Despite efforts at secrecy, Neuengamme concentration camp was
not isolated entirely. People from the surrounding area encountered
the work commandos and watched the prisoners at work on the
Dove-Elbe, at the port at Zollenspieker and in other places. SS dog
squads searched farms and fields for escaped prisoners. Some locals
took the road leading past the main entrance of Neuengamme
concentration camp to work during the week. In the evenings, young
women from the Vierlande region would often wait for SS men at the
northern gate of the camp. Many local companies supplied the camp
with goods, and inns in the surrounding area served the SS members.
A mortician from Bergedorf regularly came to collect the bodies of
prisoners who had died. Several companies in the region made use of
the prisoners’ labour, among them a timber merchant, a
garage, a bakery and a hardware shop.