Talk:Forced labour under German rule during World War II

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Former good article nominee Forced labour under German rule during World War II was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 26, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
August 1, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on February 12, 2008.
Current status: Former good article nominee

Good stub, needs expansion[edit]

Finally, as can be seen Wikipedia even after years of existance still lacks some essential articles. We need this to be expanded though-for example how Germans prevented women who worked as slave labourers from having children, or how they 'dealt' with children after there were born--Molobo (talk) 11:56, 8 February 2008 (UTC) For example how children were treated see here [1] --Molobo (talk) 12:16, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's at least a start, not a stub. And yes, this needs expansion. As far as Babelfish could tell me, the children issue is discussed at de:Polen-Erlasse, but I had trouble translating it and verifing the refs.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 14:02, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Forced or Slave[edit]

what is the definition being used here? in the UK its always called slave labour, since they recieved no money as opposed to forced labour where its either a legal punishment or pay is given but they are bound to there job, i.e serfs or indentured servants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:20, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, when in the heck did they start calling it "forced labour"? Sounds like subtle appologism/revsionism to me. Working people to death is called slave labour. Always has been. CJ DUB (talk) 02:49, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Good article assessment[edit]

I am putting the article nomination on hold based on the following comments. It's a very important article, so I hope these comments contribute to its value:


  • Structure needs work. The logical flow isn't clear. Typically, historical articles start with a context-setting background. Even though World War II should be fairly familiar to everyone, a sentence or two that explains how the practice progressed, and for that matter how it came to an end. For example, many of those in forced labor were quickly repatriated after the war.
  • I believe that the first para of our text ("Hitler's policy of Lebensraum...") gives sufficient historical background and context, describing exactly the issues you mention above.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:42, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Organisation Todt isn't mentioned, the industries they were employed in, etc., all need elaboration. I also think that since the Nazis were nothing if not organized, the administrative apparatus should be discussed.
  • In my research for this article I had not seen many references to Todt. I've added it as see also and if you can direct me to sources that tie Todt closely with forced labor, I will certainly try to expand on that. I do agree that organization is lacking, again - my sources were not clear on that. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:42, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Good use of wikilinks, though there should be many more "see also" links, as this touches on many other topics related to Nazi Germany and World War II. Not sure if "German exploitation" should link to "Germany economy" unless we can explain how the practice contributed to the Germany economy. My assumption would be that benefited the Nazi war effort.
  • Lead section has content but has some awkward phrases, " many of them died including those killed during Allied air raids and received little or no compensation during or after the war" and a paragraph that isn't necessary
  • I've tried to rewrite the sentece.
  • "Unprecedented" may be true, but it raises the question, "by what standard," which means it can be more specific, e.g., "levels never before known in human history," which is arguably stronger
  • The tone is still a bit casual, with the occasional aside, such as the point that the "Arbeit macht frei" sign appeared over extermination camp entrances.
  • The controversy over reparations needs to be elaborated more. I don't get a clear sense of the legal disputes from the article.
  • I am not sure how it can be rewritten, could you be more specific as to what is not clear? A short summary of the problem is that many Polish (and other workers) received no compensation until late 1990s and have died before that compensation was agreed upon by the Germany. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:42, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


  • Seem complete, but the citations need to comply with one standard or another, e.g., by using Template:cite web, etc.
  • Although this isn't necessary, I think it's a good idea to introduce the bibliography with a few sentences on the body of literature covering the topic. I also have to imagine there are far more than three books on the topic; or at least I hope so.

Broadness of coverage[edit]

  • This clearly covers all types of forced labor.


  • This is an article about institutionalized war crimes, so NPOV is tricky. I think the article should focus more on the consequences, purpose, and the actual facts related to this. The more specific, the better.
  • There are some unnecessary adjectives, such as "strongly," "massive," etc.


  • Article is stable, but started fairly recently.

Use of images[edit]

  • Good use of images, all seem to be legal.

--Leifern (talk) 02:44, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Additional GA comments[edit]

Hi, I've made a bit of tidy up, a couple more things you could do to improve this article:

  • It seems a little odd to open straight up with a table. Perhaps embed this later on?
  • The use of quotes is unusual. Including the [translation] within the quote also looks clumsy.
  • Check that all numbers are formatted according to WP:MOS: e.g. 2.8 million

Good work, though - it's nearly there! Verisimilus T 19:04, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I somehow missed the reviewer's comments from April 1. I will address them soon! PS. Table moved down.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:11, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


WP:Good article usage is a survey of the language and style of Wikipedia editors in articles being reviewed for Good article nomination. It will help make the experience of writing Good Articles as non-threatening and satisfying as possible if all the participating editors would take a moment to answer a few questions for us, in this section please. The survey will end on April 30.

