It is well known that a great number of the estimated more than 30 million civilian forced labourers in Germany and National Socialist occupied Eastern Europe were children. Children were forced to work in ghettoes, concentration and labour camps, in industry and agriculture. The Wehrmacht and SS deployed children in particular in construction work on fortifications, roads and airfields. Drawing on a wide range of official documents and more than 500 testimonies, my recently published study concentrates on Jewish child forced labourers, who had to endure the worst of all working and living conditions. It examines both the children’s living and working experiences as well as the perpetrators’ policies. By using age and gender as categories for analysis, the monograph:
(a) identifies the historical background of Jewish child slave labour and its place within the Shoah;
(b) assesses the total number of Jewish child slave labourers, their age and sex, and the types of their employment;
(c) evaluates the participation of civil authorities, police and military units in the employment process;
(d) analyses the children’s working and living conditions, their treatment and contacts with the German population and other slave and forced labourers;
(e) investigates abuse, including heterosexual and homosexual rape;
(f) explores forms of passive and active resistance;
(g) discusses how the experience of slave labour and survival has been narrated in testimonies.
Johannes-Dieter Steinert, Holocaust und Zwangsarbeit. Erinnerungen jüdischer Kinder 1938-1945, Essen: Klartext, 2018, 428 pages (German language).