Jan Bazuin – Journal of a Forced Laborer

Published in Verlag C.H. Beck

The journal entries of the nineteen-year-old Dutchman Jan Hendrik Bazuin, who was a forced laborer in Neuaubing between January and April 1945, were published as a book by Verlag C.H.Beck on February 17, 2022. The journal is a highly unusual source that was discovered only recently. It is one of the few preserved contemporary testimonies written from the perspective of the millions of people who were deployed as forced laborers by the Nazi regime during World War II. This lucky find has now been published with illustrations by the Munich cartoon artist Barbara Yelin. It is edited by Paul-Moritz Rabe, head of Research and Publications at the Munich Documentation Center and project manager of the Neuaubing Memorial Site.

Rotterdam, autumn 1944: Every day, nineteen-year-old Jan Bazuin struggles to "organize" fuel and food as the city experiences cold and famine. His only consolation is his girlfriend Annie. But in early January 1945 everything changes. Jan is deported to Bavaria to perform forced labor.  

The journal of the young Dutchman Jan Bazuin evinces a surprisingly authentic, youthful, and—even in times of great hardship—optimistic tone. It ends on April 23, 1945, shortly after Jan's risky escape from the camp in Munich-Neuaubing, from the very place, in other words, where the Documentation Center is currently planning its new memorial site.  

As an intense and unconditional portrayal of how a teenager experienced deportation and toiling in a labor camp in the final months of World War II the text is an important resource for researchers. Barbara Yelin's illustrations of the brief, sober notes lend the events they describe an impressive presence. An afterword by Paul-Moritz Rabe sets this important book, which is far more than just teenage literature, in context.

Jan Bazuin, Tagebuch eines Zwangsarbeiters

159 pp. with many colored illustrations and images.
Verlag C.H .Beck, 2022

Review copies can be obtained from the press office of Verlag C.H. Beck: