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Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany: Categories, Numbers, and Survivors

Mark Spoerer and Jochen Fleischhacker
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Vol. 33, No. 2 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 169-204
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3656586
Page Count: 36
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Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany: Categories, Numbers, and Survivors
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Abstract

When Germany and Austria discussed the matter of compensating former forced laborers in the German economy during World War II, it became clear that no definitive estimate of how many were still alive was available. Combining Nazi statistics with postwar demographic data for twenty countries reveals that the number of foreigners deployed in the German economy totaled around 13.5 million, of whom approximately 11 million survived the war. Fifty-five years later, about 2.7 million were still alive. This calculation of forced laborers within Germany may well become more precise as scholars compile more and better data, perhaps eventually to be supplemented with statistics about forced laborers outside Germany's borders as well. Nonetheless, the evidence at hand reveals that Nazi Germany's forced-labor program was the largest and most brutal that Europe had seen since at least the Middle Ages.

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