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Professor's book on forced child labour translated and published in Polish


A book on Polish and Soviet child forced labour, written by University of Wolverhampton Professor Johannes-Dieter Steinert, has been translated and published in Polish.

‘Deportation und Zwangsarbeit. Polnische und sowjetische Kinder im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland und im besetzten Osteuropa 1939–1945’ (Deportation and forced labour. Polish and Soviet children in National Socialist Germany and occupied Eastern Europe 1939–1945) was first published in Essen, Germany, in 2013.

The book stems from a research project on child forced labourers that was generously supported by the British Academy, the AHRC, the Gerda Henkel Foundation (Dusseldorf), and the foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, Future (Berlin).

Professor Steinert said: “My research is based on a wide range of contemporary documents from German, Polish, Ukrainian, Belorussian, American and Israeli archives as well as hundreds of published and unpublished testimonies. It was focussed on Polish and Soviet child forced labourers, who, apart from Jewish forced labourers, had to endure the worst working and living conditions.

“Moreover, German occupation policies in Poland and the Soviet Union were far more brutal than in any other occupied country, and German deportation practices were the most inhumane.

“While the emphasis of the research has been on the victims and their experiences, these have been placed within the broad and crucial context of the political and ideological imperatives of the perpetrators.”

On the publication of the Polish version of his book, Professor Steinert added: “I am honoured that my research on child forced labourers has triggered so much international interest.  

“I am grateful that the Polish edition is dedicated to my grandfather Jan Sztajnert (1890-1920), who was born in Łódź and died in nearby Zgierz.”

The book has been translated and published in a Polish edition by Pilecki Institute, Warsaw, and will be launched in a special book launch via Zoom on February 4, at 5 pm GMT.

At the end of last year, Professor Steinert was awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research for his book on Jewish child forced labourer;  ‘Holocaust und Zwangsarbeit. Erinnerungen jüdischer Kinder 1938-1945’ (Holocaust and forced labour. Memories of Jewish child forced labourers).

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