Agfacommando

Article

January 26, 2022

From September 12, 1944 to April 30, 1945, the Agfa commando was an outside commando of Dachau concentration camp, which was used for the production of weapon parts. On average, more than five hundred women were interned in the camp. They performed forced labor in the factory of Agfa Kamerawerke (at the time part of IG Farben) at 161 Tegernseer Landstraße in München-Giesing, a suburb of Munich about 23 kilometers from Dachau. From 1941 onwards, the factory focused production entirely on the needs of the Wehrmacht and a growing number of forced labourers, including a large number of political prisoners, were deployed. and V2 missiles. In January 1945, some of the inmates went on strike in response to the scarcity of food, which was a unique act of resistance in the concentration camps. Production of the factory was stopped on April 23, 1945 and the prisoners were evacuated. The camp was liberated by the US military on April 30.

Outside Command

From the beginning of the Second World War, the SS used concentration camp prisoners for the arms industry. This was necessary to keep the German war industry going. Many workers were deployed in the army, causing a shortage of workers. This shortage was supplemented, among other things, with prisoners from the concentration camps, who were often placed in extra-commands. IG Farben - the company that also produced the Zyklon B gas used in the gas chambers - was one of the frontrunners. The company took advantage of thousands of inmates from Auschwitz. The term outside command (Außenlager or Außenkommando) was used for the scattered detention centers that came under the control of a concentration camp run by the SS. An outside commando had an SS commander and some prisoners held certain positions such as block elder (Blockälteste) or camp elder (Lagerälteste). These outside commandos formed a network of camps throughout Germany. Most of the prisoners stayed in the camp day and night. There were also groups of prisoners who were sent back to Dachau in the evening to spend the night there. Most of the prisoners in Dachau were used as forced labourers. Dachau was the largest and most ramified camp complex of the National Socialist regime; it had 169 outside commandos and supplied labor to 197 companies, mainly in the arms industry. Besides Agfa, other renowned companies such as BMW, Messerschmitt, Volkswagen, Krupp and Siemens also made use of these cheap workers.

Layout of the camp

The prisoners were housed in a large, unfinished, four-storey U-shaped apartment building at 7-15 Weißenseestrasse in Munich-Giesing. There were more than forty windows at the front, twenty on the sides, but one side had already collapsed during construction due to a bombing raid. Because of the bombing there were no more windows in the windows. The housing was divided into three blocks: two for the Eastern European and one for the Western European women. Each block contained several houses, in each of which were three or four rooms, a toilet, and a room with an enamel sink and a tap; six to eight women lived in each room. In the middle of the U of the apartment complex was a separate wooden building, which housed the dining room. A barbed wire fence with four watchtowers was placed around the complex. The commander, guards and Aufseherinnen lived in a house outside the camp. The complex was a twenty minute walk from the Agfa factory in Tegernseer Landstrasse.

The prisoners

From 1941, a growing number of forced laborers were employed by Agfa Kamerawerke. The prisoners were returned to the Dachau concentration camp in the evenings for the first few years.

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