The artifact this week is a Reich Labor Service pin, awarded to each recipient for helping with the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party) four year plan. The Reich Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst) was a large organization created by the Nazi government in 1934 to help reduce unemployment in Germany, militarize the work force, and teach Nazi ideology. Service in this organization was compulsory and nationwide for all males aged 18-25 for 6 months.
Before the war, the organization took on many projects to improve Germany’s infrastructure, such as reclaiming marshland and fallow land for agriculture, improving draining systems and building dykes and roads. At the start of the war, the organization’s project helped the German war effort and built fortification lines along Germany’s borders. As the war continued, Reich Labor Service workers helped build other fortifications, acted as guards, and cleared and repaired roads and airstrips so supplies could reach Nazi troops.
Interested in seeing more artifacts from Germany's Nazi past? Comment below or visit us at the Camp Algona POW Museum! To read and join a larger discussion on Nazism in Camp Algona see the Historian's corner blog for this week, click here.
-Annette, the intern