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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. #81

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

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    I'm so glad I found this forum re: Polish Forced Laborers.

    There is not enough information on Polish non-jewish laborers on the web. This disappoints me. Considering that they were the second largest group to be murdered by the Germans, it amazes me that there isn't enough information documenting this.

    Thanks for listening
    Hi, and welcome to the forum!

    I agree with your statement and hopefully our forum will help address this issue in some small way.

    Cheers, Ade.

  2. #82

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

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    I'm so glad I found this forum re: Polish Forced Laborers.

    My mother and father were both survivors, and although am uncertain about my father, my mother was definitely deported to Germany as a forced laborer. According to her arbeitskarte, she worked for "VDM Halbwerkzeug.Eveking".

    Does anyone know what camps were associated with VDM? I've been given suggestions, but they are all over the map. I am assuming that she was sent to work for VDM branch in Eveking (now Werdhol) - but don't know what camps (Private or otherwise) where in that location.

    My parents never spoke about their experiences. Our family knows very little about their lives there. I've contacted ITS and am waiting for them to research my parents, as well as my two oldest brothers who were born in DPs camps in Germany.

    There is not enough information on Polish non-jewish laborers on the web. This disappoints me. Considering that they were the second largest group to be murdered by the Germans, it amazes me that there isn't enough information documenting this.

    Hi Laffinbuda,

    This is probably information that you already have but for those that don't:

    VDM is the acronym for Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke
    (United German Metalworks)

    Deutsche Messingwerke Carl Eveking AG
    Was a brass metal works supplying brass cartridge cases to the German Army.

    Today is this company is known as:
    Berliner Metallhütten und Halbwerkzeug GmbH

    Their address details are:
    Deutsche Messingwerke Carl Eveking AG,
    Schnellerstr. 131-134
    Berlin 12439
    Phone: 030/ 6363091


    VDM had offices and production facilities in Heddernheim , Gustavsburg , Mannheim , Nürnberg, Cologne, Altena , Werdohl and Duisburg. The group companies were run independently under the corporate name (eg Heddernheimer Kupferwerk GmbH). By 1939, the number of employees at VDM was around 21,000, mainly involved in the production of propellers for the Luftwaffe. Of course during WWII like almost all German companies large or small they utilised slave (free) or forced (cheap) labour from the German occupied territories.

    You should write to the managing director of existing company as nearly all large companies have archives so they may be willing to help you with information...though in my experience fear of further compensation claims and negative PR can mean there is sometimes reluctance to help.


    Useful German language site for forced labour (
    ZWANGSARBEIT) information:

    ZWANGSARBEIT 1939-1945 - ORTE, LAGER UND FIRMEN

    weblink:
    ZWANGSARBEIT 1939-1945 - ORTE, LAGER UND FIRMEN

    Do you have a scan of your mother's arbeitskarte?

    You are right Polish forced labour is not so well published maybe part of this is due to the reluctance of so many former Polish forced labourers to discuss it themselves? Why do you think this is?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  3. #83

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

    Thank you Adrian for the welcome. I'm excited to have found this forum - just for the fact that you discuss this very topic. I'm also anxious to poke around the other threads as I am sure I will pick up a lot of useful and informative information.

    4thScorpion,

    I did know most of that information, but not some of it - thank you for posting as it will help further my research. That link you posted interests me greatly - I am a newbie at researching all of this - so I am sure it will be helpful.

    I do vaguely remember my mother mentioning that she worked for the aircraft industry - and I want to say propellers - but I was VERY young when she told me that. I think she also mentioned armaments, but I can't remember what specifically. I do also remember her "P". I think my sister has that - I am hopeful she'll find it so I can add it to their memory book.

    I do have her card, but have yet to scan it. It was dated Nov 1942 - Nov 1944. In 1942, she would have been about 17 years old. The arbeitsamt was Ludenscheid and it showed her hometown (Heimatort) as Kronhof. I find this odd, because my mother was born in Warsaw. I am sure this was either a mistake or a fabrication. Perhaps they were planning on "germanizing" her? If that would even be possible? I wish I knew more about the politics behind all of this -- but I'm learning.

