The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I turn now to yet another war crime - the use of slave
labour. Its importance for the German war machine had been
appreciated by these defendants long before the outbreak of
war. Hitler had mentioned it in Mein Kampf and emphasized it
at the meeting in May, 1939. A few weeks later in June the
Reich Defence Council, Goering, Frick, Funk and Raeder, and
representatives of every other Ministry of State were
planning to employ 20,000 concentration camp inmates and
hundreds of thousands of workers from the Protectorate in
the coming war.

Hitler's plan for Poland, revealed to Schirach and Frank,
was as follows: I quote:

  "The ideal picture is this - a Pole may possess only
  small holdings in the Government General which will to a
  certain extent provide him and his family with food. The
  money required by him for clothes, etc., he must earn in
  Germany by work. The Government General must become a
  centre for supplying unskilled labour, particularly
  agricultural labour. The subsistence of these workmen
  will be fully guaranteed because they can always be made
  use of for cheap labour."

That policy, of course, was a short-term policy, the real
aim being the elimination of the Eastern peoples. Sauckel
was appointed Plenipotentiary with the task of replacing two
million German workers who had been called to service with
the Wehrmacht, and he himself says that after Hitler had
emphasized that it was a war necessity he had no scruples
and within a month of his appointment he had sent his first
labour mobilization programme to Rosenberg:

  "Should we not succeed in obtaining the necessary labour
  on a voluntary basis we must immediately institute
  conscription of forced labour ... a gigantic number of
  new foreign slave workers ... men and women ... an
  indisputable necessity."

This programme he was to carry out:

  "With every possible pressure and a ruthless commitment
  of all our resources."

                                                  [Page 446]

It is unnecessary to refer to the voluminous evidence of the
execution of this policy for the recruitment of workers. It
is sufficient to quote Sauckel again addressing the Central
Planning Board in March of 1944:

  "Trained male and female agents who shanghaied men for
  labour it Germany ... Out of five million foreign workers
  who arrived in Germany not even 200,000 came

The methods employed in their forced deportations are
hideous in their brutality and must have been known to every
one of these defendants. In April of 1941 Himmler was
addressing the officers of the SS Leibstandarte Adolf
Hitler: I quote:

 "Very frequently a member of the Waffen SS thinks about
 the deportation of this people, here. These thoughts come
 to me today watching the very difficult work performed by
 the Security Police and supported by your men who help
 them a great deal. Exactly the same thing happened in
 Poland in weather forty degrees below zero where we had to
 haul away thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of

And again:

  "Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion
  while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so
  far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished ....
  When somebody comes to me and says, 'I can't dig the
  antitank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman,
  for it would kill them, then I have to say that you are a
  murderer of your own blood because if the anti-tank ditch
  is not dug, German soldiers will die and they are the
  sons of German mothers .... We must realize that we have
  six or seven million foreigners in Germany .... Perhaps
  it is even eight millions now we have prisoners in
  Germany. They are none of them dangerous so long as we
  take severe measures for the merest trifle."

By August, 1943, the need for workers was even greater.
Himmler ordered:

  "That all young female persons capable of work are to be
  sent to Germany for work through the agency of Reich
  Commissioner Sauckel. Children, old women and men are to
  be collected and employed in women's and children's

The orders issued to Group Leaders of the SD, active in the
Ukraine, showed the same urgency. I quote:

  "The activity of the Labour Office ... is to be supported
  to the greatest extent possible. It will not be possible
  always to refrain from using force .... When searching
  villages, especially when it has become necessary to burn
  down a village, the whole population will be put at the
  disposal of the Commissioner by force. As a rule, no more
  children will be shot .... If we limit our harsh measures
  through the above orders for the time being, it is only
  done for the following reason: the most important thing
  is the recruitment of workers."

Speer admitted - how could he deny it - the knowledge and
approval of the way the workers were enrolled and brought to
Germany against their will; there was Kaltenbrunner's letter
to his friend Blaschke:

  "For several reasons I have in the meantime given orders
  to ship several evacuation transports to Vienna, at.
  present four shipments with approximately 12,000 Jews are
  pending. They should reach Vienna within the next few
  days. Women unable to work and children of those Jews who
  are all kept in readiness for special action, and
  therefore one day will be removed again, have to stay in
  the guarded camp also during the day."

That sinister phrase again - the meaning of which they all
knew so well - "special treatment", "special action". Murder
remains murder by whatever euphemism murderers may seek to
describe it.

                                                  [Page 447]

The need for labour became so urgent that not only were even
Jews spared the gas chambers so long as they were fit for
employment, but children were seized and put to work.

