On 13 September 1944, the SS set up a satellite camp for women in a former POW camp near the Mellingburger Schleuse. The Sasel satellite camp held 500 prisoners, most of them Jewish women from Poland who had been deported from the Litzmannstadt ghetto (Łódź) and Auschwitz-Birkenau to Hamburg, where they initially spent four weeks in the Dessauer Ufer satellite camp.
The women were forced to build makeshift accommodations in the Poppenbüttel and Wandsbek districts of Hamburg for the companies Möller and Wayss & Freytag. Some of the prisoners also had to manufacture concrete slabs from rubble on the Heiligengeistfeld for the companies Moll and Kowahl & Bruns. Other prisoners were deployed to Sternschanze, St. Pauli, Altona and Freihafen and the Rübenkamp urban rail station in Barmbek.
The commander of the satellite camp was Wehrmacht Captain Merker, followed by SS-Oberscharführer Leonhard Stark. Customs officers from Hamburg were conscripted as guards.
The satellite camp was probably evacuated by the SS on 7 April 1945, and the women were taken by train to the Bergen-Belsen “reception camp”.
Two weeks later, on 21 April 1945, more female prisoners were moved into the Sasel satellite camp following the evacuation of Neuengamme concentration camp. These women, originally 2,000 in number, had come from the Helmstedt-Beendorf satellite camp and endured a ten-day journey in goods cars with nearly no food or water. In Hamburg, the survivors were sent to the Langenhorn, Eidelstedt, Wandsbek and Sasel satellite camps. Twelve women died the day they arrived at Sasel.
On 1 May 1945, most of the prisoners left Hamburg on a Swedish Red Cross train and were taken to Sweden via Denmark. The women who had remained in Hamburg were liberated by the British army a few days later, probably on 4/5 May.
At least 35 prisoners died of starvation, disease, maltreatment and exhaustion in Sasel. These prisoners were buried in the Bergstedter Cemetery. Six of them had died by 7 April, while the others had been among those women taken to Sasel from the Helmstedt-Beendorf satellite camp.
a) 13 September 1944 to 7 April 1945 b) 21 April to 4/5 May 1945
500 Female Prisoners
Construction of makeshift housing and clearance work
Möller, Kowahl & Bruns, Wayss & Freytag, Moll
Memorial stone at site of former camp:
corner of Petunienweg and Feldblumenweg
Directions by public transportation: from the Poppenbüttel urban rail station [S-Bahn], take Bus 276 to the “Feldblumenweg” stop.
Poppenbüttel Prefabricated Building Memorial:
Directions by public transportation: S1 urban rail to Poppenbüttel station [S-Bahn].
In June 1982, a memorial stone was erected at the site of the former camp on the corner of Feldblumenweg and Petunienweg, and a plaque was also placed there as part of the "Sites of Persecution and Resistance 1933-1945" programme (Stätten der Verfolgung und des Widerstandes 1933–1945) of the Hamburg Cultural Authority. These memorial markers were initiated by a group of students from the Oberalster secondary school and were funded locally. The students had researched the history of the camp and published their findings in a brochure in 1980/81
A prefabricated house had remained on the site of a former prefabricated housing development, now the location of the Alster shopping centre and housing estate. In January 1985, a small museum and memorial were set up here at the initiative of the Association of Victims of Nazi Persecution – League of Anti-Fascists, the Alstertal community committee (Ortsausschuß Alsteral) and the Museum of Hamburg History. The museum includes a cramped makeshift home from 1944, complete with original furniture. Workers critical to the war effort were given such houses by the city council if their own homes had been bombed. The left half of the building houses an exhibition on the history of the Sasel satellite camp and shows the difficult conditions under which the female prisoners were forced to work to produce these prefabricated buildings. On 1 September 1989, a wooden sculpture by Franz Vollert was unveiled in the forecourt of the memorial to commemorate the fate of the prisoners and the horror of World War II. The memorial is part of the Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes and is managed on a volunteer basis by the Working Group of the Poppenbüttel Prefabricated Building Memorial.
At the church in Bergstedt, a cluster of memorial stones by artist Axel Peters commemorates the prisoners who died in the Sasel satellite camp.
Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Register for tours through the Museumsdienst Hamburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 40 – 4 28 13 10
Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres
Tel.: +49 (0) 40 - 4 28 13 15 00
Fax: +49 (0) 40 - 4 28 13 15 01
Memorial Plattenhaus Poppenbüttel
Tel.: +49 (0) 40 – 7 23 74 03 (only during opening hours)