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3 panoramas by bernhard vogl
Underground Factory Projects “Dachs/Zement” and Concentration Camp Site
‘Extermination through Work’
Since it had been decided that the Peenemünde rocket research center was to be relocated into a protected underground area, it became clear that the necessary work would have to be done by concentration camp prisoners. On October 1943, this project called “Cement” was approved by Hans Kammler who was the responsible building official of the SS.
The tunnels were never used for the rocket production – instead, the finished tunnels of Plant A were used for petroleum refining and Plant B for manufacturing motor parts for tanks and trucks.
“SS Obergruppenführer” and “General der Waffen-SS” Hans Kammler
The first prisoners arrived in Ebensee in November 1943. In 1944 there was an average of 5000-6000 prisoners in the camp. Despite the numerous deaths, this number increased considerably because prisoners from other camps – which had to be given up by the retreating German forces after Jan. 1945 – were transported to Ebensee. On May 3rd, 1945, there were 16448 prisoners living in the concentration camp in Ebensee.
Of the altogether approximately 27000 prisoners, 8500 died under the treatment of the SS-guards.
Shortly before the arrival of the American Troops, the Guards planned to kill all remaining prisoners. It was planned to fake an air-raid, guide the prisoners into tunnel 9 of Plant B and blow up the tunnel. Fortunately, the rumor became known in the camp and in an heroic effort, the camp prisoners refused to enter the tunnel.
After the liberation: Former prisoners in front of the concentration camp
© 2005 Bernhard Vogl
Historic photos by kind permission of the Museum of Modern History Ebensee” Visit their Site for more information about the Concentration Camp
A more complete virtual visit of the Ebensee site can be found at http://bernie.x-net.at/ebensee
Excerpts from Museum of Modern History Ebensee and Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance