In 1938 the SS founded German Earth and Stone Works (DEST), a firm designed to exploit forced labor in order to provide building materials for the construction of Nazi monuments and other grand architectural projects. Well-positioned and highly connected, the firm proved to be a crucial cog in the Nazi building economy. Paul Jaskot in The Architecture of Oppression examines just how crucial, and how the SS business plan ultimately shaped the structure of the camps themselves and influenced the extent and use of forced labor in the Nazi regime.
Jaskot’s work uniquely reveals the positive interdependence between the economic and political goals of the SS. As he points out, the SS took a major step in its business strategy by establishing the Flossenbürg and Mauthausen concentration camps near granite quarries. With such valuable resources nearby, the forced labor readily available in the camps became a key component in the success of the DEST, and thus the political influence of the SS. Given the danger and arduousness of the work, the SS could satisfy the camps’ original punitive purpose without compromising their own economic gain, dual benefits that suggest to Jaskot a new way to define forced labor as “destruction and work” rather than the commonly accepted “destruction through work.” Furthermore, as Jaskot explains, following events such as the annexation of Austria, the camps enjoyed a steady flow of new prisoners, allowing the SS to continue to disregard the death of prisoners without concern for production levels. Finally, while most building industries suffered from the migration toward armaments, the DEST benefited from unmitigated financial support, a privilege provided by Albert Speer’s ongoing architectural projects in Berlin and Nuremberg.
Jaskot, an Associate Professor of Art and Architectural History, also gives these architectural projects significant coverage, describing in turn the construction of the party rally rounds at Nuremberg, Speer’s redesign of Berlin, and the building of the camps at Flossenbürg and Mauthausen. Through the review of each project, he offers a unique analysis of the interrelationship between economics, architecture, and politics, driving home his conclusion that aesthetics and policy were inextricably linked in the Third Reich.
The Architecture of Oppression includes numerous black and white images, a map, an extensive bibliography, chapter notes, and an index.
The Library always welcomes suggestions for acquisitions. While we cannot guarantee that we will acquire the recommended title, we do appreciate your input.
To make a recommendation, please fill out our Acquisition Suggestion Form.
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|List of illustrations||ix|
|Introduction: The Architectural Policy of the SS||1|
|The Interest of the SS in the Monumental Building Economy||11|
|The Party Rally Grounds at Nuremberg: SS Economic Goals and National Socialist Architectural Policy||47|
|The Rebuilding of Berlin: The Interdependence of the GBI and the SS||80|
|The Political Function of Architecture||114|