View from a guard tower of the prisoners’ barracks, the roll call square and the crematorium with its high chimney on the former grounds of Neuengamme concentration camp. Photograph: 25th Belgian Fusiliers Battalion in Neuengamme, 1945. (ANg 2004-795)


Concentration Camp

3 September 1938
The SS buys a brick factory
Using the company Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke as a front, the SS purchases a defunct brick factory and 500,000 square metres of land in Neuengamme, in the south-eastern part of Hamburg.
Information about the concentration camp Neuengamme (Open Archive) 

13 December 1938
A camp is established

Neuengamme satellite camp is established, with 100 prisoners from Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Information about Neuengamme as a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen (Open Archive)

January 1940
Heinrich Himmler visits Neuengamme
SS Reich Leader Heinrich Himmler tours Neuengamme and resolves to expand the camp.

February 1940
Walter Eisfeld is appointed commandant
SS Sturmbannführer Walter Eisfeld takes over the position of new commandant, after which the construction of the camp proceeds under murderous conditions.
Information about construction commandos (Open Archive)

February to June 1940
New prisoners arrive
Around 1,000 additional prisoners arrive at Neuengamme from Sachsenhausen concentration camp on several transports.

13 April 1940
Agreement between Hamburg and the SS
A contract is signed between the SS and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for the construction of a large new brick factory.
Collection of documents about the brickworks commando (Open Archive)

15 April 1940
Martin Weiß is appointed commandant
SS Hauptsturmführer Martin Weiß becomes commandant of Neuengamme concentration camp after the unexpected death of Eisfeld.

4 June 1940
Prisoners’ compound is built

The prisoners are moved to the newly established camp. They receive new prisoner numbers. In a telex message from the Reich Security Main Office, Neuengamme concentration camp is referred to as an independent concentration camp for the first time.

End of 1940
Number of prisoners
There are around 2,900 prisoners in the camp. A total of 432 prisoners known by name have died so far.

April 1941
Young prisoners arrive from Poland
A transport arrives with 1,002 prisoners from Auschwitz concentration camp, among them many teenagers. Poles now make up the largest national group in the camp.
Information about children and teenagers in the concentration camp (Open Archive)

Around Sept. 1941
The prisoners' barracks is completed.
Collection of documents about the prisoner´s barracks (Open Archive)
Information about housing (Open Archive)

16 October 1941
Prisoners of war arrive at Neuengamme
1,000 Soviet POWs arrive from Stalag X D in Wietzendorf. They are housed in a separate part of the camp.
Collection of documents about Soviet POWs in the POW Work Camp (Open Archive)

28 Dec. 1941 - March 1942
Typhus epidemic
The SS places the camp under quarantine due to a typhus epidemic.
Information about the treatment of sick prisoners and medical experiments (Open Archive)

End of 1941
Prisoner statistics
There are roughly 4,500 prisoners in the camp. A total of 495 prisoners known by name have died in 1941.

January 1942
Weak prisoners are murdered

Exhausted prisoners are killed by lethal injection for the first time.
The treatment of weakened prisoners (Open Archive)

April and May 1942
Armaments factories open at the camp

The companies Messap and Jastram set up armaments plants in Neuengamme concentration camp.
Information about armaments production in the camp (Open Archive)

Beginning in spring 1942
Soviet prisoners begin to arrive at Neuengamme

The first Soviet slave labourers arrive. They soon form the largest national group in Neuengamme.
Information about prisoners from the Soviet Union (Open Archive)

May 1942
New mobile crematorium

The camp crematorium goes into operation.
Information about extermination and death at the camp (Open Archive)

End of June
Soviet prisoners transported to Sachsenhausen
Of the 1,000 original Soviet POWs kept in the fenced-off huts, only 348 are still alive. They are transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Information about Soviet POWs in the POW Work Camp (Open Archive)

