There was hunger and cold everywhere in the special camp. Insufficient hygiene, sanitation and nutrition lead to illnesses and epidemics. Most of the barracks were overfilled and the prisoners were forced to sleep on wooden bed-frames until the Soviet camp administration, towards the end of 1947, gave the prisoners blankets and sacks of straw. Personal belongings, especially books and writing materials were strictly banned. Prisoners who breached the often unknown camp laws were severely punished by the Soviet guards and the German prisoners which used to help them.
Special camps differed to the camps in the Soviet Union as they were not labour camps. In fact prisoners suffered mainly due to the lack of activities. It was because of this that appointment to one of the few work units, which ensured the camp's self-sufficiency, was seen as a privilege.
In total 12,000 prisoners died of illness, malnutrition and from the
conditions in Sachsenhausen special camp. In the winter of 1945/46 and 1946/47
huge numbers of prisoners died as the rations of the already undernourished
prisoners were cut by half. The dead were buried naked and without
identification numbers in mass graves close to the camp.
The Soviet special camp
No.7 / No. 1 1945 - 1950
Introduction to the history of the Soviet special camp No. 7 and No. 1
Construction of special camp No.7 / No.1
The camp's many uses
The prisoners are released: the camp is closed
The internees and the convicted
Life and death in the camp
A break in the silence
The museum 'Soviet special camp'