Messerschmitt GmbH Regensburg
As the number of Allied air raids on the German Reich increased, the SS and the air armament industry began to cooperate closely in 1943. Particular significance was given to the production of fighter airplanes.
The bombing of Messerschmitt GmbH. in Ratisbon by the US Air Force on 17 August 1943 paralysed a large share of Me 109 fighter production. In reaction, large parts of the fighter production were moved to numerous decentralised locations.
Messerschmitt GmbH. began cooperating with DESt. in Flossenbürg as early as January 1943. As contractually agreed, the airplane producer provided raw materials, machines and technical staff as well as know-how while DESt. took charge of production using manpower from the concentration camps. DESt. then sold the finished products back to Messerschmitt at fixed prices. This was profitable business for both parties. Messerschmitt was able to produce without taking any economic risk, while the SS was able to enhance its profits and expand its influence in the armaments industry.
Using Flossenbürg as a model, the granite works in Mauthausen concluded an agreement with Messerschmitt GmbH. in December 1943. By January 1944, 25 Me 109 fuselages were produced in Gusen; 423 prisoners had been deployed for production at this point in time. Final assembly of the fighter airplanes was done in Bavaria.
Messerschmitt production also grew steadily. In mid-1944, 35 percent of overall Messerschmitt GmbH. Regensburg production originated from the concentration camps Flossenbürg and Mauthausen/Gusen. The development of the technologically new jet fighter Me 262 had direct implications on the use of manpower in Gusen. In the course of 1944, Me 262 production was converted and relocated into the underground tunnel systems, which were coming to completion. Plans were to use 4,000 concentration camp prisoners and 400 civilians for production by year's end. By 1 May 1945, 987 Me 262 fuselages had been produced.