The site of the former work crew of Francke Werke in Bremer Neustadt is located directly on the River Ochtum on the site of the former municipal garbage dump. In the north of the area, a storey embossing plant was erected in 1941. For this purpose, a Soviet prisoners of war work crew was set up, the detachment with the number 5840 of Stalag XC Nienburg. Between 60 and 320 prisoners were interned in the camp. There is only little information on camp life, so the poor food situation of the prisoners is discussed. At least 13 prisoners died in the course of their work. At the same time, from the end of 1941 to February 1942, another work crew, number 5806, was also housed from the Stalag XC Nienburg on the premises of the Stalag XC Nienburg, with up to 50 prisoners working at the municipal garbage dump. A third work detachment (number 161 from Stalag X D (310) Wietzendorf) was also located a few hundred meters away in Duckwitz street.
In the 1950s, the areas of the former factory and the garbage dump were converted into an industrial park. A laundry was built on parts of the site, which also included a villa - the Oelkers Villa. The history of this place as a camp for Soviet prisoners of war was forgotten.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the now insolvent laundry was closed and liquidated. Since then the buildings have been empty.
The history of the camp for Soviet prisoners of war in Duckwitz street only became known to a wider public again in 2014 thanks to an exhibition on camps and places of work of Soviet prisoners of war in the city of Bremen. The area continued to be an industrial estate but was not used. Finally, applications were made to set up a brothel on the site in Duckwitz street. Local initiatives as well as the advisory boards resisted this plan. The history of the village was also mentioned in order to prevent its conversion. Nevertheless, the brothel was finally approved by the authorities, since the area is registered as a business park and prostitution is legalized as a business in Germany.
In May 2018, the advisory board of the Bremen-Neustadt district decided to erect a memorial stone and in April 2019 approved funds for the erection of a memorial plaque.
Today's condition (June 2019)
The building is currently under reconstruction and the erection of a commemorative plaque is planned.
The 1950s villa stands on an overgrown plot of land that meets the Ochtum River. Behind the Ochtum are the houses of the Grolland district. To the front of the building runs the B6, one of the busiest federal highways in Bremen. The rear façade borders on an overgrown plot of land, behind which former small, flat commercial buildings can be found. The front side was directed towards the industrial park, where there is a shop today.
For many years, the building had a yellowish color, which still originated from the time of the laundry. The house was painted grey during the conversion work. In addition, various wooden screens were erected around the building.
The location of the memorial plaque is still unclear. It would be possible to place the memorial directly on the cycle and footpath that runs along the Ochtum. The design of the commemorative plaque could be adapted to the appearance of other plaques in the Neustadt area.
The area at Duckwitz street 69 is easy to reach. On the one hand, the tram runs not far away, the main road is directly on the site, the large Parking areas Grolland are within walking distance.
The property itself is not accessible, in few weeks the brothel will open on the area, this makes a visit on the property impossible. Next to the property, however, there are public areas that can be visited.
Sources and literature
Rolf Keller, Silke Petry (Hrsg.): Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene im Arbeitseinsatz 1941 - 1945. Dokumente zu den Lebens- und Arbeitsbedingungen in Norddeutschland, Göttingen 2013 (Schriftenreihe der Stiftung Niedersächsische Gedenkstätten, 2).
4.1.18 Auszug aus dem Kriegstagebuch des Rüstungskommandos Bremen über den Einsatz sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener bei den Francke-Werken in Bremen, in: Rolf Keller, Silke Petry (Hrsg.): Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene im Arbeitseinsatz 1941 - 1945. Dokumente zu den Lebens- und Arbeitsbedingungen in Norddeutschland, Göttingen 2013 (Schriftenreihe der Stiftung Niedersächsische Gedenkstätten, 2), S. 86.
Einträge zu den Lagern in der Duckwitzstraße in der Datenbank: Arbeitskommandos mit sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen in Norddeutschland der Stiftung Niedersächsische Gedenkstätten:
Erinnerung an Kriegsgefangene in Bremen. Beirat unterstützt Gedenkstele, von Karin Mörtel, in: Weser-Kurier vom 25.05.2018, URL: https://www.weser-kurier.de/bremen/stadtteile/stadtteile-bremen-sued_artikel,-beirat-unterstuetzt-gedenkstele-_arid,1733415.html
Interview zur Gedenkstele am Ochtumdeich. Russische Kriegsgefangene in Bremen: "Opfer mit doppelter Tragik", von Detlev Scheil, in: Weser-Kurier vom 25.03.2018, URL:
Orte des Schreckens und der Angst. Die Bremer Initiative „Denkorte Neustadt“ will an die Zeit der NS-Herrschaft im Stadtteil erinnern und bringt nun eine Broschüre heraus, von Jörn Hildenbrand, in: Weser-Kurier vom 27.07.18, URL:
The platform was created as part of the “Memory – Wiki - In the footsteps of the memory of the “forgotten” victims of National Socialism in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Germany,” organized by the Berlin public association “KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI”.
The idea and the content of the website were developed by the students of history at four universities: Bremen University, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don and the National Research University "Higher School of Economics", Moscow.
The project was carried out by the association "KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI" with the support of the foundations “Erinnerung Lindau” and “Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft”, as well as the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.