Aussenlager-Wansleben (also referred to as "Mansfeld").
Wansleben, a satellite of KZ-Buchenwald located west of Halle a.d. Saale, was typical of the camps established within abandoned mines that were selected early in 1944, to protect some of the more important construction facilities related to the war effort. Increasingly, these sites were relocated due to the Aliied air superiority.
An initial transport from Buchenwald brought 50 prisoners during spring 1944. Documentation exists proving the site was used for slave labour until at least February 1945. According to this source, a prisoner strength ceiling of 844 inmates was recorded in December 1944.
A former inmate later stated how sleep deprivation, vermin, beatings, arduous work in extreme temperatures and general discomfort were all factors of life for the inmates, but that the hunger was worst of all. Increasing prisoner numbers led to diminishing rations and in turn, health concerns for the prisoners. Nineteen different nationalities are recorded among transport lists, in addition to stateless prisoners. The transports arrived from Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Gross-Rosen, Neuengamme and Sachsenhausen.
The prisoners were woken around 4a.m. by the Blockführer, with roll call typically lasting for well over an hour before the work day could commence. Witness reports stated even the Kommandant would walk among the ranks, delivering blows to the assembled inmates. Within the underground facilities, temperatures, thick dust and blinding artificial lights tormented the inmates who worked in two 12 hour shifts.
SS-Hauptscharführer Hermann Helbig followed SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Mathesius as Kommandoführer at Wansleben. Helbig, former head of the crematorium at Buchenwald, was later tried, found guilty and executed in November 1948.
The camp was evacuated in mid April 1945, with an unknown number of victims buried at Köthen, one of the points on the evacuation route. An American detachment freed the remaining prisoners at Hinsdorf.
1) Kommandoführer SS-Hauptscharführer Hermann Helbig
2) An area of the former site of the camp