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Martin Bormann’s Circular of May 5, 1943, which included a Memorandum on the General Principles Governing the Treatment of Foreign Laborers Employed in the Reich (dated April 15, 1943)

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1. The Reich’s security is the first priority. The Reichsführer SS and his offices determine the security measures necessary for the protection of the Reich and the German people.

2. Of course, treating foreign workers in a manner that is humane, but production-enhancing, and granting them concessions can easily lead to the blurring of the clear line between foreign workers and German compatriots. Germans compatriots are to be urged to consider it a national duty to maintain the necessary distance between themselves and the foreign peoples. German compatriots must be aware that disregarding the principles of National Socialist racial theory will result in the most severe punishment. Knowing that it is either a matter of victory or Bolshevist chaos, every German must be compelled to draw the necessary conclusions when interacting with foreign workers.

Everything must be subordinated to the goal of winning this war. Thus, foreign workers employed in the Reich are to be treated in such a way that their reliability is maintained and encouraged, that effects negative for the Reich in their respective home countries are minimized and that their full manpower is preserved for the German war economy over the long term, ideally their performance will even be increased. The following points are to be considered crucial in achieving this goal:

1. Everyone, even the most primitive human being, has a keen sense of justice. Thus, any incident of unjust treatment must have devastating effects. Accordingly, injustices, insults, chicanery, mistreatment, etc. must be avoided. Corporeal punishment is prohibited. Foreign workers are to be duly informed when severe measures are taken against insubordinate and seditious elements.

2. It impossible to win someone over to a new idea while insulting his inner sense of worth at the same time. One cannot expect the highest level of performance from people who are called beasts, barbarians, and subhuman. Instead, positive qualities such as the will to fight Bolshevism, the desire to safeguard one’s own existence and that of one’s country, commitment and willingness to work are to be encouraged and promoted.

3. Moreover, everything must be done to encourage the necessary cooperation of the European peoples in the fight against Bolshevism. Words alone won’t convince the foreign worker that he and his people will also benefit from a German victory. The precondition for this is proper treatment.

Based on these criteria, the plenipotentiary for labor management, who is in charge of the deployment and working conditions of foreign laborers, and the other offices involved have issued the necessary directives for the deployment of foreign workers in the German Reich. Among these directives, the following must be given particular emphasis:

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