|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|
In order to meet these demands, the Nazi conspirators made terror, violence, and arson the staple instruments of their policy of enslavement. Twenty days after Sauckel's demands of 5 October 1942, a high official in Rosenberg's Ministry by the name of Braeutigam, in a Top Secret memorandum dated 25 October 1942 described measures taken to meet these demands:
"* * * We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the Occupied Eastern Territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed. In the prevailing limitless abuse of the Slavic humanity 'recruiting' methods were used which probably have their origin in the blackest periods of the slave trade. A regular manhunt was inaugurated. Without consideration of health or age the people were shipped to Germany where it turned out immediately that more than 100,000 had to be sent back because of serious illnesses and other incapabilities for work." (294-PS)
Rosenberg on 21 December 1942 wrote to Sauckel, the instigator of these brutalities, as follows:
"The reports I have received show, that the increase of the guerilla bands in the occupied Eastern Regions is largely due to the fact that the methods used for procuring laborers in these regions are felt to be forced measures of mass deportations, so that the endangered persons prefer to escape their fate by withdrawing into the woods or going to the guerilla bands." (018-PS)
An attachment to Rosenberg's letter, consisting of parts excerpted from letters of residents of the Occupied Eastern territories by Nazi censors, relates that:
"At our place, new things have happened. People are being taken to Germany. On Dec. 5, some people from the Kowkuski district were scheduled to go, but they didn't want to and the village was set afire. They threatened to do the same thing in Borowytschi, as not all who were scheduled to depart wanted to go. Thereupon 3 truck loads of Germans arrived and set fire to their houses. In Wrasnytschi 12 houses and in Borowytschi 3 houses were burned.
"On Oct. 1 a new conscription of labor forces took place. From what has happened, I will describe the most important to you. You can not imagine the bestiality. You probably remember what we were told about the Soviets during the rule of the Poles. At that time we did not believe it and now it seems just as incredible. The order came to supply 25 workers, but no one reported. All had fled. Then the German militia came and began to ignite the houses of those who had fled. The fire became very violent, since it had not rained for 2 months. In addition the grain stacks were in the farm yards. You can imagine what took place. The people who had hurried to the scene were forbidden to extinguish the flames, beaten and arrested, so that 7 homesteads burned down. The policemen meanwhile ignited other houses. The people fell on their knees and kiss their hands, but the policemen beat them with rubber truncheons and threaten to burn down the whole village. I don't know how this would have ended if, I Sapurkany had not intervened. He promised that there would be laborers by morning. During the fire the militia went through the adjoining villages, seized the laborers and brought them under arrest. Wherever they did not find any laborers, they detained the parents, until the children appeared. That is how they raged throughout the night in Bielosirka. The workers which had not yet appeared till then, were to be shot. All schools were closed and the married teachers were sent to work here, while the unmarried ones go to work in Germany. They are now catching humans like the dog-catchers used to catch dogs. They are already hunting for one week and have not yet enough. The imprisoned workers are locked in at the schoolhouse. They cannot even go out to perform their natural functions, but have to do it like pigs in the same room. People from many villages went on a certain day to a pilgrimage to the monastery Potschaew. They were all arrested, locked in, and will be sent to work. Among them there are lame, blind and aged people". (018-PS).
Rosenberg, nevertheless, countenanced the use of force in order to furnish slave labor to Germany and admitted his responsibility for the "unusual and hard measures" that were employed. The transcript of an interrogation of Rosenberg under oath on 6 October 1945, contains the following admissions:
"* * * Q. You recognized, did you not, that the quotas set by Sauckel could not be filled by voluntary labor, and you didn't disapprove of the impressment of forced labor; isn't that right?
"A I regretted that the demands of Sauckel were so urgent that they could not be met by a continuation of voluntary recruitment and thus I submitted to the necessity of forced impressment."
"Q. The letters that we have already seen between you and Sauckel, do not indicate, do they, any disagreement on your part with the principle of recruiting labor against their will; they indicate, as I remember, that you were opposed to the treatment that was later accorded these workers; that you did not oppose their initial impressment.
"A. That is right. In those letters I mostly discussed the possibility to finding the least harsh methods of handling the matter; whereas, in no way, I placed myself in opposition to the orders that he was carrying out for the Fuehrer." (3719-PS)
Moreover, in a letter dated 21 December 1942 Rosenberg stated:
"* * * Even if I do not close my eyes to the necessity that the numbers demanded by the Reichs Minister for weapons and ammunition as well as by the agricultural economy justify unusual and hard measures, I have to ask, due to the responsibility for the occupied Eastern Territories which lies upon me, that in the accomplishment of the ordered tasks such measures be excluded, the toleration and prosecution of which will some day be held against me, and my collaborators." (018-PS)
Arson was used as a terror device in the Ukraine to enforce conscription measures. One instance is reported in a document from an official of the Rosenberg Ministry dated 29 June 1944, enclosing a copy of a letter from Paul Raab, a district commissioner in the territory of Wassilkow, to Rosenberg. Raab's letter reads as follows:
"According to a charge by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces I burned down a few houses in the territory of Wassilkow/Ukr. belonging to insubordinate people ordered for work-duty (Arbeitseinsatzpflichtigen). This accusation is true."
