Baking for concentration camps

It’s incredible to think that a bakery where concentration camp inmates toiled to feed their fellow victims is now decaying stoically behind trees hiding it from the neighboring canal.

On one hand it’s hard to believe it’s simply sitting there, disused, abandoned and forgotten. On the other, it’s almost impossible to believe Berlin hasn’t flogged it to property developers or speculators for redevelopment as luxury apartments. Perhaps it’s just that bit too far from the city center.

The SS Bakery was used as a normal bakery – without forced laborers from the nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – from 1948 to 1991, when it was run by the Konsum-Großbäckerei Oranienburg. I presume that went out of business due to Mauerfall, like everything else.

Before that, the bakery only went out of business because the Nazis did. These people, for this is lamentably what they were, ordered prisoners at Sachsenhausen to build the bakery just north of the Lehnitz Lock for Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke, an SS holding company, in 1939.

It didn’t open until 1941 due to the scarcity of raw materials. War is a hungry beast. About six months after production began it was taken over by the innocuously-named Deutsche Lebensmittel GmbH (German Groceries Corporation), which not only supplied the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp but other SS units in Berlin and its surrounds.

Around 80 concentration camp prisoners worked here, baking and then distributing the bread. Germans, Poles, Latvians, Dutch, others, they were made march the 2.5 kilometers from Sachsenhausen each day.





















They were moved to the closer Klinkerwerk External Camp in 1943. The lucky sods. Things were as bad, if not worse, there. This was the Nazis’ brickworks, concocted to build Albert Speer’s dream of Welthauptstadt Germania (World Capital Germania). I won’t get into all that. Every time I write about Nazis I get drawn into another can of tentacles groping and feeling their way into places I’d no intention of going…

Back to the bakery. The prisoners started off baking 10,000 loaves a day but production was ramped up after shift-work was introduced, working hours extended and two new ovens installed to around 40,000 a day. Forty thousand! That’s 500 loaves per prisoner, and some of them weren’t even baking.

With that output, the SS Bakery could supply the Mittelbau-Dora, Groß Rosen and Ravensbrück Concentration Camps as well. The Nazis had plenty of them.

“We had to bake 43,000 coarse bread loaves every day, plus 200 wheat breads for diabetics. The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and the neighboring Klinkerwerk camp were supplied with these breads on Tuesdays and Fridays,” former prisoner Wilhelm Nagel said in 2005.

Nagel, who died the following year, wrote a book called “Kriechen hab ich nie gelernt” (I never learned to crawl) about his experiences, including his work at the SS Bakery.

“The important thing was that no time went to waste, for example if the oven could not be used because the bread wasn’t baked enough,” he said.

Nagel’s predecessor had been beaten and nearly killed after being held responsible for a half hour delay.

“Before me and the previous one that they beat up, there was a Pole there, a lawyer from Warsaw, and he destroyed his lungs there. There were temperatures of 60 degrees in the baking room,” Nagel wrote.

The prisoners’ work was done with the end of the war, though that didn’t come easily either. Many prisoners at the Klinkerwerk camp died in bombing raids to “liberate” them, before the whole camp was closed down and moved back to Sachsenhausen.





















The Russians took over the bakery after the war, keeping production going to feed sick and weak survivors of the liberated camp. In 1946 it was taken over by the Konsumgenossenschaft Kreis Niederbarnim (Niederbarnim District Consumers’ Co-Op), extended and refurbished, before resuming life under Konsum-Großbäckerei Oranienburg.

There wasn’t much life when I was there. The only inhabitant I encountered was dead. A mole, perhaps he’d been found out and executed. The poor little critter was lying on his back with his hands up. Fat lot of good it did him.

I’d never seen a mole before, dead or alive. This was the last place I’d have expected to find one – in an abandoned concentration camp bakery. But then you never know what to expect when you start digging around places like these – as the mole found to his cost.


