Sachsenhausen concentration camp 1936 - 1945

A concentration camp for the capital city of the "Reich"

Although Sachsenhausen had always been used by Berlin due to its close proximity to the city, the relocation of the Gestapo to Sachsenhausen increased the importance of the camp within the concentration camp system dramatically. Sachsenhausen was used by the SS to train and prepare people such as Rudolf Höß, in Sachsenhausen he was the 'Schutzhaftlagerführer' - he was to become the camp commandant of Auschwitz. As of 1938 the 'concentration camp inspectorate', the administrative centre for the entire concentration camp system, moved to Sachsenhausen. The inspectorate was housed in the prisoner built 'T-building' named after the shape of its foundations. In total 388 hectares of land belonged to the SS complex in Oranienburg. It included large living areas for high ranking SS officers and their families as well as the sub-camp brickworks, built in 1938 next to the Lehnitz-Schleuse. In contemporary publications, Oranienburg was known as "the town of the SS".

Berlin's Gestapo imprisoned many special prisoners in the cells of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, such as Martin Niemöller (part of the 'Bekennende Kirche'), Georg Elser (planned an attack on Hitler) and Herschel Grynszpan, whose attack against the German embassy in Paris was used by the National Socialists as an excuse for the pogrom against the Jews in November 1938.

Ex-government leaders of occupied countries such as the Austrian Federal Chancellor Kurt Schuschig as well as other prominent prisoners whose location was not to become public, were given false names and held in purpose build houses in 1941. Sachsenhausen's infirmary was used in 1944 by the 'special commission into the 20 July'. They used it as a prison hospital for Hitler's political opponents, such as Hasso von Boehmer, Carl Hans von Hardenberg and Siegfried Wagner, who had either become ill in prison or were badly injured after attempting to take their own lives. The SS wanted to bring the prisoners back to health in order to prepare them for further interrogation or execution.

More informations:

Sachsenhausen concentration camp 1936 - 1945
The ideal concentration camp
A concentration camp for the capital city of the "Reich"
Prisoner`s society
Forced labour
The victims
Evacuation, death marches, liberation