"During the year 1942, the conscription of workers was accomplished by way of propaganda. Only very rarely was force necessary. Only in August 1942, measures had to be taken against 2 families in the villages Glewenka and Salisny-Chutter, each of which were to supply one person for labor. Both were requested in June for the first time, but didn't obey although requested repeatedly. They had to be brought up by force, but succeeded twice to escape from the collecting camp, or when being on transport. Before the second arrest, the fathers of both of the men were taken into custody, to be kept as hostages and to be released only when their sons would show up. When, after the second escape, re-arrest of both the fathers and boys was ordered, the police patrols ordered to do so, found the house to be empty."
"That time I decided to take measures to show the increasingly rebellious Ukrainian youth that our orders have to be followed. I ordered the burning down of the houses of the fugitives."
"After the initial successes, a passive resistance of the population started, which finally forced me to start again on making arrests confiscations, and transfers to labor camps. After a while a transport of people, obliged to work, overran the police in the railroad station in Wassilkow and escaped. I saw again the necessity for strict measures. A few ring leaders, which of course escaped before they were found in Plissezkoje and in Mitnitza. After repeated attempts to get hold of them, their houses were burned down."
"My actions against fugitive people obliged to work (Arbeitseinsatzpflichtige), were always reported to district commissioner Doehrer, in office in Wassilkow, and to the general-commissioner (Generalkommissar) in Kiew. Both of them know the circumstances and agreed with my measures, because of their success." (254-PS)
"The village of Biloserka in the Ukraine was also the victim of arson as has already been related in the quotation from the enclosure to Rosenberg's letter of 21 December 1942 to Sauckel (018-PS). Additional proof of resort to arson in this village is furnished by other correspondence originating within the Rosenberg Ministry and dated 12 November 1943:
"But even if Mueller had been present at the burning of houses in connection with the national conscription in Biloserka, this should be no means lead to the relief of Mueller from office. It is mentioned specifically in a directive of the Commissioner General in Lusk of 21 Sept 1942, referring to the extreme urgency of the national conscription.
'Estates of those who refuse to work are to be burned, their relatives are to be arrested as hostages and to be brought to forced labor camps." (290-PS)
The SS was directed to participate in the abduction of slave laborers, and in the case of raids on villages or burning of villages, to turn the entire population over for slave labor in Germany. A secret SS order dated 19 March 1943 (3012-PS) states:
"The activity of the labor offices, resp. of recruiting commissions, is to be supported to the greatest extent possible. It will not be possible always to refrain from using force. During a conference with the Chief of the Labor Commitment Staffs, an agreement was reached stating that whatever prisoners can be released, they should be put at the disposal of the Commissioner of the Labor Office. When searching (Uberholung) villages, resp., when it has become necessary to burn down villages, the whole population will be put at the disposal of the Commissioner by force." (3012-PS)
From Shitomir, where Sauckel appealed for more workers for the Reich, the Commissioner General reported on the brutality of the conspirators' program, which he described as a program of coercion and slavery. This is revealed in a secret report of a conference between the Commissioner General of Shitomir and Rosenberg in Winniza on 17 June 1943 (265-PS). The report is dated 30 June 1943 and is signed by Leyser. It reads as follows:
"The symptoms created by the recruiting of workers, are no doubt, well known to the Reichs Minister through reports and his own observations. Therefore, I shall not report them. It is certain that a recruitment of labor, in this sense of the word, can hardly be spoken of. In most cases, it is nowadays a matter of actual conscription by force."
