Herbert Ernst Bakke is one of the little-known war criminals of the Third Reich who managed to escape the punishment he deserved. The SS Obergruppenfuehrer hanged himself on his own in early April 1947 in a cell of the Nuremberg prison, never waiting for his extradition to the Soviet Union. This man (by the way, a native of Batumi) has held the high post of the Reich Minister of Agriculture and Food since 1942, responsible for the cannibalistic policy of destroying millions of people by starvation. He even had attempts at scientific activity - in the mid-1920s he wrote his thesis "Die Russische Getreidewirtschaftals Grundlage der Land- und Volkswirtschaft Russlands", in which he described in detail grain growing in the USSR. Since then, Herbert has been breathing very unevenly towards the fertile Ukraine. In many ways, his work (which, by the way, he did not defend) became the handbook of the invaders in assessing the agricultural resources of the Soviet Union in the early 1940s.
There was another document called "The 12 Commandments of the Bakke" (dated June 1, 1941) and intended for German officials employed in the eastern lands. It contains the following expressions:
You are required to make quick decisions (a wrong decision is better than none).
Russians always want to be the masses that they rule. The entry of the Germans will have the same effect on them. Then their wish will be fulfilled: "Come and rule us."
Poverty, hunger and unpretentiousness have been the lot of the Russian people for many centuries. His stomach will digest everything, and therefore no false compassion. Do not try to approach him with the German standard of living as a yardstick and change the Russian way of life.
One of the main provisions of the Bakke Plan was the withdrawal of food from the conquered territories in quantities exceeding the needs of the indigenous population. In the territories controlled by the Germans, the food norms, for example, for Jews, were only 184 units in terms of calories. The Poles received about 700 calories, and the German population more than 2,600 calories. This scheme very well reflected the practical approach of the Germans to cleaning up living space - controlled hunger made it possible to simultaneously feed the German population and starve millions in the East.
In the previous part of the story, we touched on the problem of the forced import of labor for the needs of the Third Reich, which, of course, had to be fed somehow. In the book "The Price of Destruction" Adam Tuz points out some contradictions between the ideological dogmas of the destruction of the Slavs with the Jews, and at the same time an acute shortage of labor. According to the same book, in terms of importing calories, the situation at first was also not very consistent and logical. Already in June 1941, the Reishbank issued a report in which it proved with mathematical precision that Germany would have nothing to profit from in the spacious agricultural fields of Ukraine. In those days, both labor productivity on collective farms and the general technological level of Soviet agriculture lagged noticeably behind European ones. According to the calculations of the Reishbank, the Germans would have to spend several years on modernization, which was then an unaffordable luxury.
In 1940-1941, the Germans in their country were able to collect 24 million tons of grain, which was 3.5 million tons less than a year earlier. Together with stocks and imports, Germany at that time had nearly 34 million tons of grain. The leadership had to use reserves and reduce the number of pigs, which led to a reduction in the population's meat supply by the end of 1942. And then there was Goering with his order to deliver labor from the eastern territories - the Third Reich, as mentioned earlier, lacked labor. Bakke, already realizing that the grain reserves of Ukraine were too exaggerated by him, protested. They say, there is nothing to feed, we do not even have enough food for prisoners of war, and then there are Ostarbeiters. To which Goering replied:
"Let's introduce cat meat and horse meat into the diet of workers from the East."
It's funny, but Bakke was not too lazy and thought that there would not be enough cats in Germany for such purposes, and horse meat is already being used by the Germans themselves for food. I probably forgot to mention that the total use of cats for food threatens the Third Reich with an invasion of rodents with all the ensuing consequences. Be that as it may, Bakke's arguments were not heard, and the imported ostarbeiters were forced to drag out a half-starved existence. So, in December 1941, for a week, workers engaged in hard labor received 16.5 kg of turnips, 2.6 kg of ersatz bread, 3 kg of potatoes, 250 g of substandard meat (most often horse meat), 130 g of fat, 150 g of yeast, 70 g of sugar and a little more than 2 liters of skim milk. Erzats bread was baked mainly from bran, sugar production waste, as well as straw and leaves. In addition to the fact that this, of course, was not enough to replenish strength, such a diet also permanently disabled the digestive system. Although on paper everything was beautiful - 2500 calories a day. Worst of all, even this meager diet in the overwhelming majority of cases did not reach either the prisoners of war or the ostarbeiters.
