The exhibition contains the images of Korea encouraging the overseas employment for economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s and the Korean people's arduous days with blood and sweat.
Korea Overseas Development Corporation (KODC)
In the 1960s, the economy of the Republic of Korea (hereafter, Korea) was heavily relied on the agricultural sector and infrastructure was still in a poor shape. To stimulate the economy, the Korean government took the initiative in pursuing economic growth. This meant that the government needed external funds to finance its domestic development programs. Against this backdrop, the Korea Overseas Development Corporation (KODC) was established under the slogan of "Planting Korea's seeds across the world" on June 10, 1965.
Recruitment of Workers Sent to West Germany
In 1960s and 1970s, jobs were scarce in Korea. Even university graduates had difficulty in getting a decent job. With so many people lining up behind a job, a program to dispatch workers to mines in West Germany gained in popularity. At that time, applicants should be male and aged between 20 and 35 with at least one year of experience in mines. However, there was almost no one who had previous experiences in mines. In its early days, many youngsters, including university graduates, applied for the job to make money and fulfill their dream in the future.
Korean miners worked 1,200m underground. Covered in sweat and dirts all day, they carried bags of coal as heavy as they were.
Some miners could not safely make out of mines. Methane gas explosion that resulted in the collapse of mines and accidents involving mining equipment claimed the lives of young Korean miners.
The Economic Planning Board sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Health and Society regarding the conditions of nurses dispatched to West Germany to find out whether there is a need for an intergovernmental agreement for deployment of nurses and whether West Germany covers travel expenses of Korean nurses.
Language difference and home sickness did not stop Korean miners and nurses from working diligently. In addition, rather than spending money for themselves, they sent remittances amounting to USD 100 million to their families and loved ones back in Korea.
At the time, Korea was in desperate need for foreign currency and the remittances sent by them served as seed money for Korea to achieve rapid economic growth.
President's Visit to West Germany
At the invitation of Karl Heinrich Lübke, the President of West Germany, the Korean President Chung-hee Park visited West Germany on December 6, 1964. The official purpose of the presidential visit was to observe the Miracle on the Rhine and learn lessons from West Germany to explore ways for Korea to move ahead.
Exhibition Curator l Ran Ro