Sunday, November 6, 2011

Satellite Camp Kaufering


Dachau KZ Satellite Camp Kaufering

On June 18th 1944 at the Railway-station of Kaufering, a remote village about five kilometer from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, a freight train from the concentration camp Auschwitz arrived. The SS guards drove the prisoners into a camp located near a railway track, bearing the name Kaufering I (later renamed Kaufering III), there were already 22 Inmate Functionaries from Dachau concentration camp awaiting them. The camp Kaufering III was the first of eleven sub-camps of Dachau, which emerged from mid-1944 and were located near Landsberg am Lech and within  the community Kaufering. This constituted the largest Satellite complex under the administration of KZ Dachau.
Published material I used was prepared in German by  researcher Edith Raim, "Der Ort des Terors". The translations are my own and any errors are mine and not that of the author.
HKW Stolpmann, Auckland NZ November 2011

Map of main camp at Kaufering
Allied bombs had since early 1944, caused heavy damage to  the German aircraft industry, which did decrease the output of up to two thirds. By maintaining and increasing fighter plane production it was hoped that the aircraft industry which had formed in March 1944, a new Department, the "Fighter Staff"(Jägerstab) in an endeavor to regain control of the skies over the Reich once again.Underground concrete bunkers with more than 100,000 square Meters should provide optimal manufacturing conditions. Upon proposals by the head of the Organisation Todt (OT), six semi-underground concrete bunkers were designed to withstand the 5-Meter-thick concrete ceiling to Allied air attacks, while inside the bunker the Me262 (a jet fighter) would be mass-produced on a assembly line. They commenced originally with four bunkers, three of them in Landsberg am Lech and one at Mühldorf. However, the building of two bunkers near Landsberg was discontinued during the war, so what ever was created was two only, one near Landsberg and and another at Mühldorf. The type of gravel layer at these places and the connection to the railway lines for these location was the final decisions of importance to go ahead. As a builder, the OT- Organisation (plus sub-contractors )was the first ever to be used in a major engineering construction of this type within the Reich.
For the construction method large gravel mounds were piled up and reinforced with steel, then concrete was poured over it  and after setting, the gravel was tunneled out and the resulting cavity became the production halls. Extensive camouflage measures were taken that should protect the project from Allied air reconnaissance observations. The design was considered innovative, and that spectacular that after the war, American investigators interested in the method of building, confiscated all  plans for the buildings.

Underground production of Messerschmitt Me262
LABOR REQUIREMENTS The problem of labor shortage faced by the "Jägerstab" was partly satisfied by asking for Jewish men and women from the Auschwitz concentration camp. From mid-1944 this was met by survivors of the Polish and Lithuanian ghettos like Lodz (Lodz), and Schaulen, as well as Hungarian Jews, but in addition also smaller contingents from other European Jews for example, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia arrived. They were housed in eleven camps. The camp Kaufering I, II, XI were near Landsberg, with Kaufering camp III at Kaufering, Camp IV at Hurlach, the Camp VI at Türkheim, Kaufering VII at Erpfingen near Landsberg, the camp X  in Utting on the  Ammersee. In addition, there was since February 1945, the Arbeitskommando Landsberg DAG in which about 100 Jewish women who worked on the premises of Dynamit AG-Landsberg in the  ammunition production. These were not part of the satellite camp facilities and purely considered as a work detail.
As a clerk for the recording of newly-arrived prisoners the Luxembourg priest prison number 50 272, Jules Jost from Dachau was seconded to Kaufering. Parallel to the records for the camp at Dachau Jost kept a private registry book and counted there for the period June 18th1944 to March 9th1945, 28 838 Jewish prisoners. However, after the 9th March 1945 further transports with inmates arrived. It is assumed that in a period of less than ten months, from mid-June 1944 to the end of April1945 a total of approximately 30,000 detainees , including about 4200 women and 850 children, went through the eleven sub camps. In the case of women these came mainly from Hungary. Seven children were born to Hungarian mothers towards the end of the war within the individual camps.


