Statistical Projection of Surviving Former Forced Labor Workers from East European Countries During World War II in Germany (Konstanz Model)


This projection is based on a distribution of forced labor workers in 1945 laid out by Herbert (1986).

In this context, one should consider an important finding of the statistician Wagenführ in Die Deutsche Industrie im Kriege 1939-1945, published in 1955. The study was written while Wagenführ was head of section at the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW). Wagenführ is a distinguished expert of official statistics and he eventually headed the Statistical Office of the European Economic Community. The aforementioned study was instructed jointly by the German Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Planning Office during World War II. However, it was not published until 1955. Therefore, an ideological bias of this excellent statistician can be denied.

In his study, Wagenführ confirms Herbert's (1986) distribution of forced labor workers that traces back to information supplied by the official statistical sources of the Third Reich.

Table 1: Distribution of prisoners of war (PoW) and forced labor workers (FLW) in the Third Reich (as of 30 September 1944 and 15 August 1944, respectively)
 

Country
Male
Female
Total
PoW
PoW+FLW
Total West European
1,319,003
129,985
1,448,988
1,164,901
2,613,889
Total non-negotiat. East Europeans
110,481
36,826
147,307
89,359
236,666
Czech Republic
252,825
61,065
313,890
0
313,890
Poland total
1,088,540
573,796
1,662,336
28,316
1,690,652
of which pol. descent
903,181
472,636
1,375,817
0
1,375,817
of which ukr. descent
148,401
86,791
235,192
0
235,192
of which other descend
36,958
14,369
51,327
0
51,327
Former Soviet Union
1,090,957
1,128,486
2,219,443
631,559
2,851,002
of which SU without Baltic
1,062,507
1,112,137
2,174,644
631,559
2,806,203
of which Baltic
28,450
16,349
44,799
0
44,799
Other
124,500
60,209
184,709
15,952
200,661
Total
3,986,306
1,990,367
5,976,673
1,930,087
7,906,760

(Source: Der Arbeitseinsatz im Großdeutschen Reich 10/44 und 11-12/44)

Remarks:

It is important to note that Polish prisoners of war were classified as civil forced labor workers already at an early stage of the war. Thus, the ratio of Polish civil forced labor workers to Polish prisoners of war is considerably larger than the same ratio for Soviet forced labor workers and prisoners of war.

The Soviet prisoners of war were only ascribed to Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine. The Baltic States were not considered. In order to avoid any distortions, increased weight should be added to accumulated numbers for the entire Soviet Union.

In the Czech case, a number of 40,000 forced labor workers might be added, which presumably are classified to section "Others" in Table 1. This would incur an additional number of entitled former forced labor workers from the Czech Republic in 1999 of approximately 8,000 to 9,000 people.

According to Wagenführ's study, until 01 January 1945 an increase occurred in the number of male (female) forced labor workers to 6 million (2 million). It is questionable whether these additional 300,000 forced labor workers were deported from East European regions to a larger extent. Among these 300,000 forced labor workers were approximately 200,000 women. If one assumed identical proportions of the new entries as in the preceding three months, 45.7% of the East European forced labor workers would have been from the former Soviet Union (2.7% from the Baltic States and 43% from the remaining states) and 9% from Poland (8% with Polish descent and 1% with Ukrainian descent).

This amounts to an increase of 164,100 East European forced labor workers (so-called "Ostarbeiter"), which is included in Herbert's (1986) framework.

According to Wagenführ, decreases in the number of male (female) forced labor workers by 200,000 (50,000) were included in the respective national numbers. Hence, the following corrected distribution of forced labor workers as of 01 January 1945 is obtained:

Table 2:

Country
Male
Female
Total
PoW
PoW+FLW
Total non-negotiat. East Europeans
116,024
37,751
153,775
89,359
243,134
Czech Republic
265,510
62,599
328,109
0
328,109
Poland total
1,152,154
606,210
1,758,364
28,316
1,786,680
of which pol. descent
956,495
500,509
1,457,004
0
1,457,004
of which ukr. descent
156,847
90,971
247,818
0
247,818
of which other descent
38,812
14,730
53,542
0
53,542
SU
1,190,692
1,250,235
2,440,927
631,559
3,072,486
of which SU (without Baltic)
1,159,815
1,228,075
2,387,890
631,559
3,019,449
of which Baltic
30,877
22,160
53,037
0
53,037
Other
130,746
61,722
192,468
15,952
208,420
Total
2,855,126
2,018,517
4,873,643
765,186
5,638,829

 

The information presented in Table 2 should serve well as an initial distribution of forced labor workers. This is the basis of the projection for the surviving former forced labor workers in 1999. A consideration of the so-called displaced persons (DPs) is not advisable. This point is also underlined by Spoerer for two reasons. First, some forced labor workers were already on their way home, and second, refugees who did not work as forced labor, but who were fleeing the arrival of the Soviet army, were also reported under the DP category.
Table 2 is not organized according to the variable age. Thus by employing the multiplication theorem from probability theory, the age distribution of data from the City of Reutlingen Archive was inserted. Despite the fact that this particular data set is in no respect a representative sample survey of all forced labor workers in the Third Reich, the distortion of the data set incurs an underestimation of the forced labor workers' age. Therefore, the number of survivors is overestimated. As a reference sample, forced labor worker data from the archive of DaimlerChrysler was analyzed. Here, the results suggested that the former Daimler Benz AG was apparently able to exert influence in order to receive mostly trained workers for its Untertürkheim production facilities. Due to their training these workers were relatively old.
 

