Reichsmarschall and Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan Hermann Goering (in a white jacket) examines a model of a metallurgical plant
Anyone who read about the German policy in the occupied territories of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War should know this name - "Goering's Green Folder". There, as stated in a number of scientific works, there were ominous plans for economic plunder and colonization of territories in the East.
There is a Russian translation of the Directive on Economic Governance in the Newly Occupied Eastern Regions (Green Folder), which can be found in a number of publications and on the Internet. However, reading it does not give the impression of having any particularly sinister plans. The document states: "Getting as much food and oil as possible for Germany is the main economic goal of the campaign." The publications refer to archival files from the GARF fund with documents from the Nuremberg Trials (GARF, f. P7445, op. 2, d. 95), which contains a Russian translation.
Everything seems to be smooth. But I always wanted to hold the German original of this very "Green Folder" and read it. The desire was due to the fact that I had to meet cases of unfair translation of German documents, for example, the translation of the minutes of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, which significantly changed the meaning. For the sake of a catchphrase, propagandists will not spare anyone, let alone a trophy document. In general, my dream came true, I held the German original in my hands.
Is Goering's Green Folder green?
Reading scientific works, one might think that this is a folder of some emerald green color, into which the Reichsmarschall and commissioner for the four-year plan, Hermann Goering, put his valuable instructions on how best to plunder the Soviet economy. However, this is not a folder at all. And not Goering's folder.
Goering in the office
First, the German title of the document is “Richtlinien für die Führung der Wirtschaft in den neubesetzten Ostgebieten (Grüne Mappe)”. The Russian translation is not entirely accurate. Richtlinien in German means not only directives, but also instructions, standards, regulations, rules, guidelines. Due to the fact that the document pays great attention to the structure of the occupation economic bodies, their responsibilities and tasks, as well as various issues of organizing economic life in the occupied territories, it is better to translate as "Regulations on the management of the economy in the newly occupied eastern regions."
Secondly, Mappe in German is not only a folder, but also a package of documents. Actually, the documents are printed with a typographic method and bound, that is, these are brochures, not folders. There is quite a lot in the brochures: the decrees (Erlaß) of Hitler and Goering, orders of the OKW and other documents. It is a collection of documents, a typical German collection of legal documents. All other collections of laws and decrees were drawn up in the same way.
The name "Goering's Green Folder" appeared in 1942 in a propaganda brochure by L.A. Leontyev's "Goering's Green Folder" (M., "Gospolitizdat", 1942) and then stayed in all Russian publications.
Why green? Because the color of the cover of these brochures is gray-green. The Germans introduced color-coded documents. There was also the Red Folder of the Office of the Military Industry of the OKW, the Yellow Folder of the Eastern Leading Economic Headquarters (Wirtschaftsführungstab Ost) for agricultural leaders, the Blue Folder of the Eastern Economic Headquarters and the Brown Folder of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Areas for the Reich Commissioners and Civil management.
The same green cover of the "Green Folder"
Therefore, only those who have never seen it can consider a collection of documents with a green cover as a "green folder", and even Goering personally.
What they were silent about
But these are trifles. Now for a more interesting circumstance. In Russian translation, this document is far from complete, which significantly distorts the content of the entire collection. Something was removed from there - out of sight.
Why brochures, plural? Because there were two brochures. The first, “Richtlinien für die Führung der Wirtschaft in den neubesetzten Ostgebieten (Grüne Mappe). Teil I ”, was released in June 1941. The second, Richtlinien für die Führung der Wirtschaft in den neubesetzten Ostgebieten (Grüne Mappe). Teil II (2. Auflage). Erganzungsmaterial zu Teil I. ", - in November 1941. The circulation of the first brochure is 1000 copies, the circulation of the second is 10000 copies. Although they have the Geheim stamp, it is clear that a very wide range of Wehrmacht, SS, police and senior officers of the Reichskommissariat and their subordinate bodies were familiar with them.
The Russian translation was only from the first brochure, and even then not in its entirety. The second brochure did not seem to be noticed at all.
In Soviet literature, the thesis has always been carried out that the Germans only sought to plunder the Soviet economy. In those parts of the brochures that were not translated or quoted, there was information that seriously undermined this thesis. Propaganda had its goals, but now, 75 years after the victory over Germany, we have to sort it all out.
