|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 primary purpose of the slave labor program was to compel the people of the occupied countries to work for the German war economy. The decree appointing Sauckel Plenipotentiary General for Manpower declares the purpose of the appointment to be to facilitate acquisition of the manpower required for German war industries, and in particular the armaments industry, by centralizing under Sauckel responsibility for the recruitment and allocation of foreign labor and prisoners of war in these industries (1666-PS). This decree, signed by Hitler, Lammers and Keitel, and dated 21 March 1942, provides:
"In order to secure the manpower requisite for the war industries as a whole, and particularly for armaments, it is necessary that the utilization of all available manpower, including that of workers recruited (angeworbenen) abroad and of prisoners of war, should be subject to a uniform control, directed in a manner appropriate to the requirements of war industry, and further that an still incompletely utilized manpower in the greater German Reich, including the Protectorate, and in the General Government and in the occupied territories should be mobilized.
"Reichsstatthalter and Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel will carry out this task within the framework of the Four Year Plan, as Plenipotentiary General, for the utilization of labor. In that capacity he will be directly responsible to the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan.
"Section III (Wages) and Section V (Utilization of labor) of the Reich Labor Ministry, together with their subordinate authorities, will be placed at the disposal of the Plenipotentiary, General for the accomplishment of his task." (1666-PS)
Sauckel's success can be gauged from a letter he wrote to Hitler on 15 April 1943, containing a report on one year's activities:
"1. After one year's activity as Plenipotentiary for the Direction of Labor, I can report that 3,638,056 new foreign workers were given to the German war economy from 1 April of last year to 31 March this year.
"2. The 3,638,056 are distributed amongst the following branches of the German war economy
Further evidence of this use of enslaved foreign labor is found in a report of a meeting of the Central Planning Board on 16 February 1944, during which Field Marshal Milch stated:
"The armament industry employs foreign workmen to a large extent; according to the latest figures-40 percent." (R-124)
Moreover, according to tabulations of Speer's Ministry, as of 31 December 1944 approximately two million civilian foreign workers were employed directly in the manufacture of armaments and munitions (end products or components). (2520-PS)
Sauckel, Speer, and Keitel also succeeded in forcing foreign labor to construct military fortifications. Thus, citizens of France, Holland, and Belgium were compelled against their will to engage in the construction of the "Atlantic Wall". Hitler, in an order dated 8 September 1942, initialed by Keitel, decreed that:
"The extensive coastal fortifications which I have ordered to be erected in the area of Army Group West make it necessary that in the occupied territory all available workers should be committed and should give the fullest extent of their productive capacities. The previous allotment of domestic workers is insufficient. In order to increase it, I order the introduction of compulsory labor and the prohibition of changing the place of employment without permission of the authorities in the occupied territories. Furthermore, the distribution of food and clothing ration cards to those subject to labor draft should in the future depend on the possession of a certificate of employment. Refusal to accept an assigned job, as well as abandoning the place of work without the consent of the authorities in charge, will result in the withdrawal of the food and clothing ration cards. The GBA (Deputy General for Arbeitseinsatz) in agreement with the military commander as well as the Reich Commissar, will issue the corresponding decrees for execution." (556-2-PS)
Sauckel boasted to Hitler concerning the contribution of the forced labor program to the construction of the Atlantic Wall by Speer's Organization Todt (OT). In a letter to Hitler dated 17 May 1943, Sauckel wrote:
"* * * 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." (407-VIII-PS)
Similarly, Russian civilian were forced into labor battalions and compelled to build fortifications to be used against their own countrymen. A memorandum of the Rosenberg Ministry states that:
"* * * men and women in the theaters of operations have been and will be conscripted into labor battalions to be used in the construction of fortifications * * *." (031-PS)
In addition, the Nazi conspirators compelled Prisoners of War to engage in operations of war against their won country and its Allies. At a meeting of the Central Planning Board held on February 19, 1943, attended by Speer, Sauckel, and Field Marshall Milch, the following conversation occurred:
"Sauckel: If any prisoners are taken, there, they will be needed.
"Milch: We have made a request for an order that a certain percentage of men in the antiaircraft artillery must be Russians. 50,000 will be taken altogether; 30,000 are already employed as gunners. This is an amusing thing that Russians must work the guns." (R-124)
(At this point a series of official German Army photographs were offered in evidence. The first one shows Russian Prisoners of War acting as ammunition bearers during the attack upon Tschudowo. The second group consists of a series of official German Army photographs taken in July and August 1941 showing Russian prisoners of war in Latvia and the Ukraine being compelled to load and unload ammunition trains and trucks and being required to stack ammunition.)
This use of prisoners of war was in flagrant disregard of the rules of international law, particularly Article 6 of the Regulations annexed to Hague Convention Number 4 of 1907, which provides that the tasks of prisoners of war shall have no connection with the operations of war.
