The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XI
The Concentration Camp
The Beginning of Protective Custody
(Part 4 of 5)


B. Persecution of Trade Union Members.

Labor unions, traditionally opposed to wars of aggression, also felt the full force of Nazi terror. The concentration camp was an important weapon in the campaign against the trade unions. Goering made it plain, for instance, that members of the Social Democratic Party were to be confined in concentration camps (2324-Ps). Labor leaders were largely members of that party and soon learned the meaning of "protective custody".

In this connection, an order that one Joseph Simon should be placed in protective custody, is pertinent (2350-PS). The "reasons" given were as follows:

"Simon was for many years a member of the Socialist Party and temporarily a member of the Union Socialiste Populaire. From 1907 to 1918 he was Landtag deputy of the Socialist Party; from 1908 to 1930 Social Democratic City Counsellor (Stadtrat) in Nurnberg. In view of the decisive role which

[Page 953]

Simon played in the international trade unions and in regard to his connection with international Marxist leaders and central agencies, which he continued after the national recovery, he was placed under protective custody on 3 May 1933, and was kept, until 25 January 1934, in the Dachau concentration camp. Simon is under the urgent suspicion that even after this date he played an active part in the illegal continuation of the Socialist Party. He took part in meetings which aimed at the illegal continuation of the Socialist Party and propagation of illegal Marxist printed matter in Germany.

"Through this radical attitude which is hostile to the State, Simon directly endangers public security and order." (2330-PS)

Further instances of this persecution of members of trade unions are contained in (2334-PS) and (2928-PS).


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