1 November 1938: special decree granted a small meansure of public aid to unemployed Jews unable to obtain adequate assistance form Jewish agencies, in return for performing so-called duty work or unskilled labour on road building, swamp drainage and other state projects. Jewish labour service camps soon established, separate barracks erected near Berlin for Jews working on road gangs under SS supervision. Large number of Jews dislodged from professions thereby mobilised into unskilled, forced labour, releasing Aryan workers for other tasks.
4 march 1939: compulsory labour ordinance appeared, first measure to legalise forced labour in Germany. In following May, Dr Ley’s Labour Front started registration of all Jews, males 18-55, females 20-45, for service in labour battalions. By 1 July an estimated 20,000 Jews had been i,pressed, including 700 women, and later in the month the Gestapo ordered the Jewish communities of Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and other cities to supply specified quotas. Workers generally assigned to own localities, cleaning gutters, shovelling snow and building roads.
On eve of war, system of forced mass displacement inaugurated for Jews, later extended to all peoples of occupied Europe. Jewish conscripts made subject to compulsory removal to any territory in Axis Europe. Large numbers of German Jews rounded up by Gestapo and SS in September 1939, transported for work on fortifications along French and Polish frontiers.
Of Berlin’s 95,000 Jews in December 1939, 20,000 continued to work as conscript labourers in war enterprises, chiefly in building and transport trades and war factories.
By October 1940, according to official statement, nearly all able-bodied German Jewish males, numbering 40,000 out of the remaining 160,000 Jews in the country, had been conscripted.
19 February 1941: information reached US Government that within 4 weeks from that date Jews left in Germany would be labourers of military age and inmates of concentration camps. In February 1941 age limit extended to 65 for men and 55 for women. In some cities, eg Frankfurt, Jewish schools for boys over 12 years closed and pupils ordered to work in factories.
October 1941, special code of regulations published by German Ministry of Labour gave legal sanction to already exisiting practices.
October 1941: thousands of Jews rounded up all over Germany and removed to undisclosed destinations. First of experimental transports of large labour groups to territories outside the German Reich. stated that they were not to be sent to concentration camps or imprisoned but used for “purposes helpful to the war economy”.
Estimate of Jews remaining in 1943 and 1944 varied between 5000 and 50,000. Condition of these remnants was known; they laboured for nazi war effort in segregated groups on their jobs or in work camps. They worked long hours, for pitifully low returns, on smaller food rations than other workers.
After Anschluss, discharged workers compelled to do menial labour at risk of losing state aid.
Able-bodied men routed out in October 1939 under a “removal order” (Uebersiedlungsaktion), taken to occupied Poland for compulsory work. There remained of Austria’s 180,000 Jews, all brought to Vienna, only 55,000 in December 1939, which shrank in succeeding three years to 12,000.
Forced labour for Jews general in 1942. Young men and women recruited for hard labour in paper mill near Linz, worked under strict supervision, usually for 8-month terms. Jews in labour camp near Vienna put to work breaking stones, building roads or repairing railroad rights of way, inder command of SS Standarte 89, paid three marks every ten days.
“As the tide of war turned against the Axis, and a desperate manpower shortage began to slow the German war machine, the Nazis belatedly brought back some forces of Jewish conscript labor from Eastern Europe to Austria and Germany. The U.S. Office of War Information reported on December 6, 1944, that a train loaded with 880 Jewish deportees, bound from Poland for Austrian Nazi camps, had been intercepted by Austrian partisans and the workers liberated.” (p. 175)
From April 1939, severe kinds of compulsory labour instituted for Jewish males 18 to 60, recruited for labour camp brigades whenever Germans demanded. Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany rounded up for forced labour in Karlove Vary and other Sudeten areas. Jewish engineers, chemists and physicians of Prague who had applied earlier for Gestapo emigration permits, were drafted intead in May 1939 for service in the Reich.
25 November 1939: Reich Ministry of Interior decreed all inhabitants 15 to 70 subject to draft under German universal labour service edict (Notdienstverordnung). Jews subject to labour service under edict, along with other citizens.
Of Czech Jews removed to Eastern Europe to make room for Nazi-classifed German minorities from the Baltic States, some taken to Lublin reservation, while those of greater physical strength deported as compulsory labourers to rebuild destroyed towns.