  • Would you like any additional feedback on the writing style in this article?

  • If you write a lot outside of Wikipedia, what kind of writing do you do?

  • Is your writing style influenced by any particular WikiProject or other group on Wikipedia?

At any point during this review, let us know if we recommend any edits, including markup, punctuation and language, that you feel don't fit with your writing style. Thanks for your time. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 03:04, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


A number of male workers was killed because of Rassenschande crimes. The Rassenschande was used as a tool by some German women, eg. pregnant wives of German soldiers.Xx236 (talk) 08:14, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Can you provide a reference for that? If so, feel free to include this in the relevant article(s).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:52, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

A Love in Germany text and movie describe a real case.Xx236 (talk) 07:38, 22 April 2008 (UTC)


Many workers were killed or sent to concentration camps, where they died or became handicapped, because of relatively small problems. One woman was killed because she poured milk on a German woman. Xx236 (talk) 08:23, 21 April 2008 (UTC) Wanda Daczkowska was killed on November 27, 1942 in Breslau. p. 91 Xx236 (talk) 07:46, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Again - could you provide ref for this mistreatment, and add it to the relevant articles? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:56, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Conspiracy of the workers[edit]

There existed underground organisation of forced workers, who spied or sabotaged.Xx236 (talk) 08:26, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

From what I read, at least some were connected to larger organizations of Polish underground. Again, I am looking forward to you expanding the relevant articles with referenced information.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:59, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Controversy over compensation[edit]

Some former workers haven't obtained any help (it isn't a compensation, according to German law), because they don't have documents confirming their work.Xx236 (talk) 09:05, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Again, if you have refs for that, please expand the relevant articles.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:01, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

German institutions[edit]

Arbeitsamts in Poland were considered to be slave traders. People cooperating with them were punished by underground or after the war, offices destroied.Xx236 (talk) 09:40, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Refs? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:02, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

According to Polish Wikipedia Arbeitsamts in Poland delivered women for German army brothels, see Sexual enslavement by Nazi Germany in World War II.Xx236 (talk) 07:50, 22 April 2008 (UTC) Łowy na ludzi. Arbeitsamt w Częstochowie (1968) - the title is quite informative.Xx236 (talk) 07:51, 22 April 2008 (UTC) [2] Xx236 (talk) 08:27, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Guerilla actions: April 1, 1944 Otwock, unknown day Radom, 1943 Lublin-Tomaszów.Xx236 (talk) 08:36, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

NEW GA review[edit]

Hello. I contacted the editor who was previously doing the review of this article, but never go a reply, so I am taking over the GA review. I did some preliminary copy editing, but here are some other things to fix before I can promote the article:

  • All the pictures are clustered towards the top of the article. Can any of the pictures be moved down?
  • The article alternates between "labour" and "labor". It should be consistent, whichever way it is written.
  • Reference #2 needs to be cited using the {{cite book}} template, including the page number where the info was found.
  • A couple of the references need to be formatted using the Template:cite web, including the accessdate.
  • Up to date there has been no compensation to families of victims who died before the fund started its operation. - is there a ref for this statement?
  • What is the London Debt Agreement of 1953? Maybe briefly explain it?

The article will be placed on hold, and after seven days, I will re-assess the article and decide whether it needs more work, or if I want to pass/fail it. Good luck. Nikki311 00:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

The week will be up soon, so I'm going to fail the article as none of these suggestions were implemented. Thanks. Good luck with the article in the future. Nikki311 03:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I am sorry, I missed the review comments on my watchlist.
Pictures. For me, they flow down on the right side relatively well. True, the "Controversy over compensation" section is missing pictures, but I cannot think of any picture that would be applicable (and that I know of we have).
Standarized to labor, as in the title.
Replaced with a better ref.
Retrieval date added.
Unreferenced claim removed.
London Agreement on German External Debts has a dedicated article.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:33, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Two issues[edit]

1. The Wikipedia word is "labour". 2. Not a word about hundreds of thousands of the Soviet POWs. --Captain Obvious and his crime-fighting dog (talk) 18:52, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

