Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof - "Kartoffelkeller"
Created in the summer and latter part of 1943, this unusual structure was constructed by the first "Nacht und Nebel" ("Night and Fog") prisoners who had just arrived at Natzweiler, the largest concentration camp in France. Built partially concealed by the earth, this structure became known by the code-name "Kartoffelkeller" ("potato cellar"). Despite its location near to the vegetable garden, the building was not likely designed for such a purpose. However, the truth has long since been lost to time as no information is available concerning the purpose of the structure, despite its existence for approximately one year before the camp was evacuated. Some have understandably assumed the building was intended as a form of prison block, with confinement areas below ground for the camp's worst inmates. However, the fact that a large Zellenbarrack (cell barrack), complete with torture devices and solitary confinement rooms was already present at the camp leads one to consider other purposes. Generally, prison blocks were also located within the Häftlingslager (prisoner's camp) area of a KL site - not within the SS-zone such as this structure at Natzweiler. Whatever the true purpose, the structure remains another curious facet of the Konzentrationslager system.
1. External view of the "Kartoffelkeller" structure, taken on the camp road leading away from the Haupteingang.
2-3. Underground images of the stone interior of the structure, photographed within the modern museum building.