The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3819-PS

                                        Paris, 17 March 1944

The Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan
The Plenipotentiary-General for Labor Commitment


My Fuehrer,

In my report of 2 December 1943 on the situation of labor
commitment and in the subsequent conference at your
headquarters I pointed out, as was my duty, that the total
employment of war economy reached in 1943 can be maintained
in 1944 only if it is possible to mobilize workers from the
occupied territories on a large scale this year as well.

The labor commitment program for 1944 which I thereupon set
up and which was approved by you provided among other things
for the supplying of one million French workers. Only if the
Frenchmen are supplied can your figure of 4,050,000 workers
to be recruited be reached.

The organizational measures required for the mobilization of
these forces were already taken, as far as my jurisdiction
is concerned, in the last quarter of 1943. Now, however, the
realization of my plan is encountering serious difficulties,
which lie outside my competency and which I must submit to
you with a respectful request for a decision.


The appointment of protection concerns [Schutzbetriebe --
S-concerns] for the purpose of safeguarding armament
assignments and transferring civilian quotas occurred in the
occupied western territories to such an extent and in such a
form that it made a fluent and systematic commitment of
labor impossible. I may note the following details in this

Since taking over my assignment I have constantly
endeavored, on my own initiative, to promote the execution
of the German tasks in the occupied territories with all
means available. It is true that I have always demanded, in
the interest of making the best possible use of the whole
European labor potential for the German war effort, that the
foreign concerns are to conduct themselves in exactly the
same way as the German concerns in regard to systematizing
labor commitment, that is, that they can employ altogether
only as many workers as they need to fulfill their urgent
tasks and that they do not keep workers — especially
members of age classes of military interest — from being
taken by the Germans for employment in the Reich.

Moreover, I saw to it that the proportion of skilled workers
(who are so urgently needed for the further expansion of
German armament) is limited to the indispensable. The
concerns were

                                                  [Page 761]

also urged to train assistants as skilled workers as far as
possible — just as is done in German concerns. They were
urged to employ women as much as possible, in order to free
men. The introduction of these principles in no way
endangered the German tasks in the occupied territories.
This is shown by the constantly increasing turnover and
production figures and the increasing number of persons
employed in concerns working for German purposes.

Now, however, approximately 5,900 armament concerns in
France with 890,000 employees and approximately 8,500
civilian concerns with approximately 550,000 employees have
been removed from my influence through appointment as
S-concerns. In these concerns the need for workers can no
longer be examined by my agencies. I am not in a position to
investigate whether workers are being hoarded, whether there
are surplus skilled workers, to what extent members of the
younger age classes are hiding in these concerns. Nor can my
agencies any longer carry out a sensible exchange of labor
commitment so that women and workers who cannot be exchanged
are assigned to these concerns, in order to free fully
capable workers for Germany. This exchange is essential,
however, if one million workers are to be mobilized. I may
remark that aside from the above-mentioned groups of
S-concerns the following are also protected

Railroads and transportation
with approximately                                 450,000 workers
Agriculture with                                         2,750,000
approximately                                              workers
Organization Todt with                             150,000 workers
Luftwaffe construction               with
Navy construction                  approxi-        200,000 workers
Armament sector                     mately
Wehrmacht agencies
with approximately                                 140,000 workers
Forestry with approximately                        250,000 workers
Gendarmerie with                                   130,000 workers
Similar conditions exist in

In view of this situation, it is essential that I again be
given a free hand, in order to carry out a general
systematic commitment of labor, which is in the most urgent
interest of the war economy, for which I will of course
assume the full responsibility that the

                                                  [Page 762]

war — important German tasks in the occupied territories
are promoted in every way as far as labor commitment is

I may report to you, my Fuehrer, in this connection that in
the last few months the workers needed by the Organization
Todt for its urgent construction programs in the West were
supplied. The RM concerns have likewise been constantly kept
supplied with manpower.


