The project seeks to re-examine a number of debates about the impact of forced labour during the Second World War on families and societies and to offer a comparative perspective, analyzing the situation in Eastern and Western Europe on the basis of two case studies. It investigates how the war formed and perhaps deformed former forced labourers’ lives in its aftermath, how they attempted to return to „normality“, how they were treated by their respective home-states, societies, and families upon their return, and what political dimensions and social differentiations accompanied this process. Unlike most studies on this topic to date, which have only focused on political discourse, administrative action and statistical trends, the dissertation draws on interviews with former forced labourers, diaries, and other types of personal testimonies. While, clearly, the Netherlands and Belarus faced unique challenges during this time, my research also suggests that there is a similar pattern of development with regard to public representation of the past as well as certain individual experiences. Thus, it revises the overall picture of postwar Europe by pointing to much-neglected similarities as well as to the much-discussed considerable differences.