Concentration Camp Stutthof: Its History and Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy

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Many of these German civilians were later evacuated to the west by sea. Beginning in March, these cities were severely bombed by the Soviet air force, killing many inmates and German civilians. On March 25, a ship transport with over refugees left the Gotenhafen subsidiary corp for Kiel, where the inmates were interned in auxiliary camps of 70 M. Orski, Ostanie Dni…, op. Orski, Ostatnie Dni…, op. Many of the Jewish women later reported by the Soviet Commission to have been burnt alive by the SS presumably died during these bombing at- tacks.

See note Two large sea transports with a total of approximately 4, inmates departed on April 25 and The first traveled by way of Hela to Neustadt, where the inmates were lodged in a hospital following the arrival of British troops; a few were later transferred to Sweden by the Swedish Red Cross for medical care. The second transport arrived at Flensburg after a long period of wandering; there, the inmates were embarked onto the ship Rheinfels.

On May 9, the ship was boarded by representatives of the Swedish Red Cross, who decided to take the totally exhausted in- mates to Sweden for treatment. A large number of the persons evacuated by sea died from hunger, exhaustion, or disease before the end of the war; an unknown number were killed during British bombing attacks on the evacuation ships. Paul Ehle, acting unoffi- cially as the last concentration camp commander, had fled a few days before.

The existence of Stutthof concentration camp coincided almost precisely with the duration of war: it opened the day after the war began, and was captured by Soviet troops the day after it ended. In and , four trials were held in Poland against a total of 80 members of Stutthof camp guard personnel. After trial, 21 death sentences were handed down and executed, with one excep- tion. Another five camp commandants, including the second com- mander, P.

Hoppe, were brought to court in three trials in the FRG , , and ; four of them received sentences of impris- onment of up to nine years. The joy of liberation was of short duration for many inmates cap- tured by the Red Army. Accused of collaboration with the Germans or of membership in Polish nationalist movements such as the Ar- mija Krajowa Homeland Army , or the Boy Scout-type organization Szare Szeregi Grey Ranks , they were promptly arrested again and disappeared into Soviet concentration camps, some of them for many years.

Their crime: During interrogations held after their liberation by the Soviet secret service 75 A detailed description of the evacuation by sea can be found in E.

This was fateful to them: in the eyes of the NKVD, this proved that they had collaborated with the Germans. Orski, Ostatnie dni…, op. This chapter reproduces the state- ments of the principal texts in connection with the alleged mass kill- ings and, in particular, the mass gassings of human beings at Stut- thof, in chronological order.

Until , there was a total of approximately 15 standard-type wooden barracks, as well as the necessary small buildings for guard personnel. Initially, the above mentioned camp was intended for political pris- oners. In mid, the camp began to expand rapidly, and, by the end of , consisted of the following buildings: Wooden barracks: 60 units Brick barracks: 12 units Barracks for guard and service personnel: 17 units Warehouses: 11 units Workshops: 5 units Factory buildings: 7 units.

Consequently, the huge numbers 78 GARF, , p.


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The washrooms and toilets in the barracks did not work, since construction of the sewerage network was not yet com- pleted. From a model found in the office of the SS camp Stutthof, it may be concluded that the camp was, to some considerable extent, still uncom- pleted; in particular, it was intended to increase the number of living barracks to , in which event the new part of the camp would have been built of brick, in contrast to the old part.

The construction and expansion of the camp, as well as the con- struction of the factories, was performed by inmates. Two factory buildings were erected and put into operation on the grounds of the old camp, while three others were unfinished; two fac- tory buildings were finished on the grounds of the new camp, but not yet put in operation. At the time of our inspection visit, there was no production machin- ery in the factory buildings.

A barbed wire fence surrounded the entire camp terrain. Around the living area of the camp was a separate barbed wire barrier, mounted on porcelain insulators. The wire was under high voltage. On the barracks side, in front of the above mentioned wire barrier, was another barbed wire fence three meters high. In the planning and construction of the camp, especially the living quarters, there were no installations at all for fire protection purposes, nor were there any sanitary installations, which are otherwise obliga- tory in all buildings.

