On June 18, 1944, the first shipment of 1,000 Jewish concentration camp prisoners from Auschwitz arrived at Kaufering. They were scheduled to help build three gigantic subterraneous bunkers of a project that was named "Ringeltaube". In these three bunkers, the jet fighter Messerschmitt Me 262 was to be produced in large numbers. For this project, eleven concentration camps were built in the Landsberg area, numbered Kaufering I - IX after the train station where the prisoners arrived. Between June 18, 1944 and April 27, 1945, in the concentration camp complex kaufering were registered the arrival of 23.000 prisoners.
Because of the insufficient shelter and food they were given, and because of the overwhelming work they had to do despite the cold, hunger and rampant typhoid, the prisoners called the Kaufering camps "cold crematoria". Until October of 1944. those who could no longer work were sent back to Auschwitz and the gas chambers. After November of 1944, the weak or sick prisoners were simply allowed to die in the Kaufering camps and were buried in mass graves in the vicinity.
Only some 16,500 of the Kaufering prisoners survived this last phase of the extermination of the Jews. They were freed by the American Army on April 27, 1945.
The hell of Kaufering
Between June of 1944 and April of l945, 6,500 Jewish prisoners were murdered in the eleven concentration camps of the Kaufering complex. The finding of the war criminals commission 6823 of the 7th Army notes that the eleven camps in the Kaufering-Landsberg area were the worst ones in Germany in terms of the inhumanity, the hunger, and the illnesses suffered by the prisoners. The Jewish prisoners who were deported to the camps in the Landsberg-Kaufering area came from almost all European Nations. They spoke different languages and could not communicate with one another. Their "guilt" consisted only of having been born as Jews.
The prisoners found themselves in a hopeless situation and experienced massive psychological pressure. When they were deported, they lost their families, their possessions and their dignity as human beings. At any time, they could be beaten, abused, or killed, and every one among them had traveled long path of suffering. They were psychologically and physically at the end of their strength, and many of them succumbed to apathy. What little physical strength these emaciated and demoralized people had left was exploited unmercifully until they had used up their last reserves of vitality. "Annihilation through work" was the name that a self-styled "Aryan race" gave to a program which condemned the Jews to be exterminated like vermin.
But despite everything, there are people who survived the Inferno of Kaufering and Landsberg. There are survivors and witnesses who have tried to convey in their own words what they have lived through, what they have seen, and what they have suffered:
General map with aerial pictures
Concentration camp command Kaufering and the "War Factory Project Ringeltaube"
Personal testimonies from the hell of Kaufering
The last way of the concentration camp prisoners - the end of the concentration camps around Landsberg
© Manfred Deiler
The following documents are in German
Orginal - audio documents of contemporary witnesses
Concentration camp command Kaufering: Sources, documents and contemporary witness reports
Orginal - film and photo documents of the US forces
Concentration camp command Kaufering IV, April 27th, 1945: The American army discovers the holocaust