2 min reading time
Story 115 – 1944 – People

More than just a robust formality

Company badges provide security as well as identification

From 1944 onwards, company ID cards with photo and signature regulated access to the Wieland works. However, they were also coveted tickets to a "working home" with which many employees proudly identified.

The reasons why Wieland introduced elaborate employee ID cards with photo in the 1940s were certainly to be found in the Second World War. Classified as a "company important to the war effort", the company had to ensure, by order of the Nazi authorities, that no unauthorized persons entered the factory premises. Particularly since secrecy and security aspects had already previously suggested that employees should be identified as such.

Elaborate ID cards were being introduced which were conspicuous for their stable metal frame alone. A pressed eyelet was set in the middle of the photo of the employee, which was supposed to make forgery more difficult. On the reverse side was an unmistakable warning against misuse: "Handing over the ID card to unauthorized persons will result in criminal prosecution". In addition, it was required that the identity card be carried at all times during the period of service and that its loss be reported immediately. Anyone who did not return his or her ID card unsolicited after termination of employment was liable to prosecution.

The ID cards, signed by the employees in two places, could be worn clearly visible on the work clothes thanks to the eyelet. And apparently they were mostly not seen as an "annoying evil", but also as a visible proof of affiliation and identification. Being part of the "Wieland family" and having found not only a job but a "home" with the company filled most "Wielanders" with pride. This also explains why even today many families carefully keep their parents' or grandparents' old company ID cards - not only because of the nostalgic photos.

The reverse side not only listed strict rules for handling the ID card, but also named the employee's plant and department.