The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Herman Wilhelm Goering
Part 6 of 11)

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(1) Forced Labor, Deportation, and Enslavement of Residents of Occupied Territories.

The slave labor program of the Nazi conspirators had two criminal purposes. The first was to satisfy the labor requirements of the Nazi war machine by forcing residents of occupied countries to work in Germany, often directly in the German armament industry, and the second was to destroy or weaken the peoples of the occupied territories. Millions of foreign workers were taken to Germany, for the most part under pressure and generally by physical force. These workers were forced to labor under conditions of undescribable brutality and degradation, and

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often they were used in factories and industries devoted exclusively to the production of munitions of war. (See Chapter X The Slave Labor Program.)

Goering was at all times implicated in the slave labor program. recruitment and allocation of man-power and determination of working conditions were included in his jurisdiction as Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, and from its beginning a part of the Four-Year Plan Office was devoted to such work. (1862-PS; 2827-PS.)

The defendant Goering was present at a meeting in Hitler's study on 23 May 1939 at which Hitler, after declaring his intention to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity, said:

"If fate brings us into conflict with the West, the possession of extensive areas in the East will be advantageous. *** The population of non-German areas will perform no military service and will be available as a source of labor." (L-79)

Soon after the fall of Poland, Goering as Plenipotentiary for Four-Year Plan, began the enslavement of large numbers of Poles. On 25 January 1940, the defendant Frank, then Governor General of Poland, reported to Goering as follows:

"For the execution of the task of systematically placing the economic strength of the Generalgouvernement, within the framework of the Four- Year Plan, in the service of the German defense industry, I give the following


"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 Generalgouvernement. Rather, it is necessary so to steer the economy of the Generalgouvernement that it will, in the shortest possible time, accomplish results representing the maximum that can be gotten out of the economic strength of the Generalgouvernement for immediate strengthening of our capacity for defense. ***

"2. (g) Supply and transportation of at least 1 million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich -- among them at least 7500 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)

That orders for this enormous number of workers originated

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with the defendant Goering is clear from the following statement in Frank's Diary for 10 May 1940:

"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 arrest 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)

Goering was also responsible for the harsh treatment given these workers when they reached Germany. On 8 March 1940, as Plenipotentiary of the Four-Year Plan and as Chairman of the Cabinet Counsel for the Defense of the Reich, he issued a directive to the Supreme Reich authorities, entitled: "Treatment of male and female civilian workers of Polish Nationality in the Reich." In this directive Goering provided in part:

"The mass employment of male and female civilian workers of Polish nationality in the Reich necessitates a comprehensive ruling on treatment of these workers.

"The following orders are to be executed at once:

"4. The blameless conduct of the Poles is to be assured by special-regulations. The legal and administrative regulations, necessary for this, will be issued by the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police at the Reich Ministry of the Interior.

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"6. Attention is drawn to the explanations enclosed as appendix." (R-148)

Attached to this directive, and also dated 8 March 1940, were a series of regulations issued by Himmler, as Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police. These regulations provided for stringent measures and discrimination against Polish workers in the Reich. In a covering Express Letter addressed to all State Police district-offices and State Police offices, also dated 8 March 1940, Himmler made clear what was intended in order to secure "blameless conduct" He stated:

"The steps to be taken to combat insubordination and noncompliance with the duty to work, must be decided according to the severity of the case and to the spirit of resistance of the offender. It is of most importance that they be taken immediately after the offense is committed so that they have a decisive effect. In accordance with my instructions in the appended decrees, especially severe measures must be taken during the first eight weeks, in order to bring home to the workers of Polish nationality from the outset the consequences of noncompliance with the orders issued. ***

"In general, in all cases where a warning, by the State Police or a short imprisonment is not sufficient to induce the worker to fulfill his duties, application is to be made for his transfer to a labor training camp, and an opinion given on what treatment he should receive there. The treatment in the labor training camps will have to be in accordance with the severity of the offense. It is suitable, e. g., to make obstinate shirkers work in the stone-quarries of the Mauthausen camp. By a special decree, to the heads of SS-Deathshead Units and concentration camps, I have ordered that the treatment of these persons under protective custody be undertaken in a concentration camp.

"Extraordinarily serious cases have to be reported to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD who, after examination, make the decision on a special treatment of the workers of Polish nationality in question." (R- 148)

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