We use both spelling, but the requirement is to be consistent. I standarized this article to labor, feel free to rewrite it to labour if you prefer.
We mention POWs in general. Russian ones belong to OST-Arbeiter. I have not found much data about POWs one way or another in my sources, hence the relative lack of details on them.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:36, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
There's some at --Captain Obvious and his crime-fighting dog (talk) 20:06, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The article (which is kind of a main article) is not linked enough from the other related articles. --Captain Obvious and his crime-fighting dog (talk) 20:01, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's not that bad, but certainly, when you see the opportunity, add a link to it.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:09, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Forced labor in Germany during World War II/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

1. Well written?: - fail - Could be improved upon, for instance "The largest number of labour camps" could mean several things, perhaps "largest proportion" would be more accurate. 'Abducted in' would read better 'abducted from'. Some of the wording I think needs work, are the abductees slave labour or forced labour? Both terms are used in the article text, and an image caption. Some punctuation improvements would be good "The largest number of labor camps held civilians forcibly abducted in the occupied countries (see Łapanka) to provide labor in the German war industry, repair bombed railroads and bridges or work on farms." is a lengthy read, and the quotation marks in several places are incorrectly formatted on my browser, see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Quotation_marks. There is no coherent use of numbering - see Wikipedia:MOSNUM and correct. Some text in the list is contained in square brackets but does not link anywhere. Change 'public conveniences' (or public transport) to 'some public amenities' or similar where relevant. Many improvements to grammar could be made, for instance "To this date, there are arguments that such settlement has never been fully completed and that Germany post-war development has been greatly aided, while the development of victim countries stalled" is quite poor English. Also, please separate and distinguish between "Germany", "Nazi", and "Reich" for the benefit of the reader. For these reasons this article is presently not well written and I would fail it on this point.
2. Factually accurate?: - pass
3. Broad in coverage?: - pass
4. Neutral point of view?: - fail - "regime wanted out of the way" in the Forced Workers section, "arbitrariness of the Gestapo" in the list in the same section (unless you provide a reference to demonstrate this attitude), "The German Forced Labour Compensation Programme was established only in 2000;" - remove the word only, or change the wording to demonstrate the reasons for the delay in compensation using factual information only.
5. Article stability? - pass
6. Images?: - pass - The image layout appears haphazard, but generally good - please see [[3]] for tips on improving layout. I would suggest standardising the size of all images, and reducing the amount of text in the captions. - pass

Overall a good article but it needs a fair bit of work to improve. For this reason, and because I don't feel it needs a major re-write, I am placing it on hold. Parrot of Doom (talk) 14:45, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Well written: The articles has been copyedited by several users (please see edit summaries). I am not a native speaker and I cannot find places that needs to be improved in terms of English language; the article reads fine to me. I will appreciate your help with that.
No problem - just give me a day or two, I've been away on holiday for the last week. Parrot of Doom (talk) 15:57, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Neutral: Per Protonk below, I don't think the first two formulations are non-neutral; I agree with the third one - removed world only. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:57, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
My concern with those sections is the emotive way in which the Nazi system is being discussed. I don't feel its correct to suggest that the 'regime wanted out of the way', I'd rather read 'regime was actively removing as part of the 'final solution' ' or similar. I'm certainly no expert on the subject, I'm reviewing it as someone who finds such things interesting, so I would leave the correct wording to you - all I know is that I'd rather the reader be the judge of motive or intent, than the article. As for 'arbitrariness of the Gestapo' - why do they feel this way? You should let the reader know why this is so, so that they might better understand their motives and the subsequent plight of the forced laborers. Parrot of Doom (talk) 15:57, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I see your point. I don't think I have the time to rewrite the article now - too many things, including in RL - but I would support any edits that would make the article less emotional and more clear per your suggestions.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:06, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Protonk comments[edit]

