The Kartoffelkeller (potato cellar) kommando.

“Kartoffelkeller is German for ‘potato cellar’. Nobody ever gave us any other explanation, but based on rumours that were going around the camp we eventually realised that the plan was to dig a huge cellar to store potatoes overlooked by S.S. barracks… What an idea.


What awaited us was sheer slavery. It consisted of hacking away at a huge mound with picks. First we had to level part of the mountain, then dig the cellar out of solid rock, granite…

With picks and spades? Yes! And while being hit with those tools’ handles. The spades and picks were waiting for us. There were also eight little wagons that rolled on rails.

The French in the first convoy, who had already gone through a terrible ordeal when the S.S. unleashed their fury on them, ‘inaugurated’ the Kartoffelkeller worksite on 12 July, in particular by laying the rails for the little wagons.”
Max NEVERS