Sophie Knab's parents were Polish forced labourers in Germany during World War II. For years her mother was unable to discuss or answer questions about this period of her life. Compelled to learn more about her mothers experience and that of other Polish women, Knab began a personal and emotional quest. Over the course of 14 years, she conducted extensive research of post-war trial testimonies housed in archives in the U.S., London, and in Warsaw to piece together facts and individual stories from this singular and often-overlooked aspect of World War II history. As mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, female Polish forced labourers faced a unique set of challenges and often unspeakable conditions because of their gender. 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 for the Reich for months and years on end. In this important contribution to World War II history, Knab explains how it all happened, from the beginning of 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 -- diaries, letters and trial testimonies -- to present an unflinching, detailed portrait of the lives of female Polish labourers, finally giving these women a voice and bringing to light to the atrocities that they endured.
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