Sandbostel (“Reception camp”)
In 1939, a large POW camp (Stalag X B Sandbostel) was established in Sandbostel near Bremervörde. This camp was a transit station for hundreds of thousands of prisoners from many different nations. In April 1945, the SS housed prisoners from the Neuengamme concentration camp in a separate part of this POW camp. Around 9,000 men, many of them from the satellite camps in Bremen, Wilhelmshaven and the Emsland region, spent the last weeks of their imprisonment in Sandbostel. There were insufficient provisions, and a typhus epidemic broke out as well, so many prisoners died in Sandbostel.
During an air-raid alarm on the night of 19 April 1945, several hundred prisoners stormed a kitchen hut to find food. During the same night, the SS left the camp and headed in the direction of Flensburg with several hundred prisoners who were still “able to march”.
Until the British army arrived on 29 April, the remaining concentration camp prisoners were largely left to their own devices and were given emergency rations by the POWs in the neighbouring camp.
Over 3,000 concentration camp prisoners died in Sandbostel between 12 and 29 April 1945 and in the following weeks as a result of their imprisonment.
1939 to 1945
Number of prisoners
Kind of work
Slave labour on behalf of