  • Images Some image tags are depreciated (public domain works from the former soviet union. The two badge tags are confusing. I don't speak german, but they both claim to be from the same source (some german website), but one is copyrighted and the other is marked as fair use. I don't know the rules for derivative works very well. If the patches themselves were made in germany prior to the war, isn't a photo of the patches (and only the patches) PD too? Either way, there should be a reason why one is tagged a certain way and the other is tagged the "opposite" way.
  • Sourcing I'm curious as to the choice of the "major" source in this article. I'm not assailing its reliability, but suffice it to say it seems a little odd. It is a whitepaper from a think tank. What was the reason this source was chosen over a more traditional history of the subject? "It was on the internet" is a perfectly acceptable answer, BTW. :)
  • POV I disagree with the above assesment. The article isn't neutral, but the wording describing the gestapo and the reich is a minor quibble. My problem is that this subject is one that is extremely contentious--specifically the use of forced labor to help still-extant companies in Germany and abroad. I haven't dug through the history but I can say with the claims made in the article I am not impressed by the sourcing (for those SPECIFIC claims). The source (ref 4) resolves to a press release touting a list compiled and a NY times article. The article is pretty clear but does not make the claim that the text makes. "More than 2000 German companies profited from slave labor during the Nazi era, including Daimler-Benz, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Volkswagen, Hoechst, Dresdner Bank, Krupp, Allianz, BASF, Bayer, BMW and Degussa." (from the text). "The 12 companies that announced their participation in the fund today were DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Volkswagen, Hoechst, Dresdner Bank, Krupp, Allianz, BASF, Bayer, BMW and Degussa. " From the article. I'm not arguing that those companies paying the settlement weren't culpable but (and this is vital) their inclusion in the NY times list has to do not with the degree of their culbability but with their market cap. Their inclusion in the article (with no reference to a settlement (in that paragraph) implies that among the 2000 companies who were involved, those were notable for their degree of involvement. That is an unacceptable claim. I'm going to be WP:BOLD and remove parts of it (and tag others), but I can't fix all of it tonight. The "corporate involvement" section needs to be rethought, heavily sourced and vetted before this can be a good article. Let me be clear. Companies, included american companies, profited from slave labor. Some even knew about it (or should have known). I'm not pushing this to attempt to "clear" anyone. But a lot of these companies are still around and we owe it to them and to the encyclopedia to be very precise and accurate.
  • Structure the "ladder" section is confusing to the reader.

Overall this article has some issues. Most important to me is the POV issue. The claims made by the reviewer above are important to the nomination and need to be resolved as well. Protonk (talk) 04:22, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Images. Copyright of WWII German photos is a pain, and unless an image is being deleted I prefer not to enter the boxing ring of copyright paranoids out there :)
  • The source was chosen as it was the most comprehensive work I could access (online, yes, but I did not find a similar useful summary in academic articles online, nor in books).
  • POV: I've added a source with the list of companies, and crossed all but two which I found on it (it is possible the others are under some name variant, though). I do agree that we should be careful - just as we are with BLP - not to slander companies, so thanks for pointing this part needed to be revised.
  • Ladder? What do you mean by that? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:25, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Ladder: "A class system was created amongst „Fremdarbeiter foreign workers“ brought to Germany to work for the Reich. The multi-layered system was based on layers of national hierarchies developed like a ladder." The section that follows that one.
  • Images. I know. But the specific point I raised (two pictures from the same source of the same thing with radically different licenses) needs to be fixed. As for the "paranoids" comment, I don't work much inWP:IFD or WP:PUI, but we should treat improperly attributed images with the same concern we treat improperly attributed text, copied in whole.
  • Sources. here are some:
  1. National Archives
  2. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp: an overview
  3. Working for the Enemy: Ford, General Motors, and Forced Labor in Germany
  4. Business and industry in Nazi Germany
  5. Hitler's Foreign Workers: Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany Under the Third Reich
  6. Less Than Slaves: Jewish Forced Labor and the Quest for Compensation a review of this book is in the 'references' section.
  7. Jewish Forced Labor Under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Racial Aims, 1938-1944
  8. Holocaust Justice: The Battle For Restitution In America's Courts
  • Hope that helps. Protonk (talk) 17:26, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Ladder: I see what you mean, I hope the current version makes it more clear and less confusing.
  • Images: I don't know how to fix it, I am not a German copyright expert, and my experience has been that few users are - and most who deal with this err on the side of meta:copyright paranoia.
  • Sources. Thanks. Would you like to add them to the further readings? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Images. Well, err on the side of caution. If you have one that is claimed PD and one Copyrighted from the same source, just switch the PD tag to copyright/fair use. If we make a mistake and it is really PD, no big deal. IF we make a mistake and claim something is PD when it is copyrighted, that is a problem. I would....umm....not follow the advice of that document at meta. There is no paranoia around lawyers. there is no reason to invite trouble.
  • Sources. I'll add them to the further reading, but I'd rather not. IMO further reading sections should be very discriminate. I placed them there as a suggestion to involved editors to use them in the bulk of the article. I would do it myself but (two reasons): I'm not that good at it and I can't pass you guys if I am significantly involved in the improvement. Protonk (talk) 05:08, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
  • As part of my wiki code, I will pass on changing PD to fair use. I will not object if somebody else does so.
  • Since I am pressed for time now and cannot go through the sources, perhaps it would best for all if you could help us with improving the article, and then somebody else can review it again? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:06, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Not going to promote this article for now[edit]

