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Fritz Sauckel


In office
1933 ‚Äď 1945
Prime Minister Himself
Willy Marschler
Preceded by None
Succeeded by None

In office
1932 ‚Äď 1933
Preceded by Erwin Baum
Succeeded by Willy Marschler

In office
1927 ‚Äď 1945
Leader Adolf Hitler
Preceded by Artur Dinter
Succeeded by None

General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment
In office
21 March 1942 ‚Äď May 1945
Preceded by None
Succeeded by None

Born October 27, 1894(1894-10-27)
Haßfurt, then Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died October 16, 1946 (aged 51)
Nuremberg, Germany
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Wetzel (m. 1924)
Children 10
Profession Sailor, factory laborer

Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel (27 October 1894 ‚Äď 16 October 1946) was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions from lands occupied by Nazi Germany. He was General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment from 1942 until the end of the war, after which he was tried and executed.

Contents

Early life

He was born in Haßfurt (Kingdom of Bavaria), the only child of a postman and a seamstress. Sauckel was educated at local schools and left early when his mother fell ill. He joined the merchant marine of Norway and Sweden at age fifteen, first on a Norwegian three-masted schooner, and later on Swedish and German vessels. He went on to sail throughout the world, rising to the rank of Vollmatrose. At the outbreak of World War I, he was on a German vessel en route to Australia when the vessel was captured. He was subsequently interned in France from August 1914 until November 1919.

He returned to Germany, found factory work in Schweinfurt, and studied engineering in Ilmenau from 1922 to 1923. He joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1923 (member 1,395). In 1924 he married Elisabeth Wetzel, with whom he had ten children. He remained a party member over its dissolution and publicly rejoined in 1925. Sauckel was appointed party Gauleiter of Th√ľringia in 1927 and became a member of the regional government in 1929. Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, he was promoted to Reich Regent of Th√ľringia and Reichstag member. He was also given an honorary rank of Obergruppenf√ľhrer in the SA and the SS in 1934.

World War II

During World War II he was Reich defence commissioner for the Kassel district (Reichsverteidigungskommissar Wehrkreis IX) before being appointed General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (Generalbevollm√§chtigter f√ľr den Arbeitseinsatz) on 21 March 1942, on the recommendation of Albert Speer. He worked directly under Hitler through the Four-Year Plan Office, directing and controlling German labour. In response to increased demands, he met the requirement for manpower with people from the occupied territories. Voluntary numbers were insufficient and forced recruitment was introduced within a few months. Of the 5 million workers brought to Germany, around 200,000 came voluntarily. The majority of the acquired workers originated from the Eastern territories, where the methods used to gain workers were reportedly very harsh.

Trial and execution

The body of Fritz Sauckel after execution, October 16, 1946

He was a defendant at the Nuremberg trials accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity. He defended the Arbeitseinsatz as "nothing to do with exploitation. It is an economic process for supplying labour". He denied that it was slave labour or that it was common to deliberately work people to death (extermination by labour) or to mistreat them.

He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and together with a number of colleagues, he was hanged on 16 October 1946. His last words were recorded as "Ich sterbe unschuldig, mein Urteil ist ungerecht. Gott besch√ľtze Deutschland!" (I die innocent, my sentence is unjust. God protect Germany!).

His sentence remains controversial to date, since his superior, Albert Speer, who was probably more culpable, was given only a 20-year prison term.

Portrayal in popular culture

Fritz Sauckel has been portrayed by the following actors in film, television and theater productions;

  • Ken Kramer in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Nuremberg[1]
  • Paul Brennen in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial[2]

Literature

  • Steffen Ra√üloff: Fritz Sauckel. Hitler "Muster-Gauleiter" (Th√ľringen. Bl√§tter zur Landeskunde 36). Erfurt 2004. (PDF) (translation into English)
  • Steffen Ra√üloff: Fritz Sauckel. Hitlers "Muster-Gauleiter" und "Sklavenhalter" (Schriften der Landeszentrale f√ľr politische Bildung Th√ľringen. Bd. 29). 3. Auflage, Erfurt 2008. ISBN 978-3-937967-18-9 (PDF)

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

What would you do if your country's welfare depended on labor? When a ship is in a storm it requires one captain.

Fritz Sauckel (October 27, 1894 ‚Äď October 16, 1946) was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions of men and boys from lands occupied by Nazi Germany. He was General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour from 1942 until the end of the war. He was a defendant at the Nuremberg trials accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and together with a number of colleagues, he was hanged on October 16, 1946.

