Conditions of Deportation & Slave Labor (Part 3 of 4)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter X

"These workers were likewise afflicted with spotted fever. Lice the carrier of this disease, together with countless fleas, bugs and other vermin tortured the inhabitants of these camps. As a result of the filthy conditions of the camps nearly all eastern workers were afflicted with skin disease. The shortage of food also caused many cases of Hunher-Oedem, Nephritis, and Shighakruse. "It was the general rule that workers were compelled to go to work unless a camp doctor had prescribed that they were unfit for work. At Seumannstrasse, Grieperstrasse, Germanistrasse, Kapitanlehmannstrasse, and Dechenschule, there was no daily sick call. At these camps, the doctors did not appear for two or three days. As a consequence, workers were forced to go to work despite illnesses." *******

"Camp Humboldstrasse has been inhabitated by Italian prisoners of war. After it had been destroyed by an air raid, the Italians were removed and 600 Jewish females from Buchenwald Concentration Camp were brought in to work at the Krupp factories. Upon my first visit at Camp Humboldstrasse, I found these females suffering from open festering wounds and other diseases. "I was the first doctor they had seen for at least a fortnight. There was no doctor in attendance at the camp. There was [Page 902] no medical supplies in the camp. They had no shoes and went about in their bare feet. The sole clothing of each consisted of a sack with holes for their arms and head. Their hair was shorn. The camp was surrounded by barbed wire and closely guarded by SS guards.

"The amount of food in the camp was extremely meagre and of very poor quality. The houses in which they lived consisted of the ruins of former barracks and they afforded no shelter against rain and other weather conditions. I reported to my superiors that the guards lived and slept outside their barracks as one could not enter them without being attacked by 10, 20 and up to 50 fleas. One camp doctor employed by me refused to enter the camp again after he had been bitten very badly. I visited this camp with a Mr. Green on two occasions and both times we left the camp badly bitten. We had great difficulty in getting rid of the fleas and insects which had attacked us. As a result of this attack by insects of this camp, I got large boils on my arms and the rest of my body. I asked my superiors at the Krupp works to undertake the necessary steps to de- louse the camp so as to put an end to this unbearable, vermin-infested condition. Despite this report, I did not find any improvement in sanitary conditions at the camp on my second visit a fortnight later.

"When foreign workers finally became too sick to work or were completely disabled they were returned to the Labour Exchange in Essen and from there, they were sent to a camp at Friedrichsfeld. Among persons who were returned over to the Labour Exchange were aggravated cases of tuberculosis, malaria, neurosis, career which could not be treated by operation, old age, and general feebleness. I know nothing about conditions at this camp because I have never visited it. I only know that it was a place to which workers who no longer of any use to Krupp were sent.

"My colleagues and I reported all of the foregoing matters to Mr. Ihh, Director of Friedrich Krupp A. G. Dr. Wiels, personal physician of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Senior Camp Leader Kupke, and at all times to the health department. Moreover, I know that these gentlemen personally visited the camps. "(Signed) Dr. Wilhelm Jager." (D-288) The conditions just described were not confined to the Krupp factories but existed throughout Germany. A report of the Polish Main Committee to the Administration of the Government-General of Poland, dated 17 May 1944, describes in similar terms the situation of Polish workers in Germany (R-103): [Page 903]

"The cleanliness of many overcrowded camp rooms is contrary to the most elementary requirements. Often there is no opportunity to obtain warm water for washing; therefore the cleanest parents are unable to maintain even the most primitive standard of hygiene for their children or often even to wash their only set of linen. A consequence of this is the spreading of scabies which cannot be eradicated ***. "We receive imploring letters from the camps of Eastern workers and their prolific families beseeching us for food. The quantity and quality of camp rations mentioned therein the so-called fourth grade of rations -- is absolutely insufficient to maintain the energies spent in heavy work. 3.5 kg. of bread weekly and a thin soup at lunch time, cooked with swedes or other vegetables without any meat or fat, with a meager addition of potatoes now and then is a hunger ration for a heavy worker. "Sometimes punishment consists of starvation which is inflicted, i.e. for refusal to wear the badge, 'East'. Such punishment has the result that workers faint at work (Klosterteich Camp, Gruenheim, Saxony). The consequence is complete exhaustion, an ailing state of health and tuberculosis. The spreading of tuberculosis among the Polish factory workers is a result of the deficient food rations meted out in the community camps because energy spent in heavy work cannot be replaced ***. "The call for help which reaches us, brings to light starvation and hunger, severe stomach intestinal trouble especially in the case of children resulting from the insufficiency of food which does not take into consideration the needs of children. Proper medical treatment or care for the sick are not available in the mass camps. ***" *******

"In addition to these bad conditions, there is lack of systematic occupation for and supervision of these hosts of children which affects the life of prolific families in the camps. The children, left to themselves without schooling or religious care, must run wild and grow up illiterate. Idleness in rough surroundings may and will create unwanted results in these children ***. An indication of the awful conditions this may lead to is given by the fact that in the camps for Eastern workers -- (camp for Eastern workers, 'Waldlust', Post Office Lauf, Pegnitz) -- there are cases of 8-year old delicate and undernourished children put to forced labor and perishing from such treatment. [Page 904] "The fact that these bad conditions dangerously affect the state of health and the vitality of the workers is proved by the many cases of tuberculosis found in very young people returning from the Reich to the General- Government as unfit for work. Their state of health is usually so bad that recovery is out of the question. The reason is that a state of exhaustion resulting from overwork and a starvation diet is not recognized as an ailment until the illness betrays itself by high fever and fainting spells. "Although some hostels for unfit workers have been provided as a precautionary measure, one can only go there when recovery may no longer be expected -- (Neumarkt in Bavaria) --.

Even there the incurables waste away slowly, and nothing is done even to alleviate the state of the sick by suitable food and medicines. There are children there with tuberculosis whose cure would not be hopeless and men in their prime who if sent home in time to their families in rural districts, might still be able to recover. "No less suffering is caused by the separation of families when wives and mothers of small children are away from their families and sent to the Reich for forced labor. ***" "If, under these bad conditions, there is no moral support such as is normally based on regular family life, then at least such moral support which the religious feelings of the Polish population require should be maintained and increased. The elimination of religious services, religious practice and religious care from the life of the Polish workers, the prohibition of church attendance at a time when there is a religious service for other people and other measures show a certain contempt for the influence of religion on the feelings and opinions of the workers." (R-103)

Particularly harsh and brutal treatment was reserved for workers imported from the conquered Eastern territories. They lived in bondage, were quartered in stables with animals, and were denied the right of worship and the pleasures of human society. A document entitled "Directives on the Treatment of Foreign Farmworkers of Polish Nationality", issued by the Minister for Finance and Economy of Baden on 6 March 1941, describes this treatment (EC-68): "The agencies of the Reich Food Administration (Reichsnaehrstand) State Peasant Association of Baden have received the result of the negotiations with the Higher SS and Police Officer in Stuttgart on 14 February 1941, with great satisfaction.

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