal Goering some time ago pointed out in his long speech the necessity to deport into the Reich a million workers. The supply so far was 160,000. however, great difficulties had to be overcome. Therefore it would be advisable to consult the district and town chiefs in the execution of the compulsion, so that one could be sure from the start that this action would be reasonably successful. The arrest of young Poles when leaving church service or the cinema would bring about an increasing nervousness of the Poles. Generally speaking, he had no objections at all if the rubbish, capable of work yet often loitering about, would be snatched from the streets. The best method for this, however, would be the organization of a raid, and it would be absolutely justifiable to stop a Pole in the street and to question him what he was doing, where he was working etc." (2233-A-PS)
Another entry in the diary of Frank, for 16 March 1940, contains the following discourse on methods:
"* * * The Governor General remarks that he had long negotiations in Berlin with representatives of the Reich Ministry for Finance and the Reich Ministry for Food. One has made the urgent demand there that Polish farm workers should be sent to the Reich in greater numbers. He has made the statement in Berlin that he, if it is demanded from him, can naturally exercise force in such a manner that he has the police surround a village and get the men and women, in question, out by force, and then send them to Germany. But one can also work differently, besides these police measures, by retaining the unemployment compensation of those workers in question." (2233-B-PS)
The instruments of force and terror used to carry out this program reached into many phases of Polish life. German labor authorities raided churches and theatres, seized those present, and shipped them to Germany. These facts appear in a memorandum to Himmler dated 17 April 1943, written by Dr. Lammers, chief of the Reichs Chancellery, with regard to the situation in the Government General of Poland:
"* * * As things were, the utilization of manpower had to be enforced by means of more or less forceful methods, such as the instances when certain groups appointed by the Labor Offices, caught Church and Move-goers here and there and transported them into the Reich. That such methods not only undermine the people's willingness to work and the people's confidence to such a degree that it cannot be checked even with terror, is just as clear as the consequences brought about by a strengthening of the political resistance movement." (2220-PS)
Polish farm land was confiscated with the aid of the SS, distributed to German inhabitants, or held in trust for the German community. The farm owners were thereupon employed as laborers or transported to Germany against their will. A report of the SS entitled "Achievement of Confiscations of Polish Agricultural Enterprises with the Purpose to Transfer the Poles to the old Reich and to Employ Them as Agricultural Workers," contains these disclosures:
"* * * It is possible without difficulty to accomplish the confiscation of small agricultural enterprises in the villages in which larger agricultural enterprises have been already confiscated and are under the management of the East German Corporation for agricultural development. * * *.
The former owners of Polish farms, together with their families will be transferred to the old Reich by the employment agencies for employment as farm workers. In this way many hundreds of Polish agricultural workers can be placed at the disposal of agriculture in the old Reich in the shortest and simplest manner. This way the most pressing shortage is removed that is now in a very disagreeable manner felt especially in the root-crop districts." (1352-PS)
Pursuant to the directions of Sauckel, his agents and the SS deported Polish men to Germany without their families, thereby accomplishing the basic purposes of the program: supplying labor for the German war effort and weakening the reproductive potential of the Polish people. Thus, in a letter from Sauckel to the Presidents of the "Landes" employment Offices, dated 25 November 1942, it is stated that:
"In agreement with the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, Jews who are still in employment are, from now on, to be evacuated from the territory of the Reich and are to be replaced by Poles, who are being deported from the General-Government."
"The Poles who are to be evacuated as a result of this measure will be put into concentration camps and put to work where they are criminal or asocial elements. The remaining Poles where they are suitable for labor, will be transported-without family-into the Reich, particularly to Berlin; there they will be put at the disposal of the labor allocation offices to work in armament factories instead of the Jews who are to be replaced." (L-61)
The Nazi campaign of force, terror, and abduction was described in a letter to Frank written by the Chairman of the Ukrainian Main Committee, at Cracow, in February 1943. The letter states:
"The general nervousness is still more enhanced by the wrong methods of finding labor which have been used more and more frequently in recent months.