June and July 1942
Action 14f13: Prisoners are sent to Bernburg to be gassed
220 weakened prisoners are transported to the Bernburg Sanatorium and Nursing Home, where they are gassed on arrival.
Documents about executions and murder campaigns (Open Archive)

15 July 1942
Brick factory opens

The new brick factory (western wing) goes into operation.
Information about the brickworks commando (Open Archive)

28 August 1942
First satellite camp opens in Wittenberge
150 prisoners are sent to the Phrix factory in Wittenberge, the first satellite camp of Neuengamme at a manufacturing plant.
Information about the Neuengamme satellite camps (Open Archive)

1 September 1942
Max Pauly takes over as the camp’s commandant
SS Sturmbannführer Max Pauly succeeds Martin Weiß as commandant of Neuengamme concentration camp.

September 1942
Jewish prisoners are sent to Auschwitz

All Jewish prisoners are transported to Auschwitz concentration camp.
Information about Jewish prisoners from Germany (Open Archive)
Information about Jewish prisoners from countries occupied by the Germans (Open Archive)

25 September 1942
Prisoners are gassed in the detention bunker
197 Soviet POWs are murdered in the detention bunker (Arrestbunker) with Zyklon B.
Information about executions and murder campaigns in Neuengamme concentration camp (Open Archive)

13 October 1942
Drütte satellite camp opens
A satellite camp called Drütte is established near the Reichswerke Hermann Göring plant in Watenstedt-Salzgitter (Salzgitter).
Information about the Neuengamme satellite camps (Open Archive)

Mid-October 1942
Prisoners sent to Bremen and Osnabrück

1,000 prisoners are assigned to the 2nd SS Construction Brigade and sent to Bremen and Osnabrück (later to Wilhelmshaven for a short while, then to Hamburg starting in August 1943) to defuse bombs in destroyed quarters of the city, recover bodies and clear rubble.
Collection of documents about the satellite camp Osnabrück (Open Archive)

November 1942
More prisoners are gassed in the detention bunker
Another 251 Soviet POWs are gassed in the detention bunker.
Information about executions and murder campaigns in Neuengamme concentration camp (Open Archive)

End of 1942
Death rate now 10%

The death rate has risen to 10% per month. A total of 3,083 prisoners known by name have died in 1942.

Start of 1943
Armaments production begins in "Metallwerke Neuengamme"

The production of weapons parts begins at the Walther metal works in the camp. At the same time, joining and fitting begins in the Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke production facility.
Information about armaments productions and external commandos (Open Archive)

Spring 1943
Shipping canal completed

The shipping canal to the brick factory (canal to the Dove-Elbe) is complete, and a connecting railway line to the camp is constructed.
Information about the "commando Elbe" (Open Archive)
Information about work detail at the main camp (Open Archive)

March 1943
Satellite camp established on Chanel Island of Alderney
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.

Number of prisoners in 1943
There are around 9,500 prisoners in total at Neuengamme: around 5,800 in the main camp and 3,700 in the satellite camps.

17 July 1943
Satellite camp established in Stöcken neighbourhood of Hanover

A satellite camp is set up in an accumulator factory in Hanover.

End of July 1943
Prisoners are used to clean rubble after bombing

Concentration camp prisoners are used for clearance work in Hamburg.
Collection of documents about the external commandos (Open Archive)

October 1943
Prisoners work on construction of “Valentin” submarine pens

Prisoners begin to be used in the construction of the "Valentin" submarine pens in the Bremen-Farge satellite camp (located on the Farge port in Bremen).

End of 1943
Number of deaths in 1943

A total of 3,991 prisoners known by name have died in 1943.

