Heinrich Koppenberg

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Heinrich Koppenberg (1941)

Heinrich Kopp Berg (* 15. March 1880 in Herne , † 5. September 1960 in Buhl (Baden) ) was a German engineer and industrial manager , who as at the height of his career, Chief Executive Officer , the Junkers headed. The trained locksmith rose in the National Socialist German Reich to military economics leader .


Little is known about Heinrich Koppenberg's private life, only about his professional career. He learned the metalworking trade, attended a technical school and was a design engineer at Krupp until 1906 and then at Felten & Guilleaume . From 1917 he was technical manager at the Riesa steel works. In 1922 Koppenberg worked for Linke-Hofmann-Lauchhammer AG , which was owned by the Flick Group. When he was general director of Riesaer Stahl- und Walzwerk in 1926 , these were transferred to Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke AG, based in Berlin. The majority of the shares were in the United Stahlwerke AG and thus the Riesaer Stahl- und Walzwerk became part of the Flick Group. He then worked at Allgemeine Transportanlagen-Gesellschaft (ATG), a company that emerged from Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke after the First World War and had also been owned by the Flick Group since 1933. Heinrich Koppenberg was one of Friedrich Flick's closest confidants and had his office in the immediate vicinity of Flick in Berlin.

On June 5, 1928, he was from the Technical University of Dresden , the honorary doctorate conferred, he was also honorary senator of TH Dresden. The chief designer at Junkers, Ernst Zindel , said of Koppenberg: “An extremely capable and knowledgeable, energetic man, a brutally brawny builder who had the reputation of doing the impossible in terms of time and content.” He was also called “magician” because under his management the new production halls of the Junkers works were built within nine months and he was well received by the construction workers due to his rough manner. In 1936 he became a member of the NSDAP and in 1941 he was appointed military economic leader.

Junkers works

In the spring of 1933 Koppenberg was director of Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke AG. When he took part in a meeting with Carl Friedrich von Siemens , Albert Vögler and Fritz Thyssen in the Reich Aviation Ministry in April 1933 on instructions from Flick , he learned of the plan to triple aircraft production. Koppenberg then offered his company for this, and since he had no experience in aircraft construction, he probed the aircraft manufacturers Heinkel , Junkers and Dornier , where he did not, however, find approval for his project. Hugo Junkers , main owner of Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG and Junkers Motorenbau GmbH , was against the rearmament policy of the National Socialist government and in 1933 was forced by the latter to sell the majority ownership of his plants to the German Reich . Koppenberg was appointed General Director of the now nationalized Junkers Group.

Together with Flick, he threaded the integration of Allgemeine Transportanlagen-Gesellschaft (ATG), in which Koppenberg was director, into the Junkers Group in early 1934 . In 1935 he was also elected to the supervisory boards of Maxhütte AG , Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke AG and Linke-Hofmann-Lauchhammer AG, all of which were owned by Friedrich Flick.

Although he had little knowledge of aircraft construction, Koppenberg successfully advanced the expansion of the group. On his initiative, the two Junkers companies merged to form Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG (JFM) in mid-1936 . Within a short time, aircraft construction developed into the largest branch of industry in Germany, and in 1937 the Junkers Group employed 40,000 people in its eleven factories. On September 30, 1938, Hermann Göring appointed Koppenberg special representative for the production of the Ju 88 , the standard bomber of the Luftwaffe. This made Koppenberg the largest private manager in an armaments factory during the Nazi dictatorship, and tens of thousands of people, including many forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners, were employed in the roughly two dozen JFM locations - mostly in central Germany - under sometimes inhuman conditions.

Argus engine works

Memorial plaque in front of the former Argus engine works in Berlin-Reinickendorf , Flottenstrasse 28

The Jewish owner of Argus Motoren GmbH in Berlin-Reinickendorf , Moritz Straus , was forced by the National Socialists in 1938 as part of the “ Aryanization ” to sell this engine plant, which produced powerful aircraft engines. There were two potential buyers, Koppenberg and Bayerische Motorenwerke and he and his brother-in-law Viktor Polak acquired this company for 5.2 million Reichsmarks , which had a book value of 11 million Reichsmarks. The Arguswerke von Koppenberg were the largest suppliers to the aviation industry and the Süddeutsche Arguswerke achieved a turnover of 13 million Reichsmarks in the manufacture of armatures for tanks and aircraft in 1944. In the Koppenberg belonging Argus works existed since 1941, the concentration camp Berlin-Reinickendorf as a sub-camp of Sachsenhausen concentration camp , and in the Süddeutsche Argus works in Karlsruhe there was a concentration camp.

