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WikiProject Ukraine (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
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Good topic, surprisingly not covered on en-wiki. Definitely dykable, but needs to be wikified with refs; will try to help.--Riurik(discuss) 18:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

My father was only 14 when he left Ukraine (Lubny). He wound up looking after some horses near Vienna. He was beaten a lot by German officers. He told me about a severe whipping he got after a sick horse lay down and got some manure on its coat. he was in charge of brushing the coats. He was not repatriated because he lost his documents and when they reissued them they wrote down that he was born in Lublin rather than Lubni. Lublin was in Poland and as a result he was not repatriated because of the Yalta Agreement. Bandurist (talk) 21:38, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Wow, what a story. That should be a DYK on its own :).--Riurik(discuss) 21:53, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

DYK suggestion[edit]

Just a suggestion, feel free to modify.--Riurik(discuss) 22:04, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good. It is accurate. I would like it to include the word Ukraine but those that are interested willgo to the article. 01:16, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It's close to the subject, and some inevitably will go there as well. Here is where the suggestion is posted.--Riurik(discuss) 04:17, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Pictures & Photos really help to put the article in context. Good job! Bobanni (talk) 04:57, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Red link[edit]

There is a red link to in OST-Arbeiter#Work_and_employment to Ford Werke. What exactly is this? According to the Cologne article, Ford motor company has its headquarters in that city. Is this supposed to be that? Ostap 05:20, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Fixed Bobanni (talk) 05:28, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Wow, thanks. That was fast. Ostap 05:50, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

DYK - That despite the fact that there were so many of them working in Germany, and the fact that they were treated appaulingly in th e worst factory munitions jobs, I have never seen an OST Arbeiter in any Hollywood movie production ever. Not even standing next to anyone. Bandurist (talk) 12:19, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Sympathy Plug[edit]

Is there a reason why this entire article reads like a sympathy plug for Ukrainians? Other then a few snippets of historical information, the article is practically yelling "Hey! Look at how bad we were treated!" This talk page evidences it, and it is quite comical. Mojodaddy (talk) 16:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Doubts about accuracy[edit]

Since 2,5 mln to 3 mln Poles were taken as slave workers to Germany, I do have doubts that Ostarbeiter were made primarily out of Ukrainians.--Molobo (talk) 18:00, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Not all Ukrainians had the designation OST. The ones that were marked OST were primarily from Reichskomisariat Ukraine. Western Ukrainians did not have to wear the OST badge and Western Ukraine also came under a different juristiction in the Reich. Most of Western Ukraine up to WWI was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and as a result many Western Ukrainians spoke German because it was taught is schools. As a result Western Ukrainians were treated much differently than Eastern Ukrainians. This treatment continued even after the War. In any case, most Eastern Ukrainians were repartiated back. Wetsern Ukrainian were able to make it to the West because they were not Soviet citizens before the War and were not subject to the Yalta TreatyBandurist (talk) 20:07, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I have requested citation for that claim. The difference between OST-Areiters, if they were mostly Ukrainians, and other Slavic slave workers of Germany should be made more clear. Do note that Eastern workers redirect here. Surprisingly I couldn't find anything at forced labor in Germany or slave labor in Germany (even through we have Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union); pl:Roboty przymusowe has no interwiki to en (!) and there is only a little at History_of_slavery#Modern_times.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
The article currently says (with source) that there were 3 to 5.5 million. So Molobos estimate would make 100% Poles. I am skeptical. Ostap 21:40, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
My data comes from encyclopedia and German Historic Institute[1].From below information it seems that Eastern Workers was a different name for workers out of Soviet territories. The problem was that there is no general article about Slave labour used by German in WW2.--Molobo (talk) 07:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Additional information that could prove useful about German use of slavery[edit]

[2] --Molobo (talk) 07:56, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Picture from Kyiv[edit]

I have just uploaded this picture [3] taken in Kyiv during the war and I believe it shows gathering of OST arbeiters. What do you think? Narking (talk) 15:47, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Forced labor in Germany during World War II[edit]

I have created this parent article, feel free to contribute to it.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:06, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Ethnic testing?[edit]

However, if the woman and the baby's father were "of good blood", the child might likewise prove "racially valuable." Consequently, the parentage was investigated, and both parents tested.

How exactly does one test for "good blood" or "racial value"? I have no doubt that some sort of pseudoscientific test was cooked up, but it would be informative to know what form it took. --Jfruh (talk) 22:33, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Move it[edit]

Please, someone who's able to, move this article according to the changes I made. Cannot do this myself, since there already is a page "Ostarbeiter", namely, a simple redirect page... that ends up here, sure enough. But that page should hold the actual article, since it is the correct term and, at least to my mind, there is no other. In fact, the spelling "OST-Arbeiter" looks almost ridiculous which, of course, is entirely inappropriate considering the subject matter. (I edited the article for no other reason.) Zero Thrust (talk) 03:35, 23 September 2012 (UTC)


The plural of "Ostarbeiter" is "Ostarbeiterinnen", not "Ostarbeiters". For now, I have changed instances of "Ostarbeiters" to "Ostarbeiter", which is not technically correct, but I was not sure how far to take this. I also made the italics consistent throughout. — Diannaa (talk) 19:39, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