Another difficulty for the execution of my plan lies in the
completely inadequate executive means available in the
occupied territories. An energetic executive is of decisive
importance for success in view of the attitude of the French
population which, as a result of the enemy propaganda and
the terror acts, is becoming more antagonistic toward
voluntarily going to Germany or fulfilling a duty
assignment. Although I acknowledge the work done by the new
police chief Darnand meanwhile to put in order and improve
the French police, the fact remains that the French police
does not carry out with enough success its tasks in connec
tion with the “France” operation. The police is numerically
too weak, not reliable enough as regards personnel, and
inadequately armed. It hesitates to proceed against shirkers
in order not to expose itself to retaliation measures of the
terrorists. In the majority of the districts the
disturbances caused by the terrorists continue to increase.
This terror is directed against those who want to go to
Germany and against their families, against the government
and its organs. It also threatens transportation, with the
result that in entire Departments there are no passable
roads to this very day.

The German police force is not strong enough numerically to
be able to carry out a thorough search for service evaders
besides its regular police duties. In recognition of the
special significance of the France drive the military
commander issued an order commanding the use of military
police and if necessary even of troops, as far as other
tasks permit. I myself am trying in collaboration with the
Higher SS and Police Fuehrer, to organize a protective corps
which, as a supplement to the other police organs, is to
seize service evaders by force and send them off. The
assertion of state authority in the field of labor
commitment is merely a part of the question of total
authority. We must succeed in putting a stop to terrorist
activity and thus guaranteeing that a given state order will
be obeyed. It is necessary that, besides supporting the
constructive work on the part of Police Chief Darnand, an
increased number of troops will be employed especially in
those cases in which troops or agencies are directly

                                                  [Page 763]

I may report in summary that the strengthening of executive
means is an essential prerequisite for the execution of the
screening measures at present in progress. It is being
investigated in the course of those screening measures how
many surplus workers there are in these enterprises, how
many are working at tasks less vital for the war effort, and
in how many instances skills are not fully utilized. By
removing dispensable workers to the Reich and by keeping
order in labor commitment. within concerns in France, an
attempt is being made to achieve the best possible increase
in the total potential.

Should the screening measures not suffice to procure one
million workers, we shall consider drafting workers by
calling up certain age classes without exception or by
mustering all males by communities in the form of a military
requisition. For this also it is essential that the
executive means be previously extended and intensified.

Respectfully and loyally yours,

                                       signed: Fritz Sauckel


                                                5 April 1944

To the Fuehrer
Fr.eyzrer’s Headquarters

My Fuehrer:

On 17 March 1944 Gauleiter Sauckel as the Plenipotentiary-
General for Labor Commitment sent you a memorandum in which
he requests that the blocked concerns of armament and war
production situated in the occupied territories be released
for recruitment of labor according to his judgment.

On this matter I take the following viewpoint:

The expansion of armament and war production which has
already taken place and is still expected demands that. the
occupied territories and friendly countries (Italy, Hungary)
be incorporated to a constantly greater degree.

As long as the most vital armament factories of the Reich
are not protected against air raids, I am also interested in
having an extensive distribution to as many factories as
possible. For this I need above all unhampered production in
the occupied territories.

In the course of my conversations with Minister Bichelonno
which took place in September 1943, the shifting to France
was determined, and after that the concept of blocked
enterprises was created for all the occupied territories in
cooperation with

                                                  [Page 764]

Party Comrade Sauckel, after the continuous removal of
workers to Germany from these enterprises vital for armament
and war production had caused great alarm.

At that time blocked enterprises were created in the
occupied areas with his consent and proclaimed by me, in
accordance with the principle clearly laid down by me and
previously always recognized by Party Comrade Sauckel, the
principle that workers in armament and war production were
not to be removed by him unless I gave my consent for a
withdrawal or transfer.

At that time I renewed the promise given to the blocked
enterprises after you my Fuehrer, had stated expressly and
without contradiction by Party Comrade Sauckel in the
conference at Fuehrer’s Headquarters on 4 January 1944 that
the blocked enterprises in the occupied territories should
not have to part with any of their workers.

I am unable to deviate from the promise given to the blocked
enterprises at the time they were created, since in each of
these blocked enterprises a public notice issued by my
office is posted expressly announcing the fact of protection
from possible transfer to Germany.

Moreover, if it be granted that his offices may be permitted
to interfere with armament and war production, according to
Party Comrade Sauckel’s request, it would mean a first and
serious invasion of the total leadership of my sphere of
work which I built up laboriously, and thus it would
seriously endanger its further responsible leadership.

