Nazi pomp required an "eternal" stone like granite and so the granite quarries in Flossenbuerg must have been an important consideration in the decision to build a concentration camp there. Also crucial was the remote location of the village, its rail connection and its proximity to Czechoslovakia, which had been defeated in 1938. As soon as the construction of the camp was begun, prisoners started to work in the quarry for the SS-run DEST, ("German Earth and Stonework Company"). From 1940 on this concern recorded good profits, as the production reached 1200 cubic metres a month.

Hundreds of prisoners who had been trained as stone masons quarried the granite and worked it in large halls.

The forced labour in the quarry was heavy work. Transporting the stone to the road was especially dangerous. The prisoners had to run up the steps with the heavy loads and drag hundredweight-heavy granite stones on the run. Silicosis and collapse due to malnutrition frequently followed this form of torture.

Constructing the Camp:
To build the terraces on which the barracks were erected it was necessary to break up stone and to move and level out the earth. In 1940 this work was completed.

click to enlarge

From 1942-43 the work squads concentrated more and more on arms for the war effort. In the Flossenbuerg factory of the DEST the Messerschmitt Company produced parts for the ME 109 fighter plane. In 1942, 800 prisoners worked in the "Messerschmitt squad 2004" and by 1944 it had risen to 5000. In two shifts of 11 hours each they produced fuselages and wings for the ME 109 and dismantled planes that bad been damaged. At the end of 1943 they began the assembly of fuselages and wings for the ME 262 fighter.

The SS billed Messerschmitt for the prisoners' labour. From December 1943 to December 1944 this amounted to more than 3.3 million Reichmarks.

click to enlarge