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Forced labor badge, yellow with a purple P, worn by a Polish Catholic kidnapped into forced labor service

Object | Accession Number: 1990.259.2

Forced labor badge, yellow with a purple P, issued to 18 year old Joseph Wardzala in 1941 to identify him as a Polish forced laborer in the Watenstedt-Salzgitter labor camp in northwest Germany. German regulations required the workers to wear the badge with the purple band visible around the P on the right chest to keep them separate from the German populace. During the German occupation of Poland, 1939-1945, many non-Jewish Polish people were sent to Germany as conscript labor for civilian labor details on farms and factories. Workers sometimes volunteered for the forced labor service, but the majority were forcibly recruited and conditions worsened as the war continued. In April 1941, Joseph, who was Roman Catholic, was kidnapped on the streets of Tarnow, Poland, and deported to the labor camp in Germany, where he was forced to work in construction for the German Army. He was liberated by American troops in April 1945. Joseph was taken to a United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) refugee camp. After five years, he acquired an American visa and, in 1950, emigrated to the US.

use:  approximately 1941-1945
issue: Watenstedt-Salzgitter (Forced labor camp); Salzgitter (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joseph Wardzala
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:21:22
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