and Local-International Platform ST. GEORGEN/GUSEN, Austria

KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Pages

Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH
(D. E. S. T.)

Original correspondence of DEST at St. Georgen/Gusen
This company (German Earth and Stone Works Company) was owned by the SS and was responsible for the exploitation of the inmates of KZ Mauthausen and KZ Gusen in stone-quarries, the construction of the camps and the armament-projects starting in 1942.

The company was founded in Berlin on 29 April 1938, and took over the original stone-quarries in Mauthausen and Gusen just a few weeks after the annexation of Austria to the Third Reich on March 17, 1938. For this reason, Himmler and Pohl visited the stone-quarries of Mauthausen and Gusen in early 1938.

DEST also operated the brick manufacturing plants at Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald, and the stone-quarries at Flossenbuerg, Natzweiler, as well as Gross-Rosen where DEST also exploited concentration camp inmates to make some of the profits to finance the SS in general.

Adolf Hitler looking over an architectural model of his hometown Linz (just 15 km west of KZ Gusen) In 1939 DEST-Berlin decided to establish a new administrational complex at St. Georgen/Gusen - a tiny village just a few km west of the KZ Mauthausen-Gusen complex.

Between 1940 and 1945 this administrational center was a key-organization between the "Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt (WHVA)" of the SS in Berlin and the concentration camps at Mauthausen and Gusen.

Europes biggest stone-crusher was run in the 40-tie at KZ Gusen In fact, the DEST stone-production complex at Mauthausen and Gusen developed into the most important one of DEST on Third Reich territory. Some 4,000 prisoners, led by some 250 civilian employees, produced up to 25,000 cubic-meters of cut granite stones a year. DEST was also very proud in those years to operate the biggest stone-crusher on the European continent at KZ Gusen.

In the period between 1939 and 1942, DEST was specialized in producing granite-stones - a good part of them for the construction of cities like Linz (hometown of Adolf Hitler), Munich (capital of the Nazi-Party), Nuremberg (capital of the NS-Movement), Weimar and Berlin.

When the strategic war-scenario changed in 1942, DEST became a sub-contractor of leading German arms-production companies. At first, DEST built a few more barracks at KZ Gusen to house maintenance work for the German Army (Wehrmacht) and built 18 barracks to produce parts of machine-guns and aircraft-engines for Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG with some extra 8,500 prisoners at KZ Gusen I.

The principle was simple:
DEST provided

the locations, prisoners, buildings and other infra-structure.

The other companies provided

know-how, machinery and skilled workers.

The SS-Batallions provided

security and the operation of the concentration-camps.
KZ Gusen inmates working on Me-109 fuselage (original painting of 1944) In 1942 and 1943 DEST also begun manufacturing fuselages for the Messerschmitt "Me-109" fighter-planes. During this period, some 20 fuselages were produced by KZ Gusen inmates every week.

Then, in late 1943, when the U.S. strategic bombings devastated some key war-production facilities of the Third Reich, DEST provided huge tunnel-systems in the vicinity of the KZ Gusen for its commercial partners.

At first, they have begun to dig the "KELLERBAU" tunnels to shelter the machine-gun production of Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG directly north of the KZ Gusen "GEORGEN-MUEHLE" (Steyr) Barracks.

Later on, a second, much bigger underground system was built in neighboring St.Georgen/Gusen (site of the Central Administration) to shelter the production of "Me-262" Messerschmitt-Airplanes in the "BERGKRISTALL-ESCHE 2" underground plant.

Serially produced Me-262 fuselages at KZ Gusen To manage this project, DEST established a new, second concentration camp at Gusen - the KZ Gusen II. This camp was only established "to manage" the thousands of new inmates sent to KZ Gusen to build the giant underground system at nearby St.Georgen/Gusen.

With this latest KZ Gusen II (BERGKRISTALL) Project, DEST became one of the leading sub-contractors of Messerschmitt GmbH.

So, at the end of WW2, nearly 1/3 of all the Messerschmitt aircraft-production was provided by DEST with the concentration camps at Mauthausen-Gusen and Flossenbuerg. KZ Gusen II (the Hell of Hells), was the key-installation within this plan, because it was dedicated to the final-assembly of the first serially-produced jet-propelled plane in history.

The company was led by the following officials:
The leading managers of the war-production-companies at KZ Gusen:
Information credit:

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000303 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED,
Martha Gammer, Siegi Witzany-Durda and
Jan-Ruth White with her students in US-Alabama