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Historical Exhibit 1938-1945 – voestalpine opens place of remembrance

30 October 2014 | 

In a new permanent exhibit voestalpine considers the fate of laborers under the National Socialist regime, forced to work at the Reichswerke Hermann Göring in Linz, the site of today’s voestalpine Group headquarters. The exhibit is based on recent research as well as an examination of 38,000 National Socialist personnel files and salary slips. The historical exhibit marks another important step in voestalpine’s process of appraisal of National Socialism, coming to grips with its own past and accepting responsibility for its own history.

On October 31, voestalpine opens the Historical Exhibit 1938-1945 at its Linz headquarters. The exhibit is dedicated to the forced laborers of the NS regime working for the Reichswerke Hermann Göring AG Berlin at the voestalpine site in Linz. As a new section of voestalpine Stahlwelt, from November 3 onwards this permanent public exhibit will constitute a place of remembrance in Linz for the forced labor during the NS regime. “It was a painful learning process to look into the years of National Socialism from 1938 to 1945, and at the same time to accept that this was the period in which our company history starts. However, there is no alternative to the historical truth,” says Dr. Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of voestalpine AG, explaining the Group’s responsibility to face up to its own past.

The idea for this exhibit was triggered by Austria’s largest post-war historical discovery: more than 38,000 personnel files and salary slips dating back to the National Socialist period. These documents formed the basis for a research project into the company’s history, throwing new light onto the inhuman history of forced labor at the Hermann Göring Werke. The voestalpine Group commissioned an independent team of scientists with the project, and the results were published in a two volume work in 2001. Together with recent findings, these results form the basis for the permanent exhibit at voestalpine Group headquarters in Linz. Consequently, the historical exhibit is another key part of the Group’s coming to terms with its NS past. The process started in 2001 with the setting up of the voestalpine Corporate History and Documentation Center which undertakes numerous research and documentation activities in this field. voestalpine is the first Austrian company to dedicate a permanent exhibit to the subject of forced labor.

Permanent exhibit of the voestalpine Stahlwelt

The historical exhibit is a joint project run by voestalpine AG and voestalpine Stahlwelt GmbH which, since 2009, has offered visitors a unique journey of discovery into steel production and processing, steel products and steel successes. Chronologically, the exhibit covers the period from the founding in 1938 of the Hermann Göring Werke in Linz, a subsidiary of the Reichswerke Hermann Göring AG Berlin, to the role of the iron and steelworks as a key constituent of the National Socialist arms industry, and through to the situation of the victims and perpetrators after 1945. The 350 m² exhibition space is divided into four consecutive areas in which multimedia stations, audio documents, images, and a wide range of explanations outline the lives and suffering of countless thousands of forced laborers – youngsters and children from more than 30 countries. The exhibits cover NS systematization of forced labor and the recruiting of foreign workers, the two concentration camps on the plant grounds, facets and instruments of arbitrariness and suppression, and individual fates. “Setting up a permanent and public historical exhibit is an ongoing sign of respect for the fate of those forced laborers who were responsible for building and operating the site in Linz during the NS period under unimaginable conditions,” Eder concludes.

Guided tours with special educational programs have been designed particularly for school classes, with teaching materials provided free of charge to prepare groups before visiting the exhibit.

Opening hours for the Historical Exhibit:
Registered groups of at least 15 in the party: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. & Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Individual visitors: Friday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. & Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Entrance fees:
Per-person entrance fee EUR 8.00, discounted EUR 6.00
Students in classes EUR 2.00
Exhibition website:

The voestalpine Group

The voestalpine Group is a steel-based technology and capital goods group that operates worldwide. With around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries and on all five continents, the Group has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products, the Group is one of the leading partners to the automotive and consumer goods industries in Europe and to the oil and gas industries worldwide. The voestalpine Group is also the world market leader in turnout technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections. In the business year 2013/14, the voestalpine Group reported revenue of EUR 11.2 billion and an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.4 billion; it had around 48,100 employees worldwide.