Violent Methods of Deportation for Slave Labor (Part 1 of 2)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter X

In order to meet these demands, the Nazi conspirators made terror, violence, and arson the staple instruments of their policy of enslavement. Twenty days after Sauckel's demands of 5 October 1942, a high official in Rosenberg's Ministry by the name of Braeutigam, in a Top Secret memorandum dated 25 October 1942 described measures taken to meet these demands:

"*** We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the Occupied Eastern Territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed. In the prevailing limitless abuse of the Slavic humanity 'recruiting' methods were used which probably have their origin in the blackest periods of the slave trade. A regular manhunt was [Page 886] inaugurated. Without consideration of health or age the people were shipped to Germany where it turned out immediately that more than 100,000 had to be sent back because of serious illnesses and other incapabilities for work." (294-PS)

Rosenberg on 21 December 1942 wrote to Sauckel, the instigator of these brutalities, as follows: "The reports I have received show, that the increase of the guerilla bands in the occupied Eastern Regions is largely due to the fact that the methods used for procuring laborers in these regions are felt to be forced measures of mass deportations, so that the endangered persons prefer to escape their fate by withdrawing into the woods or going to the guerilla bands." (018-PS)

An attachment to Rosenberg's letter, consisting of parts excerpted from letters of residents of the Occupied Eastern territories by Nazi censors, relates that: "At our place, new things have happened. People are being taken to Germany. On Dec. 5, some people from the Kowkuski district were scheduled to go, but they didn't want to and the village was set afire. They threatened to do the same thing in Borowytschi, as not all who were scheduled to depart wanted to go. Thereupon 3 truck loads of Germans arrived and set fire to their houses. In Wrasnytschi 12 houses and in Borowytschi 3 houses were burned. "On Oct. 1 a new conscription of labor forces took place. From what has happened, I will describe the most important to you. You can not imagine the bestiality. You probably remember what we were told about the Soviets during the rule of the Poles. At that time we did not believe it and now it seems just as incredible. The order came to supply 25 workers, but no one reported. All had fled. Then the German militia came and began to ignite the houses of those who had fled. The fire became very violent, since it had not rained for 2 months. In addition the grain stacks were in the farm yards. You can imagine what took place. The people who had hurried to the scene were forbidden to extinguish the flames, beaten and arrested, so that 7 homesteads burned down. The policemen meanwhile ignited other houses. The people fell on their knees and kiss their hands, but the policemen beat them with rubber truncheons and threaten to burn down the whole village. I don't know how this would have ended if I Sapurkany had not intervened. He promised that there would be laborers by morning. During the fire the [Page 887] militia went through the adjoining villages, seized the laborers and brought them under arrest. Wherever they did not find any laborers, they detained the parents, until the children appeared. That is how they raged throughout the night in Bielosirka. The workers which had not yet appeared till then, were to be shot. All schools were closed and the married teachers were sent to work here, while the unmarried ones go to work in Germany. They are now catching humans like the dog- catchers used to catch dogs. They are already hunting for one week and have not yet enough. The imprisoned workers are locked in at the schoolhouse. They cannot even go out to perform their natural functions, but have to do it like pigs in the same room. People from many villages went on a certain day to a pilgrimage to the monastery Potschaew. They were all arrested, locked in, and will be sent to work. Among them there are lame, blind and aged people". (018-PS)

Rosenberg, nevertheless, countenanced the use of force in order to furnish slave labor to Germany and admitted his responsibility for the "unusual and hard measures that were employed. The transcript of an interrogation of Rosenberg under oath on 6 October 1945, contains the following admissions: "*** Q. You recognized, did you not, that the quotas set by Sauckel could not be filled by voluntary labor, and you didn't disapprove of the impressment of forced labor; isn't that right ? "A. I regretted that the demands of Sauckel were so urgent that they could not be met by a continuation of voluntary recruitment and thus I submitted to the necessity of forced impressment." ******* "Q. The letters that we have already seen between you and Sauckel, do not indicate, do they, any disagreement on your part with the principle of recruiting labor against their will; they indicate, as I remember, that you were opposed to the treatment that was later accorded these workers; that you did not oppose their initial impressment. ******* "A. That is right. In those letters I mostly discussed the possibility of finding the least harsh methods of handling the matter; whereas, in no way, I placed myself in opposition to the orders that he was carrying out for the Fuehrer." (3719-PS) Moreover, in a letter dated 21 December 1942 Rosenberg [Page 888] " *** Even if I do not close my eyes to the necessity that the numbers demanded by the Reichs Minister for weapons and ammunition as well as by the agricultural economy justify unusual and hard measures, I have to ask, due to the responsibility for the occupied Eastern Territories which lies upon me, that in the accomplishment of the ordered tasks such measures be excluded, the toleration and prosecution of which will some day be held against me, and my collaborators." (018-PS)

Arson was used as a terror device in the Ukraine to enforce conscription measures. One instance is reported in a document from an official of the Rosenberg Ministry dated 29 June 1944, enclosing a copy-of a letter from Paul Raab, a district commissioner in the territory of Wassilkow, to Rosenberg. Raab's letter reads as follows: "According to a charge by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces I burned down a few houses in the territory of Wassilkow/Ukr. belonging to insubordinate people ordered for work-duty (Arbeitsensatzpflichtigen). This accusation is true." *******

"During the year 1942, the conscription of workers was accomplished by way of propaganda. Only very rarely was force necessary. Only in August 1942, measures had to be taken against 2 families in the villages Glewenka and Salisny-Chutter, each of which were to supply one person for labor. Both were requested in June for the first time, but didn't obey although requested repeatedly. They had to be brought up by force, but succeeded twice to escape from the collecting camp, or when being on transport. Before the second arrest, the fathers of both of the men were taken into custody, to be kept as hostages and to be released only when their sons would show up. When, after the second escape, re- arrest of both the fathers and boys was ordered, the police patrols ordered to do so, found the houses to be empty." ******* "That time I decided to take measures to show the increasingly rebellious Ukrainian youth that our orders have to be followed. I ordered the burning down of the houses of the fugitives." ******* "After the initial successes, a passive resistance of the population started, which finally forced me to start again on [Page 889] making arrests, confiscations, and transfers to labor camps.

After a while a transport of people, obliged to work, overran the police in the railroad station in Wassilkow and escaped. I saw again the necessity for strict measures. A few ring leaders, which of course escaped before they were found in Plissezkoje and in Mitnitza. After repeated attempts to get hold of them, their houses were burned down." ******* "My actions against fugitive people obliged to work (Arbeitseinsatzpflichtige), were always reported to district commissioner Doehrer, in office in Wassilkow, and to the general commissioner (Generalkommissar) in Kiew. Both of them know the circumstances and agreed with my measures, because of their success." (254-PS)

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