In November 1938 Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch gave the green light for further development of the Peenemünde rocket programs and the mass-production of rockets. This development also fuelled the need for the production of liquid oxygen, since the A4 (V2) rocket used this component mixed with water dilluted alcohol as a propellant. A single rocket needed 4 tons of each component alone just to succesfully lift off.
For this purpose a larger Liquid Oxygen plant “Sauerstoffwerk II” was built near the village center of Peenemünde starting from the end of 1939 using forced labour. The dimensions of the building were to be 70 metres long, about 42 metres wide and approximately 20 metres high. The structure was very much set up like that of a basilica. Progress of the initial construction was slow due to the extreme winter of 1940.
On 27th of Juli 1942 the plant was partly taken into use and when it was finished in early 1943 it produced a maximum output of 13.000 kg in three shifts a day. In august 1943 and in 1944 the building was damaged by allied bomb attacks, but could quickly be restored to pick up production rates. The plant continued to produce liquid oxygen until the end of the war in februari 1945.
Starting in 1946 by the orders of the Russian Military administration, the interior installations of the building were dismantled and shipped off to be reconstructed 180 km further in Bützow, Peenemünder Sauerstoffwerk, Germany, where it continued to operate until the year 2000. The empty building itself was partially destructed in 1948 at the request of the Allied forces, a state from where it has fallen to even further ruin over the past decades, until this present day.
Though it is now the property of a private owner, plans are being made to partially restore the Liquid Oxygen Plant’s ruines as a landmark and keep it from falling to further decay. Check out a video visualising the re-development of the Sauerstoffwerk II at Peenemünde.
Visit the Peenemünde Sauerstoffwerk III
Be carefull if you want to go see the Peenemünde Oxygen Plant on the inside. The building is made inaccesible with a fence and this is not without good reason. The Plant shows signs of heavy decay in it’s concrete structure and authorities warn for the danger of collapse.
In contrast to this, the site is also a favourite hang out for local youth heroes, which can be witnessed by the many breaches made in the fence, so entering the structure is fairly easy. Keep in mind that you are accessing private property.