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Building Hitler’s Europe: Forced Labor in the Danish Construction Business during World War II

Joachim Lund
Copenhagen Business School
Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy

This article examines how Danish cement factories and building contractors, in particular F. L. Smidth & Co. A/S and its business partner Højgaard & Schultz A/S, used forced and slave labor in Estonia, the Polish General Government, and Serbia as they worked for the German authorities during the Second World War. The article presents new evidence on the use of forced and slave labor inside the European “New Order” and emphasizes the willingness of the companies to expand and engage in morally questionable behavior. The findings illuminate the close connection between political and economic collaboration and contribute to the discussion about the relationship between business and politics during dictatorship, war, and occupation.