Customers and employees the world over can identify with Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft through its history. The Corporate Archives in Wolfsburg provide the tools for this journey of discovery. The archives only store documents of genuine significance, and make them available for research and other uses. Almost five kilometres of files, nearly a million photos, 1,800 films, 70,000 publications and 15,000 drawings as well as digital data are housed in the archives. This material is the starting point for writing history and the foundation for legal authentication. It is the source of answers to questions on the history of Volkswagen, its products, plants and employees. Access to the documents in the Corporate Archives released for public use is possible by prior arrangement.
Place of Remembrance
The “Place of Remembrance of Forced Labour in the Volkswagen Factory” is a permanent exhibition, opened in 1999 and housed in a former air raid bunker at the plant in Wolfsburg. The documents, photos, eye witness accounts and items loaned by victims convey a detailed insight into the scale of forced labour and the extent of the company’s involvement in the National Socialist war economy. The exhibition is divided into six rooms. Room 1 contrasts the socio-utopian dream of mass motorisation with the beginnings of forced labour in the Volkswagen plant at that time. The expansion of arms production and the systematisation of forced labour are documented in Room 2. Room 3 is devoted to the topic of concentration camp prisoners. The decentralisation of arms production and its relocation to underground facilities in 1944/45 is dealt with in Room 4, with special attention given to the liberation of the forced labourers. Room 5 is dedicated to remembrance: eye witness accounts are presented in lightboxes and you can listen to recordings at the audio station. Room 6 analyses the company’s history during the National Socialist period. The exhibition can be visited by prior arrangement.
A catalogue on the exhibition is available as a book in German or English. It can also be downloaded for free.
Heritage / Volkswagen Communication
Volkswagen examines a wide range of aspects of its corporate history in numerous publications. For instance, the “Historical Notes” (Historische Notate – HN) series includes eye witness accounts of former forced labourers and publications on the post-war period as well as on various topics relating to the company’s history. The regularly updated Chronicle is also published here in print.
Scientific presentations on various themes relating to the Group’s history are published in a series entitled “Research, Positions, Documents” (Forschungen Positionen Dokumente – FPD). The history of legendary Volkswagen models as well as individual divisions are frequently highlighted in no particular order and separately from the series.
In addition to the printed books, audio books and a DVD have also been released.
The publications are available in German and some in English as well. They are available as books and can also be downloaded for free.
Historical Study: "VW do Brasil in the Brazilian Military Dictatorship 1964 -1985"
Volume 9: From the Beetle to a Global Player
Volume 8: Changing Lanes Under British Command
Volume 7: Volkswagen Chronicle
Volume 6: Volkswagen Financial Services AG
Volume 5: Work Exhibition 1
Volume 4: Ivan Hirst
Volume 3: Surviving in Fear
Volume 2: The British and Their Works
Volume 1: Learning from History
Klaus Kocks/Hans-Jürgen Uhl
Learning from History.
Comments on Efforts by Volkswagen’s Workforce, Labor Representatives, Executives, and Corporate Management to Come to Terms with the Issue of Forced Labor During the Third Reich
(Out of print)
Catalogue: Place of Remembrance of Forced Labor in the Volkswagen Factory