Concentration camp inmates in the quarry, SS photograph, ca. 1942
(NIOD Amsterdam)

Thou­sands of con­cen­tra­tion camp in­mates were forced to work in the Floss­en­bürg quar­ry, owned by the Ger­man Earth and Stone Works (DESt). In­ad­e­quate­ly clothed and lack­ing all safe­ty pre­cau­tions, the pris­on­ers were forced, no mat­ter the weath­er, to re­move soil, blast gran­ite blocks, push trol­ley wag­ons, and haul rocks. Ac­ci­dents were dai­ly and rou­tine. Back­break­ing la­bor, freez­ing cold, se­vere mal­nou­rish­ment, and ran­dom SS and Kapo vi­o­lence led to the death of many pris­on­ers.

A work day in the quar­ry last­ed twelve hours, in­ter­rupt­ed only by a sin­gle break when a thin soup was served. The SS forced pri­son­ers to walk in cir­cles for hours, haul­ing rocks.

Only a few pris­on­ers sur­vived these pe­nal de­tach­ments. At the end of the work day, the pris­on­ers car­ried the bod­ies of the dead back to the camp.

The camp quar­ry was the larg­est in­dus­trial op­er­a­tion in Floss­en­bürg. By mid-1939, ap­prox­i­mate­ly 850 camp in­mates la­bored in the quar­ry dai­ly; by 1942, the num­ber had in­creased to near­ly 2,000. DESt em­ployed up to 60 ci­vil­ian staff, ad­min­is­tra­tors, stone­wor­kers, driv­ers and ap­pren­tices. Many of them had re­gu­lar con­tact with the in­mates.

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