Beginning in spring 1944
New satellite camps in northern Germany
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.
Information about the Neuengamme satellite camps (Open Archive)

July 1944
Jewish prisoners arrive at Neuengamme

More than 10,000 Jewish prisoners arrive – some are brought from Auschwitz, some directly from Hungary – to Neuengamme and its satellite camps to work in the armaments industry.
Collection of documents about the transports in cattle wagons (Open Archive)

End of July 1944
Compound for “prominent prisoners”

Establishment of a camp section for "prominent prisoners" from France.
Information about French and Spanish Prisoners (Open Archive)

Autumn 1944
New crematorium under construction

Construction begins on a larger crematorium.
Collection of documents about pilgrimages to the Neuengamme crematorium (Open Archive)

14 October 1944
Men from Putten, Netherlands, arrive in Neuengamme
589 men are brought from Putten, Netherlands, to Neuengamme concentration camp. These prisoners were arrested as part of "retaliation measures".
Information about prisoners from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg (Open Archive)

End of 1944
Number of prisoners in 1944
The number of prisoners is just under 49,000. Of these, around 12,000 are in the main camp and 37,000 in the satellite camps. Nearly 10,000 are women. A total of 5,692 prisoners known by name have died in 1944.
Information about the satellite camps for women (Open Archive)

15 March 1945
Scandinavian prisoners assembled in Neuengamme
Scandinavian prisoners throughout Germany begin to be transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp.
Information about the Scandinavians Camp (Open Archive)

24 March 1945
Evacuation of satellite camps begins
Start of the evacuation of the satellite camps. Over 20,000 prisoners are sent to the collection camps in Bergen-Belsen, Sandbostel and Wöbbelin, where several thousand starve to death in the last days of the war.
Information about death marches (Open Archive)
Information about "reception camps" (Open Archive)

27 March 1945
Scandinavian compound
Establishment of the "Scandinavian camp". In order to make room in the camp, over 4,000 very weak prisoners from Neuengamme are sent to the satellite camps in Hanover and Salzgitter at the end of March and beginning of April.
The White Buses rescue operation (Open Archive)

29 March 1945
Doctor’s report

According to a report by the garrison physician, 6,224 prisoners have died in the first three months of 1945. The average total number of prisoners for this time period is 40,393 men and 11,768 women. Only around 12,000 prisoners are in the main camp; the others are all in the satellite camps. There are 2,211 Waffen SS guards (including at the satellite camps).
Short information about the SS guards (Open Archive)

April 1945
100,000 prisoners registered
The number of prisoners registered in Neuengamme concentration camp rises to over 87,000 men and over 13,000 women.
8 April 1945 
Prisoner transport is bombed in Celle

A train with prisoners from the Salzgitter satellite camp is bombed by Allies in Celle. Many prisoners die in the train, and fleeing survivors are massacred. Over 2,000 prisoners die.
9 April 1945
Scandinavian prisoners in poor health sent to Sweden

The return of sick Scandinavian prisoners to Sweden begins.
Information about evacuating prisoners to Denmark and Sweden (Open Archive)

13 April 1945
Gardelegen massacre

1,016 prisoners (mostly from Mittelbau concentration camp, but also from satellite camps of Neuengamme) are rounded up in a barn near Gardelegen and burned to death.

14 April 1945
Liberation of women’s camp in Salzwedel
In Salzwedel, the only Neuengamme satellite camp which had not been evacuated, 3,000 women are liberated by the 9th US Army.

15 April 1945
Goods removed

The camp commandant and SS chef take valuable goods and food stuffs home with them.

19 April 1945
Order to evacuate the main camp

The main camp is ordered to be evacuated.
Information about clearing the concentration camp (Open Archive)

20 April 1945
White Buses
4,000 Scandinavian prisoners are rescued with the help of the White Buses of the Danish and Swedish Red Cross.
Transports for the "White Buses" campaign (Open Archive)

20 April 1945
20 Jewish children are killed
20 Jewish children who have been subjected to medical experiments in Neuengamme are taken with other prisoners to a former school at Bullenhuser Damm in the Rothenburgsort neighbourhood of Hamburg, where they are killed.
Exhibition about the children of the Bullenhuser Damm (Open Archive)

20-26 April 1945
Prisoners transferred to ships

Over 9,000 prisoners are transported from the Neuengamme main camp to the Bay of Lübeck, where they are loaded onto ships.
The prison ships on the Baltic Sea (Open Archive)

29 and 30 April 1945
Clearing the camp

Departure of the last 600-700 prisoners who had been forced to burn the files and clear the camp. 368 prisoners are forced to join the Dirlewanger special brigade of the SS.

