Braunschweig (Büssing-NAG)

Büssing-NAG Vereinigte Nutzkraftwagen AG, a company based in Braunschweig, played an important role in armaments production. In 1944, the company requested prisoners from Neuengamme concentration camp in order to manufacture lorries for the Wehrmacht. Five huts were set up for a satellite camp on Wörthstraße (now Schillstraße) near the main factory. The company also erected another satellite camp in Vechelde for production outside of the city.

From 17 August 1944 to 26 March 1945, more than 800 concentration camp prisoners had to produce replacement parts for lorries for Büssing-NAG in Braunschweig. Most of the prisoners were Polish Jews from the Lodz ghetto who had been deported to Auschwitz and then selected for work commandos in Braunschweig by representatives of Büssing-NAG. A building crew of 126 prisoners, most of them French, had arrived earlier from Neuengamme main camp. The death rate in the camp was extraordinarily high: by the end of 1944, around 300 prisoners had died of starvation, disease and maltreatment. The death rate fell after a large number of prisoners "unfit for work" were transferred to the sick-bay of the Salzgitter-Watenstedt/Leinde satellite camp at the start of 1945. Nonetheless, by 20 March 1945, the undertakers "Pietät" had delivered another 80 corpses to the municipal crematorium in Braunschweig.

At the end of March 1945, the SS cleared the satellite camp. The prisoners first had to march to the Salzgitter-Watenstedt/Leinde satellite camp. On 7 April, they were taken away by train with other prisoners from this satellite camp. After travelling for several days, these transports arrived at Ravensbrück concentration camp on 14 April. When Ravensbrück was evacuated at the end of April, the men were forced to march further on foot. A large number of them were taken on another transport to the Wöbbelin "reception camp", where the survivors were liberated by American troops on 2 May.

By October 1944 at the latest, the commander of the Büssing-NAG satellite camp was SS-Hauptscharführer Max Kierstein.

Period

17 August 1944 to April 1945

Number of Prisoners

1800 Male Prisoners

Kind of Work

Production of replacement parts for lorries

Labor on Behalf of

Büssing-NAG

Location

Directions

The memorial is located on Schillstraße in the immediate vicinity of the main railway station in Braunschweig.

Opening hours: Tue. and Wed. 2:00 p.m.–5 p.m., Thur. 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., the first Saturday of every month from 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., and by appointment.

Directions by public transportation: Take bus 411, 419, 421, 429, 431, 439 or train 5 to the "Stadthalle" or "Hauptpost" stop. 

Memorial

The satellite camp was located in the immediate vicinity of a monument erected in 1837 to commemorate the soldiers of the Freikorps ("Free Corps") of Major Ferdinand von Schill. Not acting on royal order, von Schill had revolted against the French occupation with his hussar regiment in 1809. From 1955, the Schill monument served as a site where veterans' associations commemorated soldiers who had fallen during the First and Second World Wars. There was nothing to recall the existence of the satellite camp, however.

The early 1990s saw the start of a public debate about designing a memorial site. Anti-fascist initiatives protested vociferously against the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Schill monument on remembrance days, during which no mention was made of the victims of the satellite camp.

In 1995, the Braunschweig city council finally gave in to years of pressure from social organisations and agreed to hold a competition for designing a memorial to the camp's victims. The memorial designed by artist Sigrid Sigurdsson was dedicated in November 1997. This memorial is distinguished by 200 metal plaques fixed to a wall bordering the former camp. These plaques are gradually being inscribed with texts from an "open archive".

In the former "Invalidenhaus" also located near the Schill monument, a documentation site was opened in 2000 to house the publicly accessible "open archive". This collection comprises documents and private writings on the history of the site and regional Nazi history. These documents were compiled by numerous Braunschweig institutions (political parties, trade unions, authorities, schools, initiatives, etc.) in the course of a project entitled "Braunschweig – A City in Germany Remembers". An overview can be found online at the addresses below.

Contact

KZ-Außenlager Braunschweig Schillstraße
Schillstraße 25
38102 Braunschweig
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 531 – 2 70 25 65
Fax: +49 (0) 531 – 2 70 25 64
Email: gedenkstaette.schillstrasse@braunschweig.de

Stadt Braunschweig
Kulturinstitut
Schlosspark 1
38100 Braunschweig
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 531 – 4 70 48 23 or +49 (0) 531 – 4 70 48 40
Homepage: www.schillstrasse.de 
www.vernetztes-gedaechtnis.de/schillstrasse-kz.htm