The plural of "Ostarbeiter" in German is exactly the same word, and this was until recently used to refer to both men and women. It is however perfectly OK to form the regular English plural "ostarbeiters" (even without capitalization) in an English text, as with any other foreign word in English. And "Ostarbeiterinnen" is only the plural of the form "Ostarbeiterin", which both only refer to women. --Espoo (talk) 01:32, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

War statistics[edit]

Please exercise extreme caution when quoting war statistics from the Soviet Union. They are often used in post Soviet states indiscriminately, especially in Ukraine and in Belarus. Some of the most egregious falsifications of the war statistics were introduced as a result of the annexation of the eastern half of Poland by the Soviet Union in 1939. All Polish citizens residing in these territories (also born and raised in Poland), were declared to have become the Soviet nationals overnight, and subsequently have been added to the Soviet Ukrainian and Soviet Belarusian war victims by the USSR and (later) by the post Soviet states, often doubling or tripling their numbers. For more background, see:

  1. Bernd Wegner, (1997). From peace to war: Germany, Soviet Russia, and the world, 1939–1941. The period of Soviet-German partnership. Berghahn Books. pp. 74–. ISBN 1571818820.
  2. Keith Sword (1991), The Soviet Takeover of the Polish Eastern Provinces, 1939–41. The mass deportations of the Polish population to the USSR. Springer. p. 224. ISBN 1349213799;
  3. Norman Davies, God's Playground. A History of Poland: Volume II. Oxford, p. 327.

Here's a visual example of this sort of instant fabrication: a photograph of Ostarbeiters from the Polish city of Kowel in the Kresy macroregion (read the sign please), now posted at InfoUkes: Ukrainian History website (!), with a brand new caption reading: Thousands of trainloads (sic!) of Ukrainian Ostarbeiter were sent to Germany for slave labor from cities like Kovel, Volhynia, Ukraine in 1942. Poeticbent talk 21:16, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

Let's consider the hard facts. According to the national Polish census of 1931 (see File:Woj.wołyńskie-Polska spis powszechny 1931.pdf in Commons), the Polish city of Kowel (now Kovel, Ukraine) had a population of 27,677 people (page 56 in PDF). There were 9,638 Catholic Poles living there, as well as 12,842 Polish Jews, and only 4,875 Orthodox Christians (Ukrainian and Ruthenian combined), with smaller numbers of other national minorities. The ethnic Ukrainian and the ethnic Ruthenian population of Kowel (combined) constituted about 17.6 percent of the total. But most importantly, the Nazi German administration had friendly relations with the local Ukrainian Hilfsverwaltung which welcomed their arrival with open arms, so the mass deportations to forced labour were highly unlikely. "Thousands of trainloads" of Ukrainians "from cities like Kovel, Ukraine" ... "sent to Germany" in 1942 ?! Face-smile.svg Do you see what I mean when I say it's all smoke and mirrors? Poeticbent talk 05:09, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Census map showing language frequency in 1931 across Poland; red colour: more than 50% native Polish language speakers; green colour: more than 50% native language other than Polish, including Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and less frequent others
My recollections may be faulty, but didn't the pre-war Eastern Poland's rural population have a high proportion of ethnic Ukranian and Belorussians? The cities / towns were predominantly Polish / Jewish, but the countryside was not -- ? I would be curious to see the overall statistics for the pre-war territories that were annexed to the Soviet Union. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:34, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Please take a look at Polish census of 1931 article which I have linked above. The numbers are there, province by province, and city by city. You're correct, the pre-war Eastern Poland's rural population had a high proportion of ethnic Ukranians and Belorussians ... or should we say, the Orthodox Christian population (Ukranian, Ruthenian and Belorussian), because that was the census category being used in 1931, not the ethnicity. However, only the above-cited example of Kowel from InfoUkes was analysed here specifically. Poeticbent talk 05:29, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Okay, the 'InfoUkes' description is unclear and, for the purposes of Wikipedia, would be considered WP:SYNTH, but there is a big 'however' here. I'd need to follow up on older sources I read 40+ years ago (and can only be backed up by my own family history), but multiple thousands of Ukrainians and Belarusians had been escaping the Nazi-occupied major cities (including Kiev, Poltava, etc.) in order to get out. Predominantly, however, they were literally snatched off the streets into trucks at gunpoint (as was the case with my mother and grandmother who were moved to somewhere outside of Lviv/Lvov before being shunted off to Germany), then moved to designated stations around what had previously been Polish territory: that is, precisely the areas you are discussing. What seems to have happened is that there's been a misunderstanding as to who was being rounded up and where they came from. The Polish census is irrelevant here because it was not locals being 'rounded up' (although there would certainly have been locals in the mix), but Central and Eastern Ukrainians en route as Ostarbeiter (hence the description of these poor folk being from Central and Eastern Ukraine). --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:26, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
Oh, as a postscript, I'd recommend Kuznetsov's post-censorship version of "Babi Yar" for an intricate snapshot of what was happening. What's up with that article? Talk about WP:WINARS. The intro is absolute SYNTH! The majority of the novel does not deal with the 2 day massacre: it's the pivoting point from which Kuznetsov elaborates on his first-hand experience of the war with far more issues being explored and elaborated on. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:37, 19 January 2018 (UTC)