Forced Labor

The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War
An Exhibition by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation

Zehn Personen, überwiegend unbeschuht und größtenteils Kinder, mit Ackergeräten

Forced Labor: The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War

In Germany during the Second World War, forced laborers were exploited on nearly every building site and farm, in every industrial enterprise, and even in private households. Over 20 million men, women, and children were taken to Germany and the occupied territories from all over Europe as “foreign workers,” prisoners of war, and concentration camp inmates to perform forced labor. Every German encountered them.

Past exhibition
Where

Old Building, level 1


Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

The historical exhibits and photographs explored the relationship between Germans and forced laborers as it was defined by racism, offering insight into its many varying manifestations. And yet the people involved had agency: individual behavior determined whether forced laborers were humiliated and abused or, instead, encountered a shred of humanity.

The exhibition also showed how forced labor was part of the Nazi regime's racist social order from the outset. The widely disseminated concept of ethnic insiders – the Volksgemeinschaft, or People’s community – functioned in tandem with the forced labor of the excluded.

Three stacks of workbooks with imperial eagles and swastikas and the inscription »Deutsches Reich, Arbeitsbuch für Ausländer

Workbooks issued by the employment office of the German Reich for foreign forced laborers; Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial, Weimar

At the end of the exhibition, former forced laborers spoke up in multiple historical eyewitness interviews.

The international traveling exhibition The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War presented the history of forced labor and its ramifications after 1945 comprehensively for the first time. It was initiated and sponsored by the Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future Foundation. The exhibition made a stop at the Jewish Museum Berlin, followed by appearances in Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, and elsewhere.

Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation

The foundation runs the memorials in the former concentration camps Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora. They also organize exhibitions such as those presented here.

Website of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation

Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft (Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future")

The foundation, founded in 2000 to support the compensation of forced laborers, is located in the immediate vicinity of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

More on Wikipedia
Website of the Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When

    28 September 2010 to 30 January 2011

  • Where

    Old Building, level 1
    Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin See Location on Map

Where

Old Building, level 1


Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin