KZ-Allach, the forgotten concentration camp near Dachau
From 1935 the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG established a new factory, targeting the arms industry, 10 kilometers north of Munich on the northern edge of the Allacher Forst under the name of BMW- Werk- Allach or BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH. (Aircraft engines).
In 1943 BMW already made plans to bring part of the arms industry underground beside the existing production halls. This happened in connection to a bombardment on the establishment of BMW in Munich in the spring of 1943.
Since 1934 BMW worked for the Nazis.
The underground production halls were essentially bunkers with 9 to 15 meters thick walls. The SS took care of the forced labour, which was originally supplied from the main camp KZ Dachau. The SS usually set up a camp in the vicinity of a manufacturing plant. This also happened in the vicinity of the BMW-establishment Allach. It was here, with the cooperation of BMW AG from 1942, where an outside commando of KZ Dachau was established. Evidence for this are to be found in the City Archives -Munich.
The camp was connected to the BMW factory by a bridge over the Schwabenbrook and a wooden bridge over the Dachaustreet. The prisoners were driven to their production halls through a corridor of barbed wire. In the grounds of BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH was also a small prison. The construction of the underground factory halls was never entirely finished. In 1944 concentration camp Allach was extended with OT Lager Karlsfeld (Lager = camp) to 30 residential barracks. The concentration camp Allach consisted of 18 converted and heavily contaminated horse stables. The horse stables remained very primitive shelters even after the conversion.
In the Town Archives of Munich requests and plans can be found for the construction of a sewerage system in the concentration camp outside command Allach by BMW as far back as the year 1942.
The original owner of this camp, BMW, called this camp the "Russian camp".
The residential barracks of the prisoners were not connected to the sewerage, but some of the sanitary barracks and the kitchen barrack were. The barracks of the SS guardians were also connected to the sewerage. This way KZ Allach developed the largest outside commando of the approximately 180 outside commandos of KZ Dachau. The camp was taken in use on the 19thof March 1943. The lavatory and the sanitary barrack was stone built. This barrack is now the last remaining barrack and one of the few remains of the Allach-Karlsfeld concentration camps.
The convicts, 4000 to 5000 man, were employed by BMW’s building section or in the production halls. In these production halls aircraft engines for Junkers airplanes and military aircrafts were built. Even parts for rockets were made in 1945 in Allach. The SS received about 6 RM a day for the work of one convict from BMW. This was about half of the pay of a normal worker. About 0.30 RM was deducted for lunch (1 liter soup). At first the prisoners were given 150 grams of bread each at 9.00 o’clock and at the end of the war was it reduced to 65 grams of bread. For dinner the prisoners got 1 liter of soup and 200 grams of bread. Other “employers” of the convicts were the construction firms Dyckerhoff and Organisation Todt(OT).
|1. Camp Allach 4. Camp forçats
2. Karlsfeld étranger
3. BMW-fabrique 5. Camp de prison de SS
The total dimension of the concentration camp ground was 300 by 300 meters. The camp was suitable for 6000 prisoners, but there were times between 1944 and 1945 that there were 22.000 haggard prisoners with a total of 23 different nationalities. Of the usual 5000 prisoners there were about 2500 with French nationality. There were also many Germans, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Belgians, Dutch and Yugoslavs. Most prisoners were male, political prisoners and also many prisoners of war. There were relatively few Jewish prisoners.
The working hours at BMW were from 6.00 to 12.00 o'clock and in the afternoon from 13.00 till 18.30 o'clock. Normally the prisoners got up at 4.00 o'clock, followed by the morning roll call at 5.15 o'clock. In the winter they were woken at 5.00 o'clock. At 21.30 o'clock the lights in the barracks were switched off. The barracks were swarming with lice. At least every Sunday the prisoners were very busy delousing.
The monitoring of the camp was in the hands of about 800 SSers, the "Totenkopf" unit. The majority of the SS men were of German origin. But there were also SS men with Hungarian, Romanian and Croatian nationality. The camp commander was first lieutenant Josef Jarolin and his substitute sergeant-major Sebastian Eberl. Jarolin was sentenced to death by the Headaction of Dachau in December 1945 with 35 other war criminals. In May 1946 the sentence was executed.
At first Eberl got off scot-free by pretending to suffer from MS in his Nazi period. There were more investigation procedures against Eberl but all of them were stopped. The last research dates from 1976. The researches produced many testimonies. The last ones were from about 1970 and are preserved in the State archives of Munich. Eberl was never condemned for his atrocities and died in 1982.
On a detailed ground plan of the camp, the spot of a permanent gallows was drawn by hand. There was always a mobile gallows in the roll call grunds, which came from the main concentration camp Dachau. This is also to be found in documents and drawings in the State archives of Munich.
Approximately 10.000 prisoners, among them about 1000 women, were liberated in the morning of 30th April 1945 by the 42. Rainbow division of the 7. American army. Because there were infectious diseases the Americans set up a quarantine area. Only at the end of May 1945 most prisoners were allowed to go home. The stone sanitary barrack in the old concentration camp ground is one of the few remains of the Nazi period.
In 1997 two memorial plaques were placed on that barrack. One plaque has a German text and the other one has a French text. This is the only place were we see the name of Allach! Not much is left of the wooden horse stables. The barrack's foundations of Block 5 are now a roller-skating track. An office building has been built on another foundation. Many Dutch prisoners lived in the barrack of Block 5.
The concentration camp Allach has literally and figuratively disappeared from the earth. Even on the website of the Memorial Centre Dachau only the outside camps Kaufering and Mühldorf are mentioned, not a word about concentration camp Allach.
We must respectfully remember what has happened in the concentration camp Allach! Never again these atrocities. At the site of the concentration camp is a 'displaced person camp' built for about 3200 people, who did not want or could not go home.There were more than 20 nationalities. In the book "Ende und Anfang" (The end and the beginning) the history is written in a very expertly way (Sokola 2005, ISBN 3-9331231-15-1): The history of the disappearance of the concentration camp Allach and the origin of the district München-Ludwigsfeld. We, the Projectgroup Allach of the Comité International de Dachau, would try to preserve the few remnants which are still there. Perhaps an exhibition about the concentration camp Allach and the district Ludwigsfeld can take place in the sanitary barrack or in the room next to it.
Projectgroup Allach, Pieter Breen.
The Projectgroup Allach of the CID be composed of Benoît Darmont (B), Christl and Peter Willmitzer (D) and Pieter Breen (NL). With very much thanks to Dr. Sylvie Graffard (F), Carla Prescott (GB) and Ewgenij Repnikov M.A. (D). April 2014.
Reproduced pictures: Amicale des Anciens de Dachau, -BMW Group Archiv, Landesvermessungsamt Bayern, P.H.Breen.