“The labor service was reinforced by a Protectorate law of January 23, 1941, which imposed compulsory labor on inhabitants between 18 and 50. All Jewish males had to register with the Jewish Labor Center. Notices published in the Prague press intructed those who had not yet been examined for labor service to report immediately to local Jewish community headquarters for medical examination and assignment to labor projects. The Prague paper, Der Neue Tag, disclosed in October 1941, that the first Jewish forced labor detachment in the protectorate was formed at Moravska-Ostrava. Known as the “Jewish Penal Column”, because its ranks were filled by former inmates of Nazi concentration camps, it became a labor gang of street cleaners and garbage collectors.” (p. 177)
December 1941, 7000 young Jews sent to Terezin for forced labor. Heydrich placed emigration ban on all Jews, enforcing it in particular in the cases of men between 18 and 46, whose labour was urgently needed in the Protectorate. Ban announced in Nazi-controlled newspaper, Vestnik on 10 July 1942, in article headed “Das Juedische Arbeitslager in Bad Vyhne”
“In August 1942, 12,000 Jews, including women and girls, were separated from their families and sent to Moravska and Karvinna for forced labor in the coal mines. They were compelled to work twelve hours daily for fifteen percent of the wages earned by other miners; they received these wages in a form of scrip, partly in food and partly in government bonds supposedly redeemable after the war.” (p. 178)
Movement of transports continued from Terezin, including one shipment of 6,800 Czech Jews who were sent to the coal mines at Birkenau in Upper Silesia.
Due to shortage of labour in Slovakia as result of providing 50-60,000 workers to Reich, unremitting exploitation of Jewish labour ensued.
May 1939, Jews reported at forced labour in forest brigades, road gangs, hired hands on farms.
Decree of 27 June 1939 subjected Jews to assignment to forced labour battalions.
Decree of September 1939 ordered all jewish officers and soldiers transferred from army to labour detachments.
Third decree in September stipulated all Jews between 16 and 55 to be drafted for forced labour and sent to special camps.
Edict of 18 January 1940 impose compulsory labour upon “Jews and gypsies”, and shortly after terms of labour service fixed by decree at two months, twice annually.
Jews assigned to labour service supplied food, clothing and shelter by Labour Ministry. Men capable of paying own maintenance had work term reduced.
Spring 1941, new order demanded all unmarried Jews report to Gestapo headquarters by 1 may for assignment to forced labour camps. later in summer, Jewish doctors working in special Jewish camps transferred to Slovakian hospitals and nursing homes where wounded German soldiers arriving by thousands.
19 March 1942, as Slovakia’s industrial labour problem became acute, Slovak Minister of Interior projected conscription of all able-bodied Jews, including married men without children.
21 May 1942, Donauzeitung published statement by chief of Central Economic Office that Jews to be transported to prepare camps, supervised by own administrators, police and courts, and assigned to work in factories, mostly as tailors and carpenters.
Majority of Slovak Jews either in concentration camps, or in labour camps awaiting deportation. estimated 56,000 in forced labour camps at Kobyszew, Lukow and Oswiecim, all in Poland.
30 March 1943: Bratislava radio broadcast announced two-year period of compulsory labour decreed for Jews still in Slovakia, in special labour battaliona assigned as auxiliaries to military units.
18,000 of re-war Jewish population of 100,000 remained in 1943, of which 3,700 interned in state’s five forced labour camps. 3000 other Jews had been shipped to Tatra mountains to build homes for Nazi children evacuated from bombed cities in the Reich.
After occupation of Slovakia by Wehrmacht in November 1944, Jews still left in Bratislava sent abroad, presumably to concentration camps.
March 1941, all Dutch workmen mobilised into compulsory labour for Reich. Subsidiary measure for “Jews and criminals” to months later barring Jews from privileges.
Shortly after this decree, 1200 Dutch Jews sent to salt and sulphur mines near Mauthausen concentration camp in Upper Austria; 740 perished because no protection against poisonous vapours.
Other Jews sent to work on coastal fortifications, to forced labour camp at Westerbork, and many to factories at Aachen, Cologne and Munich, segregated from other workers.
Able-bodied Jews between 18 and 40 expelled to slave labour factories of Eastern Europe. Those over 40 generally used for forced labour in Holland and Germany.
5 august 1943, Nazi-controlled Hilversum radio announced: “Jews will be compelled to rebuild what was destroyed in Europe at their orders”.
