Johannes-Dieter Steinert holds a position as a Professor of Modern European History and Migration Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. In 2015 he was a Senior Fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.
His research interests focus on German, British and European social and political history, with special emphasis on international migration and minorities, forced migration, forced labour, survivors of Nazi persecution, and international humanitarian assistance.
His most recent book publication is titled Deportation und Zwangsarbeit. Polnische und sowjetische Kinder im nationalsozialitischen Deutschland und im besetzten Osteuropa 1939-1945 (Essen: Klartext 2013). Recently he has been working on a research project called Jewish child forced labourers in National Socialist Germany and German occupied Eastern Europe, 1938-1945.
Presented Lecture: “Polish and Soviet child forced labourers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945”
International research has widely neglected that a great number of the forced labourers in National Socialist Germany and German occupied Eastern Europe were children. They worked in all branches of industry, in agriculture and as domestics in German households. The Wehrmacht and SS deployed children in construction work on fortifications, bridges, roads and airfields. It can be estimated that from Poland and the Soviet Union alone 1.5 million forced labourers under the age of 18 years have been deported to Germany. Based on a wide range of published and unpublished documents and testimonies, this case study will focus on Polish and Soviet children deported to Germany, who – apart from Jewish forced labourers – had to endure the worst working and living conditions. Moreover, German occupation policies in Poland and the Soviet Union were far more brutal than in any other country, and German deportation practices the most inhuman. While the emphasis of this paper is on the victims and their experiences, these will be placed within the broad and crucial context of the political and ideological imperatives of the National Socialist perpetrators. By addressing age and gender as categories for analysis, the paper will focus in particular on: (1) The process of deportation. (2) Arrival and homesickness. (3) Living and working conditions in Germany. (4) Liberation and repatriation.
Selective List of Publications
- Deportation und Zwangsarbeit. Polnische und sowjetische Kinder im nationalsozialitischen Deutschland und im besetzten Osteuropa 1939-1945 (Essen: Klartext Verlag 2013).
- Survivors of Nazi Persecution in Europe after the Second World War. Landscapes after Battle, 2 volumes (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2010 and 2011, ed. together with David Cesarani, Suzanne Bardgett and Jessica Reinisch).
- “Beyond Camps and Forced Labour. Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution”, Proceedings of the international conference, London, 11-13 January 2006 (Osnabrück: Secolo, 2008).
- Nach Holocaust und Zwangsarbeit. Britische humanitäre Hilfe in Deutshland. Die Helfer, die Befreiten und die Deutschen (Osnabrück: Secolo, 2007).
- Germans in Post-War Britain: An Enemy Embrace (London: Routledge, 2005).
- “Beyond Camps and Forced Labour. Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution”, Proceedings of the first international multidisciplinary conference, held at the Imperial War Museum London, 29-31 January 2003 (Osnabrück: Secolo, 2005).
- Deutschland 1945-1990. Von der bedingungslosen Kapitulation zur Vereinigung (Schwalbach/Ts.: Wochenschau, 2005).
- European Immigrants in Britain, 1933-1950 (Munich: Saur, 2003).
- Labour & Love. Deutsche in Großbritannien nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Osnabrück: Secolo, 2000).