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The aerial photo excerpt shows the camp site on the area of ​​the Birago barracks. Source: aerial photo database Dr. Carls GmbH, December 26, 1944
The aerial photo excerpt shows the camp site on the area of ​​the Birago barracks. Source: aerial photo database Dr. Carls GmbH, December 26, 1944
Camp openinghttps: //www.melk-memorial.org/de/geschichte/lagereroeffnunghttps: //www.melk-memorial.org/de/geschichte/lagereroeffnung/@@download/image/Ausschnitt Luftbild 1944 - Photo Luftbilddatenbank.at.jpg

The Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, as a manufacturer of particularly important military equipment, was a target of attack with high priority for the Allies. Several air raids on the German rolling bearing production - including the production in Steyr-Münichholz in February and April 1944 - led to an acceleration of the U relocation. Towards the end of the war, the labor shortage in the German war economy was so great that the construction of underground facilities was only feasible through the massive deployment of concentration camp prisoners. For Steyr-Daimler-Puch - in contrast to the Nazi leadership - the interest in building underground production facilities with the help of thousands of concentration camp prisoners lay not only in maintaining arms production. In the underground facilities, essential production capacities could be secured beyond a possible and increasingly foreseeable end of the war. The concentration camp prisoners also worked on the underground construction projects for the post-war interests of industry.

In the "Wachberg" near the town of Roggendorf, which mainly consists of quartz sand, an underground production facility was planned under the code name "Quarz", which was to cover a production area of ​​65,000 m2 distributed over several tunnels. Concentration camp prisoners were to be used as workers for the construction of the underground armaments factory. Therefore, in April 1944 - after initial considerations of building concentration camp barracks directly in the area of ​​the tunnel construction work in Roggendorf - a concentration camp was set up in the then vacant Birago pioneer barracks in Melk.

On April 21, 1944, the first transport with mostly French prisoners arrived at the Melk concentration camp. The concentration camp prisoners were initially housed in the so-called "Object X", and later on the entire length of the barracks. By April 1945, a total of 14,390 people had been deported to Melk. Melk was one of the largest concentration camps on Austrian territory. In January 1945 the number of prisoners reached the highest level of over 10,000 people who were interned under terrible conditions in a confined space in buildings of the former barracks and additional barracks.