The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Hans Frank
(Part 9 of 10)

[Page 644]

(5) Rigorous methods of recruiting workers. Force, violence, and economic duress were all advocated by Frank as means for recruiting laborers for deportation to slave labor in Germany. Deportation of Polish laborers to Germany was an integral art of the program announced by Frank for his administration of the General Government (See EC-344-16 & 17), and as Governor General he authorized whatever degree of force was required for the execution of his program.

Voluntary methods of recruitment soon proved inadequate. In the spring of 1940 the question of utilizing force came up, and the following discussion took place in the presence of Seyss-Inquart:

"The Governor-General stated that the fact that all means in form of proclamations etc. did not bring success, leads to the conclusion that the Poles out of malevolence, and guided by the intention of harming Germany by not putting themselves at its disposal, refuse to enlist for working duty. Therefore, he asks Dr. Frauendorfer, if there are any other measures, not as yet employed, to win the Poles on a voluntary basis.

"Reichshauptamtsleiter Dr. Frauendorfer answered this question negatively.

"The General Governor emphasized the fact that he now will be asked to take a definite attitude toward this question. Therefore the question will arise whether any form of coercive measures should now be

"The question put by the General Governor to SS Lieutenant General [Obergruppenfuehrer] Krueger: does he see possibilities of calling Polish workers by coercive means, is answered in the affirmative by SS Lieutenant General Krueger." (2233-N-PS)

At the same conference Frank declared that he was willing to agree to any practical measures, and decreed that unemployment

[Page 645]

compensation should be discontinued on 1 May 1940 as a means of recruiting labor for Germany.

"The General Governor is willing to agree to any practical measure; however, he wishes to be informed personally about the measures to be taken. One measure, which no doubt would be successful, would be the discontinuance of unemployment compensation for unemployed workers and their transfer to public welfare. Therefore, he decrees that, beginning 1 May, claim for unemployment compensation will cease to exist and only public welfare may be granted. For the time being only men are to report and above those men living in cities. There might be a possibility of combining the moving of the 120,000 Poles from the Warthe district with this measure." (2233-N-PS)

In March 1940 Frank assured the authorities in Berlin that he was prepared to have villages surrounded and the people dragged forcibly out. He reported that, in the course of his negotiations in Berlin regarding the urgent demand for larger numbers of Polish farm workers, he had stated:

" if it is demanded from him, [he] could 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 these workers in question." (2233-B-PS)

At a conference of Department Heads of the General Government on 10 May 1940 Frank laid down the following principles for dealing with the problem of conscription labor:

"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 . . . . The arrest of young Poles when leaving church services or the cinema would bring about an ever-increasing nervousness of the Poles. Generally speaking, he had no objection 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)

[Page 646]

Frank utilized starvation as a method of recruitment. At a conference on 20 November 1942 the following plan was agreed:

"Starting 1 February 1942 the food ration cards should not be issued to the individual Pole or Ukrainian by the Nutrition Office [Ernaehrungsamt], but to the establishments working for the German interest. 2,000,000 people would thus be eliminated from the non- German, normal ration consuming contingent. Now, if those ration cards are only distributed by the factories, part of those people will naturally rush into the factories. Labor could then be either procured for Germany from them or they could be used for the most important work in the factories of the General Government." (2233-Y-PS)

On 18 August 1942 Frank informed Sauckel that the General Government had already supplied 800,000 laborers to Germany, and that a further 140,000 would be supplied by the end of the year. Regarding the quota for the next year he promised:

" you can, however, next year reckon upon a higher number of workers from the General Government, for we shall employ the Police to conscript them." (2233-W-PS)

Six months after Frank promised Sauckel to resort to police action to round up labor for deportation to Germany, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Main Committee reported to Frank that the program was being carried out as follows:

"The wild and ruthless man-hunt carried on 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 of being seized anywhere and at any time by members of the police, suddenly and unexpectedly, and being brought into an assembly camp. None of his relatives knows what has happened to him, only weeks or months later, one or the other gives news of his fate by a postcard." (1526-PS)

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