An extrapolation of the 1945 distribution was implemented by the use of United Nations (UN) life tables in order to project the number of former forced labor workers still alive in the respective countries. Where applicable, data from official national statistics and the World Health Organization (WHO) was also conferred. However, only marginal differences between those sources were found. Moreover, in most cases, the UN life tables delivered smaller mortality rates than the alternative sources. Hence, by using the UN data an underestimation is avoided.
 

The following general rules were applied in the Konstanz projection. As long as a downward trend in mortality at the end was observable, it was extrapolated. Upward trends in mortality were held constant from the latest available data point onwards.
 

Except the Baltic States (where a classification is feasible), the classification of the forced labor workers concerning Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine was implemented in the same proportions as in Spoerer's (1999) report. However, such a proportional classification has to be encountered carefully. In spite of reasonable totals, it is conceivable that the shares among the successor states of the former Soviet Union have shifted.

The model's projections yield the following upper boundaries:

Table 3: Konstanz projection for 1999 (rounded up to 1,000)
 
Country
Female
Male
PoWs
Total
Poland
195,000
167,000
5,000
367,000
Soviet Union
400,000
238,000
112,000
750,000
Polish ukr. descent
39,000
20,000
 
59,000
Ukraine
172,000
144,000
79,000
395,000
Russia
123,000
47,000
23,000
193,000
Belarus
59,000
22,000
10,000
91.000
Baltic States
7,000
5,000
 
12,000
Czech Republic
26,000
49,000
 
75,000
Total
621,000
454,000
117,000
1,192,000

Projections of former East European forced labor workers from countries who are not represented by individual Foundation Initiatives (e.g. Hungary, former Republic of Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc.) are much more difficult. This is due to the fact that their numbers are considerably smaller and that an age structure can not be inferred from the Reutlingen data set.

The projection also departs from the political assumption that every former forced labor worker alive in 1999 shall be compensated. Moreover, every former forced labor worker deceased in 1999 is able to pass on his entitlement. In order to enhance the comparability of Spoerer's and Jeske's projections, results for 2000 were projected as well.
 

Table 4: Konstanz projection for 2000 (rounded up to 1,000)
 
Country
Female
Male
PoWs
Total
Poland
180,000
150,000
5,000
335,000
Soviet Union
360,000
210,000
99,000
669,000
Polish ukr. descent
35,000
18,000
 
53,000
Ukraine
155,000
128,000
70,000
353,000
Russia
110,000
41,000
21,000
172,000
Belarus
54,000
19,000
8,000
81,000
Baltic States
6,000
4,000
 
10,000
Czech Republic
24,000
44,000
 
68,000
Total
564,000
404,000
104,000
1,072,000


Spoerer's and Jeske's projections are based on Herbert's (1986) distribution of forced labor workers in the Greater German Reich (Großdeutsches Reich). However, to the Konstanz researcher's knowledge, only those former forced labor workers will be compensated who worked within the frontiers of the German Reich as of 1937. Nevertheless, in his reports the historian Niethammer repeatedly quotes Spoerer's projection of surviving former forced l abor workers who worked in the Greater German Reich, that is, including those workers who worked on the territory of today's Austria.

Hence, if only former forced labor workers who worked within the German frontiers of 1937 are entitled for compensation, the number of surviving former forced labor workers on today's Austrian territory has to be deducted from the numbers that were obtained in the aforementioned projections. After all, this follows from the Konstanz researcher's comprehension of German history. The numbers that should be deducted accordingly are shown in Table 5 (in the case of prisoners of war no regional distribution within the greater German Reich is delivered by official statistics).
 

Table 5: Former forced labor workers contained in the projection who worked on the territory of today's Austria (rounded down to thousands)
 
Country Surviving former forced labor workers on the territory of today's Austria
Poland
17,000
Polish Ukr. descent
6,000
former Soviet Union
33,000
Czech Republic
9,000
Total
65,000

Note that Table 5 cannot be considered as a projection of the total number of surviving former forced labor workers on today's Austrian territory. Instead, it is an estimation of the lower boundary of the actual number of those workers, because some forced labor workers cannot be classified according to territory as alluded to before.
 

Comparison with Information Provided by the Polish Foundation

Now, results derived from the Konstanz model should be compared with information provided by a Foundation Initiative. However, this should not be regarded an attempt to validate the Konstanz model.

Spoerer (1999) mentions the number of some 500,000 Polish former civil forced labor workers in 1992. The Konstanz model estimates the number of Polish former civil forced labor workers in 1992 to be 608,000 (without a consideration of Polish forced labor workers with Ukrainian descent), which seems to be too high. However, this number would be even higher in Spoerer's projection bearing in mind his projection for the year 2000.

As mentioned before, the Konstanz model is intended to deliver upper boundaries of estimations. Many imponderabilities - that cannot be modeled statistically - were modeled favoring the number of surviving forced labor workers. For instance, the Konstanz model does not consider a higher mortality rate for forced labor workers, despite the disastrous living conditions for most of the forced labor workers. This point is emphasized in a testimony during the Nuremberg trials concerning "Lager" conditions at the Krupp company.
 
 

 

Copyright 2000, Dr. Roland Jeske