Monday, December 26, 2016

DACHAU KZ - SATELLITE CAMPS - PART 12 Alphabetical Order M


DACHAU KZ - SATELLITE CAMPS - PART 12 Alphabetical Order M



                        DACHAU KZ - SATELLITE CAMPS - PART 12
                                                   Alphabetical Order




At Tegernsee Landsdstrasse 61 in Munich, since 1927, the headquarters of the "Aktiengesellschaft Anilun Fabriktion" have been located, for short it was called 'Agfa Kamerawerkre'. The company was founded in Berlun in 1867, taken over by Bayer AG, Leverkusen in 1927, and integrated into the IG Farben, which was associated with Rayer AG. Since 1928, only laboratory instruments have been produced in the Munich camera factory. Over the past few years, the Munich management and research departments have been there it's operation. In November 2004 assets of the company were sold to German and American investors. In 2005, the company announced its insolvency.



                                         1867 - 1904: The Early Years

Both Agfa and Gevaert were established in the nineteenth century. Business boomed and soon the original premises became too small.

 During the second world war, the optical and precision mechanical production of the camera works was converted to  a war economy and produced ignition timing devices for bombs, artillery ammunition and V-1 and V-2 rockets; they used every opportunity to sabotage the production. In January 1945, citing the lack of food, the prisoners conducted a strike, an unheard-of action in a concentration camp. As a result in change of production, the Agfa camera factory was considered a war-time operation and since 1942 more than 800 foreign forced laborers had been working there as a  a prisoner commando from KZ-Dachau. On 13 September 1944, 500 women from the KZ-Ravensbrück were brought to Munich to work. At the end of October 1944, the subcamp changed again, but the number of prisoners remained around 500 inmates. Those kept mainly in this subcamp came from Poland, Holland as well as women from the Ukraine and France.

                           Women prisoners from Ravensbrück that came to Munich

 Their plight in Ravensbrück
About five hundred prisoners from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, mainly Poland, arrived from Ravensbrück concentration camp on 13 September 1944. Little is known about the Polish women except that many of them were taken as slave labor in reprisal for the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Ludwig Eiber mentions a forty-year old Polish women who died on 7 October 1944.] In December 1944, after a Christmas party, two of these prisoners escaped, dressed as Josef and Maria in some borrowed clothing. According to an unconfirmed account of Leni Leuvenberg, twenty Polish women were killed during a bombing on 25 February 1945.
In October 1944, 250 Polish prisoners were sent back to Ravensbrück, in exchange for 193 Dutch women, ten women from other West European countries and fifty women from Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Among the latter were twenty-one Slovenian political prisoners, mostly (communist) Yugoslav Partisans. The Dutch women arrived on October 15, 1944 from Ravensbrück where they had arrived in September from the Dutch concentration camp Vught. Most had been active in the resistance and had formed bonds already in Vught. They were a cohesive, supportive group; they marched singing into the cattle cars in Vught and walked singing into Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Out of the 193 Dutch women, only two died just before the war's end. In comparison, a third of the Dutch women that stayed behind in Ravensbrück did not survive.
The accommodation of the women was a three-storeyed Wiohnhaus (dwelling), which was not yet completed, located in today's Weissenseestrasse 7-15 in Munich. A survivor of this KZ-sub camp recalled that the house was also home to civilian workers. Apart from the standard two-storey beds, there were only a few wooden tables and stools in the apartments. On the ground floor was a Revier (Hospital) for sick inmates. Next to the house there was a barrack, where the kitchen and the dining room were installed. The camp was fenced-in with barbed wire and four watchtowers.
 Commander of subcamp's Agfa camera works was SS Untersturmführer Kurt Konrad Stirnweis. In February 1945, the Latvian Alexander Djerin came to the Weissenseestrasse as deputy commandant. His predecessor is not known by name. On the one hand, the commanders are portrayed as being  strict and dutifully, on the other hand, several prisoners wrote thanksgiving letters to Kurt Konrad Stirnweis after the war, because he had worked for the women for better conditions. In addition to the two commanding officers, there were ten SS-female Aufseherinnen (Warden) and one Ober-Aufseherin  as the superior over her team and the women in the subcamp.
Above all, an older warden of them with the name Richter beat the women frequently. Yet the entire SS guards were lodged with the prisoners in the sane dwelling-house.

 The hygienic conditions in the camp were inadequate, only once a week the women received warm water. In the prisoners' revier (hospital) the women were able to recover temporarily when the prison doctor Ella Lingens issued a bed card and they did not have to go to work. But there were also serious diseases such as stomach-typhus, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and most important scabies. The women, who fell ill for a longer period, were transferred back to the KZ-Dachau.
[ Ella Lingens was a doctor who was in Auschwitz as a political prisoner and spent several months in the Agfa-Commando, she died November 2002 in Vienna.sic].

