The Flossenbürg granite deposits played a crucial role for the location of the concentration camp. The SS-owned company German Earth and Stoneworks (DESt) supplied building materials for major projects run by the National Socialists.
After 1942, the inmates were used specifically for forced labor in the armaments industry. The Regensburg Messerschmitt factory relocated a portion of their aircraft production to the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp. By March 1943, the German Earth and Stoneworks were producing for the armaments industry.
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, SS area, 1945 after liberation (Picture: Flossenbürg Memorial)
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, quarry, circa 1942 (Picture: NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam)
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, Messerschmitt aircraft production, 1945 after liberation (Picture: Kleinman Family Foundation, Toronto)
Most of the prisoners were imprisoned due to their ancestry. The National Socialist racial doctrine maintained that Jews and peoples of other nationalities and ethnicities were "subhuman." Many were also persecuted for their political beliefs, for criticizing the regime, or for engaging in the resistance. Others were imprisoned for their religious beliefs or for threatening the so-called "health of the national body" (Volkskörper).
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, "Schutzhaftlager", 1945 after liberation (Picture: Flossenbürg Memorial)
100,000 people from 47 nations were prisoners at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp or in one of its satellite camps: 84,000 men, 16,000 women, and even children. From the beginning, death was a part of life for the prisoners at the camp. People died from starvation, the freezing temperatures, or from being arbitrarily killed.
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, detention building, 1945 after liberation (Picture: Flossenbürg Memorial)
The liquidation of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp began in early April 1945. In addition to thousands of inmates from the previously cleared camps Groß-Rosen and Buchenwald, the SS also transferred "special prisoners" to Flossenbürg. Some of these special prisoners, including Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were singled out for execution. On April 23, 1945, two weeks after the execution of Bonhoeffer, the US arrived at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp.
Picture: Flossenbürg Memorial