The complex of textile factories in the Rabstejn valley in the north of the Czech Republic were confiscated by the Germans and transferred to Weserflugzeugbau Bremen (WFG) whose own factories had been destroyed in Allied bombing raids. The key activities from 1942 onwards were the production of weapons and aircraft. As production stepped up WFG employed 6,000 in the area, made up of forced labour, prisoners-of-war and concentration camp prisoners from 18 different countries.
By 1944 although the tide was turning, Germany embarked on a programme of moving war production underground. As a result, concentration camp prisoners excavated around 17,500 square metres of underground space. The original plan would have reached 80,000 square metres. Many prisoners died during the construction.
Much of the complex was re-used by the military during the Cold War. Particularly impressive is one area (‘Objekt H’) that was used as an underground fuel store and had a direct feed to a Cold War airfield above.
After the end of the Cold War, some areas were used for vegetable storage and for mushroom growing. The space is now owned by the local community and after many years part of the complex is now accessible to tell the story of these dark years.