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Aug 18

In autumn 1938, even before the conerstone of the VW factory in Wolfsburg has been laid, the Vorwerk in Braunschweig started operation. The goals of this facility were the education of skilled workers for the service and production of the Volkswagen as well as the production of special tools for the VW factory.
The decision to build a new factory for the production of the KdF-Wagen enabled the regime to select and train the future staff according to their own measures and requirements.

From the beginning it was made clear, that this is an elitist facility. The selected trainees went through a elaborated training program in well equipped workshops.
The selection of the trainees followed strict guidelines, therfore no one was bothered about the holistic approach of the training. Beside the technical skills, sports and politics were part of the training porgram. The tone was military and the training methods were performance oriented and selective.
Ley besucht das VorwerkThe goal wasn´t only to train the technical knowledge, the trainees were trained to be the future leaders of the VW staff. As the apprentices came from all over germany and occupied countries (f.e. Austria, Norway), the Vorwerk has its own residential home that was under the control of the HJ (Hitlerjugend).

The history of the Vorwerk is closely connected to the fate of the Hitlerjungen Solomon, Solomon Perel. During his escape form the germans he was captured by a german army unit in russia. He claimed to be a Volksdeutscher (german living outside of germany) and followed the unit as a translator. The commandant promoted him for a training in the Vorwerk. Because of his expieriences at the front, he became a HJ ScharfĂĽhrer and was responsible for a couple of comrades. It is hard to imagine how he managed to deal with this situation. He wrote a book about his experiences, from which they made a movie with the title “Europa Europa”.

The statistics of the chamber of commerce shows that the results of the Vorwerk trainees exams were outstanding. The very best apprentices were rewarded with a KdF-Wagen full saving card. From 1941 the exams results diminished, because the Vorwerk was increasingly used for production purposes. A normal eduction was not possible anymore, because most of the teachers were conscripted.

On the area of the Vorwerk today the VW factory for chassis parts is situated. Some of the Vorwerk buildings are still in use (see red markings).

Related links (german only, but nice pictures):
Ganzheitliche Facharbeiterausbildung im Volkswagen-Vorwerk Braunschweig – Best Practice-Beispiel der Deutschen Arbeitsfront
VW Vorwerk

1 comment to “1938 - The VW Vorwerk Braunschweig”

  1. Vom Vorwerk zum Fahrwerk » KdF-Wagen writes:

    [...] Another publication from Volkswagen for free download. Sorry, haven´t found an english translation. Main topic is the history of the Volkswagen plant in Braunschweig that evolved from the “Vorwerk” [...]

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