Carrying On

By this winter, few Germans still believed in the “final victory” propagated by the Nazis. Although a defeatist mood had taken hold, there was neither any appreciable resistance nor any slump in armaments production.

The SS domestic secret service regularly informed high-ranking Nazi functionaries about the public morale in Germany. A secret situation report of 2 February 1945 from Nordhausen states: “Even if, according to factory managers, there is talk about what we’re actually still working for, it’s all pointless and for naught, it is also to be noted that the population continues to fulfil its duties with respect to labour.”

Until the end, the locals continued to appear for work in the armaments factories – including those in underground facilities in the Southern Harz – every morning. They were already long accustomed to seeing forced labourers and concentration camp inmates there, or even giving them orders and harassing them. It had become the norm.

(Karsten Uhl)

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