The Fate of former Polish Forced Laborers in Germany:
Born 1936 in Dzialoszyn, Forced Laborer in Martensdorf (near Stralsund), Agriculture
Stanislaw D. was six years old when he came to Martensdorf with his parents and five year younger sister. Together with another family, the four of them would be housed in a room in a former military barrack. The parents would work on the fields; work would begin at sun rise and end at sun set. During this time the six year old would be responsible of taking care of his sister. Stanislaw D and his sister would receive monotonous yet sufficient nourishment, while their parents would hunger. With specific cards they were able to buy new soap; new clothes were not given. The parents would shield the children away from their troubles. Despite this, Stanislaw could still remember a beating that his father had to endure, due to the farmer believing he did not work diligently enough.
When he did not need to work on the fields, he would offer his services as a shoemaker, which would be gratefully accepted by the German workers.
In may 1945, he returned to Poland with his family. Nine years later his mother would die at the age of 44, which Stanislaw D would attribute as a result of the forced labor she had to endure, something his Mother would never recover from.
Born 1925 in Lipe/ Kalisz District, Forced Labor in Parchow (Rügen), Agriculture
Genowefa J was brought to Rügen in February with her two years younger sister. In Parchow, she lived with our Polish laborers in barrack like buildings, in rooms with up to 3 to 4 double beds. For sleeping, they would be given a blanket without covers, sanitary installations would be situated out doors.
The two little girls would be responsible for stable and field work. The younger sister could remember harvesting Brussels sprouts during hoar frost and cleaning vegetables in freezing shacks. Genowefa would eventually be allowed to work as a cleaning lady, where she would at least not freeze and feel hungry. They would work from the break of day till night time. Free time would be on every second Sunday, at noon.
At the beginning of may 1945 the sisters would be able to return to Poland. To this day Genowefa suffers from the forced labor. She has rheumatism, heart disease and a damaged spine.
Born 1934 in Orzeszkow, Forced Labor in Benz (Rügen), worked at a country estate
On the 5th of June 1944, the day of her forced relocation two Germans appeared on the farm and gave the family 30 minutes to pack their belongings. After spending numerous days in a Polish assembly camp, under inhuman conditions, the laborers would be sent to Benz in a cattle car. There the six year old Jadwiga would help her parents while they worked on their allocated estate. During the time of forced labor, the family would not be permitted to leave the estate. They would be allowed to go to church once a month. Upon returning to Poland on May 1945, they found their farm completely destroyed.
Born 1925 in Zduny, Forced Laboror in Trent (Rügen), Farm work
During February 1940, the 15 year old Boleslaw was forced onto a train in his hometown by the SS. He found himself in Stralsund the next day. From there he would be brought to Bergen in Rügen and later to Trent, where a farmer was waiting for him. On the farm he had to carry out all work that had accumulated, often doing labor that was beyond his actual strength.
Initially he received a monthly wage of 15 Mark, later he would receive nothing. It was forbidden to send any letter to Poland and like a forced laborers he was forced to wear a “P” on his clothing. He was also forced to listen to Hitler’s speeches on the radio, although he could not understand the language.
Boleslaw returned to Poland in 1942.
Born 1935 in Trzcinica, Forced Labor on Putgarten (Rügen), Farm Work
Henryks’s family (parents and four brothers) were deported during Easter 1942, the fifth brother was already sent to a forced labor camp in Germany, 1940. After staying in various assembly camps that had neither drinking water or sanitary facilities, they eventually reached their designated work location in Putsgarten. The family lived here in a room with a kitchen, in a two family home. They would work from morning till evening at the fields or in the stables. Since they were used to this kind of work, they did not find it particularly difficult.
Also, they tried to follow the ‘rules’ as much as they could; for example not having contact with other Poles or listening to Radio. However, when one of the brothers made a critical comment regarding the regime, he was sent to a labor camp in 1944.
Another incident led to the family being interrogated by the police, due to slandering from one of the neighbors.
In the second half of 1945, the family returned to Poland..
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