  • What: SS Bakery, associated with the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, where forced laborers made bread for their fellow inmates, other SS units and, eventually, other concentration camps further afield too.
  • Where: An der Lehnitzschleuse, 16515 Oranienburg, Germany.
  • How to get there: Get the S-Bahn or a regional train to Oranienburg, turn right out of the station, right again onto Bernauer Straße and follow that along, past the woods and a fine abandoned house on the right hand side until you come to a bridge. That’ll be the canal right under you there. Go over the bridge, take your first left, and the bakery isn’t far up on the right hand side. Here’s a map to assist you.
    You could take a trip up to Heilstätte Grabowsee just up the canal while you’re there. Watch out for your man and his dog if you venture that far.
  • Getting in: It’s pretty damn easy. Just walk up to the left of the building and you’ll find a large inviting gap. To get into the building itself go around the back. A bit more effort is required to get into the rooms with the ovens but it’s worth it.
  • When to go: Given the history I don’t think this is a good place for a party. Likewise, it’s not a place for romance. Best to go during the day so you can see it.
  • Difficulty rating: 3/10 Pretty damn easy as mentioned already.
  • Who to bring: Just bring a like-minded individual. As mentioned before, it’s not the place for parties and/or romance.
  • What to bring: They’re not baking bread anymore so bring your own if you don’t want to get hungry. Otherwise just the usual stuff: camera, beer, torch, mobile phone in case you need to call for help.
  • Dangers: The buildings are in OK condition – they’re sturdy enough – but still some care is required. Don’t do anything crazy or stupid and you should be fine. Nosy neighbors do pass by and some will even take it upon themselves to shout at you if they see you from the road. A shout out in return to the guy shouting at me as I was trying to film on the last visit.

Photos (2014)

Short film

Filed 23/5/2014 | Updated 6/12/2021

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  1. Per

    You keep on delivering quality content, very nice to see!
    Looking forward to coming updates!

  2. nikki

    Holy fuck. What a place.

  3. Do you think we are stupid?

    Another great find! I think I need to spend some time around Berlin!!

  4. Anonymous

    another pearl that will now get destroyed 🙁 Just to satisfy your need for fame 🙁

  5. Spudnik

    Don’t be ridiculous.

  6. Marcel

    Visited it last saturday. Nice location. Easy access.

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you, this website has made our Berlin holiday so much more interesting! went here past thursday and to Beelitz on tuesday… amazing!
    By the way we found it quite a walk from the railway station in Oranienburg to the bakery, when you take the bus (I believe it was line 805) to the schleuse it is only a few minutes 😉

  8. fotostrasse

    we went there this past friday and there are lot of burnt down areas and fences. it is kind of hard to enter the place but it was worth it. lots of pictures on the link below.

  9. Anonymous

    There last Saturday, not sure if its a weekend thing but no trains where running to Oranienburg. Luckily two guys from California pointed to a bus that seemed to be picking up from where the train left off. Nearly tripped up over the two foot high fence getting in. Great place to spend the afternoon

  10. Unknown

    I’ve been there a couple of months ago, the mole was gone but it was replaced by cute and welcoming wasps, be careful 😀
    You inspired me into making a journal of abandoned places I’ve been to, I live in Italy and there’s so much places that wait to be discovered.
    Every urban explorer out there is like “Yo gurl, I can’t tell you where this place is, blah blah”, I think most of them just use the “vandals” excuse to justify their elitism, that’s why I love this website and the way you think/write…anyway, thank you for your info and keep up the good work!

  11. Anonymous

    Visiting from Toronto Canada Sept. 24 – Oct. 2. 2014 and looking at a few ubex options in / around Berlin to shoot video / timelapse. Anyone interested to join and explore with me at this and other locations ? Please email me @ r_hoff2002[at] Cheers ! Randy. I do speak German as well btw.

  12. Karl G.

    First of all: congratulations for the great blog! It’s has been motivating me for exploring a lot of interesting things in Berlin-Brandenburg!
    Since the comments and updates also helped me a lot, I decided to comment the abandoned places I’ve been visiting, so that others can use the information for their own visit. The Backery was my first visit, so I’ll start by this one. I was there a month ago and it was actually quite easy to get there (S-Bahn + bus). It’s important to checkthe schedules, if you don’t want to wait for one hour, and the bus-stop (there’s one 2 minutes from the spot!). To sneak in was also easy and the place is worth a visit.

  13. AntonyM

    Went today. Very easy to get into. Maybe too easy?
    As well as the small hole in the side fence, there is also a part of the front fence which you can easily climb over.
    And someone has kindly made a “staircase” out of crates so it is just as easy to get into the building!
    Heard 2 people talking while I was in there, but didn’t see them, so no idea if they were locals or urbexers.

  14. Morgan

    I* went there today. It was indeed very easy to get in, right next to the front gate. No nosy neighbours, no security. Once inside the fence, you do need to watch your step as there are some holes outside that might break your ankle.

    The crates stacked are getting a bit soggy, so be careful. There are more crates in the little building nearby, perhaps replace one or two if they’re getting too bad.

    Inside the large building there’s a section of the 1st floor with permanent water on the floor, that is leaking through the floor to the floor below. We stayed clear of that, as it might be unstable (don’t know how many winters it’s been like that).