The Nazi conspirators made extensive use of prisoners of war not only in active operations of war but also in the German armament industry. A secret letter from the Reichminister of Labor to the Presidents of the Regional Labor Exchange Offices refers to an order of Goering to the effect that:
"Upon personal order of the Reich Marshal, 100,000 men are to be taken from among the French PWs not yet employed in armament industry, and are to be assigned to the armament industry (airplanes industry). Gaps in manpower supply resulting there from will be filled by Soviet PWs. The transfer of the above-named French PWs is to be accomplished by 1 October." (3005-PS)
A similar policy was followed with respect to Russian prisoners of war. In a secret memorandum issued from Hitler's headquarters on 31 October 1942, Keitel directed the execution of Hitler's order to use such prisoners in the German war economy (EC-194):
"The lack of workers is becoming an increasingly dangerous hindrance for the future German war and armament industry. The expected relief through discharges from the armed forces is uncertain as to the extent and date; however, its possible extent will be no means correspond to expectations and requirements in view of the great demand.
"The Fuehrer has now ordered that even the working power of the Russian prisoner of war should be utilized to a large extent by large scale assignment for the requirements of the war industry. The prerequisite for production is adequate nourishment. Also very small wages are to be planned for the most modest supply with a few consumers' goods (Genussmittel) for every day's life, eventual rewards for production."
"II. Construction and Armament Industry.
"a. Work units for constructions of all kind, particularly for the fortification of coastal defenses (concrete workers, unloading units for essential war plants).
"b. Suitable armament factories which have to be selected in such a way that their personnel should consist in the majority of prisoners of war under guidance and supervision (eventually after withdrawal and other employment of the German workers).
"III. Other War Industries.
"a. Mining as under II. b.
"b. Railroad construction units for building tracks etc.
"c. Agriculture and forestry in closed units. The utilization of Russian prisoners of war is to be regulated on the basis of above examples by:
"To I. The armed forces
"To II. The Reich Minister for Arms and Ammunition and the Inspector General for the German road system in agreement with the Reich Minister for Labor and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Wi Rue Amt). Deputies of the Reich Minister for Arms and Ammunition are to be admitted to the prisoner of war camps to assist in the selection of skilled workers." (EC-194)
Goering, at a conference at the Air Ministry on 7 November 1941, also discussed the use of prisoners of war in the armament industry. The Top Secret notes on Goering's instructions as to the employment and treatment of prisoners of war in many phases of the German war industry read as follows (1206-PS):
"The Fuehrer's point of view as to employment of prisoners of war in war industries has changed basically. So far a total of 5 million prisoners of war-employed so far 2 million."
"For 4) In the Interior and the Protectorate, it would be ideal if entire factories could be manned by Russian PW's except the employees necessary for direction. For employment in the Interior and the Protectorate the following are to have priority:
"a. At the top coal mining industry.
"Order by the Fuehrer to investigate all mines as to suitability for employment of Russians. At times manning the entire plant with Russian laborers.
"b. Transportation (construction of locomotives and cars, repair shops).
"Railroad-repair and industry workers are to be sought out from the PW's. Railroad is most important means of transportation in the East.
"c. Armament industries
"Preferably factories of armor and guns. Possibly also construction of parts for airplane engines. Suitable complete sections of factories to be manned exclusively by Russians. For the remainder employment in columns. Use in factories of tool machinery, production of farm tractors, generators, etc. In emergency, erect in individual places barracks for occasional workers which are used as unloading details and similar purposes. (Reich Minister of the Interior through communal authorities.)
"OKW/AWA is competent for transporting Russian PW's employment through "Planning Board for Employment of all PW's (Planstelle fuer den Einsatz fuer alle Kriegsgefangenen). If necessary, offices of Reich Commissariates.
"No employment where danger to men or their supply exists, i.e. factories exposed to explosives, waterworks, powerworks, etc. No contact with German population, especially no 'solidarity.' German worker as a rule is foreman of Russians. "Food is a matter of the Four Years' Plan. Supply their own food (cats, horses, etc.)
"Clothes, billeting, messing somewhat better than at home where part of the people live in caverns.
"Supply of shoes for Russians as a rule wooden shoes, if necessary install Russian shoe repair shops.
"Examination of physical fitness, in order to avoid importation of diseases.
"Clearing of mines as a rule by Russians if possible by selected Russian engineers." (1206-PS)
Speer also sponsored and applied the policy of using prisoners of war in the armament industry. In a speech to the Nazi Gauleiters of 24 February 1942, Speer said:
"I therefore proposed to the Fuehrer at the end of December that all my labor force, including specialists be released for mass employment in the East. Subsequently the remaining PW's, about 10,000 were put at disposal of the armaments industry by me." (1435-PS)
Speer also reported at the 36th meeting of the Central Planning Board, held on 22 April 1943, that only 30% of the Russian prisoners of war were engaged in the armament industry. This he found unsatisfactory. Speer continued:
"There is a specified statement showing in what sectors the Russian PW's have been distributed, and this statement is quite interesting. It shows that the armaments industry only received 30%. I always complained about this."
"The 90,000 Russian PW's employed in the whole of the armaments industry are for the greatest part skilled men." (R-124)
Sauckel, who was appointed Plenipotentiary General for the utilization of labor for the express purpose, among others, of integrating prisoners of war into the German war industry, made it plain that prisoners of war were to be compelled to serve the German armament industry. His labor mobilization program contains the following statement:
"All prisoners of war, from the territories of the West as well as of the East, actually in Germany, must be completely incorporated into the German armament and nutrition industries. Their production must be brought to the highest possible level." (016-PS)