vorige Hefte

Björn Zech:
The Zollern II/IV mine in Dortmund-Bövinghausen from 1945 to 1955

The history of mining and miners in the Ruhr District is one of the best researched subject areas of social history. This applies also for the period between the end of the Second World War and the coal crisis in 1958. Nevertheless, even here there are still gaps in the research account. During the war, about 150,000 foreign workers had sustained the productivity of Ruhr District mining. With their liberation at the end of the war, the mines lost one half of their miners working below ground. At the same time, the mines' buildings were in a wretched state of repair after years of over-exploitation during the Third Reich.

Precisely at the moment of collapse, however, the mines were given the key role in European reconstruction. Ruhr District mining had to go into the lead and provide the source of energy with which the reconstruction of Europe was to be furthered. The only way to meet these enormous requirements was for the mines to enlarge and rejuvenate their workforces. In search of a suitable reservoir of new and young labour-power, the refugee problem seemed to provide a solution. Until 1950, about eight million refugees and displaced people from former parts of Germany and German settlements in the east came to West Germany. High rates of fluctuation and unstable workforces became the main problem for the mine managers.

The article investigates established historical explanatory models using the concrete example of the Zollern II/IV mine. On the basis of a comprehensive archive of identification lists and wage lists, income tax cards and shift slips, a detailed analysis on a micro-economic level is carried out.