    I shot some quick photos with flash and no tripod:

  15. Anonymous

    I went today. It’s still easy to get in, but winter hasn’t been good for the building. The ceiling in the oven room looks so dangerous that I was afraid it would come down any minute. Please be careful if you go and take someone with you!

  16. Stef

    Went there last winter, a very good place to have a winter picnic in the sun. The building has a lot of mysteries to share and stimulate your imagination.

  17. Anonymous

    I was there last Saturday. The place is very easy accessible. You just have to hop over the smashed fence. Very interesting place. Thank you!

  18. Anonymous

    I was there today. Easiest access ever, the fence is one meter high. You can get in every room easily. It is well preserved (not too much graffitis)

  19. Anonymous

    Been there recently, very easy to get in, but most of the windows and doors have been fenced and to get into the main area of the building you’ll have to crawl into a tiny little hole someone made on the fence

  20. Captain Power

    Visited the site on the 7th of October. Easy to drive to. Just park car in front 🙂 The building itself has a few diferent ways to get in. On the left side there was a hole in a door. On the right side the door to the oven section was open. We saw the later and used the hole in the gate inside to get to the ovens. Very nice place without many fraffitis.

  21. Anonymous

    We visited the site on May 8th. The access is a joke: just walk in, the fence right next to the gate has completely collapsed.
    Unfortunately about half of the windows are now blocked with wooden panels. That means: a) the one and only recent entrance is a hole in a brick wall (straight on down the track, on your left hand side when you are approaching the 2nd side wing, just step around the corner) and b) it´s pretty dark in some parts of the building (especially were the ovens are) – even on a sunny day! I would recommend to bring a good torch, flash + tripod for photography.
    The rest is easy, the main building (whith the interesting stuff) is safe. BTW: the others are not worth the visit and were locked and/or wrecked…
    Have fun – stay safe!
    @IrishBerliner: Thank you very much indeed again for advice, tips and exploring ideas. Your work is very much apprechiated!!! Keep on rockin´!

  22. KrisK

    A beautiful place to explore when it’s covered in snow. The fence is down or have open holes on several places so it’s very easy to get in. There’s also several entry point into the building. Just be a bit careful where you put your feet. Some of the wooden floors on the upper levels felt unstable and there’s also ice in some places where water has come in through the collapsed roof. I’d bring a friend if I go there in winter just in case you’d slip and hurt your leg. Most of the rooms are fine to discover without a flashlight but you’ll need it for a few of the (coolest) rooms that has completely boarded up windows. Also for the creepy and ice filled basement… Enjoy!

    February 11, 2021.

  23. Kevin

    Been there on Saturday. Still easy accessable through the fence. Just be careful and watch your step, because of some unstable floors. The basement is flooded atm, so no need to go downstairs. But still a beautiful place!

  24. Jan

    Went there last week. Easy to get in and nobody else was there. As earlier said, basement was flooded so couldn’t go there.

  25. JustExplore211

    I was there about a month ago. It’s still easy to get in and undisturbed. We only saw one other group of explorers. From the neighbouring industrial area you have a very good view of the southern parts of the bakery area. So be careful in that area!
    If you follow the path along the canal northwards around the harbour of the old Sachsenhausen subcamp, you will come across an abandoned railway line. I recommend this to anyone who fancies a short hike through super-beautiful countryside. It’s also a quick way to get to the sanatoriums at Grabowsee 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the tips! Did you get into Grabowsee?

  26. Anonymous

    07.08.21 Report! Easy access from multiple breakpoints in the fence. The simplest one is on the south-western side. Lots of blackberries to eat!

  27. Myllenium

    Hey any update if this place is still accessible?

    • Spudnik

      This was updated in December. It was accessible then, no reason it shouldn’t be now.

    • Marc

      29/01/22: Accessible but really not worth the visit IMHO. It has been boarded up and the water flooding in the main/interesting building with the bread ovens is so bad that the building seems on the verge of collapsing. I have been in abandoned buildings in terrible conditions and this is one I’d not risk. Sad but it has lost all its charm.

    • Malcolm

      Visited the other day and agree with what Mark has written above, the place is a right dump now compared to the photos on here but still feels safe except maybe bits of the top floor where the roof has caved in. I’d be more worried about not paying attention and falling through some of the holes in the upper floors!
      Not really worth a visit unless its super local to you or you are planning to knock out a few places in the vicinity as well. The walk back to the station in the rain definitely isn’t much fun either!

  28. StarkUrbex_

    I went here today April 17 2022. Just like AB said there is several holes in the fence on the left side. Go in from the forest. Not much to see. I liked the stairs and the big empty rooms. Look out the roof is caving in in some places. We left after 10 minutes.


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