Korea’s Economic Growth Contributions from
Dispatched Korean Nurses and Miners in Germany
In accordance with the commission’s findings, Korean miners were recruited and dispatched to Germany. The Korean government was involved in both their recruitment and dispatch. A total of 7,936 Korean miners were relocated to Germany between 1963 and 1977. In the case of nurses, a total of 10,723 registered Korean nurses were dispatched to Germany beginning in the late 1950s until 1976. The Korean government also played roles in the later stage of this period.
Between 1965 and 1975, the Korean miners and registered nurses in Germany wired a total of USD 101,530,000 back to Korea, which comprised 1.6%, 1.9% and 1.8% of Korea’s total export amount in 1965, 1966, and 1967, respectively.
Considering that the foreign exchange rate was 100% and the earned dollars in the past were valued much higher than today, the Korean miners and nurses in Germany are estimated to have greatly contributed to Korea’s economic growth.
The commission found it untrue that the Korean government received commercial loans successfully from Germany in return for forcefully depositing the Korean miners and registered nurses’ income in Commerz Bank in Germany.
From Korea’s total commercial loan of DM 150,000,000 from Germany, the German government issued DM 75,000,000 under the “Protocol concerning Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Korea and Germany” to guarantee the invoice payments of imported German industrial facilities.
It was also found that approximately 60% of the dispatched Korean miners and nurses have resided in Germany and other nations, and contributed greatly in forming and developing Korean communities in their respective residing nations.
The commission’s findings report the dispatch of Korean miners and registered nurses to Germany was considered to be the Korean government’s first attempt to relocate Korea’s workforce overseas. Its impact on Korea’s economic growth has been greatly underestimated and inadequately documented.
A significant finding reveals that the commercial loan from German was not a result of the German Commerz Bank forcefully holding wages of the dispatched Korean miners and nurses. This was found to be false.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Republic of Korea, hereby, recommended the Korean government to collect relevant documents and make full use of them for educational purposes, as well as to take adequate actions to prevent the spread of false information in this regard.