The Poelzig Building, the former IG Farben House, is still associated with the National Socialists today, although the building is an excellent example of late 1920s architecture. As the main administrative building of IG Farben, it was the headquarters of the world's largest chemical company at the time, which was formed in 1925/26 as a merger of Germany's largest chemical companies, including Friedrich Bayer AG and BASF. It was named after the architect Hans Poelzig, who built one of the most modern and largest administrative buildings in Europe in just two years starting in 1928.
After 1933, all Jewish employees and board members, including the brothers Arthur and Carl von Weinberg, Kurt Oppenheim, Max Warburg, Alfred Merton, Otto von Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Ernst von Simson, were dismissed and persecuted. The deadly poison Zyklon B, originally a pesticide, produced by Degesch, a company of the IG Farben group, was later used to exterminate millions of Jews.
After World War 2, the building served as headquarters for the US Army's 5th Corps and 3rd Armored Division for 50 years. Until reunification in 1990, approximately 38,000 U.S. soldiers lived in the city.
Since 2001, the site has been part of Goethe University as Campus Westend and houses the humanities faculties.
The "Wollheim Memorial" is located on the grounds of the Westend Campus. Norbert Wollheim, a former prisoner of the Buna/Monowitz concentration camp, led a test case before the Frankfurt Regional Court in 1951. In 1957, the chemical company had to pay DM 30 million in compensation. The "Wollheim Memorial" by artist Heiner Blum in the former gatehouse was named after him. Video interviews with contemporary witnesses document the fate of the prisoners. Photo boards scattered around the site illustrate the lives of the forced laborers.
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