(or RAD, Reich Labour Service
) was an institution established by Nazi Germany
as an agency to reduce unemployment, similar to the relief programs in other countries. During the Second World War
it was an auxiliary formation which provided support for the Wehrmacht
The RAD was formed during July 1934 as the official state labour service. The RAD was an amalgamation of the many labour organisations formed in Germany during the times of the Weimar Republic
Hartmut Heyck, , Journal of Contemporary History
, 2003; 38: 221-236. RAD members were to provide service for various civic, military and agricultural construction projects. Konstantin Hierl
was its director during the organization's entire lifetime.
The RAD was divided into two major sections, the Reichsarbeitsdienst Männer
(RAD/M) for men and the Reichsarbeitdienst der weiblichen Jugend
(RAD/wJ) for women.
The RAD was composed of 40 districts each called an Arbeitsgau
(lit. Work District). Each of these districts was headed by an officer with headquarters staff and a Wachkompanie
(Guard Company). Under each district were between six and eight Arbeitsgruppen
(Workers Groups), battalion-sized formations of 1200-1800 men. These groups were divided into six company
-sized RAD-Abteilung units. Each rank and file RAD man was supplied with a spade and a bicycle. The RAD symbol, an arm badge in the shape of an upward pointing shovel blade, was displayed on the upper left... Read More