RAD, Org Todt and TENO

The RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst) was a massive organization that had complete organizational independence. Though formed in 1934, it's roots can be traced back to the early 1920's. At this time, the Germans has organized many organized labor divisions in an effort to help with the massive unemployment problem. In 1931 FAD (Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst) was formed at the national level and began to absorb many local labor organizations. In 1933 once the NSDAP was in power, the FAD was re-named the NSAD (Nationalsozialist-Arbeitdienst). By mid 1934 the NSAD was re-named at last to the RAD.

Up until 1934, service in these organizations was voluntary. Once made compulsory in 1934, all men ages 18-25 had to serve six months in the RAD and then move to a two year service in the Wehrmacht. This was a national law and drastically escalated Germany's war time readiness.

Some members of the RAD, though independent from the armed services, did see combat at the end of the war. Their primary function was to get young men ready for the army with drill and military organization. They were involved with many labor assignments from filling in swamps, to building roads and they even worked on the the West Wall. They were not militarized however, and did not carry weapons other then their dress Hewers unless thrown into guard duty or some specific military role at the end of the war. They were one of the main organizations that supported the military and became critical in the smooth operations of all branches of the German military. RADwj was the women's branch.

Org. Todt was an engineering organization founded in 1933 with the primary role of German roadway inspection and the construction of the Autobahn. To do this, mostly RAD members were used. Eventually, Org. Todt's projects were exclusively military in nature. Due to the huge demand for labor and drafting or militarizing ethnic Germans in the final years of the war, Org. Todt relied almost exclusively on foreign compulsory labor in the last years of the war (slave labor). This is a particularly challenging area to collect.

TENO (Technische Nothilfe or Technical Emergency Corps) began life in 1919 with the main duty of protecting and maintaining important public/sate works and utility facilities (water, gas, power, rail, post ect..). At this time, the threat of sabotage was a big concern. TENO were also in place for natural disasters. After the war began, TENO was used and absorbed into the Wehrmacht. This freed up military Engineers for other roles. The Orpo (police) also got their hands in the mix and ORPO/TENO police units were created outside of Germany. TENO Einsatzgruppen worked in occupied countries doing much of the same protection and repair to vital services.