The review instructions give seven days to address the "on hold" concerns. I don't like sticking to that tooth and nail but it has been ~15 days since the first review. I'm going to delist this article. As always, this isn't a comment on the contributors or on the article itself. I'm sorry it wasn't promoted. Protonk (talk) 16:13, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Pieces missing[edit]

  • French POW's (Millions)
  • Main use was in agriculture, I don't see that here.
  • Deporting the British population sounds implausible, a page number would be good for the cite.
  • The Holocaust is well known to have happened, and thus needs no proper referencing. Enslaving the British is hardly well known to be accurate, and needs proper referencing. Let me also note, the Hunger Plan article you referenced is also fairly incomplete, and though I don't have time to dig into the subject, it can for example be noted that no German leader was accused of a "hunger plan" at the Nuremberg tribunals. But nevertheless, as you indirectly pointed out by your text, Hitler had a grading scale of peoples, with Germanic people on top, Jewish at the bottom and Slavs fairly low down. This makes it odd and fairly implausible that he would plan to treat a fellow "Germanic" people that way (and I don't want to discuss proportions of Anglo-Saxon/Viking DNA and British DNA, I just noted the Nazi view).--Stor stark7 Speak 18:08, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Miss information on living conditions and work enforcement e.g. Biddiscombe wrote in his paper on the anti-fraternisation movement:
"The wives of married troops were also commonly involved with other soldiers, civilians or slave labourers. Some farm wives in Wurttemberg had already begun using sex as a commodity, employing carnal favours as a means of getting a full day's work from foreign labourers. German and Austrian soldiers occasionally came home in 1945/46 to find their wives living with other men."
  • Nazi attitude towards women in the workplace. Speer and others tried to get Hitler to mobilize the German women into the factories, as they did in the US, but Hitler refused. This considerable contributed to the need for labor imports. And as someone remarked, if would have been far more efficient. An artillery shell put together by a soldiers girlfriend is more likely be produced faster and more likely to work as it is supposed to than one produced by a slave laborer...
  • Legality issues? What was legal, what was slightly legal, and what was plain illegal? Using POW's for certain types of work is legal. Using guest workers is presumably legal even if you pay them less than natives. Some working out of the relative legality issues would be nice. A start:
After defeating Poland in 1939, and also after the defeat of Yugoslavia two years later, many troops from those nations were "released" from POW status and turned into a "virtual conscript labor force".[1]
Germany had either broken up or absorbed the countries in question, and the German argument was that neither country remained as a recognized state to which the POW's could claim to belong, and that since belonging to a recognized nation was a formal prerequisite for POW status: "former Polish and Yugoslav military personnel were not legally prisoners of war".[2][3]
  • German justifications are interesting, since they are of the same type that the Allies later used to justify their own use of slave labor. Why do you have to drag the holocaust into this again by the way?--Stor stark7 Speak 18:08, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I am unaware of any Allied "slave labour". Nazi German justification was that that Jews, Poles are creatures below the level of dogs("untermenschen") and therefore they as lesser species didn't receive any rights(for example dogs couldn't be subject to medical experiments as freely as Jews or Poles could-because dogs had more protection under German law of that time), and so on-for example penelty for sexual contact with German women and workers was camp/death for those classified as untermenschen. Allies never classified Germans as untermenschens.--Molobo (talk) 21:05, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
  • What types of compensation could the various categories of workers theoretically have legal rights to?
  • How does this compare to the rights of German forced laborers? The German POW's that until 1948 or 1949 were made to do "reparations forced labor" in France and USSR and the UK? How about the German civilian forced laborers in the Soviet union? The compensation rights of German civilians until 1949 used in Polish agriculture or in labor camps such as those run by Salomon Morel and Czesław Gęborski. For example Central Labour Camp Jaworzno, Central Labour Camp Potulice, Łambinowice, Zgoda labour camp and others.[4]. I personally have a feeling that the German government has avoided some reparations issues because it could open up for potentially embarrassing claims by German citizens against other governments.
(We have separate articles on those issues.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:11, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
  • What happened to them afterward? Many went into Displaced persons camp where they had it quite good and did not want to leave. Some went on criminal rampages or raping and looting in Germany on their way back to their home countries. Some did not dare to return home due to politics and tried to emigrate to Australia or the US. Some had tuberculosis and other such diseases and were therefore unwelcome in e.g. the US, and therefore were stuck in the camps for many years. I'd say that the short and long term post surrender fate of the laborers is an important missing aspect.
  • Who were sentenced for use of forced labor, what were the charges, what were the punishments?

