Polish forced labourers

Around two million Poles performed forced labour in the German Reich during World War II. From a total of approximately 13 million forced labourers, they made up the second largest group after forced labourers from the Soviet Union (“Ostarbeiter”). They were almost all deported against their will. Although they had to perform hard labour, they lived in very primitive accommodations and received poor food rations. They were prohibited from engaging in most leisure activities. An estimated 137,000 Poles died while performing forced labour, in many cases because they were denied access to the German air-raid shelters and not granted work protection.



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