Above: Memorial to prisoners of KZ-Außenlager Meuselwitz
KZ-Außenlager Meuselwitz situated in the environs of Meuselwitz, a town in the Altenburger Land district of Thuringia, Germany was a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp which provided slave labour to the Hugo Schneider AG (HASAG) plants. HASAG was a a privately owned company German metal goods manufacturer founded in 1863 which eventually was to become the third largest employer of slave labour after I. G. Farben and the Goring Werke during WWII.
Above: Map of KZ-Außenlager Meuselwitz
Sturmbannführer and Nazi Party member, Paul Budin was appointed manager of HASAG in 1932. One of his deputies was Dr. Georg Mumme, an SA-Sturmführer. As was common in the Nazi armaments industry, nearly all of the deputies and directors were in the SS, the Gestapo or the SA, most notably Wilhelm Renner, father of Hannelore Kohl, who later became the head of the military business and helped develop the Panzerfaust.
Beginning in the summer of 1944, forced labour camps were established next to each HASAG plant in Germany, all of which were satellite camps of Buchenwald. As of January 31, 1945, the Hugo Schneider A.G. Werk Meuselwitz employed 1,666 prisoners, of which 1,376 were women; men's camp (A) on the map, women's camp marked (B). The plant was engaged in the manufacture of small to medium sized munitions. More women were "employed" since HASAG paid the SS less for women than men. Paul Budin is assumed to have committed suicide with his wife, in April 1945, when he blew up the company's head office in Leipzig.
Below is a small notebook/album I have which was made by liberated prisoner no. 34924 of KZ-Außenlager Meuselwitz in which fellow prisoners (mainly Polish) signed wishing the owner best wishes for the future with their addresses and prisoner numbers as a reminder of their time together at the Meuselwitz camp.
Below: The last remaining inhabited barrack block of the former camp was recently demolished have being lived in by the same woman for 35 years.
Below: Another of the surviving original barrack blocks that were also demolished.
The town authorities did not think it important enough to keep these KZ-Außenlager Meuselwitz reminders intact despite a local action group trying to prevent them being pulled down.
KL Buchenwald women's detachments worked at following (Source: ITS file:KL Buchenwald C I 45 b Ordner 164 Abt. "Hist") subcamps and factory installations:
1. ATG Leipzig
Allgemeine Transportanlagen-Gesellschaft mbH originally a manufacturer of conveyer systems, during WWII ATG was responsible for building Junkers JU-88, 188, 388 and Messerschmitt Me 262. In 1944 ATG was renamed ATG Maschinenbau GmbH Leipzig. ATG employed many thousands of PoWs and forced labourers as well as prisoners from concentration camps in a number of factory locations in Leipzig. In addition, there was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp , ' “Lager Schönau” situated in the middle of the former Linden Avenue or Lindenallee (now called now Park Avenue or Parkallee), in which about 500 women were housed. In August 1944, A.T.G. requested a transport of 500 Hungarian Jews from the Stutthof concentration camp who were sent to Lager Schönau.
2. BMW Eisenach- Abterode
BMW 003 jet engine production line to salt mines in Heiligenrode, Abterode (potash mine 450 metres underground at Abterode ) , Ploemintz and Stassfurt (codenamed Ludwig II).
3. Dortmund-Hörder Hütten-verein
Dortmund Hoerder Hüttenverein AG, subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp belonged to the "United Steel Works or Vereinigten Stahlwerken" who produced bombs and hand-grenades during WWII. DHHV employed between 300 and 750 women by January 1945, mainly prisoners from KL Ravensbrück. But also Russian forced labourers, Poles, German and other nationalities—among them many Jews. The age range of the forced workers at the DHHV works was between 13 years to early 20’s.
4. Max-Gehrt-Werke, Penig
A sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp for at least 700 female concentration camp prisoners (January, 1945). The prisoners had to forced labor at the Max-Gehrt works to work in the Junkers aircraft and engine plants.
5. HASAG Leipzig
6. HASAG Meuselwitz
7. HASAG Schlieben
8. HASAG Taucha
9. Heerbrandt-Werke Raguhn
In the spring of 1945, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp was built for 200-500 female Jewish prisoners in Raguhn who had to do forced labor engine plants and aircraft in the army Brandt works for the Junkers.
10. IG F. Wolfen
11. Junkers Aschersleben
During World War II, a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp was located in the town of Aschersleben. It was established to provide slave labour for Junkers (aircraft) and Motorenwerk (automotive). Since July 1944 about 950 KL prisoners were forced to work at the Junkers Flugzeugwerke in Aschersleben. In April 1945 the production ceased. On 17 April U.S. forces occupied Aschersleben, but on 23 May the city was handed over to the British forces and later on 1 July it was finally handed over to the Soviets.
12. Junkers Markkleeberg
13. Kabel-Werk Neustadt
A Siemens group company since 1936. In 1944 the Neustadt cable and wire plant requested 400 women prisoners from the Ravensbrück concentration camp to expand its workforce. The women, all Jewish Hungarians were forced to do hard labour at the plant although no deaths apparently were recorded in the camp. At the approach of the Americans in April 1945, the Neustadt camp was disbanded, the women were sent to the Czech Republic, where the (rest of the) group at Taus ( Domazlice dissolved). Besides the Ravensbrück inmates Siemens also used many foreign forced workers from the Ukraine, Poland and Italy, and also PoWs, especially from France.
Today the company is called Prysmian Cables and Systems and products include fiber optic cable, telecommunications, and energy and control cables and special cables and since 2005 owned by Italian tire and cable manufacturer Pirelli.
Sadly, and all to commonly, there is no mention of slave labour or concentration camp workers in the corporate history pages.
Polte Armaturen-und Maschinenfabrik OHG or Polte Werke was one of the largest ammunition manufacturers in the world. With the start of WWII, forced laborers were used to compensate for the resulting shortage of local labour and to reduce labour. Along with PoWs and concentration camp inmates, the proportion of forced labourers amounted to almost 50% of the total workforce of the Polte Werke by the end of the war.16. Polte-Magdeburg
In September 1944 Rheinmetall-Borsig became an external camp for Buchenwald concentration camp. As many as 1,294 female prisoners were made to do forced labour there, most of them aged between 16 and 60, many Jews from Hungary. As well as continuing to produce cardan shafts, the women also helped make parts for armoured vehicles used in the war, as well as manufacturing arms; two new workshops were built for this in 1944 and 1945. The SS evacuated the camp in early April 1945, sending its prisoners and SS overseers on a death march, which ended near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.18. Hessisch Lichtenau
An explosives factory forming part of the Nazi rearmament programme and was located at 37235 Hirschhagen Hessian Lichtenau. From 1935, a total of 400 individual buildings at the site under the name “Fabrik Hessisch Lichtenau der Gesellschaft zur Verwertung chemischer Erzeugnisse mbH” had been built for the production and bottling of TNT and picric acid and were connected to each other by road, railway and canals. The factory complex employed over 5,000 people, mostly forced labourers and prisoners of war, under inhuman conditions in surrounding camps and settlements.19. WASAG Elsnig
The workforce consisted of the local population, German conscripts, forced labourers from occupied European countries and from the summer of 1944, Hungarian Jews from the Buchenwald concentration camp. The main workers accommodation was inhabited by Germans and West Europeans workers, while East European forced labourers were crammed into special barracks.
Explosives Ltd (WASAG) an explosives factory in the Westphalian-Saxon-Anhalt, during WWII, where approximately 145,000 tons of TNT and several thousand tons of explosives and marine tracer ammunition were produced. 20. Westf. M. I. Lippstadt