Historisches Falkensee
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Historisches FalkenseeEin Rundgang durch die Geschichte

A concentration camp for the German armaments industry

 

From November 1943, Alkett (Altmärkische Kettenwerke GmbH) manufactured assault guns for the German Wehrmacht. In the same month, the Alkett took over the Demag armaments company in Falkensee.

Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22419, Reichelt, CC-BY-SA 3.0

In the course of the Second World War, the German armaments industry played an increasingly important role. Demag, Deutsche Maschinenbau AG, based in Falkensee, received an order from the Army High Command in October 1942 to build 3,000 tanks of the "Panther" type. This required thousands of workers and the development of production capacities. Demag used prisoners from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp who were assigned to the Falkensee subcamp, which was set up specifically for this purpose.

Starting in 1943, the armaments factory "rented" more than 2,000 concentration camp prisoners from the SS, who were responsible for organizing and guarding the camp. Forced labor was an important source of income for them. Before the prisoners were used in wartime production, they took part in a training course that was intended to enable them to operate the sometimes complicated machines. In addition, the responsible labor service office in the Sachsenhausen main camp was increasingly looking for specialist personnel among the prisoners in order to achieve successful production deployment.

If the inmates' ability to work in armaments production was severely impaired due to hours of roll call or poor nutrition, complaints were made to the SS, which led to somewhat better living conditions in the camp. The SS regularly exchanged sick or weak prisoners with other prisoners from the Sachsenhausen main camp. It is not known how many of these Falkensee prisoners subsequently died.

In total, more than twelve million people did forced labor in Germany during the Second World War.

View of Albrechtshof station and the hall complex built as the Reichsbahn repair shop in Falkensee in the background, around 1943. The halls were used by Demag from November 1942 and taken over in November 1943 by Alkett, which specialized in the manufacture of "Assault Guns III".

Source: Archives, Peter Bley

Aerial photo of Demag (Deutsche Maschinenbau AG) / Alkett Falkensee on April 19, 1945.

Source: GeoBasis-DE/LGB, dl-de/by-2-0

View of the area of the dismantled Demag / Alkett factory in 1959.

Source: Bundesarchiv, BArch, NY 4581/4, Aufzeichnungen von Rudolf Dörrier

 

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