The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter X
The Execution of The Slave Labor Program
(Part 1 of 2)


[Page 878]

The purposes of the slave labor program, namely, the strengthening of 'the Nazi war machine and the destruction or weakening of peoples deemed inferior, were achieved by the impressment and deportation of millions of persons into Germany for forced labor, by the separation of husbands from their wives and children from their parents, and by the imposition of conditions so inhuman that countless numbers perished.

A. Poland

Poland was the first victim. Frank, as Governor of the Government-General of Poland, announced that under his program 1,000,000 workers were to be sent to Germany, and recommended that police surround Polish villages and seize the inhabitants for deportation. These intentions appear in the following letter from Frank to Goering, dated 25 January 1940 (1375-PS):

"1. In view of the present requirements of the Reich for the defense industry, it is at present fundamentally impossible to carry on a long term economic policy in the General-Gouvernement. Rather, it is necessary so to steer the economy of the General Gouvernement that it will, in the shortest possible time, accomplish results representing the maximum that can be gotten out of the economic strength of the General-Gouvernement for the immediate strengthening of our capacity for defense.

"2. In particular the following performances are expected of the total economy of the General- Gouvernement ***"

"(g) Supply and transportation of at least 1 million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich -- among them at least 7,500,000 [sic] agricultural workers of which at least 50% must be women -- in order to guarantee agricultural production in the Reich and as a replacement for industrial workers lacking in the Reich." (1375-PS)

The methods by which these workers were to be supplied were outlined by Frank in his diary entry for Friday, 10 May 1940 (2233-A-PS):

"*** Then the Governor General deals with the problem of the Compulsory Labor Service of the Poles. Upon the demands from the Reich it has now been decreed that compulsion may be exercised in view of the fact that sufficient manpower was not voluntarily available for service inside the German Reich. This compulsion means the possibility of ar-

[Page 879]

rest of male and female Poles. Because of these measures a certain disquietude had developed which, according to individual reports, was spreading very much, and which might produce difficulties everywhere. General Fieldmarshal Goering some time ago pointed out in his long speech the necessity to deport into the Reich a million workers. The supply so far was 160,000. However, great difficulties had to be overcome. Therefore it would be advisable to consult the district and town chiefs in the execution of the compulsion, so that one could be sure from the start that this action would be reasonably successful. The arrest of young Poles when leaving church service or the cinema would bring about an increasing nervousness of the Poles. Generally speaking, he had no objections at all if the rubbish, capable of work yet often loitering about, would be snatched from the streets. The best method for this, however, would be the organization of a raid, and it would be absolutely justifiable to stop a Pole in the street and to question him what he was doing, where he was working etc." (2233-A-PS)

Another entry in the diary of Frank, for 16 March 1940, contains the following discourse on methods:

"*** The Governor General remarks that he had long negotiations in Berlin with representatives of the Reich Ministry for Finance and the Reich Ministry for Food. One has made the urgent demand there that Polish farm workers should be sent to the Reich in greater numbers. He has made the statement in Berlin that he, if it is demanded from him, can naturally exercise force in such a manner that he has the police surround a village and get the men and women, in question, out by force, and then send them to Germany. But one can also work differently, besides these police measures, by retaining the unemployment compensation of those workers in question." (2233-B-PS)

The instruments of force and terror used to carry out this program reached into many phases of Polish life. German labor authorities raided churches and theatres, seized those present, and shipped them to Germany. These facts appear in a memorandum to Himmler dated 17 April 1943, written by Dr. Lammers, chief of the Reichs Chancellery, with regard to the situation in the Government General of Poland:

"*** As things were, the utilization of manpower had to be enforced by means of more or less forceful methods, such as the instances when certain groups appointed by the Labor Offices, caught Church and Movie-goers here and there

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and transported them into the Reich. That such methods not only undermine the people's willingness to work and the people's confidence to such a degree that it cannot be checked even with terror, is just as clear as the consequences brought about by a strengthening of the political resistance movement". (2220-PS)

