Sicily, like much of the South, with the sole exception of the province of Bari, did not witness “voluntary” emigration to the Reich until 1940.
In the first recruitments of farm workers, in fact, the Germans sought skilled labour for the cultivation of beets and potatoes.
Only later, from 1941 onwards, did pressure from the south for the employment of their own labourers finally lead to quotas from the South also for farming work. Also from 1940 onwards, the German requests for construction, mining, and shipbuilding labour would similarly target the South.
Sicily above all witnessed departures of construction workers and miners, the latter coming from the centre-west, especially the provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta and Enna.
A total of over 18,000 Sicilians were sent across the Alps.


The specific situation of Calabria and Sicily regarding recruitment for work in the Reich.

The reasons for worker recruitment and its peak in Calabria, Sicily, and the Turin area.

by Giovanna D'Amico