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Timeline

3 September 1938
Through their front company "Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke", the SS purchases a defunct brickworks and 500,000 square metres of land in Neuengamme, on the south-eastern edge of Hamburg.
13 December 1938
Neuengamme satellite camp is set up with 100 prisoners from Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
January 1940
SS Reich Leader Heinrich Himmler tours Neuengamme and resolves to expand the camp.
February 1940
When the new work detail commander, SS Sturmbannführer Walter Eisfeld, assumes his post, the construction of the camp proceeds under murderous conditions.
February to June 1940
Around 1,000 additional prisoners arrive at Neuengamme from Sachsenhausen concentration camp on several transports.
13 April 1940
A contract is signed between the SS and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for the construction of a large new brickworks.
15 April 1940
SS Hauptsturmführer Martin Weiß becomes commandant of Neuengamme concentration camp after the unexpected death of Eisfeld.
4 June 1940
The prisoners are moved to the newly established camp. They receive new numbers. In a telex from the Reich Security Main Office, Neuengamme concentration camp is referred to as an independent concentration camp for the first time.
End of 1940
The camp is occupied by around 2,900 prisoners. A total of 432 prisoners known by name have died so far.
April 1941
Arrival of a transport with 1,002 prisoners from Auschwitz concentration camp, among them many teenagers. Poles now make up the largest national group in the camp.
To ca. Sept. 1941
The prisoners' barracks is completed.
16 October 1941
Arrival of 1,000 Soviet POWs from Stalag X D (Wietzendorf) who are housed in a separate part of the camp.
28 Dec. 1941 - March 1942
The SS places the camp under quarantine due to a typhus epidemic.
End of 1941
The camp is occupied by around 4,500 prisoners. A total of 495 prisoners known by name die in 1941.
January 1942
Exhausted prisoners are killed by lethal injection for the first time.
April/May 1942
Establishment of armaments plants by Messap and Jastram in Neuengamme concentration camp.
From spring 1942
Arrival of a rapidly growing number of Soviet slave labourers. They soon form the largest national group in Neuengamme.
May 1942
Camp crematorium goes into operation.
End of June
Of the 1,000 original Soviet POWs in the fenced-off huts, only 348 are still alive. They are transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
June/July 1942
220 weakened prisoners are transported to the Bernburg "sanatorium and nursing home." They are gassed when they arrive.
15 July 1942
New brickworks (western half) goes into operation.
28 August 1942
150 prisoners are sent to the Phrix factory in Wittenberge, the first satellite camp of Neuengamme at a manufacturing plant.
1 September 1942
SS Sturmbannführer Max Pauly succeeds Martin Weiß as commandant of Neuengamme concentration camp.
September 1942
All Jewish prisoners are transported to Auschwitz concentration camp.
25 September 1942
197 Soviet POWs are murdered in the detention bunker with Zyklon B.
13 October 1942
Establishment of another satellite camp near the "Reichswerke Hermann Göring" plant in Drütte (Watenstedt-Salzgitter).
Mid-October 1942
1,000 prisoners are assigned to the 2nd SS Construction Brigade and sent to Bremen and Osnabrück (later temporarily to Wilhelmshaven, from August 1943 to Hamburg) to defuse bombs in destroyed quarters of the city, recover bodies and clear rubble.
November 1942
Another 251 Soviet POWs are gassed in the detention bunker.
End of 1942
The death rate rises to 10% per month. A total of 3,083 prisoners known by name die in 1942.
Start of 1943
Start of provisional production of weapons parts at the Walther metal works set up in the camp and of joining and fitting work in the "Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke“ production facility.
Spring 1943
Completion of the shipping channel to the brickworks (canal to the Dove Elbe); construction of a connecting railway line to the camp.
March 1943
The 1st SS Construction Brigade, which has been sent to the occupied British island of Alderney in the Channel Islands to build fortifications, is placed under the control of the Neuengamme camp administration.
Mid-1943
There are around 9,500 prisoners in total: around 5,800 in the main camp and 3,700 in the satellite camps.
17 July 1943
Establishment of a satellite camp in the accumulator factory in Hanover-Stöcken.
End of July 1943
Concentration camp prisoners are used for clearance work in Hamburg.
October 1943
Prisoners begin to be used in the construction of the "Valentin" submarine pens in Bremen-Farge.
End of 1943
A total of 3,991 prisoners known by name die in 1943.
From spring 1944
Around 60 new satellite camps are set up throughout northern Germany. The prisoners are used for clearing rubble after bombing and for constructing production facilities, provisional housing and anti-tank ditches.