"The wild and ruthless man-hunt as exercised everywhere in towns and country, in streets, squares, stations, even in churches, at night in houses, has badly shaken the feeling of security of the inhabitants. Everybody is exposed to the danger, to be seized anywhere and at any time by members of the police, suddenly and unexpectedly and to be brought into an assembly camp. None of his relatives knows what has happened to him, only months later one or the other gives news of his fate by a postcard." (1626-PS)
And in enclosure 5 of the letter it is related that:
"In November of last year an inspection of all males of the age groups 1910 to 1920 was ordered in the area of Zaleschozyki (district of Czortkow). After the men had appeared for inspection, all those who were chosen were arrested at once, loaded into trains and sent to the Reich. Such recruiting of laborers for the Reich also took place in other areas of this district. Following some interventions the action was then stopped" (1526-PS)
The resistance of the Polish people to this Nazi enslavement program and the necessity for increased force were described by Sauckel's deputy Timm at a meeting of the Central Planning Board, Hitler's war-time planning agency, which was composed of Speer, Field Marshal Milch, and State Secretary Koerner. The Central Planning Board was the highest level economic planning agency, and exercised production controls by allocating raw materials and labor to industrial users. Timm's statement, which was made at the 36th conference of the Board, is as follows:
"* * * Especially in Poland the situation at the moment is extraordinarily serious. It is well known that vehement battle occurred just because of these actions. The resistance against the administration established by us, is very strong. Quite a number of our men have been exposed to increased dangers, and it was just in the last two or three weeks that some of them were shot dead, e.g. the Head of the Labor Office of Warsaw who was shot in his office, and yesterday another man again. This is how matters stand presently, and the recruiting itself even if done with the best will remains extremely difficult unless police reinforcements are at hand." (R-124)
B. The Occupied Eastern Territories.
Deportation and enslavement of civilians reached unprecedented levels in the Occupied Eastern Territories as a direct result of labor demands made by Sauckel on Rosenberg, Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, on Rosenberg's subordinates, and on the Armed Forces. On 5 October 1942, for example, Sauckel wrote to Rosenberg stating that 2,000,000 more foreign laborers were required, and that the majority of these would have to be drafted from the recently occupied Eastern Territories and especially from the Ukraine. The letter, (017-PS) reads as follows:
"The Fuehrer has worked out new and most urgent plans for the armament which require the quick mobilization of two more million foreign labor forces. The Fuehrer therefore has granted me, for the execution of my decree of 21 March 1942, new powers for my new duties, and has especially authorized me to take whatever measures I think are necessary in the Reich, the Protectorate, the General-Government, as well as in the occupied territories, in order to assure at all costs an orderly mobilization of labor for the German armament industry. The additional required labor forces will have to be drafted for the majority from the recently occupied Eastern Territories, especially from the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Therefore, the Reichskommissariat. Ukraine must furnish:
"225,000 labor forces by 31 December 1942 and 225,000 more by 1 May 1943.
"I ask you to inform Reichskommissar Gauleiter party fellow member Koch about the new situation and requirements and especially to see to it that he will support personally in any possible way the execution of this new requirement.
"I have the intention to visit Party member Koch shortly and I would be grateful to you if you could inform me as to where and when I could meet him for a personal discussion. "Right now though, I ask that the procurement be taken up at once with every possible pressure and the commitment of all powers especially also of the experts of the labor offices. All the directives which had limited temporarily the procurement of Eastern laborers are annulled. The Reichs procurement for the next months must be given priority over all other measures.
"I do not ignore the difficulties which exist for the execution of this new requirement, but I am convinced that with the ruthless commitment of all resources, and with the full co-operation of all those interested, the execution of the new demands can be accomplished for the fixed date. I have already communicated the new demands to the Reichskommissar Ukraine via mail. In reference to our long distance phone call of to-day I will send you the text of the Fuehrer's decree at the beginning of next week." (017-PS)
Again on 17 March 1943 Sauckel wrote Rosenberg, demanding the importation of another 1,000,000 men and women from the Eastern territories within the following four months (019-PS). Sauckel said:
"After a protracted illness my Deputy for Labor Supply in the occupied Eastern Territories, State Councillor Peukert, is going there to regulate the labor supply both for Germany and the territories themselves.
