Sandmine Walpersberg

From a Sand Mine to an Weapons-Factory


The Walpersberg is a 1050ft high sandstone mesa in the Saale Valley. At its north-eastern section kaolin-containing sand was found, and since 1897 excavated by the Porcelain Corp. Kahla, from a floor lying 742ft below ground. A second mine called “Ernst Meltzer” was driven to the north-west at a 705ft floor. Both were room-and-pillar mines. Until 1944 the galleries of the eastern sand-mine covered an area of almost 10ac and the “Meltzer” mine reached about 5.7ac until 1914. 

On Aug. 7th 1943, during the inspection of subterranean spaces, the mine of the Porcelain Corp. Kahla was found suitable as a storage site for entities of art and cultural value, providing protection against enemy air raids during the second world war.

Based on this assessment attention was given to the mine again in preparation of the underground relocation program for armament production. Several enterprises applied for the mine. Fritz Sauckel succeeded over his competitors with the GUSTLOFF-foundation, receiving help from Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. On March 22nd, 1944 the galleries were shut as the transformation into the aircraft factory REIMAHG commenced.