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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. #11

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

    4th Scorpion, very interesting find. Neither the height of style nor comfort. How did you find these?



    Regards,
    T.

  2. #12

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

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    4th Scorpion, very interesting find. Neither the height of style nor comfort. How did you find these?

    Regards,
    T.
    A friend of mine on a German language newslist NS-Zwangsarbeiter I am with (Ns-zwangsarbeit Infoseite) came across them and knew I am collecting forced worker artifacts. This list is mainly used by academic researchers but there are also a number of general interest users such as me.

  3. #13

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

    Thanks. Gives credence to the old saying, “it's not what you know, it's who you know”. A nice find. Congrats.

    Cheers,
    Tony

  4. #14

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

    Extract from book of extremely poignant poems about Forced Labour by John Guzlowski whose parents were both Polish slave labourers in Germany and he himself was born in a Polish DP in allied occupied Germany just after the war. A highly recommended read.

    Lightning and Ashes
    by John Guzlowski
    (ISBN-13: 978-0974326450)



    Hunger in the Labor Camps

    1. What My Father Ate

    He ate what he couldn’t eat,
    what his mother taught him not to:
    brown grass, small chips of wood, the dirt
    beneath his gray dark fingernails.

    He ate the leaves off trees. He ate bark.
    He ate the flies that tormented
    the mules working in the fields.
    He ate what would kill a man

    in the normal course of his life:
    leather buttons, cloth caps, anything
    small enough to get into his mouth.
    He ate roots. He ate newspaper.

    In his slow clumsy hunger
    he did what the birds did, picked
    for oats or corn or any kind of seed
    in the dry dung left by the cows.

    And when there was nothing to eat
    he’d search the ground for pebbles
    and they would loosen his saliva
    and he would swallow that.
    And the other men did the same.


    © John Guzlowski
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #15

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

    A German propaganda postcard from the Polish Forced Labour Camp run by IG Farben-Bayer at Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

    Happy smiling well-fed young Polish ladies enjoying their work in Germany... wish you were here!

    Don't forget to buy your 'P' patches!
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  6. #16

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

    Some more Polish forced worker photos:

    The guy third from left top photo appears to be wearing a military sytle jacket?

    Young Polish boys deported to Germany to work on farms and one of Poles working collecting rags(?) with bales stacked up on the back of a truck?
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  7. #17

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

    Attached poster for a German audience regarding the position of Polish Forced workers in the Reich published by Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland (Association for 'Germanness' abroad) Gauverband Danzig Westpreußen (Association of the “shire or county”, Gdansk, West Prussia)

    Translation:

    The VdA badge = Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland (Association for Germanness abroad)


    Our Statement Regarding the Question of the Poles within the Reich

    The Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police has decreed by order of Reichsmarschall Göring and others, that all male and female workers of Polish descent are at all times bound to visibly display on the right hand side of the chest on each piece of clothing the cloth badge pictured on the right in its actual size. The badge is to be permanently sown on.

    The German people experience today the formation of its Volksreich (idea of having all German speaking people within the boundaries of one country) and realize that in future there will be foreign elements within its lebensraum (space to live). It is evident that the use of Polish workers on the land and in the factories in the whole Reich has led to some questions arising regarding national identity. The Volksreich can only last forever, if every German acts conscious of his nationality and if he can cope with all these questions by himself. Laws can do no more than provide rules that support coexistence with the non-Germans. Most important of all is the intuitive, confident attitude of each individual. It is therefore of the utmost importance to alert the whole nation to the dangers which arise when coexisting with non-Germans.

    Therefore it is necessary to take every opportunity to enlighten and to keep pointing out the atrocities that the Polish people committed towards our ethnic Germans as well as to ask for caution towards the Polish workers.

    German people! Never forget that it was the atrocities of the Polish that forced the Führer to protect our German people with his armed forces.

    September 1939 claimed the lives of 58,000 ethnic Germans in Poland. There is no atrocity which was not committed during this time: Withholding food for days, stick blows, blows with rifle butts, executions without reason, blinding of people and rape. German people were caused suffering in Polish prisons which had to be thought up by sub-humans with animalistic traits. Men, women and children, defenceless old and sick people were tortured to death during their forced removal. A young person was doused with petrol and burnt in an oven, a locomotive drove into the back of a carriage full of displaced people. There are countless examples of this kind.

    Members of that nation have come here as farm workers and factory workers and as prisoners of war, because their manpower must not be wasted and must therefore be used for the construction of the Reich. Anyone, who has dealings with them in an official or professional capacity, must realize that the hatred of the Poles is stronger today than ever and that the Poles have much more experience in the Volkstumskampf (ethnic struggle) than the Germans and that they still believe in building a new, larger Poland with the aid of the enemy powers.

    The submissiveness shown by Poles towards Germans is deceitful. Their friendly manner is put on. Caution should be exercised everywhere, so as not to abet the banding together of Poles and possible spy activity.

    There is no common ground whatsoever between Germans and Poles.

    German Citizen, be proud and remember what the Polish people did to you! If someone approaches you and tells you his Pole was a decent person, retort like this: Nowadays everyone knows a decent Pole, like everyone used to know a decent Jew!

    The German Volksgemeinschaft (community of the people) is at stake:

    Fellow German, be especially careful not to establish relations due to the shared religion within the areas which are mainly Catholic. It is wrong to assume that the Poles who constantly greet others with: “Praised be Jesus Christ” are decent people and to reply with: “For ever and ever, amen.”

    German Citizen! The Pole is never your comrade!

    His position is below that of any fellow German on your farm or in your factory. Be just, as you always are as a German, but be constantly aware that you are a member of the Herrenvolk (the master race). The German army is fighting for peace in Europe. You, Fellow German, are responsible for peace in the new, larger Germany and you have to win every nationality-related trial of strength, which is determined by the people of different nationalities living together.

    Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland (Association for 'Germanness' abroad)
    Gauverband Danzig Westpreußen (Association of the “shire or county”, Gdansk, West Prussia)
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  8. #18

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

    Hello 4th Scorpion,

    Excellent! Thank you for posting this translation. I was always curious as to exactly what this document stated. Chilling stuff.

    Regards,
    Tony

  9. #19

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

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Yes, that’s one of the strange things. As I mentioned, my father doesn’t recall the specific circumstances of the photo. He was moved around to different farms to work for different farmers. Conditions varied from farm to farm, and although freedoms were very limited, their ultimate extent was governed by the owner he worked for. He does recall that some owners were far better than others. Some would treat the labour force very much as beast of burden. His sleeping and eating quarters were with the other farm animals – year round. Based on the dour expression of my dad (on the left) and his colleague my thought was that this was possibly a picture taken for the farm owner to keep as a ‘record’ of his workers. Perhaps they were on their way to reassignment to another farm - ?

    Tony
    Thank you 4th Scorpion for starting Polish Forced Labour collection thread. My grandmother was taken to Bavaria and worked for (baor- she cold lend oner) on farm I think from 40-45 until they where liberated. She say same what Tony’s father is saying that some owners were far better than others. She say that people she work for where really nice to her, treated her rely well like she was part of family. I have to look for the pictures.
    Mariusz

  10. #20

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

    Hi Mariusz,

    Thank you for sharing the information about your grandmother's time as a forced worker. I would very much like to see any photographs or documents that your have for your grandmother.

    As you and Tony have both rightly mentioned forced workers were at the complete mercy of their 'owners' in the way they were treated. German's could also be punished for treating their Polish or Ukranian "OST" labourers as decent human beings.

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