Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-15-criminality-05-09 Last-Modified: 1997/08/31 The last source of manpower had not been tapped. To Jews, deportees, women and children, there was added the productive power of prisoners of war. Naturally enough it was through the SS that the conspirators squeezed the last drop of labor from such prisoners. Speer's minutes of his conference with the Fuehrer on March 1944, state: [Page 208] "Told the Fuehrer of the Reichs Marshal's wish for further utilization of the production power of prisoners of war by giving the direction of the Stalag to the SS with the exception of the English and Americans. The Fuehrer considers the proposal good and has asked Colonel von Below to arrange matters accordingly." (R-124) That matters were soon arranged is shown by Speer's statement made at the 58th discussion of the Central Planning Board on 25 May 1944 (R-124): "Speer: We have come to an arrangement with the Reichsfuehrer SS as soon as possible so that PW's he picks up are made available for our purposes. The Reichsfuehrer SS gets from 30 to 40 thousand men per month." (R-124) Finally, in order to insure SS control over the labor of prisoners of war, the Reichsfuehrer SS was appointed by Hitler as head of all prisoner of war camps on 25 September 1944. A circular letter from the Director of the Party Chancellery, 30 September 1944 and signed by M. Bormann, states: "1. The Fuehrer has ordered under the date 25 September 1944: The custody of all prisoners of war and interned persons, as well as prisoner of war camps, and institutions with guards are transferred to the commander of the Reserve Army from 1 October 1944. ******* "2. The Reichsfuehrer SS has commanded: "a. In my capacity as Commander of the Reserve Army, I transfer the affairs of prisoners of war to Gottleb Berger, SS-Lieut. General (SS-Obergruppenfuehrer and General der Waffen-SS) Chief of Staff of the Volkstums." ******* "c. The mobilization of labor of the prisoners of war will be organized with the present labor mobilization office in joint action between SS-Lieut. General Berger (SS-Obergruppenfuehrer) and SS-Lieut. General Pohl. "The strengthening of security in the field of prisoner of war affairs is to be accomplished between SS-Lieut. General Berger and the Chief of the Security Police, SS- Lieut. Gen. Dr. Kaltenbrunner." (058-PS) So impressive were the results obtained from SS concentration camp labor that Goering on 14 February 1944 called on Himmler for more inmates for use in the aircraft industry (1584-I-PS). Himmler's reply to that request reads, in part, as follows: "Most Honored Reichsmarshal: "Following my teletype letter of the 18 Feb. 1944 I herewith [Page 209] transmit a survey on the employment of prisoners in the aviation industry. "This survey indicates that at the present time about 6,000 prisoners are employed for the purposes of the air force. An increase to a total of 90,000 prisoners is contemplated. "The production is being discussed, established, and executed between the Reich Ministry of aviation and the chief of my economic-administrative main office, SS- Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS, Pohl respectively. "We assist with all forces at our disposal. "The task of my economic-administrative main office, however, is not solely fulfilled with the delivery of the prisoners to the aviation industry as SS- Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl and his assistants take care of the required working speed thru constant and supervision of the work-groups [Kommandos] and therefore have some influence on the results of production. In this respect I may suggest consideration of the fact that in enlarging our responsibility thru a speeding up of the total work, better results can definitely be expected. "We also have for some time adjusted our own stone- quarries to production for the airforce. For instance in Flossenbuerg near Weiden the prisoners employed previously in the quarry are working now in the fighter plane program for the Messerschmitt corporation Regensburg, which saw in the availability of our stone- mason shops and labor forces after the attack on Regensburg at that time a favorable opportunity for the immediate partial transfer of their production. Altogether 4,000 prisoners will work there after the expansion. We produce now with 2,000 men 900 sets of engine cowlings and radiator covers as well as 120,000 single parts of various kinds for the fighter ME 109. "In Oranienburg we are employing 6,000 prisoners at the Heinkel works now for construction of the HE 177. With that we have supplied 60% of the total crew of the plant." ******* "The