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Hitler's Slaves: Life Stories of Forced Labourers in Nazi-Occupied Europe

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Hitler's Slaves

Life Stories of Forced Labourers in Nazi-Occupied Europe

Edited by Alexander von Plato, Almut Leh, and Christoph Thonfeld

560 pages, 20 ills, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-698-6 $179.00/£132.00 Hb Published (October 2010)

eISBN 978-1-84545-990-1 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


During World War II at least 13.5 million people were employed as forced labourers in Germany and across the territories occupied by the German Reich. Most came from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, the Baltic countries, France, Poland and Italy. Among them were 8.4 million civilians working for private companies and public agencies in industry, administration and agriculture. In addition, there were 4.6 million prisoners of war and 1.7 million concentration camp prisoners who were either subjected to forced labour in concentration or similar camps or were ‘rented out’ or sold by the SS. While there are numerous publications on forced labour in National Socialist Germany during World War II, this publication combines a historical account of events with the biographies and memories of former forced labourers from twenty-seven countries, offering a comparative international perspective.

Alexander von Plato is a historian and the former Director of the Institute for History and Biography at the University of Hagen (Germany). He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna, the Director of the International Life Story Project on Forced Labourers during WW II, and the Secretary of the International Oral History Association. His many publications include books and films on mentality history, focusing particularly on National Socialism, World War II, and German reunification.

Almut Lehis a historian and Research Fellow at the Institute for History and Biography at the University of Hagen (Germany) and co-editor of BIOS –Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebensverlaufsanalysen. She also is a council member of the International Oral History Association and has published on German history since 1945 and the methodology of oral history.

Christoph Thonfeld is a historian and language teacher and is currently Assistant Professor of German language and culture at Cheng Chi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He is also researching forced labourers’ memories of WW II in an internationally comparative perspective. He is co-editor of the periodical WerkstattGeschichte.

Subject: History (General) History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Europe


Remembrance, Responsibility and Future

Foreword by the Board of Directors of the Foundation



Editors’ Introduction


Chapter 1. Reports from Germany on Forced and Slave Labour
Alexander von Plato

Chapter 2. Work, Repression and Death after the Spanish Civil War
Mercedes Vilanova

Chapter 3. Czechs as Forced and Slave Labourers during the Second World War
Šárka Jarská

Chapter 4. Slovak Republic (1939-1945)
Viola Jakschová

Chapter 5. ‘You can’t say it out loud. And you can’t forget’: Polish Experiences of Slave and Forced Labour for the ‘Third Reich’
Piotr Filipkowski and Katarzyna Madoń-Mitzner

Chapter 6. The Fate of Polish Slave and Forced Labourers from
Łódź Ewa Czerwiakowski and Gisela Wenzel

Chapter 7. Interviews with Roma in Poland – A Report of My Experiences
Arthur Podgorski

Chapter 8. The French Experience: STO, a Memory to Collect, a History to Write
Anne-Marie Granet-Abisset

Chapter 9. The Experiences of Hungarian Slave and Forced Labourers
Éva Kovács

Chapter 10. ‘Mother, are the apples at home ripe yet?’: Slovenian Forced and Slave Labourers during the Second World War
Monika Kokalj Kočevar

Chapter 11. Of Silence and Remembrance: Forced Labour and the NDH, and the History of their Remembrance
Christian Schölzel

Chapter 12. ‘If you lose your freedom, you lose everything’: The Experiences and Memories of Serbian Forced Labourers
Barbara N. Wiesinger

Chapter 13. They Survived Two Wars: Bosnian Roma as Civil War Refugees in Germany
Birgit Mair

Chapter 14. Forced Labour in Bulgaria 1941-1944. Tracing the Memories
Ana Luleva

Chapter 15. Lithuania 1941-1944: Slave and Forced Labourers Remember
Rose Lerer Cohen

Chapter 16. Belarusian Forced Labourers: Types and Recruitment Methods
Alexander Dalhouski

Chapter 17. Forced and Slave Labour in Belarus: Experiences, Coping Strategies and Personal Accounts
Imke Hansen and Alesja Belanovich

Chapter 18. The Experience of Forced Labourers from Galician Ukraine
Tetyana Lapan

Chapter 19. Oral Histories of Former Ukrainian ‘Ostarbeiter: Preliminary Results of Analysis
Gelinada Grinchenko

Chapter 20. Oral Testimonies from Russia
Irina Scherbakowa

Chapter 21. The Experience of Citizens of the Former Soviet Union as Forced Labourers in Nazi Germany
Natalia Timofeyeva

Chapter 22. Presenting Life in Captivity. Oral Testimonies of Former Forced and Slave Labourers from St Petersburg and the Russian Northwest
Anna Reznikova

Chapter 23. Women’s Biographies and Women’s Memory of War
Olga Nikitina, Elena Rozhdestvenskaya and Victoria Semenova

Chapter 24. The Deportation of the Italians 1943-45
Doris Felsen and Viviana Frenkel

Chapter 25. Former Forced Labourers as Immigrants in Great Britain after 1945
Christoph Thonfeld

Chapter 26. Slave Labour and Shoah – A View from Israel
Margalit Bejarano and Amija Boasson

Chapter 27. International Slave and Forced Labour Documentation Project: United States, Atlanta, Georgia
Sara Ghitis and Ruth Weinberger

Chapter 28. Forced and Slave Labour in the Context of the Jewish Holocaust Experience
Dori Laub and Johanna Bodenstab


Chapter 29. A Memorial for the Persecuted – Materials for Education and Science: The Compilation of Biographies of Former Slave and Forced Labourers
Almut Leh and Henriette Schlesinger

Chapter 30. ‘A moment of elation … and painful’: The Homecoming of Slave and Forced Labourers after the Second World War
Christoph Thonfeld

Chapter 31. Witnesses at the First Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt
Dagi Knellesen

Chapter 32. Revisiting Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors 25 Years Later
Dori Laub and Johanna Bodenstab

Chapter 33. ‘It Was a Modern Slavery’: First Results of the Documentation Project on Forced and Slave Labour
Alexander von Plato


Appendix I:Interview Guidelines
Alexander von Plato

Appendix II: Timeline Forced Labour and Compensation
Joachim Riegel

Appendix III: Interview Partner

List of Contributors

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