Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter X The Special Responsibility of Sauckel

The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Last-Modified: 1996/06/12

Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume One, Chapter Ten

[Page 921]


Sauckel bears special responsibility for the Nazi slave
labor program and the manner in which it was executed.
Sauckel was appointed as Plenipotentiary General for
Manpower because he was an old and trusted Nazi. He has
certified, on 17 November 1945, that he held the following

“1. Member of Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen
Arbeiterpartei (1925-1945). (Member of National
Socialist German Workers Party. Member No. 1395.)
2. Member of Reichstag (Mitglied des Reichstags) (1933-
3. Gauleiter of Thuringia (1927-1945).
4. Member of Thuringian legislature (Landtag) (1927-
5. Minister of Interior and head of Thuringian State
Ministry (May 1933).
6. Reichsstatthater for Thuringia ( 1933-1945).
7. SA Obergruppenfuehrer (November 1937-1945).
8. SS Obergruppenfuehrer (January 1942-1945).
9. Administrator Berlin-Suhler Waffen & Fahrzeugwerke
10. Head of Gustloff-Werke Nationalsozialistische
Industrie-Stiftung (1936). Honorary Head of Foundation.

[Page 922]

11. General Plenipotentiary for Labor Allocation
(Generalbevollmaechtigter fuer den Arbeitseinsatz) (21
March 1942-1945).” (2974-PS)

Sauckel’s official responsibilities are borne out by other
evidence. His appointment as Plenipotentiary-General for
Manpower was effected by a decree of 21 March 1942 signed by
Hitler, Lammers, and Keitel. By that decree (1666-PS)
Sauckel was given authority as well as responsibility
subordinate only to that of Hitler and Goering for all
matters relating to recruitment, allocation, and handling of
foreign and domestic manpower. Goering, to whom Sauckel was
directly responsible, abolished the recruitment and
allocation agencies for the Four Year Plan, delegated their
powers to Sauckel and placed his far-reaching authority, as
deputy for the Four Year Plan, at Sauckel’s disposal. This
was the result of Goering’s decree dated 27 March 1942 (1666-
PS) and providing as follows:

“In pursuance of the Fuehrer’s Decree of 21 March 1942
(RGB1 I, 179), I decree as follows:

“1. My manpower sections (Geschaeftsgruppen
Arbeitseinsatz) are hereby abolished (circular letter
of 22 October 1936/St M. Dev. 265). Their duties
(recruitment and allocation of manpower, regulations
for labor conditions (Arbeitsbedingungen) ) are taken
over by the Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz,
who is directly under me.

“2. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz will
be responsible for regulating the conditions of labor
(wage policy) employed in the Reich Territory, having
regard to the requirements of Arbeitseinsatz.

“3. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz is
part of the Four Year Plan. In cases where new
legislation is required, or existing laws required to
be modified, he will submit appropriate proposals to

“4. The Plenipotentiary General for Arbeitseinsatz will
have at his disposal for the performance of his task
the right delegated to me by the Fuehrer for issuing
instructions to the higher Reich authorities, their
branches and the Party offices, and their associated
organisms and also the Reich Protector, the General-
Governor, the Commander-in-Chief, and heads of the
civil administrations. In the case of ordinances and
instructions of fundamental importance a report is to
be submitted to me in advance.” (1666-PS)

By a Hitler decree of 30 September 1942 Sauckel was given

[Page 923]

extraordinary powers over the civil and military authorities
of the territories occupied by Germany. The decree (1903-PS)
provided as follows:

“I herewith authorize the Deputy General for the
Arbeitseinsatz, Reich-governor and district leader
(Gauleiter) Fritz Sauckel to take all necessary
measures for the enforcement of my decree referring to
a Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz of 21 March
1942 (Reichsgesetzblatt, I, page 179) according to his
own judgment in the Greater German Reich, in the
Protectorate, and in the Government General (General
government) as well as in the occupied territories,
measures which will safeguard under all circumstances
the regulated deployment of labor (Geordneter
Arbeitseinsatz) for the German war-economy. For this
purpose he may appoint commissioners (Beauftragte) to
the bureaux of the military and civilian
administration. These are subordinated directly to
Deputy General for the Arbeitseinsatz. In order to
carry out their tasks, they are entitled to issue
directives to the competent military and civilian
authorities in charge of the Arbeitseinsatz and of wage-

“More detailed directives will be issued by the Deputy
General for the Arbeitseinsatz.

