Impressions and perceptions

„The day I spent soldering my hands together, messing about with the solder and trying to fix wires to a coil, but I got pathetically little done. Despite my poor performance, I still got accepted, as the colleague to my right, a Danish woman I had never seen before, did the soldering for me, and at the end of the evening my box was full of completed coils. In the following days I learned this skill, became a competent worker and managed to fulfill the minimum production quotas.“

– Lidia Beccia Rolfi, * 1925, Italian; Siemens: October 1944 – April 1945, Hall 8

„At first I was put to work in the Siemens camp office, making daily lists of the dead, the new arrivals and of numbers of sick and required workers. In this work I mistyped on purpose to boycott the task because I didn’t want to register the names of my fellow inmates. I was under constant supervision and the threat of death from the SS so my activity there was quite short-lived. […]“

– Theodoline Katzenmaier,  * 1918, German; Start of work shift at Siemens, unknown, hall X and hall 6.

„We entered the factory, this time officially and by the rules, both designated for hall 8. The twenty enormous storage halls of Siemens stretched in 5 rows, each hall separated by free space, almost like a street. The outlay of the Siemens facility was not different from that of the camp Ravensbruck, the architect followed the same design of grey and economic lines.

Our hall was just one big shed without any interior partitions, no latrines, dismal and noisy. The coiling machines made a deafening noise.“

– Lidia Beccia Rolfi, * 1925, Italian; Siemens: October 1944 – April 1945, Hall 8

„The Germans didn’t just hold foreign prisoners without any basis in law of verdict, they also forced them to work for Hitler’s war machine. This was the case at Siemens. […]“

– Yvonne Useldinger (nee Hostert), * 1921, from Luxemburg; Siemens: May 1943 – April 1945, Hall 2

„[…] You ask yourself if this is worth a person’s life. If I am irreplaceable, then I understand that I sacrifice my life for not having to work for the war. But if they have so many people that they can send ten or twenty instead of you, people who work because they are afraid or for whatever reason, then my life would not have been sacrificed for a reasonable purpose. That is my opinion to that. […]“

– Irma Trksak, * 1917, Austrian; Siemens: Late October 1942 – January 1945, Hall 3, then the most senior in the Siemens camp