So far Gauleiter Sauckel has merely assigned workers to me
for enterprises of armament and war production, while I
alone made the decisions as to their use in my enterprises
or their transfer.

At present the total number of protected workers in the
blocked enterprises of armament and war production in the
occupied western territories amounts only to about 2,700,000
employed; very soon, however, this number must be increased
to about 3 million in order to meet the demands which I will
have to make on the occupied western territories. Since the
total population of the occupied western areas is 57
million, this is by no means a percentage which cannot be
met. On the contrary, it is far below the percentage of
workers employed in armament and war production in Germany.

(Occupied areas 1:21, Germany 1:8)

It must be possible to dispense with these workers, in view
of the total number available in France, without hampering
the procurement of additional workers for Germany,

                                                  [Page 765]

I regret that Party Comrade Sauckel did not, before writing
to you, my Fuehrer, endeavor to reach an agreement with me
regarding the treatment of the blocked concerns
[Sperrbetriebe]. Many of the disputed points could doubtless
be solved in mutual agreement, especially in view of the
principle, hitherto consistently recognized by him, that the
manpower in the industries of armament and war production,
also in the occupied territories, is chiefly my

Please order that (1), the blocked concerns in the occupied
territories and in Italy continue to be protected in
accordance with the agreements; (2) exceptions to this are
to be allowed only by me or with my concurrence; and (3) the
Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment is to contact me for
the purpose of clarifying matters further.

I very much regret that I now have to bring this affair to
your attention, my Fuehrer, after having settled by myself
other much more important and more significant matters,
which distressed me much more, in order to give you, with
your tremendous burdens, no unnecessary worries.

                                                  Heil my
                                                  Fuehrer !


                              List of those present
                   for the Conference in the Reich Chancellery
                         on 11 July 1944      1600 hours

Name               Official Capacity                   Station

Dr. Kuehne         Mi. V. Chief                Mil. Reg. ***
Warlimont          General of Artillery        OKW
Dr. Kohlhaase      Direcotr of Labor Section   Trieste
                   the Supreme Commissioner
Dr. Landfried      Staff Fuehrer ***           of the Military
                                               for Italy
Walter Funk and
Albert Speer
Milch                                          illegible
Steengracht        St.s.                       Foreign Office (A.A.)
Abetz              Ambassador                  German Embassy in Paris
Hanel              Lieutenant General          Armaments Commissioner
                                               Staff France
von Linstow        Colonel of Gen. Staff       Military Commander

                                                             [Page 766]

Name               Official Capacity                   Station

Saas               Colonel of Gen. Staff       Plenipotentiary-General
Franssen           Lieutenant-General          Armaments Inspector
Waeger             Lieutenant-General          Armaments
Sarnow             Ministerial Director        Gen. Staff of Army
Koegel             Lieut. Col. of Gen. Staff   Gen. Staff of Army
                                               Gen. Qu.
Raeder             Chief of ***                Brussels
Heider             Chief of General Staff      Brussels
Ley                …                       …
Sauckel            Labor Plenipotentiary       Berlin
H. Backe           Minister                    Reich Food Ministry
Marrenbach         Commander-in-Chief          German Labor Front
Leyers             Armament Plenipotentiary    Italy

                          Also present:

Ministerial Director Klopfer (Party
Ministerial Councillor Broehling
Ambassador Rahn
Dr. Huber *** [illegible]
Police Chief Dr. Kaltenbrunner
General Labor Fuehrer Kretschmann
Colonel Meizner (OKW)

                                         Berlin 12 July 1944

To Rk. 5815 C
Re: Increased Procuring of Foreign Manpower Executive
Conference, 11 July 1944

1. Note

Participating in the executive conference were the
departmental chiefs and representatives indicated in the
attached lists of those present. No guarantee can be given
for the absolute completeness of the lists, as all
participants did not sign.

