Every inmate had to work, provided they were listed as sick. The chore most prisoners had as civilians was off little value in the camp. Exceptions were locksmiths, blacksmiths, electricians, tailors, barbers or a joiner. About ¼ of the camp population worked as functionaries and camp helpers. Aside from the above-mentioned positions, there were also jobs available in the following sections: kitchen, SS cafeteria, clothes storage, stockroom, washrooms, deleicing, funeral commandos, latrine commandos, woodcutter and ox commandos (handling transports in a wagon pulled by an ox).
Outside the camp, inmates had to work on potato fields and centers that supplied food to the horses and oxen of the camp. In Mettenheim, sixteen inmates were forced to pull a plow to prepare a field unter the brutal hits of nightsticks from their SS guards.
Women and youths under sixteen years of age were well-suited for light tasks controlled by the Organization Todt such as cleaning and kitchen work.
The majority of inmates were sourced to private firms by the SS. A farm for example could rent prisoners to aid in food production as well as farm work. This was somewhat beneficial to prisoners since they worked for the farmer, not the SS, and could expect better treatment. The food situation could turn out positive for the prisoners if they had a sympathetic family and escort guard who turned a blind eye.
After the bombing of the Muehldorf train station, inmates were brought to the scene to replace, repair and reconnect damaged tracks. Even bomb damage to private homes was occasionally fixed by inmates.
The biggest work commandos were the aircraft bunker and the smaller branch of a Munich firm that operated in Ampfing. Added to that were the construction sites for a second train embankment as well as a cement production facility in Mittergars and Thalham.
The hardest, most physically exhausting work was said to be the main aircraft bunker, Weingut I, and the accompanying sub-jobs around it (brick carrying etc.). Work took place in two shifts around the clock, even at night (floodlights were used to illuminate the site). All together, 4,000 prisoners, half of them concentration camp inmates, worked on the bunker at the same time.
Due to the bunker’s enormous length, the prisoners from Mettenheim, who’s camp was located close to the east section of bunker, worked on the eastern part while the Waldlager prisoners worked on the western part. Prisoners were drilled by the Kapos and SS guards to work as efficiently as possible as the bunker was classified as a project that could turn the war in Germany’s favor.
Some of the onsite German engineers often allowed the prisoners to stop working at 17:30: half an hour before work was supposed to end. Only when the Organization Todt found out about the practice were the German engineers warned that they could face a military court. From 12:30 to 13:00, prisoners could rest and eat what prisoners referred to as “Bunkersuppe” (Bunker soup).
In order to boost inmate productivity, incentives were offered in the form of tobacco. Most inmates however were to weakened by the constant marching from and to the camp to the construction site. A lack of proper feeding also caused the inmates to weaken considerably. Because of this, and the brutality of the Kapos, there were many onsite accidents and deaths. The average lifespan of a Muehldorfer inmate was estimated at 80 days. On the way to work, many inmates committed suicide by throwing themselves in front of the approaching train. To avoid this, inmates were later brought to the construction site via a different route.
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