Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A bit of history

Theres an employment fair in the university today, where various companies spread out their nets for enhgeneers and computer people (believe me, I looked, there's nothing for anyone else in there). Amungst the booths was a booth by Siemens, with the usual bumbling recruitment people and free candy to lure hungry peniless students into the flytrap. I approached one of the salesmen recruitment guys and asked him if he knew Siemens had factories in Auschwitz, Ravensbruck and was a general employer of forced labor and nazification during the second world war, that they actually produced crematoriums for Buchenwald. His answer was, after a small awkward silence, "uh....they don't do that anymore".
Yeah, Allies troops can do that to you sometimes...shame, isn't it?

Just for further reading, here's Siemens' official declaration of the subject in their website:

From 1933, National Socialist economic policy pursued two primary goals: combating unemployment and “militarization of the German economy.” 'combating unemployment is a funny way of saying 'firing jews and hiring gentiles A four-year plan was instituted in 1936 to ready the economy and the armed forces for war within the space of a few years. Like other sectors, the electrical industry received an increasing number of orders from public offices and was drawn into the program of war preparations. This development marked the onset of a phase of rapid growth that continued through to the end of World War II So, nazis are good for business, eh?.

Following its invasion of Poland in 1939, Germany embarked on a gradual transition to a war economy. The state restricted and even prohibited the production of certain civilian goods and requisites, and military conscription led to a widening shortage of labor.
gee, you could have solved that by putting women into factories like the US, UK and Soviets did...or you can just put the women in the army, like the soviets, but women in the nazi idea was a baby factory (and the occasional guard dog when needed in camps) but never anything more useful than that... As a result, an increasing number of foreign civilians – men and women – were employed in manufacturing. Initially, they chose to work of their own free will re-writing history, ladies and gentlemen, is not just a Soviet feature; capitalists do it too ^_^. Later, though, many were forced into labor. They worked throughout German industry – in the manufacturing sector, in public services, and in agriculture. By the winter of 1941-42, the German economy had become entirely dependent on forced labor.

In late 1944, at the height of World War II, Siemens’ total workforce of 244,000 included some 50,000 people who had been put to work against their will. The overall number of men and women who served as forced labor at Siemens during the war years was, however, higher.
No actual numbers and the number which do exist, I don't know of a source that can approve them, but that's something that can be checked

During the final years of the war, numerous plants and factories in Berlin and other major cities were destroyed by Allied air raids. To prevent further losses, manufacturing was therefore moved to alternative places and regions not affected by the air war.
Like Poland? that was before 1944-1945... The goal was to secure continued production of important war-related and everyday goods. According to records, Siemens was operating almost 400 alternative or relocated manufacturing plants at the end of 1944 and in early 1945.

Germany’s political, military and economic collapse led to the closure of Siemens’ plants in Berlin on April 20, 1945. By the time the war came to an end, the greater part of Siemens’ buildings and industrial installations had been completely destroyed. The company’s overall losses resulting from World War II amounted to 2.58 billion reichsmarks – four-fifths of its total assets.
Makes you cry, doesn't it? I mean, they were at a horrible loss, horrible, you see; they're the victims here, the army used them, the poor things.


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