So much for their deportation to Germany. What was to be
their lot on their arrival? As early as March, 1941,
instructions had been issued to the Kreis Farmers'
Association on the treatment Polish farm workers were to
receive. They were to have no right to complain. They were
forbidden, this religious people, to visit churches; all
forms of entertainment and public transport were barred.
Their employers were given the right to inflict corporal
punishment and were "not to be held accountable in any case
by any official agency". And lastly, it was ordered:

  "Farm workers of Polish nationality should if possible be
  removed from the community of the home, they can be
  quartered in stables, etc. No remorse whatever should
  restrict such action."

The treatment of those employed in industry was even worse.
You will remember the affidavit of the Polish doctor in
Essen who did his best to attend to the Russian prisoners of

  "The men were thrown together in such a catastrophic
  manner that no medical treatment was possible .... It
  seemed to me unworthy of human beings that people should
  find themselves in such a position .... Every day at
  least ten men were brought to me whose bodies were
  covered with bruises on account of the continual beatings
  with rubber tubes, steel switches or sticks. The people
  were often writhing with agony and it was impossible for
  me to give them even a little medical aid .... It was
  difficult for me to watch how much-suffering people could
  be directed to do heavy work .... Dead people often lay
  for two or three days on the palliasses until their
  bodies stank so badly that fellow-prisoners took them
  outside and buried them somewhere .... I was a witness
  during a conversation with some Russian women, who told
  me personally that they were employed in Krupps' factory
  and that they were beaten daily in a most bestial manner
  .... Beating was the order of the day."

By the end of 1943 more than five million men, women and
children were working in the Reich, and if we include
prisoners of war the total of those working in Germany was
at this date just under 7,000,000. To these must be added
the hundreds of thousands brought in during 1944. Millions
of men and women taken from their homes by the most brutal
methods, transported in all weathers in cattle-trucks from
every quarter of Europe, employed on farms and in factories
throughout the Reich, frequently under abominable
conditions. Children taken from their parents, many to
remain, for their lives, orphans, not knowing their identity
or true names; taken away before they were old enough to
remember the place from which they came. What is the measure
of this crime? No man in that dock can dispute his knowledge
or his complicity. The minutes of the Central Planning Board
must have been read in every department of the State. You
have seen the mass of evidence connecting the military
leaders and every other branch of the Government with this
colossal programme of slavery. None of these men can be
acquitted of this crime. None of them can have been ignorant
of the scale and brutality with which it was perpetrated.

I pass now to a connected matter, but one even more
terrible. The general manner in which the defendants
conducted the belligerent occupation of the territories
which they had overrun.

The evidence that these territories were the scene of
murder, slavery, terrorism and spoliation on a scale without
precedent in history, in breach of the most elementary rules
as to belligerent occupation, has not really been seriously
challenged. These crimes were in no sense sporadic or
isolated, depending on the sadism of a Koch here or cruelty
by a Frank there. They were part and parcel of a deliberate
and systematic plan of which their action in regard to slave

                                                  [Page 448]

was just a symptom. In order to establish the "1,000-year
Reich", they set out to accomplish the extermination or
permanent weakening of the racial and national groups of
Europe or of those sections, such as the intelligentsia, on
which the survival of those groups must largely depend.

The origin of this terrible attempt upon the existence of
free and ancient nations goes back to the whole Nazi
doctrine of total war which rejected war as being merely
against States and their armies, as International Law
provides. Nazi total war was also a war against civilian
populations, against whole peoples. Hitler told Keitel at
the end of the Polish campaign:

  "Shrewdness and severity must be the maxims in this
  racial struggle in order to spare us from going to battle
  on account of Poland again."

The aims of genocide were formulated by Hitler in the
following words in his conversation with Hermann Rauschning:

  "The French complained after the war that there were
  twenty million Germans too many. We accept the criticism.
  We favour the planned control of population movements.
  But our friends will have to excuse us if we subtract the
  twenty millions elsewhere. After all these centuries of
  whining about the protection of the poor and lowly, it is
  about time we decided to protect the strong against the
  inferior. It will be one of the chief tasks of German
  statesmanship for all time to prevent, by every means in
  our power, the increase of the Slav races. Natural
  instincts bid all living beings not merely to conquer
  their enemies, but also destroy them. In former days it
  was the victor's prerogative to destroy entire tribes,
  entire peoples. By doing this gradually and without
  bloodshed, we demonstrate our humanity."

