Neuengamme Concentration Camp

Photos of Documentation Center by Bonnie M. Harris

View of Neuengamme Documentation Center, July 2006

Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

A Documentation Center at the Neuengamme Memorial Site was set up in 1981. The photo above shows the interior of the center.

Display board gives the history of Neuengamme

Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

Text on display in the photo above reads as follows:

Neuengamme concentration camp was established in 1938 as a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen concentration camp and became an independent institution in spring 1940. It was the central concentration camp for north-western Germany until 1945. A total of more than 80,000 men and 13,000 women were registered in Neuengamme concentration camp and given a prisoner's number; another 5,900 prisoners were never registered in the camp's records.

The initial impulse for establishing the camp was the National Socialist Leadership's requirement for a cheap source of bricks for their large-scale construction projects in Hamburg. The huts that made up the prisoners' barracks were erected in 1940/41 and were later supplemented by two stone buildings erected between 1943 and 1945. Until 1945, more and more companies and SS-owned enterprises settled around the prisoners' barracks and the SS barracks.

English translation: And here was once a Concentration Camp

Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

Bunk beds displayed in Museum

Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

As the end of the war neared, the SS forced the evacuation of about 10,000 prisoners on a death march towards Luebeck. Thousands had already been sent to Bergen-Belsen and another 6500 prisoners had been forced onto ships in the North Sea that were sunk by British fighter-bombers.

Commandant Max Pauly and 13 staff members were charged with war crimes in the first British military tribunal held in Hamburg between March 18, 1946 and May 13, 1946 for Neuengamme staff members. Eleven of the 14 accused, including Max Pauly, were sentenced to death and were executed on October 8, 1946. Wilhelm Bahr, a medical orderly in the Neuengamme camp, was among those who were convicted and then hanged. He had previously testified for the prosecution in March 1946 at the British trial of Dr. Bruno Tesch, who was accused of supplying Zyklon-B to the Nazi camps for the purpose of gassing the prisoners. Bahr testified that he had used Zyklon-B supplied by Dr. Tesch's company to gas 200 Russian Prisoners of War at Neuengamme on the orders of Dr. von Bergmann.

After the camp was liberated, the buildings were used to imprison members of the SS, the Nazi political party, and officials of the Wehrmacht and the Nazi state in the British Civil Internment camp Number 6. The prisoners were released in 1948 when the Germans became allies with the British, and the camp was returned to the City of Hamburg.


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