Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Overview

Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

 in Oranienburg
Oranienburg
Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.- Geography :Oranienburg is a town located on the banks of the Havel river, 35 km north of the centre of Berlin.- Division of the town :...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD special camp
NKVD special camps
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post-World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany and areas east of the Oder-Neisse line. The short-lived camps east of the line were subsequently transferred to the Soviet occupation zone, where they were set up by the Soviet...

 until 1950 (See NKVD special camp Nr. 7
NKVD special camp Nr. 7
NKVD special camp Nr. 7 was a NKVD special camp that operated in Weesow until August 1945 and in Sachsenhausen from August 1945 until the spring of 1950. It was used by the Stalinist Soviet occupying forces to detain political prisoners....

). The remaining buildings and grounds are now open to the public as a museum.
The camp was established in 1936.
Encyclopedia

Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

 in Oranienburg
Oranienburg
Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.- Geography :Oranienburg is a town located on the banks of the Havel river, 35 km north of the centre of Berlin.- Division of the town :...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD special camp
NKVD special camps
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post-World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany and areas east of the Oder-Neisse line. The short-lived camps east of the line were subsequently transferred to the Soviet occupation zone, where they were set up by the Soviet...

 until 1950 (See NKVD special camp Nr. 7
NKVD special camp Nr. 7
NKVD special camp Nr. 7 was a NKVD special camp that operated in Weesow until August 1945 and in Sachsenhausen from August 1945 until the spring of 1950. It was used by the Stalinist Soviet occupying forces to detain political prisoners....

). The remaining buildings and grounds are now open to the public as a museum.

Sachsenhausen under the NSDAP

The camp was established in 1936. It was located 35 km north of Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, which gave it a primary position among the German concentration camps: the administrative centre of all concentration camps was located in Oranienburg, and Sachsenhausen became a training centre for Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 (SS) officers (who would often be sent to oversee other camps afterwards). Executions took place at Sachsenhausen, especially of Soviet prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

. Among the prisoners, there was a "hierarchy": at the top, criminals (rapists, murderers), then Communists (red triangles), then homosexuals (pink triangles) and at the very bottom Jews (yellow triangles). During the earlier stages of the camp’s existence the executions were done in a trench, either by shooting or by hanging. A large task force of prisoners were used from the camp to work in nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

's vision of rebuilding Berlin. Sachsenhausen was originally not intended as an extermination camp—instead, the systematic murder was conducted in camps to the east. In 1942 large numbers of Jewish inmates were relocated to Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

. However the construction of a gas chamber and ovens by the camp commandant Anton Kaindl in March 1943 facilitated the means to kill larger numbers of prisoners. The chamber used liquid Zyklon B
Zyklon B
Zyklon B was the trade name of a cyanide-based pesticide infamous for its use by Nazi Germany to kill human beings in gas chambers of extermination camps during the Holocaust. The "B" designation indicates one of two types of Zyklon...

, which was placed in small glass bottles into the ventilation system next to the door. The bottle was broken with a spike and the gas mixed with the air and was forced into the chamber.

Camp layout

The Main gate or Guard Tower "A", with its 8mm Maxim machine gun, the type used by the Germans in the trenches of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, housed the offices of the camp administration. On the front entrance gates to Sachsenhausen is the infamous slogan Arbeit Macht Frei
Arbeit macht frei
"'" is a German phrase, literally "work makes free," meaning "work sets you free" or "work liberates". The slogan is known for having been placed over the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, including most infamously Auschwitz I, where it was made by prisoners...

. About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Anchoring the base of the triangular shaped thousand-acre site was the spacious Apelplatz, where tens of thousands of prisoners would line up for morning and evening roll call. Creating a semi circular configuration were the barracks of custody zone I which fanned out from the base of the Apelplatz.
Sachsenhausen was intended to set a standard for other concentration camps, both in its design and the treatment of prisoners. The camp perimeter is, approximately, an equilateral triangle with a semi circular roll call area centered on the main entrance gate in the side running northeast to southwest. Barrack huts lay beyond the roll call area, radiating from the gate. The layout was intended to allow the machine gun post in the entrance gate to dominate the camp but in practice it was necessary to add additional watchtowers to the perimeter. The standard barrack layout was to have a central washing area and a separate room with toilet bowls and a right and left wing for overcrowded sleeping rooms.

