The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 13 of 22)


[Page 189]

(c) Deportation into Slavery

Outstanding in the long chain of vile crimes committed by the German Fascist invaders is the forced deportation to Germany of peaceful citizens -- men, women, and children -- for slave and forced labour.

Documentary evidence proves the fact the Hitlerite Government and the German Supreme Command carried out the deportation of Soviet citizens into German slavery by deceit, threats and force. Soviet citizens were sold into slavery by the Fascist invaders to concerns and private individuals in Germany. These slaves were doomed to hunger, brutal treatment, and, in the end, to an agonizing death. I shall dwell later on the inhuman and barbarous directives, edicts, and orders of the Hitlerite Government and the Supreme Command, which were issued for the purpose of effecting the deportation of Soviet persons to German slavery, and for which the defendants now being prosecuted are responsible, particularly Goering, Keitel, Rosenberg, Sauckel, and others. Documents at the disposal of the Soviet prosecution, captured by the Red Army from the staffs of the smashed German Fascist armies, expose the defendants as perpetrators of these crimes.

In a report read at a meeting of the German Labor Front in 11/1942, Rosenberg presented facts and figures confirming the vast scale of the deportation of Soviet citizens to slave and serf labour in Germany which were organised by Sauckel.

On 7th November, 1941 a secret conference took place in Berlin, at which Goering gave directives to his officials concerning the utilisation of Soviet citizens for forced labour.

These directives came to our knowledge from a document which is Secret Circular No. 42006/41 of the Economic Staff of the German Command in the East, dated 4th December, 1941. This is how these directives run:

"(1) Russians must be used chiefly for road and railway construction, cleaning-up operations, de-mining and airfield construction. German construction battalions must be disbanded (e.g., those of the Air Force). Skilled German workers must work on war production; they must not dig and break stones -- the Russian is there for that purpose.

(2) It is essential to utilise the Russian primarily for the following types of work: mining, road construction, war production (tanks, guns, aircraft equipment), agriculture, building, in large workshops (shoe-making) and in special detachments for urgent unforeseen jobs.

(3) In taking measures to keep order, the decisive considerations are speed and severity. Only the following types of punishment, without any intermediate punitive sanctions, will be imposed: deprivation of food, or death by sentence of court martial."

The Defendant Fritz Sauckel was appointed General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor by Hitler's order of 21st March, 1942.

On 20th April, 1942, Sauckel sent to the Government and military organs his "Program of the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor" (top secret), which is no less foul than the circular referred to above. This is what is said in the "Programme":

"It is extremely necessary fully to utilise the human reserves available in occupied Soviet territories. If attempts to attract the necessary labour voluntarily do not succeed, it will be necessary to resort immediately to recruitment or to the compulsory signing of individual contracts.

Besides the prisoners of war we already have, and who are located for the most part in the occupied territories, there is need for the mobilisation

[Page 190]

of skilled male and female civilian workers over 15 years of age from the Soviet provinces for utilisation in Germany.

In order that the burden on the overworked German peasant woman should be noticeably lightened, the Fuehrer has ordered me to bring 400,000 to 500,000 selected, healthy and strong girls to Germany from the Eastern territories."

Yet another secret document concerning the utilisation of women workers from the Eastern territories, for domestic labour in Germany, has been presented to the Tribunal by the prosecution. This document is composed of excerpts from the report on a meeting held by Sauckel on 3rd September, 1942. I quote some of these excerpts:
"(1) The Fuehrer has ordered that between 400,000 and 500,000 Ukrainian women, aged between 15 and 35, be brought immediately for domestic labour.

(2) The Fuehrer has expressed categorically his desire that a large number of these girls be Germanised.

(3) It is the Fuehrer's will that, in 100 years' time, 250,000,000 German-speaking people should live in Europe.

(4) To consider these women workers from the Ukraine as workers from the East, and to put the sign 'Ost' (East) on them.

(5) Gauleiter Sauckel added that, apart from the introduction of women workers for domestic labour, it was intended to utilise an additional million workers from the East.

(6) References to the difficulty of bringing stocks of grain to Germany from other countries did not worry him, Sauckel, at all. He would find ways and means to utilise Ukrainian grain and cattle by mobilising all the Jews in Europe and making of them a living chain of conveyors to get all the necessary boxes to the Ukraine."

Foreseeing the inevitability of the failure of existing measures to recruit Soviet citizens by force for labour in Germany, Sauckel ordered, in a secret directive of 31st March, 1942, No. FA 578028/729:
"The recruitments for which you are responsible must be enforced by all available means, including the severe application of the principle of compulsory labour."
Sauckel and his agents used all possible methods of pressure and terror to carry out the plans of recruitment. They starved the Soviet citizens condemned to this recruitment, lured them to the stations under pretense of distribution of bread, surrounded them with soldiers, loaded them into trains under the threat of shooting them, and took them to Germany. But even these coercive methods did not help. The recruitment was not successful. Then Sauckel and his agents had recourse to a quota system. This is testified to by an order of a German commandant, captured by the Red Army forces when the occupied part of the Province of Leningrad was liberated. It runs as follows:
"To the mayors of village communities .... Since a very small number of people have so far presented themselves for labour in Germany, every mayor of a village community must, in accord with the elders of the villages, provide 15 or more persons from each village community for labour in Germany. Healthy people aged between 15 and 50 must be provided."
The chief of the political police and of the Security Service in Kharkov stated in his report on the situation in the town of Kharkov, covering the period from 24th July to 9th September, 1942:

[Page 191]

"The recruitment of labour is worrying the competent agencies, since an extremely antagonistic attitude to transportation for work in Germany is to be observed among the population. At present the situation is such that everyone tries by every available means to escape recruitment (malingering, escape into the forests, bribery of officials, etc.). As for working in Germany voluntarily, this has been out of the question for a long time past."
That citizens deported to German slavery were subjected to the most brutal treatment is shown by a vast quantity of complaints and statements collected by the Extraordinary State Commission of the Soviet Union for the Investigation of Crimes of the German Fascist invaders.

Polish, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav citizens deported to German slavery suffered the same fate.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.