2 May 1945
Camp is evacuated

SS men leave Neuengamme concentration camp with the last prisoners. British soldiers report after their first reconnaissance that the camp is "empty".
Short information text about the arrival of the British Army (Open Archive)

3 May 1945
Ships carrying prisoners are bombed

The ships the Cap Arcona and the Thielbek are bombed in the Bay of Lübeck near Neustadt. There are around 7,100 victims, including 6,600 prisoners. German forces capitulate in Hamburg.
Information about the bombing of the Cap Arcona (Open Archive)

10 May 1945
The last prisoners are liberated in Flensburg.
The total number of dead (Open Archive)

The Site after 1945: Internment Camp

9 May 1945
Camp for displaced persons and POWs

The camp is used as a camp for Russian DPs (displaced persons) for former Soviet slave labourers in the Hamburg region. German prisoners of war are also held in other parts of the camp.

22 May 1945
DP camp is moved elsewhere
The DPs (displaced persons) begin to be transferred to other camps.
Collection of documents about life after survival (Open Archive)

27 May 1945
SS members arrive
More than 8,000 captured SS members arrive from the area controlled by the 9th US Army.
The British Royal Artillery arrives (Open Archive)

5 June 1945
Internment camp
Special interrogation teams begin to investigate and screen the interned Nazi officials and members of the SS (including many non-Germans). Members of the Waffen SS who are classified as "harmless" are moved to other camps, and non-German SS members are repatriated when possible. The camp, originally intended to be only a temporary arrangement, develops into a permanent institution. The British military government begins to use the former concentration camp as an internment camp for groups subject to "automatic arrest" in accordance with the Potsdam Conference. A growing number of civilian officials of the Nazi state, suspected war criminals and people arrested for reasons of security (mostly from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein) are interned in the camp.
Setting up the internment camp (Open Archive)
Information about the British internment camp & POW camp (Open Archive)

11 July 1945
Internment camp guarded by Belgian battalion
Guard duties are handed over to the 25th Belgian Fusilier Battalion.

September 1945
Survivors form associations
The camp survivors in France and Belgium form their own associations. The French association of former prisoners, Amicale de Neuengamme, publishes its first bulletin.
Information about the history of the different Neuengamme survivors’ organisations (Open Archive)

3 November 1945
British Civil Internment Camp
Responsibility for the camp, which is now officially known as Civil Internment Camp No. 6, is completely in British hands. The camp is gradually divided into sections for housing different categories of prisoners.
Short summary about the internment camp (Open Archive)

18 March to 3 May 1946
Curio-Haus trial
In the Curio-Haus trial of the administration of Neuengamme concentration camp, 11 of the 14 defendants are sentenced to death and executed.

Autumn 1946
Transit camp
The internment camp expands to include a transit camp. Germans and their families who have been expelled from other countries to the British Zone are housed here for screening.
Collection of documents about the transit camp (Open Archive)

Demolition of crematorium
The crematorium is demolished in late 1946 and early 1947.

February 1948
Brick factory given to Hamburg
During the gradual disbanding of the internment camp, the British military administration hands over the brick factory to the Hamburg City Council. An advance party of 40 prisoners and eight prison officers move into the brick factory and begin to clear it out and repair it.

