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Research on the satellite camp Katzbach

Nicole Mueller has come to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen to do research for her exam paper entitled "Codename Katzbach - forced labor and extermination in the concentration camp of the Adler factories, Frankfurt am Main, 1944/1945". "After I have been to the archives in Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, and Koblenz, a visit to the ITS was inevitable," says the student.

During Nazi persecution, the Adler factories produced armored chassis for the Wehrmacht. After a heavy air attack in the spring of 1944, the Board of the Economic and Administrative Main Office (Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt) in Berlin called up for concentration camp inmates to do the work. "On 22 August 1944, the camp in Adler was completed, a subcommand of the concentration camp Natzweiler, and was given the cover name Katzbach," reports the 25-year-old.

At the ITS, she reviewed transportation lists, receipts, monthly reports, protective custody reports, and weekly reports. "I am looking into how the organizational structures of those entities - the SS of the main concentration camp and the company's staff of the Adler factory - enabled the implementation of the National Socialist principle of 'extermination through labor 'with inexplicably high numbers of deaths in the company’s camp," says Mueller. "Furthermore, both the obvious short-term operation of the camp in August 1944, and the long inattention by the public and by research are examined."

A total of 1,600 inmates were used in the Katzbach camp for slave labor. Among them were inmates who were transferred from the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Dachau. The prisoners were housed on the 3rd and 4th floors of the factory building. "That’s how the cost of daily transportation to the workplace was saved," explains the student. Information is found in various inventories, says Mueller. "Probably this is because the subcommand in Katzbach was a small one and most correspondence was handled by the main camp."