 Most of the women suffered under the deficient food and the cold. They had no coats in the winter, only a few blankets and almost no fire wood. They were particularly cold because the windows of the dwelling-house were destroyed after air raids, and they were no longer protected from wind and cold. Frequently, the sleeping mattresses were covered with snow. Because of the lack of food, the thieving from the potato cellar in the basement of the Wohnhaus became a habit and  was due to the lack of food. The portions became even less after X-mass 1944 and condition became worse on a daily basis ever since, so that the Dutch women protested against the lack of food.They stopped the assembly line in Agfawek and refused to work. The commandant was very angry, had the names of the strikers listed,and wrote a report to Berlin. As a 'ringleader' the Dutch Johanna Maria Vaders was suspended and in January 11945 sentenced for seven weeks in the Dachau bunker.

In January, 1945 the 14-mile (23 km) road from the main camp in Dachau had become impassable as a result of the Allied bombings. The meals now became the responsibility of the Agfa management. The soup deteriorated by the day, and few women were spared digestive problems and complications from undernourishment. Disease was rampant: there were outbreaks of typhoid fever, scarlet fever and tuberculosis. Conditions at the main camp were no better; as the war drew to a close, Dachau became increasingly overcrowded with prisoners evacuated from other concentration camps. Consequently, transfer from the Agfa sub camp to the to the main camp's dispensary was close to a death sentence.
When the factory took over the distribution of the soup and started watering it down, while at the same time trying to raise the production quotas, the Dutch women spontaneously crossed their arms and stopped their work] The other women joined the protest. Strikes were unheard of in the concentration camps, so this would lead to severe punishments. In the end the women made their point that they just could not work under the conditions of a starvation diet and constant bombing raids. The chief Gestapo agent Willy Bach came down from the headquarters in Dachau and tried to find the instigators, but no one came forward. In the end, Mary Vaders, who had arrived from Ravensbrück on October 15, 1944, was selected at random and incarcerated in the Dachau bunker cell for seven weeks of solitary confinement. She came back damaged but unbroken. The remaining Dutch and and other women were punished with hours standing in formation in the court yard.

The sub camp had two Polish Kapos and one camp-Elderly. Camp-Elderly was initially the Dutch Winni De Winter and later a young Dutchwoman. For the working session the women were taken by their SS-guards on foot to the Agfa camera factory in the Tegernseer Landstrasse about 20 minutes on foot. Civilian workers assigned to  them had to monitor the women during work hours, [mainly to check for sabotages,sic] . The prison women were employed in the production of aircraft parts for the Luftwaffe. Kazimiera St. had to produce capsules and rinse them with a corrosive liquid. Most women worked at least twelve hours, if they did not reach the given standard even longer.

 There was no abuse of  prisoners in the camera factory. As an  armaments company it was often a target of air raids, while the Germans' fellow members of the Luftwaffe stayed in the security of shelters, the prisoners were locked up in the factory halls. They could not protect themselves from collapsing wood or sheet metal parts and bursting window panes. Many of them were injured in air raids in the Camera plant. Although some of them did stay in the basement of the factory,  They also used their stay in the basement of the factory during the bombing to urinate into the oil and thus make the machines break down. [It was not feasible to provide shelters for KZ inmates or for that matter for  POW's either.sic]

 An Ukrainian woman tried to flee once, but was quickly caught again. Before she was transferred to the Stammlager (Main Camp) Dachau after a few days, she was held as a punishment without food, right beside the food distribution. Then a young Russian girl broke out of the camp, but returned after a few days, because she could find nothing edible and no support in keeping her hidden.
On 27 April 1945 the camp Agfa camera works was evacuated. Commander-in-chief, with approximately 500 women and  his deputy Djerin and ten SS-female wardens led them in a  southerly direction. In Wolfratshausen the women refused to carry on, and sought shelter in a barn. On the following night, the guards fled, and the next morning, May 1, 1945, the women were liberated by American troops.

