After March 1940, Polish civilian laborers were forced to wear a sew-on badge with the letter “P” that was clearly visible on their clothing. The Nazis introduced this in the so-called Polish decrees (“Polen-Erlasse”) in order to monitor whether civilian laborers adhered to the rules that applied to them. For a long time, Poles were forbidden to visit restaurants, were banned from going out at night, and were only allowed to use bicycles and public transport after obtaining permission. There was also a strict ban on contact between Poles and Germans. Polish men who began a sexual relationship with a German woman were sentenced to death or sent to a concentration camp.

Soviet civilian laborers also had to wear a badge. The three letters “OST” in white on a blue background made them instantaneously recognizable to everyone as “Eastern workers” (“Ostarbeiter”). The “Ostarbeiter” decrees laid out tighter special regulations for this group.