The camps of Kaufering were extremely primitive. Responsible for the building facilities- and that is a peculiarity of the Dachau KZ Administration-Kaufering was not the responsibility of the SS, but that of the OT, (Organisation Todt) which also had to provide food as well as medical care for the inmates.The OT used their own "proven" building method known to their designs as used at the KZ Vaivara, she let the inmates erect "Sperrhozzelte" [plywood tents sic]=(Finn huts) above ground. For the dugouts (Erdbarrake) a pit had to be dug out, over which a tent-like roof was erected and  covered with soil and grass as camouflage. The prisoners were lying along the sides of the so called "Erdbarracke' slightly above the floor on shelf like bunks. The flooring were wooden planks which was covered with straw. Each hut was provided with a stove. This type of  accommodations were completely unsuited considering the weather conditions at the foothills of the Alps. Leaky roofs soon became evident and vermin infested the huts.[I lived as a POW for six months in a dug out with a tent as a roof cover and found this more "comfortable" than staying above ground. sic]

Interior of earth barrack Kaufering IV 28th April 1945

Hard physical work without any assistance in atrocious weather conditions with inappropriate clothes and Hozschuhen (wooden clogs) had to be performed. The insufficient food, the bugs and the rampant epidemics such as tuberculosis, typhus and typhoid fever quickly affected numerous victims. An OT-member noted that OT and employees of sub contractors beat the prisoners for no reason at all. Yet the OT tried to maximize with a minimum of effort, the work performance of inmates. The meager food rations were also partially embezzled by the SS guards. Sick prisoners were given less food because they could not do any work. Lunch was not spent at the camp but on the work sites, which led to the sick prisoners dragging themselves to work projects to get at least some food. [Lunch in Germany which is" Mittagessen" in fact is the main meal of the day and as a rule lasts over one hour and in normal circumstances rather sumptuous, if you miss out you go hungry. It was the survival of the fittest in camps, your "best friend" would steal from you if you were unable to defend yourself, you simply wasted away, I experienced this as a youngster as an American POW in Germany. I came across what Elie Wiesel said abut Buchenwald:"Hier muß jeder für sich kämpfen und darf nicht an die anderen denken, nicht einmal an seinen Vater. Hier gibt es weder Vater noch Freund. Hier lebt und stirbt jeder für sich". (Here everyone must fight for himself and must not think of others, not even your own father. Here you have neither father nor friend. Here you live and die on your own)  sic].The bad condition in health of the prisoners was also noticed by the OT on the sites. Inmates constantly  scratched themselves on their wounds caused by lice. A report of the OT from December 1944 reads: "Over the past , inmates have been abused to such an extent, that as of today a total of 17,600 prisoners have to be provided for and fed, but only 8,319 of them are able to work. Even of this figure some are only able to do light work.Sub contractors complained to the OT that they had to pay for a certain number of inmates but the prisoners did not appear on the jobs or were not able to do so.


Within the Kaufering camp complex two hospital type huts were provided, besides Kaufering IV another one was converted  December 1944 or January 1945 as "Sterbelager"[meaning for those that will eventually die sic], at Kaufering VII during the winter of 1944-45 a functional hospital system was operating. This meant that the sick and infirmed from all Kaufering camps, but also from other sub-camps of Dachau that were unable to work were now transported to these facilities in camps VII and IV.
Type of footwear worn by half of the inmates

At times about 3,000 inmates in about 76 huts of Kaufering IV had to be housed. How devastating the conditions in Kaufering were, one can ascertain only from a report of the first Camp Doctor from March 27th1945 refereed to the Office D III of the SS Economic Administration. The inadequate provisions of the camp around  Kaufering takes up most of his presentation in particular the associated sub-camps. It was said that the assembly place and subsequent drainage of roads as well as the sewage system were slowly proceeding, the delousing facilities were intact. Accommodation and inmate clothing were disinfected. That a typhus epidemic was raging, was only given by the fact that some sub camps had been placed under Quarantine.

Remains of the concentration camps´ underground bunkers: 150 women were crowded together here in a very small space.
Some of the concentration camp’s under ground bunkers of the women’s camp survived to this day and the citizens´ association achieved that they were listed on a historic register. They are the last ones of their kind.

In March 1945 there were still three  Kauferinger sub camps under quarantine. The situation in Kaufering IV was declared as intolerable and designated as "Sterbelager"(death camp), it's here that most of the very sick inmates were transferred to, that "no longer in the foreseeable future could be counted as suitable to perform menial work". Prisoners in camp VII were considered as " run down physically, but were in "the hoping category" for a partial restoration and the capacity to work." Complaints were made that the patients are housed in mud huts and the construction of Krankenbarracken (Sick-Bay Barracks) by the OT was not possible, drugs for the prisoners are "not sufficient", since the OT was  slow to deliver medication for prisoners, drugs had not been delivered on time. A "short order" placed for January 1945 did not arrive until March 1945.
A very critical monthly report was prepared by the last Lagerführer (Camp Commander) of Kaufering IV, Johann Batist Eichelsdörfer. During March 1945 over 2000 sick prisoners were accommodated in camp IV, of these almost half of them arrived within a period of one month. The most conman ailments were Edema, Scabies plus loss of muscle strength and general weaknesses, of easily transmitted diseases like Typhus and TB a total of 106 men and one women were affected. Despite the fact that the report gave favorable description regarding living quarters and nourishments, it was admitted that the Revier[ A Revier(abbreviated from German Krankenrevier or "sick bay",dispensary") in the language of Nazi camps was a barrack for sick concentration camp inmates. Most of the Medical personnel were inmates themselves. The conditions in reviers varied drastically on the type of the camp sic.] was insufficiently equipped as hardly any medications, bandages or instruments were available, besides the need for underwear or clothing and the general condition of hygiene of the individuals the conditions were deplorable. For over 2100 sick inmates there were nine Inmate Doctors, 41 male nurses and 49 miscellaneous helpers. A Greek Inmate Doctor employed as a helper in Block 46 of camp IV describes in his memoirs that his medical function was restricted to writing death certificates and the numbering and naming of the dead.[he wrote the names onto the dead bodies sic]

