Within a few weeks after the Nazis came to power, the Hamburg Gestapo set up a concentration camp in a prison compound in the Fuhlsbüttel neighbourhood of Hamburg. At first, communists and social democrats who opposed the new regime were imprisoned here. On 4 September 1933, the camp was put under the command of members of the SS and SA who were especially brutal and ruthless. The Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, also called “KolaFu” at the time, quickly became synonymous with horror, suffering and death. By the time the camp was liberated in May 1945, more than 250 women and men had died here – from mistreatment, or they were murdered or killed themselves out of desperation.
Starting in 1936, Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp was used as a prison again. Most of the resistance fighters arrested in Hamburg were sent to KolaFu, along with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, people unsatisfied with the regime, Swing Kids and those who were persecuted by the Nazis for being “anti-social” and “harmful pests”. After the war started, many foreign resistance fighters and slave labourers were also imprisoned in KolaFu. The compound not only included a prison, but a house of correction as well, and from October 1944 to February 1945, the SS used part of a building as a satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp. More than 200 concentration camp prisoners from ten different countries died here as a result of inhumane treatment.
The Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and Penal Facility 1933–1945 Memorial was established in 1987 and is located in the former gatehouse entrance of the prison, which is still in operation today. On a memorial plaque at the entrance, visitors can read the names of the prisoners killed in the KolaFu prison and satellite camp. The exhibition, which focuses on the theme of resistance, explores the history of the concentration camp and the lives of the prisoners. Visitors can also view original objects and a reconstructed solitary confinement cell.
(S/U-Bahnhof Ohlsdorf, S1/U1).