Dragvoll, Edvard Bulls veg 1, Bygg 6 * 6551

Background and activities

PhD candidate at the Department of Historical Studies. Diploma in political science from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

 

Fields of research:

  • History of National Socialism
  • Economic history
  • Forced labour
  • Organisation Todt
  • Building industry in the "Third Reich"
  • Occupied Norway, 1940-45

 

PhD project:

My thesis assesses the relation between state and industry in the building sector under the National Socialist regime. I focus on the para-military building organisation of the "Third Reich", Organisation Todt (OT), and the private building companies working for the organisation.

During World War II, occupied Europe became the scene of gigantic construction projects which aimed to ensure the German rule both militarily and economically. Gun emplacements, bunkers, roads and railways should protect the occupied countries from an Allied invasion and integrate them into a European "Großraumwirtschaft" dominated by the German Reich. Under these circumstances, construction became the all-dominant sector in many countries. My thesis focuses on the Scandinavian branch of the OT, Einsatzgruppe Wiking, and the German building companies that came to Norway during the occupation.

Organisation Todt was the central protagonist in planning and administrating building projects in Norway as it controlled the allocation of forced labour and building materials to the construction sites. However, the works itself were carried out by private building firms that brought their skilled workers and equipment along. More than 300 German building companies followed the OT to Norway and their expertise was crucial to the organisation. They were also closely involved in OT's system of forced labour: not only by profiting from the exploitation of forced labourers, but also by taking over supervisory and disciplinary tasks on the building sites. These firms were an indispensable part of the OT that can be seen as the amalgamation of public administration and private building industry in the Third Reich. However, we know very little about how this cooperation came about. Were the companies forced to follow the OT northwards or did the organisation prefer contractual incentives?

Hence, the central research question of the thesis is: How did cooperation work between the OT and the private building industry in occupied Norway and to what degree could the building companies maintain their entrepreneurial freedom of action within this relation?

 

Publications:

Gogl, Simon (forthcoming), "The German Building Industry in Norway: The Case of Strabag", in Andersen, Ketil G., Hans Otto Frøland and Mats Ingulstad: Einsatzgruppe Wiking. Organisation Todt in Scandinavia during WW II.