Fear of being “shut down”

Work conditions at Siemens in the Ravensbrück concentration camp

The surviving forced labourers from the Ravensbrück concentration camp described the work at Siemens as being very hard. Moreover, they lived in constant fear of being "shut down," which meant that when their work performance was unsatisfactory, they were sent back to the main concentration camp where they risked extermination through even harder work. The decision was made by the Siemen’s civilian personnel. Labour protection did not exist. The forced labourers in the camps did not receive any wages. There was a bonus system, but even when the women’s work productivity was above average, they earned hardly anything.

Erfassungsdokument der Firma Siemens von 1943/44 © Siemens Historical Institute Berlin, SAA 18534-1
Siemens developed a perfidious bonus system to make the forced labourers work even more efficiently. But they were unable to buy much with the little money they earned. The x-axis represents the training time of the forced labourers; the y-axis represents their earnings, calculated in pfennigs per hour.