I checked the Russian translation against the corresponding part of the first brochure. In general, it turned out to be of good quality and without significant errors and distortions. Only one place has liberties.
In a Russian publication: "The opinion that the occupied regions should be put in order as soon as possible, and their economy restored, is completely inappropriate."
Original: "Völlig abwegig wäre die Auffassung, daß es darauf ankomme, in den besetzten Gebieten einheitlich die Linie zu verfolgen, daß sie baldigst wieder in Ordnung gebracht und tunlichst wieder gebaut werden müßten"; or: "It would be completely false to believe that it would be necessary to adhere to a single line in the occupied areas that they should be put in order as soon as possible and restored as soon as possible." Here the meaning is clearly broader than the restoration of one economy.
Or, in a Russian publication: "When accounting for food for local needs, the main attention should be paid to oilseeds and grain crops."
Original: "Das Schwergewicht bei der Erfassung von Nahrungsmitteln für die heimische Wirtschaft liegt bei Ölfrüchten und Getreide". "Heimische" - in German and local, but also home, domestic, native. It is unlikely that the Nazis would have written so, referring to the occupied territories. For them Germany was above all else, and here the meaning of "domestic" is clearly evident. In addition, Germany had a shortage of grains, especially oilseeds, imported them and therefore tried to cover these needs at the expense of the occupied territories. Here the translator simply did not understand and did not know the features of the German economy, well known to the compilers of the document.
The first brochure was almost completely translated. But the translation did not include two final sections: on foreign exchange and payments and on price regulation.
It is difficult to understand why the section on foreign currency was not translated, since it says that the surplus of goods must be reserved for German needs and export of goods to third countries is impossible. Small trade was allowed with Iran and Turkey, as well as with Finland. Sale weapons, war materials and war trophies were allowed with the permission of the OKW.
The section on regulation was more interesting. It established fixed prices for agricultural products with the following regulations: "Für landwirtschaftliche Erzeugnisse sind die nachfolgenden Preise festgelegt, die in den besetzten Gebieten nicht überschritten werden dürften". And a little further: "Die festgelegten Preise sind auch bei allen Ankaufen für die Truppenverpflegung eunzuhalten." Or: “The following prices have been set for agricultural products, which should not be exceeded in the occupied territories. ... The set prices must be respected for all purchases for the army's food supply. "
Whoa! How many hammered in that the Germans did nothing but rob. In the cinema, everywhere German soldiers only rob and drag. And here, in the regulations on housekeeping, it is said about purchases, and even at fixed prices.
Prices, of course, were also given. Dz is Doppenzentner, or 100 kg (German centner - 50 kg, so they counted in double centners for comparability of units).
For example, a centner of wheat flour costs 200 rubles, a centner of sugar - 400 rubles. A centner of beef in live weight - 500 rubles, a centner of pork in live weight - 600 rubles, milk - a ruble per liter, butter - 44 rubles per kg.
Page from the first brochure "Green Folder" with a table of prices for agricultural products
This table alone was capable of generating some confusion in the minds of Soviet citizens. But we will compare the Soviet state prices and the German occupation prices. Did Goering appoint a lot or a little for agricultural products in the occupied territories?
Let us take the table of the Central Statistical Administration of the USSR on prices for 1940 (RGAE, f. 1562, op. 41, d. 239, l. 218) and compose our own, in comparison with German prices. Soviet prices will be converted from kilograms to centners (except for milk and butter), and meat prices will be converted from slaughter weight to live weight (slaughter weight is approximately 50% of live weight).
The conclusion from this comparison turns out to be very interesting. First, flour, sugar and milk were cheaper at German prices than at Soviet prices. On the contrary, meat and butter were significantly more expensive. Secondly, at the same prices the German troops had to buy food, and such prices were set in the interests of the German economy. In Germany, grain, taking into account occupied France and Poland, was available, there was even an abundance of sugar, but there was not enough meat and butter. Therefore, prices were supposed to stimulate the peasants in the occupied territories to sell more meat and butter - both for the troops and for export.
These are, let's say, provisions. It would be interesting to know if they have been implemented in practice, where, when and to what extent. In the territories annexed to the USSR in 1939-1940, which the Germans separated from the Soviet territory itself within the borders of 1938 (Western Ukraine was included in the governor-general for occupied Poland; Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus - in the Ostland Reichskommissariat , and the Bialystok district even as part of East Prussia - there are decrees about this in the collection), this could well have been practiced.
