»For my adored mother in remembrance, from your daughter Zosia, who is still alive,« inscription by Zofia Fuhrman dated 12 July 1943, to her mother.

Source: Foundation “Polish-German Reconciliation,” Warsaw

Zofia Fuhrman with friends in the camp.

Source: Foundation “Polish-German Reconciliation,” Warsaw

Zofia Fuhrman highlighted herself on the photograph for her application for compensation.

Source: Foundation “Polish-German Reconciliation,” Warsaw

Postcard 1: Zofia Fuhrmann

»In remembrance of my time in forced labor abroad I send this to my dear Mama, Ludwigsdorf, 19 Nov. 1943.« 

Source: Foundation “Polish-German Reconciliation,” Warsaw

Zofia Fuhrman (left) 1943, Polish forced laborer in Lower Silesia

Zofia Fuhrman, née Wypeklo, sent this sign of life to her mother while working as a forced laborer in November 1943. Born in 1921 in the Polish town of Tomaszewo (ca. 50 km east of Poznań), the young woman was deported for forced labor in Ludwigsdorf in Lower Silesia (today: Ludwikowice Kłodzkie) in 1942. The two towns are separated by only 300 kilometers, but for 20-year-old Zofia, it was a world apart. In Ludwigsdorf, she worked as a forced laborer in a German munitions factory near a subcamp of the Groß-Rosen Concentration Camp.

Zofia Fuhrmann left behind no descriptions of her time as a forced laborer, but her postcard is like a fragment of a mosaic whose larger context can only be surmised: the other letters and postcards she would have written to her mother and father, the public humiliation of the “P” insignia she was forced to wear, the dangerous and heavy work she performed in the munitions factory, and the precarious conditions of survival she faced in the camps. Her friends in the camp, who accompany her in the photographs, provided Zofia Fuhrmann with sustenance and support.

Zofia Fuhrmann did not own a camera. The surviving photographs were taken in a photographer’s studio. For the low-paid foreign workers, the photographs were an expensive luxury, but for the German photographic studios, they were a source of steady income.