a gaping wound – stones of remembrance – a stone Kaddish

 During the War Crimes Tribunal in Dachau, Eicheldorfer tried to put all the blame of responsibility onto Dr. Blanke, who was one of two SS-Members who were authorized to enter the camps. Eichelsdorfer based his defense on his Monthly Report and insisted during the Dachau Process, he had never entered the Camps. Taking the rampant epidemics like typhus and typhoid fever into account this seems plausible. He was since January 12th 1945 responsible for the camp, that according to his statement was already under quarantine. During the trial it was established that Kaufering IV had 1429 prisoners on January 12th 1945,  but during a count as of April 14th 1945 it was established that a total of 3022 inmates were present, which means even during the quarantine prisoners had been deported there and accepted. Thus Kauferinf IV was at that point in time the largest sub-camp within the entire camp complex. Due to the atrocious living conditions there was little enthusiasm for any development of "cultural activities"nor any thought of resistance. Despite all that, the survivors of the Latvian Ghettos did manage to publish seven hand written edition of the illegal Jewish news paper "Nitzotz" (The Spark).
  At the end of the war there were about 10,000 prisoners within the camps of Kaufering. Originally the elimination of Jewish inmates of Kaufering and Mühldorf was planned and ordered by the Chief of the RSHA, Kaltenbrunner under the code name "Wolke A-I" (Cloud A-I).The Gaustabsamtsleiter (State Secretary) of Upper Bavaria, Brutus Gerdes, stated during an interrogation on November 20th 1945 that the NSDAP-Gauleiter (NS Party Minister) of Munich and Upper Bavaria received mid April 1945 from Kaltenbrunner orders, to prepare a liquidation plan in which the camp complexes of Kaufering and Mühldorf would be bombed by the Luftwaffe. Gerdes did not proceed with the order and claimed either poor weather conditions, lack of petrol as well as bombs. Thus Kaltenbrunner ordered the evacuation of the area around the Landsberg camps with the aim to reach Dachau, where the Jews during the "Vergiftungsaktionen-Wolkenbrand" (Poison Action- Burning Cloud) would be held.
 Mid to the end of April 1945 most of the Kauferinger camps were evacuated either by marching or by train in the direction of Dachau. Inmates from smaller camps had already been absorbed within the larger ones. The Commandant of Türkheim, SS-Oberscharführer Karl Hofmann opened the gates on April 26th, a small camp which held 400-500 prisoners of which about 300 fled into the nearby woods.

Part of the prisoners that had reached KZ Dachau were liberated April 29th 1945, where else those that had been forced on the so called Death March gained their freedom later at the beginning of May 1945. For those sick inmates at Kaufering IV an evacuation by foot was out of question. Hundreds of them were packed into railway-wagons which took off in the direction of Dachau. Between the villages of Schwabhausen and Kempten near Munich the transport was attacked by Allied Planes which killed 180 prisoners. The train returned to Kaufering IV which was the nearest to a rail way line to remove the dead along the embankment. In the morning of April 27th 1945 Camp Doctor  Blanke gave orders to torch the camp. After that around 18.45 hours together with his wife they both committed suicide in their home at Harlach.
Survivors claim that remaining inmates in camp kaufering IV had been told that they had to leave their huts as the camp would be put to the torch. The arriving American troops faced only the smoking remains and found 360 dead within the huts. Whether the dead were burnt alive or had been dead before the fire, could not be established. The Americans forced the German civilian population from the surrounding villages to bury the remains.
Of the 30,000 Kauferinger prisoners it can be said with certainty that every other one found his or her death either through hunger, disease, execution, deportation, and gassing in Auschwitz as well as those on the death march. A Commission established during the post war years together with the Red Cross put an estimated the figure of 14,500.
During the Dachau War Crimes-Process 40 SS-Members were were accused and sentenced to death by hanging in Landsberg. Under the accused were also nine members of the SS-Führungspersonal (Leader Personal), among them Otto Förschner, Walter Langleist and Otto Moll. They were all executed at Landsberg.. During numerous American Post-War Trials, members of the SS-Guards were sentenced to lengthly jail terms. The one time Commandant Aumeier was extradited to Poland to answer crimes committed in Auschwitz and sentenced to death and was executed 1948. Heinrich Foster escaped judgment, he died during a bicycle accident in October 1955 under a false name of "Heinrich Reich".
The partially completed Bunker "Weingut II" has been used by the Bundeswehr (German Army) since the end of 1950. A memorial plaque has been erected on the military assembly area. An additional Commemorative Stone near the new Bergstraße in Landsberg has been placed in memory of the prisoners that fell victim to the  Death March.


