Allach Porcelain : The Allach porcelain factory (PorzellanManufakturAllach) in Bavaria operated from 1935 to 1945 and produced works of great skill and beauty that are prized by some collectors. Some but not all, because the plant came under the control of Heinrich Himmler and the Nazi SS and used forced labor from the Dachau concentration camp. Many of the finest ceramic artisans worked at Allach, not always voluntarily, and many of the pieces made there incorporate the infamous “SS” runes. The plant was closed in 1945 and never reopened, but Allach pieces today are widely sought despite their macabre history.
Allach is located 499 km (310 miles) south of Berlin, and is 11 km (7 miles) from Munich. Its closest neighbor is Dachau, where in 1933 an old gunpowder factory was made into one of the first concentration camps. In 1935, Dr. Karl Diebitsch opened a porcelain factory there with businessman Franz Nagy. Diebitsch was a noted artist who designed German postage stamps and supervised the renovation of the ancient Quedlinburg cathedral. He had also been a Nazi 1920, and was a close friend of Himmler’s. Diebitsch became an SS Oberführer and also designed the notorious black uniform and the death’s head logo. Himmler became interested in the porcelain factory, and it was taken under SS management in 1936. Diebitsch and Himmler felt that the factory could produce authentic manifestations of German art and Aryan culture, and could capture for the SS some of the lucrative market for decorative porcelain.
Professor Theodor Kärner was recruited from the Meissen works to assist Diebitsch, and many artisans were hired from other porcelain makers. About 250 ceramic models were made, and the pieces were so popular that a production line was started at the Dachau camp itself. Dachau inmates testified that they worked on porcelain although the plant managers denied this.The factory was shut down shortly before Allied troops reached Allach in the last week of the war. Diebitschsurvived and worked as a porcelain artist until his death in 1985. Franz Nagy attempted to reopen the factory without success, but a few pieces exist which bear the imprint “N” rather than the “SS” mark. Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht figurines were among the many articles produced at Allach, and these attracted the attention of collectors of World War II military memorabilia.
Much of the Allach catalogue reflected Nazi ideology, and hearty peasants, sturdy workers, happy children, whimsical folklore characters and charming animals are the most numerous pieces, along with dinnerware, presentation plates and commemorative pieces.