Station: [10] The Brickworks

  • The Brickworks
  • Inside of the Brickworks: Exhibition

Looking at the brickworks, you can see a concrete ramp going up to the top of the central part of the building. The clay dug out of the clay pits was pushed up this ramp into the brickworks. The right wing of the building is open to the public, and contains an exhibition about the factory. You are welcome to take a look inside while the audio plays.

Hamburg was supposed to become a so-called “Führerstadt” or Fuhrer city. In connection to this, large-scale construction works were planned on the banks of the River Elbe and in the Altona borough. The City of Hamburg signed an agreement with the SS, which stated that bricks for the construction were to be produced in Neuengamme. There was already a small old brick factory here but the SS did not want to compromise their image by using such an old and technologically outdated factory for production. That's why they decided to have a new factory built.

This is how the brickworks you are standing in now came into existence. At the same time, this event marked the 'birth' of the Neuengamme concentration camp. Around 1200 prisoners were assigned to the so-called brickworks work detail. They either worked in the old factory or were involved in constructing the new one and working in it later on. The new factory started working in 1942 and was highly technologically advanced for the time.

Today you can see this large empty room hosting the exhibition on the brickworks and learn what the working conditions were like. Back then, this room was very hot, and full of people, huge kilns and machines. The work, usually done by 160 to 180 prisoners,was strenuous and exhausting, especially due to high temperatures and stifling air. Despite that, it was still one of the prisoners' favorites because they could work in a closed space and not fear the mistreatment from the SS guards on account of the type of work they performed.

If you go to the middle of the room, you can see a yellow outline behind the chimney, marking the place where a zig-zag kiln used to stand. At the end of the room, behind the metal partition, you can see the kilns.

When you leave the brickworks, go right until you've passed the entire building complex. Then follow the path that goes around the brickworks, parallel to the street and through a small grove of trees. Keep walking until you see a tall column surrounded by a wall. Please go around the right side of the wall, so that you come across the column and a sculpture first. Our next station is the international Monument where we will touch upon the commemorative aspect of this memorial.