There was an infirmary inside the southern angle of the perimeter and a camp prison within the eastern angle. There was also a camp kitchen and a camp laundry. The camp's capacity became inadequate and the camp was extended in 1938 by a new rectangular area (the "small camp") northeast of the entrance gate and the perimeter wall was altered to enclose it. There was an additional area (sonder lager) outside the main camp perimeter to the north; this was built in 1941 for special prisoners that the regime wished to isolate.

Custody zone

The camp was secure and there were few successful escapes. The perimeter consisted of a three metre high stone wall on the outside. Within that there was a space which was patrolled by guards and dogs; it was bordered on the inside by a lethal electric fence; inside that was a gravel "death strip" forbidden to the prisoners. Any prisoner venturing onto the "death strip" would be shot by the guards without warning. Rewards such as extra leave were offered to guards who successfully shot and killed any prisoner who entered onto the death zone.

Prisoner labor

Sachsenhausen was the site of the largest counterfeiting operation
Operation Bernhard
Operation Bernhard was the codename of a secret Nazi plan devised during the Second World War by the RSHA and the SS to destabilise the British economy by flooding the country with forged Bank of England £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes...

 ever. The Nazis forced inmate artisans to produce forged American and British currency, as part of a plan to undermine the British and United States' economies, courtesy of Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst , full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS, or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The organization was the first Nazi Party intelligence organization to be established and was often considered a "sister organization" with the...

 (SD) chief Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

. Over one billion pounds in counterfeited banknotes was recovered. The Germans introduced fake British £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes into circulation in 1943: the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 never found them. Plans had been made to drop British pounds over London by plane. Today, these notes are considered very valuable by collectors.
An industrial area, outside the western camp perimeter, contained SS workshops in which prisoners were forced to work; those unable to work had to stand to attention for the duration of the working day. Heinkel
Heinkel
Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was a German aircraft manufacturing company founded by and named after Ernst Heinkel. It is noted for producing bomber aircraft for the Luftwaffe in World War II and for important contributions to high-speed flight.-History:...

, the aircraft manufacturer, was a major user of Sachsenhausen labour, using between 6000 and 8000 prisoners on their He 177
Heinkel He 177
The Heinkel He 177 Greif was the only operational long-range bomber to be operated by the Luftwaffe. Starting its existence as Germany's first purpose-built heavy bomber just before the war, and built in large numbers during World War II, it was also mistakenly tasked, right from its beginnings,...

 bomber. Although official German reports claimed "The prisoners are working without fault", some of these aircraft crashed unexpectedly around Stalingrad and it is suspected that prisoners had sabotaged them. Other firms included AEG
AEG
Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft was a German producer of electrical equipment founded in 1883 by Emil Rathenau....

.

Prisoner abuses

Camp punishments could be harsh. Some would be required to assume the "Sachsenhausen salute" where a prisoner would squat with his arms outstretched in front. There was a marching strip around the perimeter of the roll call ground, where prisoners had to march over a variety of surfaces, to test military footwear; between 25 and 40 kilometres were covered each day. Prisoners assigned to the camp prison would be kept in isolation on poor rations and some would be suspended from posts by their wrists tied behind their backs (strappado
Strappado
Strappado is a form of torture in which the victim's hands are first tied behind their back and suspended in the air by means of a rope attached to wrists, which most likely dislocates both arms...

). In cases such as attempted escape, there would be a public hanging in front of the assembled prisoners. A popular game amongst the guards involved threatening a prisoner with death if they did not stand on the "death zone" gravel strip inside the camp. Once the prisoner stood on the gravel, he/she was killed, as they were not allowed to stand on it.

