In October 1944, the SS set up another satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp in the restricted zone of Hamburg-Hammerbrook which was established after the bombings in July 1943. Around 2,000 concentration camp prisoners of various nationalities were housed on seven floors of a former tobacco warehouse behind an office complex at Spaldingstraße 156/158. The men were deployed by the Hamburg city council to carry out clearance work at various sites after Allied bombing raids. Some of the commandos were also used to recover bodies and defuse bombs. The largest group of prisoners repaired railway lines for the Reich railway company (Reichsbahn) in Harburg, Wilhelmsburg, Rothenburgsort and Barmbek, among other places. One commando was forced to excavate telephone cable ducts for the Telegraph Construction Office (Telegrafenbauamt), while other men were put to work in the botanical garden in Hamburg city centre. The SS Leadership Staff (SS-Führungsstab) deployed a commando of 100 prisoners to build a bunker on the Alster River. The commando which carried out clearance work for the company Jung-Öl was also temporarily housed on Spaldingstraße.
The strenuous physical labour and dangerous conditions under which many of the prisoners worked caused the number of deaths to skyrocket. At least 800 prisoners died, and their bodies were brought either to Neuengamme main camp or to Ohlsdorf Cemetery.
The satellite camp was evacuated in mid-April 1945, and at least two transports brought the prisoners by train to the Sandbostel “reception camp”. The first transport left Hamburg on 12 or 13 April and took three days to reach Sandbostel. A second transport left Hamburg on 17 April and arrived at Sandbostel one day later.
The commander of the Hammerbrook satellite camp was SS-Obersturmführer Karl Wiedemann in October/November 1944 and SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Strippel in the final phase of the war. Like Wiedemann before him, Strippel was also the SS base leader for all Neuengamme satellite camps in Hamburg.
October 1944 to 17 April 1945
Number of prisoners
Kind of work
Slave labour on behalf of
Hamburg City Council, Reichsbahn, Jung-Öl