Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945

Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945

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"My mother, who was a Polish forced laborer from 1942 to 1945, never talked to me about her life during the war. Now I know. With a great combination of scholarly research and moving first person accounts, Knab's Wearing the Letter P vividly describes the terrible, heartbreaking ordeal that my mother and hundreds of thousands of Poles suffered. She expertly sheds light on a part of World War II that's been totally ignored."--Charles Belfoure, author of The Paris Architect

"In years to come, Wearing the Letter P will be the book to which readers turn to understand what the Germans did to the almost 2 million Poles who were taken to Germany as slave and forced laborers. Blending a thorough search of historical documents with the personal narratives of girls and women who were taken to Germany, Knab recreates the story of what happened to the women of Poland like no other historian has done. If you want to know what happened, this is the book to read." --John Guzlowski, author of Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded

"A sober and revealing history of Polish forced laborers during World War II, victims of the Nazis who have been neglected in accounts of the Third Reich. Exceptionally well-researched, this study combines critical data with personal testimony and many illustrations to make visible and visceral to readers the plight of these men, women and children."--Elizabeth R. Baer, editor of Experience and Expression: Women, The Nazis, and the Holocaust


Required to sew a large letter "P" onto their jackets, thousands of women, some as young as age 12, were taken from their homes in Poland and forced to work in Hitler's Germany for months and years on end. As mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, female Polish forced laborers faced a unique set of challenges and often unspeakable conditions because of their gender. Compelled to learn more about her own mother's experience as a forced laborer, Sophie Hodorowicz Knab embarked on a personal quest to uncover details about this overlooked aspect of World War II history. She conducted extensive research in archives in the U.S., London, and Warsaw for over 14 years to piece together facts and individual stories.

Knab explains how it all happened, from the beginning of Nazi occupation in Poland to liberation: the roundups; the horrors of transit camps; the living and working conditions of Polish women in agriculture and industry; and the anguish of sexual exploitation and forced abortions--all under the constant threat of concentration camps. Knab draws from documents, government and family records, rare photos, and most importantly, numerous victim accounts and diaries, letters and trial testimonies, finally giving these women a voice and bringing to light the atrocities that they endured.



Author: Sophie Hodorowicz Knab
Publisher: Hippocrene Books
Published: 11/28/2016
Pages: 304
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.00lbs
Size: 9.00h x 5.90w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9780781813594