Forced Laborers


In 1933 Fritz Sauckel became Reich‘s-Governor of Thuringia, in 1936 the foundation‘s director of the armament factory GUSTLOFF and in 1942 the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor in the German Reich. In those functions he greatly enforced the relocation program to Thuringia. 

Sauckel had primary responsibility for inhumane deportations from countries occupied by Germany. 

More than 7 500 000 people had to serve in the German armament industry. 1 500 000 forced laborers died. 

Fritz Sauckel chose the Walpersberg as the new location for the subterranean aircraft factory of his GUSTLOFF foundation. On April 11th, 1944 the first forced laborers arrived in Kahla from Italy and Eastern Europe. Their numbers reached about 12 000 at the end of the war. In addition 3 000 Hitler Boys, skilled workers, mining specialists and construction workers, coming from over 120 companies, were utilized.

Terrible conditions, insufficient nourishment, hard work and the unceasing, merciless pressure by the guards lead to about 2 000 casualties in the 28 main and secondary camps of the REIMAHG, which were located within a 12mi radius.

Origin of forced laborers

Italy 3.178
Russia 3.113
Slovakia 1.305
Belgium 1.044
Poland 892
Ukraine 453
France 212
Yugoslavia 7