6 June 1948
A new association is founded
The Lagergemeinschaft Neuengamme (Association of Neuengamme Concentration Camp Survivors) is founded. It represents the interests of the German survivors of Neuengamme concentration camp.
Information about associations of former prisoners in Germany (Open Archive)

13 August 1948
Internment camp closes
The British military administration closes the internment camp. The grounds and buildings of the former concentration camp are taken over by the Hamburg prison authority.
Information about the penal facilities (Open Archive)

Penal Facilities & Remembrance

6 September 1948
First prison opens
A prison, known later as Vierlande Penal Facility XII, opens on the site of the former camp.
Information about Vierlande Penal Facility XII (Open Archive)

Spring 1949
Demolition of wooden prisoners’ barracks
The former wooden prisoners' barracks are torn down.

14 July 1949
Construction of new prison cell block
The foundation stone is laid for a new prison cell block.

Brick factory is rented
The brick factory is rented out to a company that begins producing lightweight building boards there.
Pictures of the decay and commercial use of the brick factory (Open Archive)

10 December 1950
Prison opens
Prisoners now occupy the new cell block.

Demolition of guard towers
Most of the camp’s guard towers are torn down.

18 October 1953
Monument erected
At the request of French concentration camp survivors, a monument inscribed with the words "Dedicated to the Victims 1938–1945" is erected on the site of the former garden nursery at the edge of the camp. Because this is where the SS spread the ashes of the bodies burned in the crematorium, the site is also regarded as a cemetery.
Information about the first monument (Open Archive)

Survivors associations form Amicale Internationale
The national associations of former concentration camp prisoners join together to form the Amicale Internationale de Neuengamme. The association demands that Hamburg’s authorities erect a dignified memorial. The German survivors' association renames itself the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Neuengamme.
Information about the history of the different Neuengamme survivors’ organisations (Open Archive)

7 November 1965
Monument is dedicated
The new monument, which includes a stone column, a memorial wall with national plaques and the sculpture entitled "The Dying Prisoner", is dedicated. The grounds of the former camp garden nursery are turned into a park, but there is still no public access to the grounds of the former camp itself.
Information about the Neuengamme Monument (Open Archive)

Second prison opens
A second prison building is constructed on the site of the former clay pits between the brick factory and the SS barracks, which are used to house prison officers. The new facility operates as a juvenile detention centre until the mid-1980s and then as a closed penal facility for adults (Penal Facility IX).
Information about Penal Facility IX (Open Archive)

18 October 1981
Exhibition building opens
An exhibition building (Dokumentenhaus) opens with a permanent exhibition on the history of Neuengamme concentration camp entitled "Work and Extermination". Regular visitor services are offered for the 35,000 to 55,000 visitors each year. The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial becomes a branch of the Hamburg Museum.
Information about the first exhibition building (Dokumentenhaus) (Open Archive)

July 1982
First international youth work camp
A circular path is laid around the former concentration camp by the 1st International Youth Work Camp.

14 February 1984
Grounds are declared a heritage site
After there are protests against the proposed demolition of the deteriorating brick factory and parts of the former camp that not being used by the penal facilities, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg agrees to place these on the list of heritage sites.
Information about public campaigns (Open Archive)

23 November 1986
Street renamed
Part of the road known as Neuengammer Heerweg is renamed Jean-Dolidier-Weg after Jean-Aimé Dolidier, the president of the Amicale Internationale de Neuengamme association.

International protests are held against the proposal to build additional prison facilities on the former roll call square.
Exhibition panel about protests against the prisons (Open Archive)

17 July 1989
Prisons to be moved
The Hamburg Senate resolves to remove the Vierlande Penal Facility XII from the former concentration camp grounds by the mid-1990s.

Oral history project is launched
For the first time, substantial funding is provided for further research into the history of Neuengamme concentration camp. In the context of an oral history project, autobiographical interviews are conducted with former prisoners in as many as 14 European countries as well as Israel and the US.

Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung in Norddeutschland
The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial begins publishing its annual journal entitled Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung in Norddeutschland (Articles on the History of National-Socialist Persecution in Northern Germany).

27 April 1994
Academic verification of death register
The Hamburg Parliament grants special funding to digitise all available prisoner data to conduct statistical analysis and to create an academically verified death register.
Death register

August 1994
The Memorial continues to take shape
The railway track is reconstructed and a historical freight car is placed on the site of the former camp railway station.

