The architectural policy of the SS, 1936-1945 / Paul Bourquin Jasko
Includes bibliographical references: (p 281-292)
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The dissertation analyses the production of building materials for the monumental architectural projects of National Socialist Germany in the forced-labor concentration camps under the control of the SS (Schutzstaffel). Three historical components are examined throughout the inquiry: the architectural policy of the Party and state, the political goals enacted through the concentration camps, and the SS economic enterprises dependent on the forced labor in the camps. I argue that the SS used economic enterprises to link its steadily increasing political authority to the privileged position of architectural policy in National Socialist Germany. The SS reorganized the concentration camp system after 1936 around the production of building materials. My study begins with this reorganization and analyses Heinrich Himmler's interest (carried out by his administrative chief, Oswald Pohl) in making the camps economically powerful. Pohl's administration of the German Earth and Stone Works (Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke (DEST)) proved most successful in the early years of World War II because of the influx of political prisoners and opportunities for peacetime commissions. The expansion of economic policy is exemplified by those camps whose output was directed towards stone contracts for the Reich Party Rally Grounds complex in Nuremberg. With Nuremberg, the SS attempted to make forced labor indispensable to architectural policy. Furthermore, an investigation of relations between the SS and Albert Speer's office of the Inspector General of Building for the Reich Capital Berlin indicates how the SS took advantage of architectural policy and, conversely, how architects like Speer called on the SS in order to carry out their plans. The dissertation also covers what ideological and political function architecture served for the SS itself. As camp construction in particular depended on forced labor, an analysis of the building process at KL Flossenburg and KL Mauthausen testifies to the direct connection at the camp site between punitive policy and architecture. Understanding the relationship between cultural and punitive policy contributes to an analysis of the political function of architecture and the development of concentration camps in National Socialist Germany.
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