Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

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Neuengamme was a network of Nazi concentration camps, consisting of the main camp, Neuengamme, and more than 85 satellite camps. It was northwest Germany’s largest concentration camp, situated 15 km southeast of the centre of Hamburg. The grounds of the former concentration camp now serve as a memorial and research centre in Bergedorf.

History of Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

In 1937, Hitler declared five cities to be converted into Führer cities in the new Nazi regime, one of which was Hamburg. In 1938, a former brick factory was turned into the Neuengamme concentration camp.

Over the course of the most shameful chapter of Hamburg’s history, approximately 100,000 prisoners from German-occupied territories came through Neuengamme and its sub-camps (24 of which were for women), and used as slave labour in the outskirts of Bergedorf district. They were forced to dig canals, work in clay pits and manufacture arms.

The accommodation, nutrition and sanitation were insufficient or nonexistent and often deadly, with guards rewarded for brutal handling of prisoners.

When British soldiers finally liberated the camp on 2 May 1945, 42,900 men, women and children had already been killed by their treatment in the camp, whether from disease, exhaustion, hunger or violence (14,000 in the main camp, 12,800 in the subcamps, and 16,100 in the death marches and bombings during the final weeks of World War Two.

After the war, the British Army used the site as an internment camp for SS and other Nazi officials, though only 14 staff members were convicted for their crimes. In 1948, the British transferred the land to the City of Hamburg – traces of the atrocities that had taken place were thoroughly erased and its grounds turned into two state prisons from 1950-2004.

Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial today

Following protests by groups of survivors and protestors, the site now serves as a memorial site, spanning an area of 600,000 square metres. 15 brick buildings remain, while only the outlines of the wooden barracks are still visible.

Two monuments were erected as a tribute to the victims. Four of the five permanent exhibitions are on display in historical buildings, including the main exhibit, ‘Traces of History’, in a former cell block. An exhibition about the crimes of the SS is housed in the former car park. The grounds have also been declared a heritage site.

Getting to Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

The memorial site is on Jean-Dolidier-Weg 75. The easiest way to get there is by car, and on-site parking is available. The closest accessible bus stop is ‘KZ-Gedenkstätte (Ausstellung)’.

Wöbbelin concentration camp

Wöbbelin was a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp near the city of Ludwigslust. The SS had established Wöbbelin to house concentration camp prisoners whom the SS had evacuated from other camps to prevent their liberation by the Allies. At its height, Wöbbelin held some 5,000 inmates, most of whom were suffering from starvation and disease. The camp was freed on May 2, 1945.

When a former brick factory was turned into the Neuengamme concentration camp in 1938, a six-year reign of terror began. Over the course of the most shameful chapter of Hamburg's history, tens of thousands of people were held captive in Neuengamme and used as slave labour in the outskirts of Bergedorf district. Political prisoners from German-occupied territories were forced to dig canals, work in clay pits and manufacture arms. Neuengamme was one of northwest Germany’s largest concentration camps, and here accommodation, nutrition and sanitation were insufficient or nonexistent at best and deadly at worst, with guards being rewarded for brutal handling of prisoners. When British soldiers finally liberated the camp on 2 May 1945, nearly 43,000 men, women and children had already been killed by their treatment in the camp, whether from disease, exhaustion, hunger or violence. Only 14 staff members were convicted for their crimes.

From prison to memorial

After the war, traces of the atrocities that had taken place at the Neuengamme concentration camp were thoroughly erased. The grounds were turned into a prison, and the site’s history mostly faded from public memory. Over the next several decades and with a fair amount of protest and strife, two monuments and an exhibition building were erected, the grounds were declared a heritage site, and other efforts were made by protesters and former prisoners to keep the memory of the horrors that had taken place on the grounds alive and to memorialize its victims. In 2005, more than sixty years after former prisoners erected the first memorial at the camp's entrance, the entire site finally became the memorial that it is today, with former factory buildings housing the centre for exhibitions, cultural exchange and research.


