The Regierungspräsident Düsseldorf, November 16, 1942
Regional Office of Economics
for War Economic District VI b [Stamp] Registered
I/20 Bü/Mn. [Stamp] Confidential
Administrative Circular Abw. No. 1
Prevention of Escapes by Prisoners of War
After the Wehrmacht, in past months, had successfully implemented severe measures for curbing escapes from accommodations, it is now becoming apparent that the number of instances of escape by POWs from their place of work is steadily on the rise. As a result of the massive influx of Soviet POWs, many Soviet Russians also have been among the recent escapees. Luckily, we succeeded in recapturing a majority of the fugitives and returning them to the camps. The recapture of the Soviet Russians, however, is hampered by the fact that they hole up in the most hidden places, throw away their identification tags, and destroy their identity papers. Because Soviet Russian fugitives surely cannot obtain a job anywhere in order to earn a living, we must expect that they are roaming about in the woods and procuring the bare necessities by means of theft, robbery, etc.
These cases of escape, particularly from the POWs’ place of work, can be curbed only through energetic and conscientious guarding by employers and the civilian workers engaged as auxiliary watchmen. In particular, the Soviet Russians need the most diligent guarding, as they can pose a great threat to the civilian population.
I point out once again that employers are expressly obligated to guard the prisoners of war at the places of work, unless, in certain cases, a military guard force is present at the worksite. Diligent guarding is in the works manager’s own interest (provision of replacements for escaped POWs will hardly be possible); in addition, in the event of a violation of the duty of supervision, the works manager runs the risk of losing all the POWs employed under him.
I request that you do everything possible in your enterprise to thwart an escape by POWs. In particular, the guards are to be explicitly made aware of the need to fulfill their duties as guards.
signed: Dr. Kayser