Research

Chronology of the Nazi Camp System, 1933-1945

Taken from Das nationalsozialistische Lagersystem, by Martin Weinmann, with contributions by Anne Kaiser and Ursula Krause-Schmitt, Frankfurt: Zweitausendeins 1990, second edition, 1991. Extract from the synoptical "Zeittafel" (Internationale Entwicklung--Deutsche Politik--Lagersystem), pp. LXXXIX-CXXXIV. All rights reserved. Copyright 1990 by Zweitausendeins, Postfach, D-60381 Frankfurt. Translated for the Holocaust Memorial Center by Hans R. Weinmann.

 

About the Camp System

Once Hitler had come to power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis began establishing a complex network of camps expressly for the imprisonment of enemies of their Regime. These enemies included actual and potential political opponents (for example, Communists), Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), homosexuals, criminals and other “asocials.” The general roundup of Jews did not start until late 1938. The first three concentration camps were Dachau (near Munich), Buchenwald (near Weimar), and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin).
The camp system essentially consisted of the following:

When preceded by "Frauen," the camp was designated for women.


•    Arbeitserziehungslager : Workers education camp
•    Arbeitshaus : Work house
•    Arbeitslager : Labor camp
•    Aussenkommando : Satellite camp
•    Durchgangslager : Transit camp
•    Gemeinschaftslager : Civilian workers camp
•    Haftlager : Custody camp
•    Internierungslager : Civilian internment camp
•    Jugendschutzlager : Protection camp for youths
•    Jugendverwahrungslager : Detention camp for youths
•    Julag (Judenlager) : Camp for Jews
•    Kriegsgefangenenlager : Prisoner of war camp
•    Konzentrationslager : Concentration camp
•    Polizeihaftlager : Police custody camp
•    RAD (Reichs Arbeits Dienst) Lager : National Labor Service camp
•    Schutzhaftslager : Security camp
•    Sonderlager : Special camp
•    Strafgefangenenlager : Penal or punishment camp
•    Straflager : Penal or punishment camp
•    Vernichtungslager : Extermination camp (or killing center)
•    Vorzugslager : Preferential camp
•    Wohnlager : Housing units
•    Zwangsarbeitslager : Forced (slave) labor camp

 

1933


February 22
Initial plans made for the detention camp Oranienburg in Prussia.

February 27
Mass arrest of about 10,000 opponents of the government (primarily communists) within the Third Reich.

March
Wave of arrests in conjunction with the forthcoming national elections.

25,000 people taken into "protective custody" during March and April in Prussia alone. Those taken into custody are initially placed by the SA and the SS into the rapidly overflowing facilities of the Justice department, and then into "rough" concentration camps established in empty factories, schools, or at former SA locations.

March 9
Reichsleader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, becomes president of the police commission in Munich.

March 20
Himmler orders construction of the first concentration camp near Dachau, to be guarded by the SS (as of April).

April
The commander of Dachau, Hilmar Wackerle, releases a concentration camp directive pertaining to martial law, jurisdiction of the commander, and the death penalty.

April 26
The Gestapo determines the selections for the concentration camp.

Wave of arrest of union members, social democrats, as well as those "persons who in regards to party politics were especially prominent."

June
The RAD (National Labor Service) camps in the Emsland are converted to punishment camps. A concentration camp is established in the workhouse Moringen.

Theodor Eicke named new commander of Dachau.

July
According to official reports, 26,789 persons are in protective custody in July 1933.

October 1
Theodor Eicke expands the punishment directives at Dachau. These "disciplinary and punishment directives for prison camps" become effective for all concentration camps until the end of the war.

October 14
The minister of the interior of Prussia decrees that protective custody can only be fulfilled in those camps that have officially been declared concentration camps. In Prussia the following pass as concentration camps: Papenburg, Sonnenburg, Lichtenburg, Brandenburg, as well as the political sections of Brauweiler and Moringen.