The memorial site spans an area of 600,000 square metres. 15 brick buildings remain, while only the outlines of the wooden barracks are still visible. The main exhibit, 'Traces of History', can be found in a former cell block and an exhibition about the crimes of the SS is housed in the former car park. Visitors looking for information about relatives can search the Memorial’s records for names of prisoners. Plenty of information boards and guided tours will make your visit to Neuengamme Memorial as informative as possible.

The Wöbbelin memorial

  • Monument/Memorial
  • Ludwigsluster Str. 1, 19288 Wöbbelin, Allemagne
  • +4938753 80792 [email protected]

The Wöbbelin memorial sites recall the history of the concentration camp near Wöbbelin, 190 km northwest of Berlin. The satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp was located directly on the road between Wöbbelin and Ludwigslust and existed for just ten weeks, from 12 February to 2 May 1945.

The exhibition ‘Ten Weeks at Wöbbelin Satellite Camp’ documents the history of the satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp. The camp, originally intended to house American and British prisoners of war, was constructed under extremely harsh conditions by prisoners from Neuengamme and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

As the Allies advanced ever closer, the still-incomplete camp was used between 15 and 26 April 1945 as a reception camp for various evacuation transports, mainly from the satellite camps of Neuengamme concentration camp. Prisoners encountered catastrophic conditions at the Wöbbelin camp. SS-Obersturmbannführer Paul Werner Hoppe, previously commandant of Stutthof concentration camp, assumed command on 20 April 1945.

Nearly 5,000 inmates from at least 25 nations were interned at Wöbbelin, more than 1,000 of whom died of exhaustion, maltreatment and starvation.

On 2 May, units of the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division and 8th Infantry reached the region and the Soviet Army stood before Grabow. The guards left the camp around noon on 2 May 1945. In the early afternoon of that same day, American soldiers discovered Wöbbelin, which was not marked on any map. They would never forget what they saw there. On the orders of the American military authorities, the victims of Wöbbelin concentration camp were buried on 7 and 8 May in individual graves in Ludwigslust, Hagenow, Wöbbelin and Schwerin.

Since 1960 a memorial to the victims of the April 1945 death marches created by Rostock sculptor Jo Jastram in Wöbbelin’s cemetery of honour has recalled the sufferings of the inmates. The historic site has been marked since 2005 by a place of commemoration on the grounds of the former camp with stones bearing the names of the victims of the concentration camp. A circular path lined by information panels takes the visitor through the grounds of the former camp.

Medical Experiments

German physicians conducted medical experiments on prisoners in Neuengamme. In early 1942, scientists from the Institute for Maritime and Tropical Diseases used prisoners to test means to combat lice-borne typhus. In 1944, SS physician Kurt Heissmayer conducted experiments to develop drugs to combat tuberculosis his subjects were 20 Jewish children transferred from Auschwitz to Neuengamme for this purpose. In April 1945, in order to hide the traces of this crime, the SS murdered these children along with their four Jewish caregivers at the Bullenhuser Damm School in Hamburg. In the winter of 1944-1945, Dr. Ludwig-Werner Haase tested a new water filter by adding 100 times the safe dose of arsenic to water. He then filtered the water using the new machine, and gave it to more than 150 prisoners over a 13-day period. The heavy doses involved in the test probably caused long-term injury to the prisoners.

The Dead

Because very few, scattered original documents exist, we can only estimate the overall number of people who died in Neuengamme and its satellite camps and on the evacuation marches during the last weeks of the war. According to certified figures, at least 42,900 prisoners of Neuengamme concentration camp were killed. Of these, 14,000 prisoners died at the main camp, and 12,800 or more died at the 80 or more satellite camps. At least 16,100 prisoners lost their lives during the last weeks of the war on the evacuation marches, in collection camps or in the bombing of the prison ships in the Bay of Lübeck.
The countless number of people who died after being transferred from Neuengamme to other concentration camps or who died after the war from the effects of their imprisonment must also be taken into account when considering the overall number of victims.
We know the names of 23,394 victims. They are the only names recorded in this death register. Of these, 12,270 prisoners died at the main Neuengamme camp, another 7,671 died in the satellite camps or in the SS construction commandos, and 3,453 died elsewhere, many of them in unknown places. 23,075 of the victims known by name were men, 319 were women. They came from the following countries:

Soviet Union5451
other countries 452
unknown origin 489

The Camp today

, , On May 4th 2005, the reorganised concentration camp site was inaugurated in the presence of the Hamburg Senate représentatives. Mr Ole Von Beust, Lord Mayor of Hamburg, Mrs Christina Weiss, Federal Government Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs. Monsieur Robert PINCON, president of the Amicale Internationale of Neuengamme addressed those gathered to witness the inauguration including many members of the Belgian, Danish, French, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovenian Amicales.

