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Oswald Pohl’s Report to Heinrich Himmler on the Expansion of the Concentration Camps (April 30, 1942)

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II 1. The war has brought about a marked change in the structure of the concentration camps and has changed their duties with regard to the employment of prisoners.

The custody of prisoners for the sole purposes of security, education, or prevention is no longer the main consideration. The main emphasis has shifted to the economic side. The mobilization of all prisoners who are fit for work, initially for wartime purposes (to increase armaments production), and later for peacetime tasks, is becoming more and more important.

2. This necessitates measures to ensure the gradual transformation of the concentration camps from their previously one-sided political form into organizations more suitable for economic tasks.

3. For this reason, I assembled all the leaders of the former Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, all camp commandants, and all managers and supervisors of work on the 23rd and 24th of April 1942. I explained this new development to them personally. In the enclosed directive, I have compiled the essential things that need to be implemented with the utmost urgency if the commencement of work for the purposes of the armaments industry is not to be delayed.

4. The transfer of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps to the Main Office of Economics and Administration has been carried out with the full agreement of all the main offices concerned. The cooperation of all agencies is continuing smoothly; the elimination of uncoordinated operations in the concentration camps is hailed everywhere as the shedding of fetters that were hindering progress.

Heil Hitler!
Signed: Pohl

SS-Obergrüppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS

Source of English translation: Report by SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS, Oswald Pohl, Head of the SS Main Office of Economics and Administration, to Heinrich Himmler on the Expansion of Concentration Camps (April 30, 1942). In United States Chief Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume VIII. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1946, Document R-129, pp. 198-99. (English translation attributed to Nuremberg staff; edited by GHI staff.)

Source of original German document: Bericht von Oswald Pohl an Heinrich Himmler über den Ausbau der Konzentrationslager (30. April 1942). International Militärgerichtshof Nürnberg, Der Nürnberger Prozess gegen die Hauptskriegsverbrecher vom 14. November 1945 bis 1. Oktober 1946: Urkunden und anderes Beweismaterial. Published in Nuremberg 1949. Munich: Delphin Verlag, 1989. Volume XXXVIII: Amtlicher Text – Deutsche Ausgabe, Nummer 185-L bis Nummer 1216-RF, Document 129-R [Bericht des Chefs des SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamtes Pohl an Himmler vom 30. April 1942: stärkere Belegung und Vermehrung der Konzentrationslager (Beweisstück US-217)], pp. 362-65.

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