History and responsibility – The Wieland-Werke 1933–45

The war years of the Second World War were also a difficult time for Wieland-Werke AG, and the company has historically been aware of its responsibility during this time. As a manufacturer of non-ferrous semi-finished products Wieland was given preferential treatment by the authorities, but still had to work tirelessly for the continued existence and protection of the company and its employees.

3 min reading time
Story 186 – 1945 – People

Destruction put into words

One employee remembers the bombing in 1945

An employee put his experiences of the air raid on March 1, 1945 on paper in detail – and thus left behind a depressive eyewitness account that still speaks for itself today.

"Today is a beautiful cloudless early spring day. Such beautiful days are often used for attacks lately. But one is always a little bit confident and does not really believe in another major attack on Ulm, because the attack on September 17, 1944 had already done a good job in the city center".

"What makes us a little bit pensive is the fact that the entire industrial area in the east of the city has so far been spared attacks. Actually, the air raid siren sounds a few minutes before 1:00 p.m. Above Schelklingen, further units are already being reported flyting towards the east. That report has hardly been received when several detonations are already shaking the cellar. The wooden screens attached to the windows are torn open, the light goes out and from the room opposite us one can already hear cries for help".

"Rapid assistance is urgently needed. An explosive bomb has hit the courtyard between buildings 5 and 13 and dented the wall of the air-raid shelter. The two fire guards can be quickly brought out from under the rubble [...]. The Dutchman Jan Don is the third to be recovered, unfortunately only as a corpse".

"The whole attack lasted about 45 minutes. When we can finally leave the shelter via the emergency exit, [...] a bleak picture presents itself to us. The carpenter's workshop opposite, with its crate shed and board store, is burning brightly. My path [...] leads me to the administration building. Here, too, a bleak picture. The entrance hall is littered with fallen plaster, debris from the door panels and the metal doors. [...] The attic of the administration building and the next floor of the old part are in flames."

"With many detours [...] our Voehringen fire brigade comes to our aid. In the meantime, major fires have broken out in the roof of hall 23, and the many boxes stored on the dispatch ramp inside the hall provide a rich source of fuel".

"Active firefighting continues until about 2 a.m. During a tour we discover that our hall [...] has suffered major damage from bomb hits. The road between building 18 and the heat treatment facility are also completely impassable and covered with debris up to about 1 m in height. A long time after the clean-up work has already begun, large quantities of stick incendiary bombs are still being found".

Ulm factory after bombing raid

More than 70 percent of all buildings of the Ulm plant were damaged in the bombing raid on March 1, 1945.

Ulm factory after bombing raid

The production came to a complete standstill after the bombing, partly because of lack of materials and electricity.

Aerial view Ulm factory after bombing raid

A few days after the air raid, American air reconnaissance took this photo. The Wieland area at the upper edge of the picture is marked for documentation purposes.