In general terms, the basic elements of the Nazi foreign labor policy consisted of mass deportation and mass enslavement. It was a policy of underfeeding and overworking foreign laborers, of subjecting them to every form of degradation and brutality. It was a policy which compelled foreign workers and prisoners of war to manufacture armaments and to engage in other operations of war directed against their own countries. It was, in short, a policy which constituted a flagrant violation of the laws of war and the laws of humanity.
Fritz Sauckel and Albert Speer are principally responsible for the formulation of this policy and for its execution. Sauckel, the Nazi’s Plenipotentiary General for Manpower, directed the recruitment, deportation, and allocation of foreign civilian labor. Sanctioning and directing the use of force as a means of recruitment, he was responsible for the mistreatment of the enslaved millions. Speer — as Reichsminister for Armaments and Munitions, Director of the Organization Todt, and member of the Central Planning Board — bears responsibility for the determination of the numbers of foreign slaves required by the German war machine, for the decision to recruit by force, and for the use and brutal treatment of foreign civilians and prisoners of war in the manufacture of armaments and munitions, in the construction of fortifications, and in active military operations.
Hermann Goering, as Plenipotentiary General for the Four Year Plan, is also responsible for all the crimes involved in the Nazi slave labor program. In addition, Alfred Rosenberg as Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, Hans Frank a Governor General of the Government- General of Poland, Artur Seyss-Inquart as Reichskommissar for the Occupied Netherlands, and Wilhelm Keitel as chief of the OKW share responsibility for the recruitment by force and terror and for the deportation to Germany of the citizens of the areas overrun or subjugated by the Wehrmacht.
I. PLANNING FOR THE USE OF SLAVE LABOR
The use of vast numbers of foreign workers was planned before Germany went to war and was an integral part of the conspiracy for waging aggressive war. On 23 May 1939 a meeting was held in Hitler’s study at the Reichs Chancellery. Goering,
Raeder, and Keitel were present. According to the minutes of this meeting, (L-79) Hitler stated that he intended to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity. He further stated:
“*** If fate brings us into contact with the West, the possession of extensive areas in the East will be advantageous. We shall be able to rely upon record harvests, even less in time of war than in peace.
“The population of non-German areas will perform no military service, and will be available as a source of labor”. (L-79)
The slave labor program was designed to achieve two purposes. The primary purpose was to satisfy the labor requirements of the Nazi war machine by compelling foreign workers, in effect, to make war against their own countries and its allies. The secondary purpose was to destroy or weaken peoples deemed inferior by the Nazi racialists, or deemed potentially hostile by the Nazi planners of world supremacy. These purposes were expressed by the conspirators themselves. In Sauckel’s Labor Mobilization Program (016-PS) which he sent to Rosenberg on 20 April 1942, Sauckel declared:
“*** The aim of this new, gigantic labor mobilization is to use all the rich and tremendous sources, conquered and secured for us by our fighting Armed Forces under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, for the armament of -the Armed Forces and also for the nutrition of the Homeland. The raw materials as well as the fertility of the conquered territories and their human labor power are to be used completely and conscientiously to the profit of Germany and their allies.” (016-PS)
The theory of the “master race,” which underlay the conspirators’ labor policy in the East, was expressed in the following words by Erich Koch, Reichskommissar for the Ukraine, at a meeting of the National Socialist Party on 5 March 1943 in Kiev:
“1. We are the master race and must govern hard but just ***.
“2. I will draw the very last out of this country. I did not come to spread bliss. I have come to help the Fuehrer. The population must work, work, and work again *** for some people are getting excited, that the population may not get enough to eat. The population cannot demand that, one has only to remember what our heroes were deprived of in Stalingrad *** We definitely did not come here to give out manna. We have come here to create the basis for victory.
“3. We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here”. (1130-PS)
And in a speech delivered to a group of SS Generals on 4 October 1943 at Posen, Himmler stated:
*** What happens to a Russian, to a Czech, does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our Kultur: otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished ***.” (1919-PS)
A Top Secret memorandum prepared for the Ministry of the occupied Eastern Territories on 2 June 1944, and approved by Rosenberg, contains the following plans:
“The Army Group ‘Center’ has the intention to apprehend 40-5,000 youths at the ages of 10 to 14 who are in the Army territory-and to transport them to the Reich ***.”
“It is intended to allot these juveniles primarily to the German trades as apprentices to be used as skilled workers after 2 years’ training. This is to be arranged through the Organization Todt which is especially equipped for such a task through its technical and other set-ups. This action is being greatly welcomed by the German trade since it represents a decisive measure for the alleviation of the shortage of apprentices.”
“1. This action is not only aimed at preventing a direct reinforcement of the enemy’s military strength, but also at a reduction of his biological potentialities as viewed from the perspective of the future. These ideas have been voiced not only by the Reichsfuehrer of the SS but also by the Fuehrer. Corresponding orders were given during last year’s withdrawals in the southern sector ***.” (031-PS)
Rosenberg’s approval is at the end of the document:
“regarding the above — Obergruppenfuehrer Berger received the memorandum on June 14. Consequently the Reichsminister has approved the Action.” (031-PS)