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Carl Wurster (1900–1974)

 a  The court in the I.G. Farben Trial at Nuremberg ruled: “Immediately after the collapse, Wurster, accompanied by a representative of the Reich Office for Economic Expansion, made a trip to Poland to visit the Polish chemical firms. In a letter to the defendant Bürgin, he submitted a report in which he explained the results of his tour of inspection [...I]t has not been proven that this report was the basis for the measures taked by the Reich authorities in the eastern regions or by Farben in regard to these assets [...] We are not of the opinion that Wurster’s participation in the actions he is charged with under this count is relevant in terms of criminal law.”

(Das Urteil im I.G.-Farben-Prozess. Der vollständige Wortlaut (Offenbach am Main: Bollwerk, 1948), pp. 104–105. (Transl. KL))

Carl Wurster, born in Stuttgart on December 2, 1900, was the son of a police inspector, Stadtpolizeirat Carl Wurster, and his wife, Clara (née Sippel). After attending school in Stuttgart, he volunteered for military service in World War I. After the war ended, he studied chemistry in Stuttgart and in 1919, as a member of the paramilitary police force known as the Einwohnerwehr, was a committed opponent of the communists. In 1921, he graduated with honors, and two years later he received his doctorate in engineering at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Technology. In 1924, he joined the science lab at BASF, where he became one of Carl Bosch’s closest associates. In 1926, he was promoted to head of the inorganic lab and the pilot operations at the Ludwigshafen plant of I.G. Farben. The same year, he married Margareta Bergmann, with whom he had two daughters.


In 1930, Carl Wurster became head of inorganic operations. In 1933, he assumed the chairmanship of the Inorganic Production Committee, and one year later he was made an authorized signatory in the Inorganic Department. He was promoted to director in 1936, and during the same year he worked in Carl Krauch’s Office for German Raw Materials (Amt für deutsche Roh- und Werkstoffe). In 1938, he became a full member of the managing board and head of the Upper Rhine Business Group of I.G. Farben. In 1939, after the Wehrmacht’s invasion of Poland, he inspected chemical facilities there, to verify which of the Polish chemical plants of I.G. Farben could be assimilated in order to boost wartime production. From 1941 on, he worked more closely with Carl Krauch and was named a “military economy leader” (Wehrwirtschaftsführer) and a member of the Military Economy Council of the Reich Economic Chamber. In 1943, he was awarded the War Merit Cross 1st Class.


After 1945, Carl Wurster remained plant manager with the approval of the occupying powers, until he was arrested in 1947 and charged in the I.G. Farben Trial in Nuremberg  a . Acquitted in 1948, he resumed the position of chairman of the managing board in 1952 and was the driving force behind the reestablishment of BASF, an honorary professor at the University of Heidelberg, and the holder of honorary doctorates and the title of honorary senator at several other German universities. In 1955, he was awarded the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Bavarian Order of Merit. He retired in 1965, but continued to be active as a member and chairman of supervisory boards at numerous other German industrial concerns (such as Robert Bosch, Degussa, and Allianz). Carl Wurster died in Frankenthal on December 14, 1974.

(SP; transl. KL)


Carl Wurster, affidavit, January 8, 1948, Doc. No. W 305. Archive of the Fritz Bauer Institute, Subsequent Nuremberg Trial, Case VI, DDB (e) Wurster, reel 094, pp. 1–4.

Niederschrift über die 14. Vorstandssitzung vom 8. November 1939 in Berlin NW 7, Unter den Linden 82, gez. Schmitz, gez. Buhl, NI-15107. Archive of the Fritz Bauer Institute, Subsequent Nuremberg Trial, Case VI, reel 034, pp. 67–71.



Abelshauser, Werner: “Die BASF seit der Neugründung von 1952.” In: Id., ed.: Die BASF. Eine Unternehmensgeschichte. Munich: Beck 2002, S. 359–637.

Hayes, Peter: Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge UP, 1987.

Heine, Jens Ulrich: Verstand & Schicksal. Die Männer der I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G. Weinheim: VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1990.

Stokes, Raymond G.: “Von der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG bis zur Neugründung der BASF (1925–1952).” In: Werner Abelshauser, ed.: Die BASF. Eine Unternehmensgeschichte. Munich: Beck, 2002, pp. 221–358.

Das Urteil im I.G.-Farben-Prozess. Der vollständige Wortlaut. Offenbach am Main: Bollwerk, 1948.