The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume One, Chapter 11

                                                  [Page 960]

The savage treatment which was inflicted in these
concentration camps upon allied nationals, prisoners of war,
and other victims of Nazi terror has been depicted in motion
picture evidence. Verbal discussion of this subject may
therefore be brief.

The minutes of the Central Planning Committee, on which
Speer sat, and where the high strategy of Nazi armament
production was formulated, record a conference on the
question of squeezing more work out of slave laborers.
Speer, ho was not generally considered a fanatic like Frick,
or a man of Blood and Iron like Goering, handled the problem
in this fashion:

     "Speer: We must also discuss the slackers. Ley has
     ascertained that the sick list decreased to one fourth
     or one fifth in factories where doctors are on the
     staff who are examin-
                                                  [Page 961]
     ing the sick men. There is nothing to be said against
     SS and Police taking drastic steps and putting those
     known as slackers into concentration camps. There is no
     alternative. Let it happen several times and the news
     will soon go around." (R-124)
     "The deterrent effect of the concentration camps upon
     the public was carefully planned. To heighten the
     atmosphere of terror surrounding the concentration
     camps, they were shrouded in secrecy. What went on
     behind the barbed wire enclosures was a matter of
     fearful conjecture in Germany and the countries under
     Nazi control.

This was the policy from the very beginning, when the Nazis
first came into power in Germany and set up their
concentration system. An order issued in 1 October 1933 by
the Camp commander of Dachau prescribes a program of
floggings, solitary confinement, and executions for the
inmates for infractions of the rules. (778-PS). Among the
rules were those prescribing rigid censorship concerning
conditions within the camp:

     "By virtue of the law on revolutionaries, the following
     offenders, considered as agitators, will be hung.
     Anyone who, for the purpose of agitating, does the
     following in the camp, at work, in the quarters, in the
     kitchens and workshops, toilet and places of rest:
     politicizes, holds inciting speeches and meetings,
     forms cliques, loiters around with others; who for the
     purpose of supplying the propaganda of the opposition
     with atrocity stories, collects true or false
     information about the concentration camp and its
     institution; receives such information, buries it,
     talks about it to others, smuggles it out of the camp
     into the hands of foreign visitors or others by means
     of clandestine or other methods, passes it on in
     writing or orally to released prisoners or prisoners
     who are placed above them, conceals it in clothing or
     other articles, throws stones and other objects over
     the camp wall containing such information; or produces
     secret documents; who, for the purpose of agitating,
     climbs on barracks' roofs and trees, seeks contact with
     the outside by giving light or other signals, or
     induces others to escape or commit a crime, gives them
     advices to that effect or supports such undertakings in
     any way whatsoever." (778-PS)

Censorship concerning the camps was complemented by an
officially inspired rumor campaign outside the camps.
Concentration camps were spoken of in whispers, by agents of
the secret police. A "Top Secret" order, re-

                                                  [Page 962]
lating to concentration camps, issued by the Head of the
Gestapo and distributed to appropriate police officers, and
dated 26 October 1939, provides:
     "In order to achieve a further deterrent effect, the
     following must, in future, be observed in each
     individual case ***
     "3. The length of the period of custody must in no case
     be made known, even if the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief
     of the German Police or the Chief of the Security
     Police and the SD has already fixed it.
     "The term of commitment to a concentration camp is to
     be openly announced as 'until further notice.'
     "In most serious cases, there is no objection to the
     increasing of the deterrent effect by the spreading of
     cleverly carried out rumour propaganda, more or less to
     the effect that, according to hearsay, in view of the
     seriousness of his case, the arrested man will not be
     released for 2 or 3 years.

     "4. In certain cases, the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of
     the German Police will order flogging in addition to
     detention in a concentration camp. Orders of this kind
     will, in future, also be transmitted to the State
     Police District Office concerned. In this case too,
     there is no objection to spreading the rumor of this
     increased punishment as laid down in Section 3,
     paragraph 3, in so far as this appears suitable, to add
     to the deterrent effect.
     "5. Naturally, particularly suitable and reliable
     people are to be chosen for the spreading of such
     news." (1531-PS)

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