Translation of document 031-PS
Chief of the Political Directing Staff, personal referee Berlin, 12 June 1944
Copy No. 1 of 2 copies
Re: Evacuation of youths from the territory of Army Group "Center" (Heu-Aktion ) .
The Army Group "Center" has the intention to apprehend 40-50,000 youths at the ages of 10 to 14 who are in the Army Territories, and to transport them to the Reich. This measure was originally proposed by the 9th Army. These youths cause considerable inconvenience in the Theatre of Operations. To the greater part these youths are without supervision of their parents since men and women in the theatres of operations have been and will be conscripted into labor battalions to be used in the construction of fortifications. Therefore Children's Villages are to be established behind the front, for the younger age groups, and under native supervision. To collect adequate experiences the 9th Army has already established such a Children's Village and has achieved good results also from the political viewpoint. Army Group further emphasizes that these youths must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks in case of a withdrawal since that would amount to reinforcing the enemy's potential war strength. This measure is to be strongly fortified by propaganda under the slogan: Care of the Reich for White-Ruthenian Children, Protection against Brigandry. The action has already started in the. 5 kilometer zone. The Youth Bureau has already had preliminary talks with the Organization Todt and with the Junkers works. It is intended to allot these juveniles primarily to the German trades as apprentices to be used as skilled workers after 2 years' training. This is to be arranged through the Organization Todt which is especially equipped for such a task through its technical and other set-ups. This action is being I greatly welcomed by the German trade since it represents a decisive measure for the alleviation of the shortage of apprentices
The Chief of the Political Directing Staff, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Berger, submitted the action to the Minister on the 10th of the month. The Minister feared that the action would have most unfavorable political consequences, that it would be regarded as abduction of children, and that the juveniles did not represent a real asset to the enemy's military strength anyhow The Minister would like to see the action confined to the 15-17 year olds.
Following are the arguments against this decision of the Minister:
1. This action is not only aimed at preventing a direct reinforcement of the enemy's military strength but also at a reduction of his biological potentialities as viewed from the perspective of the future. These ideas have been voiced not only by the Reichsfuehrer of the SS but also by the Fuehrer. Corresponding orders were given during last year's withdrawals in the southern sector
2. A similar action is being conducted at the present time in the territory of the Army Group Ukraine-North (General Field Marshal Model). Even in this politically especially preferred Galizian territory recruiting measures were being taken with the aim to collect 135,000 laborers to be organized in battalions for the construction of fortifications. The youths over 17 were to be detailed to the SS Division and those under 17 to the SS Auxiliary. This action which has been going on for several weeks has not led to any political disturbances. While it is true that the population has to be recruited by force, they do show a certain understanding later on, for this measure of purely military necessity. Provide. of course, that they receive correct treatment, good food and lodgings, etc.
The unified organization of parents in labor battalions makes it possible to extract this group as a whole in the case of withdrawals which are quite conceivable in the case of Army Groups "Center" and South. The children already transported into the Reich would serve as a suitable incentive.
3. As to Army Group "Center" this measure is to be initiated in Army Territories, that is to say in those territories not under a civil administration. During a conference with the Chief of Staff of the 9th Army I gained the impression that the action will be executed, if necessary, even without the consent of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Territories of the East.
4. If the Ministry for the East should not support or execute this action, it is expected that the procurement will be undertaken by the GBA [Generalbevollmaschtiger fuer den Arbeitseinsatz- General Deputy for the Mobilization of Labor]. Army Group "Center" and especially 9th Army thought it of greatest importance not to let the children be put to work in the Reich through the General Deputy for the Mobilization of Labor. They preferred the offices of the Reichs-minister for the Occupied Territories of the East [RMfdbO]. Only through these offices did they believe to have a guarantee for correct and proper treatment. This desire of the Army Group is a particular expression of confidence towards the Ministry for the East. Army Group desires that the action be accomplished under the most loyal conditions, as had been done previously in the case of recruiting for the SS Auxiliary. They further desired special arrangements regarding care, mail exchange with parents etc. As far as possible the children are to remain in groups according to their village communities, then be collected in small camps in the Reich where they would be at the disposal of trade establishments. These technical matters have already been discussed. They can be accomplished with the help of the offices of the Hitler Youth through the Youth Bureau of the Ministry. Thus the Ministry is also able to exercise political guidance over the juveniles and has them at its disposal at all times. If I should re-occupy the territory the Ministry of the East could return the juveniles in the proper manner. Together with their parents they would then most likely represent a positive political element during the reconstruction of the territory.
The Chief of the Political Directing Staw, personal referee, p 612 a/44g
Berlin, 14 June 1944
SECRETRe: "Heu-Aktion" 1. Annotation
The Obergruppenfuehrer has given his consent to again submit the matter "Heu-Aktion" to the Minister, with the aim to bring about a reversal of his decision. This was done on this day. The Minister has approved the execution of the "Heu-Aktion" in:] the Army Territories, under the conditions and provisions arm rived at in talks with Army Group Center [Heeresgruppe Mitte].
2. Write via radio to:
Army Group "Center" Att: Councillor in the Ministry Tesmer[Marginal note] Radio station 2 complied. 14 June 44 [signed]
"Heu-Aktion' approved under conditions and provision arrived at in conference.By order of The Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories
3. Copies to:[Marginal note] complied 15 June 44 signed: Sg SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Berger, Chief of the Political Directing Staff, respectfully submitted for information b. Chief Labor Bureau, for information - 4. Matter p5 for information Please return. 5. File [Marginal notes]
returned from P5 without acknowledgement
August 25, 44 signed: Bz 24 AugJune 14, 44 [Initials] P OK by Dr. Streube ( ?) l
To the Chief of the Political Directing Staff, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Berger, respectfully submitted with the request to re-submit the contents of this memorandum to the minister with view to reconsideration of the Minister's decision.I
[Note in ink] regarding the above-Obergruppenfuehrer Berger received the memorandum on June 14. Consequently the Reichsminister has approved the Action.
Signed: Str June 16