Padok Geun Loja

Padok Geun Loja (Korean miners and nurses sent to Germany from the 1960s to the 80s) is a documentary produced by Sunny Chung Lee, Jeanie Lee, James Pierog, Miriam Son (students at Daegu International School in Korea). This documentary is officially titled “Reconstructing Korea’s Crippled Economy: Korean Miners and Nurses in Germany.”

Who were Padok Geun Loja?

In the early 1960s, the Korean government established an economic development plan through industrialization, but its execution was difficult due to lack of foreign capital. In 1963, a Korean delegation for foreign loan negotiations visited West Germany and reached an agreement on commercial loans worth 150 million German marks. Germany wanted these loans to be guaranteed and suggested that if Korea sent 5,000 miners and 2,000 nurses to West Germany, it would lend money on security of their wages. The commercial loans that Korea acquired from West Germany by this scheme were spent on the first 5-year economic plan, invested mainly in industrial sectors. The so called the “Miracle on the Han River” was ignited by this process, and arguably today’s Korean economic prosperity would not have been possible but for these Podok Geun Loja.