The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fifth Day: Saturday, 9nd February, 1946
(Part 5 of 5)


To conclude, I consider it essential to read into the record, almost in full, a rather long but exceptionally important document. I have in mind a note by the defendant Bormann of 2nd October, 1940, referring to a conversation about Poland. This conversation was held after a dinner which took place in Hitler's apartment. You will find this note on Page 311, Volume I, Part 2, of the document book:

"Secret; Berlin, 2/10 1940; Note.

On 2nd October, 1940, after dinner at the Fuehrer's apartment, a conversation arose on the nature of the Government General, the treatment of the Poles and the incorporation, already approved by the Fuehrer, of the Districts of Piotrokow and Tomassov into the Province of Warta.

The conversation began when the Reichsminister, Dr. Frank, informed the Fuehrer that the activities in the Government General could be considered very successful. The Jews in Warsaw and other cities had been locked up in the ghetto; Krakow would very shortly be cleared of them."

I now consider it possible to omit a few paragraphs.
"The Fuehrer further emphasised that the Poles, in direct contrast to our German workmen, are specially born for hard labour; we must all give every possibility of advancement to our German workers; as to the Poles -- there can be no question of improvement for them. On the contrary, it is necessary to keep the standard of life low in Poland and it must not be permitted to rise.

The Government General must, under no condition whatsoever, be an isolated and uniform economic region; it must not produce independently, even in part, any manufactured goods necessary for its subsistence; the Government General should be used by us merely as a source of unskilled labour (in industries such as brick manufacture, road construction, etc.).

[Page 220]

One cannot change the nature of a Slav, as the Fuehrer has already emphasised. While, as a rule our German workers are by nature assiduous and diligent, the Poles are lazy, and it is necessary to use compulsion to make them work.

However, there is no reason to expect that the Government General will become an independent economic region, as there are no mineral resources, and even should such be available the Poles are not capable of utilising them.

The Fuehrer has explained that the Reich needs large estates to provide food for our large cities; these large estates, as well as other agricultural enterprises, are in need of labour, and cheap labour in particular, for the cultivation of the soil and for harvesting.... As soon as the harvest time is over, the labourers can go back to Poland, because should they be employed in agriculture the whole year round, they themselves would use up an important part of the crops. The best solution would thus be to import from Poland temporary labourers for the duration of the sowing and for the harvesting.

Our industrial districts are over-populated, while at the same time there is a lack of manpower in agriculture. That is where we can make use of the Polish labourers. For this reason, it would be quite right to have a surplus of manpower in the Government General, so that every year the labourers needed by the Reich could be procured from there. It is indispensable to bear in mind that the Polish landlords must cease to exist; however cruel this may sound, they must be exterminated wherever they are.

There must, of course, be no sexual intercourse with Poles. It would consequently be a correct procedure if Polish harvesters, both men and women, came together to the Reich. Whatever the mutual relationships were in their camps would not be a matter of concern to us -- no zealous Protestant should poke his nose into these affairs.

The Fuehrer stressed once more that there should be one master only for the Poles -- the German: two masters, side by side, cannot and must not exist; therefore, all representatives of the Polish intelligentsia are to be exterminated. This sounds cruel, but such is the law of life.

The Government General represents a Polish reserve of manpower -- a vast Polish labour camp. The Poles will also benefit from this, as we look after their health and see to it that they do not starve, etc., but they must never be raised to a higher level, for they will then become anarchists and Communists. It will therefore be proper for the Poles to remain Roman Catholics; Polish priests will receive food from us and will, for that very reason, direct their little sheep along the path we favour. The priests will be paid by us and will, in return, preach what we wish them to preach. If any priest acts differently, we shall make short work of him. The task of the priests is to keep the Poles quiet, stupid, and dull-witted. This is entirely in our interests. Should the Poles rise to a higher level of development, they will cease to be that manpower of which we are in need. In other respects it will suffice for a Pole to possess a small holding in the Government General -- a large farm is not at all necessary; he will have to earn the money he requires in Germany. It is precisely this cheap labour we need; every German and every German worker will benefit by this cheap labour. A strict German administration must exist in the Government General to keep order amongst the Poles. These reserves mean for us the maintenance of agriculture, particularly of our large estates, and they are, besides, a source of supply of labour."

I see no necessity to read into the record the exchange of views between those present, although it is mentioned in the document, and I shall go on directly to Hitler's final statements.

[Page 221]

To sum up, the Fuehrer stated once more:

"1. The lowest German workman and the lowest German peasant must always stand economically 10% above any Pole."
I omit the second paragraph and pass to the third which is of great interest.
"3. 'I do not wish,' the Fuehrer stressed, 'that a German workman should, as a rule work more than 8 hours, when we return to normal conditions. But if a Pole works 14 hours, he is still, in spite of that, to earn less than a German workman.'

4. The ideal picture is this: A Pole must possess a smallholding in the Government General which will, to a certain extent, provide him and his family with food. The money required by him for clothes, supplementary foods, etc., he must earn in Germany. The Government General must become a centre for supplying seasonal unskilled labour, particularly agricultural labourers. The existence of these workmen will be fully guaranteed, because they will always be used as cheap labour."

This document deals with the question of Hitler's attitude towards Poland and the Polish people with such exhaustive clarity that it calls for no further comment.

I wish only to draw Your Honours' attention to three points.

Firstly, Hitler definitely states and develops in detail the idea that in the new Fascist order in Europe the Polish people and the Polish State must be nothing but a Polish labour camp for Fascist Germany.

Secondly, Hitler is convinced that the Poles will benefit from such a state of affairs, since the Fascist conspirators intend to care for the health and adequate nourishment of the Poles whom they have reduced to slavery.

I beg your Honours to consider the fact that by "adequate nourishment" Hitler understands a state of affairs according to which every Pole should be maintained at an economic level considerably below that of the most wretched German.

By "care" he means that the standard of living in Poland should be low and that it should not improve, so that no Pole be engaged otherwise than in heavy unskilled labour, 14 hours a day. Finally, Hitler sets the task for the extermination of the entire intelligentsia, stating arrogantly that there should exist only one master for the Poles -- the German.

In the course of further presentation of documents to the Tribunal we shall prove that Hitler and his followers, in the persons of the participants in the Fascist conspiracy, strove to exterminate the Polish people and to reduce the standard of living of the Poles to the most pitiable and beggarly level. In their opinion their very existence depended solely on the fact that it assured cheap manpower for the Fascist "masters."

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours on 11th February, 1946.)

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.