PDF Subscribe


To help stop the spread of coronavirus, our museum, library and archives are temporarily closed. We will keep you posted when we reopen. Back soon!

Susanne Barth

Junior Fellow (10/2015 - 05/2013)

The Oberschlesische Hydrierwerke AG and the Auschwitz Subcamp of Blechhammer 1939-1945

barthBased on newly accessible source material, this project investigates the history of the Oberschlesische Hydrierwerke AG, a synthetic fuel plant founded in Blechhammer (Upper Silesia) by the Reich Office for Economic Development in 1939. Along with nearly 20,000 foreign and forced labourers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe and Allied prisoners of war, Jewish inmates were made to work on the construction site. A forced labour camp for Jews was set up by the Reichsautobahn in March 1942. When it was taken over by Auschwitz in April 1944, it became its second-largest subcamp with a prisoner population of 4,000-6,000. This project examines the plant’s ideological and economic function in war-time Upper Silesia as well as the industrial elite’s co-operation with the Schmelt organisation and the Auschwitz extermination camp, while at the same time trying to reconstruct the daily life and suffering of Blechhammer prisoners.


Susanne Barth is a PhD candidate at the University of Oldenburg (Germany), from where she also received a Master’s degree in History and Political Science. In 2012, she was an EHRI-Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD) in Amsterdam and a Saul Kagan Claims Conference Academic Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies in 2012-13. Her main research interests are forced labour and social histories of the camps.

December 2021
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2

The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


bmbwf en 179


wienkultur 179


 BKA Logo srgb