Reich Minister Dr. Lammers reported by way of introduction
on the various proposals at hand by the Plenipotentiary for
Labor Commitment that serve the purpose of bringing about
the increase in labor commitment in Germany which is
absolutely essential for winning the final victory. He
limited the theme of the discussions by saying that actually
all possibilities were to be examined by which the present
deficit of foreign manpower could be covered, for example
the question of the reestablishment of an acceptable price
and wage scale between the Reich and the extra-German
territories. But the primary consideration will have to
remain the solution of the question whether and in what form
greater compulsion will have to remain the solution of the
question whether and in what form greater compulsion can be
exerted to accept work in Germany. In this connection it
must be examined how the executive

                                                  [Page 767]

forces, regarding the inadequacy of which the
Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment raises lively
objection, can be strengthened, on the one hand through an
influence on the foreign governments and on the other
through building up the indigenous administration
(Executive), whether by an increased use of the Wehrmacht,
of the police, or of other German agencies. Reichsminister
Dr. Lammers then gave the floor to the Plenipotentiary
General for Labour Commitment, Gauleiter Sauckel.

Gauleiter Sauckel states that the present deficit in the
matter of the half-year program of 2,025,000 foreign
workers, to be fulfilled by 30 June of the current year,
amounted to 500,000 workers. Of the total of 1,500,000
workers procured up to now, no less than 865,000 were
Germans, of whom half were apprentices and women, both of
which categories cannot be regarded as workers of full
value. Of the 560,000 foreigners who were put to work, three-
quarters came from the East alone. This result is a scandal
in contrast to the German people  who are incorporated in
the labor process to the greatest extent, and it represents
the complete bankruptcy of German authority in Italy and
France, where hundreds of thousands of workers were still
idling. In executing the labor commitment we did not exert
the necessary severity and in particular we were not able to
achieve the necessary unity of the German authorities. It
would not do for German authorities to interfere
irresponsibly with the tasks of the GBA (Plenipotentiary for
Labor Commitment). The latter must have much greater freedom
of action, as was the case in 1942. With the present methods
of recruitment for voluntary commitment we will not make any
progress, for one thing because the volunteers still at hand
exposed themselves to danger to life and limb from reprisals
by their own fellow countrymen. If, on the other hand, they
were forcibly obligated and decently treated in their work,
they did completely satisfactory work. The treatment of the
wage and price questions connected with the subject was
desirable, but in the present situation no longer so
important. If it were not dealt with now, then our labor
commitment program would fail with the consequence that the
fighting forces no longer would receive the arms that they

Staatssekretaer von Steengracht, Foreign Office, stressed
that the Reich Foreign Minister from the beginning had
favored the same standpoint as the Plenipotentiary General
for Labor Commitment. The Foreign Office could, however, do
nothing besides urging the federal governments more or less
intensively to fulfill the German demands, which had been
done consistently up to the present. The executive is in the
hands of other offices which

                                                  [Page 768]

therefore would now have to express themselves on the
subject of the conference.

The Deputy of the Head of the OKW, General Warlimont,
referred to a recently issued Fuehrer order, according to
which all German forces had to place themselves in the
service of the work of acquiring manpower. Wherever the
Wehrmacht was and was not employed exclusively in pressing
military duties (as, for example, in the construction of the
coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not
actually be assigned for the purposes of the GBA. General
Warlimont made the following practical suggestions

a. The troops employed in fighting partisans are to take
over in addition the task of acquiring manpower in the
partisan areas. Everyone, who cannot fully prove the purpose
of his stay in these areas, is to be seized forcibly.

b. When large cities, due to the difficulty of providing
food, are wholly or partly evacuated the population suitable
for labor commitment is to be put to work with the
assistance of the Wehrmacht.

c. The seizing of labor recruits among the refugees from the
areas near the front should be handled especially
intensively with the assistance of the Wehrmacht.

GauLeiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and
expressed the expectation that certain successes could
therewith already be achieved.

On behalf of the military commander of Belgium and Northern
France. The Chief of the Military Administration, Reeder,
put up for discussion the possibility of expansion of the
Feldgendarmerie, at the time comprising only 70 men, and of
the civilian searching service [Fahndungsdienst] consisting
of Flemings and Walloons (1,100 people). If the
Feldgendarmer were strengthened to 200 men, appreciable
searching results could be accomplished. At the inquiry of
Reichsminister Dr. Lammers, General Warlimont agreed for the
OKW to this strengthening of the searching service.