--Stor stark7 Speak 04:19, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I've added my comments above were appropriate. I certainly agree this article has ample scope for expansion.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:11, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Ukrainian Domestic Servants[edit]

Does anybody know of a good source detailing the experiences of young Ukrainian women (15-35), recruited for domestic service on the grounds of their supposed Germanic origin? Document 025-PS of September 4th, 1942, in the series Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (Volume III (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1946), pp. 67-71) indicates that they were supposed to receive better treatment than the majority of slave labourers - indeed, the term is not strictly applicable to them since their recruitment appears to have been voluntary. Tyler's Boy (talk) 16:31, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Two more issues[edit]

This article is really remiss in not mentioning Fritz Sauckel, who was hanged at Nuremberg as the leader of the German slave labor program (the GBA).

Second, the Arbeitseinsatz article (the A in GBA) is about exactly the same thing as this article and should be merged and redirected here. Raul654 (talk) 04:59, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

I will fix those issues. Probably in half a year. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 06:41, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
On further consideration, I think this article should probably be renamed to Generalbevollmächtigten für den Arbeitseinsatz (GBA) or whatever the correct English translation of that is. Raul654 (talk) 18:04, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
I think the current generic English title is more correct. Generalbevollmächtigten für den Arbeitseinsatz seems to be more specific subject in need of an article. In the article you linked, it is translated as a General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (and Google Translate confirms it) - a governmental post, a related but obviously different scope from what this article is about. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:16, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
The merge looks like a good idea. Goldfritha (talk) 19:11, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

'in Germany' versus 'under German rule'[edit]

Here's my thought. Current title =
"Forced labor in Germany during World War II"
Proposed title =
"Forced labor under German rule during World War II"
This clarifies that camps in Eastern Europe fit within the definition. This may not be strictly necessary, but it's worth a simple page move, in my view. Thoughts? — ¾-10 23:04, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Hearing no objections, I made the page move. Regards, — ¾-10 15:55, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Forced labor of POWs is legal[edit]

It is and was legal to use enlisted POWs as laborers, per se. Not officers. America specifically used German enlisted POWs as farm laborers.

The article should make the distinction about the "impressed" labor of civilians, which was illegal and the mistreatment of all labor. But the insinuation that "forced" labor of enlisted POWs, as a single issue, should be jettisoned. It weakens the credibility of the article which is strengthened without it. Student7 (talk) 17:35, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

German civillians forced?[edit]

I have a friend who tends to make things up claim that she was put in a forced-labor camp in Germany when she was a teen. She was born in 1922. She was not Jewish, and I dont think that her family was from any opposing politcal party. Can anyone tell me if the German government of Hitler put German citizens in these camps? Trueethnic (talk) 08:49, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

