The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter X
The Special Responsibility of Sauckel
(Part 1 of 3)

[Page 921]

Sauckel bears special responsibility for the Nazi slave labor program and the manner in which it was executed. Sauckel was appointed as Plenipotentiary General for Manpower because he was an old and trusted Nazi. He has certified, on 17 November 1945, that he held the following positions:

"1. Member of Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (1925-1945). (Member of National Socialist German Workers Party. Member No. 1395.)
2. Member of Reichstag (Mitglied des Reichstags) (1933-1945)
3. Gauleiter of Thuringia (1927-1945).
4. Member of Thuringian legislature (Landtag) (1927-1933/34).
5. Minister of Interior and head of Thuringian State Ministry (May 1933).
6. Reichsstatthater for Thuringia ( 1933-1945).
7. SA Obergruppenfuehrer (November 1937-1945).
8. SS Obergruppenfuehrer (January 1942-1945).
9. Administrator Berlin-Suhler Waffen & Fahrzeugwerke (1935).
10. Head of Gustloff-Werke Nationalsozialistische Industrie-Stiftung (1936). Honorary Head of Foundation.

[Page 922]

11. General Plenipotentiary for Labor Allocation (Generalbevollmaechtigter fuer den Arbeitseinsatz) (21 March 1942-1945)." (2974-PS)

Sauckel's official responsibilities are borne out by other evidence. His appointment as Plenipotentiary-General for Manpower was effected by a decree of 21 March 1942 signed by Hitler, Lammers, and Keitel. By that decree (1666-PS) Sauckel was given authority as well as responsibility subordinate only to that of Hitler and Goering for all matters relating to recruitment, allocation, and handling of foreign and domestic manpower. Goering, to whom Sauckel was directly responsible, abolished the recruitment and allocation agencies for the Four Year Plan, delegated their powers to Sauckel and placed his far-reaching authority, as deputy for the Four Year Plan, at Sauckel's disposal. This was the result of Goering's decree dated 27 March 1942 (1666- PS) and providing as follows:

"In pursuance of the Fuehrer's Decree of 21 March 1942 (RGB1 I, 179), I decree as follows:

"1. My manpower sections (Geschaeftsgruppen Arbeitseinsatz) are hereby abolished (circular letter of 22 October 1936/St M. Dev. 265). Their duties (recruitment and allocation of manpower, regulations for labor conditions (Arbeitsbedingungen) ) are taken over by the Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz, who is directly under me.

"2. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz will be responsible for regulating the conditions of labor (wage policy) employed in the Reich Territory, having regard to the requirements of Arbeitseinsatz.

"3. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz is part of the Four Year Plan. In cases where new legislation is required, or existing laws required to be modified, he will submit appropriate proposals to me.

"4. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz will have at his disposal for the performance of his task the right delegated to me by the Fuehrer for issuing instructions to the higher Reich authorities, their branches and the Party offices, and their associated organisms and also the Reich Protector, the General- Governor, the Commander-in-Chief, and heads of the civil administrations. In the case of ordinances and instructions of fundamental importance a report is to be submitted to me in advance." (1666-PS)

By a Hitler decree of 30 September 1942 Sauckel was given

[Page 923]

extraordinary powers over the civil and military authorities of the territories occupied by Germany. The decree (1903-PS) provided as follows:

"I herewith authorize the Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz, Reich-governor and district leader (Gauleiter) Fritz Sauckel to take all necessary measures for the enforcement of my decree referring to a Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz of 21 March 1942 (Reichsgesetzblatt, I, page 179) according to his own judgment in the Greater German Reich, in the Protectorate, and in the Government General (General government) as well as in the occupied territories, measures which will safeguard under all circumstances the regulated deployment of labor (Geordneter Arbeitseinsatz) for the German war-economy. For this purpose he may appoint commissioners (Beauftragte) to the bureaux of the military and civilian administration. These are subordinated directly to Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz. In order to carry out their tasks, they are entitled to issue directives to the competent military and civilian authorities in charge of the Arbeitseinsatz and of wage- policy.

"More detailed directives will be issued by the Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz.

"Fuehrer-Headquarters, 30 September 1942.

"The Fuehrer "
(signed) Adolph Hitler." (1903-PS)

Within a month after his appointment, Sauckel sent Rosenberg his "Labor Mobilization Program", which might more appropriately be termed Sauckel's "Charter of Enslavement." This program envisaged the forcible recruitment and the maximum exploitation of the entire labor resources of the conquered areas and of prisoners of war in the interests of the Nazi war machine, at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure to the German State. Sauckel explained his plans in these terms:

"It must be emphasized, however, that an additional tremendous number of foreign labor has to be found for the Reich. The greatest pool for that purpose are the occupied territories of the East. Consequently, it is an immediate necessity to use the human reserves of the Conquered Soviet Territory to the fullest extent. Should we not succeed in obtaining the necessary amount of labor on a voluntary basis, we must immediately institute conscription or forced labor. "Apart from the prisoners of war still in the occupied territories, we must, therefore, requisition skilled or unskilled

[Page 924]

male and female labor from the Soviet territory from the age of 15 up for the labor mobilization ***."


"The complete employment of all prisoners of war as well as the use of a gigantic number of new foreign civilian workers, men and women, has become an undisputable necessity for the solution of the mobilization of labor program in this war." (016-PS)

Sauckel proceeded to implement this "Charter of Enslavement" with certain basic directives. In Regulation No. 4, which he issued on 7 May 1942, Sauckel provided that if voluntary recruitment of foreign workers was unsuccessful, compulsory service should be instituted. This regulation provides:

"The recruitment of foreign labor will be done on the fundamental basis of volunteering. Where, however, in the occupied territories the appeal for volunteers does not suffice, obligatory service and drafting must, under all circumstances, be resorted to. This is an indisputable requirement of our labor situation." (3044-PS)

Sauckel provided also for the allocation of foreign labor in the order of its importance to the Nazi war machine. Sauckel's regulation No. 10 of 22 August 1942 had these aims:

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