The Second World War

Due to its proximity to the front, at the beginning of the Second World War, the Völklingen Ironworks had to vacate its premises. On 30th January 1938, Hermann Göring appointed Hermann Röchling to the position of Wehrwirtschaftsführer (approximating a title of one of its 'war industry leaders'). The shortage in manpower led to the temporary closure of the ironworks in March 1939. However, by the end of 1939 production began again. By October that year four blast furnaces were in full operation.

Production was switched to war materials: gun barrels, grenades and aeroplane parts. From the early summer of 1940, forced labour and prisoners of war were used in the Röchling works. As the front edged ever closer, in autumn 1940 production at the Völklingen Ironworks was reduced. A skeleton staff of 2 to 3 hundred remained at the works. Carl Theodor Röchling, Herrmann’s son and heir was murdered in the ironworks in December 1944. In the last few months of the war the Völklingen Ironworks was not spared from destruction, but the damages were actually not as great as those of other ironworks on the Saar.

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