The Hilfswerkschutz

The Siemens Special Guard Staff for Forced Labourers

Siemens established the Hilfswerkschutz, or Auxiliary Factory Security, as a special security measure to supplement existing factory security. Its role was to confront forced labourers in the event of protests or uprisings. The guards in the Hilfswerkschutz monitored forced labourers during all working hours. It was made up mostly of Siemens employees who were particularly zealous National Socialists. According to an internal letter from 1943, its task was to ensure “orderly conduct on the part of the foreign workers and to prevent riots of any kind or to at least nip them promptly in the bud”. Only male “Reich-German employees” with “unquestionable political reliability” could become members.

During the Denazification Commission hearings in the case of Hanns Benkert a witness named Markgraf testified that the Hilfswerkschutz used rubber truncheons to beat, kick and shove people. They also threatened to send forced labourers to concentration camps, causing additional psychological stress.