- Situated in the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany, Neuengamme was an annex of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The first group of prisoners was brought to the camp in 1938 for the purpose of reactivating a brick factory that the Schutzstaffel (SS) wanted to use for the huge public structures planned for the city of Hamburg. In 1942, the Walther weapons factory set up various branches of its armament industry. By 1945, the total number of satellite camps at Neuengamme reached 70. In 1944, the main camp had a prison population of 12,000 prisoners and twice that number were in the satellites whose prisoners were used as forced labor for various aspects of the German armaments industry. The camp served the needs of the German war machine and also carried out exterminations through labor. The inmates were spread over the main camp and approximately 80 subcamps across the north German area. Many prisoners succumbed to the subhuman conditions in the camp from hard manual work with insufficient nutrition, very unhygienic conditions, and violence from the guards.In 1944, a large transport of Jewish prisoners from Hungary and Poland was brought to the camp. All told, some 13,000 Jewish prisoners passed through the camp between 1944 and 1945. It has been estimated that more than 106,000 prisoners were sent to Neuengamme through the life of the camp, and an excess of 50,000 prisoners perished. Among those who died in the camp was Fritz Pfeffer, one of the occupants of Anne Frank’s secret annex. The main camp was evacuated in mid-April 1945.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.