GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Italian Guest Workers (1962)
The first treaty between the Federal Republic and Italy on the recruitment and placement of guest workers was signed in 1955. Early on, there were relatively few guest workers in the Federal Republic. That changed in the early 1960s, when the country began recruiting foreign guest workers [Gastarbeiter] in large numbers to help relieve labor shortages in assembly-line industrial production. This photograph shows Italian guest workers arriving in the city of Wolfsburg (Lower Saxony), the home of Volkswagen, in the spring of 1962. The treaty between the Federal Republic and Italy provided the model for similar agreements with other countries, including Spain and Greece (1960), Turkey (1961), and Yugoslavia (1968). Photo by Benno Wundshammer.