Aftermath

Some 30,000 inmates died there from exhaustion, disease, malnutrition or pneumonia from the freezing winter cold. Many were executed or died as the result of brutal medical experimentation.
Over the course of its operation, over 100 Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 resistance fighters were executed at Sachsenhausen
According to an article published on December 13, 2001 in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, "In the early years of the war the SS practiced methods of mass killing there that were later used in the Nazi death camps. Of the roughly 30,000 wartime victims at Sachsenhausen, most were Russian prisoners of war".
Many women were among the inmates of Sachsenhausen and its subcamps. According to SS files, more than 2,000 women lived in Sachsenhausen, guarded by female SS staff (Aufseherin). Camp records show that there was one male SS soldier for every ten inmates and for every ten male SS there was a woman SS. Several subcamps for women were established in Berlin, including in Neukölln
Neukölln
Neukölln is the eighth borough of Berlin, located in the southeastern part of the city and was part of the former American sector under the Four-Power occupation of the city...

.

Towards the end of the war, 13,000 Red Army POW's arrived at Sachsenhausen. Over 10,000 were executed in the camp by being shot in the back of the neck through a hidden hole in a wall while being measured for a uniform. Their bodies were then burnt in a crematorium.

With the advance of the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 in the spring of 1945, Sachsenhausen was prepared for evacuation. On April 20–21, the camp's SS staff ordered 33,000 inmates on a forced march
Death marches (Holocaust)
The death marches refer to the forcible movement between Autumn 1944 and late April 1945 by Nazi Germany of thousands of prisoners from German concentration camps near the war front to camps inside Germany.-General:...

 northeast. Most of the prisoners were physically exhausted and thousands did not survive this death march
Death marches (Holocaust)
The death marches refer to the forcible movement between Autumn 1944 and late April 1945 by Nazi Germany of thousands of prisoners from German concentration camps near the war front to camps inside Germany.-General:...

; those who collapsed en route were shot by the SS. On April 22, 1945, the camp's remaining 3,000 inmates, including 1,400 women were liberated by the Red Army and Polish 2nd Infantry Division
Polish 2nd Warsaw Infantry Division
Polish 2nd Warsaw Infantry Division of Henryk Dąbrowski was formed in 1943 as part of the Polish First Army alongside the Red Army of the Soviet Union. It fought near Vistula and Warsaw, at Pomerania and in the battle of Berlin...

 of Ludowe Wojsko Polskie.

Camp commanders

  • SS-Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

     - Michael Lippert
    Michael Lippert
    Michel Hans Lippert or Michael Lippert was an SS Standartenführer, Police officer and a German soldier who served in both World War I and World War II. During World War II. Lippert commanded several concentration camps, including Sachsenhausen, before becoming a commander of the SS-Freiwilligen...

    , July 1936 - October 1936
  • SS-Standartenführer
    Standartenführer
    Standartenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was used in the so-called Nazi combat-organisations: SA, SS, NSKK and the NSFK...

     - Karl Otto Koch
    Karl Otto Koch
    Karl-Otto Koch , a Standartenführer in the German Schutzstaffel , was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, and later also served as a commander at the Majdanek concentration camp.-Early life:Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse on...

    , October 1936 - July 1937
  • SS-Oberführer
    Oberführer
    Oberführer was an early paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party dating back to 1921. Translated as “Senior Leader”, an Oberführer was typically a Nazi Party member in charge of a group of paramilitary units in a particular geographical region...

     - Hans Helwig
    Hans Helwig
    Hans Helwig was a German Nazi Party politician, Schutzstaffel general and Nazi concentration camp commandant...

    , July 1937 - January 1938
  • SS-Oberführer
    Oberführer
    Oberführer was an early paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party dating back to 1921. Translated as “Senior Leader”, an Oberführer was typically a Nazi Party member in charge of a group of paramilitary units in a particular geographical region...

     - Hermann Baranowski
    Hermann Baranowski
    Hermann Baranowski was a German politician and military figure. A member of the Nazi Party, he is best known as the commandant of two German concentration camps of the SS Death's Head unit. He was the commandant of Dachau concentration camp in 1938...

    , February 1938 - September 1939
  • SS-Oberführer
    Oberführer
    Oberführer was an early paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party dating back to 1921. Translated as “Senior Leader”, an Oberführer was typically a Nazi Party member in charge of a group of paramilitary units in a particular geographical region...

