Background: The Nazis faced a critical labor shortage as World
War II went on. Hitler appointed the Nazi Gauleiter (party regional
leader) Fritz Sauckel on 21 March 1942 to organize the importation of
labor from German-occupied Europe. Sauckel was executed by the Nuremberg
Tribunal in 1946 for crimes against humanity. The tribunal found evidence
of dreadful treatment of large numbers of these foreign workers. As Sauckel
himself said in 1944. “Of the five million foreign workers who came
to Germany, less than two hundred thousand came voluntarily.” In
the spring of 1943, however, the Nazis published an illustrated book titled
Europe at Work in Germany: Sauckel Mobilizes the Labor Reserve.
The book was published in a mass edition. The copy I am working from brought
the number in print to 400,000. It was an attempt to present foreign workers
as happy volunteers working for Germany’s great cause. There are chapters
on the need for foreign workers, their use in industry and agriculture,
on how they care for each other, on how they are supervised and housed,
and on allegedly false enemy propaganda about their mistreatment. I here
translate the introduction and the first and last chapters. The book also
included about 150 photographs, some of which are available in a linked
The source: Friedrich Didier, Europa arbeitet in Deutschland.
Sauckel mobilisiert die Leistungsreserven (Munich: Zentralverlag der
Introduction by Fritz Sauckel
Millions of workers from nearly every European nation are working in
the German war industry today. Among them are millions from nations that
sought to annihilate the National Socialist Reich of Adolf Hitler, and
whose nations even today are occupied by Germany’s forces or those of
its allies. To the credit of these foreign workers, I can say that they
are all striving to imitate German workers, and are doing good, sometimes
very good, work.
This book is an honest report, irrefutable proof that
the National Socialist Greater German Reich, despite our enemy’s attempted
hunger blockade, is still able not only to feed the millions of foreign
workers, but also house, clothe, and provide medical care for them. They
even enjoy holidays and vacations.
The party, the German Labor Front, the state and the economy have worked
together as National Socialists to create labor conditions that have never
before in history been matched in their cleanliness, correctness, care,
and justice. I know this better than anyone, because during the World
War I was a prisoner of war myself.
The correct and exemplary treatment explains the good results
even of those workers from former Soviet territories, who for
decades heard only hate-filled propaganda about National Socialist
Germany. The fact that millions of citizens of enemy states are
now working satisfactorily in Germany is the sharpest criticism
of the criminal conduct of the so-called statesman who drove
these people to war against the German people.
These foreign workers now repair some of the damage that their
irresponsible leaders caused for Europe’s peoples.
These foreign workers are proof that their peoples were victims of the
lies of the worst, base, and corrupt criminals of Jewish plutocracy and
Bolshevist hangmen. Now they have seen the true Germany with their own
eyes and experienced social and medical services that no one even dreams
of in Soviet Russia. They have seen how developed Germany is in all areas,
and have found a culture so advanced that they are not only astonished,
but also realize how misled they were by the enormous decades-long Judeo-capitalist
or Bolshevist propaganda
It is thus easy to understand why millions of citizens of foreign states
who labor in Germany’s armaments factories work passionately for Germany’s
victory, for Adolf Hitler’s victory, since for perhaps for the first time
in their lives they have seen the virtues of National Socialist Germany’s
justice, order, and cleanliness, as opposed to the methods of capitalist
exploitation or Bolshevist terror.
And they cannot miss the fact that the German people themselves
have withstood the gravest battle in its history and accepted
the hardest privations.
One must see how respectfully and throughtfully foreign workers look
at the pictures of Adolf Hitler hanging in German factories. What must
they think? Do they recall the cynical grinning lying face of Churchill,
the larval plutocrat face of Roosevelt, or the face of the mass murderer
Stalin? They must sense even if they do not say so that
two worlds face each other, and that even for their own future, Adolf
Hitler’s world must win.
Each day they go to work in German armaments factories. They
know that they work for the victory of a just cause.