Compensation and salary
The first brochure also contained a statement of property that could be alienated by German troops. The property of the "enemy armed forces", that is, the Red Army, was alienated free of charge. All other property was to be paid for by the troops. If the cost did not exceed 1000 Reichsmarks, then payment was made with German credit tickets (in Russian translation: imperial credit cash tickets; in German Reichskreditkassenscheinen), that is, in cash, since these same credit cash tickets were issued in different denominations and were accepted as means of payment. At a cost of more than 1000 marks, acceptance receipts (Empfangsbescheinigungen) were issued, which had the right to issue all instances from the battalion and above. Receipts for ownerless property were issued to the headman of the community or transferred to the field commandant's office. They were supposed to be paid by special order through the OKW or the field commandant's offices. True, it was indicated that receipts for movable property (raw materials, semi-finished products and products) from enterprises should be paid with credit cards immediately if the enterprise was to work.
How did this fragment end up in Russian translation? Probably through an oversight.
By the way, a similar procedure existed in the Red Army when it entered European countries. The property of the Wehrmacht and its allied armies was considered war trophies and was alienated free of charge. The property of individuals was paid either in local currency, or in a temporary occupation currency, sometimes in rubles (the occupation currency and rubles were later exchanged for local currency).
The second brochure provided wage rates for Soviet workers employed by the Wehrmacht, the Todt Organization and other German departments. They were installed by order of the OKW of September 9, 1941. A highly qualified worker or foreman received 2,5 rubles per hour, a skilled worker over 20 years old - 1,7 rubles, under 16 years old - 80 kopecks, an unskilled worker over 20 years old - 1 ruble, under 16 years old - 50 kopecks, women over 20 years old - 80 kopecks, under 16 years old - 50 kopecks. Moreover, it was indicated that the female rates were for light work (for example, cleaning women). For hard male work, women had to receive a salary like men.
Many or few? Let's count. The working day in Germany in 1941 was already 10 hours, and it was the same in the occupied territories. On average, 26 working days per month. Total:
Master - 650 rubles per month.
Skilled worker - from 208 to 446 rubles.
Unskilled worker - from 130 to 260 rubles.
Women - from 130 to 208 rubles.
I met the Soviet wage rates by category of workers at the Tbilisi "Centrolite" in 1941 (RGAE, f. 8261, op. 1, d. 262, l. 21), in terms of monthly:
Engineer (that is, master) - 804 rubles.
Skilled worker - 490 rubles.
Unskilled worker (apprentice) - 129 rubles.
Junior staff (including women) - 185 rubles.
I think that everything is pretty obvious here. Let me emphasize that these are the rates for German organizations and for employees who were taken there, that is, verified by the Gestapo and recognized as reliable. For other workers, the conditions and wages were, of course, very different, not to mention the prisoners of war.
A similar order existed in post-war Germany. The SMAG hired either communists or those who suffered from the Nazi regime for good work, and former Nazis sat in camps and were used at work as prisoners of war or prisoners.
In general, all this does not look like plundering the Soviet economy. Quite the opposite, the general nature of the documents suggests that the Germans at that moment were going to settle down in the occupied territories seriously and for a long time. The desire to get more grain and oil is connected, firstly, with the fact that these resources were very important for the Wehrmacht, and, secondly, with the fact that the German economy could not provide them in the required amount.
If we assert that the measures described above are “plundering”, then we must then call the occupation policy of the SMAG in Germany also “plundering”, and with good reason. Dismantling so cleaned up the industry that the GDR then had to industrialize a second time. Or we must admit that at first, until the end of 1941, the Germans did not go beyond the typical occupation policy of the winning side.
This document reflects a very peculiar stage of the war, when the hostilities were going well for Germany, and it seemed to the Germans that the seizure of the USSR would pass without a hitch, like in Poland or in France. These are the views of the Nazi leadership at the height of their military successes, and this must always be taken into account. Their plans, reflected in the document under consideration, soon fell apart, and the economy of the occupied Soviet territories fell to them in a badly damaged state. Then a fierce partisan war broke out on an unimaginable scale, in which economic resources were melting before our eyes. Therefore, in late 1941 - early 1942, the German occupation policy underwent a sharp change in the direction of cruelty and open robbery. They failed to realize their original plans, which was one of the most compelling reasons for Germany's defeat in the war.