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 page.
The source: Friedrich Didier, Europa arbeitet in Deutschland. Sauckel mobilisiert die Leistungsreserven (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1943).
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.
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 qualities.
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.
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!
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