Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Canal

Not far from the brickworks is the canal basin the Germans built to load the bricks onto barges.

"The Dove-Elbe river and the branch canal
From 1940 to 1942 up to 1,600 prisoners were deployed on the broadening of the Dove-Elbe river and the construction of the branch canal leading to the brickworks.
Along with the clay pits, the labour brigades "Elbe 1" and "Elbe 2" were considered to be Neuengamme's death squads. The SS used this work to exterminate hundreds of prisoners.
Excavation work was done mostly by hand using shovels. The prisoners were made to carry off the mud in wheelbarrows and wagons at a running pace.
The prisoners only had thin canvas jackets and trousers to wear, which offered no protection against the weather. They worew wooden clogs on their feet.
Prisoners  — called "Muselmanner" — who were exhausted and longer capable of working, soon fell ill. Many were killed by the SS using lethal injections, others were sent to extermination camps such as  Auschwitz."
- reads a museum sign next to the canal

The brickworks in the distance on the right

enlargement of the English text on the sign above

English text on this sign is quoted at the top of this post

The Brickworks

Location of the huge brickworks, a brick factory at Neuengamme

The brickworks
The brickworks were built between 1940 and 1942 by prisoners of Neuengamme concentration camp.  As agreed in a contract between the SS and the city of Hamburg, clinker bricks were to be produced here for the constructed of the "Fuehrer" buildings due to be erected in Altona along the banks of the Elbe.
Previously, there had only been a small brickyard located at Neuengammer Hausdeich, where the first prisoners sent from Sachsenhausen were billeted at the end of 1938. Their task was to keep the old brickyard running and start building the camp at Neuengamme.
The new clinker brickworks were largely automated. No more than 80 to 100 prisoners worked there, whereas many hundreds laboured in the clay pits. Inside the brickworks prisoners used to operate the kilns and in the sorting and transport processes.
In 1943 a division for manufacturing prefabricated concrete sections was set up in the east wing of the brickworks, producing among others fully intehrated construction units designed for building emergency accommodation.
- reads the museum sign by the brickworks

Some of the bricks in the steps have been replaced


Rear of the brickworks

Swastika pots

A kiln for baking the bricks

Beautifully sunken drainpipes