“Fuehrer-Headquarters, 30 September 1942.

“The Fuehrer ”
(signed) Adolph Hitler.” (1903-PS)

Within a month after his appointment, Sauckel sent Rosenberg
his “Labor Mobilization Program”, which might more
appropriately be termed Sauckel’s “Charter of Enslavement.”
This program envisaged the forcible recruitment and the
maximum exploitation of the entire labor resources of the
conquered areas and of prisoners of war in the interests of
the Nazi war machine, at the lowest conceivable degree of
expenditure to the German State. Sauckel explained his plans
in these terms:

“It must be emphasized, however, that an additional
tremendous number of foreign labor has to be found for
the Reich. The greatest pool for that purpose are the
occupied territories of the East. Consequently, it is
an immediate necessity to use the human reserves of the
Conquered Soviet Territory to the fullest extent.
Should we not succeed in obtaining the necessary amount
of labor on a voluntary basis, we must immediately
institute conscription or forced labor. “Apart from the
prisoners of war still in the occupied territories, we
must, therefore, requisition skilled or unskilled

[Page 924]

male and female labor from the Soviet territory from
the age of 15 up for the labor mobilization ***.”
“The complete employment of all prisoners of war as
well as the use of a gigantic number of new foreign
civilian workers, men and women, has become an
undisputable necessity for the solution of the
mobilization of labor program in this war.” (016-PS)

Sauckel proceeded to implement this “Charter of Enslavement”
with certain basic directives. In Regulation No. 4, which he
issued on 7 May 1942, Sauckel provided that if voluntary
recruitment of foreign workers was unsuccessful, compulsory
service should be instituted. This regulation provides:

“The recruitment of foreign labor will be done on the
fundamental basis of volunteering. Where, however, in
the occupied territories the appeal for volunteers does
not suffice, obligatory service and drafting must,
under all circumstances, be resorted to. This is an
indisputable requirement of our labor situation.” (3044-

Sauckel provided also for the allocation of foreign labor in
the order of its importance to the Nazi war machine.
Sauckel’s regulation No. 10 of 22 August 1942 had these

“*** 3. The resources of manpower that are available in
the occupied territories are to be employed primarily
to satisfy the requirements of importance for the war,
in Germany itself. In allocating the said labor
resources in-the Occupied Territories, the following
order of priority will be observed:

“(a) Labor required for the troops, the occupation
authorities, and the civil authorities;
“(b) Labor required for the German armaments
“(c) Labor required for food and agriculture;
“(d) Labor required for industrial work other than
armaments, which is in the interest of Germany;
“(e) Labor required for industrial work in the
interests of the population of the territory in
question.” (3044-A-PS)

Sauckel and agencies subordinate to him exercised exclusive
authority over the recruitment of workers from every area in
Europe occupied by, controlled by, or friendly to the German
nation. Sauckel affirmed this authority in the following

“The recruitment of foreign labor in the areas occupied
by Germany, in allied, friendly or neutral states will
be carried

[Page 925]

out exclusively by my commissioners, or by the
competent German military or civil agencies for the
tasks of labor mobilization.”
“For the carrying out of recruitment in allied,
friendly or neutral foreign countries, my commissioners
are solely responsible.” (3044-PS)

Sauckel participated in the formulation of overall labor
requirements for Germany and assigned quotas to be filled by
and with the assistance of the individuals and agencies
mentioned above, with knowledge that force and brutality
were the only means whereby his demands could be met. Thus,
the Lammer’s report states (1292-PS):

“1. A conference took place with the Fuehrer today
which was attended by:

“The Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor
Gauleiter Sauckel,

“The Secretary for Armament and War Production, Speer,
“The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Army, General
Field Marshal Keitel, General Field Marshal Milch,

“The Acting Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture
State Secretary Backe,

“The Minister of the Interior, Reichsfuehrer SS
Himmler, and myself.

(The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of
National Economy had repeatedly asked to be permitted to
participate prior to the Conference, but the Fuehrer did not
wish their attendance.)

“The Fuehrer declared in his introductory remarks:

‘I want a clear picture:

(1) How many workers are required for the
maintenance of German War Economy?
(a) For the maintenance of present output?
(b) To increase its output?
(2) How many workers can be obtained from Occupied
Countries, or how many can still be gained in the
Reich by suitable means (increased output)? For
one thing, it is this matter of making up for
losses by death, infirmity, the constant
fluctuation of workers, and so forth, and further
it is a matter of procuring additional workers.’