Mr. Robert PINCON’s speech (extract)

“… We, the “Häftlinge”, the first Europeans in this camp, will maintain our belief in mankind, in reasoned tolerance so as not to hurt others […] We want to be messengers of Peace, everyone will have understood this, but also of hope, seeing at our side younger generations determined to ensure that our respective national Friendships and therefore the International Friendship do not disappear….”.

Memorial Siteconcentration campof Neuengamme

Jean-Dolidier-Weg 39
D – 21039 Hamburg

Tél. + 49 (0)40 428 96 03
Fax + 49 (0)40 428 96 525

Opening Hours :
From Monday to Friday 9h30 am to 16h00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and national holidays:
From 12h00 to19h00 pm -April to September
From 12h00 to 17h00 -October to March

Guided tours for groups:
Service des Musées de Hambourg
Tél. de puis la France : 00-49-40-428 31 30

The restructured camp becomes a museum of the Deportation

Memorial Site Exhibits concentration camp of Neuengamme

On the grounds of the camp, the New Museum of Deportation offers different exhibitions shown in the original building comprising the Brickworks, Walter factories and SS garages, etc.. of the camp. The exhibitions are displayed in original brick buildings erected in 1943-1944 to house the former prisoners. The exhibition commentary is written in four languages, French, English, German, and Russian and is divided into three main themes.

Traces from the past: the Neuengamme concentration camp from 1938 to 1945 and its post-war history (Main exhibition in the brick building at the end of the Place d’Appel – former prisoners’ blocks – erected in 1943/44).

Mobilization for the economy: forced labour in the camp in the production of military armaments (accompanying exhibition in the former Walther-Werke armaments factory)..

Extermination through labour: forced labour in the camp in brick production. (Side exhibition in the former brickworks).

A trilingual catalogue (German, English, French) of the exhibitions contains most of the texts and a large selection of illustrations (240 pages). Films are presented in the 38 video terminals. A digital model and 8 computer stations allow research on the victims and the historical sites.
The brick building at the entrance of the camp houses the study and research centre, the archives, the library and the administration.

In 2005, many deportees came to the pilgrimage to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camps and to visit the new exhibitions in the restructured camp.

October 18th, 2006: Under the chairmanship of the Senator for Justice of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the destruction of the last prison still occupying the site of the camp began. The work was completed in early 2007.
Development projects can then begin, including :
– reconstruction of the railway track from the station to the port,
– reconstitution of a cauldron with Decauville tracks, wagons

In a second phase, other projects will be implemented:
– an exhibition on the concentrated workforce in the armaments industry,
– making a documentary film,
– additional information for current exhibitions,
– videos in several languages.

In 1936, an Austrian car engineer by the name of Ferdinand Porsche designed a prototype of a car that would be affordable enough for all Germans to buy. He then showed his idea to the then dictator of Germany, Adolf Hitler. Hitler liked his idea and ordered the manufacture of the car which was known as the KDF-Wagen or later known as the Volkswagen vehicle.

With Hitler's approval, Porsche and his business partner Albert Speer set up a factory in Fallersleben, a town 30 miles (48 kilometres) northeast of the city of Braunschweig, and because of the war, all production from this camp was to be used for military purposes only. In 1942, Porsche and Speer started a project to see how they could use concentration camp inmates for cheaper, and large-scale production of their cars, in order to benefit their industry. The prisoners of Arbeitsdorf were skilled workforce used for construction tasks, building a casting plant and other facilities and receiving better captivity conditions in return.