"But as the Chief Plenipotentiary for the mobilization of labor explained to us the gravity of the situation, we had no other device. I consequently have authorized the commissioners of the areas to apply the severest measures in order to achieve the imposed quota. The deterioration of morale in conjunction with this does not necessitate any further proof. It is nevertheless essential to win the war on this front too. The problem of labor mobilization cannot be handled with gloves." (265-PS)
These recruitment measures enslaved so many citizens of occupied countries that entire areas were depopulated. Thus, a report from the Chief of Main Office III with the High Command in Minsk, dated 28 June 1943, to Ministerialdirektor Riecke, a top official in the Rosenberg Ministry states:
"The recruitment of labor for the Reich, however necessary, had disastrous effects. The recruitment measures in the last months and weeks were absolute manhunts, which have an irreparable political and economic effect. From White Ruthenia, approx. 50,000 people have been obtained for the Reich so far. Another 130,000 are to be obtained. Considering the 2.4 million total population these figures are impossible. * * *
"Due to the sweepting drives (Grossaktionen) of the SS and police in November 1942, about 115,000 hectar farmland is not used, as the population is not there and the villages have been razed. * * *" (3000-PS)
The conspirators' policy, of permanently weakening the enemy through the enslavement of labor and breaking up of families, was applied in the Occupied Eastern Territories after Rosenberg's approval of a plan for the apprehension and deportation of 40,000 to 50,000 youths of the ages from 10 to 14. The stated purpose of this plan, approved by Rosenberg, was to prevent a reinforcement of the enemy's military strength and to reduce the enemy's biological potentialities. (031-PS)
Further evidence of the Nazi conspirators' plan to weaken their enemies in utter disregard of the rules of International Law is contained in a secret order issued by a rear-area Military Commandant to the District Commissar at Kasatin on 25 December 1943. The order provided in part that:
"1. The able-bodied make population between 15 and 65 years of age and the cattle are to be shipped back from the district East of the line Belilowka-Berditschen-Shitomir (places excluded). (1702-PS)
The program of enslavement and its accompanying measures of brutality were not limited to Poland and the Eastern Occupied Territories, but extended to Western Europe as well. Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Belgians, and Italians all came to know the Nazi slavemasters. In France these slavemasters intensified their program in the early part of 1943 pursuant to instructions which Speer telephoned to Sauckel from Hitler's headquarters at eight in the evening of 4 January 1943. These instructions are found in a note for the files signed by Sauckel, dated 5 January 1943, which states:
"1. On 4 January 1943 at 8 p.m. Minister Speer telephones from the Fuehrer?s headquarters and communicates that on the basis of the Fuehrer's decision, it is no longer necessary to give special consideration to Frenchmen in the further recruiting of specialists and helpers in France. The recruiting can proceed with emphasis and sharpened measures." (556-13-PS)
To overcome the resistance to his enslavement program, Sauckel improvised new impressment measures which were applied in both France and Italy by his own agents and which he himself labelled as grotesque. At a meeting of the Central Planning Board on 1 March 1944 Sauckel stated:
"The most abominable point made by my adversaries is their claim that no executive had been provided within these areas in order to recruit in a sensible manner the Frenchmen, Belgians and Italians and to dispatch them to work. Thereupon I even proceeded to employ and train a whole batch of French male and female agents who for good pay just as was done in olden times for "shanghaiing" went hunting for men and made them drunk by using liquor as well as words, in order to dispatch them to Germany.
"Moreover, I charged some able men with founding a special labor supply executive of our own, and this they did by training and arming with the help of the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer, a number of natives, but I still have to ask the Munitions Ministry for arms for the use of these men. For during the last year alone several dozens of very able labor executive officers have been shot dead. All these means I have to apply, grotesque as it sounds, to refute the allegation there was no executive to bring labor to Germany from these countries." (R-124)
As in France, the slave hunt in Holland was accompanied by terror and abduction. The "Statement of the Netherlands Government in view of the Prosecution and Punishment of the German Major War Criminals", (1726-PS) contains the following account of the deportation of Netherlands workmen to Germany:
"Many big and reasonably large business concerns, especially in the metal industry, were visited by German commissions who appointed workmen for deportation. This combing out of the concerns was called the "Sauckel-action", so named after its leader, who was charged with the appointment of foreign workmen in Germany.
"The employers had to cancel the contracts with the appointed workmen temporarily, and the latter were forced to register at the labor offices, which then took care of the deportation under supervision of German 'Fachberater.'
"Workmen who refused (relatively few) were prosecuted by the Sicherheitsdeinst (SD). If captured by this service, they were mostly lodged for some time in one of the infamous prisoners camps in the Netherlands and eventually put to work in Germany.
"In this prosecution the Sicherheitsdienst was supported by the German Police Service, which was connected with the labour offices, and was composed of members of the N.S.B. and the like.
"At the end of April 1942 the deportation of working labourers started on a grand scale. Consequently in the months of May and June the number of deportees amounted to not less than 22,000 resp. 24,000 of which many were metal workers.
"After that the action slackened somewhat, but in October 1942 another top was reached (2,600). After the big concerns, the smaller ones had, in their turn, to give up their personnel.
"This changed in November 1944. The Germans then started a ruthless campaign for man-power, passing by the labour offices. Without warning, they lined off whole quarters of the town, seized people in the streets or in the houses and deported them.
"In Rotterdam and Schiedam where these raids (razzia's) took place on 10 and 11 November, the amount of people thus deported was estimated at 50,000 and 5,000 respectively. "In other places where the raids were held later, the numbers were much lower, because one was forewarned by the events. The exact figures are not known as they have never been published by the occupants.
"The people thus seized were put ot work partly in the Netherlands, partly in Germany * * *." (1726-PS)
A document found in the OKH files furnishes further evidence of the seizure of workers in Holland. This document contains the partial text of a lecture delivered by a Lieutenant Haupt of the German Wehrmacht concerning the situation of the war economy is the Netherlands:
"There had been some difficulties with the Arbeitseinsatz, i.e., during the man-catching action (Menchenfang Aktion) which became very noticeable because it was unorganized and unprepared. People were arrested in the streets and taken out of their homes. It has been impossible to carry out a unified release procedure in advance, because for security reasons, the time for the action had not been previously announced. Certificates of release, furthermore, were to some extent not recognized by the officials who carried out the action. Not only workers who had become available through the stoppage of industry but also those who were employed in our installations producing things for our immediate need. They were apprehended or did not dare to go into the streets. In any case it proved to be a great loss to us. * * *" (3003-PS)