Germany / Bavaria / Allach:
 : Porzellanmanufaktur Allach-München G.m.b.H. (1936 until 1945)
In 1925 the industrial Franz Nagy sen. built a small house that included a studio on a 2,000 square meters strip of land he owned. Together with his business partner and porcelain decorator Carl Diebitsch he then started to produce decorational porcelain and gradually expanded his capacity. In 1937 the factory employed a mere 19 workers but already had a product range including artistic pieces as well as tableware in 240 porcelain or ceramic designs. Diebitsch himself had lots of friends and contacts and later was responsible for the first contacts with the upcoming SS.
The small factory was taken over by the SS via expropriation in 1939 and it is claimed that Heinrich Himmler employed four front men to hide his own participation in the later quite successful 'business': while Franz Nagy was responsible for industrial design under technical director Hechtfischer, the general business director R. Dippe worked together with the art director Theodor Kärner who since 1938 was professor at the Munich Academy of Arts. The infamous double Sig or 'SS' rune was chosen to mark the products and quite contrary to other SS-owned ventures, this manufacture was not planned as a profit-orientated factory; it should simply generate products that 'supported the upbringing of National Socialist people' and would 'help to support the German spirit'. As money for that propagandistic purpose at first was not an issue, very famous artists over time had (or were forced to have) contracts with the factory. To name a few, famous artists who produced models for the Allach factory were of course art director Professor Theodor H. Kärner and Richard Förster (both original working for Rosenthal in Selb) as well as Professor Wilhelm Krieger who also worked for the company of Lorenz Hutschenreuther in Selb.
As a way of distribution a shop was opened in Berlin which was followed by others in Posen (today Poznań, Poland), Warschau (today Warszawa, Poland) and Lemberg (today Lwiw, Ukraine) and a peculiar fact in this context is that there was no shop in Munich, even if it was one of the most influencial Nazi towns. In other large cities renown dealers were taken into sales contracts and at first everything worked out fine. It should be noted that the concept of specialized stores at that time actually was the reason that the products did not become known to a large part of the public even though the items themselves were literally sold at dumping prices. The undecorated 'Hitlerjunge' designed by Richard Förster for example (as one of the more expensive items from the product catalog) in 1939 merely cost 15.90 Reichsmark, it's decorated version 32.45 Reichsmark.
Even a company belonging to such an influencial man needed funding and Oswald Pohl (chief of economics for the SS) saw some possibilities of reaching that goal easily as he wanted to drastically expand by taking over the porcelain factories owned by Jews located in the so-called 'Sudetenland', a part of Czechoslovakia that had been occupied by German troops during a short conflict in October 1938 (no typo, WW2 started later with the invasion of Poland). One of them was the 'Porzellanfabrik Bohemia, Neurohlau' (Nová Role, Czechoslovakia) which from 1939 onwards produced items under direct control of the Allach directors.
The factory in Allach expanded very quickly and part of the production area was moved to an abandoned gunpowder production facility next to the SS training camp in Dachau on October 1st 1937. Later the complete normal production plant was moved to Dachau, leaving only the decorative works and artistic workshops in Allach. The well known Jul candelabra that Himmler gave away during the Jul festivities also was produced in Dachau. Next to a few German civilians, around 50 prisoners from the concentration camp in Dachau worked there from 1941 onwards and even if it made Himmler furious there were no other workers to be found.
Theodor Kärner in 1942 designed the so-called 'Kinderfrieskerzenhalter' based on the idea of the so-called 'Geburtsleuchter (Modell 89)' which was originally designed by Carl Diebitsch. While the latter was a candlestick intended as present for each newborn child, the Kärner item became the standard present from Heinrich Himmler for every SS family that gave birth to a fourth child. On its frieze it carried the phrase In der Sippe ew'ger Kette bin ich nur ein Glied, which roughly translates to 'In the forever continuing chain of the family I am only a single link'.
One of the most crazy ideas during the Third Reich was the removal of the normal Christmas festivities. Instead the people should return to the pre-Christian and old Germanic 'Jul' (heathen midwinter) festivities celebrated on December 22nd. Heinrich Himmler was one of the greatest followers of this idea and had the SS celebrate the Jul festivities based on strict rituals. The first special ornamental Jul plates were produced in Allach shortly before Christmas 1940 and were made in two different styles. The first type was decorated with colorful floral designs, for example with snowdrop (1941) or crocus (1943); these were given away as presents from Oswald Pohl who had become minister of economic affairs with the military rank of SS-Obergruppenführer.
The other type was plain undecorated white porcelain and showed National Socialistic symbols in raised relief like runes, swords and eagles. In addition there was always some propagandistic sentence on the plate, always reminding the recipient of his military duty. For example, the plate issued 1943 quoted Frederick the Great in saying 'We will fight on until our damned enemies lay down their weapons and offer us peace'. These plates only were allowed to be given away by Heinrich Himmler himself and the 1943 edition was the last as later on that year the whole factory switched to produce kitchenware until it was liberated by U.S. troops.
An interesting side note is that after 1945 the company of Oscar Schaller & Co. Nachfolger in Windischeschenbach used the normal Allach molds for ornamental plates and tableware to restart production as most of their own molds and documents were lost during the evacuation by American soldiers.
(Picture by Fran Kerbs)
(Picture by Fran Kerbs)
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