||This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
|Sauckel at the Nuremberg trials|
|Acting Reichsstatthalter of the Free State of Anhalt|
|Prime Minister||Alfred Freyberg
|Preceded by||Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper|
|Succeeded by||Rudolf Jordan|
|Acting Reichsstatthalter of the Free State of Brunswick|
|Prime Minister||Dietrich Klagges|
|Preceded by||Wilhelm Loeper|
|Succeeded by||Rudolf Jordan|
|Reichsstatthalter of Thuringia|
|Minister President of Thuringia|
|Preceded by||Erwin Baum|
|Succeeded by||Willy Marschler|
|Gauleiter of Thuringia|
|Preceded by||Artur Dinter|
|General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment|
21 March 1942 – May 1945
October 27, 1894|
Haßfurt, then Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
|Died||October 16, 1946
|Political party||National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)|
|Spouse(s)||Elisabeth Wetzel (m. 1924)|
|Profession||Sailor, factory laborer|
Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel (27 October 1894 – 16 October 1946) was a German Nazi politician, Gauleiter of Thuringia and the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment from 1942 until the end of the Second World War.
Sauckel was among the 24 persons accused in the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced to death by hanging.
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 . 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
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, just 11 days shy before his 52nd birthday. 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;
- Ken Kramer in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Nuremberg
- Paul Brennen in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
- Steffen Raßloff: Fritz Sauckel. Hitler "Muster-Gauleiter" (Thüringen. Blätter zur Landeskunde 36). Erfurt 2004. (PDF) (translation into English)
- Steffen Raßloff: Fritz Sauckel. Hitlers "Muster-Gauleiter" und "Sklavenhalter" (Schriften der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Thüringen. Bd. 29). 3. Auflage, Erfurt 2008. ISBN 978-3-937967-18-9 (PDF)
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Fritz Sauckel|
- Media related to Fritz Sauckel at Wikimedia Commons
- Fritz Sauckel in the German National Library catalogue
- Testimony of Sauckel at Nuremberg (page 72 onwards)
- biography and literature