Polish farm land was confiscated with the aid of the SS, distributed to German inhabitants, or held in trust for the German community. The farm owners were thereupon employed as laborers or transported to Germany against their will. A report of the SS entitled "Achievement of Confiscations of Polish Agricultural Enterprises with the Purpose to Transfer the Poles to the old Reich and to Employ Them as Agricultural Workers," contains these disclosures:

"*** It is possible without difficulty to accomplish the confiscation of small agricultural enterprises in the villages in which larger agricultural enterprises have been already confiscated and are under the management of the East German Corporation for agricultural development. ** The former owners of Polish farms, together with their families will be transferred to the old Reich by the employment agencies for employment as farm worker. In this way many hundreds of Polish agricultural workers can be placed at the disposal of agriculture in the old Reich in the shortest and simplest manner. This way the most pressing shortage is removed that is now in a very disagreeable manner felt especially in the root-crop districts." (1352-PS)

Pursuant to the directions of Sauckel, his agents and the SS deported Polish men to Germany without their families, thereby accomplishing the basic purposes of the program: supplying labor for the German war effort and weakening the reproductive potential of the Polish people. Thus, in a letter from Sauckel to the Presidents of the "Landes" Employment Offices, dated 26 November 1942, it is stated that:

"In agreement with the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, Jews who are still in employment are, from now on, to be evacuated from the territory of the Reich and are to be replaced by Poles, who are being deported from the General-Gouvernement."

"The Poles who are to be evacuated as a result of this measure will be put into concentration camps and put to work where they are criminal or asocial elements. The remaining

[Page 881]

Poles where they are suitable for labor, will be transported without family into the Reich, particularly to Berlin; there they will be put at the disposal of the labor allocation offices to work in armament factories instead of the Jews who are to be replaced." (L-61)

The Nazi campaign of force, terror, and abduction was described in a letter to Frank written by the Chairman of the Ukrainian Main Committee, at Cracow, in February 1943. The letter states:

"The general nervousness is still more enhanced by the wrong methods of finding labor which have been used more and more frequently in recent months.

"The wild and ruthless man-hunt as exercised everywhere in towns and country, in streets, squares, stations, even in churches, at night in houses, has badly shaken the feeling of security of the inhabitants. Everybody is exposed to the danger, to be seized anywhere and at any time by members of the police, suddenly and unexpectedly and to be brought into an assembly camp. None of his relatives knows what has happened to him, only months later one or the other gives news of his fate by a postcard." (1526-PS)

And in enclosure 5 of the letter it is related that:

"In November of last year an inspection of all males of the age groups 1910 to 1920 was ordered in the area of Zaleschozyki (district of Czortkow). After the men had appeared for inspection, all those who were chosen were arrested at once, loaded into trains and sent to the Reich. Such recruiting of laborers for the Reich also took place in other areas of this district. Following some interventions the action was then stopped". (1526-PS)

The resistance of the Polish people to this Nazi enslavement program and the necessity for increased force were described by Sauckel's deputy Timm at a meeting of the Central Planning Board, Hitler's war-time planning agency, which was composed of Speer, Field Marshal Milch, and State Secretary Koerner. The Central Planning Board was the highest level economic planning agency, and exercised production controls by allocating raw materials and labor to industrial users. Timm's statement, which was made at the 36th conference of the Board, is as follows:

"*** Especially in Poland the situation at the moment is extraordinarily serious. It is well known that vehement battle occurred just because of these actions. The resistance against the administration established by us, is very strong. Quite a number of our men have been exposed to increased

[Page 882]

dangers, and it was just in the last two or three weeks that some of them were shot dead, e.g. the Head of the Labor Office of Warsaw who was shot in his office, and yesterday another man again. This is how matters stand presently, and the recruiting itself even-if done with the best will remains extremely difficult unless police reinforcements are at hand." (R-124)


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