Eastern laborers in occupied France

Discussions on all aspects of France during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
Hyus
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Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by Hyus » 31 Aug 2020 10:33

The Germans sent some of their Osttruppen to occupied France, but did they also bring voluntary or forced civilian laborers from eastern Europe? For example Poles, Russians, etc. I know they were used in Germany, but I haven't heard of eastern laborers being taken farther west than that.

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Loïc
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Re: Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by Loïc » 31 Aug 2020 22:13

There were until ~120 000 ostruppen under german uniform but the Soviet authorities were able to repatriate from France also 35 508 civilians (17 463 men 15 984 women 2061 children)

Annexed Alsace-Moselle separated from the rest of occupied France was unfortunately also "Germany" at that time : the local gestapo had arrested 2750 foreign workers of which 1600 were "slavs"

from Peter Gaida :

the Organisation Todt receives eastern laborers about whom we know very little

a first camp for Soviet POW's in Ban-Sain-Jean in Moselle where 3000 sicks died were found in the mass graves

at Blainville in Normandy a camp is opened for Georgians arrested in the Balkans

early 1944 the Organisation Todt in Cherbourg had 2082 Russians POW's and Ostarbeiter required civilians of which 1000 in a camp in Equeurdreville and 200 women who thought that they would be shot
a source estimates a total number of 10 000 Ostarbeiter in ~20 camps in France

The Nord Pas-de-Calais, main coalfield area, other region separated from the northern occupied zone, rattached to the Military Command of Belgium, in 1942 the Germans sent 3000 Soviet POW's there
at the end of 1942 the first convoys of Rusians prisoners of wars arrive for mining in the Pas-de-Calais (Marles-les-Mines, Ostricourt) guarded by Germans and Walloons military

Nathalie Piquet Emploi de main d'œuvre forcée dans les charbonnages du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais between the summer 1942 and 1944
4300 Soviet POW's
1300 Serbian POW's
2000 Ukrainian civilians workers of which around 30 women

Hyus
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Location: Northern Hemisphere

Re: Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by Hyus » 01 Sep 2020 09:36

Thanks Loïc, that's interesting (and sad) to read. Do you know if the French resistance was involved at all in trying to get aide to these workers, or help those who tried to escape?

EwenS
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Re: Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by EwenS » 01 Sep 2020 10:49

There were also Soviet prisoners, both civilian and military, on the Channel Islands from 1942 to VE Day. Some info here
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ ... el_Islands
http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/ge ... sians.html
http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/ge ... ation.html

Hyus
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Re: Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by Hyus » 01 Sep 2020 11:25

EwenS wrote:
01 Sep 2020 10:49
There were also Soviet prisoners, both civilian and military, on the Channel Islands from 1942 to VE Day. Some info here
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ ... el_Islands
http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/ge ... sians.html
http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/ge ... ation.html
Interesting, I never considered that, thanks. I'll have a read.

Emilie
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Re: Eastern laborers in occupied France

Post by Emilie » 16 Oct 2020 10:31

I found out not a long time ago that there is a Soviet graveyard not far away from the town where I am living. My brother came across it while riding his bike in the countryside. That place where he found the Soviet graveyard is called Noyers-Saint-Martin, in Northern-Western France. You just have to type "Cimetière militaire soviétique de Noyers-Saint-Martin" and you will see a photo of it. People burried there were prisoners of war and Soviet civilians brought to France by the Germans. They were brought to France to work in war factories and died of bad treatment, diseases or bombings. I guess they were staying at the only concentration camp you could find in France, which is called Natzweiler-Struthof, in Alsace-Moselle, that part of France which was German again during the war (see what Loïc is telling above). There were 6543 Soviet graves in 38 different regions in France. At the end of the 70s, the French government decided to bring them together in one place : Noyers-Saint-Martin. It says in Wikipedia that the people buried there were coming from : Armenia, Azerbaïdjan, Bielorussia, Kazakhstan, Ouzbekistan, Russia, Tadjikistan, Ukraine... Really very sad to be buried so far away from your homeland !

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