4 May 1995
New permanent exhibition
On the 50th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, a new permanent exhibition entitled "Struggles for Survival? Prisoners under SS Rule" opens in the House of Remembrance and the former Walther building.

1 June 1997
Exhibition in brick factory
A permanent exhibition on the working conditions for concentration camp prisoners in brick production opens in the brick factory.
Exhibition: "Slave Labour in Brick Production" (Mediathek; German)

1 January 1999
Memorial becomes an independent entity
When Hamburg’s national museums are converted into foundations under public law, the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial is spun off from the Hamburg Museum and placed directly under the Hamburg Cultural Authority.

27 July 1999
German government’s concept for memorials
The federal government presents a new concept for memorials which, for the first time, also takes into account concentration camp memorials in western Germany and calls for permanent funding for Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Neuengamme.

1 October 2000
Commandant’s house given to the Memorial
The judicial authorities hand over the former commandant's house, which had been used to house prison officials, to the Memorial. The building is subsequently restored.

5 September 2001
Referendum to expand the Memorial
The citizens of Hamburg unanimously agree that, after Vierlande Penal Facility XII is finished relocating to Billwerder, the former concentration camp buildings will be incorporated into the Memorial. It further resolves to expand the Memorial in three steps between 2002 and 2006 by creating a centre for exhibitions, international encounters and historical studies.

13 October 2001
Protests after further delays
After the parliamentary elections on 23 September 2001, the new coalition announces it will not close the penal facility in Neuengamme "in light of the urgent need for prison space". This leads to international protests, prompting the elected mayor Ole von Beust to seek an agreement with survivors' associations.

24 January 2002
New referendum
The citizens of Hamburg again unanimously decide to relocate the prison by 30 June 2003. The Hamburg Parliament also agrees to allow the former roll call square to be renovated while the prison is still in operation and to complete the entire reconstruction a year and a half earlier than originally planned, so that it is finished by May 2005, the 60th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

30 June 2003
First prison closes
Vierlande Penal Facility XII in Neuengamme closes and its grounds are handed over to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. The Memorial now covers over 50 hectares and comprises 15 former concentration camp buildings with around 41,000 square meters of renovated space.

28 February 2005
Second prison closes
The Hamburg Senate announces the closure of the second prison, Penal Facility IX, which was built in 1970.

4 May 2005
Opening of the Memorial
The redesigned memorial at the site of the former prisoners' compound opens. The Memorial consists of the new Centre for Historical Studies, the library, the archive, the main "Traces of History" exhibition in one of the two stone buildings that were used to hold prisoners, and a research exhibition entitled "Posted to Neuengamme Concentration Camp" in the former SS garages, which also house the Open Archive. The outdoor areas feature outlines of the foundations of the prisoners' barracks as well as archaeological excavations.
Catalogue (German, English, French) about the Memorial's main exhibitons

18 October 2006
Demolition of second prison begins

The demolition of the second prison, Penal Facility IX, begins.

5 May 2007
Opening of exhibition in the Walther factory

The permanent exhibition “Mobilisation for the War-time Economy: Conentration Camp Prisoners as Slave Labourers in Armaments Production” opens in the former Walter factory.
Exhibition: "Slave Labour in Armaments Production" (Mediathek; German)

19 May 2007
Opening of the exhibition “Prison and Memorial”

The permanent exhibition “Prison and Memorial: Documentation of a Contradiction” opens as part of the commemoration ceremony entitled “63 Years after Liberation: The Entire Site of the Former Concentration Camp Now a Memorial”
Exhibition: "Prison and Memorial: Documentation of a Contradiction" (Mediathek; German)

1 January 2009
Memorial receives federal funding

The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial is added to the list of memorial institutions supported by the German federal government.

4 May 2014
Information Point opens

The opening of the reception building (or service point) near the entrance completes the Memorial’s reconstruction.