      - Hans Loritz
    Hans Loritz
    Oberführer Hans Loritz joined the SS in 1930 and in 1933, began work as an officer at the Dachau concentration camp. In July 1934 he became the commander of KZ Esterwegen where he was the Commandant for two years before being transferred back to serve as Commandant of Dachau until 1939...

  • SS-Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

     - Walter Eisfeld
    Walter Eisfeld
    Walter Eisfeld was a German Schutzstaffel officer and Nazi concentration camp commandant....

  • SS-Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

     - Anton Kaindl
    Anton Kaindl
    Anton Kaindl was an SS-Standartenführer and commandant of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1942-1945....

  • SS-Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

     - Albert Sauer, 1942 - 1943

Notable inmates and victims during German period

The wife and children of Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
Rupprecht or Rupert, Crown Prince of Bavaria was the last Bavarian Crown Prince.His full title was His Royal Highness Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine...

, members of the Wittelsbach
Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 family, were held in the camp from October 1944 to April 1945, before being transferred to Dachau concentration camp.

Gottfried Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen
Gottfried Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen
Count Gottfried von Bismarck-Schönhausen was a German politician and German Resistance figure.Born in Berlin, he was a grandson of the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. He was a member of the Nazi Party and in 1933 he was elected to the Reichstag as a Nazi member...

, a grandson of Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 and an SS officer who was aware of the preparations for the July 20 plot
July 20 Plot
On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

 to assassinate Hitler, was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen until its liberation by Soviet forces.

Hasso von Boehmer
Hasso von Boehmer
Hasso von Boehmer was a German Lieutenant Colonel on the General Staff and one of the July 20 Plotters.Hasso von Boehmer belonged to Infantry Regiment 9 from Potsdam, from which also came many of the other plotters. They served, among others, Major General Henning von Tresckow and Fritz-Dietlof...

, German Lieutenant Colonel on the General Staff and one of the July 20 Plot
July 20 Plot
On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

ters, was temporarily detained in the camp's clinic in 1944 due to illness. He was then moved to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.

Julius Leber
Julius Leber
Julius Leber was a German politician of the SPD and a member of the German Resistance against the Nazi régime.-Early life:...

, a German politician of the SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

, was held in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1933 until 1937, having been declared a "dangerous opponent of the regime".

Hans von Dohnanyi
Hans von Dohnanyi
Hans von Dohnanyi was a German jurist, rescuer of Jews, and German resistance fighter against the Nazi régime.-Early life:...

, a German jurist, rescuer of Jews, and resistance fighter against the Nazi Germany regime, was imprisoned in the camp in 1944 until his execution in April 1945.

Reverend Martin Niemöller
Martin Niemöller
Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem "First they came…"....

, a critic of the Nazis and author of the poem First they came...
First they came...
"First they came…" is a famous statement attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group...

, was also a prisoner at the camp.

Herschel Grynszpan
Herschel Grynszpan
Herschel Feibel Grynszpan was a Polish Jew and political assassin. Grynszpan's assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath on November 7, 1938, after the deportation of his family, provided the excuse for the Nazi Kristallnacht, the antisemitic pogrom of November 9–10, 1938...

, whose November 7, 1938 assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath served as a pretext for Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

, the anti-semitic pogrom of November 9–10, 1938, was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen in 1940. Later he was moved to Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

.

Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg was Chancellor of the First Austrian Republic, following the assassination of his predecessor, Dr. Engelbert Dollfuss, in July 1934, until Germany’s invasion of Austria, , in March 1938...

, the penultimate Chancellor of Austria
Chancellor of Austria
The Federal Chancellor is the head of government in Austria. Its deputy is the Vice-Chancellor. Before 1918, the equivalent office was the Minister-President of Austria. The Federal Chancellor is considered to be the most powerful political position in Austrian politics.-Appointment:The...

 before Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

, and Reinhold Wulle
Reinhold Wulle
Reinhold Wulle was a German Völkisch politician and publicist active during the Weimar Republic.-Völkisch politics:...

, monarchist and former German National People's Party
German National People's Party
The German National People's Party was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and antisemitic elements, and...

 leader, were prisoners at Sachsenhausen.

Francisco Largo Caballero
Francisco Largo Caballero
Francisco Largo Caballero was a Spanish politician and trade unionist. He was one of the historic leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and of the Workers' General Union...