So on 8 April 1942 a new concentration camp, Arbeitsdorf, was opened with 800 inmates from the Neuengamme concentration camp. The camp commands of Neuengamme and Arbeitsdorf were united in the person of Martin Weiss, the camp commander of Neuengamme at this time. On 26 April 1942 inmates from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and on 23 June inmates from Buchenwald arrived. Mid-July 1942 camp commander became Wilhelm Schitli, former Schutzhaft-camp commander in Neuengamme. [1]

On 11 October 1942, six months after the camp was first established, production of the vehicles was stopped and the camp was closed. A minimum of six prisoners perished at Arbeitsdorf. These six deaths are officially listed as suicide, heart attack or accident. [1]

The museum Stadtschloss Wolfsburg has a documentation about the Nazi victims with its own exhibition of the slave workers at the Volkswagen factory. (Stadtmuseum Schloss Wolfsburg, Schlossstraße 8, 38448 Wolfsburg)

Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, located on the historical site of the camp, commemorates the over 100,000 people who were imprisoned in the largest concentration camp in northwest Germany during World War II.

Exhibits on the history of the camp have been held at Neuengamme since October 1981. After expanding to include the grounds of the former prisoners’ barracks, the memorial opened in May 2005 as a centre for exhibitions, international exchanges and historical

Conferences and seminars

Besides opening its doors to groups of visitors, the centre for historical studies also organises conferences and seminars, often in cooperation with other institutions. These
events are based on a programme profile which factors in changes in memorial culture
and in historical and civic education. As the crimes of the National Socialists
become increasingly distant for subsequent generations and contemporary
witnesses are lost, the programme is adjusted to take account of these factors.
The didactic approach behind the programme profile is orientated on reflection
and on conveying the history of National Socialism as it relates to current
issues. In this way, it aims to contribute to the development of democratic
thought and action, the emergence of a shared European identity and the
cooperation between different cultures. Particular importance is placed on the
examination of human rights violations.


  1. Canalize of the Dove Elbe, a branch of the Elbe river: Elbekommando
  2. Klinkerwerk (brick factory) of the DEST
  3. Lagergärtnerei (camp plant nursery)
  4. Tongruben (clay cavities)
  5. Manufacturing plant of the Walther-Werke
  6. Armament factories of Messap and Jastram

Subcamps and working locations in Hamburg proper sorted by name.

Camp Name Location Type Dates of use Est. prisoners [7] Est. deaths [7] No. [8]
Blohm + Voss Hamburg-Steinwerder 1 July 1944 – 21 April 1945 550
Bullenhuser Damm Men 1 October 1944 – 21 April 1945 1,000 552

Dessauer Ufer
Hamburg-Veddel Men
– 22 April 1945 557

Dessauer Ufer
Hamburg-Veddel Women
20 June 1944 – 30 September 1944 556
Eidelstedt 1 March 1944 – 1 May 1945 553
Deutsche Werft
– 30 April 1945 554
Fuhlsbüttel Am Hasenberge 26 Prison 1 January 1943 – 8 May 1945 556
Langenhorn 12 September 1944 – 4 April 1945 ca 750 > 9 559
Neugraben Women 13 September 1944 – 8 February 1945 500 560
Poppenbüttel Working location for Sasel 1161
Sasel Women 1 August 1944 – 4 May 1945 500 > 36 561
Spaldingstraße Hammerbrook October 1944 – 17 April 1945 562
Stülckenwerft Steinwerder – 15 April 1945 563
Hamburg-Tiefstack Women 8 February 1945 – 5 April 1945 500 564
Wandsbek 2 May 1944 – 3 May 1945 565

Subcamps of Neuengamme in alphabetical order. Using the political division of Germany of the year 2000, there were at least 34 subcamps in Lower Saxony, 9 in Bremen, 9 in Schleswig-Holstein, 6 in North Rhine-Westphalia, 5 in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, 3 in Saxony-Anhalt, and 1 in Brandenburg. [3] Also, four subcamps were located in Alderney, occupied Channel Islands, British Commonwealth.

