The history of coal mining

Second World War

Immediately at the beginning of the war the Ostrava-Karviná mines fell into the hands of Nazi Germany without a fight – therefore intact. It was a significant benefit for the Reich. Not really in terms of quantity, as the local mining volume represented around 3.5% of the German coal production at the time, but rather in terms of quality. This was exceptional high-quality coking material necessary for metallurgical industry, one of the most important sectors needed for warfare.

Nazi Germany implemented in the mines a regulated war economy and at the same time gradually transferred the mines into German hands. The Hermann Göring Werke combine became a direct or indirect owner of most of the undertakings. Also, personnel Germanization was carried out at the level of executive management and technical positions.

In the first phase of the war the nazis invested considerable funds into alteration and intensification of local production. In 1941 the district produced nearly 4.5 million tons more than in the last record-breaking pre-war year of 1937. One of the advantages of mining in the protectorate was the fact that no draft of labour force into the army took place here.

The character of the production changed markedly following the turn of the situation at the fronts. Extensive mining was carried out and in 1943 coal output amounted to approximately 20 million tons. However, the gradual accumulation of war problems resulted in a decrease in mining. Nevertheless, even in the closing phase of the war the OKR mines were of great significance for the Reich, as it had lost bases of raw materials and sources in other territories.

From the beginning of 1945 mining as well as other production began to collapse. During the advance of the front the mines were damaged considerably.