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Die frühe Nachkriegsnutzung des Kriegsgefangenen- und KZ-Auffanglagers Sandbostel unter besonderer Betrachtung des britischen No. 2 Civil Internment Camp Sandbostel

Einen Vergleich der unterschiedlichen politischen Erziehungskonzepte und Führungsprinzipien von britischen Internierungslager-Kommandanten ermöglicht Andreas Ehresmann mit seiner Darstellung des Internierungslagers Sandbostel. Der Aufsatz untersucht die Befreiung des Kriegsgefangenen- und KZ-Auffanglagers Sandbostel. Der dortige Kommandant Edward Roger Vickers hatte  besonders  liberale Überzeugungen. Seine Dienstausübung wurde offenkundig von seinen Vorgesetzten als vorbildhaft angesehen, denn nach seiner Zeit in Sandbostel wurden ihm die wichtigsten Dienstposten seiner Fachrichtung übertragen: Direktor des Kriegsverbrechergefängnisses Werl und britischer Leiter des alliierten Kriegsverbrechergefängnisses Spandau.

The early post-war use of the Sandbostel POW and reception camp for
concentration camp prisoners and the British No. 2 Civil Internment Camp in particular

When British soldiers entered the Sandbostel POW camp on 29 April 1945, they were hardly prepared for the horrendous conditions they were going to find. Unburied bodies werelying on  the ground in large numbers, and around 6,000 emaciated and severely weakened prisoners were lying around apathetically or wandering aimlessly around the compound, which had been set up as a reception camp for evacuated concentration camp prisoners shortly before the end of the war. The British initially planned to burn down the Sandbostel camp as quickly as possible. However, only a few huts were destroyed, and on 9 July 1945, the No. 2 Civil Internment Camp was established on the site. The vast majority of this camp’s inmates were former members of the SS. Conditions at the camp changed fundamentally in mid-December 1946, when the administration of the camp was taken over by a judicial employee, Lt. Col. (retd.) Edward Roger Vickers. His approach included extensive self-administration of the internment camp by its inmates and a complex, democratic electoral system. Apart from the basic political and administrative changes that were implemented, many cultural events and courses were organised (concerts, theatre performances, public talks), an extensive educational programme was set up, which included training courses for various professions, and a diverse sports programme was established. Considering the horrendous conditions found at the Sandbostel reception camp, it is quite remarkable that within the space of only one and a half years the British developed a system of internment in which the former SS members were treated with considerable moderation. There may not have been an official reeducation programme in place at Sandbostel, but the democratic and professional education programme implemented by Vickers and supported by intelligence officer Roycroft did share many of the characteristics of the re-education programmes carried out at POW camps in Britain from 1944.

in:
Zwischenräume. Displaced Persons, Internierte und Flüchtlinge im ehemaligen Konzentrationslagern.
Hg.: KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme. Bremen 2010 (Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung in Norddeutschland; 12)
Edition Temmen
228 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-8378-4017-9
€ 12,90