Resource Policy of the Third Reich in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine: Waste Recycling in 1941-1943

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This article explores the assortment and primary methods of waste collection within the Reichskommissariat Ukraine during the occupation by Nazi forces. The Ukrainian occupational press serves as the primary source for this article. It demonstrates that the extraction of various resources and the plundering of material valuables were directed towards supporting the economic and military power of the Third Reich, with waste collection policies being one of its facets. To facilitate this activity in this realm, the Nazis utilized existing infrastructure within the territory of Ukraine, including warehouses, factories, and offices of Soyuzutyl, established on the eve of the Second World War, as well as the infrastructure of the consumer cooperative system. It is shown that the specificity of Ukraine lies in assigning waste collection duties to consumer cooperatives, which transformed into the primary suppliers of various raw materials for the needs of the Third Reich. Local administrations and individual cooperatives actively participated in this endeavor, and special associations were also established. Additionally, the occupying authorities sought to involve schoolchildren and the broader population, developing various incentive systems for this purpose, although the participation of these actors was minimal. The article examines the peculiarities of waste collection propaganda within the territory of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, which was based on ideological motives such as gratitude for liberation from Soviet rule, as well as economic motives related to the need for waste to produce consumer goods for the local population by enterprises of the Nazi regime. It is argued that primary attention was given to collecting scrap black and colored metals, as well as bones, paper, and rags. The author suggests that the scale of economic plundering of Ukraine was much larger than commonly believed, yet acknowledges that this requires further in-depth research involving a wide range of archival sources.


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How to Cite
Perga, T. (2024) “Resource Policy of the Third Reich in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine: Waste Recycling in 1941-1943”, Problems of World History, (25), pp. 51–68. doi: 10.46869/2707-6776-2024-25-2.
Author Biography

Tetyana Perga

Perga Tetyana – Ph.D. in History, Senior Research Fellow, Leading Research Fellow of the State Institution “Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”.


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