SS Bakery: Bread for a concentration camp

Filed 23/5/2014 | Updated 2/6/14
Incredible to think a bakery where concentration camp inmates toiled to feed their fellow victims is now decaying stoically beside a canal.
On one hand it’s hard to believe it’s simply sitting there, disused, abandoned and forgotten. On the other, it’s almost impossible to believe Berlin hasn’t flogged it to property developers or speculators for redevelopment as luxury apartments. Perhaps it’s just that bit too far from the city center…
The SS Bakery was used as a normal bakery – without forced laborers from the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp – from 1948 to 1991, when it was run by the Konsum-Großbäckerei Oranienburg. I presume that went out of business due to Mauerfall, like everything else.
Before that, the bakery only went out of business because the Nazis did. It goes without saying that the Nazis were a murderous bunch of fuckers. Such fuckers I struggle for words. What disturbs me most is that they were humans too.
These people, for this is lamentably what they were, ordered prisoners at Sachsenhausen to build the bakery just north of the Lehnitz Lock for Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke, an SS holding company, in 1939.
It didn’t open until 1941 due to the scarcity of raw materials. War is a hungry beast. About six months after production began it was taken over by the innocuously-named Deutsche Lebensmittel GmbH (German Groceries Corporation), which not only supplied the Sachsenhausen camp but other SS units in Berlin and its surrounds.
Around 80 concentration camp prisoners worked here, baking and then distributing the bread. Poles, Germans, Latvians, Dutch, others, they were made march the 2.5 kilometers from the Sachsenhausen camp each day.
They were moved to the closer Klinkerwerk External Camp in 1943. The lucky sods. Things were as bad, if not worse, there. This was the Nazis’ brickworks, concocted to build Albert Speer’s dream of Welthauptstadt Germania (World Capital Germania). I won’t get into all that. Every time I write about Nazis I get drawn into another can of octopus tentacles groping and feeling their way into places I’d no intention of going…
Back to the bakery. The prisoners started off baking 10,000 loaves a day but production was ramped up after shift-work was introduced, working hours extended and two new ovens installed to around 40,000 a day. Forty fucking thousand! That’s 500 loaves per prisoner, and some of them weren’t even baking.
With that output they could supply the Mittelbau-Dora, Groß Rosen and Ravensbrück concentration camps as well. The Nazis had enough of them.
“We had to bake 43,000 army bread loaves every day. Plus 200 wheat breads for diabetics,” said Wilhelm Nagel (1922-2006), a former prisoner in 2005.
“The Sachsenhausen concentration camp and the neighboring Klinkerwerk camp were delivered with these breads Tuesdays and Fridays … The Klinkerwerk got 3,000 every time and the big camp got 6,000 breads.”
Their work was done with the end of the war of course, though that didn’t come easily either. Loads of prisoners at the Klinkerwerk camp died in bombing raids to “liberate” them, before the whole camp was closed down and moved back to Sachsenhausen.
The Russians took over the bakery after the war, keeping production going to feed sick and weak survivors of the liberated camp. In 1946 it was taken over by the Konsumgenossenschaft Kreis Niederbarnim (Niederbarnim District Consumers’ Co-Op), extended and refurbished, before resuming life under Konsum-Großbäckerei Oranienburg.
There wasn’t much life when I was there, accompanied by a famous TV star. The only inhabitant we found was dead. A mole, perhaps he’d been found out and executed. The poor little critter was lying on his back with his hands up. Fat lot of good it did him.
I’d never seen a mole before, dead or alive. This was the last place I’d have expected to find one – in an abandoned concentration camp bakery. But then you never know what to expect when you start digging around places like these – as the mole found to his cost.


What
SS Bakery, associated with the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where forced laborers made bread for their fellow inmates, other SS units and, eventually, concentration camps further afield too.

Where
An der Lehnitzschleuse, 16515 Oranienburg, Germany.

How to get there
Get the S-Bahn or a regional train to Oranienburg, turn right out of the station, right again onto Bernauer Straße and follow that along, past the woods and a fine abandoned house on the right hand side until you come to a bridge. That’ll be the canal right under you there. Go over the bridge, take your first left, and the bakery isn’t far up on the right hand side. Here’s a map to assist you.
You could take a trip up to Heilstätte Grabowsee just up the canal while you’re there. Watch out for your man and his dog if you venture that far.

Getting in
It’s pretty damn easy. Just walk up to the left of the building and you’ll find a large inviting gap. To get into the building itself go around the back. A bit more effort is required to get into the rooms with the ovens but it’s worth it.

When to go
Given the history I don’t think this is a good place for a party. Likewise, it’s not a place for romance. Best to go during the day so you can see it.

Difficulty rating
3/10 Pretty damn easy as mentioned already.

Who to bring
Just bring a like-minded individual. As hinted before, it’s not the place for parties and/or romance.

What to bring
They’re not baking bread anymore so bring your own if you don’t want to get hungry. Otherwise just the usual stuff: camera, beer, torch, mobile phone in case you need to call for help.

