From 1941 until the end of World War II, this now-abandoned building served as a brotfabrik, or bread factory, for the Nazi regime.
As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of other people seen as biologically inferior or dangerous. Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). They used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and extermination.
Around 80 prisoners from the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp were forced to work the factory, where they made and distributed bread to feed their fellow victims at the Sachsenhausen camp, SS units around Berlin, and eventually even neighboring concentration camps.
The brotfabrik was built by prisoners about a mile and a half outside the concentration camp, near SS-run brick and stone factories. The forced laborers started off baking 10,000 loaves of bread a day, then production was ramped up to 40,000 loaves a day after shift-work was introduced and two new ovens installed.
The Red Army took over the factory after the war, keeping production going to feed sick and weak survivors of the liberated camp. Between 1948 and 1991 it operated as a normal bakery, until it was abandoned after the reunification of Germany. In 1994, a fire destroyed parts of the deserted interior, which has sat empty in a state of decay ever since, as if crumbling under the weight of its dark history.
Know Before You Go
Take 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.