Messerschmitt Me262A

 The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe ("Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems prevented the aircraft from attaining operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. Compared with Allied fighters of its day, including the jet-powered Gloster Meteor, it was much faster and better armed. In combat, when properly flown, it proved difficult to counter due to its speed. Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied kills (although higher claims are sometimes made) against the loss of about 100 Me 262s. The design was pressed into a variety of roles, including light bomber, reconnaissance and even experimental night fighter versions.
 The Me 262 was one of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II. The Allies countered its potential effectiveness in the air by relentlessly attacking the aircraft on the ground, or while they were taking off or landing. Maintenance problems and a lack of fuel during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force. In the end, the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war due to its late introduction and the small numbers that were deployed in operational service.
PS.:After the war the American Intelligence Services were looking for Professor Kurt Tank a leading aircraft designer, who had no desire to work for the USA. They did find a person fitting his profile took him to the States, but it turned out he was a Taylor.(I do not know if this is factual sic.) What is true:  Tank is only one of a number of German experts who escaped to Argentina after World War II. A single seater jet fighter mounting four 20-millimeter cannons was undergoing new tests in Argentina, first trial flights clocked at a speed of 646 miles per hour. The swept-wing I.Ae. 33 Púlqui II, powered by a Rolls-Royce turbojet engine, was the second jet plane to be designed and built in Argentina. The designer: Professor Kurt Tank, former technical director of Germany's Focke-Wulf concern and designer of the formidable FW 190. In 1953 during the financial crisis, most of the Argentinian  team went to the States. He went to India where he designed the Marut Mach 2 fighter bomber, the first indigenous Indian fighter plane, which served nearly 23 years with the Indian Air Force and last flew into the sun set in 1990. It had been introduced into service since 1967.

Fritz Todt  was a German engineer and senior NS figure, the founder of Organisation Todt.(And "father" of the Autobahn). He died in a plane crash during World War II.In 1941, he became increasingly distant from the commanders of the Wehrmacht and from Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe (Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe) in particular. He did remain close to Hitler at this time; yet, after an inspection tour of the Eastern Front, he complained to Hitler that, without better equipment and supplies for the armed forces, it would be better to end the war with the USSR. Inevitably, Hitler rejected such an assessment of the situation and carried on the offensive against the Soviets regardless.It was even suggested that Todt was the victim of an assassination plot, but this has never been confirmed.What was never in dispute, however, was that the OT used millions of forced laborers (Zwangsarbeiter) from the occupied countries of the Reich during World War II, and that the judging panel at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 sentenced Speer to 20 years' imprisonment for having headed this organization and thus sanctioned the international illegal use of forced labor.


  1. My grandfather was a prisoner at Dachau and often talks about the underground airplane factory where he worked. But until I saw this blog, I didn't quite know what he meant. Do you have any additional information on those factories you'd be willing to share? Thanks! Adam (my email is

  2. My Grandfather never survived to tell his tale about Kauferang. The tragedy is that so many stories will never be told by the innocents who perished at the hands of the supposed Master Race.
    Jacob Bresler never had a chance to hug and kiss his daughters goodbye. His daughter, a survivor from Bergen Belsen wrote the following poem:
    The silence is on our conscience
    For not listening to their cry
    Women, children and men,
    They did not want to die.
    Their shriek became a whisper
    Last breath to be filled
    Destined and Abandoned
    They did not want to be killed
    Now their souls are linked with ours
    With mankind so much to regret
    As we are now the mourner
    We must remember- Never To Forget!
    By Guta Helfgott a survivor

    1. Mr Hellgott
      I very much appreciate the poem you published on my blog, a touching reminder of what happened


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