There's no way to prove her right or wrong about herself specifically, but yes, it is most definitely true that the German state under the NSDAP put a wide and varied collection of its own citizens into labor camps in the 1930s, for more than just the standard reasons (Jew, gay, Marxist-Leninist, convict, and so on). The problem was the same one seen in other dictatorships: because some people are effectively above the law, the rule of law breaks down, and bad stuff happens for random reasons. You end up with an environment where bad things happen to you simply because you pissed off the local zoning board guy whose good friend's uncle's cousin is a big-wig in high places. He mentions to some people in the area who may or may not be SA or SS that you're a real pain in the ass and not a team player. (For example, you refused to give him a kickback to allow your store to remain open on Wednesdays). After a while your neighbors notice that you disappeared one night; they haven't seen you around in a week or two. Your wife and 14-year-old daughter too. They know better than to ask around, digging into your whereabouts and backstory. No sense disappearing oneself just for sticking one's nose where it didn't belong. End result, you're 3 states over, digging ditches or sewing army uniforms 12 hours a day. This same type of thing also happened in the Soviet Union; Argentina in the 1970s; Italy in the 1920s and 1930s; Iraq in the 1970s through 1990s; Romania and Bulgaria as Soviet satellites; and many other times and places. (The disappearing for stupid reasons, I mean—where you went could vary. In Argentina I don't think they had any labor camps. You just took a joy ride out the side of a helicopter one night, into the sea, without a parachute.) It's not that it's inherently German or anything. It's just inherently asshole, and humans just have an asshole-overdose problem. One of the barriers to wrapping one's head around this lifestyle if you grew up in a G7 country since World War II is that you have to forget the whole thing about "hey, mister mayor and mister police chief, you can't do that to him—you lack the authority." That whole deal goes away in non–rule of law environments (click through to that article; it's worth the detour). Basically, what the mayor does stays in the mayor's office. He'll never be prosecuted or even disciplined for it, so he has no incentive not to do it. You could say, well what about mere decency, but the thing is that humans having a conscience or empathy is kind of a sloppy, hit-and-miss, partial-failure kind of thing. Some do, some don't. And in these states, whoever's the most vicious sociopath is the one who ends up mayor, so the muckety-mucks end up selected in a natural selection kind of way by a pathosociological filter of sorts—same process also happens in mafias. In fact, governments have difficulty not trending mafia-like over time, because maintaining the rule of law is a pain in the ass due to the incidence and prevalence of moral incompetence among humans. Constitutional law is a system to compensate for this chronic failure. — ¾-10 23:57, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
A couple of other categories: one was gypsy that were generally incarcerated (probably killed though). Another category was Jewish grandparent. You didn't have to be totally Jewish. Which is why some Germans were blindsided when they sat back and didn't worry when the Nazis took power. One or more parents or grandparents were Christians and they had been raised Christian and often had a non-Jewish last name. But they were still incarcerated (but usually killed). "Long-term labor" would be a bit of an oxymoron in German concentration camps. Student7 (talk) 21:10, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Student7, that goes against the fact that there were German Soldiers who had Jewish fathers. If Jewish blood was a death sentence, then why did Hitler have Jews in his army? Trueethnic (talk) 09:40, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, I would say you're both right, because the Nazi-controlled German state was inconsistent (a.k.a. hypocritical) in the way that it treated the Ashkenazim. There was the visceral-hatred part, which often took precedence; but that was sometimes sidetracked by expediency (looking the other way when it was useful). I suspect that one big problem is that if they had really been non-hypocritical about the whole ancestry/"even one drop of tainted blood" thing, they would have had to kill a whole lot of [supposedly] "Aryan" people (including soldiers, which were a valuable commodity). So they quietly ignored the little logical difficulties like that when it suited them. The whole Nazi antisemitism trip was kind of insultingly illogical, because many German Jews were integrated/assimilated enough that "ridding" Germany of Jews was like an autoimmune disease of the body politic: an immune system gone haywire, attacking the self that it imagines is The Other. — ¾-10 21:58, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
That there were soldiers with a Jewish parent is news to me.
"Hypocritical" is a good answer. Student7 (talk) 20:15, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Distribution of "Displaced Workers"[edit]

