The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 045-PS

Berlin, March 16, 1942

File Memorandum for the Fuehrer

I am prompted by several partly contradictory requests of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces [OKW], to quote opinions expressed by the Fuehrer, to ask the Fuehrer for a directive in the following question of principle as well as political tactics. The aims of German politics, notably in the Ukraine, have been laid down by the Fuehrer. They are: exploitation and mobilization of raw materials, a German settlement in certain regions, no artificial education of the population towards intellectualism but the preservation of their labor strength, apart from that an extensive unconcern with the interior affairs. This policy might, in the future, possibly lead to severe measures of the Government to safeguard German interest, depending upon the attitude of the population. Now, certain individuals have drawn their own conclusions from this policy which they publicized everywhere with drastic slogans such as "colonials who should be whipped like niggers", "Slavs who should be kept as ignorant as possible", "establishment of churches and sects to stimulate trouble", etc. In spite of a directive to the Reich Commissioner of the Ukraine, approved by the Fuehrer, this talk has spread and everyone who has visited the Ukraine has reported the effects of this talk, namely that the frequently displayed attitude of contempt had a more detrimental effect on the willingness to work than any of the other measures. The representatives of the Armed Forces have urgently requested us to care for the pacification of the Ukrainian population to prevent sabotage, the organization of gangs, etc. It seems to me that the above-mentioned talk does not serve but rather damage German interests. After continuous observation of the state of affairs in the Occupied Territories of the East I am of the opinion that German politics may have their own, possibly derogatory attitude regarding the qualities of the conquered peoples but that it is not the mission of German political representatives to broadcast measures and opinions which could eventually bring about the sheer desperation of the conquered peoples, instead of promoting the desired productive labor mobilization. In this respect the frequently mentioned comparison with India appears to me entirely wrong. England has largely exploited India and has divided her into power groups; but she has never broadcast this exploitation and division. On the contrary, she has emphasized for many years the blessings she has brought to the country and has — through certain concessions — facilitated such propaganda.

In home politics we had to announce our aims to the whole nation in the most candid form of aggression, by way of contrast to the others. Yet, the political leadership in the East must remain silent where necessary harshness is dictated by German policy. They must remain silent about their possibly derogatory judgment of the conquered peoples. Yes, a clever German policy might be able to do more in the German interest through politically immaterial alleviations and certain human concessions than through open, thoughtless brutality.

Since in spite of repeated directives, the effects of this former attitude have lately appeared everywhere, I have the intention to send the enclosed decree to the Reich Commissioner of the Ukraine. I ask the Fuehrer rule on this memorandum and on the draft of the decree.