July 1944
More than 10,000 Jewish prisoners are brought from Auschwitz—and some directly from Hungary—to Neuengamme and its satellite camps to work in the armaments industry.
End of July 1944
Establishment of a camp section for "prominent prisoners" from France.
Autumn 1944
Construction begins on a larger crematorium.
End of 1944
The number of prisoners approaches 49,000, of whom around 12,000 are in the main camp and 37,000 in the satellite camps, including nearly 10,000 women. A total of 5,692 prisoners known by name die in 1944.
29 March 1945
According to a report by the garrison physician, 6,224 prisoners die in the first quarter, with the total number of prisoners averaging 40,393 men and 11,768 women. Only around 12,000 prisoners are in the main camp; all others are in the satellite camps. There are 2,211 Waffen SS guards (including the satellite camps).
15 March 1945
Scandinavian prisoners throughout Germany begin to be transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp.
24 March 1945
Start of the evacuation of the satellite camps. Over 20,000 prisoners are sent to the reception camps at Bergen-Belsen, Sandbostel and Wöbbelin, where several thousand starve to death in the last days of the war.
27 March 1945
Establishment of the "Scandinavians' camp". In order to make room in the camp, over 4,000 weakened prisoners from Neuengamme are sent to the satellite camps in Hanover and Salzgitter at the end of March and start of April.
April 1945
The number of prisoners registered in Neuengamme concentration camp rises to over 87,000 men and over 13,000 women.
8 April 1945
Bombing of a train with prisoners from the satellite camps in Salzgitter and Celle with subsequent massacres. Over 2,000 prisoners die.
9 April 1945
Sick Scandinavian prisoners begin to be taken back to Sweden.
13 April 1945
1,016 prisoners (mostly from the Mittelbau concentration camp, but also from satellite camps of Neuengamme) are burned in a barn near Gardelegen.
14 April 1945
In Salzwedel, the only Neuengamme satellite camp which has not been evacuated, 3,000 women are liberated by the U.S. 9th Army.
19 April 1945
Order to evacuate the main camp.
20 April 1945
4,000 Scandinavian prisoners are rescued with the help of the "White Buses" of the Danish and Swedish Red Cross. 20 Jewish children who had undergone medical experiments in Neuengamme are taken with other prisoners to the school at Bullenhuser Damm in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort and murdered.
20-26 April 1945
Over 9,000 prisoners are transported from the Neuengamme main camp to the harbour in Lübeck, where they are loaded onto ships.
29/30 April 1945
Departure of the last 600-700 prisoners, who had been forced to burn the files and clear the camp. 368 prisoners are forced into the "Dirlewanger" special brigade of the SS.
2 May 1945
SS men leave Neuengamme concentration camp with the last prisoners. British soldiers report after their first reconnaissance that the camp is "empty".
3 May 1945
Bombing of the "Cap Arcona" and the "Thielbek" in Lübeck Bay off Neustadt with around 7,100 victims, including 6,600 prisoners. Capitulation in Hamburg.
10 May 1945
Liberation of the last prisoners in Flensburg.
Heinrich Himmler visits Neuengamme concentration camp, probably in January 1940. Photograph: SS. (NIOD)
Concentration camp prisoners constructing the large brickworks. Photograph: SS. (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial)
Prisoners building a hut in the SS barracks, 1940. Photograph: SS. (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial)
Concentration camp prisoners in the Messap work detail. Illegal photograph by a civilian worker. (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial)
Detention bunker. Photograph: SS. (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial)
Camp commandant Max Pauly with members of the SS headquarters staff. Photograph: SS, 1943. (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial)
Prisoners working on Spaldingstrasse.
Prisoners working on the Dove-Elbe; toward the end of 1940, the "Kommando Elbe" became the deadliest work detail at the concentration camp. Photograph: SS, circa 1941/42. (NIOD)
Map of the satellite camps of Neuengamme concentration camp.
Production site of the "Metallwerke Neuengamme", a branch of Carl Walther GmbH in Zella-Mehlis.
1 April 1945: A Red Cross lorry in front of Neuengamme concentration camp. During the "White Buses" campaign, 4,000 Scandinavian prisoners were rescued from German concentration camps in the last weeks of the war. (MDF)
Drawing of the burning "Cap Arcona" on 3 May 1945 by an unknown artist.
Former concentration camp prisoners Lange, Morey and Jaubertie in the crematorium at Neuengamme concentration camp. The photo was taken on 5 May 1945 as the three former prisoners inspected the evacuated camp with British soldiers.