Even the majority of German citizens still do not have a clear
idea of how falsely international Jewry has maligned National
Socialist Germany to the nations of the world. They have used
clever and unscrupulous means ranging up to the most frightful
terror, ways which are simply incomprehensible to the German
mind and impossible for the German spirit.
The Jews used these methods over many decades, spreading atrocity stories
about Germany and lies about its alleged backwardness, lack of culture
and worse. Their goal was to misuse other nations to destroy Germany.
For decades, they constantly instilled terrible poisons, defaming Germans
of every class and party, never allowing the truth about Germany, and
in particular about the National Socialist movement, to reach the people.
They destroyed economically, and if need be physically, those who wanted
to tell the truth.
Uncertainly, fear and limitless terror were the strongest methods the
Jews and their lackeys used to force a second world war on Germany.
A powerful fate has led millions of seduced and betrayed people
to Germany as workers. They now see the truth. By their work
they make a valuable contribution to the victory of a better
world and do themselves and their peoples great service.
This book is the proof thereof.
Why Do We Need Foreign Workers?
Nothing is more able to bring together disparate
elements than working together on a common cause.
Otto von Bismarck
The longer the war against the Jewish world conspiracy, plutocracy, and
Bolshevism that has been forced upon us lasts, the more powerfully we
hear alongside the noise of battle the sounds of labor in Greater Germany,
among our allies, and in the conquered regions. The enormous labor effort
protects the home front as well as the new territory won by the blood
of our best in their unprecedented attacks. It is also giving a new look
to Europe. Led by the Axis partners, Europe is moving toward a great and
prosperous future. We are defending our own fate and that of the continent
though ever greater and more sacrificial efforts and through a fanatic,
unbending will for the final victory of our flag.
That is an unwritten law of the front, which applies with the same iron
necessity for the home front. Broad cooperation between state, party,
armed forces, and the economy is the guarantee that the home front can
mobilize more reserves of labor and resources to support the fighting
troops. This applies to the armaments industry as well as agriculture,
and in particular to the use of foreign workers in war-related factories
by the plenipotentiary for labor. A situation like September 1914, when
each firing of a gun had to be individually approved because of material
shortages, must ever reoccur. The front receives in enormous quantities
the quality weapons and munitions it needs.
This achievement, far greater than that of the World War, is the result
of the splendid success of Reich Minister Dr. Speer’s organized leadership
of a politically strong armaments industry. It is constantly reviewed
and changed, adjusting remarkably quickly to the needs of the various
phases of the war. The year 1942 is a good example of its unique capacities.
Industrial production was concentrated and simplification so thoroughly
applied that mass production reached an unprecedented level. Reich Minister
Dr. Speer reported at a meeting of the Reich Chamber of Labor on 29 January
1943 that, within a year, production in many essential areas had increased
ten or twenty fold. It at least doubled in other important areas. Production
reached a level unprecedented in German armaments history. The organization
was simplified and bureaucracy reduced. The economy could develop more
effectively. Progress was also increased through generous support for
research as well as by suggestions from the factories. The war provides
new energy sources for the factories, and production climbs steadily.
The foundations for even greater increases in armaments production have
been laid through the construction of large new factories, through reconstruction
and reorganization, and through the addition of many modern machines.
In the end, however, production depends on human labor, an area in which
the war has brought enormous structural transformations. Even before the
war begin, German labor shortages required the most efficient use of labor.
The mobilization of millions of the youngest and strongest German workers
has taken more and more skilled workers and specialists from the factories.
They must be replaced if production is not to sink. Men either under the
over the age of military service, or from less essential areas, can be
transferred, but this is not enough. The number of German women employed
has risen steadily. As much as was within their power, they willingly
filled the gaps and took the place of men called to military service.
The Führer’s military successes and the brilliant strategy of encirclement
battles brought huge numbers of prisoners of war to Germany from the defeated
nations. They were put to work in industry and agriculture, but there
were not nearly enough of them.