“The Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor,
Sauckel, declared that, in order to maintain the
present pool of work-

[Page 926]

ers, he would have to add at least 2 1/2 but probably 3
million new workers in 1944. Otherwise production would
fall off. Reichsminister Speer declared that he needs
an additional 1.3 million laborers. However, this would
depend on whether it will be possible to increase
production of iron ore. Should this not be possible, he
would need no additional workers. Procurement of
additional workers from Occupied Territory would,
however, be subject to the condition that these workers
will not be withdrawn from armament and auxiliary
industries already working there. For this would mean a
decrease of production of these industries which he
could not tolerate. Those, for instance, who are
already working in France in industries mentioned
above, must be protected against being sent to work in
Germany by the Plenipotentiary for the Employment of
Labor. The Fuehrer agreed with the opinions of
Reichsminister Speer and emphasized that the measures
taken by the Plenipotentiary for the Employment of
Labor should order no circumstances which would lead to
the withdrawal of workers from armament and auxiliary
industries working in occupied territories, because
such a shift of workers would only cause disturbance of
production in occupied countries.

“The Fuehrer further called attention to the fact that
at least 250,000 laborers will be required for
preparations against air attacks in the field of
civilian air raid protection. For Vienna alone, 2,000-
2,500 are required immediately. The Plenipotentiary for
the Employment of Labor must add at least 4 million
workers to the manpower pool, considering that he
requires 2 1/2 million workers for maintenance of the
present level, that Reich Minister Speer needs 1.3
million additional workers, and that the above-
mentioned preparations for security measures against
air attacks call for 0.25 million laborers.”

“The Reichsfuehrer SS explained that the enforcement
agents put at his disposal are extremely few, but that
he would try helping the Sauckel project to succeed by
increasing them and working them harder. The
Reichsfuehrer SS made immediately available 2,000 to
2,500 men from concentration camps for air raid
preparations in Vienna.”
“Results of the Conference:

“(1) The Plenipotentiary for Employment of Labor shall

[Page 927]

procure at least 4 million new workers from occupied
territories.” (1292-PS)

Moreover, Sauckel, in requesting the assistance of the Army
for the recruitment of 1,00,000 men and women from the
occupied Eastern territories, informed Keitel that prompt
action was required; and that, as in all other occupied
countries, pressure had to be used if other measures were
not successful (3012-PS). Finally, Sauckel was informed by
Rosenberg that the enslavement of foreign labor was achieved
by force and brutality (018-PS). Notwithstanding his
knowledge of conditions, Sauckel continued to request
greater supplies of manpower from the areas in which the
most ruthless methods had been applied. Indeed, when German
Field Commanders on the Eastern Front attempted to resist
Sauckel’s demands, because forced recruitment was swelling
the ranks of the partisans and making the army’s task more
difficult, Sauckel sent a telegram to Hitler, dated 10 March
1943, in which he implored him to intervene:

“Therefore, my Fuehrer, I ask you to abolish all orders
which oppose the obligation of foreign workers for
labor ***.”
“If the obligation for labor and the forced recruiting
of workers in the East is not possible any more, then
the German war industry and agriculture cannot fulfill
their tasks to the full extent.” (407-II-PS)

In addition-to being responsible for the recruitment of
foreign civilian labor by force, Sauckel was responsible for
the conditions under which foreign workers were deported to
Germany and for the treatment to which they were subjected
within Germany. The conditions under which Sauckel’s slaves
were transported to Germany, were known to Sauckel (2241-
PS). Moreover, he accepted responsibility for these
conditions. Regulation Number 4 of 7 May 1942, issued by
Sauckel as Plenipotentiary General for the Mobilization of
Labor, deals with recruitment, care, lodging, feeding, and
treatment of foreign workers of both sexes (3044-PS). By
this decree, Sauckel expressly directed that the assembly
and operation of rail transports and the supplying of food
therefor was the responsibility of his agents until the
transports arrived in Germany. By the same regulation,
Sauckel directed that within Germany the care of foreign
industrial workers was to be carried out by the German Labor
Front and that care of foreign agricultural workers was to
be carried out by the Reich Food Administration. By the
terms of the regulation, Sauckel reserved for himself
ultimate responsibility for all aspects of care, treat-

[Page 928]

ment, lodging, and feeding of foreign workers while in
transit to and within Germany. The regulation reads (3044-

“The care of foreign labor will be carried out.