On further inquiry by the Reichsminister Dr. Lammers,
whether with the withdrawal of the troops the population
suitable for recruiting could not be taken along, Colonel
Saas (Plenipotentiary General for Italy) stated that
Fieldmarshal General Kesselring had already decreed, that
the population in a depth of 30 kilometers behind the front
area was to be “captured.” This measure could however, not
be extended to areas situated farther behind the lines as
thereby the sharpest shocks would occur in the whole
structure of these areas, especially in regard

                                                  [Page 769]

to the industry not fully employed in production.

Gauleiter Sauckel was of the opinion that widest circles of
the Wehrmacht saw in the labor recruiting program something
disreputable. It had actually occurred that German soldiers
had endeavored to protect the population from being taken by
the German labor service. Therefore an instruction of the
fighting forces on the extraordinary importance of labor
recruiting seemed necessary. In opposition to the much too
mild German method, it was part of the Bolshevist conception
of war when occupying territories, immediately to have the
fighting troops commit the whole population to labor. The
question of administration (Executive) thus was not one of
mass recruiting, but of being consistent. One must finally
proceed to establish examples, then the passive resistance
would quickly change into active cooperation. One ought also
not to shrink back from proceeding with drastic means
against the administrative heads JBehordenleiter] themselves
who sabotage the labor commitment. Not the, small refractory
offenders should be punished, but the responsible
administrative heads. In addition to these compulsory
measures, other means too must be applied. Thus thought
should be taken for the removal of a great part of the
remaining exceptional Italian harvest in order to improve
thereby the rations of the Germans and foreign workers. A
special problem was presented by the entirely insufficient
alimentation of the Italian military internees who were
almost starving. The Fuehrer should be asked to have the
statute for these military internees gradually altered. No
inconsiderable working energies would be released thereby.

Reichsleiter Dr. Ley underscored these statements and
suggested the establishment of a searching office made up of
all German forces in the extra-German territories, that
would carry out the ruthless enrollings in large areas.

Against these proposals, doubts were expressed:

Reichsminister Funk anticipates from ruthless raids
considerable disturbances of the production in the
extra-German territories. The same opinion is held by the
Chief of the Military Administration, of Italy,
Staatssekretaer Dr. Landfried, who considers the German
forces comprises in the executive body as too small and
fears that the Italian population will escape the seizure in
great numbers and will flee into uncontrollable regions.

Reichsminister Speer stated that he had an interest both in
spurring on an increased labor recruiting for the Reich and
also in the maintaining of the production in the
extra-German territories. Up to the present 25 to 30 percent
of the German war

                                                  [Page 770]

production had been furnished by the occupied Western
territories and Italy, by Italy alone 12.5 percent.

The Fuehrer recently decided that this production must be
maintained as long as possible, in spite of the difficulties
already existing, especially in the field of transportation.
The executive is well in a position, in the opinion of Reich
Minister Speer, to seize sufficient foreign workers with its
present strength, as a relatively small number of executive
men are sufficient for this purpose. All that is needed are
stricter orders, but no violent measures nor large-scale
raids may be carried out. One should, rather, proceed with
clean methods step by step.

For the military commander in France, the military
administration chief Dr. Michel referred to the statements
of State Secretary Dr. Landfried and advanced the opinion
that the situation in France was similar. The calling up of
entire age classes is prepared in France, but has not yet
begun, as the German military authorities have not yet been
able to give their consent. The good will of the highest
French authorities cannot be doubted, but it is in part
lacking among the lower and middle authorities. These and
the persons willing to work expose themselves, with a loyal
attitude toward the German authorities, to reprisals by the
French population.

Ambassador Abetz confirms these statements. The application
of severe measures, such as the shooting of French
functionaries, is of no use; it will only drive the
population the more quickly into the Maquis. In these
territories, in which the Wehrmacht is employed anyway, some
10,000 more workers would doubtless be seized. Then these
same German forces could be employed for executive measures,
which would also turn up large numbers of workers. In Paris,
the evacuation of which was considered, 100,000 to 200,000
workers could be seized. In this connection, entire plant
communities might be transplanted.

The chief of the security police Dr. Kaltenbrunner declared
himself willing, when asked by the GBA, to place the
security police at his disposal for this purpose, but
pointed out their numerical weakness. For all of France he
had only 2,400 men available. It was questionable whether
entire age classes could be seized with these weak forces.
In his opinion, the Foreign Office must exercise a stronger
influence on the foreign governments.