, Spanish politician and trade unionist who served as the Prime Minister of the Second Republic
Second Republic
-Europe:* French Second Republic * Second Polish Republic * Second Hellenic Republic * Second Spanish Republic * Portuguese Second Republic, known as Estado Novo * Czechoslovak Second Republic...

 during 1936 and 1937. Upon the defeat of the Republic in 1939 at the end of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 he fled to France, where he was later arrested during the German occupation. He spent most of World War II imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp, until the liberation of the camps at the end of the war. He would die a few months after liberation.

Paul Reynaud
Paul Reynaud
Paul Reynaud was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. He was the penultimate Prime Minister of the Third Republic and vice-president of the Democratic Republican Alliance center-right...

, the penultimate Prime Minister of France before its defeat by the Germans
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, and Georges Mandel
Georges Mandel
Georges Mandel was a French politician, journalist, and French Resistance leader.-Biography:Born Louis George Rothschild in Chatou, Yvelines, was the son of a tailor...

, Minister of Overseas France, were held in Sachsenhausen in 1942-1943.

Fritz Thyssen
Fritz Thyssen
Friedrich "Fritz" Thyssen was a German businessman born into one of Germany's leading industrial families.-Youth:Thyssen was born in Mülheim in the Ruhr area...

, a German businessman who emigrated from Germany, was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and later transferred to Dachau.

Ukrainian nationalist leaders Taras Bulba-Borovets
Taras Bulba-Borovets
Taras Dmytrovych Borovets’ , pseudonym Taras Bulba was a Ukrainian nationalist political activist.-Biography:...

, Andriy Melnyk
Andriy Melnyk
Andriy Melnyk , Ukrainian military and political leader.-Life:Born near Drohobych, Galicia into a peasant family. Between 1912 and 1914 he studied at the Higher School of Agriculture in Vienna...

 and Oleh Stuhl (briefly), Stepan Bandera
Stepan Bandera
Stepan Andriyovych Bandera was a Ukrainian politician and one of the leaders of Ukrainian national movement in Western Ukraine , who headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists...

 and Yaroslav Stetsko
Yaroslav Stetsko
Yaroslav Stetsko was the leader of the Bandera's Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists , from 1968 until death. In 1941, during Nazi Germany invasion into the Soviet Union he was self-proclaimed temporary head of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian statehood...

 were imprisoned there until September-October 1944 (two of Bandera's brothers died in the camp); Oleh Olzhych was tortured to death in June 1944.

Georg Elser
Georg Elser
Johann Georg Elser was a German opponent of Nazism. He is most remembered for his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, but he also wanted to assassinate Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels in 1939....

, an opponent of Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 on his own in 1938, was a prisoner at Sachsenhausen; later he was moved to Dachau concentration camp.

Stefan Rowecki
Stefan Rowecki
Stefan Paweł Rowecki was a Polish general, journalist and the leader of the Armia Krajowa. He was murdered by the Gestapo in prison, probably on the direct order of Heinrich Himmler.-Life:Rowecki was born in Piotrków Trybunalski...

, chief commander of Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 Armia Krajowa
Armia Krajowa
The Armia Krajowa , or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the Związek Walki Zbrojnej . Over the next two years, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces...

 was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen in 1943 and probably executed there in 1944.

Yakov Dzhugashvili
Yakov Dzhugashvili
Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili was one of Joseph Stalin's four children . Yakov was the son of Stalin's first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze...

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's eldest son, was briefly imprisoned in the camp and died there in 1943 under unclear circumstances.

Dmitry Karbyshev
Dmitry Karbyshev
Dmitry Mikhaylovich Karbyshev was a Red Army general and Hero of the Soviet Union .-Early years:...

, Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 general and Hero of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

 (posthumously) was briefly imprisoned in the camp before he was moved to Mauthausen concentration camp
Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
Mauthausen Concentration Camp grew to become a large group of Nazi concentration camps that was built around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Upper Austria, roughly east of the city of Linz.Initially a single camp at Mauthausen, it expanded over time and by the summer of 1940, the...

.