Two days later, command that all Jews who did not immediately obey orders to go to work in Germany or elsewhere in Nazi-occupied Europe to be arrested and sent to mauthausen mines in Austria or penal colony for Jews on Island of Ameland, north of Groningen.
Dutch Jews with special skills detoured from forced labour camps in east to relieve acute shortage of highly skilled labour in Reich
Further orders for Jewish workers issued during months of September and October 1942. Number of young jews between 18 and 40 removed at this time for slave labour to devastated area of occupied Russia, others deported to Reich.
6 march 1943, Commissioner Seys-Inquart reported that one-half of Holland’s Jews had been concripted for work in the labour camps of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Early 1941, all unemployed Jews in Brussels area, constituting most of male Jewish population, removed to labour camps in Brussels vicinity where they worked at river, ditch and canal drainage and other flood control enterprises. Tervueren, in Duisburg marshes, such a camp, set up in Fall of 1941.
Labour ordinances of 11 march and 8 may 1942 regulated working conditions for Jews. No paid holidays or sick pay, no overtime for night or Sunday work, no special compensation of any sort, dismissal without notice. required to accept any work allotted by labour offices (comment: sounds like employment conditions in US today!). Work allocated mostly in mines or on roads in “chain-gangs”.
On pretext of attachment to labour battalions, men and women dispatched to Poland. march 1942, 10,000 Belgian Jews reported to be at Lodz textile factories.
August 1942 all Jewish foreign workers conscripted for work in germany and german-ruled countries. Occupation authorities reported 35,000 such foreign workers had been removed to Germany for forced labour.
Conscription of Jewish manpower for forced labour in German-ruled territories continued in 1943. Belgian jews reported in nazi coastal zones building fortifications in France.
Jews in Belgium not impressed at hard labour in German labour corps deported to ghetto work barracks or decimation camps of Eastern Europe.
“Along with the Nazi-instigated Jew-clearance propaganda, labor camps were erected in a large number of provinces in both the occupied and unoccupied zones. Conscription began with those Jews who had been expelled from Austria, Germany, Czechslovakia and other German-ruled countries. In the spring of 1941, 5,000 persons between 18 and 40 were seized in Gestapo raids and sent to the labor camps at Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande near Orleans. at the close of 1941, all aliens who had entered France since 1936 were threatened with incarceration in forced labor camps. In december, the Joint Distribution Committee in New York reported that 3,000 Jewish aliens had been conscripted.” (p. 184)
August 1942 French government promised to recruit most of its alien Jews for forced labour outside France. Transports of Jews from labour camps re-routed to eastern europe and for work on trans-Sahara railway.
8 January 1943: Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported French Ministry of Interior prescribed obligatory assignment to camps for unmarried foreigners between 18 and 55 who had come to France since 1933. Jews drafted to army to be exempted. Assignment to labour camps to be completed by 1 March. Special separate camps for Jews to be created
15 September 1943: Neue Zuercher Zeitung disclosed French Jews as well as foreign-born Jews were being expelled to Germany, ostensibly for labour service.
By 1944 most able-bodied Jews left in France conscripted for labour.
1 May 1944, Marcel Deat, Minister of Labour in Laval’s cabinet, announced that all Jews of France would be impressed at hard labour in stone quarry enterprises, mines and canal drainage works.
First decree of 26 October 1939 published in official gazette of Gouvernement-General obliged all inhabitants between 18 and 60 to perform public labour under direction of G-G department of Labour (Arbeitspflicht).
On same day, another decree demanded Zwangsarbeit of Jews, under supervision of supreme police commander for Occupied Poland.
Order of 12 December 1939 subjected all Jews from 14 to 60 to forced labour in labour camps for a normal duration of two years, which could be lengthened. Restricted to male Jews for time being. Jewish Councils were to be responsible for registration of eligible Jews. Induction into labour was to follow upon special summons from German authorities.
“Several classes of Jewish laborers came to be recognized, among them a class of so-called privileged laborers, artisans who worked in overcrowded barracks twelve hours a day turning out goods for the German army. When in the summer of 1941, the Reich suffered an acute shortage of skilled labor, manufacturuers were urged to place orders with Jewish artisan cooperatives operating in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Berliner Boersenzeitung, reporting this in August 1941, disclosed that a special office had been established by the Nazi command in Warsaw slely for the purpose of advising German manufacturers how to place orders with cooperatives and institutions in the Jewish ghetto. The newspaper quoted a circular letter, sent by this office to german manufacturers, which pointed out that “forty percent of the half-million Jewish population are skilled artisans, tailors, leather-workers, tilers and joiners”.