State Secretary von Steengracht (Foreign Office) commented
on this. The agreements made with the foreign governments
were entirely sufficient. The governments had always been
willing, on the request of the Foreign Office, to issue the

                                                  [Page 771]

ing orders. If these orders were not carried out, this was
due to the inadequate executive of the foreign governments
themselves. In France this had for political reasons been
reduced to a minimum. In Italy there was no longer an
executive in actuality. The Foreign Office was willing at
any time, he said, to exercise stronger pressure on the
foreign governments, but did not expect too much from that.
State Secretary von Steengracht asked Ambassador Rahn to
comment on this for Italy.

Ambassador Rahn  believes that there is still a sufficient
number of workers in Italy, so that in theory 1 million
could still be taken out, although 2/3 of the Italian
territory had been lost with respect, to population also. He
had always been in favor of the system of drafting age
classes. This was, until before the fall of Rome, in general
successful, as can be seen from the fact that 200,000
Italians could be seized for military purposes. Since that
time the situation in Italy has become extremely difficult,
however, since the fall of Rome was an enormous shock to the
Italian people. The German authorities had attempted to
intercept the effects and united the entire executive in the
person of Marshal Graziani. At present, however, the use of
violent methods on a large scale is not possible, since that
would cause complete disorder and interruption of
production. The best example for this is the retaliatory
action ordered by the Fuehrer because of the strikes in
Turin through which 10%  of the personnel were to be seized
as unwilling to work. 4.000 German forces were collected for
this purpose. The result was that the food supply to Turin
was cut off by the resistance movement and the supply of
energy was interrupted, so that 250.000 workers had to stop
work. This could not be justified in view of the
considerable contribution to the war of the Italian armament
industry. General Field Marshal Kesselring declared that a
continuation of forced obligations would cause not only the
loss of the armament production in the upper Italian area,
but the loss of the entire theater of war. In the face of
this statement, the hardest political will must keep silent.
The only thing which could happen would be the execution of
the forced obligations in the rebellious area proper.
Ambassador Rahn believes the following practical suggestions
could be carried out:

a.. The recruitment of volunteers is to be continued.

b. To a limited extent, plants are to be transferred to the
Reich with machinery and workers.

c. The transmittal of salary savings of the Italian workers
in Germany to their homeland, which is not operating well,
is to be safeguarded. For this purpose an automatic
procedure is

                                                  [Page 772]

to be introduced, which Ambassador Rahn had already proposed
in another connection.

d. The system of the induction of age classes will be
reintroduced when the German military authorities consider
the time ripe.

In answer to the reported remark of General Field Marshal
Kesselring, General Warlimont (OKW) commented that this
remark was unknown to the OKW. The OKW’s approval of this
standpoint could therefore not yet be assumed.

Gaadeiter Sauckel declared that all these proposals were
inadequate, since they were not suited to set into motion
the masses of manpower which he needed. The execution of all
these proposals had already been tried in practice, since
the labor commitments authority had at no time limited
themselves to one method. He still had to call it seriously
damaging to the execution of the labor commitment that his
far reaching competencies and powers had been made the
subject of discussion. What he needed, as already said, was
"elbow room.”

At the suggestion of Reich Minister Dr. Lammers, Gauleiter
Sauckel declared himself willing to set up several
programmatic demands on which he wants to vote with the
participants and which then are to be submitted to the
Fuehrer with a request for acknowledgment and legalization.
A written formulation will follow. For the time being the
GBA presents his demands as follows:

a. The proposals of General Warlimont will be discussed
directly among the participants and will be executed

b. The GBA receives permission to establish national
security and recruitment machinery for labor commitment,
which will operate on the basis of orders and directives of
the GBA without need of interference by other offices.

c. The regulations made by the French and Italian
authorities in regard to German labor commitment are to be
fortified by concrete execution regulations which guarantee
the most active collaboration of foreign authorities in the
acquisition of manpower.

Reich Minister Dr. Lammers, having made these statements,
closed the meeting by pointing out that he would inform the
Fuehrer about its results and that he would leave the
further treatment of the problem, as proposed, to those

                                       [signed] L. [Lammers]

2. Respectfully submitted
to the Reich Minister
signed M.13/7 [?]
                                            Kr. [Kritzinger]
                                        [illegible initials]