Antonín Zápotocký
Antonín Zápotocký
Antonín Zápotocký was communist Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1953 and President of Czechoslovakia from 1953 to 1957....

, General Secretary
General Secretary
The office of general secretary is staffed by the chief officer of:*The General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace, a government agency for the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace...

 of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa was a Communist and Marxist-Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992....

 (later Prime Minister and President), was sent to Sachsenhausen in 1940. He became a Kapo
Kapo (concentration camp)
A kapo was a prisoner who worked inside German Nazi concentration camps during World War II in any of certain lower administrative positions. The official Nazi word was Funktionshäftling, or "prisoner functionary", but the Nazis commonly referred to them as kapos.- Etymology :The origin of "kapo"...

, which ultimately helped him survive the war.

The Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 Communist leader Aksel Larsen
Aksel Larsen
Aksel Larsen was a Danish politician who was chairman of the Communist Party of Denmark and chairman and founder of the Socialist People's Party. Larsen became leader of the Communist Party in 1932, and was elected to the Danish Parliament in 1932...

 was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen from 1943 to 1945. Einar Gerhardsen
Einar Gerhardsen
was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party of Norway. He was Prime Minister for three periods, 1945–1951, 1955–1963 and 1963–1965. With 17 years in office, he is the longest serving Prime Minister in Norway since the introduction of parliamentarism...

 and Trygve Bratteli
Trygve Bratteli
was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party and Prime Minister of Norway in 1971–1972 and 1973–1976.-Early life and career:...

 of the Norwegian Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

, who would later become prime ministers of Norway, were also incarcerated in Sachsenhausen until they were liberated.

The Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 pacifist Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Bryn Kullmann was a Norwegian naval officer and peace activist.-Early life and career:He was born in Stord in the county of Hordaland, Norway. He was a son of vicar and school manager Jakob Kullmann and Ingeleiv Kristine Mæland...

 was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen in April 1942 and perished there
in July of the same year.

Captain Sigismund Payne Best
Sigismund Payne Best
Captain Sigismund Payne Best OBE was a British Secret Intelligence Service agent during World War I and World War II...

 and Major Richard Henry Stevens
Richard Henry Stevens
Richard Henry Stevens was a major in the British Army and from 1939 Head of the Passport Control Office of the British Secret Intelligence Service in the Netherlands. His name is closely associated with the Venlo Incident in 1939.In 1939 Stevens was transferred to Europe from India where he was...

, British intelligence agents kidnapped during the Venlo incident
Venlo Incident
The Venlo Incident was a covert German Sicherheitsdienst engineered capture of two British SIS agents on 9 November 1939....

, were detained in Sachsenhausen before they were transferred to Dachau concentration camp.

Jack Churchill
Jack Churchill
Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar , nicknamed "Fighting Jack Churchill" and "Mad Jack", was a British soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbow, arrows and a claymore...

, a famous British soldier, was placed in Sachsenhausen, then later transferred to Tyrol
Transport of concentration camp inmates to Tyrol
The Transport of Inmates of German Concentration Camps to Tyrol happened in late April 1945 and led to the only time such prisoners were liberated by German troops.- Transfer and liberation:...

.

Peter Churchill
Peter Churchill
Peter Morland Churchill DSO Croix de Guerre was an SOE Officer in France during World War II.He was a brother of Group Captain Walter Churchill DSO DFC and Major Oliver Churchill DSO MC who was also an SOE Officer during World War II.-Biography:...

, British SOE
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 agent, later transferred to Tyrol
Transport of concentration camp inmates to Tyrol
The Transport of Inmates of German Concentration Camps to Tyrol happened in late April 1945 and led to the only time such prisoners were liberated by German troops.- Transfer and liberation:...

.

Wing Commander
Wing Commander (rank)
Wing commander is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries...

 Harry Day, Flight Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant
Flight lieutenant is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. It ranks above flying officer and immediately below squadron leader. The name of the rank is the complete phrase; it is never shortened to "lieutenant"...

s Bertram James
Bertram James
Squadron Leader Bertram Arthur "Jimmy" James, MC, RAF was a British survivor of The Great Escape.-Early life:James was born in India, the son of a tea-planter, and was educated at The King's School, Canterbury...

 and Sydney Dowse
Sydney Dowse
Flight Lieutenant Sydney Hastings Dowse MC was a Royal Air Force pilot who became a prisoner of war and survived The Great Escape during the Second World War.-Early life and RAFVR:...

