09/03/2021 Archival Research

Valuable historical photos for research

The archive has received historical photos from the 1940s, taken in Bremen, Hamburg and Belarus. One collection shows concentration camp prisoners from the Bremen-Neuenland sub-camp clearing rubble. Another collection appears to have come from the possession of a member of Police Rifle Regiment 31 from Altona and shows photos from Altona and Belarus.

The Hamburg Memorials and Learning Places Foundation has received more than 150 historical photos. They show members of the Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 31, a unit formed in Hamburg in April 1943. The photos show a company of this unit in the Viktoria Barracks in Hamburg-Altona, then the departure of the men from the Altona train station on May 19, 1943, and their arrival two days later in the Belarusian town of Baranovichi. Police Rifle Regiment 31 was deployed to fight partisans in several locations in occupied Belarus during the summer of 1943.

In the coming weeks, the photos will have to be examined by various experts in order to better classify the motifs depicted. However, it is already clear that they are a valuable historical source showing the participation of Hamburg police units in the war in the East.

From the same estate are photographs that are of great historical value for regional research in Bremen. The photos show concentration camp prisoners from the Bremen-Neuenland sub-camp clearing rubble in the Kattenturm district of Bremen. The grounds of the Hindenburg Barracks in the Huckelriede district of Bremen can be seen in several of the photos. There, 800 female concentration camp prisoners were housed from August 1944 (subcamp Hindenburgkaserne). An Allied bombing raid on September 26, 1944, severely damaged the camp. At least two women lost their lives.

Some photos show the destroyed camp and male concentration camp inmates doing salvage work. The photos will be given to the Bremen State Archives after a thorough evaluation.