Fritz Sauckel

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Fritz Sauckel
Sauckel at the Nuremberg trials
Reichsstatthalter of Thuringia
In office
1933–1945
Prime MinisterHimself
Willy Marschler
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byNone
Minister President of Thuringia
In office
1932–1933
Preceded byErwin Baum
Succeeded byWilly Marschler
Gauleiter of Thuringia
In office
1927–1945
LeaderAdolf Hitler
Preceded byArtur Dinter
Succeeded byNone
General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment
In office
21 March 1942 – May 1945
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byNone
Personal details
Born(1894-10-27)October 27, 1894
Haßfurt, then Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
DiedOctober 16, 1946(1946-10-16) (aged 51)
Nuremberg, Germany
Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s)Elisabeth Wetzel (m. 1924)
Children10
ProfessionSailor, factory laborer
 
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Fritz Sauckel
Sauckel at the Nuremberg trials
Reichsstatthalter of Thuringia
In office
1933–1945
Prime MinisterHimself
Willy Marschler
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byNone
Minister President of Thuringia
In office
1932–1933
Preceded byErwin Baum
Succeeded byWilly Marschler
Gauleiter of Thuringia
In office
1927–1945
LeaderAdolf Hitler
Preceded byArtur Dinter
Succeeded byNone
General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment
In office
21 March 1942 – May 1945
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byNone
Personal details
Born(1894-10-27)October 27, 1894
Haßfurt, then Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
DiedOctober 16, 1946(1946-10-16) (aged 51)
Nuremberg, Germany
Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s)Elisabeth Wetzel (m. 1924)
Children10
ProfessionSailor, factory laborer

Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel (27 October 1894 – 16 October 1946) was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions from lands occupied by Nazi Germany. He was General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment from 1942 until the end of the war, after which he was tried and executed.

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Early life

He was born in Haßfurt (Kingdom of Bavaria), the only child of a postman and a seamstress. Sauckel was educated at local schools and left early when his mother fell ill. He joined the merchant marine of Norway and Sweden when he was 15, first on a Norwegian three-masted schooner, and later on Swedish and German vessels. He went on to sail throughout the world, rising to the rank of Vollmatrose. At the outbreak of World War I, he was on a German vessel en route to Australia when the vessel was captured. He was subsequently interned in France from August 1914 until November 1919.

He returned to Germany, found factory work in Schweinfurt, and studied engineering in Ilmenau from 1922 to 1923. He joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1923 (member 1,395). In 1924 he married Elisabeth Wetzel, with whom he had ten children. He remained a party member over its dissolution and publicly rejoined in 1925. Sauckel was appointed party Gauleiter of Thüringia in 1927 and became a member of the regional government in 1929. Following Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933, he was promoted to Reich Regent of Thüringia and Reichstag member. He was also given an honorary rank of Obergruppenführer in the SA and the SS in 1934.

World War II

During World War II he was Reich defence commissioner for the Kassel district (Reichsverteidigungskommissar Wehrkreis IX) before being appointed General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (Generalbevollmächtigter für den Arbeitseinsatz) on 21 March 1942, on the recommendation of Martin Bormann. He worked directly under Hitler through the Four-Year Plan Office, directing and controlling German labour. In response to increased demands, he met the requirement for manpower with people from the occupied territories. Voluntary numbers were insufficient and forced recruitment was introduced within a few months. Of the 5 million foreign workers brought to Germany, around 200,000 came voluntarily[citation needed] . The majority of the acquired workers originated from the Eastern territories, where the methods used to gain workers were reportedly very harsh.

Trial and execution

The body of Fritz Sauckel after execution, October 16, 1946

At the Nuremberg trials, Fritz Sauckel was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity. He defended the Arbeitseinsatz as "nothing to do with exploitation. It is an economic process for supplying labour". He denied that it was slave labour or that it was common to deliberately work people to death (extermination by labour) or to mistreat them.

After a defense led by Robert Servatius, Sauckel was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and together with a number of colleagues was hanged on 16 October 1946. His last words were recorded as "Ich sterbe unschuldig, mein Urteil ist ungerecht. Gott beschütze Deutschland!" (I die an innocent man, my sentence is unjust. God protect Germany!).

Portrayal in popular culture

Fritz Sauckel has been portrayed by the following actors in film, television and theater productions;

Literature

References

External links