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Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

Article about: by A.J. Zawadzki Hi Stefan, yes, very perceptive of you. Definitely the efforts of a left leaning group. You'll quickly spot the less-than-subtle hammer and scythe imagery on the cover: Atta

  1. #141
    ?

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Hillblade,
    No problem ... glad your aboard ...
    Looks like you've got the hang of uploading pictures ....
    Hopefully you'll be able to source some info from the forum members ..

    Regards

    Gary J.


  2. #142

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Wow, This is a very interesting thread. Most Americans have little to no idea what really happened to the civillians in Europe and Asia during WWII. I do the best I can to educate folks who see my museum with what the Japanese did to captured soldiers and civillians but I do not have much in this area from Europe. This is one of the reasons I joined this fourm, to learn more myself so I can share the history with others.

    Burt

  3. #143

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	275888Ok, photos.

    thanks for the information on the US Army overseas service bars I have. I'm including photo of them only because they are of two different types - or patterns. Which I'm sure isn't a big revelation to actually collectors.

    here is photo of the OST and P cloth badges the U.S. serviceman brought back from ETO. As you can see, I have now put them in plastice bags to protect them. Something interesting; each group of badges, are stacked NOT haphazardly but each aligned with the others. Also, they are obviously cut apart with a sissors, as the cuts show that. There is little doubt, each "stack" of cloth badges are as they were when the serviceman picked them up and stowed them in his pocket to take home. I have other items, from the same shoebox, that may provide evidence of name of serviceman and possibly his unit. Given all the probable "war booty", why would a serviceman take these OST and P badges and bring them home ? What enabled the serviceman to obtain BOTH OST and P cloth badges, no doubt from the same location? Did this serviceman find himself at a location were these were being printed or cut apart? by labor workers? Did this serviceman find himself at a workcamp? Did the serviceman see workers with badges on their clothing? Why did the serviceman choose to grab these and think they were important enough to endure the hassle of bringing them all the way home to Fredonia, Wisconsin U.S.A. ? maybe it wasn't a serviceman.

  4. #144

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    The difference in the two types of overseas bars are bullion and regular thread. Many servicemen used the boullion style on their class "A" uniform. It was up to the soldier which type they put on their uniforms. The bullion type thread was used for all types of cloth patches including rank. The reason was that it looked nicer than regular cloth insignia. Also each bar denotes 6 months service overseas and are still in use. It was common to have them in multiples like this, easily bought or issued and cut down since each soldier usually had more than one uniform.

  5. #145
    ?

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Milmuseum,
    If your interested , on a similar tack, check out this site ....

    Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum

    An overview of the Poles deported by the Soviets during the early years of WW2.

    Regards

    Gary J.

  6. #146

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    The following question is about the cloth badges ( OST, P , star of David[Juden] & other) that the nazis required people to wear. As someone brought up in the USA, my mind asks - Why would a person wear the badge? Who was telling people they had to wear the badge? What would happen if people didn't wear the badge? Was there punishment? The punishment must have been known by everyone, or else many would not have worn the badge. For fear to be used, the consequences must be known. Was the punishment spelled out in writing? Was it against the law to not wear the badge? How did the authorities know who should be wearing the badge? Color of skin? Language spoken? The location of where you lived? When told to wear a badge, why didn't people say NO ?

  7. #147

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    The punishment for being a Jew and not wearing a star of David was simple: death. As soon as nazi's occupied Poland they made all of the jews register. They had sadly collaborators that would point out the jews that tried to hide. In all of occupied Europe the only country that it was punishable by death to hide a Jew was Poland. yet quite few were hidden and quite few polish families executed: whole families, children no matter how small. It was against the law not to wear the star of David if one was of jewish descent. Punishment was death. It is hard to say no when the german shepperd is tearing a hole in your leg, or someone just shot your neighbour in a back of the head in fron of you.
    The P patch was for Polish nationals: in concentration camps and forced labor. One had no choice in concentration camp not to wear it plus they all had a prisoner number tatooed on left forearm, any refusal to that and kapo would beat them to death. The forced labor for refusing to wear a patch would be sent to concentration camp. It is hard to imagine now but millions of people perished in WW2.

  8. #148

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Hi hillblade, and welcome to the forum

    Quote by hillblade View Post
    Why would a person wear the badge? Who was telling people they had to wear the badge?
    The regulations for Poles (which differed for workers from other nations and those in other labour classifications) required the wearing of the “P” to identify them to the general German population. These workers were in periodic contact with civilians and needed to be visibly identified as they were perceived as a threat. The German population was warned of the inherent ‘dangers’ of the Poles via official documents, one of which 4th Scorpion generously translated earlier in this thread. Please take the time to read it as you will get a sense of how the authorities viewed the Poles working in their midst.

    Quote by hillblade View Post
    What would happen if people didn't wear the badge? Was there punishment?
    Itakdalej is correct. Official German documents printed and issued for the consumption of German ‘employers’ and Polish forced labour listed sentencing to time in hard labour camps (aka concentration camps) as a punishment for Poles guilty of violating regulations. Considering that the existing conditions faced by the majority of Poles in Germany were already unpleasant, the prospect of worse would serve as a deterrent.