“These and other Jewish artisans in the ghetto turn out to be good handicraftsmen and can be used, within limits, to remedy the labor shortage,” the newspaper article continued. “German manufacturers in districts where there is a shortage of labor are advised to utilize this reserve of qualified workers”. The paper suggested that placing orders with the Warsaw Ghetto cooperatives would not only alleviate the shortage in qualified labor but would also reduce the number of “non-productive consumers”. A number of the Jewish artisans were used for German orders as an experiment, and their work turned out to be quite satisfactory, the paper observed.
Jews of the Lodz Ghetto also were compelled to work for the German war industry, under a barter system. “Food will be sent into the Ghetto of Lodz only in exchange for manufactured products”, the Koelnische Zeitung announced in February 1941. On the following August 15th, the Frankfurter Zeitung reported:
“Approximately 200,000 Jews are congested in a ghetto segregated from the rest of the city .......... where they produce various articles in textile factories. Seven thousand Jews are employed as tailors, 5,000 as shoemakers and 1,000 as carpenters. many others are employed in road construction. The Judenrat assembles the manufactured products and exchanges them for food for the ghetto”.” (p. 189)
Nazis impressed all workers not fully employed into forced labour gangs.
Jews working in labour battalions ranked lower. For them no privileges. Most ultimately shipped to labour camps which differed little from concentration camps. Up until summer 1941, at least 85 Jewish labour camps known to exist in G-G. Location known of 35 camps, of which two-thirds on eastern frontier.
January 1941, 10,000 Jews working in forced labour gangs along Bug and Vistula rivers between Warsaw and Lublin. Used to build fortifications near Soviet border.
Spring 1941 men between 12 and 40 recruited for labour battalions, eventually sent to labour camps at Josefow, Tyszowka, Bial Podlaska and Milejow, and also to quarries near Opatow. Gazeta Zydowska reported 25,000 Jews engaged in compulsory construction work in Warsaw district.
By April 1941, almost all Jews of Poland conscripted for hard labour, according to April 20 issue of Voelkischer Beobachter. Of Jews of Sosnowiec and Bedzin (in Upper Silesia) approximately 100,000 in forced labour camps.
“Jewish community councils supported conscripted workers largely out of a fund collected from those Jews who were physically incapable of performing forced labor, and who were deferred if they paid a special tax to their Jewish community organisation.” (p. 195)
Governer-General Frank subjected all Jews of the Western Ukraine (= East Galicia) to compulsory labour in fall of 1941. Early in 1942, chain of labour camps set up near Lvov, Tarnopol and Stanislawow. Thousands of Jews were brought from the whole of Galicia to the Lvov camp on Janowska Street.
“Nazi law during 1942 eliminated the two-year work period for forced labor in Poland and German-occupied Soviet territory. It was now limitless. All labor camps and ghetto factories in the East became the destination of forcibly transported Jewish populations both from Poland and from Western and Central Europe. Large-scale transfers from the Warsaw Ghetto were reported. On July 22, 1942, the Jewish Council of Warsaw received an order to prepare 6,000 persons to be sent away daily. many of the deportees were shipped to labor camps on the Russian front, others to work in the marshes of Pinsk, or to the ghettos of the baltic republics, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Large numbers of Jews from Western Europe were transported to Lodz to work in the textile mills. The Institute of Jewish Affairs in New York cited an advertisement that appeared in the Litzmannstaedter Zeitung, Nazi newspaper published in Lodz, quoting the German mayor of a nearby town:
Have at my disposal 250 qualified Jewish tailors, furriers and hatters. Accept orders for army as well as private enterprises.
In 1942, as the pressure of the Nazi war machine increased and the need for manpower grew, transports of Jewish slave laborers from the eastern territories rolled into parts of Austria, Upper Silesia and into Germany proper. Polish Jews were transferred to various parts of Germany in July, a fact disclosed by the Nazi-controlled Krakauer Zeitung, the first newspaper to mention transfers of Polish Jews for work in the Reich. The policy of such transfers was in sharp conflict with the ideology of a “Jew-purged” germany. There were further instances of transfers of Polish, french and Belgian Jews to the coal mines of Upper Silesia, and trainloads of Polish jews carted to camps in Austria.” (p199)