Thus there began a migration of European workers to Germany.
Germany’s military successes gave the Reich the opportunity to
conduct the economy on a continental scale, to use formerly uneconomic
regions in a new Central European system and use the work
forces of the conquered areas where they were most needed. These
reserves are encouragingly large.
The Führer determined (on 8 November 1941) that the area
that we control includes more than 250 million people. The area
controlled by our allies brings that total to over 350 million.
In the East alone we have occupied nearly two million square
kilometers of territory with about 70 million people. These 70
million are about 54% of the entire population of North America.
A substantial percentage of them have already proven that they
can be of real help in German factories.
Unemployment in neighboring countries along with Europe’s growing realization
that only a victory of the Axis powers can guarantee the common good of
the continent has lead an army of volunteer foreign workers to Germany.
They were forced to their decision by their fears of Bolshevism and by
the war that Churchill and Roosevelt head for the Jews and Freemasons,
which sabotages any hope for European peace. They decided that, if they
were not fighting at the front, to serve in German factories and thereby
to support Europe’s new organizational unity and its reasonable new structure.
This number of foreign workers has become a mighty river since the Führer
appointed Gauleiter and Reich Governor of Thuringia Fritz Sauckel
as Plenipotentiary for Labor on 21 March 1942. Sauckel, himself a worker
from his youth and a deeply committed, spirited and battle-tested personality,
received the authority to guarantee that industry and agriculture had
sufficient labor. Almost daily, transports from nearly every nation of
Europe bring workers to Germany. Their number grows as the requirements
of the army increase and as more and more German workers exchange their
factory garb for a military uniforms.
There has been nothing like it in this history of the world.
It requires an exact knowledge of the situation, tireless energy
and persistence, and when necessary unwavering action. Under
the leadership of Plenipotentiary Fritz Sauckel. the flow of
workers from the occupied Eastern regions has been particularly
great. Millions of foreign workers are now stalwartly doing their
duty in German factories and agriculture, and millions more will
come. We want to emphasize this figure not because we are carried
away by numbers or crazed by their size, but simply to demonstrate
persuasively that the use of these masses of foreign workers
proves the unprecedented and vast defensive power of our nation.
Three quarters of the foreign workers in Greater Germany come from former
enemy nations, regions that may even yet be incited by unbelievable propaganda.
That poses a danger that we are aware of, but it also gives us an unprecedented
opportunity to conduct an educational campaign in the middle of the war.
Workers from 25 nations are our guests for months or years. They can see
and experience what otherwise they could only read about or see in pictures
or films, which generally come from sources having a particular slant.
The Reich can show them daily that we are qualified not only to be Europe’s
leading military nation, but also the model of economic, social and human
Germany has nothing to hide. It provides healthy and clean living quarters
and a more than adequate diet. Of course, war-related factors also affect
our foreign workers. Everyone understands that, for there is a war going
on. The golden flag of the German Workers Front waves from many model
factories where thousands of foreign workers go every day! Foreigners
come to understand the leadership and spirit of community of the economic
home front. They see what it means when a laboring people has abolished
the industrial proletariat and in which every last person lives according
to the principle: the common good before the individual good. Industry
and agriculture, managers and workers have taken on an important responsibility
with regards to foreign workers. They do their duty with German thoroughness,
despite the difficulties. The plenipotentiary for labor gives them the
guidance they need.
The foreign workers now in Germany are working for Europe.
They have been brought here to provide the best precision German
weapons to our soldiers in the trenches, the batteries, the motorized
troops, the Luftwaffe and the navy. Let no one forget that! The
war demands our full energy. We are defending our jobs and our
livelihoods, the future of our families and Europe’s social progress.
It is clear to all guest workers, be they from nations allied
with Germany like Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, or foreigners
from former enemy states, that each German in these critical
years works sacrificially and accomplishes astonishing things.