Open latrines without walls and roof, all of them only two to three meters away from the barracks, spread a penetrating stench all over the camp terrain. The distance between the barracks was 10 to 15 meters. At the time of our inspection of the camp, 30 of the 72 existing living barracks had been burnt down.

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The concentration camp contained one gas chamber of 8. Outside the gas chamber, a small, primitive oven, built of brick and measuring 1. The pipe was embedded in a wall clad in concrete mortar, with perforations measuring 2. CO was able to exit through a brick chimney, especially built on the outside of the gas chamber, next to the entrance door. The gas chamber functioned as follows: The people were led into the gas chamber, after which the doors were hermetically sealed. The gassing procedure was primitive, and apparently was to be per- fected later.

In view of the surface area of the gas chamber, which amounted to 8 x 3 m2 , as well as the tight packing of the people doomed to destruction, it was possible to force 4 to 5 persons together in one square meter. According to the testimony of a former Polish camp inmate, Zbignew Krawczyk, who was put to work for a longer time in the cre- matorium in order to cremate the corpses, the gas chamber could con- tain 90 persons standing up, which corresponds to reality.

According to the testimony of this same Krawczyk, the asphyxiation procedure lasted 45 minutes. In visiting the camp, we discovered two crematory ovens built in , which were operated with coke, as well as third oven heated with a flammable liquid fuel, that is, a total of three ovens. We did not find a fourth oven, but something resembling an oven foundation remained. There are grounds for assuming that the Germans blew up the fourth oven.

Concentration Camp Stutthof Its History and Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy

The most important technical data relating to these ovens are to be taken from the attached diagrams. The oven consists of fireproof brickwork, with an opening for the in- troduction of the bodies on the front side; further down, also on the front side, is an opening for the removal of the ashes, the ash chamber. On the left side, two heating systems had been installed. On the front, there was also a small round opening cm in diameter, which could be sealed with a small door; this was used to regulate the air supply.

All openings had iron doors 7 to 9 mm thick. The meaning is no doubt 7 to 9 cm; the doors of Continued on next page. Mattogno, Concentration Camp Stutthof 36 The interior volume of each crematory oven amounts to 0. If one considers the extreme emaciation of the corpses, which means that a corpse, on average, occupied a volume of 0.

During use at full capacity, therefore, twelve corpses could be introduced lengthwise into the oven in two layers.

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The design of the oven, intensively heated with coke, allowed to at- tain temperatures of to degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the cremation process lasted 50 to 60 minutes. The ovens were installed together with a room used for executions by shooting and hanging, and measuring 18 x 10 x 2 meters, including the surface area of the oven room area. Conclusions: 1.

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The normal capacity of the camp, assuming 2. The unbearably unhygienic conditions to which they were exposed; the absence of heating in the barracks at dur- ing the cold seasons; the quite insufficient, miserable nourishment; the exhausting heavy work, which lasted up to 16 or 17 hours a day;[82] the lack of suitable clothing and suitable shoes, especially in winter; all this led to a total exhaustion of the inmates and to the rapid propaga- tion of various contagious diseases, i.

The concentration camp had three crematory ovens.

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That the concentration camp had one gas chamber, three crema- tory ovens, and one special room for shooting and hanging, is multiple proof of the fact that the people imprisoned in Stutthof were intended for extermination. There were four different methods: gassing, shooting, lethal injection, and hanging.

The building containing the gas chamber was, at the time of the in- vestigation, still intact, so that it could be thoroughly examined. It was a masonry building. The gas chamber measured 8. There were two entrances, which could be tightly closed by means of hooks. On the exterior, a fireplace for the gas chamber had been built; a pipe led from the fireplace, which was used to heat the interior of the cham- ber to approximately 25 degrees Celsius before they led the victims in- side. The floor was of cement, the walls were plastered. In the ceiling was a round opening cm diameter, with a shaft through which the gas-forming substance was shaken out.

Under this opening, on the floor, was a second, square-shaped opening measuring 30 x 30 cm, covered with a wooden lid. Eyewitnesses have reported how the SS men shook a granular, yellow-brown colored substance out of tin cans through the opening in the ceiling. At the time of the investigation, sev- eral such cans were found in the vicinity of the gas chamber.