I probably missed it, but DPs (as they were called) frequently had no papers and could not prove national identity. Those "trapped" in the Western Allies section of Germany had the option (which they mostly took) of being "repatriated" (not the right word!) to countries unaffected by war damage. The United States absorbed a number of these, mostly at the bottom of the pay scale for farm labor, and such. This needs to be chronicled, if it hasn't been. Student7 (talk) 15:40, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Good point about mentioning the postwar fate of the displaced. I hadn't realized that the U.S. took any of them in. What a nice world in the early postwar years, in some respects. I suspect that today there would be much higher hurdles to clear, or hoops to jump through, to get into the U.S. But of course today there are more or less no jobs to be had here, whereas back then there were. The same thing (some displaced people not getting back to their original lands) also happened on the other side of the [nascent] Iron Curtain, too. But in that case, they were not so happy with the outcome, no doubt. For example, Germans who were forced to remain in the Soviet Union. Good points for future content development. — ¾-10 23:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Cool idea. But I checked, and I think it aint gonna work. The land of the free had a fool-proof immigration policy. In 1924 they realized they'd had enough of Poles and Italians so the closed the border in 1924. They kept the door shut until 1965.[5]
      • In 1939 1,128 foolish Jews tried to flee from Hitler on a ship called "ship of fools", but no-one wanted to take them, not even the land of the free, so back they had to go.[6]
      • 1947: "In the two years since V-E day the U.S. has never let its sympathy for Europe's 1,000,000 displaced persons interfere with its airtight immigration laws"[7]
      • 1948: "36,000—of the continent's driven D.P. army of 900,000 have been permitted to push past the gates." [into the US][8]
      • 1952: Other countries have taken the DP's in, the Germans have taken a really big chunk. Only the unwanted, the sick and the useless, remain in the camps: "leaving the 46,000 behind as a legacy to a nation that does not know what to do with them. Before these unwanted D.P.s—nearly all Slavs, almost no Jews—stretched a black future: mere charity subsistence from the West German government, and a gradual descent from misery to despair."[9] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Action Woman 2 (talkcontribs) 20:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
This is not a polemic about who took them vs who should have taken them, but rather documenting who did take them. Some came to the US. The Cold War had started and Slavic immigrants were looked on with cold suspicion by the general public like so many "moles" waiting to betray the US. Regardless, they went "somewhere." It needs chronicling.
Jewish people tended to elect to go to Israel once borders there became secure.
And yes, the US did have severe immigration laws.
Since Poles were in the US already, the US seemed to get a bunch of those. But they all seemed to come from somewhere else first, like the UK. This is a general article about German forced labour, and what happened to them, not about immigration laws, per se. That is somewhere else already. Or, if not, it could or should be. Student7 (talk) 00:56, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable to have a section in this article on "where did displaced labourers go after the war?". But I agree that it would only touch on, and mention, the immigration laws of various countries, whereas the main articles on those topics are the right place for most of that info. I think Action Woman 2 and Student7 both point in valid directions for future development (here and elsewhere). I think the balance point would be drawing that line between "mentioning immigration laws here and giving a link to the main article" versus "discussing the pros and cons of those laws here". — ¾-10 01:35, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Few Improvements[edit]

This article is exceptional because the authors appeared to completely cover the topic due to the fact that there was so much information, it also remains neutral throughout the entire editorial, not showing bias for any side and remains factual throughout the complete article. Due to the fact that the article cites many references (26) and gives a “ see also,” “further reading” and a “external links” section that points a viewer of where to go if they need more information on the specific topic, the reader automatically feels more comfortable reading the article and trusting that what it has to say is accurate. In my opinion the article is very organized with many different headings that one could use to find specific information including “controversies over compensation,” “classification,” “forced workers,” “numbers,” “extreme cases: extermination through labour” and “organization Todt” but I think that the author could have been more clear when titling the headings; for an example, the one heading is titled “classifications” but what is it classifying? It could be classifying the different classifications of forced labour or it could be classifying the different classifications of people doing the labour so the author should have been more specific in their headings to make it easier to navigate around the article. It also didn’t distinguish between what a forced laborer is compared to a slave which I would have liked to see because it mentions forced workers and slaves throughout the entire article and I could not tell if there was a difference and a general backround to WWII could have helped so it appeals more to the general public. I also found that there were some grammatical errors including “(approximately 10% of Generalgouvernement workforce)” and “slavs” which could be Slavic people or slaves but due to the other grammatical errors I was unsure. In the article I also noticed two words with small blue letters above them saying “clarification needed” which I think is actually quite good considering the amount of information already in the essay and that there is no more than just those two words with the corrections above them but I would like to see more clarification on those two topics so that there could be no blue corrections. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smbourne (talkcontribs) 22:21, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

B-class review[edit]

Failed for WPPOLAND. This is almost b-class, but Organisation Todt section needs better references. If this is fixed, this may be B/GA class. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:23, 10 April 2013 (UTC)


'However, in the case of Russians and Ukrainians, returning often meant suspicion, prison, or death.' This statement in the lede is not expanded-on in the main article, and not explained. Can you elucidate? Valetude (talk) 09:58, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Geneva Convention[edit]

"Soviet prisoners of war, however, were treated with utter brutality as Nazis did not consider them subject to protection under the Geneva Conventions, which had not been ratified nor implemented by the Soviet Union."

This comes across as whitewashing as Germany was still bound by the Geneva convention in its treatment of Soviet POWs - see Geneva Convention (1929) - Execution of the convention. The reasons for mistreatment were ideological rather than legal.

I would like to modify this section to reflect the above. --K.e.coffman (talk) 01:12, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ S. P. MacKenzie "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II", The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 66, No. 3. (Sep., 1994), pp. 487-520.
  2. ^ S. P. MacKenzie "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II", The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 66, No. 3. (Sep., 1994), pp. 487-520.
  3. ^ Further referenced in footnote to: J. Wilhelm, Can the Status of Prisoners of War Be Altered? (Geneva, 1953) p.10