 As the war drew to a close and American TROOPSl began to encircle the region, production at the factory halted on 23 April 1945. The Allied bombings and the advance of the Allied forces had cut off the supplies of raw material and distribution of the products. The camp commander was ordered to evacuate the prisoners and begin their death march in a southerly direction The women were given a small sausage and a piece of bread for the journey, with their standard bowl of soup for their previous evening meal. Against his SS-superiors' orders, Stirnweis halted the march on 28 April just outside the town of Wolfratshausen and further persuaded a farmer named Walser to shelter the five hundred remaining prisoners in his hayloft. Despite specific orders to the contrary, he did not resume the march, but let the women shelter in place until the American troops drew closer.
 On 1 May 1945 Stirnweis surrendered to the 12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division of the US Army and asked for protection of the prisoners. After about a week on the farmFöhrenwald. This was the largest and longest-lived resettlement camp in post-war Europe. From Föhrenwald, the women were repatriated by the Red Cross.
Trial of the camp commander 
Initially, and based on cursory evidence, Stirnweis was accused of participating in cruelties and criminal usage of prisoners of war and civilians and sentenced to two years of labor after the war. However, the testimony of many of the women revealed no evidence of atrocities committed at the work detail at Agfa Camera works. According to former prisoners' testimony, sub-camp commander Lieutenant Kurt Konrad Stirnweis was a reasonable man. His sentence was abrogated upon the testimony of his former charges.
His deputy, a 29-year-old Latvian named Alexander Djerin,was sentenced to six years imprisonment for his cruel treatment of the prisoners, commencing 9 May 1945. Although there was no suggestion in the trial records that Sergeant Djerin had mistreated the women, he was convicted of mistreatment of prisoners during his work at Dachau.

Author German Text: Sabine Schalm


In October 1940, Adolf  Hitler ordered to  use inmates of concentration camps and prisoners of all kinds to remove  Allied bombs, duds, and long-term detonating devices. Above all in the last two years of  the war, prisoners from the KZ-Dachau were used to retrieve duds or those having ignitions with long-term detonators installed.
In July 11944, a bomb search commando of 100 prisoners was used for this purpose and taken to the   the gymnasium of the Stielerschule in Munich on the  Bavaria-Ring / Stielerstrasse 6. The prisoners had been selected by the camp management in Dachau and had been dressed before their transport to Munich with new prisoner suits. On leaving  the prisoners were not aware of their task. They were told that it was a clearing - up commando, which was to be used for debris removal or damaged building safety

.                                           The Bavaria with the Ruhmeshalle, opened in 1850

 When they arrived at the Stielerschule, they were promised to be relieved of intensive punishment (Erleichterung), or even to be  released from their internment, but they were threatened with execution for theft, attempted escape or contact with the civilian population. Then they were taken to the Roman Road, a reporting office for bomb locations for a brief intensive instruction and divided into smaller six groupings. Then the prisoners divided themselves again into individual teams, and were driven by Feuerwerker (Disposal Experts)  of the Wehrmacht to their assignments in the urban area, to defuse bombs without knowing how.Yet an inmate remembers that he defused 246 bombs.

  Flying Fortresses of the 303rd bomber group (Hell’s Angels) drop a heavy load on industrial      targets in Germany.

Reports by the Luftschutzkommando Süd (South) show that a Feuerwerker of the Wehrmacht was in charge and was supported by an SS post to guard the prisoners. Sometimes members of the  police were employed as guards.

                                                    Dud bombs unearthed by Disposal Teams

 Hitler and Mussolini before one of the Honor Temples at Königsplat

Most detainees died while removing the detonators of the bombs or during the explosions of the duds, which detonated without the assistance of the Feuerwerker, as the detonator was set to a certain time limit had run out and explosion took place. Up to 15 prisoners were killed daily in their work. The KZ-Dachau replaced these casualty's always with new prisoners. Because of the high losses, the prisoners themselves gave this assignment the name 'Hinnelfahrtskommando'. How many inmates had to defuse bombs in this while staying in this sub camp between July 1944 and April 1945, and how many of them were killed can not be reconciled. That it was very grave to be classified for the bomb search commando, it  was well known as to the dangers among the prisoners in the Stammlager of Dachau


 Destroyed Siegestor 1945

 Because of the work outside fixed camp limits, the danger of escape was great. From an escape attempt of Hans Busche, who was kept in Protective Custody,  on 16 September 1944 a report by the  Schutzpolizei Section Ccommand South indicates that Busche could not be found even after an extensive search. His remaining whereabouts is unknown.

 There are no indications on the closure of the sub camp at the Stielerschule. It is, however, certain that, up to the end of the war, that the bomb disposal within the greater area of Munich was carried out by prison inmates from Dachau.
The investigations of the office of the Landesjutiz Administration in Ludwigsburg during the years 1973/74 remained
unsuccessful. In 1989, a commemorative plaque for the detainees of the Bombensuchkommando was installed at the Stielerschule.

Author German Text: Sabine Schalm 

Der Ort des Terrors, Pages 389-

Vol 2 C.H.Beck, München 2005
Translated from German by:
Herbert Stolpmann von Waldeck


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