Sourced

  • I am dying innocent. The sentence is wrong. God protect Germany and make Germany great again. Long live Germany! God protect my family!
    • Last words, 10/16/46. Quoted in "The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness World War II" - Page 566 - by Jon E. Lewis - History - 2002
  • Slaves who are underfed, diseased, resentful, despairing, and filled with hate will never yield that maximum of output which they might achieve under normal conditions.
    • March 14, 1943 speech to Gauleiters. Quoted in "The Trial of the Germans" - Page 513 - by Eugene Davidson - History - 1997
  • Although as a sailor I despised politics - for I loved my sailor's life and still love it today - conditions forced me to take up a definite attitude towards political problems.
    • Quoted in "Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal" - Nuremberg, Germany - 1948
  • I'm a sailor, not a politician.
    • Quoted in "Pattern of Circles: An Ambassador's Story" - Page 183 - by John E. Dolibois - Biography & Autobiography - 2001
  • In order to provide the German housewife, above all mothers of many children...with tangible relief from her burdens, the Fuhrer has commissioned me to bring into the Reich from the eastern territories some four to five hundred thousand select, healthy, and strong girls.
    • 1942. Quoted in "Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs" - Page 221 - by Albert Speer - 1970
  • Many years before, I had left a beautiful country and a rich nation and I returned to that country six years later to find it fundamentally changed and in a state of upheaval, and in great spiritual and material need.
    • Quoted in "Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal" - Nuremberg, Germany - 1948
  • What would you do if your country's welfare depended on labor? When a ship is in a storm it requires one captain.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004 - Page 209
  • Himmler, Bormann, and Goebbels, they were probably bad fellows.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • I had nothing to do with concentration camps - Himmler's work. There was a labor minister, Ley, whose position is like your John Lewis in America. My duties were to assign POW and foreign labor to factories or whatever work had to be done. I had nothing to do with punishment, criminals, and so forth. That's Himmler's work. If someone had told me as a seaman I should have engaged in politics I would have taken it as an insult. After my return from France, when I found the workers in the Schweinfurt factory all divided up into groups, many parties - I want to give you an honest reason - that's why I became a National Socialist. In 1922-23 I knew, by fate, I must find a solution to the labor and social problem.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • Only Communists and Social Democrats who acted against the state were incarcerated. Most of the Communists and Social Democrats I had known became Nazis later. Only those who were doing anything against the state were thrown in concentration camps.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • I never burned down synagogues. It was a revolution, and Russians burned churches during their revolution. If there are many different nationalities in a country, the leadership should be divided among people by percentages. In finance, press, radio - the Jews had taken over positions. That feeling existed before Hitler.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • You must understand that the meaning of the word 'unemployed' in Germany is different than in America. In America, 'unemployed' means that a man may be unable to obtain work in his profession. In Germany it means he can't get work in any profession. In Thuringia there were 1.7 million people, of whom 500,000 men were unemployed in 1932 before Hitler came to power. In the whole of Germany, there were 8 million unemployed and 7 million half-time workers.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • America is so big that it cries for work. In Germany, if you tried to find work, you couldn't. In America, it was a strange economy which caused unemployment. German unemployment was due to the boycott of German goods. Not an official boycott. The world market refused to accept German goods. France, England, and America refused. Germany had no colonies and she had to export manufactured goods for grain. We had nothing to speak of. We managed to live during the war by rations. We all lived on a strict ration - even ministers in the government like myself - and we lived on things from the conquered countries, including Africa and Russia.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 9, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004

About Sauckel

  • That man who is responsible for slave labor in Germany does not have my sympathy. I did not like the whole idea of what he did. After all, there are limits to what one can do with foreign populations in the forced labor business. In the first place, the whole idea is completely unproductive. One needs three or four men to watch one compulsory worker. Sauckel deserves the severest punishment.
  • ...a plenipotentiary for the war economy who secretly marshaled the entire economy for armament, but had no idea it had anything to do with war.
    • Robert H. Jackson
  • The defendant Sauckel, Plenipotentiary General for the Utilization of Labor, is authority for the statement that "out of 5,000,000 foreign workers who arrived in Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily." It was officially reported to defendant Rosenberg that in his territory "recruiting methods were used which probably have their origin in the blackest period of the slave trade." Sauckel himself reported that male and female agents went hunting for men, got them drunk, and "shanghaied" them to Germany. These captives were shipped in trains without heat, food, or sanitary facilities. The dead were thrown out at stations, and the newborn were thrown out the windows of moving trains. Sauckel ordered that "all the men must be fed, sheltered, and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure."
    • Robert H. Jackson
  • Sauckel, the greatest and cruelest slaver since the pharaohs of Egypt, produced desperately needed manpower by driving foreign peoples into the land of bondage on a scale unknown even in the ancient days of tyranny in the kingdom of the Nile.
    • Robert H. Jackson

External links

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