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To meet incessant German labor demands, the Jewish council established a Labor Office. As of December 1941, all Jews over the age of 16 had to work, most in regimented brigades outside ghetto boundaries. One-quarter of the ghetto--half of all men and women able to work--were marched to labor sites throughout the city. The largest and most dreaded work site was the military airfield in the suburb of Aleksotas, two and a half miles away. Kovno's Jews walked to Aleksotas in all types of weather without adequate clothing and footwear. During 12-hour shifts they dug tunnels, hauled concrete, and loaded and unloaded aircraft. Many ghetto residents could not withstand the harsh conditions of the labor brigades. The council gave them less strenuous work within ghetto workshops to save their lives. The workshops manufactured, laundered, and repaired uniforms and supplies for the German war effort. In an act of sabotage, the workshops also secretly funneled clothing, mess kits, and soap to the ghetto population.
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Work assignment slip
Work assignment slip
Work assignment slip
Work assignment slip
Work assignment slip
Work assignment slip
Forced labor
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Work brigades
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