The incredible capacity of the human spirit to overcome hardship was on display at Adamstown on Sunday.
A celebration was held to mark the survival of Ukrainians who were enslaved by the Nazis as teenagers in World War II.
The event, which marked the 70th anniversary of migrants arriving at Newcastle Port, also celebrated the preservation of Ukranian culture and language.
The migrants were refugees who came to Australia on a ship called the Fairsea in 1949. They lived at Greta Migrant Camp with their kids.
Host Tania McPhee said about 90 people attended the event at Ukrainian Catholic Church, including about 10 who came on the Fairsea.
After the war, the Russians occupied Ukraine. The refugees couldn't return to their homeland as their lives would have been threatened.
Records show about 2.2 million people were taken from Ukraine to Germany as slave labourers.
The Nazis had promised them "protection from the Russians", but they worked an average of 12 hours a day, six days a week.
These people were known as Ostarbeiter [eastern workers].
In all, about 3 million to 5.5 million people were taken from central and eastern Europe to Germany as slave labourers.
Many were under 16, as those older were usually conscripted into war service in Germany.
A third were as young as 12 to 14 years of age when they were removed from their homes.
Later in the war, children as young as 10 were sent to Germany for forced work.
About half of these eastern workers were female. Many were raped.
The workers received food rations and were forced to live in prison camps. Many died from starvation, overwork, bombings, abuse and execution.
After the war, more than 2.5 million of the workers were liberated.
Those who returned to the Soviet Bloc were persecuted and sent to gulags.
The Americans banned the repatriation of eastern workers in October 1945. This led to many workers being sent as refugees to countries including the US, Australia, Canada, Argentina and Brazil.
In 2000, the German government and thousands of German companies made a compensation payment of more than 5 billion euros to the Ostarbeiter victims of the Nazi regime.
The former forced laborers were each eligible for around 7700 euros.
Although it was largely a symbolic payment, the money did help elderly and needy people.