»Photograph from the village of Staden. Despite our low wages, the Germans often issued fines. For this photograph, we were made to pay a fine of 12 Marks each for the missing "P" insignia.«

Source: Instytut Zachodni w Poznaniun

Postcard 2: Józef Andrzejewski

»Photograph from the village of Staden. Despite our low wages, the Germans often issued fines. For this photograph, we were made to pay a fine of 12 Marks each for the missing “P” insignia.«

Source: Instytut Zachodni w Poznaniun

Józef Andrzejewski ca. 1942, Polish forced laborer in Hesse

Józef Andrzejewski was brought to Germany as a Polish prisoner of war. He was first interned as a prisoner of war in a POW camp (Stalag). Like nearly all Polish prisoners of war, he was reclassified as a civilian laborer soon thereafter. This meant he was subjected to the restrictions of the so-called Polish Decrees of March 1940. One of the new regulations required Polish laborers to wear the “P” insignia. With these regulations, Poles were no longer subject to the legal protections and obligations that had governed traditional seasonal workers; instead, the Polish laborers were to be treated as dangerous enemies who had to be isolated from the German population. Polish forced laborers were subjected to numerous discriminatory regulations in all aspects of their lives, from food to lodging to religious observance. The Polish Decrees of March 1940 even regulated how Polish workers were permitted to spend their meager time, when they were not working.

Józef Andrzejewski worked as a forced laborer for a farmer in the village of Staden in Hesse, near Frankfurt am Main. The photograph shows him with fellow Polish workers in front of the office of the mayor of Staden. All of the workers on the photograph were fined 12 Marks for not wearing the “P” insignia which would have identified them as Poles. The fine was equivalent to half a month’s wages.