Size of KL Ravensbrück

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Size of KL Ravensbrück

Post by Starinov » 13 May 2004 16:08

To whom it may come, Greetings:

I was not sure to which section put this thread so If it needs to be moved, please do.

I am wondering what was the size of KL Ravensbrück. How many prisonners could "fit in". How many were female and how many were males?

Thank you

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Post by David Thompson » 13 May 2004 17:28

Starinov -- Here's something from ed. Gutman, Israel, The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, MacMillan Publishing Co., New York: 1990, pp. 1226-27:
RAVENSBRÜCK, concentration camp near Ravensbrück, a village on the Havel River two-thirds of a mile (1 km) from the Fürstenberg railway station and 56 miles (90 km) north of Berlin. On May 15, 1939, a concentration camp for women was opened there, and on May 18, 867 female prisoners were transferred there from the Nazi concentration camp at Lichtenberg (now Prettin, East Germany), together with the camp commandant, SS-Hauptsturmführer Max Kögel. Kögel remained in this post until the summer of 1942, when he was replaced by SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Suhren, who was commandant until May 1945.

The prisoners' numbers began with 1,416, since a total of 1,415 prisoners had been transferred from Lichtenberg.

The camp structure was similar to that of other Nazi concentration camps, with 150 female supervisors (SS-Aufseherinnen) added to the men who served as guards and held administrative posts. The female supervisors were SS volunteers or women who had accepted the post for the sake of the better pay and work conditions it offered, compared to work in factories. In 1942 and 1943 Ravensbrück also had a training base for female SS supervisors; the 3,500 women who under-went training there served at Ravensbrück and at other concentration camps.

In late 1939 Ravensbrück had 2,000 prisoners, and by the end of 1942 the number had grown to 10,800. In 1944 another 70,000 prisoners were brought to Ravensbrück, from which most were transferred to one of the thirty-four Ravensbrück satellite camps. Some of these satellite camps were far away from Ravensbrück, in Mecklenburg, Bavaria, and the Protectorate of BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA. Most of the satellite camps were attached to military industrial plants, and one such plant was also put up near Ravensbrück itself. In 1944 the main Ravensbrück camp had 26,700 female prisoners, as well as several thousand girls in a detention camp for minors (Jugendschutzlager).

In April 1941 a concentration camp for men was established near the Ravensbrück camp, but officially it was a satellite of the SACHSENHAUSEN camp. Approximately 20,000 male prisoners passed through this camp during the years of its existence, 16 percent of them Jews. In early 1945, Soviet prisoners in the men's camp were recruited for Andrei VLASOV's army, while German prisoners were drafted into Oskar DIRLEWANGER's SS brigade. By early February 1945, 106,000 women had passed through the Ravensbrück camp. Twenty-five percent of them were Polish, 20 percent German, 19 percent Russian and Ukrainian, 15 percent Jewish, 7 percent French, 5.5 percent Gypsy, and 8.5 percent others.

From the summer of 1942, MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS were carried out at Ravensbrück. One such project, directed by Professor Karl Gebhardt, made use of sulfonamide to treat festering wounds and bone transplants. The victims of these experiments were some seventy-


four prisoners, most of them young Polish women suspected of belonging to the under-ground. Another experiment, conducted by Professor Carl CLAUBERG, involved sterilization; thirty-five women were the victims of the experiment, most of them GYPSIES.

In the early stage of the camp's existence the method used for killing prisoners was to shoot them in the back of the neck. In 1942 the prisoners who were condemned to death were sent to institutions (such as Bernburg) that were involved in the EUTHANASIA PROGRAM, or to AUSCHWITZ; or they were later killed in Ravensbrück with phenol injections. Their bodies were cremated at the nearby Fürstenberg crematorium, but when the number of victims grew, in April 1943, Ravensbrück had its own crematorium installed, near the camp for minors. In late January or early February of 1945, gas chambers were constructed next to the crematorium, and by the end of April, 2,200 to 2,300 persons had been put to death in them.

In late March 1945 the order was given for Ravensbrück to be evacuated, and 24,500 prisoners, men and women, were put on the road to Mecklenburg. Early in April, 500 women prisoners were handed over to the Swedish and Danish Red Cross, and 2,500 German women prisoners were set free. On the night of April 29-30, Soviet forces liberated Ravensbrück, where they found 3,500 sick female prisoners being cared for by other prisoners.

Arndt, I. "Das Frauenkonzentrationslager Ravensbrück." In Studien zur Geschichte der Konzentrationslager, edited by M. Broszat, pp. 93-129. Stuttgart, 1970.
Dufournier, D. Ravensbrück: The Women's Camp of Death. London, 1948.
Machlejd, W., ed. Experimental Operations on Prisoners of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Poznan, 1960.
Maurel, M. Ravensbrück. London, 1958.
Tillion, G. Ravensbrück. Paris, 1988.

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Post by Starinov » 13 May 2004 17:45

Thank you veru much David. This is exactly what I was looking for.

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