As more and more subcamps were constructed and expanded, concentration camp inmates were increasingly present in the everyday lives of the Germans. Ultimately only about half of the Buchenwald inmates were in the "parent camp". The others had to perform forced labour in factories and towns in the midst of the German population. Particularly the life-threatening work of mobile inmate construction brigades in the ruins of bombed cities was visible to everyone.

From left to right:

Josef Fischer secretly photographed Buchenwald inmates of SS Construction Brigade III in Cologne. His original caption reads: “View from our kitchen window. A work gang stops work for the day. They’re inmates of a concentration camp set up on the trade fairgrounds”, October 1943. NS-Dokumentationszentrum Köln

Buchenwald inmates of SS Construction Brigade III during clean-up operations after a bomb attack in Duisburg, 1943. Ruhr Museum Essen

Buchenwald Concentration Camp inmates clearing rubble on the Weimar market square, February/March 1945. Private archive of Constantin Beyer, Weimar