From 1941, Volkswagen used concentration camp prisoners alongside several thousand non-German forced labourers and prisoners of war for armaments production. Unlike the officially independent Arbeitsdorf concentration camp which was established in 1942, the two camps set up in Fallersleben in 1944 for male and female prisoners were satellite camps of Neuengamme concentration camp. On 31 May 1944, 800 male prisoners from Neuengamme main camp arrived at Laagberg, around three kilometres from the Volkswagen plant. 350 of these prisoners were from France, 150 from the Netherlands, 150 from the Soviet Union and Poland, and 100 from Spain. Around 18 German prisoner-functionaries were responsible for prisoner administration tasks. The prisoners were divided into nine work crews. Eight of these crews worked for Deutsche Bau AG and were supposed to erect huts for a new camp on behalf of Volkswage. The ninth crew, which consisted exclusively of Soviet prisoners, had to work in the Volkswagen forges.
According to a report by the SS Garrison Physician at Neuengamme concentration camp, Dr. Trzebinski, 656 male prisoners were still being used as labourers at Volkswagen on 25 March 1945. The remaining 144 prisoners had either died or been sent back to Neuengamme main camp because of exhaustion. In early April, additional prisoners were brought to Fallersleben from the evacuated camp in Porta Westfalica. On 8 April, all of the prisoners were taken by train to the Wöbbelin "reception camp" near Ludwigslust.
The commander of the satellite camp was SS-Hauptscharführer Johannes Pump. His deputy, who was also responsible for the work commandos, was SS-Unterscharführer Anton Callesen from Denmark. Pump was replaced in January 1945 by Wehrmacht officer Karl Werringloer, which brought about a temporary improvement in conditions at the camp.
31 May 1944 to 8 April 1945
Number of prisoners
Kind of work
Slave labour on behalf of
Volkswagenwerk, Deutsche Bau AG