Work descriptions

Tour of the site

Hall 2

„Siemens had an elaborate system in place in order to poison the relations between the prisoners and the guards. Very few of them resisted this system and treated the prisoners decently. […]“

– Rita Sprengel, * 1907, German; Siemens: November 1942 – October 1944, Hall 2

„I worked in a large open-plan office in a hall. I had to record finished workpieces and make graphic representations.“

– Johanna Sohst, * 1915, German, „Half-Jew“; Siemens: Summer 1944 – April 1945, Hall 2

„The winding room was the most important hall. Precision work had to be done here on the manual and machine winding devices. […] Every coil had to have exactly the prescribed windings, done with the finest of copper wires. These coils were built into devices that were intended for airplanes. […]“

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

Hall 3

„The work that I had to do consisted of adjusting metal contacts on a tiny detail. I sat the whole day without getting up from the workbench. My hands would go numb as they had to be held aloft all the time.

My eyes burned. My back became stiff. It was still better than being out in the frost, but every day I became terribly tired.“

– Olga Sosnovskaja, * 1925, Sowjet/Ukrainian; Start of work at Siemens unknown, Hall 3

„The whole of Siemens was producing for the V 2, the miracle weapon that they were hoping for. Very precious springs with platinum, gold or silver contacts were punch-pressed there for the relays, which were assembled and adjusted in hall 3. They were not to be touched with your fingers. The women couldn’t hold out there for longer than 3 or 4 months, then their nerves were frazzled.“

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

Hall 6

„I had to count the smallest machine parts in barrack 6 of the Siemens labour camp, always piecework under high pressure.“

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

Hall 8

„[…] The civilian only follows orders given by his superior: he brings the facts to report, and like a good Pontius Pilate, washes his hands of the responsibility straight after, as the case was not in his jurisdiction anymore. It doesn’t matter if the slave gets 25 lashes of the whip or cane, gets shot, released or selected for extermination; for him, following the rule book is all that counts. The civilians that worked in the factory followed the rules to the letter […].“

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

Hall 9

„My department was responsible for mixing a pounder and a liquid to make the material needed. This was then put into enormous pots; the pots were lifted onto rolls where they were mixed. After mixing they were poured into forms, which in turn would be worked on in big hot-presses, as the mixture had to be pressed at a certain temperature. Then they were baked in the ovens and coated on both sides with a yellow paint that enabled an electrical contact. After drying, they were measured like batteries.

I think they were the kind of small resistors used in hot irons or radios.“

– Margrit Wreschner-Rustow (nee Wreschner), * 1925, German Jew; Siemens: April 1944 – March 1945, Hall 9

Hall 21 – Mano- und voltmeters

„We worked in hall 21. We made manometers and voltmeters and did the adjusting, i.e. collected the work results of the whole hall and readied the devices for use. Under high pressure, thirty of these had to be produced at night, and thirty during the day; if we didn’t reach the quota of thirty, we could be punished. […]“

– Bianca Paganini, * 1922, Italian; Siemens: November 1944 – April 1945, Hall 21