Families of Unemployed Miners in the Ruhr Valley Search for Winter Fuel in the Remains of a Slagheap (1931)
By mid-1932, almost half of the population in the mining town of Herne was dependent on some form of public welfare. Committees of the unemployed were formed to help manage and distribute resources. These committees were largely controlled by the Communist Party [Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands or KPD], which had recruited heavily and gained support among the unemployed in the Ruhr during the 1920s. The Nazi party gained some backing in the Ruhr among unemployed miners and industrial workers; but its support remained weakest among workers in working-class communities with strong union or socialist traditions. Around the Constantine the Great [Zeche Constantin der Große] and Teutoburgia mines [Zeche Teutoburgia], where levels of unemployment were especially high, the Nazis won only 12 percent of the vote in the Reichstag election of 1932, whereas the Communists secured nearly 70 percent.