    Quote by hillblade View Post
    The punishment must have been known by everyone, or else many would not have worn the badge. For fear to be used, the consequences must be known. Was the punishment spelled out in writing? Was it against the law to not wear the badge?
    Yes, the punishment for violating the rules was likely well known by all Poles. But some, like my father who was deported to Germany in 1941 as a teenager, took some foolish risks. He was stubborn and rebellious by nature, especially to the brand of strict authority dished out by his German overlords. This landed him in serious trouble on several occasions, but fortunately for him, the justice system depended on the German’s who caught the violations and then reported them. He said that while some of the Germans he worked for were very hostile to the Poles, others were relatively kind and understood the predicament of the foreigners who were forced against their will to leave their families to work in the Reich. On one farm he lived in the unheated barn area with the animals, kept well away from the family in accordance with regulations, while at another he would occasionally be allowed to eat with the family. In one case where he was caught breaking rules he was sternly warned by his master that anyone else would have turned him in to the disciplinary authorities, and to smarten up as he was living in perilous circumstances.

    He told me how one of his owners allowed him to keep a small pet dog, which was likely not permitted (something I haven’t confirmed though). This dog became his closest companion. One day while off the farm grounds taking care of an errand, with his dog at his side, he was detained by a police officer and questioned. The dog started to bark which irritated the German so he shot the dog and killed it. My father related this account to me with tears in his eyes some fifty tears after the events took place. It was evidently still very painful for him, even though told me with little to no emotion of other terrible experiences he endured which seemed to me to be to have been worse (i.e. the execution of an innocent young co-worker and friend by hanging while he was forced to watch standing only several feet away)

    Quote by hillblade View Post
    How did the authorities know who should be wearing the badge? Color of skin? Language spoken?
    At all times workers were required to keep identification documents on their person. These of course provided all information: nationality, age, place of work, etc. This information would allow the authorities to easily determine who was required to be wearing visible identification.

    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

  9. #149

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    Quote by hillblade View Post
    Also, they are obviously cut apart with a sissors, as the cuts show that. There is little doubt, each "stack" of cloth badges are as they were when the serviceman picked them up and stowed them in his pocket to take home. I have other items, from the same shoebox, that may provide evidence of name of serviceman and possibly his unit. Given all the probable "war booty", why would a serviceman take these OST and P badges and bring them home ? What enabled the serviceman to obtain BOTH OST and P cloth badges, no doubt from the same location? Did this serviceman find himself at a location were these were being printed or cut apart? by labor workers? Did this serviceman find himself at a workcamp? Did the serviceman see workers with badges on their clothing? Why did the serviceman choose to grab these and think they were important enough to endure the hassle of bringing them all the way home to Fredonia, Wisconsin U.S.A. ? maybe it wasn't a serviceman.
    The "OST" (East workers ie. Ukrainians) and Polish "P" patches were as you suggest printed on sheets. The forced worker was required to purchase at least 5 of these patches by the German regulations. These were were cut off the sheets in strips rather than individually, which the forced worker then cut off a patch from his/her strip for their use. The remaining patches being mainly left in a strip (see attachment) so they would not get lost—they could not afford to lose them as they would have to purchase replacements from their small wages instead of valuable food. That is why many "P" patches were sewn around a cardboard substrate (see attachment) which could be pinned to the workers clothing rather than sewn as this allowed one badge to be used over and over on different clothing thus saving wages and prolonging the useful life of the patch. Poles were most often housed in their own camps Polenlager and not mixed with Ukrainians who had their own camps Ostarbeiter-Lager however they often did work together in the same German factories etc.

    That is what strikes me as odd that the US serviceman would find such a large pristine white cotton stack of neatly cut-out patches just laying around! Not impossible but not very likely. I think many of the questions you ask point to the doubtfulness of the serviceman story IMHO.

    Quote by Itakdalej View Post
    plus they all had a prisoner number tatooed on left forearm,
    This may not entirely so. For example, tattooing was not introduced at Auschwitz until the autumn of 1941 when the SS began to tattoo (for identification purposes) the thousands of Soviet prisoners-of-war who arrived at the camp after the German invasion of USSR. It wasn't until the spring of 1943 that almost all previously registered and newly arrived prisoners, including female prisoners throughout the entire Auschwitz complex started to be tattooed but it is not clear if ALL prisoners were eventually tattooed in Auschwitz.

    There were a number of prisoners that were released from Auschwitz before 1943 having served their sentences that would not have had a inmate number tattooed at all and of course probably several thousand prisoners who were sent for "re-education through labour" (hard labour) sentences of between 4 to 10 weeks for breaking their employment contracts.

    This example may apply to other concentration camps also, but I am not sufficiently versed in the subject of other German concentration camps to say for sure.

    It is not well known but the mandatory Polish forced worker "P" patch was introduced more than one year earlier for Poles in Germany than German Jews were required by law to wear a yellow star identification mark.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by StefanM; 12-09-2011 at 01:39 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  10. #150

    Default re: Polish Forced Labour (Zwangsarbeiter/Fremdarbeiter) collection

    I don't know what to say. Thank you all for sharing knowledge. This is a lot to understand. I am reading your replies as well as going back and studing the entire thread. This will take time to understand.

    even if these are not authentic, it might even be better.... then they can be given to friends and family and may be a few more people will then learn.

    The badge photos others have posted, do show several different types of cloth used. the badges I have are made on thinner cloth than the courser, almost "feed sack" type cloth shown in many of the photos. I'm getting suspious of these.... because they look made from same type cloth material. And from what you've taught me, the OST and P badges would probably have been made in different locations, thus them being made out of the same material, not very likely. and of course they're cut individually.

    I will try to macro photo these and post. however in the long run, the best way to authenticate would be in the hands & eyes of an expert. who out there wants to do it? I will send.

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