Dangers
The buildings are in relatively good condition – they’re sturdy enough – but still some care is required. Don’t do anything crazy or stupid and you should be fine. Nosy neighbors are far away, though you might find zealous tourists watching suspiciously if they see you hopping the fence. As always, don’t do anything that would attract unwelcome attention.

Thanks to LG for the tip and of course Mark Rodden as always for running his eagle eye over the copy.

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24 comments

You keep on delivering quality content, very nice to see!
Looking forward to coming updates!

Another great find! I think I need to spend some time around Berlin!!

another pearl that will now get destroyed :( Just to satisfy your need for fame :(

Visited it last saturday. Nice location. Easy access.

I've seen this on facebook a couple of months ago, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.580902202017337.1073741894.464182777022614&type=3

Thanks for the link. I need to get in touch with whoever's responsible for it.

Very much so. Placing directions equals being a vandal yourself. Idiot.

I've been through this often enough before, I'm not going over it again. I can assure you I'm no idiot. Check the "about" section to see why I give directions. Most people are grateful they can see the places before it's too late.
If you're one of those people who are bitter because your secrets are no longer as secret as they were before, then you need to look at the bigger picture. It isn't about you.

Thank you, this website has made our Berlin holiday so much more interesting! went here past thursday and to Beelitz on tuesday... amazing!
By the way we found it quite a walk from the railway station in Oranienburg to the bakery, when you take the bus (I believe it was line 805) to the schleuse it is only a few minutes ;)

we went there this past friday and there are lot of burnt down areas and fences. it is kind of hard to enter the place but it was worth it. lots of pictures on the link below.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/sets/72157645669003901/

There last Saturday, not sure if its a weekend thing but no trains where running to Oranienburg. Luckily two guys from California pointed to a bus that seemed to be picking up from where the train left off. Nearly tripped up over the two foot high fence getting in. Great place to spend the afternoon

I've been there a couple of months ago, the mole was gone but it was replaced by cute and welcoming wasps, be careful :D
You inspired me into making a journal of abandoned places I've been to, I live in Italy and there's so much places that wait to be discovered.
Every urban explorer out there is like "Yo gurl, I can't tell you where this place is, blah blah", I think most of them just use the "vandals" excuse to justify their elitism, that's why I love this website and the way you think/write...anyway, thank you for your info and keep up the good work!

Visiting from Toronto Canada Sept. 24 - Oct. 2. 2014 and looking at a few ubex options in / around Berlin to shoot video / timelapse. Anyone interested to join and explore with me at this and other locations ? Please email me @ r_hoff2002@hotmail.com. Cheers ! Randy. I do speak German as well btw.

First of all: congratulations for the great blog! It's has been motivating me for exploring a lot of interesting things in Berlin-Brandenburg!
Since the comments and updates also helped me a lot, I decided to comment the abandoned places I've been visiting, so that others can use the information for their own visit. The Backery was my first visit, so I'll start by this one. I was there a month ago and it was actually quite easy to get there (S-Bahn + bus). It's important to checkthe schedules, if you don't want to wait for one hour, and the bus-stop (there's one 2 minutes from the spot!). To sneak in was also easy and the place is worth a visit.

Went today. Very easy to get into. Maybe too easy?
As well as the small hole in the side fence, there is also a part of the front fence which you can easily climb over.
And someone has kindly made a "staircase" out of crates so it is just as easy to get into the building!
Heard 2 people talking while I was in there, but didn't see them, so no idea if they were locals or urbexers.

I* went there today. It was indeed very easy to get in, right next to the front gate. No nosy neighbours, no security. Once inside the fence, you do need to watch your step as there are some holes outside that might break your ankle.

The crates stacked are getting a bit soggy, so be careful. There are more crates in the little building nearby, perhaps replace one or two if they're getting too bad.

Inside the large building there's a section of the 1st floor with permanent water on the floor, that is leaking through the floor to the floor below. We stayed clear of that, as it might be unstable (don't know how many winters it's been like that).

I shot some quick photos with flash and no tripod: https://www.flickr.com/photos/morganroderick/albums/72157657895975562

I went today. It's still easy to get in, but winter hasn't been good for the building. The ceiling in the oven room looks so dangerous that I was afraid it would come down any minute. Please be careful if you go and take someone with you!

Went there last winter, a very good place to have a winter picnic in the sun. The building has a lot of mysteries to share and stimulate your imagination. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX69Mj2ilvw

I was there last Saturday. The place is very easy accessible. You just have to hop over the smashed fence. Very interesting place. Thank you!

I went this morning but failed to find the ovens. Anyone know which building and while floor they are on?

I was there today. Easiest access ever, the fence is one meter high. You can get in every room easily. It is well preserved (not too much graffitis)

Been there recently, very easy to get in, but most of the windows and doors have been fenced and to get into the main area of the building you'll have to crawl into a tiny little hole someone made on the fence

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