Sauckel was born at Hassfurt am Main on October 27,
1894, the son of a post office clerk. He spent the years before World
War I working in the Norwegian and Swedish merchant navies. During the
war, he was interned in a French prisoner of war camp, and he later
worked in a factory.
An early Nazi (he joined the party in 1921), Sauckel was appointed Gauleiter of Thuringia
in 1925, and its governor in 1933. He also held senior honorary rank
in the SA (Sturmabteilung; Storm Troopers) and the SS.
Saukel was responsible for mobilizing German and foreign
workers for the military industrial complex in Hitler's Third Reich. During the war, he was appointed Nazi plenipotentiary-general
for labor mobilization and served in that position from 1942 to 1945.
To satisfy Germany's needs, five million workers were deported from
their homes in the occupied territories and forced
to work for German industry. Sauckel instructed that these slave
laborers be exploited "to the highest degree possible at the lowest
conceivable degree of expenditure." He was responsible for the
death of thousands of Jewish workers in Poland.
At Nuremberg, he insisted that he was innocent of any
crimes and unaware of the concentration
camps. Sauckel was nevertheless convicted of war crimes and crimes
against humanity. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.