movement of manufacturing plants of the aviation industry to subterranean locations requires further employment of about 100,000 prisoners. The plans for this employment on the basis of your letter of 14 February 1944 are already under way. "I shall keep you, most honored Reichsmarshal, currently informed on this subject. "Heil Hitler "[initialled] HH" (1584-III-PS) [Page 210] Inclosed with that letter was a report in tabular form of the number of prisoners being used in each of the concentration camps, the total man-hours for the month of January 1944, and the type of production in which such prisoners were engaged. That report is signed by Pohl, the Chief of WVHA (1584-III-PS). The total appearing under the column "Number of prisoners planned" is 90,786; under the column "Number of prisoners used," 35,839; and under the column "Man-hours -- January," 8,733,495. (1584-III-PS) The extent to which the number of prisoners was increased through SS efforts is illustrated by a report from Office Group D of WVHA, 15 August 1944: "Subject: Report of the number of prisoners and Survey of prisoners clothing type G and Z and the supply of G available. "Reference: Telephone call by SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Waschkau on 15 August 1944." "With reference to the above-mentioned telephone call, I am sending herewith a report on the actual number of prisoners for 1 August 1944 and of the new arrivals already announced, as well as the clothing report for 15 August 44. "(1). The actual number on 1 August 1944, consisted of: a. Male prisoners 379,167 b. Female prisoners 145,119 "In addition, there are the following new arrivals: 1. From the Hungary program (anti-Jewish action) 90,000 2. From Litzmannstadt (Police prison and Ghetto) 60,000 3. Poles from the General Government 15,000 4. Convicts from the Eastern Territories 10,000 5. Former Polish officers 17,000 6. From Warsaw (Poles) 400,000 7. Continued arrivals from France approx. 15,000-20,000 "Most of the prisoners are already on the way and will be received into the Concentration Camps within the next few days." (1166-PS) (d) SS control of concentration camps and the ill treatment and murder of inmates. The intensive drive for manpower to some extent interfered with the program already undertaken by WVHA to exterminate certain classes of individuals in the camps. This is shown by a letter from WVHA, Department D Concentration Camps, 28 March 1942, addressed to a number of concentra- [Page 211] tion camp commandants and signed Leibenhenschel, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer: "It became known through a report of a Camp Commandant that 42 prisoners out of 51 which were mustered out for the special treatment 14 of 13 again became capable of work after a period of time and therefore do not have to be directed to the special treatment. From this it appears that the selection of the prisoners is not being handled according to given directives. Only those prisoners are allowed to be directed the examination commission who fulfill the given stipulations and who above all are no longer capable of work. "In order to be able to fulfill the designated missions of the concentration camps, the working capabilities of every prisoner must be retained for the camp. The camp commandants of the concentration camps are requested to especially make this their aim." (1151-P-PS) Another letter from WVHA, Department D Concentration Camps, 27 April 1943, addressed to a number of concentration camp commanders, signed by Gluecks, SS Brigade Fuehrer and Major General of the Waffen SS, deals with the same point: "The Reich Fuehrer-SS and Chief of German Police has decided, after consultation, that in the future only mentally sick (geisteskranke) prisoners may be selected for action 4 F 13 by the medical commissions appointed for this purpose. "All other prisoners incapable of working (tubercular cases, bedridden cripples, etc.) are to be basically excepted from this action. Bedridden prisoners are to be drafted for suitable work which they can perform in bed. "The order of the Reich Fuehrer SS is to be obeyed strictly in the future. "Requests for fuel for this purpose, therefore, do not take place." (1933-PS) The SS, however, was to some degree enabled to achieve both that of increased production and of elimination of undesirable individuals, as shown by the agreement between Minister of Justice Thierack and Himmler on 18 September 1942 (654-PS). That agreement provided for the delivery of antisocial elements after the execution of their sentences to the Reichsfuehrer SS "to be worked to death."
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