October
Moringen made into a camp for women. Male prisoners are sent to Oranienburg.

November 17
First non-political detainees from institutes of the Justice Department are sent to concentration camps. Dachau receives 100 prisoners from the workhouse Rebdorf.

November 24
Law passed pertaining to dangerous habitual criminals. Unlimited detention in a concentration camp can be inflicted after two convictions for criminal offenses.


1934


March
Most "rough" concentration camps within Prussia are dissolved during the spring.

April
Those responsible for mistreatment in the concentration camp Stettin are sentenced to several years of imprisonment.

April 12
Edict issued by the Justice department against the "improper usage of protective custody" (valid until 1938).

April 20
Himmler is made Chief of the Gestapo and appoints Reinhard Heydrich head of the Gestapo in Prussia.

April 23
Concentration camps Sonnenburg and Brandenburg are closed.

May
Himmler commissions Eicke to reorganize all concentration camps. Dachau becomes the obligatory example.

May 25
The camps in the Emsland are placed under the jurisdiction of the Justice department. The SA provides the guards.

June 30
The SA camp at Oranienburg becomes a federal concentration camp.

July
Following removal of power from the SA, the SS is assigned the responsibility for the concentration camps. At the end of 1934, the concentration camp guard association becomes a special arm of the SS.

July 7
Eicke becomes "Inspector of Concentration Camps and of SS Guard Associations."

July 20
The SS becomes an independent organization of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party), reporting directly to Hitler.

December 10
All concentration camps are placed under the "Inspekteur der KL" (Inspector for Concentration Camps, or IKL) reporting to SS Headquarters. (Exception: The concentration camp Kislau remains under the Interior Ministry of Baden.)


1935


January 8
The Gestapo prison Columbia-Haus in Berlin becomes a concentration camp.

March
Subordinate to the IKL are: Dachau, Esterwegen, Richtenburg, Sachsenhausen, Columbia-Haus, Oranienburg, and Fuhlsbuttel, with ostensibly 7,000 to 9,000 prisoners (official statement).

Concentration camp Oranienburg is closed.

May 15
In the Hohnstein trial in Dresden, SA members who staffed the Hohenstein camp are sentenced to prison for mistreating concentration camp prisoners. In November they are pardoned, without exception.

October
As a reaction to criticism from the Justice Department on the increasing number of "unnatural deaths" in concentration camps, the Gestapo releases behavior guidelines for the guards.

December
Concentration camp Sachsenburg is dissolved.


1936


February 2
Statute issued by Gestapo in Prussia: Edicts and affairs of the Gestapo are not subject to review of the administrative courts. Realistically this leads, among other things, to an extension of custody.

March 3
Edict issued pertaining to more severe conditions for confinement of repeat offenders.

June 5
The concentration camp Esterwegen is closed and beginning in 1937 is converted into a punishment prison under the Justice department. The prisoners are ordered to build the concentration camp Sachsenhausen.

August
Construction of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen near Oranienburg is completed.

November 5
The concentration camp Columbia-Haus is dissolved.


1937


January 23
Himmler discloses that about 8,000 prisoners are in concentration camps for protective custody.

February 23
Directive by Himmler: On March 9 about 2,000 "professional and habitual criminals" in the country are to be arrested, in a mass strike, and sent to concentration camps.

June 12
Secret edit by Heydrich: "Jewish race-violators" are to be placed into protective custody after completion of their sentence from the Justice department.

July 15
Construction of concentration camp Buchenwald by the inmates of the concentration camp Lichtenburg begins.

August
Arrests take place of "elements detrimental to the people," so-called asocials, homosexuals, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The concentration camp Lichtenburg is made into a concentration camp for women.

December 14
Edict of the National Ministry of the Interior pertaining to "the fight for the prevention of crime." The Kripo (criminal police) can initiate commitment to a concentration camp for precautionary reasons.