    I also have various other documents that I'd like to scan and store away for future use. I will be away for a few days on vacation - when I get back, I'll scan and post.

    I will make an attempt to contact VDM and see if they can provide information. Maybe if they know my mother is deceased, they won't be so reluctant to provide it. I did send an email to another VDM company, and of course, I never received a response.

    I am not sure why there isn't more information about this online. I can only say from my experiences with my parents -- they simply did not want to talk about it. I am sure they did things that they felt they needed to do in order to survive -- and I guess I should consider myself lucky to get bits and pieces, never mind full stories. It was something not only painful to recall, but I think that was just how they were in a cultural sense. I remember my parent's friends who were also survivors were reluctant to discuss it.

    Not to diminish Hitler's intent towards the jews, but it disappoints and frustrates me that there is hardly information on non-jewish survivors and other categories of people that were earmarked for extermination. The Christian Poles were treated just as harshly, yet, it's rare to see that fact published. Unfortunately, most of the survivors have since passed -- and so the stories go with them.

  4. #84

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

    Hi Laffinbuda, I don't know if you are aware that the USHMM now has access to ITS archives?

    The ITS archive has an entry for the German Brass Works, Carl Eveking AG, Berlin-Niederschöneweide. Issuance dates: 1.1.1942 - 31.3.1945

    This is the link to the Carl Eveking AG, ITS entry on the USUMM website below:
    International Tracing Service Inventory Search

    This file will very likely include reference to your mother as the dates are right.
    Forced workers were issued German health insurance cards.

    Would be great to see your mother's documents posted here some time in the future
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    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  5. #85

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

    Well, I've already contacted ITS and they've provided me with a reference number. From what I understand, they are pulling my mother's, father's and brother's information. Do you think that would be included? Since I am new at all of this - I'm not sure if they'll pull everything they have in one shot, or I have to provide individual archival reference numbers. Perhaps when I get back from vaca - I'll send USHMM a request as well.

    I did find this on the web which I think will help me understand how they ID'd and documented everyone:

    http://www.fpnp.pl/edukacja/dokumenty_de.pdf

    Maybe others might find this useful. It's in German and has to be translated. (Another project when I get back from vacation.)

  6. #86

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

    Quote by reidii View Post
    Quick question - can you tell me anything about this?

    Would this just be for a forced laborer?

    Thanks
    Do you have a scan of the other side of this card?
    It would tell you what company this worker was assigned to and the dates.

    This looks exactly like the card my mother was issued - but her original picture is missing.
    The other side should have more detailed information on it.

  7. #87

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

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    Well, I've already contacted ITS and they've provided me with a reference number.
    Is it the same as the USHMM webpage?

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    From what I understand, they are pulling my mother's, father's and brother's information. Do you think that would be included?
    ITS will look for all three names as one request downside is that they will take more time to locate any information for three people.

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    I'll send USHMM a request as well
    In my experienece USHMM is quicker to respond.

    Quote by Laffinbuda View Post
    I did find this on the web which I think will help me understand how they ID'd and documented everyone:

    http://www.fpnp.pl/edukacja/dokumenty_de.pdf

    Maybe others might find this useful. It's in German and has to be translated. (Another project when I get back from vacation.)
    This would be an excellent and very worthwhile project
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  8. #88

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

    Victims of Łapanka ..... the Polish name for a 'round-up' of Polish civilians who were chosen at random from among passers-by or from a district surrounded by German forces and deportated to German forced labour camps (Arbeitslager). German forces would particularly target Churches during Sunday Mass or schools during the day when they knew the buildings would be full of people.

    This photo shows men, women and children in a forced labour road construction gang.
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    Last edited by StefanM; 07-26-2010 at 10:37 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #89

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

    whilst a disgusting practice using forced slave labour in germany i think the allies fortunately benefitted from this by the brave souls who elected to sabotage the german war machine and thus caused no end of equipment failures and faults on the front line , not so good for the poor soul relying on his kit to keep him alive but fortunate for the allied forces who were opposing them, i salute these brave men and women who knew the consequences shoudl they be caught in the act!!!

  10. #90

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

    ... and we often forget that Germany's one-time ally Stalin also had deported millions more men, women and children to slave labour camps and work settlements across USSR.
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    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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