Blog: Dave LeggettVolkswagen’s rather black period

Dave Leggett | 5 December 2007

Someone has sent me an extract from a Volkswagen press release that touches on the delicate subject of forced labour in Germany during WWII. The person who sent it through applauded Volkswagen for tackling the subject, but voiced the concern that the release perhaps lacks the seriousness that the subject might merit. Maybe. 

Sounds like a laudable initiative to me though, at least reminding people of one small but important part of the horrors that took place during WWII – and good to get the experiences of victims documented for people, especially young people, to hear.

Telling the true story about forced labor at the Volkswagenwerk.

First audio book of recollections from twelve eye witnesses.

Eye-witness accounts of former forced laborers give authentic access to living and working conditions at the Volkswagenwerk and the former “Stadt des KdF-Wagens”. For the first time in the form of an audio book, twelve forced laborers from several European countries recall everyday life and their survival strategies at the armaments factory on the ‘Mittellandkanal’.

According to Manfred Grieger, Head of the Corporate History Department at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, “we are continuing with our work to preserve these memories and hope to stimulate the interest of young people as well with this audio book”.

Michael Riffel, Executive of the General and Group Works Council at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, underlined that “this audio book brings home the immediacy of the victims’ experiences in a unique way”.

The 2-CD audio book with a listening time of 145 minutes was scripted, directed and produced by Gilbert Holzgang (Theater Zeitraum Braunschweig) and the pianist Jan-Heie Erchinger (Jazzkantine). The texts are taken from the eye-witness accounts forming part of the “Historical Notes” series published by the Corporate History Department, the most recent being “Olga and Piet. A love under two dictatorships”, which appeared in 2006. The audio book is available from bookshops for 14.90 €.


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