Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union
Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union was considered by the Soviet Union to be part of German war reparations for the damage inflicted by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union during World War II. German civilians in Eastern Europe were deported to the USSR after World War II as forced laborers. Ethnic Germans living in the USSR were deported during World War II and conscripted for forced labor. German prisoners of war were also used as a source of forced labor during and after the war by the Soviet Union and the Western Allies.The use of German labor as reparations was proposed by the Soviet government starting in 1943, and the issue was raised at the Yalta Conference by the Soviets. The USSR began deporting ethnic Germans from the Balkans in late 1944, most of the surviving internees had returned by 1950. The NKVD took the lead role in it via its department, the Chief Directorate for Prisoners of War and Internee Affairs (GUPVI).Information about the forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union was suppressed in the Eastern Bloc until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Before that, however, it was known in the West through accounts released in West Germany and recollections of the internees. These German accounts are cited by historians that cover the employment of German labor by the USSR. Statistics for the Soviet use of German civilian labor are divergent and contradictory. This article details the published statistical data from the West German Schieder commission, the German Red Cross, the report of the German Federal Archives and a study by Gerhard Reichling an employee of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. Recently declassified statistical data from the Soviet archives on the use of German civilian labor in the Stalin era was published in the book Against Their Will.