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Reich Ministry of labor from 1933 to 1945 : A column of the system

In March 1919, a hundred years ago, was founded the Empire of the Ministry of labour of the Weimar Republic. Given the social Emergency, the high level of unemp

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Reich Ministry of labor from 1933 to 1945 : A column of the system

In March 1919, a hundred years ago, was founded the Empire of the Ministry of labour of the Weimar Republic. Given the social Emergency, the high level of unemployment after the First world war and the accompanying demobilization of millions of soldiers a great attention was given to the newly established authority – the Expansion of the welfare state was one of the achievements of the Weimar Republic. She was caring to a kind of "super Ministry", the had to deal with many topics, such as the work of mediation, labour law, social insurance, housing and human settlements, as well as the victims of War. The 1927 introduced unemployment insurance was one of the most important innovations. Due to the diverse tasks it quickly became the Ministry with the largest Einzeletat.

The national socialists, this Ministry of 1933 was "a thorn in the eye. It is the Weimar ,the system time was regarded as a Symbol‘. In the Ministry and its subordinate authorities, many officials were, up to 1933, the SPD or the centre party," writes the historian Alexander Nützenadel in a catalog contribution to the exhibition "The Reich Ministry of labor from 1933 to 1945. Officials in the service of national socialism“, which is now to be seen in the topography of terror Foundation. Nützenadel was since 2013, member and spokesman of the Independent Commission of historians to address the history of the Reich labour Ministry in the time of national socialism at the Federal Ministry for labour and social Affairs. On the Basis of these 2017 study submitted Swantje Greve, also a member of the Commission has developed the accompanying.

The historical research had previously been concerned little with the Reich labour Ministry, especially as this had to make in the course of the Nazi rule, at the latest, as of 1938 and again from 1942 competencies for NS-organisations. It had claimed, after 1945, many leading officials.

First of all, Hitler had made his contempt for the Ministerial bureaucracy was no secret. The NSDAP did not, but after 1933, enough trained personnel to occupy the top positions. And there was the unemployment in 1933 was still high, Hitler recognized that he was dependent on a functioning bureaucracy, especially in a state that had abolished the parliamentary control of the government. Of the dissolution of this Ministry, as some of the party demanded a comrade, was now no more talk.

Reich Minister of labor Franz Seldte (1882-1947), 1933. He was from 1933 to 1945 Minister of the largest Ministry.Photo: Bavarian state library in Munich / image archive

Reich labour Minister Franz Seldte, a member of the German national people's party DNVP and the Chairman of the "steel helmet". He could keep up despite the many hostilities up to 1945, on the Post, although he "had no experience in the field of labour and social policy", as is the use of noble writes. He should probably represent the right-wing conservative bourgeoisie. Most of the employees worked more, but not so many top officials. So about Dorothea Hirschfeld, Director of the Imperial Institute for job placement was treated, because of their Jewish faith and their SPD membership in the retirement, and in 1942 were deported to Theresienstadt.

Fritz Sauckel (1894-1946), undated. Sauckel was, since 1927, Gauleiter of the NSDAP in Thuringia, and from 1942 to Bavarian state library in Munich / image archive

in 1938, Wilhelm Börger, a Nazi Hardliner, chief of staff, were increasingly recruited party members. With the start of upgrade end of the need for officials and workers and officials in the Reich Ministry of labour, grew. The Reichsanstalt for job placement and unemployment insurance was integrated into the Ministry. It fixed almost all the issues of the labour market, with the beginning of the war, initially, the labour recruitment in the occupied territories. In this respect, the seemingly innocuous Ministry, which had to give up competences is, in the case of the forced recruitment of workers in the occupied countries a large role. Without the effective machinery of officialdom, it would not be managed to the Nazis, to engage in a war of aggression on multiple fronts, the economy is facing huge challenges. In total, more than 13.5 million were prisoners of war, prisoners and forced labourers for the German war economy. Thus, the Reich labour Ministry, became a significant organizational factor in the national socialist system of rule, and was not at all as harmless as it was shown after 1945, many of those Affected.

the complex of buildings of the Reich labour Ministry in the Saarland straße (today's Stresemannstraße), around 1940.Photo: post card (art Institute Stengel & co. GmbH, Dresden)

In Germany, the Ministry took advantage of many opportunities to discipline the population"". Starting in 1938, the unemployed, Jews were forced to work. The pensions were reduced due to the weak financial situation of the social insurance contributions increased. Especially German Jews in the insurance were denied benefits, the pension payments to the foreign Deportees set. Also in the Ghettos of Theresienstadt and Litzmannstadt – legally domestic – stopped the payment of pensions to Jews; the Ministry accepted this. The deported Jewish Pensioner Anna Fatter, had complained after their liberation in 1945, against the withholding of payments – without success.

"the fact That there were no processes against leading officials of the Ministry, has contributed significantly to the image of a non-political authority which was not involved in Nazism," writes Nützenadel in the conclusion. In fact, she was but an important pillar of the national socialist rule system. This is now made clear, is the merit of this study and of this exhibition.

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