An ammunition plant near Auschwitz


In the movie “The Grey Zone” … ation_camp but I don’t see any mentioning of ammunition production. I was in Auschwitz a long time ago and do not remember anything about ammo factory. So, was there an ammunition plant there? Anyone has any boxes or documents?


I’m going to Auschwitz in July, if that is useful.


I have been searching for definitive proof myself of sorts. I have conflicting here-say from people stating that the the Nazis used forced labor for small arms munitions manufacture, and people saying no way, as it was to susceptible to sabotage. I have looked up on the Jewish virtual library as to German Firms That Used Slave or Forced Labor During the Nazi Era. I cannot find any small arms munitions plants. My general consensus is that the Nazi party did not use people that would possibly sabotage such. I am still searching for definitive information.


The Nazis used concentration camp labor on the V-weapons, I doubt there was any reluctance to use them for small-arms ammo.


I would imagine slave labor was used in all sorts of German (and occupied countries) munitions plants, but likely only in manual labor positions not related directly to production operations which could be sabotaged. I think that was the case for V-2 production, where slave labor was used for heavy work like digging tunnels, etc., certainly not as rocket scientists or in any other sensitive production positions.


One source of information I taken a look at, is a sight that has looked into payment of compensation to former slave laborers and forced laborers. I do not notice any small arms munitions factories on there list. … ancos.html


That list is pretty incomplete anyway. I wouldn’t put too much trust in its contents.


The DWM plant in Lübeck-Schlutup used a great amount of forced/slave labour, but if it was only in packing or packaging making I’m not sure.


The Krupp Group had a fuze factory right at Auschwitz, and another at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. I have no other information on those. Herman Göring had interests in a group that included ammunition plants that employed slave labor, but I don’t know what kind of plants or exactly where they were located. Of course, there was the famous Deutsche Emalwarenfabrik Oskar Shindler, an enamel ware factory that later was converted to an ammunition factory. Schindler, through falsification of production records and outright sabotage of his own product line, only ever delivered “one wagonload” of ammunition after months of “production.” Most of his workers survived the war due to his efforts at bribing officials, falsification of the records regarding their skills, etc. In the little reading I have done on this subject, I suspect that the Hugo Schneider-run Polish war-industry plants, including Poland’s main ammunition factory HASAG, Eisen-und Metallwerke G.m.b.H., Werk Skarzysko-Kamienna likely used slave labor as well.


From what I saw in German archives we have to accept the ugly fact that you cannot distinguish between enterprises that used slave labor and those that did not. There was by far not enough manpower to keep the German war machine running. If you had a small enterprise, you had the choice of accepting “foreign labourers” (which could mean anything from POWs to concentration camp) or your shop was closed down due to lack of personnel. Which meant being drafted into the Wehrmacht and most probably a promising career as an infantryman on the eastern front.

In other words, practically every commercial undertaking in wartime Germany funtioned because of the employment of slave labor. You could be lucky, like the former French POW I met, who had good memories of the farm he worked on. And on the other hand there was intent to work people to death as in Monowitz, Dora and countless other places.

Monowitz is usually described as the fourth of the big Buna (synthetic rubber) chemical plants erected by I.G. Farben. From the layout as shown in Wikipedia I see no signs of explosives production. And I would not expect arms manufacture in a chemical plant. Any big plant attracts a lot of other firms from other areas (electrical and mechanical engineering etc.) to support its infrastructure (pumps, elevators, heating, you name it). Manufacture of arms by them is not very probable in my view.