By Gretchen E. Schafft, Gerhard Zeidler
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Additional info for Commemorating Hell: The Public Memory of Mittelbau-Dora
The V-1 was the predecessor of the sophisticated cruise missiles developed later in the century. The V-1 was propelled by a pulse-jet engine, had a warhead weight of almost two thousand pounds, and was much less expensive to build than was the V-2. 12 The production plant at Peenemünde, which was to assemble operational missiles, was given the go-ahead in 1939, but met with many delays because of steel shortages, manpower shortages, and the indecisiveness of Hitler himself regarding the value of putting the enormous resources needed for the venture into an unproven rocket program.
The number of sick who had to be carried was twice as many. Practically every shift, I was a ‘corpse carrier,’ for I was still able to hold my balance fairly well and I belonged to those who didn’t look so bad. Four men carried a dead one. Two carried the legs on their shoulders, two others the arms. Through snow and mud this miserable procession made its way to the sickbay (Revier). There the rags would be stripped from the dead. ”48 The End Stage of the War and the Camp The camp now became a center for the prisoner evacuation transports coming from the East.
The prisoners were assigned places in four-tiered bunk beds that ran the length of the space between the two main tunnels. They were lit with only minimum electricity and had no ventilation system or sanitary facilities. The temperature remained at about fifty degrees, and a severe shortage of water made it virtually impossible to wash themselves. Prisoners relieved themselves in large barrels cut in half to serve as latrines. ”26 In terms of danger, size, and the physically and psychologically damaging atmosphere, it was unmatched.
Commemorating Hell: The Public Memory of Mittelbau-Dora by Gretchen E. Schafft, Gerhard Zeidler