German body fat
In the spring of 1942, an unprecedented event happened - the Ministry of Food reduced food standards for the civilian population of Germany. This was the inevitable way out before the influx of foreign labor and the decline in overall food supplies in the Reich. In the book, Adam Tuz cites the results of studies by German nutritionists - the fat deposits of working burghers have ceased to increase. And this was akin to the loss of a strategic resource base for waging war. In industries such as mining, the German leadership expected a drop in labor productivity as a result. It would seem that the situation should be rectified by the workers' hands of prisoners of war and ostarbeiters brought in from abroad. But they were dying of hunger, and it was possible to increase the norms of their allowance only at the expense of the native Germans. In turn, the Germans spoke out on this matter very unequivocally - the SD everywhere recorded waves of dissatisfaction with both the decline in nutritional norms and the flourishing of the black market. This situation has already been passed once by the leadership of the Third Reich during the implementation of the T4 program or Aktion Tiergartenstraße 4. Peaceful Germans then almost took to the streets when they learned that insane and handicapped compatriots were secretly killed in hospitals. Thereafter, T4 was quickly phased out and focused on a “more acceptable” holocaust for the population.
So in this situation, no one planned to redistribute food between the indigenous people and visitors. As a result, many military-industrial firms complained that almost every day at their machines, Ukrainians faint in hunger. At the same time, many found the strength to organize food riots and actions of insubordination. So, in Untertürkheim, at the famous Daimler-Benz plant in mid-1942, the ostarbeiters refused to go to work until they had better food. The leaders of the plant sent the most important rebels to a concentration camp, but immediately wrote to the very top with a request to increase the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet. Fritz Sauckel himself, the Labor Commissioner for the Third Reich, lost his temper at the news. He did his job of importing slave power, but there was nothing to feed them. The rich and fertile Ukraine was under the rule of the Germans, and on the territory of Germany the workers (albeit Ostarbeiters) were dying of hunger.
“I will find ways and opportunities to get grain and meat from Ukraine, even if I have to put all European Jews on a live conveyor belt in order to deliver boxes of food from Ukraine”, - he frightened his subordinates.
Sauckel did not manage to get enough food from the Ukraine, nor to deliver the Jews to the conveyor belt. Already in 1942, on the initiative of Herbert Bakke, the Wehrmacht was seriously cut in food supplies, forcing them to independently seek food for themselves in the occupied lands. We are well aware of the consequences of this. The next victim was Poland, which until that time received allowance from the Reich - all fertile lands were alienated in favor of Germany. Now from the occupied country they demanded the supply of grain and meat to Germany, which caused the death of many hundreds of thousands of residents, especially Jews in the ghetto. Siphoning everything possible from their eastern neighbors, the Germans, like a mantra, repeated Goering's words:
"All the consequences will have to come to terms, because before the German population starts to starve, others will pay for it."
Discontent within the primordially German territories was feared most of all by the bonza of the Third Reich. And here, perhaps, we come to the main point of the entire fascist ideology - it finally brought tangible material benefits to the population. No matter how disgusting it may sound, if not for the purposeful extermination of Jews and Slavs as potential consumers, German citizens already in mid-1942 felt an acute shortage of calories. And it is not known how it all would have ended in the end. And the Germans, meanwhile, were incredibly lucky - in the fall of 1942 they reaped a good harvest, brought in a lot of "imported" products and finally increased food norms. The fatty layer of the burgher began to grow again …