Reports from Former Nazi Forced Laborers from Western Ukraine

Additions to Online Archive "Forced Labor 1939-1945. Memories and History" - Presentation for journalists on June 29

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, the University Library of Freie Universität Berlin and the EVZ Foundation (Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft), which is devoted to the memory of the victims of National Socialist injustice, are presenting a new partial collection of the online archive "Forced Labor 1939-1945. Memories and History." The presentation will be online. The subcollection inlcudes 40 audio and video interviews of former forced laborers from western Ukraine.


"Many people went to Germany back then. There were many... One in every other house had to go there."

Anna P., Interview za532, 16.08.2005, Interview Archive "Forced Labor 1939-1945. Memories and History" /  https://archiv.zwangsarbeit­­/de/interv­iews/za532  

The interviews are part of around 600 memoirs of former forced laborers during the Nazi regime who came from 26 countries. The interviews were recorded in the years 2005 to 2006. The interview project was coordinated at FernUniversität Hagen. Staff at Freie Universität Berlin indexed the content of these audio and video interviews and are making them available for use by schools, memorial sites, researchers, and other interested parties in the online archive: https://www.zwangsarbeit-a­ The interview collection includes transcripts, translations, photos, and short biographies as well as expert interviews.

The archive has now been expanded to include a newly edited partial collection of 40 interviews devoted to the fate of forced laborers from western Ukraine. Between 1941 and 1945, around 2.4 million people from Ukraine did forced labor for Nazi Germany. About 350,000 of them came from western Ukrainian districts. In the interviews, 17 women and 23 men report on growing up in western Ukraine and being deported to Germany for forced labor or to concentration camps. The former forced laborers, who were mainly employed in agriculture and industry, describe the conditions under which they were forced to work, their relationship with the German population, and the difficult return home, where they often experienced a second persecution.

These life stories take on a particular poignancy in light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. They are an impressive testimony to the history of Ukraine, which has been marked by invasion and occupation.

The presentation will be recorded and will take place online via this link:­berlin-en/­j.php’MTID=md1­a1c3397e06­01844dd0c0­bc73adb44c