I.G. Farben Corporation IG Farbenindustrie AG, Frankfurt/Main (Fond 1457)

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2004.756.7
  • RG-11.001M.78
1 Jan 1856 - 31 Dec 1949, 1 Jan 1938 - 31 Dec 1945
Level of Description
  • German
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

2 microfilm reels (partial), 16 mm

1,269 digital images, JPEG


Biographical History

I.G. Farben was a German Limited Company that was a conglomerate of eight leading German chemical manufacturers, including Bayer, Hoechst and BASF, which at the time were the largest chemical firms in existence. IG Farben scientists made fundamental contributions to all areas of chemistry and the pharmaceutical industry. Notably IG Farben scientists discovered the first sulfa antibiotic, fundamentally reformed medical research and "opened a new era in medicine." Otto Bayer discovered the polyaddition for the synthesis of polyurethane in 1937. Several IG Farben scientists were awarded Nobel Prizes. Carl Bosch and Friedrich Bergius were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931 "in recognition of their contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods." Gerhard Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1939 "for the discovery of the antibacterial effects of prontosil." Kurt Alder was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1950 for his "discovery and development of the diene synthesis." The company played a role in German politics from its establishment. During the 1920s, it had ties to the liberal German People's Party and was reviled by the Nazis who accused it of being an "international capitalist Jewish company." The company later became a donor to the Nazi Party in the 1930s, and was a large government contractor after the Nazi takeover of Germany, providing significant material for the German war effort and becoming embroiled in regime policy including the use of slave labor at Farben's Buna Werke facility at Auschwitz, and the use of its minority-owned subsidiary's Zyklon B poison gas in the Holocaust. The IG Farbenindustrie chemical concern was the unquestioned leader among industrial firms in utilizing the labor of Auschwitz Concentration Camp prisoners. As one of the pillars of German economic self-sufficiency since before the war, IG Farbenindustrie enjoyed the full backing of the state authorities when it came to the allotment of credit, raw materials, and labor. Many such investments were inspired by the state. This is hardly surprising, since Farbenindustrie representatives occupied key positions in the state apparatus. The cartel controlled the entire production of synthetic rubber and a significant portion of the production of synthetic fuels. Since the factories that had been built before the war were unable to keep up with demand, it was decided to build two more plants, with one located in Silesia. Factors taken into account in the preliminary 1940 decision to locate the second plant at Oswiecim included the proximity to raw materials (coal, lime, mineral salts, and water) and the fact that the location was out of range of Allied bombers. The fact that the newly opened concentration camp could supply the needed supply of inexpensive labor had an influence on the final decision, taken in 1941, to build the plant. The plant was bombed several times by Allied air power in the second half of 1944. The company resumed operations after the Second World War, but in 1951 it was split into its four largest original constituent companies, which remain some of the world's largest chemical and pharmaceutical companies. These companies initially had the same owners, continued to operate as an informal cartel and played a major role in the West German Wirtschaftswunder. Following several later mergers the main successor companies are Agfa, BASF, Bayer and Sanofi. [Sources: Wikipedia, Britanica, and Jewish Virtual Library]

Archival History

Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Source of acquisition is the Russian State Military Archive (Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv), Osobyi Archive, Fond 1457. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the filmed collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in 2004.

Scope and Content

The complete collection at the source archive holds records of various departments and offices of IG. Includes economic surveys of foreign countries China, Japan, Australia, India, Indochina, England, Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, USA, and other countries; miscellaneous reports of company committees and boards; invitations, press reports, clippings, minutes; and records relating to forced labor; to foreign trade with European and non-European countries, a balance sheet analyses of the Dresdner bank, economic overviews; notes, clippings and photographs regarding IG plant in USA; lists of factories, and staff (1937-1944); orders regarding war production (1941-1945); Wehrmacht records regarding use of foreign workers; correspondence, reports and bulletins related to re scientific matters; a preliminary memo by military court Nurnberg regarding Karl Krauch (1947); POW workers at IG plants; a map of IG organization; and settlements records regarding the IG-factories in Auschwitz (1945-1948). Note: USHMM Archives holds only selected records.

System of Arrangement

Fond 1457 (1856-1949). Opis 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 17, 24, 27-33, 35-38, 42-45, 49-57; Dela 6928. Arranged in subject series by Opisi: 1. Records of various departments and offices, 1901-1949; 2. Miscellaneous records: invitations, press reports, supervisory board reports, correspondence and minutes,1925-1938 [Opis 51]. Note: Location of digital images; Partial microfilm reel #426 Reel 426: Reel start-Image #1269;

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Copyright Holder: Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Corporate Bodies



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.