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Translation of document 018-PS

The Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories

21 December 1942
Nr. 02926/42

To Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel
General deputy for labor deployment
Berlin W 8
Mohrenstrasse 65

Dear party member Sauckel:

I thank you very much for your report on the execution of the great task given to you, and I am glad to hear that in carrying out your mission you have always found the necessary support, even on the part of the civilian authorities in the occupied Eastern territories. For myself and the officials under my command this collaboration was and is self-evident, especially since both you and I have, with regard to the solution of the labor problem in the East, represented the same view-points from the beginning. For political as well as efficiency reasons, you have devoted your attention, above all, to the care of the Eastern workers, employed in the Reich, and in the same sense I also have striven toward an overall satisfactory solution, by the establishment of special posts, collaborating with the welfare organizations [Betreuungsorganisationen] .

If there is now complete agreement between your and my conception of the matter, I nevertheless find it necessary on the grounds of several occurrences during the last months, to point out with reference to the enclosure, the methods applied by your agencies and collaborators. I thereby do not disregard the fact that considering the scope and urgency of the task to be accomplished, difficulties and hardships, yes even false measures by the executing branches, can in the long run not be avoided. But it seems necessary to me, to follow up these occurrences insofar as they touch the conduct of war and the interests of the Reich. This would always be the case, where the acquisition of new laborers is undertaken in a way which intimidates the population. 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-deportation, so that the endangered persons prefer to escape their fate by withdrawing into the woods or going over to the guerilla bands. Add to the occasionally unfavorable news regarding the treatment of the Eastern laborers in the Reich, about experiences with the labor procurement authorities, then the result can only be a strengthening of the number and fighting spirit of the hostile troops. This development is further aided by the return of tens of thousands of useless Eastern workers from the Reich (sick, cripples, etc.).

To this point I should like to add that my repeated plea to establish sick-camps in the regional labor office districts, instead of the mass deportation of the Easterners who are incapable of work, has so far not been answered. Hence I found it necessary to contact the Reichskommissar [Commissioner] for health and sanitation on this matter. In the session of the propaganda department called by State Counselor, Professor Boerger on the 17th of this month, the negative repercussions which will be caused in the native provinces by the recently planned return transports were referred to not only by the representatives of my agency, but particularly by the representative of the economic staff East, since such events interfere with the demands for labor and production in the rear military zones. Measures such as conscription, return of the sick or similar things not only impair the procurement and the legal validity of the executive orders of the compulsory-labor order released by me on Dec 19.41, but moreover endanger all the important war work in the occupied Eastern territories. This goes as well for the urban as for the rural procurement districts, where so far, thanks to the self-sacrificing activity of the leaders of the economic land bases, an atmosphere permitting productive work was created between the German administration and the native population, which now threatens to become lost. 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 usual 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 ordered tasks such measures be excluded, the toleration and prosecution of which will some day be held | against me, and my collaborators. In order to achieve this, and to I bring into agreement the requirements given by the peculiar political situation of the Eastern territories with the measures of the commissions and the staffs of your agencies, I have empowered the Reichs commissioner for the Ukraine insofar as necessary to make use of his right, and to see to it that methods which run contrary to the interest of the conduct of the war and war economy in the occupied East be abolished.

It appears strange to me, that in numerous cases which should have been discussed with the civil authorities, we only receive information through the police and other agencies. I am referring in this connection to the note of my standing representative of Nov. 11.42.-III wi 5-1231-3587-in which I asked for a discussion concerning the mutual cooperation, and especially on the position of your delegates, to which I have unfortunately never received an answer from you. With consultation of our mutual wishes, which you personally will certainly understand, it is unfortunately impossible for me to accept a co-responsibility for the consequences, which result from the recounted state of affairs.

I should not like To have informed you of this, without expressing my hope that in the interests of both of us, this condition will be terminated with the coming of the new year. I am personally convinced that you, dear Party member Sauckel, have the same desire. I assume that there will be an opportunity for discussion of this in the conference prompted by me on Jan. 11.43.

I am gratefully looking forward to your reports in this connection.

signed: A. ROSENBERG

Extracts from the Secret Report on Morale by the Foreign Mail Censorship Post Berlin.
(Reg. No. 7328/42 secret Group VIII)

Selected letters from the occupied Eastern regions regarding the period from Sept. 11 to Nov. 10, 1942.

In the letters from the Ukraine a further sharp decline in the morale is pictured, and under the impact of an increased requisition of labor forces for the Reich, the Ukrainian population has been seized by a terrible fear.

Horrifying picturizations of compulsory measures by the administrative authorities for the seizure of Eastern laborers, form a major part of the news from home to their relatives working in Germany. The disinclination to answer the call to work in the Reich has evidently grown steadily, not only due to the reports of Eastern workers, which fled home and their workshops or have been dismissed. In order to secure the required number for the labor transport, men and women including youngsters from 15 years on up, are allegedly taken from the street, from the market places and village festivals, and carried off. The inhabitants therefore hide themselves in fear and avoid any appearance in public. After public beatings during the month of October, so available letters state, came the burning down of homesteads, and of whole villages as retribution for failure to comply with the demand for the appropriation of labor forces directed to the communities. The execution of the latter measures is being reported from various villages.

Parts from Two Letters

“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 q homesteads burned down. The policemen meanwhile ignited other houses. The people fall on their knees and kiss their hands, but the policemen beat them with rubber trunchions 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 militia went through the adjoining villages, seized the laborers, and placed 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.”