Abstract: Building Hitler's Europe: Forced Labor at Danish Cement Factories and Building Contractors in Germany and German-Occupied Territories, 1939-1945

Joachim Lund


The paper examines a number of cases in which companies based in German-occupied Denmark were engaged in business activity in Germany and German-occupied territories during the Second World War, carrying out various tasks for the German authorities with the use of forced and slave labor. It focuses on two highly internationalized companies: the large, monopolistic cement corporation F.L. Smidth &amp; Co. A/S and its long-time business partner, leading building contractor Højgaard &amp; Schultz A/S. The purpose of the paper is to present new empirical evidence on the question of forced and slave labor within the European <i>Grossraumwirtschaft</i> under German domination and to contribute to the ongoing discussion about the relationship between business and politics during dictatorship, war, and occupation. The paper thus describes how the two significant Danish companies continued operating in Germany, the Polish General Government, military occupied Serbia, and the Estonian areas of the <i>Reichskommissariat Ostland</i> in spite of the war. The findings illuminate the close connection between political and economic collaboration.