, RAF Pilots, who had escaped during The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German Province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan , southeast of Berlin...

, sent to Sachsenhausen as punishment, where with Jack Churchill
Jack Churchill
Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar , nicknamed "Fighting Jack Churchill" and "Mad Jack", was a British soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbow, arrows and a claymore...

 and Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Johnnie Dodge
Johnnie Dodge
Major John 'Johnnie' Bigelow Dodge DSO DSC MC also known as 'the Artful Dodger' was a British Army officer who fought in both world wars and became a notable prisoner of war during the Second World War and survived The Great Escape....

 escaped via a tunnel built by James and Dowse in September 1944. All were recaptured and held in solitary confinement in the Death Cells (Station Z). However, they were later returned to the Sonderlager (special camp) within the main camp. All three survived and were transferred to Tyrol
Transport of concentration camp inmates to Tyrol
The Transport of Inmates of German Concentration Camps to Tyrol happened in late April 1945 and led to the only time such prisoners were liberated by German troops.- Transfer and liberation:...

.

Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Johnnie Dodge
Johnnie Dodge
Major John 'Johnnie' Bigelow Dodge DSO DSC MC also known as 'the Artful Dodger' was a British Army officer who fought in both world wars and became a notable prisoner of war during the Second World War and survived The Great Escape....

, a British Army Officer and relation of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 who had escaped during The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German Province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan , southeast of Berlin...

. Later, in February 1945, was removed from solitary confinement and sent back to Britain, via Switzerland, to act as a peace envoy to the British Government, arriving just before VE Day
Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day commemorates 8 May 1945 , the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. The formal surrender of the occupying German forces in the Channel Islands was not...

.

Hans Grundig
Hans Grundig
Hans Grundig was a German painter and graphic artist associated with the New Objectivity movement.He was born in Dresden and, after an apprenticeship as an interior decorator, studied in 1920–1921 at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts. He then studied at the Dresden Academy from 1922–1923...

, German artist.

Among those executed in "Station Z" were the commando
Commando
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

s from Operation Musketoon
Operation Musketoon
Operation Musketoon was the codeword for an Anglo-Norwegian raid in the Second World War. The operation was mounted against the German-held Glomfjord power plant in Norway between 11–21 September 1942....

; the Grand Prix motor racing
Grand Prix motor racing
Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as far back as 1894. It quickly evolved from a simple road race from one town to the next, to endurance tests for car and driver...

 champion, William Grover-Williams
William Grover-Williams
William Charles Frederick Grover-Williams , also known as "W Williams", was a Grand Prix motor racing driver and special agent who worked for the Special Operations Executive inside France. He organized and coordinated the Chestnut network...

; and John Godwin RNVR
John Godwin RNVR
British Temporary Lieutenant John Godwin, RNVR was born and brought up in Argentina, and took part in a raid named Operation Checkmate on Axis shipping near Haugesund, north of Stavanger, Norway...

, a British Naval Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of...

 who managed to shoot dead the commander of his execution party, for which he was mentioned in despatches posthumously.

Willi Lehmann
Willi Lehmann
Willi Lehmann was a police official and Soviet agent in Nazi Germany.Lehmann was a criminal inspector and SS-Hauptsturmführer , alias Agent A-201/Breitenbach. During World War II Lehmann was one of the most valuable sources for the NKVD in Germany.Lehrmann joined the Berlin police force in 1911...

, NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 spy, was probably cremated at Sachsenhausen in December 1942.

On September 15, 1939, August Dickman, a German Jehovah's Witness, was publicly shot because of his conscientious objection to joining the armed forces. The SS had expected his death to persuade fellow Witnesses to abandon their own refusals and to show respect for camp rules and authorities. The effort failed, however. Other Witnesses emphatically refused to back down and begged to be martyred also.

Heinrich Koenen
Heinrich Koenen
Heinrich Koenen was a German engineer, anti-fascist resistance fighter and agent of the Soviet military intelligence service GRU....