Himmler's vision was similar. I quote:

  "For us the end of this war will mean an open road to the
  East, the creation of the Germanic Reich in this way or
  that - the fetching home of thirty million human beings
  of our blood, so that still during our lifetime we shall
  be a people of 120 million Germanic souls. That means
  that we shall be the sole decisive power in Europe. That
  means that we shall then be able to tackle the peace,
  during which we shall be willing for the first twenty
  years to rebuild and spread out our villages and towns,
  and that we shall push the borders of our German race 500
  kilometres farther out to the east."

Their aims went beyond mere Germanisation, the imposition of
the German cultural pattern upon other peoples. Hitler was
not only resolved to expel non-Germans from the soil he
required, but also from that they owned, and colonise it by
Germans. This is plainly stated in Mein Kampf. I quote:

  " ... The Polish policy in the sense of a Germanisation
  of the East, demanded by so many, was rooted
  unfortunately almost always in the same wrong conclusion.
  Here too it was believed that one could bring about a
  Germanisation of the Polish element by a purely
  linguistic integration into the German nationality. Here
  too the result would have been an unfortunate one; people
  of an alien race, expressing its alien thought in the
  German language, compromising the height and dignity of
  our own nationality by its own inferiority."

Himmler put it even more clearly:

  "It is not our task to Germanise the East in the old
  sense, that is to teach the people there the German
  language and the German law, but to see to it that only
  people of purely Germanic blood live in the East."

The defendants were careful to conceal their true aims from
their victims. In January, 1940, a captured report reads:

  "In order to relieve the living-space of Poles in the
  Government General as well as in the liberated East, one
  should remove cheap labour temporarily by hundreds of
  thousands, employ them for a few years in the old Reich,
  and thereby hamper their native biological propagation."

                                                  [Page 449]

And it concludes:

  "Strictest care is to be taken that secret circulars,
  memoranda and official correspondence which contain
  instructions detrimental to the Poles are kept rigidly
  under lock and key so that they will not some day fill
  the White Books printed in Paris or the U.S.A."

Again, the day before the appointment of Rosenberg as
Minister for the East, Hitler told him in the presence of
Keitel, Goering and Bormann, I quote:

  "We ought to act here in exactly the same way as we did
  in the case of Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium. In
  these cases too we did not publish our aims and it is
  only sensible to continue in the same way. Therefore we
  shall emphasize again that we were forced to occupy,
  administer or secure a certain area. It was in the
  interests of the inhabitants that we provided order,
  food, communications, etc. Hence our measures. Nobody
  shall be able to recognize that it initiates a final
  settlement. This should not prevent our taking all
  necessary measures - shooting at sight, etc. - and we
  shall take them."

Having given these words of caution to his confederates, you
will remember how Hitler went on to elaborate his plans for
the destruction of the Soviet peoples. The Crimea, he said,
must be evacuated of all foreigners and settled by Germans

  "We now have to face the task of cutting up the giant
  cake according to our needs in order to be able -
  Firstly, to dominate it,
  Secondly, to administer it,
  Thirdly, to exploit it."

The pattern was exemplified in the infamous plan of Neurath
and Frank for Bohemia and Moravia - the same Neurath whose
counsel the day before yesterday asked you to respect the
holiness of the individual.

The pattern, I say, was exemplified in their plan for
Bohemia and Moravia. No more terrible document has been put
in evidence in this trial nor one which more completely
exposes the falsity of the slogan "Lebensraum", which
constituted the excuse for the rape of Czechoslovakia. That
plan required the elimination of the intelligentsia, the
bearers of Czechoslovakian history and tradition, and since
the long-term solution of evacuating all Czechs completely
from the country and replacing them by Germans could not be
effected immediately because of shortage of Germans, a short-
term solution of Germanising the remainder of the population
was introduced. This was to be done by rendering their
language a dialect, by abolition of higher education, by
instituting a stringent marriage policy after various racial
examinations. You will remember Frank's summary, I quote:

  "Apart from the continuance of the propaganda for
  Germanisation and the granting of advantages as an
  inducement, severest police methods with exile and
  special treatment for all saboteurs. Principle: 'Pastry
  and Whip '."

You will remember too the plan for Poland discussed in
Hitler's train on the 12th of September, 1939, by
Ribbentrop, Keitel and Jodl as described in the evidence of
the witness Lahousen and the discussion between Hitler,
Schirach and Frank three weeks later after dinner in the
Fuehrer's apartment:

  "There should be one master only for the Poles - the
  German: two masters side by side cannot and must not
  exist, and therefore all representatives of Polish
  intelligentsia are to be exterminated. This sounds cruel
  but such is the law of life."

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