Otto Weidt learned how to make brushes after he started going blind. In 1936 he opened a workshop for the blind in a basement apartment at Großbeerenstraße 92 in Kreuzberg, Berlin, near his home at Hallesches Ufer 58.
In 1940 he moved his factory to the wing of the building at Rosenthaler Straße 39 in the Mitte district. He employed more than 30 blind and deaf people there. Most of them were Jewish.
Some of the brooms and brushes made in the workshop were supplied to the Wehrmacht, which meant that the Workshop for the Blind was classified as “important for the war effort”. With this status and Otto Weidt’s bribes to Gestapo officers, the Jewish workers were temporarily protected from deportation. Some managed to go into hiding with Otto Weidt’s help. But in February and March 1943 many were arrested and deported to concentration camps during the police raids known as “Operation Factory”.
Up to the end of the war only a few workers were left in Weidt’s workshop. They were mainly Jews married to non-Jews.