The SS Brotfabrik was part of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and, from 1941 until 1991, it worked as a full time bakery. And, today, you can visit the place, kind of.
I was there on a early evening after work and took this pictures while the sun was setting. It is always a weird feeling when you go exploring a place like this completely alone. Every noise hits you as something is about to happen. Every crack in the floor told me something was about to break down. But nothing happen and I’m glad for that. Even though the wind and a loose plastic shingle was making some really weird noises every time I had to go somewhere I had never been before.
The History behind the SS Brotfabrik
The SS Brotfabrik was planned back in 1938, together with other SS owned companies like a brick factory and a stone processing factory. Those two companies would help Nazi Germany build what they saw as the future of Berlin: Welthauptstadt Germania. But we all know what happened to these plans.
Don’t think twice about who really built those companies. Sachsenhausen is close by and I don’t think i need to say who was working under inhumane conditions. Around 80 prisoners were used there to bake more than 30 thousands loaves of bread daily. Poles, Latvians, Germans, Dutch and others were the nationalities of those working there. Each day they had to march from Sachsenhausen main camp to the bakery.
After the end of the Second World War and the following liberation, the Red Army took care of the place, enabling the bakery to supply the sick and weak survivors from Sachsenhausen camp.
After 1948, the SS Brotfabrik went to the Konsum-Großbäckerei Oranienburg that used the place as a bakery until 1991, after the reunification of Germany. In 1994, a fire destroyed parts of the disused interior and things never looked good after that.
Some twenty have passed after the bakery was last used and it seems that it may remain like that for a while. Back in October 2000, the Verwaltungsgericht Potsdam had some plans of turning the building into a monument, together with the former brick factory, but nothing happened. You can see one really informative sign in front of the bakery but that is it.
If you are taking a look at the pictures and wondering if you should go there, I have to say that I was expecting more from the place. The main building from the SS Brotfabrik is pretty much empty. You can see some of the old ovens around this main building but this is it. The place is just emptiness and that is it. The other buildings around the SS Brotfabrik are in different states. One of them was in pieces and had a ceiling that looked like it burned down not that long ago. Another building, the one that looked like a garage, had debris and some weird sand on it. Nothing special. So, if you want to go there, see the pictures and think for a while. Oranienburg is not that close and the place is not great. Sorry but I had to say that.
I was there scouting for place for our next Fotostrasse but the place is too complicated for groups. It is not that hard to find the former SS Brotfabrik but, I can say that getting in is not that easy. Take the train to Oranienburg and walk on Bernauer Straße until you see the Lehnitzsee bridge. When cross the bridge, there is going to be a sign on the right side telling the story of the area in german. You are close by and the map below will help you more.