The conditions of life and work did not in any account match the hard open-air work which the prisoners had to do. Those prisoners who were severely ill or those whose production was under norm were sent back to Neuengamme. This nearly always meant certain death. The concentration camp Neuengamme sent a bill in October 1944 to the Firm Steinöl for the prisoner’s work. In November the charge for qualified workers was RM 6,- per day and for untrained helpers RM 4,-.
The quality of food stood in no proportion to the physical work demanded of the prisoners. Much of the food intended for the prisoners was stolen by the SS-guards for themselves. Often one loaf of bread was divided between 20 prisoners. The midday meal consisted mostly of 1 1/2 l turnip or carrot soup. As many prisoners did not possess their own plates their portions were not always guaranteed. Hard labour was based on daily hunger rations.
Special units were organised to deal with the different types of work. These were lead by Kapos, who were prisoners in charge. Armed SS-guards were there to enforce order with rifles and truncheons. Most prisoners worked in mining oil shale or building the railway line to the railway station in Schandelah. Others worked in workshops, laboratories or in building construction.