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Forced labor badge, blue field with OST in white letters, to identify a forced laborer from the Soviet Union

Object | Accession Number: 1995.107.2

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    Forced labor badge, blue field with OST in white letters, to identify a forced laborer from the Soviet Union

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    Brief Narrative
    Forced labor badge, blue with OST in white letters, found by Jim Newton, a US soldier, in April 1945 in Germany. The badge would have been worn by a forced laborer to identify them as an Ostarbeiter [Worker from the East], usually Russian or Ukrainian, deported to work in Nazi Germany. The patch would have been sewn to the chest with the outer white border visible. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941, the need for forced labor to support the war effort became an urgent necessity. Beginning in 1942, millions of forced laborers were deported from the Soviet Union to work in factories and other civilian labor details. They were housed in so-called residence camps that often had barbed wire and SS guards. They were treated as second class citizens and kept separate from the general population. After the war ended in 1945, nearly 6 million eastern workers were repatriated to the Soviet Union where they often were discriminated against and accused of being traitors to their country.
    found:  1945 April
    found: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of James D. Newton
    front center, white cloth letters within a dyed dark blue field : OST [Ostarbeiter: Eastern worker]

    Physical Details

    Identifying Artifacts
    Physical Description
    Square white cotton cloth with a badge design printed on one side with dark blue dye. In the center is a white 3 letter acronym, OST, upon a dark blue square field. That square is bordered by an outline of undyed white cloth which is then bordered by a dyed dark blue outline. There are dark stains on the front and frayed edges.
    overall: Height: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm)
    overall : cotton, dye

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The forced labor badge was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995 by Jim Newton.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-18 14:08:23
    This page:

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