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After the FallGerman Policy in Occupied France, 1940-1944$
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Thomas J. Laub

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539321.001.0001

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Labor Deportations and Resistance

Labor Deportations and Resistance

(p.247) 10 Labor Deportations and Resistance
After the Fall

Thomas J. Laub

Oxford University Press

To redress manpower shortages created by protracted military operations in Russia, Hitler appointed Fritz Sauckel to serve as Germany's Plenipotentiary for the Mobilization of Labor and directed the latter to impress every available worker. With help from the military administration, Sauckel negotiated with Pierre Laval and established the Relève program which returned one French prisoner of war in exchange for every three French men who volunteered to work in Germany. Once the pool of volunteers ran dry, Sauckel persuaded Laval to implement an obligatory labor service (Service du Travail Obligatoire) that sent additional workers to Germany but exempted supporters of the Vichy regime. By negotiating with the Vichy regime, cooperating with the military administration, and accommodating some of the concerns that other French and German institutions had, Sauckel sent approximately 900,000 French laborers to work in German factories. In part because it failed to cooperate with other agencies, Himmler's SS could only deport approximately 80,000 Jews. As German defeats in North Africa and Russia mounted, Laval's labor schemes declined in popularity, created réfractaires or people who avoided the STO, and created a security problem. By 1944, military and SS ‘security’ operations in Marseille and rural portions of southern France targeted suspected partisans, réfractaires, Jews, and everyone else who ‘looked askance’.

Keywords:   labor, Fritz Sauckel, Plenipotentiary for the Mobilization of Labor, Relève, Obligatory Labor Service, réfractaires, Pierre Laval, Marseille, accommodation

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