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Johannes Dieter-Steinert

Senior Fellow (03/2014 - 08/2015)


Jewish Child Forced Labourers


Steinert webDuring the Second World War, a substantial number of children became victims of the National Socialist forced labour system. In National Socialist Germany and German occupied Eastern Europe, Jewish children were forced to work in ghettos, concentration and labour camps, in industry and agriculture. The Wehrmacht and SS deployed children in particular in construction work on fortifications, roads and airfields. My research project provides the first comprehensive study of Jewish child forced labourers in National Socialist Germany and German occupied Eastern Europe by drawing on a wide range of archival documents and former forced labourers’ testimonies. By using age and gender as central categories for analysis, the research will identify the historical background of Jewish child forced labour and its place within the Holocaust between 1938 and 1945. Special consideration will be given to the working and living conditions of Jewish children forced to work, their treatment and contacts with the German population as well as with other forced labourers. Finally, the project will discuss the experience of liberation as narrated in published and unpublished testimonies.


Johannes-Dieter Steinert is Professor of Modern European History and Migration Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. His Research interests include: forced migration, forced labour, survivors of Nazi persecution and international humanitarian assistance. Most recent book publication: Deportation und Zwangsarbeit. Polnische und sowjetische Kinder im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland und im besetzten Osteuropa 1939–1945 Essen 2013

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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