The disciplinary camp and the brickworks sub-camp

Brickworks sub-camp: a chronological history

- 1936

Used as a recreation ground for local people from Oranienburg and patients from the lung sanatorium at Grabowsee.

1936-1938

Prisoners from Sachsenhausen concentration camp construct a 300 metre long firing range near Lehnitz-Schleuse for the SS. Witnesses report that many prisoners are chased outside of the cordoned area in which they work only to be shot 'on the run' by the SS.

April 1938

The SS found their own company 'Deutsche Stein- und Erdwerke G.m.b.H' (DESt) and plan the construction of the brickworks in Oranienburg.

1939-1940

Prisoners belonging to the disciplinary 'brickwork unit' (Klinker kommando) construct the brickworks as a sub-camp of Sachsenhausen.

Autumn 1940

Material is loaded directly from the Hohenzollen canal. Construction of the harbour begins - many prisoners, mainly Sinti, Roma, Jehova's witnesses, homosexuals, Jews and Polish prisoners killed during its construction.

1940

Albert Speer directs the SS to begin construction of a factory where prisoners are to process natural stone from SS quarries. The factory is never completed - instead of the planned large halls, only smaller temporary buildings are finished.

1940 - 1943

Mistakes in the technical process in the brick production as well as deficiencies in the construction of the buildings, lead the SS to order the demolition of large parts of the newly finished buildings. Start of construction of new buildings with the help of an expert in brick production. During the rebuilding, Erlengrund Marsh near Stintegraben is partially dried out and filled. During the work prisoners are chased into the moor where they were trapped and drowned. Not all of the bodies are recovered.

Spring 1941

Work on the large hall for brick production, the smaller hall used as a maintenance workshop, the turbine hall and boiler house as well as the tracks to the clay quarry in Zehlendorf/Niederbarnim is completed.

April 1941

10 barracks are constructed south east of the main hall to house the prisoners. The brickworks is now a completely independent sub-camp with its own camp commandant. Bodies of the prisoners are stored in a coal bunker before they are transported to the crematoria in the main camp.

1941

Production begins in the bakery to supply the main camp, civilians and even the SS in Berlin with bread and pastries.

1941/1942

Construction of a laboratory in the brickworks.

22 January 1942

Brickworks is renamed Großziegelei Oranienburg.

1942

The brickworks is partly adapted to produce weapons. The process of recovering raw materials is relocated from Sachsenhausen to the natural stone processing works.

July - September 1942

Around 200 homosexuals are murdered in the brickworks.

End of 1942

Completion of the bridge over the Hohenzollern canal.

1943/1944

Prisoners begin the production of grenades in the newly finished weapons factory. 10,000 grenades are produced daily in the middle of 1944.

Mid 1944

The Heinkel-Werke GmbH move part of their works to the stone processing plant.

January 1945

Camp commandant orders Heinrich Fresemann, head of the camp brickworks, to tip eight to ten tons of human ashes from the crematorium in Sachsenhausen into the Hohenzollern canal.

10 April 1945

Brickworks and the natural stone processing plant are almost completely destroyed during an allied bombing raid. 200 prisoners are killed. Bodies and body parts are buried in the craters caused by the bombing.

End of April 1945

SS leave the brickworks, the survivors are sent to Sachsenhausen. From Sachsenhausen they are marched in the direction of Lübeck, during the journey many prisoners are murdered or die of exhaustion.

1946

Bakery reopens.

1947

The brickworks commandant is sentence to life imprisonment by a soviet military tribunal.

1948

Ruins are blown up and flattened by soviet troops.

1951

Land is given to the town of Oranienburg.

1966-1989

Land used by military.

April 1977

A memorial plaque is mounted by the town of Oranienburg.

May 1991

Bakery is closed.

October 1991

Status of harbour changed to that of an industrial estate.

1991

Havelbeton buy the harbour.

1992

Victim's associations, survivors and historians publicise the history of the brickworks site and apply for a preservation order.

August 1994

Shooting range is closed.

September 1994

A fire destroys parts of the bakery.

7 February 1996

The site of the brickworks, stone processing plant, bakery and the shooting range are protected as sites of special historical interest.

7 March 1996

Working group 'brickworks' is founded to discuss the future of the site. County, district and town councils, memorial preservation, Havelbeton, victim's associations as well as others are all represented, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gendekstätten is responsible.

October 1996

A work camp carries out clear up work and labels the building's foundations.

18 April 1997

Remembrance ceremony is held at the harbour. Members of the french organisation Amicale, representing ex-prisoners from the brickworks and Speer units attend. Four information boards are erected as the beginnings of the historical park 'sub-camp brickworks'.

April 1997

On behalf of the Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Michael Heurich, landscape architect and Kerstin Engelhardt, a historian, put forward plans for the future use of the site. The brickworks working group unanimously accept the plans.

May 1997

During a work camp, young people label and document the brickwork's prisoner compound.

January 1998

Oranienburg town council apply for funding according to the guidelines concerning the development of unused urban spaces from the Ministerium für Stadtentwicklung, Wohnen und Verkehr for the planning of the historical park.

April 1998

Opening ceremony of the memorial site in the brickworks harbour. Havelbeton fund and construct the access path and the mounting of the memorial on the southern side of the harbour.

25 January 1999

Oranienburg town council passes a resolution, marking as an aim, "the continued development of the historical park according to the plans developed by the Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten. Responsible for further planning is landscape architect Kai-Uwe John (Marwitz).

20 April 1999

A group of figures are set up, designed by pupils of the Runge Gymnasium (school) in Oranienburg, together with the artist Stuart N.R. Wolfe.

February 2000

Planungsbüro John present its concept for the landscaping of the historical park.

July 2000

Oranienburg town council pass a resolution to build the 'historical park brickworks concentration camp'.

18 October 2000

Potsdam's administrative court confirm the preservation order on the brickworks site.
 

More informations:

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