Camp Name Location Type Dates of use [8] Est. # of prisoners [7] Est. # of deaths [7] Related subject No. [8] Source [9]
Alderney camps or Camp Alderney See SS–Baubrigade I Lager Norderney & Lager Sylt Jan 1942 - Jun 1944 6,000 700 6a , [10] [11]
Alt Garge [7]
Alt-Garge a.d.Elbe [8]
Near Bleckede Later used as Alt-Garge UNRRA displaced persons camp,
a camp for Latvian displaced persons
24 August 1944 – 15 February 1945 15
District Aurich
21 October 1944 – 23 December 1944 2,000 188 51
Bad Sassendorf SS–Eisenbahnbaubrigade 11
Barkhausen a part of Porta Westfalica 18 March 1944 – 1 April 1945 77
Blumenthal See Bremen-Blumenthal 142
(District Hagenow, Bezirk Schwerin (old))
– 30 April 1945 150
Camp Büssing-Schillstrasse
(Brunswiek) Büssing–NAG 17 August 1944 – 26 March 1945 800 > 380 165 [1]
SS – Riding school
Steel factory
See Watenstedt 168
Military depot
1 September 1944 – 20 April 1945 176
Bremen, Behelfswohnbau Temporary housebuilding – 26 April 1945 175
Bremen, Borgwardwerke Borgward factory – 12 October 1944 176
Bremen, Deschimag,
Camp Schützenhof
– 11 April 1945 178
Bremen-Farge 1 July 1943 – 8 April 1945 179 [2] [3]
Bremen-Neuenland 16 Aug 1944 – 28 Nov 1944 181
Bremen-Obernheide Women 26 Sep 1944 – 4 Apr 1945 800 1085 [12]
Bremen-Osterort 28 Nov 1944 – 1,000 183
Bremen-Vegesack – 30 Sep 1944 184
Darß - Wieck January 1941 – end-February 1941 [7] 50
Darß - Zingst, Germany
Dalum [de]
District Meppen
Command from Meppen-Versen [7] – 25 March 1945 260
Municipality Watenstedt-Salzgitter
1 September 1942 – 8 April 1945 3,100 316 [4]
Düssin / Mecklenburg Men / agricultural work 15 September 1944 [7] – 1 March 1945 80 1 328
Command from Helmstedt-Beendorf
Men 346a
Women camp
Volkswagen [7] Aug 1944 [7] – 8 April 1945 650 387
(also Laagberg)
Volkswagen [7] 31 May 1944 [7] – 8 April 1945 800 794
District Segeberg
29 March 1945 – 2 May 1945 466
Goslar SS–Bauleitung Goslar (Not Goslar subcamp to Buchenwald) 20 October 1944 – 25 March 1945 15 1 484
District Meppen
Command from Meppen-Versen [7] – 25 March 1945 504
Hannover-Ahlem 30 November 1944 – 11 April 1945 568
Hannover-Limmer – 7 April 1945 570
Hannover-Linden (Mülhenberg-Hannover) – 7 April 1945 571
Hannover-Misburg Men 26 June 1944 [7] – 7 April 1945 1,000 572
19 July 1943 – 8 April 1945 573
7 September 1944 – 30 November 1944 574
Hausberge an der Porta a part of Porta Westfalica 1 February 1945 – 1 April 1945 585
Helmstedt–Beendorf women
underground armaments industry
– 10 April 1945 2,500 596 [5]
Hildesheim – 6 April 1945 608
Hohwacht See Lütjenburg [7]
Horneburg Philips-Valvo-Röhrenwerke [7] a) Mid-October 1944 – mid-February 1945 [7]
b) 24 February 1945 – 8 April 1945 [7]
– 31 March 1945
a) 250
b) 300
Husum-Schwesing 25 September 1944 – 22 December 1944 643 [6]
Kaltenkirchen Building a "Fliegerhorst" (Military airport) [7] August 1944 [7] – 17 April 1945 500 > 214 693 [7]
Kiel Clearing up work [7] July 1944 – September 1944 [7] 50 727
Ladelund Near Flensburg 1 November 1944 – 16 December 1944 2,000 > 301 796 [8]
Province Hanover
2 October 1944 – 15 April 1945 808
District Tecklenburg
– 1 April 1945 200 > 7 838
Lerbeck a part of Porta Westfalica 1 October 1944 – 1 April 1945 843
District Wesermünde
Women August 1944 [7] – 30 April 1945 500 883
Lütjenburg Men – 30 March 1945 197 893
Ludwigslust See Wöbbelin
Meppen-Versen – 1 April 1945 927
Misburg See Hannover-Misburg 942
Mölln - Breitenfelde 1 December 1944 – 30 April 1945 20 953
District Minden
Working location for Porta Westfalica 1024
Neuhof [13] [14]
Neustadt in Holstein December 1944 – 1 May 1945 [7] 15 1049
Nutzen [13] [14]
Porta Westfalica
near Barkhausen-Lerbeck
See Barkhausen and see Lerbeck 1164
Salzgitter-Bad 1 August 1943 – 500 1278 [9]
Province Saxony
Women 10 July 1944 – 15 April 1945 1,250 1282
Sandbostel 15 April 1945 – Stalag X-B 1285 [10]
District Braunschweig
Now Cremlingen 8 May 1944 – 12 April 1945 800 200 1292
Schwesing See Husum-Schwesing
Uelzen Men End 1944 – 17 April 1945 500 1491
Vechelde, Braunschweig Command from Braunschweig, Camp Büssing-Schillstrasse September 1944 – March/April 1945 [7] 400 1509
Verden 8 October 1945 – April 1945 8 1515
District Helmstedt
(from Braunschweig, Truppenwirtschaft) 5 June 1944 – 8 January 1945 [7] 8
Salzgitter Watenstedt Leinde
Stahlwerke Braunschweig
Men – 30 April 1945 (May 1944 – 7 April 1945 [7] ) 2,000 [15] Salzgitter#History 1540 [11]
Watenstedt Leinde
Stahlwerke Braunschweig
Women 7 July 1944 – 30 April 1945 (– 7 April 1945 [7] ) 800 Salzgitter#History 1540 [12]
Wedel (Women) 13 September 1944 – 27 November 1944 500 1541
Wedel (Men) 17 October 1944 – 20 November 1944 500 > 27 1541
Alten Banter Weg
(Not SS–Baubrigade II) 17 September 1944 – 5 April 1945 1,200 234 1582
(Old: District Wittenberge)
15 August 1942 (28 August 1942) [7] – 17 February 1945 500 119 1587
District Ludwigslust
(Also referred to as Ludwigslust) 12 February 1945 – 2 May 1945 Wöbbelin concentration camp 1591
Wolfsburg See Fallersleben Arbeitsdorf (working village) 1595