“a. up to the Reichs border
“by my commissioners or — in the occupied areas
by the competent military or civil labor
mobilization agencies. Care of the labor will be
carried out in cooperation with the respective
competent foreign organization.
“b. Within the area of the Reich
“1. By the German Labor Front in the cases of
nonagricultural workers.
“2. By the Reich Food administration in the case
of agricultural workers.
“The German Labor Front and the German Food
Administration are bound by my directives in the
carrying out of their tasks of caring for-the

“The agencies of the labor mobilization administration
are to give far-reaching support to the German Labor
Front and the German Food Administration in the
fulfillment of their assigned tasks.

“My competence for the execution of the care of foreign
labor is not prejudiced by the assignment of these
tasks to the German Labor Front and the Reichs Food
“b. Composition and operation of the transports.
“The composition and operations of the transports up to
the place of work is the task of my representatives, in
the occupied territories of the labor mobilization
agencies of the military and civil administration. In
the countries in which foreign representatives are to
direct the transports up to the frontier, the German
recruiting agency must take part in the supervision and
care of the transports.”
“c. Supply for the Transports.
“The food supply for the industrial workers in transit
within the Reich, is the duty of the (DAF) German
workers front, office for labor mobilization.
For the rest, my offices effect the supply for the
transport.” (3044-PS)

Sauckel, in an agreement with Ley, the head of the German
Labor Front (DAF) dated 2 June 1943, again emphasized his
ultimate responsibility by creating a central inspectorate
charged with examining the working and living conditions of

[Page 929]

workers, and reporting thereon to Sauckel’s agency (1913-
PS). The agreement reads in part as follows:

“*** 2. The Reichsleiter of the German Labor Front,
Reichsorganisationleiter Dr. Ley, in collaboration with
the Plenipotentiary General for the Arbeitseinsatz,
Gauleiter Sauckel, will establish a ‘central
inspection’ for the continuous supervision of all
measures concerning the care of the foreign workers
mentioned under 1. This will have the designation:

‘Central inspection for care of foreign workers.’

“The central inspection for the care of foreign workers
exercises its functions upon directives and in the name
of the Plenipotentiary General for the Arbeitseinsatz
and of the Reichsleiter of the German Labor Front. In
order to avoid all duplication of work, it will be its
sole responsibility, to scrutinize all measures taken
for the care of foreign workers employed in the
factories and camps, also to remove immediately all
defects discovered — as far as possible — on the spot
and to issue the necessary instructions for this.

“The authority of the Plenipotentiary General for the
Arbeitseinsatz to empower the members of his staff and
the presidents of the state employment offices to get
direct information on the conditions regarding-the
employment of foreigners in the factories and camps,
will remain untouched.

“3. The central inspection for the care of foreign
workers will be continuously in touch with the main
office VI of the Plenipotentiary General for the
Arbeitseinsatz. It will instruct the office on the
general observations made and will make suggestions for
changes, if that should become necessary.

“4. The offices of the administration of the
Arbeitseinsatz will be constantly informed by the
‘central inspection for the care of foreign workers’ of
its observations, in particular immediately in each
case in which action of State organizations seems to be
necessary.” (1913-PS)

Sauckel was also responsible for compelling citizens of the
occupied countries against their will to manufacture
implements of war for use in operations against their own
country and its allies These functions were included in the
terms of Sauckel’s appointment. (1666-PS)

In a series of reports to Hitler, Sauckel described how
successful he had been in carrying out his program. One such

[Page 930]

dated 14 April 1943, states that in a single year Sauckel
had incorporated 1,622,829 prisoners of war into the German

“My Fuehrer,

“1. After having been active as Plenipotentiary for
Arbeitseinsatz for one year I have the honor to report
to you that 3,638,056 new foreign workers have been
added to the German war economy between April 1st. of
the last year and March 31st of this year.”
“Besides the foreign civilian workers another 1,622,829
prisoners of war are employed in the German economy.”

A subsequent report dated 3 June 1943, states that 846,511
additional foreign laborers and prisoners of war were
incorporated into the German war industry:

“My Fuehrer:

“1. I beg to be permitted to report to you on the
situation of the Arbeitseinsatz for the first five
months of 1943. For the first time the following number
of new foreign laborers and prisoners of war were
employed in the German war industry: *** Total:
846,511”. (407-IX-PS)