"I ask you sincerely, dear party member Rosenberg, to assist him to your utmost on account of the pressing urgency of Peukert's mission. Already now I may thank you for the hitherto good reception accorded to Peukert. He himself has been charged by me with the absolute and completely unreserved cooperation with all bureaus of the Eastern Territories.
"Especially the labor supply for the German agriculture, and likewise for the most urgent armament production programs ordered by the Fuehrer make the fastest importation of approximately 1 million women and men from the Eastern Territories within the next four months a must. Starting 15 March the daily shipment must have reached 5,000 female and male workers respectively, while beginning of April this number has to be stepped up to 10,000. This is a requisite of the most urgent programs, and the spring tillage, and other agricultural tasks are not ot suffer for the detriment of the nutrition and of the armed forces.
"I have foreseen the allotment of the draft quotas for the individual territories in agreement with your experts for the labor supply as follows:-
"Daily quota starting 15 March 1943:
"From General commissariat White Ruthenia....500
"Economic Inspection Center..........500
"Reichs Commissariat Ukraine..........3,000
"Economic Inspection South...........1,000
"Starting 1 April 1943 the daily quota is to be doubled corresponding to the doubling of the entire quota.
"I hope to visit personally the Eastern Territories towards the end of the months, and ask you once more for your kind support." (019-PS)
Sauckel travelled to Kauen in Lithuania to press his demands. A synopsis of a report of the City Commissioner of Kauen and minutes of a meeting in which Sauckel participated, reveal that:
"In a lecture which the Plenipotentiary for the Arbeitseinsatz, Gauleiter Sauckel made on 18 July 1943 in Kauen and in an official conference following it, between Gauleiter Sauckel and the General Commissar, the pool of labor in the Reich was again brought up urgently: Gauleiter Sauckel again demanded that Lithuanian labor be furnished in greater volume for the purposes of the Reich." (204-PS)
Sauckel also visited Riga, Latvia, to assert his demands. The purpose of this visit is described in a letter from the Reich Commissar for the Ostland to the Commissioner General in Riga, dated 3 May 1943. The letter states, in part:
"In reference to the basic statements of the Plenipotentiary General for manpower, Gauleiter Sauckel on the occasion of his visit to Riga on 21 April 1943, and in view of the critical situation and in disregard of all contrary considerations, it was decided that a total of 183,000 workers have to be supplied from the Ostland for the Reich territory. This task must absolutely be accomplished within the next four months and at the latest must be completed by the end of August." (2280-PS)
Sauckel asked the German Army for assistance in the recruitment and deportation of civilian labor from the Eastern Territories. A secret organization order of the Army Group South, dated 17 August 1943, is to the following effect:
"The Plenipotentiary General for Labor Employment ordered the recruitment and employment of all born during two years for the whole, newly occupied Eastern territory in Decree Az. VI A 5780.28 (Inclosure 1), copy of which is inclosed. The Reich Minister for Armament and Munition approved this order.
"According to this order by the Plenipotentiary General for Labor Employment (GBA) you have to recruit and to transport to the Reich immediately all labor forces in your territory born during 1926 and 1927. The decree relative labor duty and labor employment in the theater of operations of the newly occupied Eastern territory of the 6 February 1943 and the executive orders therefore are the authority for the execution of this measure. Enlistment must be completed by 30 Sept. 43 at the latest." (3010-PS)
Clearly, the demands made by Sauckel did result in the deportation of civilians from the occupied Eastern territories. Speer has stated in a record of conferences with Hitler on 10, 11, and 12 August 1942 that:
"Gauleiter Sauckel promises to make Russian labor available for the fulfillment of the iron and coal program and reports that-it required-he can supply a further million Russian laborers for the German armament industry up to and including October 1942. So far, he has already supplied 1 million for industry and 700,000 for agriculture. In this connection the Fuehrer states that the problem of providing labor can be solved in all cases and to any extent; he authorizes Gauleiter Sauckel to take all measures required.
"He would agree to any necessary compulsion (zwangsmassnahmen) in the East as well as in the West if this question could not be solved on a voluntary basis." (R-124)