The Persecution of the Jews (Part 6 of 14)
Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XII
C. Forced Labor. The Jews, having been registered and confined within the ghettos, now furnished a reservoir for slave labor. The difference between slave labor and "labor duty" was this: the latter group were entitled to reasonable compensation, stated working hours, medical care and attention, and other social security measures, while the former were granted none of these advantages, being in fact, on a level below that of slaves. Rosenberg set up within his organization for the Occupied Eastern Territories a department which, among other things, was to seek a solution for the Jewish problem by means of forced labor. His plans, contained in a memorandum entitled
"General Organizations and Tasks of our Office for the General Handling of Problems in the Eastern Territory," and dated 29 April 1941, read as follows: "A general treatment is required for the Jewish problem for which a temporary solution will have to be determined (forced labor for the Jews, creation of Ghettos, etc.)." (1024-PS)
[Page 989] Thereafter Rosenberg issued instructions that Jewish forced labor should be utilized for every manual labor task:
"The standing rule for the Jewish labor employment is the complete and unyielding use of Jewish manpower regardless of age in the reconstruction of the occupied eastern territories." "Violations against German measures, especially against the forced labor regulations, are to be punished by death to the Jews." (212-PS)
From the ghettos Jewish labor was selected and sent to a concentration area. Here the usable Jews were screened from those considered worthless. For example, a contingent of 45,000 Jews could be expected to yield 10,000 to 15,000 usable laborers. This estimate is based on an RSHA telegram to Himmler, marked "Urgent" and "Secret", and dated 16 February 1942: "In the total of 45,000 are included physically handicapped and others (old Jews and children). In making a distribution for this purpose, at least 10,000 to 15,000 laborers will be available when the Jews arriving at Auschwitz are as: signed." (1472-PS) The report from Lieutenant General of Police, Katzmann, to General of the Police East, Krueger, clearly outlines the nature of the Jewish forced labor:
"The best remedy consisted of the formation, by the SS and Police Leader, of forced labor camps. The best opportunity for labor was offered by the necessity to complete the 'Dg.4' road which was extremely important and necessary for the whole of the southern part of the front, and which was in a catastrophically bad condition. On 15 October 1941, the establishment of camps along the road was commenced, and despite considerable difficulties there existed, after a few weeks only, seven camps containing 4,000 Jews." ******* "Soon more camps followed these first ones, so that after a very short time the completion of fifteen camps of this kind could be reported to the Superior Leader of SS and Police. In the course of time about 20,000 Jewish laborers passed through these camps. Despite the hardly imaginable difficulties occurring at this work I can report today that about 160 kilometer of the road are completed." ******* "At the same time all other Jews fit for work were registered and distributed for useful work by the labor agencies
[Page 990] *** When the Jews were marked by the Star of David, as well as when they were registered by the labor agencies, the first symptoms appeared in their attempts to dodge the order of the authorities. The measures which were introduced thereupon led to thousands of arrests. It became more and more apparent that the civil administration was not in a position to solve the Jewish problem in an approximately satisfactory manner. Then, for instance, the municipal administration at Lwow had no success in their attempts to house the Jews within a closed district which would be inhabited only by Jews. This question, too, was solved quickly by the SS and Police Leaders through subordinate officials. This measure became the more urgent as in the winter, 1941, big centers of spotted fever were noted in many parts of the town." ******* "During this removal of the Jews into a certain quarter of the town several sluices were erected at which all the work-shy and asocial Jewish rabble were caught during the screening and treated in a special way. Owing to the peculiar, fact that almost 900 of artisans working in Galicia were Jews, the task to be solved could be fulfilled only step by step, since an immediate evacuation would not have served the interest of War Economy." ******* "*** Cases were discovered where Jews, in order to acquire any certificate of labor, not only renounced all wages, but even paid money themselves.
Moreover, the organizing of Jews for the benefit of their employers grew to such catastrophical extent that it was deemed necessary to interfere in the most energetic manner for the benefit of the German name. Since the administration was not in a position and showed itself too weak to master this-chaos, the SS and Police Leader simply took over the entire disposition of labor for Jews. The Jewish labor agencies, which were manned by hundreds of Jews, were dissolved. All certificates of labor given by firms or administrative offices were declared invalid, and the cards given to the Jews by the labor agencies were revalidated by the police offices by stamping them. In the course of this action, again, thousands of Jews were caught who were in possession of forged certificates or who had obtained, surreptitiously, certificates of labor by all kinds of pretexts. These Jews also were exposed to special treatment." (L-18)
Previous | Documents index | Next
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.