A New Concentration Camp in the Middle of the Village

The network of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp outside Nordhausen gradually spread to the surrounding communities. The Mittelwerk GmbH – the company responsible for the underground rocket production –, for example, set up its offices in the village of Ilfeld in the Southern Harz Mountains. Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp inmates were put to work building streets, laying cables and constructing lodgings for the company staff.

By January 1945, there were so many concentration camp inmates working in Ilfeld that, on the 9th, a subcamp was established there. The villagers were already long accustomed to the sight of labouring inmates.

On this day, 32 inmates were brought to Ilfeld. They would be joined by several hundreds more in the months that followed. Until the camp’s clearance in April 1945, they performed labour in the construction of assembly barracks for the idée fixe of steadily increasing armaments production.

(Marvin Keitel)

Literatur: Jens-Christian Wagner, Produktion des Todes: Das KZ Mittelbau-Dora. 3rd edition, Göttingen 2015.