Inmates of concentration camps were centralized in construction labor brigades (German:Baubrigaden), organized by the SS, to clean up after air raids, remove unexploded ordnance devices and bombs, or recover corpses. Some of the brigades worked also at the Friesenwall — part of the Atlantic Wall at the German North Sea coast — and fortifications in German cities e.g. antitank obstacles. Other brigades were placing or repairing rails or railway stations.

Brigade [7] Locations [7] Dates of use [7] Est. prisoners [7] Est. deaths [7] Webpage
SS-Baubrigade I Alderney Building the Lager Sylt 12 March 1943 – 1,000 100 [13]
SS-Baubrigade II Bremen Clearing up after air raids 12 October 1942 – 15 April 1944 750
SS-Baubrigade II Osnabrück Clearing up after air raids 17 October 1942 – May 1943 250 86
SS-Baubrigade II Wilhelmshaven Clearing up after air raids Spring 1943 – November 1943 175
SS-Baubrigade II Hamburg-Hammerbrook Clearing up after air raids 7 August 1943 – April 1944 930
SS-Baubrigade II Lüneburg-Kaland Diging anti-tank obstacles 12 August 1943 – 13 November 1943 155
SS-Eisenbahnbaubrigade 11
(Railway building unit)
Bad Sassendorf near Soest Building rail tracks after air raids 15 February 1945 – 4/5 April 1945

Names found in some lists, probably mistake in writing or double-listings:

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