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Laundry and Disinfection

The catastrophic hygienic conditions lead to a constant plague of pests and danger of epidemic.

A metal railing can be seen, which was set up in front of a depression in which the remains of the foundation can be seen. In front of the railing there is a small information board that reveals that it is the remains of the former laundry.
Foundation walls of the laundry, 2022. Photo: Lukas Severin Damm.

The SS did not provide inmate with appropriate work clothing. Throughout the entire year the inmates were exposed to all kinds of weather conditions, unprotected in threadbare, often completely worn-out inmate uniforms. The clothing was often not washed for months. Lice could quickly become a dangerous plague. However, since clothing was worn for long periods of time and was covered in sweat, dirt, and lime from working underground, it tended to fall apart completely when treated with steam in the laundry. In the storeroom there was sufficient civilian clothing, but this was off-limits for the inmates; they had to wear blue-grey striped inmate uniforms.

To the right below the laundry was the boiler house, which supplied the disinfection and the bath with hot steam. Inmates had to shower here; their entire bodies were shaved; and then they were immersed in a cold disinfectant. Afterwards they often had to wait naked for hours outdoors until their still damp clothing was returned. This procedure was life threatening, especially in winter.

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