Brown coal gasoline AG (BRABAG)

Koppenberg played an important role in Braunkohle-Petrol AG ( BRABAG ). As early as 1934 he tried to set up a hydrogenation plant to produce synthetic gasoline . At Brabag he was a board member alongside Carl Krauch , an IG Farben board member, Alfred von Vollard-Bockelberg , a chemist and specialist in hydrogenation processes and the former head of the Army Weapons Office, Friedrich Carl Arthur Kranefuss , a confidante of Himmler who organized his circle of friends .


After the invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, Koppenberg visited Norway in mid-April. After his stay in Norway, he presented his ideas for the use of the bauxite deposits in Norway to the Reich Aviation Ministry . Since numerous components made of aluminum are used in aircraft construction, bauxite was required as a raw material for aluminum production. Thereupon Hermann Göring wrote to Koppenberg that he regarded this land as a source of raw materials for the German military economic potential. Aluminum was important to von Koppenberg's companies because he wanted to use Norwegian resources to further increase aircraft production. The Ministry of Aviation then set up Nordische Aluminum AG (Nordag), with Koppenberg as its chairman. On September 15, 1941, Koppenberg was appointed trustee of the light metal industry in Norway, which was under Section 13 of the Reich Enemy Ordinance .

Koppenberg budgeted 1½ billion Reichsmarks for the construction of the metallurgical works and the necessary hydropower plants in Norway. The raw material alumina, which was missing for the production of aluminum, was to be transported across Europe from Croatia and Romania according to his ideas in the war year 1942. In October 1942, Koppenberg's power of attorney to build up Norway's light metal industry was withdrawn after his ideas could not be realized. By the way, at the end of the French campaign, he had similar plans for France.

After 1945

After 1945 Koppenberg worked in his company, the Süddeutsche Arguswerke, and on other supervisory boards. He also worked as a consulting engineer and spoke to former Junkers employees at meetings. On a return trip from Switzerland to his place of residence in Baden-Oos , he had a fatal accident on September 5, 1960 at the railway station in Bühl (Baden). He was never prosecuted for his work as a major player in the National Socialists' armaments program.

Koppenberg's patents

  • Generation of synthesis gas from coal dust on November 9, 1942
  • Oxygen metallurgy of the shaft furnace processes


  • Johannes Bähr among others: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. (Published by the Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin on behalf of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58683-1 .
  • Robert Bohn : Reichskommissariat Norway. "National Socialist Reorganization" and War Economy (=  contributions to military history . Volume 54 ). Oldenbourg, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-486-56488-9 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Hans Kehrl : Crisis Manager in the Third Reich. 6 years of peace, 6 years of war. Memories. 2nd, corrected edition (with critical comments and an afterword by Erwin Viefhaus), Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1973, ISBN 3-7700-0355-1 .
  • Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-10-039309-0 .
  • Holger Lorenz: License plate "Junkers". Engineers between fist claim and crucial question. Technical developments and political changes in the Junkers factories between 1931 and 1961. Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft Marienberg, Marienberg 2005, ISBN 3-931770-57-5 . (some pages available online: license plate Junkers ) (PDF; 307 kB)
  • Hans Christoph Graf von Seherr-Thoss:  Koppenberg, Heinrich. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 12, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-428-00193-1 , p. 575 f. ( Digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Heinrich Koppenberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Holger Lorenz: Mark Junkers. P. 63.
  2. Kim Christian Priemel: Flick. A corporate history from the German Empire to the Federal Republic. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8353-0219-8 .
  3. Johannes Bähr et al .: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, p. 125, p. 135, p. 230.
  4. Johannes Bähr: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. P. 194.
  5. ^ Hans Kehrl: Crisis Manager in the Third Reich. P. 198.
  6. Holger Lorenz: Mark Junkers. P. 63.
  7. Johannes Bähr: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. P. 330.
  8. Johannes Bähr: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. P. 135.
  9. Johannes Bähr: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. P. 230.
  10. ^ Till Lorenzen: BMW as an aircraft engine manufacturer 1926–1940. S. 18. Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58155-3 .
  11. ^ Constanze Werner: War economy and forced labor at BMW. Oldenbourg, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-486-57792-1 , p. 39.
  12. ^ Roland Peter: Armaments policy in Baden. War economy and labor in a border region during World War II. Oldenbourg, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-486-56057-3 , p. 126.
  13. ^ Thomas Irmer: Berlin-Reinickendorf. In: Wolfgang Benz , Barbara Distel : Places of Terror. History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Sachsenhausen, beech forest. Volume 3. CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-52963-1 , pp. 117f.
  14. Martin Weinmann (Ed.): The National Socialist Camp System. Two thousand and one, Frankfurt am Main 1999.
  15. Johannes Bähr: The Flick Group in the Third Reich. P. 76.
  16. ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. P. 126.
  17. ^ A b Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. P. 385.
  18. ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. P. 299.
  19. ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. P. 397.
  20. Koppenberg's speech to former Junkers employees on November 17, 1956 in the Frankfurt Ratskeller
  21. Bühl Register Book 97/1960.