In order to expand arms production, the Ministry of Armaments cooperated with big companies and the SS. Across Europe, approximately 1000 of these satellite camps were established close to production sites, construction areas or private enterprises.
From 1942, male and female prisoners were increasingly forced to labour in external camp detachments or satellite camps, particularly for the production of weapons. During WWII, 45 of these external camp detachments, all attached to the KZ Ravensbruck, were established across Germany, 31 exclusively for women and nine for men. In the 45 satellite camps the prisoners were retained permanently, while the ones in the 12 external camp detachments were taken there during work times and then taken back to the main camp at Ravensbruck. Satellite camps were located at numerous locations including Eberswalde, Genthin, Karlshagen, Magdeburg, Neubrandenburg, Neustadt-Glewe, Rostock-Schwarzenpfost, Uckermark, Velten and Zwodau. The SS military hospital at Hohenlychen was also under the jurisdiction of the KZ Ravensbruck.
In the external camp detachments, employees of the companies were often hired as guards and SS-guards were also used, and from 1942 prisoners were also used as replacements for employees who had been drafted into the armed forces. The Siemens production site at Ravensbruck became a model for the use of prisoners in the war industry.
On 1 September 1944, 19 Ravensbruck sites were put under the jurisdictions of the KZs at Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Dachau, Mauthausen, Neuengamme and Sachsenhausen. A total of 54,000 women and 17,000 men from Ravensbruck were made to work in numerous external camp detachments for the manufacturing industry, the military, the state and the SS.
The external camp detachments Neustand-Glewe and Neubrandenburg were the two biggest external camps of the KZ Ravensbruck.