Employment of prisoners in the aviation industry (survey)
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TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 1584-111-PS
The Reichsfuehrer-SS Field Command Post.
Personal Staff 10 March 1944
Subject: Use of Prisoners in the air craft industry-M.
To the SS-Brigadefuehrer FEGELEIN
Dear Hermann !
Enclosed I am sending you copy of a letter for your information. It was given to the Reich marshal on 9 March 1944 by the Reichsfuehrer-SS.
Heil Hitler !
9 March 1944
1879/44 secret Field-command office
Subject: Employment of prisoners in the aviation industry.
Reference: Teletype of 14 February 1944.
Top Reich Secret
Most honored Reichsmarshal
Following my teletype letter of the 18 Feb. 44 I herewith transmit a survey on the employment of prisoners in the aviation industry.
This survey indicates that at the present time about 36000 prisoners are employed for the purposes of the air force. An increase to a total of 90,000 prisoners is contemplated.
The production is being discussed, established and executed between the Reich ministry of aviation and the chief of my economic-administrative main oflice, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS, Pohl respectively.
We assist with all forces at our disposal.
The task of my economic-administrative main office, however, is not solely fulfilled with the delivery of the prisoners to the aviation industry as SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl and his assistants take care of the required working speed thru constant control and supervision of the workgroups [Kommandos] and therefore have some influence on the results of production. In this respect I may suggest consideration of the fact that in enlarging our responsibility thru a speeding up of the total work, better results can definitelv be extracted.
We also have for some time adjusted our own stone-quarries to production for the airforce. For instance in Flossenbuerg near Weiden the prisoners employed previously in the quarry are working now in the fighter plane program for the Messerschmitt corporation, Regensburg, which saw in the availability of our stone-mason shops and labor forces after the attack on Regensburg at that time a favorable opportunity for the immediate partial transfer of their production. Altogether 4000 pris- oners will work there after the expansion. We produce now with 2000 men 900 sets of engine cowlings and radia,tor covers as well as 120,000 single parts of various kinds for the fighter ME 109.
In Oranienburg we are employing 6000 prisoners at the Heinkel works now for construction of the HE 177. With that we have supplied 60% of the total crew of the plant. The prisoners are working without fault. Up till now 200 suggestions regarding the improvement of work have been handed in at Heinkel from the ranks of the prisoners, which were used and were rewarded with premiums. We are increasing this employment to 8000 prisoners.
We also have employed female prisoners in the aviation industry. For instance at the mechanical workshops in Neubrandenburg 2500 women are working now i11 the manufacture of devices for dropping bombs and rudder control. The plant has adjusted the total serial production to employ prisoners. In the month of January 30,000 devices as well as 500 rudder controls and altitude regulators have been manufactured. We are increasing mployment to 4000 women. The performance of the women is excellent.
In our own plant in Butschowitz near Bruenn [Brno] we produce also for the air force, there however with civilian workers. This plant supplies 14,000 wooden-built rear control apparatus for ME 109 to the Messerschmitt corporation, Augsburg. The movement of manufacturing plants of the aviation industry to subterranean locations requires further employment of about 100,000 prisoners. The plams for this employment on the basis of your letter of 14 Feb 1944 are already under way.
I shall keep you, most honored Reichsmarshal, currently informed on this subject.
The Reich Minister for Armament and War Production
TAE-No. 475/44 top secret
Berlin, Pariser Platz 3, 17 April 1944.
Phone: 11 00 52
TOP SECRET Fighter staff, attention : Field Marshal MILCH
Fighter staff, attention: Chief of office SWR
Reichsfuehrer-SS and chief of the German Police, Reich-leader HIMMLER
Head of armament office Lt Gen Dr Ing. h. c. Waeger
Plenipotentiary-General for Construction, Director Stobbe-Dethleffsen
1. Using tables and drawings 'as an illustration I have in conjunction with Field Marshal Milch informed the Fuehrer on the work of the fighter staff in pointing to the extraordinarily pleasing and successful cooperation of the newly created organization with all offices and works. He is cognizant of the fact that the greatest part of the transfer has been fixed according to plan and that as the first step the decentralization above the ground can be concluded by approximately August and that the second step aiming at the total subterranean security of the most sensitive works will be concluded by the end of the year.
2. Field Marshal Milch has reported as a result of the meeting on construction of the "central planning" to the Fuehrer, that of the amount of construction demanded, because of the extraordinary aggravation of the all-over situation, only the most important part of the construction work could be accomplished. The Fuehrer demands that in spite of that both the large plants, each of at least 600,000 qm, which he demanded should be constructed with all energy. He consents that one of these works will not be built in concrete but in accordance with the proposal as an enlargement and in the immediate vicinity of the present central works as the so-called central construction and will come under the management of the Junkers works.
The Fuehrer agrees to the suggestion that the second large building project will, because of lack in labor and material, not be carried out on German territory, but on suitable ground (first of all gravel foundation and possibilities for transportation) in the immediate proximity of the border, on French, Belgian or Dutch territory, as long as the plant is constructed behind a fortified zone. The suggestion to build on French territory is favored by the fact that it will then be much easier to make the necessary labor available. In spite of that the Fuehrer asks to try, to construct this second works in an essentially secure territory, namely in the Protectorate. If the labor can not be supplied there either, the Fuehrer wants to get in touch in person with the Reichsfuehrer SS and will cause him to provide the approximately 100,000 men required, thru the securing of corresponding Jewish contingents from Hungary. The Fuehrer demands that a meeting take place with him shortly in order to discuss the details in the presence of the men concerned.
3. An immediate task for the central construction besides assuring the supply of the bottleneck products of the Junkers works which is to be executed step by step, is the planning and securing of ME 262 at the rate of 1000 a month and of an additional fighter plane at the rate of 2000 a month.
signed : SPEER
Certified :Capt. Stein
- Office of the United States Chief of Counsel For Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, ("Red Series"), Volume IV, pages 118-127, USGPO, Washington DC 1946
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