Starting in July 1944, Female prisoners were housed in a separate section of the Watenstedt/Leinde satellite camp which was set up in May 1944 to hold concentration camp prisoners deployed to work in the Braunschweig steel works. Most of the 800 prisoners in the women’s section of the camp were forced to produce artillery shells. The prisoners arrived on various transports. In July and October 1944, two groups of prisoners were transferred to Watenstedt/Leinde from the Ravensbrück concentration camp. They were followed in February 1945 by several hundred sick Jewish women from the Braunschweig satellite camp (SS Riding School) of Neuengamme concentration camp.
The camp was under the authority of the Ravensbrück concentration camp until 31 August 1944. In the course of an administrative rearrangement, it became part of the Neuengamme camp system on 1 September 1944.
The SS evacuated the camp on 7 April 1945. The women were loaded into goods cars together with the male prisoners from the Watenstedt/Leinde camp and transported on two or three trains. The trains with the completely overcrowded goods cars, some of which were not enclosed, drove for days through north-eastern Germany before finally arriving at the Ravensbrück concentration camp on 14 April. Many prisoners did not survive the transport, while others were severely weakened by the time they reached Ravensbrück. Nonetheless, the prisoners who were “able to march” were forced to walk west a few days later. It is not known how many women died on this death march.
The name of the SS commander of the women’s camp is not known.
Beginning of July 1944 to 7 April 1945
800 Female Prisoners
Artillery shell production
Braunschweig steel works
On A-road (Bundesstraße) 248 from Braunschweig in the direction of Salzgitter-Bad, between the towns of Immendorf and Leinde, level with the Friedrich company, 38239 Salzgitter, Germany.
Directions by public transportation: From the Salzgitter-Lebenstedt railway station, take bus 630 in the direction of Wolfenbüttel to the “Abzweigung Leinde/B 248” stop.
On A-road (Bundesstraße) 248, there is a stele with an inscription which was erected in 1991 by the Salzgitter city council at the initiative of the French Amicale de Neuengamme. Plaques on a nearby wall provide information about the Watenstedt/Leinde satellite camp in several languages.