NS salary slips and personnel files in the Documentation Center of voestalpine; source: voestalpine Stahlwelt GmbH

Brick logo of Reichswerke Hermann Göring AG Berlin, originally incorporated in the wall of Plant Building No. 4. Now inlaid in the floor of the exhibit. Source: voestalpine Stahlwelt GmbH

Introduction and motivation

Exhibit background

It is the sincere desire of voestalpine that the historical museum covering the time period between 1938 and 1945 will adequately remember the forced laborers under the NS regime and Reichswerke Hermann Göring in Linz.

Never before had more foreigners worked in Upper Austria than during the NS regime: forced laborers citizens from foreign countries, concentration camp prisoners and prisoners of war. One third of the people employed in 1943 in the Gau of Oberdonau (= Upper Danube, the name of Upper Austria at the time) came from a foreign country. This number was twice as high as in the rest of the German Reich.

Beginning in 1938, an iron and steel works was erected in Linz. It successively went into operation beginning in 1941. The works was not only an over-dimensional prestige object of the NS regime, but it was also an essential contribution to the national-socialistic arms industry. Tens of thousands of foreign forced laborers were used in Linz to build and operate Reichswerke Hermann Göring. Men and women, young people and children came from more than thirty different nations.

The museum is dedicated to these people, whose extremely precarious living and working conditions are in focus. Against their will and under inhuman conditions, these forced laborers created the foundation of an internationally successful group of companies.

Being one step ahead is the mission and philosophy of voestalpine. However, this museum takes a look back at the company's own history. It carefully and comprehensively explores the dark history of the beginning years. Such an museum is in response to the company's own responsibility toward its history. voestalpine is fully aware that the company can truly face the future only when it has come to grips with the past.

Christa Kochendörfer

coordinator Historical exhibit voestalpine

E: christa.kochendoerfer@voestalpine.com

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