We must constantly show that this extreme level of exertion is
the result not of force, but of an inner sense of obligation,
that we are driven by a mission that makes us shining examples,
that we will not rest until the final victory is won and each
foreign worker has joined us not because of mere propaganda,
but also by mastering with us a common task.
That has absolutely nothing to do with long outdated phrases about brotherhood
or demagogic chatter about pan-Europeanism. We have said often enough
that National Socialism is not for export. What must sink deep into the
minds of the foreigners among us, however, is a belief that Germany is
the source of the continent’s eternal youth and a conviction that German
socialism and the German longing for justice can never be surpassed. Thus,
the readiness of foreign workers in the work to defend the united front
of the new Europe will be awakened and developed regardless of
the direction from which it may be attacked. In the long run no part of
the earth, much less Europe, can be ruled by the bayonette. The future
belongs to him who has the support of the workers of the various nations.
The war will become even harder. The destructive rage of our
enemies knows no limits. They must fear that in the course of
time National Socialist Germany’s revolutionary economic and
social policies will open the eyes of even those on the other
side of the ocean to the true cause of their mass misery. The
German workers’ state is operating at full steam in its ideal
three-fold division of workers, farmers and soldiers, and leaves
no room for illusions. It is victory or annihilation! The political,
intellectual and economic lines are drawn as never before in
world history. Our goal is to build a continental system in a
unified area in which there are no victors and vanquished, but rather
a powerful, creative leadership. If fate rules otherwise, Europe
will have played its role and will sink into the bottomless depths
of an exploited colony.
The Reich, which today is the technical and spiritual training
ground for European workers, will fight bitterly in this war
to master both the home and the battle fronts.
A high percentage of foreign workers will remain in Germany
after the war. They will be trained in the construction work
that the war has hindered, and will realize projects that now
are only in the planning stages. Those who return home will bring
with them the valuable skills they learned in Germany and increase
the productive capacity of all of Europe. They are receiving
not only the economic, but also the political skills they will
need to defend the European bulwark. As war economy leaders,
supervisors or camp heads, whatever our position, we must treat
foreign workers justly, far-sightedly, generously as their respected
teachers. Future generations will thank us.
Europe is Winning
A bitter struggle is being waged by the Axis powers for the future of
our continent. Just as necessity has brought us together militarily, so,
too, millions of foreign and German workers stand alongside each other
in factories, on farm machines, or on newly cultivated lands. They battle
the common enemy by using the language of labor. From the practical standpoint,
the use of foreign workers has until recently been a difficult problem.
The use of workers from the occupied areas had been particularly challenging.
But the successes so far have exceed our expectations. Gauleiter Sauckel
has succeeded in persuading the enormous number of foreign workers to
become willing workers with us. The German war economy has thus had no
difficulties, but rather has shown steadily rising production. The incorporation
of millions of foreign workers has not led to an imbalance between the
Führer’s goals and the biological possibilities, as enemy propaganda
maintains. Rather, it demonstrates the enormous dynamics, directed by
Germany, that determine the fate of all European nations.
According to Article 10 of the plenipotentiary for labor’s directives,
we have above all used the available labor in the occupied regions to
meet Germany’s war production needs. We have not neglected, however, to
use the labor remaining in the occupied regions efficiently and in an
organized way. The same productivity is demanded of them as is of those
in Germany, using piece rates and bonuses. The freeing up of workers is
a further goal.
Total mobilization has reached all of Europe. Each nation
carries its part of the burdens of the war and contributes its
labor to ensure that the military units of the Axis and its allies
never lack military material. The more we work everywhere, the
more powerful will be our war machine. And we will never lose
a war because we produced too many weapons.
It is obvious that the plenipotentiary for labor will deal with future
problems of the labor force with the same positive results that are already
evident across all the fronts where we are fighting. At home and at the
front, a granite-hard faith in Germany’s leadership is a certainty for
all: Europe is winning!
Go to a page of illustrations
from this book
Go to the 1933-1945
the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.