The accompanying volume (in German, English, Russian, and Polish) can also be purchased at the Buchenwald Memorial’s specialized online bookshop on the history of National Socialism, the concentration camps and the special camps.


To order review copies of the accompanying book, please contact the Press and Publicity Department.


Forced Labor.
The Germans, the forced Laborers, and the War

During World War II, more than twenty million persons from all over Europe were forced to perform labor in the German Reich and the occupied countries. National Socialist Germany had long been planning and preparing for war, which was conducted with the aim of subjugating and exploiting Europe. To this end, the occupied areas were pillaged, and millions of men, women and children were deported to the German Reich.

Forced laborers were put to work everywhere – in armament factories and at construction sites, in agriculture, the trades and private households. Every German – whether a soldier in the occupying army in Poland or a farmer’s wife in Thuringia – encountered them. National Socialism’s racist ideology was reflected in all aspects of relations with forced laborers. Yet there was some scope for discretion. Whether a forced laborer underwent humiliation and abuse or encountered some remnant of humanity depended in part on the behavior of his or her overseer.

The core of the exhibition encompasses over sixty representative case studies, which together serve to make the complex topic of forced labor both vivid and tangible for the visitor. The material for these case studies was meticulously researched and assembled especially for the exhibition from archives across Europe. The exhibition website, which went online on 6 September 2010, provides a small glimpse into the selection.