Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Saukel, Fritz (1894–1946)

German plenipotentiary for labor. Born on 27 October 1894 in Hassfurt, Bavaria, Fritz Saukel had only a secondary education before working in the merchant marine. Taken prisoner by the French in 1914 during World War I, he was not released until November 1919. Saukel joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and became Gauleiter (district leader) of Thuringia in 1927, Reich governor in 1933, and Reich defense commissioner for the Kassel Military District in 1940. He also was a Schutzstaffel (SS)-Obergruppenführer without function.

Hitler recognized Sauckel's blind obedience and fanaticism and rewarded him with the position of plenipotentiary general for labor mobilization in March 1942. Sauckel overhauled the erratic administration and applied an efficient system based on the forced deportation of workers from the occupied territories to Germany to work in the war machine. Saukel boasted openly that of 5 million foreign workers he had secured for the Reich, only 200,000 had come voluntarily. He fully supported the brutal methods by which they were relocated and the terrible conditions in which they lived and worked.

Arrested at the end of the war, Sauckel was brought to trial at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Found guilty on 1 October 1946, he was hanged at Nuremberg on 16 October.

Annette Richardson


Further Reading
Didier, Friedrich. Europa arbeitet in Deutschland: Sauckel mobilisiert die Leistungsreserven. Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1943.; Homze, Edward L. Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967.; Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
 

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