Memorial site for forced labour in Bahrenfeld
During the Second World War, around 1,500 camps were established in Hamburg for forced labourers, prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates. From 1939 to 1945, roughly 1,000 foreign labourers were imprisoned in huts and camps around Griegstrasse and Friesenweg in Hamburg and forced to work for various local firms.
Working for Hamburg companies
Forced labourers were put to work in small-scale food and construction companies as well in the Oetker marzipan and marmalade factory. Additionally, more than 200 male and female prisoners of war and forced labourers had to work in the Wollgarnfabrik Tittel & Krüger/Sternwoll-Spinnerei AG yarn factory. They were forbidden to have any contact with the residents of Hamburg, and strict regulations governed when they could leave the camp. If any forced labourers were suspected of sabotage, they would be shot by the Gestapo. Nonetheless, some forced labourers were able to make contact with a local resistance group.
Yarn and grenades
Most of the labourers who were forced to work in the yarn factory and spinning mill were families from Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. While the women had to untangle and wind large amounts of yarn for at least 10 hours a day, the men were mainly put to work making grenades.
The Gegen das Vergessen (Lest We Forget) initiative was founded in 2011 in memory of these former forced labourers. With the support of other local organisations and the works council of the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, the group initiated the creation of a memorial site.
On 3 May 2013, an information plaque and a wall sculpture designed by the Hamburg artist Cornelia Dusör were unveiled in the foyer of the Hamburger Morgenpost offices, which were located at Griegstrasse 75 at the time. The sculpture is made up of three overlapping panels and shows a crouching forced labourer surrounded by cogwheels.