Sauckel, Fritz°

views updated


SAUCKEL, FRITZ ° (Ernst Friedrich Christoph ; 1894–1946), Nazi official. Born in Hassfurt to a family of minor officials, Sauckel worked in the merchant marines of Norway and Sweden prior to World War i. During World War i he was a prisoner of war. He joined the Nazi Party in 1921 and was appointed Gauleiter ("district leader") of the Nazi Party in Thuringia in 1925 and its governor in 1933. On March 21, 1942, he was appointed by *Hitler plenipotentiary (Generalbevollmaechtigter) for labor recruitment, and thus he became the most notorious slave driver of Nazi Germany. His self-described task was to make maximum use of the slave labor for the "lowest conceivable expenditure." Up to March 1, 1944, seven and a half million workers were brought on his orders to Germany from all over occupied Europe, of whom only 200,000 came voluntarily. Their working and living conditions were unbearable. Conditions among Jews were the worst. They were literally worked to death. In the fall of 1942 Sauckel, with the aid of the *rsha, organized the drafting of Polish workers in order to replace Jews working in the armament industry, with the aim of deporting those Jews to concentration and death camps. He was convicted at the trial of major war criminals in Nuremberg and hanged on October 16, 1946.


E. Davidson, Trial of the Germans (1966), index; G.M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary (1947), index; imt, Trial of theMajor War Criminals, 24 (1949), index. add. bibliography: E.L. Homze, Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany (1967); B. Ferencz, Less than Slaves: Jewish Forced Labor and the Quest for Compensation (1979).

[Yehuda Reshef /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]