Minsk:

German Firms in Occupied Eastern Europe

Photo series from an album of the Daimler facility in Minsk, September 1942.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic, Archive, Stuttgart

Photo series from an album of the Daimler facility in Minsk, September 1942.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic, Archive, Stuttgart

Photo series from an album of the Daimler facility in Minsk, September 1942.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic, Archive, Stuttgart

Photo series from an album of the Daimler facility in Minsk, September 1942.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic, Archive, Stuttgart

Photo series from an album of the Daimler facility in Minsk, September 1942.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic, Archive, Stuttgart

City map of Minsk, January 1942 (revised).

Nearly all German military, administrative, and economic organizations located in the largely destroyed city used local forced laborers. Daimler‘s “Groß-K-Werk” was situated in the southeast, on the premises of the tank regiment‘s barracks.

Source: Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung

Minutes of a meeting of the automotive industry sector, November 1942 (pages 14 and 15).

In the meeting, Daimler manager Otto Hoppe talked to representatives of the automotive industry about the “Groß-K-Werk Minsk.”

Source: Bundesarchiv, Berlin

More on the subject

Munich-Allach: Working for BMW (section of the exhibition)

Minsk: German Firms in Occupied Eastern Europe

In Minsk, a town which had suffered major destruction, Daimler-Benz ran a large repair facility for motorized Wehrmacht vehicles. Together, Daimler and Organisation Todt set up more than thirty repair sheds on the grounds of a ruined military base. With a workforce of five thousand, the facility was soon one of the largest enterprises in occupied Eastern Europe. The management exploited prisoners of war and members of the local population, among them Jews. Laborers were also deported from White Russian villages to the Minsk works as part of the effort to crush the partisan movement.

In the occupied areas of Eastern Europe, many German companies took advantage of the opportunity to take over local firms or establish branch operations. The unlimited availability of laborers was an important factor in their business strategies.

Dr.-Ing. Otto Hoppe

Member of the executive board at Daimler Benz AG
1884 – 1968

As a member of the executive board of Daimler Benz, Otto Hoppe was in charge of the facility Untertürkheim. In 1933, he joined the Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahr-Korps (National Socialist Motor Corps). Under pressure from the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labor Front) and the SS, he was dismissed from the executive board because his wife was Jewish. As an employee of “Büro Werlin” in Berlin, he went on to direct the setup of the “Groß-K-Werke” in the occupied Soviet Union until the end of the war. Holding this position, he was also responsible for the extensive use of forced laborers at the company’s three manufacturing plants. As early as 9 May 1945, he was called back to Daimler’s executive board because he was considered politically unobjectionable.