|Since it had been decided that the Peenemünde rocket research center was to be relocated into a protected underground area, it became clear that the necessary work would have to be done by concentration camp prisoners. On October 1943, this project called "Cement" was approved by
Hans Kammler who was the responsible building official of the SS.
The tunnels were never used for the rocket production - instead, the finished tunnels of Plant A were used for petroleum refining and Plant B for manufacturing motor parts for tanks and trucks.
|The first prisoners arrived in Ebensee
in November 1943. In 1944 there was an average of 5000-6000 prisoners in the camp.
Despite the numerous deaths, this number increased
considerably because prisoners from other camps - which had
to be given up by the retreating German forces after Jan.
1945 - were
transported to Ebensee. On May 3rd, 1945, there were 16448 prisoners living in the concentration camp in Ebensee.
Of the altogether approximately 27000 prisoners, 8500 died under the treatment of the SS-guards.
Shortly before the arrival of the American Troops, the
Guards planned to kill all remaining prisoners. It was
planned to fake an air-raid, guide the prisoners into tunnel
9 of Plant B and blow up the tunnel. Fortunately, the rumor
became known in the camp and in an heroic effort, the camp
prisoners refused to enter the tunnel.