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Polish Forced Labour Uniform

Article about: Attachment 552742 I have received an old photograph of my father, (on the left in this photo) who was arrested by the Germans as a youth in Wilno, Poland, (now Vilnius) and, as story has it,

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    Default Polish Forced Labour Uniform

    Attachment 552742
    I have received an old photograph of my father, (on the left in this photo) who was arrested by the Germans as a youth in Wilno, Poland, (now Vilnius) and, as story has it, was put into forced labour. Later in the war he was captured in Florence, Italy, as a member of the German Army, before switching to Anders Polish Army under British command - the bits in between are totally missing. I was hoping that somebody might be able to tell me what uniform is being worn in this photograph and what the arm band means?
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by A.J. Zawadzki; 08-16-2013 at 12:15 AM.

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    Hi again dh2z,

    Here you'll stand a better chance of obtaining an answer to your question.

    Is it possible to get a clear close up scan of the text on the armbands?

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

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    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Hi again dh2z,

    Here you'll stand a better chance of obtaining an answer to your question.

    Is it possible to get a clear close up scan of the text on the armbands?

    Regards,
    Tony
    I do not have the original photograph, just this electronic copy, so I am unable to get a better image. I believe you can make out the word Deutch on the armband and the second word seems to have an L and a B, but that is the best we can do.

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    Hi, and welcome to the forum!

    Your Dad's story is very similar to many others I have heard. I was at school with a friend who's Dad ended up in the UK under the same kind of circumstances.

    I cannot make out the armband either, but I would agree with you assesment. It is certainly some kind of German para military force. I am tempted to say it might have a Luftwaffe connection? The chap on the right wears a Luftwaffe cap minus eagle. The greatcoats might be impressed and re-dyed Soviet Army issue, given the cut and lack of buttons (these fastened with hooks and eyes).

    Interesting pic. Thanks for sharing it and welcome to the forum!

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote by dh2z View Post
    Attachment 552742
    I have received an old photograph of my father, (on the left in this photo) who was arrested by the Germans as a youth in Wilno, Poland, (now Vilnius) and, as story has it, was put into forced labour. Later in the war he was captured in Florence, Italy, as a member of the German Army, before switching to Anders Polish Army under British command - the bits in between are totally missing. I was hoping that somebody might be able to tell me what uniform is being worn in this photograph and what the arm band means?
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	554705
    Thanks, that is really interesting for me.

    The story I am aware of is that my father was put into forced Labour in Wilno and was then transferred to a forced labour shipyard to the North. Nothing was known until he joined Anders Army in Italy.

    However, I have now found out that the reason he joined Anders was that he was captured as a POW in Florence, Italy, having been captured from the German Army .

    There is another photograph of him in the street in Wilno taken, I believe, on the same day as another photo of his brothers, who themselves are wearing some style of uniform - I attach both if you can add anything further.

    I realise this site is perhaps more for those interested in memorabilia from the war, but I guess your interests are exactly the ones that could answer some questions for me, so I thank you for your help

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    The date on the photo "Wilno 1944" and the blue wrting on the right looks like it says "Ostra Brama" which suggests it was taken before 7 July 1944 because operation Ostra Brama was launched by the Polish Home Army ( Armia Krajowa or A.K.) against the German occupiers of Wilno (Vilnius) on 7 July 1944. Ostra Brama was part of the larger Polish "Operation Tempest" and lasted until 14 July 1944. The Germans were defeated and the following day the Soviet Red Army entered the city and the NKVD proceeded to intern the A.K. soldiers and to arrest their officers. After several days the remains of the A.K. forces retreated into the forests leaving the Soviets in control of the captured city.

    There is the possibility that maybe you father was somehow involved in fighting against the A.K. during Ostra Brama, retreating from Wilno with the German forces and later made his way to Italy shortly after the war in Europe was over to enlist with Anders, rather than being captured by the Allies in Florence? 2PolCorps ended its fighting campaign in Italy after Anders forces liberated the city of Bologna April 1945 although mopping-up operations continued afterwards.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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    Quote by StefanM View Post
    The date on the photo "Wilno 1944" and the blue wrting on the right looks like it says "Ostra Brama" which suggests it was taken before 7 July 1944 because operation Ostra Brama was launched by the Polish Home Army ( Armia Krajowa or A.K.) against the German occupiers of Wilno (Vilnius) on 7 July 1944. Ostra Brama was part of the larger Polish "Operation Tempest" and lasted until 14 July 1944. The Germans were defeated and the following day the Soviet Red Army entered the city and the NKVD proceeded to intern the A.K. soldiers and to arrest their officers. After several days the remains of the A.K. forces retreated into the forests leaving the Soviets in control of the captured city.

    There is the possibility that maybe you father was somehow involved in fighting against the A.K. during Ostra Brama, retreating from Wilno with the German forces and later made his way to Italy shortly after the war in Europe was over to enlist with Anders, rather than being captured by the Allies in Florence? 2PolCorps ended its fighting campaign in Italy after Anders forces liberated the city of Bologna April 1945 although mopping-up operations continued afterwards.
    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for your post but I think you may have misunderstood a few things.

    The 'Ostra Brama' written in blue on the photograph refers to the Ostra Brama church in Wilno that can be seen in the background of the photograph - it simply relates to the location where it was taken.

    As far as my father being captured by the Allies, I have his UK service records which shows he was definitely captured in Florence whilst the Italy campaign was still being fought, and joined Anders Army there, under British command, where he fought at Bolognia etc before coming back to the UK.

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    It was the caption "Wilno 1944" that sent me down the garden path to operation Ostra Brama which was obviously coined after the church of that name.

    What became of the uniformed two in the photo because if the dated caption for the photo is correct then they most likely were in Wilno when the AK attacked the German forces and the Soviet's later occupied the city?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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    Quote by StefanM View Post
    It was the caption "Wilno 1944" that sent me down the garden path to operation Ostra Brama which was obviously coined after the church of that name.

    What became of the uniformed two in the photo because if the dated caption for the photo is correct then they most likely were in Wilno when the AK attacked the German forces and the Soviet's later occupied the city?
    Hi Stefan,

    The photo is of my uncle and somebody else (unidentified).

    After the war Wilno was handed back to Lithuania, and became Vilnius. The Poles who lived there were moved West into Poland - my fathers family settled in Ornetta, Poland.

    The photo of my father, in the same location, was, we believe, taken at a different time - this is because the other people in the street seemed to be dressed in a different way than they are on the photo with two. also, the photo with my father in seems to show him in a very untidy Great Coat, almost as if it is something that he picked up in the street, whereas there is a soldier behind him who is very smart - don't know whether it is German, Polish or Russian though

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    I have a couple of evacuation/repatriation identity documents issued to Poles to leave Lithuania. This particular one is dated 22 February (Polish: Luty) 1945 to leave Vilinus, Lithuanian SSR:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Any idea why the "Wilno 1944" photo of your uncle and his young companion is also dated year 1952?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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