The Adlerwerke was a traditional company in Frankfurt am Main. For about 120 years, the factory shaped life and work in the Gallus district of Frankfurt. Bicycles, typewriters, cars, motorbikes and armaments were produced here.
In 1938, the Adlerwerke expanded their factory premises. In doing so, they profited from the expulsion of those persecuted as Jews from the German Reich. They took over the land, which was located between two production sites in Kleyerstrasse, from four Jewish entrepreneurs. The management of the Adlerwerke was thus a direct beneficiary of the Nazi state's "aryanisation policy".
During the Second World War, the Adlerwerke were closely involved in the armaments economy of the Nazi dictatorship. They mainly produced half-track vehicles, engines and vehicle parts for the Wehrmacht. As the shortage of labour became more and more problematic due to the war, the factory management increasingly tried to continue production by exploiting forced labourers. Since 1941, foreign civilian workers and prisoners of war had to work in the factory. In August 1944, the "Katzbach" concentration camp was set up on the factory grounds as a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp.
On 22 August 1944, the first 200 concentration camp prisoners from Buchenwald concentration camp arrived as a construction detachment. A short time later, the Adlerwerke labour engineer, Viktor Heitlinger, went to the Dachau concentration camp to select 1,000 concentration camp prisoners for Frankfurt.
A total of 1,616 concentration camp prisoners had to work for the Adlerwerke. The majority of these men came from Poland, were arrested during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and subsequently deported to German concentration camps. Other prisoners came from the Soviet Union, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, France and Czechoslovakia. A third of the prisoners died in Frankfurt, others after being transferred to other concentration camps or on the death march towards Buchenwald.
The "Adlerwerke History Site: Factory, Forced Labour, Concentration Camp" with its permanent exhibition and educational offers is particularly dedicated to the topics of forced labour in Frankfurt and the "Katzbach" concentration camp in the Adlerwerke.
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