, a communist spy captured in Berlin, was executed in Sachsenhausen in 1945.

Bl. Innocent Guz of Lviv [Innocenty] [baptized Józef Wojciech (Joseph Adalbert)] (Polish born in Ukraine, Franciscan priest, martyred by Nazis at Sachsenhausen [Germany] at age 50 in 1940 [beatified 1999])

Friedrich Weißler
Friedrich Weißler
Friedrich Weißler was a German lawyer. He belonged to the Christian resistance against National Socialism.- Biography :...

, German lawyer active in resistance movement against the National Socialism

Albert Willimsky
Albert Willimsky
Albert Willimsky was a German Roman Catholic priest active in resistance movement against the National Socialism, martyred in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.- Biography :...

, German Roman Catholic priest active in resistance movement against the National Socialism

The structure under the Soviets

In August 1945 the Soviet Special Camp No. 7 was moved to the area of the former concentration camp. Nazi functionaries were held in the camp, as were political prisoners and inmates sentenced by the Soviet Military Tribunal. By 1948, Sachsenhausen, now renamed "Special Camp No. 1", was the largest of three special camps in the Soviet Occupation Zone. The 60,000 people interned over five years included 6,000 German officers transferred from Western Allied camps.http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0CEFDA163EF934A25751C1A9679C8B63 Others were Nazi functionaries, anti-Communists and Russians, including Nazi collaborators and soldiers who contracted sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s in Germany.

One of the camps commandants was Roman Rudenko
Roman Rudenko
Roman Andreyevich Rudenko was a Soviet lawyer. He was the prosecutor of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1944-1953 and Chief prosecutor of the entire Soviet Union from 1953. He is also well known for acting as the Soviet Chief Prosecutor at the main trial of the major Nazi war...

http://www.fredautley.com/nuremberg.htm, the Soviet Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

.

By the time the camp was closed in the spring of 1950, at least 12,000 had died of malnutrition and disease.

With the fall of the communist East Germany it was possible to do excavations in the former camps; in Sachsenhausen, the bodies of 12,500 victims were found, most were children, adolescents and elderly people.http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE6D61131F937A1575AC0A964958260&sec=&spon=&scp=13&sq=Sachsenhausen&st=cse

The Sachsenhausen camp today

In 1956, the East German government established the site as a national memorial, which was inaugurated on 23 April 1961. The plans involved the removal of most of the original buildings and the construction of an obelisk, statue and meeting area, reflecting the outlook of the current government.

The government of the GDR emphasised the suffering of political prisoners over that of the other groups detained at Sachsenhausen. The memorial obelisk contains eighteen red triangles, the symbol the Nazis gave to political prisoners, usually communists. There is a plaque in Sachsenhausen built in memory of the Death March. This plaque has a picture of malnourished male prisoners marching, all of whom are wearing the red triangle of a political prisoner.

At present, the site of the Sachsenhausen camp, at Strasse der Nationen 22 in Oranienburg, is open to the public as a museum and a memorial. Several buildings and structures survive or have been reconstructed, including guard towers, the camp entrance, crematory ovens and the camp barracks.

After German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

, the camp was entrusted to a foundation which opened a museum on the site. The museum features artwork created by inmates and a 30 centimetre high pile of gold teeth (extracted by the Germans from the prisoners), scale models of the camp, pictures, documents and other artifacts illustrating life in the camp. Further exhibits are expected to open in late 2007, including the restored camp kitchen. The administrative buildings from which the entire German concentration camp network was run have been preserved and can also be seen.

Following the discovery in 1990 of mass grave
Mass grave
A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

s from the Soviet period, a separate museum has been opened documenting the camp's Soviet-era history, in the former sonder lager.

The compound has been attacked by Neo-Nazis several times. In September 1992, barracks 38 and 39 of the Jewish Museum were severely damaged in an arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 attack. The perpetrators were arrested, and the barracks were reconstructed by 1997.

See also


Further reading

  • Finn, Gerhard: Sachsenhausen 1936-1950 : Geschichte eines Lagers. Bad Münstereifel: Westkreuz-Verlag, 1988. ISBN 3-922131-60-3

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK