Ravensbrucke Concentration Camp
Ravensbrucke was a concentration camp near the village of Ravensbrucke on the Havel River, two thirds of a mile from the Furstenberg railway station and fifty-six miles north of Berlin.
On 15 May 1939 a concentration camp for women was opened there, and on 18 May, 867 female prisoners were transferred there from the Nazi concentration camp at Lichtenburg, together with the camp commandant SS- Hauptsturmfuhrer Max Kogel.
Kogel remained in this post until the summer of 1942 when he was replaced by SS-Hauptsurmfuhrer Fritz Suhren, who was the commandant until the liberation of the camp in May 1945.
The prisoners’ numbers began with 1,416, since a total of 1,415 prisoners had been transferred from Lichtenburg. The camp structure was similar to that of other Nazi concentration camps, with 150 female supervisors added to the men who served as guards and held administrative.
The female supervisors were SS volunteers or women who had accepted the post for the sake of the better pay and work conditions it offered, compared to work in factories.
In 1942 and 1943 Ravensbrucke also had a training base for female SS supervisors – the 3,500 women who underwent training there served at Ravensbrucke and at other concentration camps.
In late 1939 Ravensbrucke had 2,000 prisoners, and by the end of 1942 the number had grown to 10,800. in 1944 another 70,000 prisoners were brought to Ravensbrucke, from which most were transferred to one of the thirty-four Ravensbrucke satellite camps
Some of these satellite were situated far away from Ravensbrucke, for example in Mecklenburg, Bavaria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Most of these satellite camps were attached to military industrial plants, and one such plant was also put up near Ravensbrucke itself.
In 1944 the main Ravensbrucke camp had 26,700 female prisoners as well as several thousand girls in a detention camp for minors. In April 1941 a concentration camp for men was established near the Ravensbrucke camp, but for official purposes it was a satellite of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Approximately 20,000 male prisoners passed through this camp during the years of its existence, 16 percent of them Jews.
In early 1945 Soviet prisoners of war in the men’s camp were recruited for the Vlassov army, while German prisoners were drafted into Oskar Dirlewanger’s SS brigade.
By early February 1945, 106,000 women had passed through the Ravensbrucke camp, twenty-five percent of them were Polish, twenty percent German, nineteen percent Russian and Ukrainian, fifteen percent Jewish, seven percent French, five and half percent Gypsies and eight and a half percent others.
From the summer of 1942 medical experiments were carried out at Ravensbrucke, one such project, directed by Professor Karl Gebhardt, made use of sulphonamide to treat festering wounds and bone transplants.
The victims were some seventy-four prisoners, most of them young Polish women suspected of belonging to the Polish underground. Another experiment, conducted by Professor Carl Clauberg, involved sterilisation – thirty –five women were the victims of these experiments, most of them gypsies.
Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/othercamps/ravensbrucke.html
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009