Forced labor badge, blue field with OST in white letters, to identify a forced laborer from the Soviet Union
- Object Type
Forced labor badges (ushmm)
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of James D. Newton
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.
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:22:29
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn8924
Also in This Collection
Forced labor badge, yellow with a purple P, to identify a Polish forced laborer acquired by a US soldier
Forced labor badge, yellow with a purple P and a purple border, found by Jim Newton, a US soldier, in April 1945 in Germany. This badge would be worn to identify a Polish forced laborer in Nazi 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. The German work force was depleted by the war and unpaid foreign workers were needed to keep the economy functioning.