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Wittenberge

The first satellite camp under the administration of the Neuengamme concentration camp was set up on 28 August 1942 in Wittenberge. The establishment of the camp was preceded by lengthy negotiations between the SS Economic Administration Main Office and the Phrix company, since this was the first time that prisoners would be housed outside of the Neuengamme concentration camp. The camp for 500 prisoners was located in Wittenberge directly on the premises of Kurmärkische Zellwolle und Zellulose AG, a rayon and cellulose company, along the quay wall leading to the Karthane River port. This firm was one of five founding companies in the rayon and synthetic fibre industry which joined together in 1941 to form Phrix-Werke AG. Philipp Holzmann and Grün & Bilfinger were two other companies involved in the operation of the satellite camp. The camp consisted of two staff huts, a guard hut and latrines, and it was surrounded by barbed wire. The concentration camp prisoners were initially used to set up and expand the yeast production facilities at the plant. Since many of them were classed as skilled labourers, the prisoners were put to work directly in the plant from March 1943.  

Survivors say that the living conditions in the Wittenberge camp were extremely bad. The prisoners were drastically malnourished, lived in overcrowded accommodation and were subjected to daily beatings and harassment by the SS men and Kapos. By December 1944, 119 deaths had been registered in the Wittenberge satellite camp. The actual number was probably much higher, however. On 17 February 1945, the SS evacuated the camp at the instigation of the company management and transported the prisoners back the Neuengamme main camp.

The camp commander was SS-Hauptscharführer Max Kierstein. His deputy, Willi Dreimann, was notorious among the prisoners. After Dreimann was replaced in March 1943, the situation improved somewhat for the prisoners in Wittenberge. Dreimann was sentenced to death by a British military tribunal and executed in May 1946.

Period 

18 August 1942 to 17 February 1945

Number of prisoners

500 men

Kind of work 

Construction of a chemical plant, production work

Slave labour on behalf of

Phrix-Werke, Kurmärkische Zellwolle und Zellulose AG, Phillip Holzmann, Grün & Bilfinger

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