COMPULSORY LABOR – AN UNDERESTIMATED ELEMENT OF NAZI ANTI-JEWISH POLICY
Until now scholars of history have not systematically compared the forms of Jewish forced labor in Germany, in the annexed territories, and in the occupied countries. Since the 1990s, with the growing number of detailed studies on persecution of Jews, historiography has gained many new insights; at the same time, specialization, isolation, and the wealth of facts now available make a comparative overview difficult. Thus, despite a great deal of new information, the notion is still widespread that the SS and the Security Police, at least after 1938 in Germany and later in the occupied countries, dominated and determined anti-Jewish policies in all matters. As the studies presented here demonstrate, however, in contrast to previous views, forced labor is a convincing counter-example. The forced-labor program for Jews in Nazi-controlled territory was not predominantly organized by the SS. The majority of the forced-labor deployments occurred outside and independent of the concentration camps or other SS camp systems, and the labor administrations planned, established, and controlled Jews' obligation to perform forced labor. That is the case almost universally in Germany, in Austria, in the Protectorate, in the Warthegau, and, during the period from 1940 to 1942, in the General Government.
The National Socialists introduced forced labor as a basic element of anti-Jewish policy in the territories listed, and also throughout Europe.