Up until 1938, the commercial interests of the SS had been centred on small workshops inside the concentration camps. This changed in April 1938, when the SS founded a new company called 'Deutschen Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH (DESt)'. The company was created to supply construction materials for the new buildings demanded by the Führer and for this reason it ran the camp brickworks. Up until now the SS had run the companies for their own interests but now it was deemed necessary to take efficiency and productivity into account. In July 1940 the SS enterprises were consolidated into a group of affiliated companies, the 'Deutschen Wirtschaftsbetriebe GmbH (DWB)'.
Developments in the war after 1942 lead the SS companies to adapt to produce
armaments. After the end of the war, the SS had planned to replace the large
capitalist enterprises with a National Socialist command economy. Their attempts
were held back by the resistance of the business elite and insufficient
implementation. Eventually the SS only retained influence over the actual labour
of the concentration camp prisoners.
The commercial interests of the SS
Planning the conversion of Berlin to 'Germania'
Forced labour in the brickworks death camp
How the land was used after 1945
Brickworks sub-camp: a chronological history