Forced Labor
# Racial discrimination

As one of the main pillars of Nazi ideology, racism was used as the ideological basis to justify the forced labor of peoples considered »inferior.« While there were some voluntary workers who entered Germany immediately following the conquest of Poland, the measures taken by the German occupation forces should rapidly change this. A special »Polish legislation« took care that civilian Polish laborers became readily available. Their massive discrimination was made sure by special penal codes and labor laws. Later, these laws were modified for each nationality of forced laborers.

In spite of ideologically motivated racist objections, the use of Russians as forced laborers was decreed after the German defeat near Moscow. After 60% of the 3,350,000 Soviet POWs had died of starvation in 1941, the large-scale use of POWs still alive began in February 1942. Due to their extremely bad health, these POWs could not be used in the war industry and had to work in agriculture. Therefore, Soviet civilian laborers were forced to work in German plants. During the spring of 1941, the racist treatment of Soviet laborers  was  ordered by so-called »Eastern Laborer Decrees,« which were similar to the decrees for Polish forced laborers of March 1940.

more information according to this article: »Blood- and Aryan Myth«

Download:  The Gau-leader of Oberdonau (Upper Danube; today: Upper Austria) bars Polish laborers from visiting inns as well as from alcohol consumption, February 1940.
Download:  Per decree of the Reichsstatthalter (governor) of Oberdonau (Upper Danube; today: Upper Austria), Polish laborers are not allowed to use bicycles and have to hand over the tires, which they had purchased themselves, September 1940.
Download:  Police regulation regarding the identification of the »Eastern Workers« (»Ostarbeiter«), June 1944.
Download:  Assignment of Polish men, women, and children for employment in agriculture as well as in the armament industry in Oberdonau (Upper Danube; today: Upper Austria), September 1944.

Factory identification card of a forced laborer
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Factory identification card of a forced laborer at the Austrian Saurer-Werke, 1944.

Female forced laborer from the Soviet Union
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A female forced laborer from the Soviet Union, Steyr,
20 January 1943.

Racial discrimination exemplified by the treatment<br>of Poles / »Eastern workers«