The archive “Forced labor 1939-1945” is a collection of witness accounts that were collected from 2005 to 2006 within the scope of the project “Documentation of Life Story Interviews with Former Slave and Forced Laborers”.
Nearly 600 survivors of Nazi forced labor have told their life stories in detailed audio and video interviews. Historically knowledgeable and personally committed interview teams from 32 institutions in 26 countries conducted the interviews and compiled the corresponding materials.
The oral history expert Alexander von Plato coordinated the methodology and developed the Interview Guidelines.
The Institute for History and Biography at the FernUniversität Hagen (PD Dr. Alexander von Plato, Dr. Almut Leh, Dr. Christoph Thonfeld) was responsible for the coordination of the project in financial cooperation with the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”.
Creation and content of the Interview-collection on which the project "Forced labor 1939 - 1945" is based are also described in the publication "Hitler's Slaves". Published in 2008 (English translation in 2010), the book contains numerous articles of project participants who analyse the experiences and memories of different victim groups in various countries.
Among the 32 interview projects are research institutions as well as experienced project groups from foundations and civil society initiatives.
The preparation of the collection began at the Freie Universität Berlin and the German Historical Museum at the end of 2007. The subsets of the collection that were created from these interview projects provide the basic structure of the interview archive.