Fritz Saukel

Fritz Saukel : Nazi Germany

Fritz Saukel, the son of a postal clerk, was born in Hassfurt am Main, Germany, on 27th October, 1894. He worked as a merchant seaman, and spent virtually the whole of the First World War as a prisoner of war in France.

Saukel joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1921 and when Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933 he appointed him as Governor of Thuringia.

In March 1942 Martin Bormann arranged for him to become Reich Director of Labour and was responsible for meeting the demands of Albert Speer at the ministry of armaments. Over the next three years Saukel's teams went out on the streets to recruit over seven million foreign workers.

At the end of the war Saukel was captured by Allied troops. At the the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial he claimed he had not known about the concentration camp. Fritz Saukel was found guilty of crimes against humanity and was executed on 11th October, 1946.

Primary Sources

(1) Fritz Saukel, speech to Gauleiters (14th March, 1943)

Since we will need foreign labour for many years and the possibility of replacing them is very limited I cannot exploit them on a short-term policy nor can I allow wasting of their working capacity.

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.

(2) Fritz Saukel, order issued on 20th April, 1943.

Payment is to be made according to work done. There is to be no grossness or bad manners. The foreign worker should feel it is in his deepest interest to work for Germany. There should be no arbitrary decisions, no unnecessary harshness, rudeness, or insults when you deal with these workers. This is completely unworthy of the German official and employee.