1938


January 25
New edict on protective custody by the National Ministry of the Interior: Protective custody cannot be served in institutions of the justice system. Instead, in the future it must be completed in concentration camps. In the future the only agency that can commit prisoners to concentration camps is the National Headquarters of the Secret State Police. (Previously, it was, among others, the president of the government.)

January 26
Internal general edict by Himmler gives notice of comprehensive "measures" against "elements avoiding work." Employment offices are to report among others, those capable of work who have twice declined jobs that were offered, or those who left work after a short time.

March
In the spring the SS starts its own construction material production. Establishment of the SS-owned "Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH" (German Soil and Stoneworks, Ltd.). First undertaking is a major brick factory in Sachsenhausen and one near Buchenwald. Business planning was followed by the completion of, and the staffing selections for, the concentration camps Mauthausen, Flossenburg, Natzweiler, and Neuengamme.

Mass arrests following the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria. For the first time thousands of foreigners are placed in German concentration camps.

Mass operation against asocials during March and April: so-called "work-shirkers" will be primarily assigned to Buchenwald.

March 21
The female prisoners at Moringen are transferred to the women's concentration camp Lichtenburg.

May 3
Construction starts on the concentration camp Flossenburg.

June 1
New, comprehensive operation against asocials (beggars, Gypsies, vagrants, bullies, prostitutes) in Austria and Germany. (The accomplishment of the difficult four-year-plan required the usage of all elements of society for labor).

July
Construction starts on the concentration camp Mauthausen near Linz, Austria.

August 17
Hitler directs that in case of a war the guard duties for concentration camps are to be taken over by older members of the "general SS." About 4,000 members over forty-five years of age are trained.

September
Construction starts on the concentration camp Neuengamme. It is initially a satellite labor camp of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen, but after June 4, 1940, it becomes an independent concentration camp.

October 1
Following the annexation of the Sudetenland, a wave of arrests of political opponents is started.

November 9
Due to the arrest of about 35,000 Jews during Kristallnacht, the number of prisoners in concentration camps increases from about 25,000 to about 60,000.

December 24
Heydrich advises the Gestapo leadership to investigate the reasons for the arrests of current prisoners, since the concentration camps are completely overfilled.


1939


January
Construction starts on the concentration camp Ravensbruck.

January 31
Bulletin by Heydrich: Jews can only be released from protective custody if they can present documentation for emigration. A return to the concentration camp calls for imprisonment for life in the camp.

April 10
Report by the Gestapo for the period 1933-39:

The number of prisoners in protective custody: 162,734

The number accused of political activities: 27,396

The number sentenced because of political activities: 112,432

May
The women's concentration camp of Lichtenburg is closed. The women are transferred to the larger women's concentration camp Ravensbruck.

The first prisoners from the "Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia" are assigned to concentration camps.

June 26
The first encroachment on the civil rights of foreign workers is issued in a Gestapo edict. Czechs deemed unwilling to work, politically active, or having "anti-state beliefs" are to be placed into protective custody.

September
Directive by Hitler: German women who become intimately involved with prisoners of war are to be openly discriminated against and punished (they are to be pilloried, their hair is to be close- cropped, and they are to be sent to concentration camps).

Opening of the Stutthof camp near Danzig. It is initially a camp for civilian prisoners and an SS Sonderlager (a special SS camp for, among others, punishable SS members). In January 1942, it becomes a concentration camp.

German and Austrian anti-fascists are arrested for precautionary reasons and assigned to concentration camps.

At the beginning of World War II about 25,000 people are in concentration camps.

September 3
Edict issued that executions by the SS are to be performed in the concentration camps.

September 9
Directive by the Gestapo: Polish citizens who behave improperly are to be assigned to special sections at Dachau.

September 20
Edict of September 3 is put into action.

September 21
Heydrich orders the ghettoization of the Polish Jews. As a "precaution" the Jews are to be moved out of the newly acquired areas and concentrated in the larger cities of the Generalgouvernement that are located near railroad centers. The first major ghetto is established in December 1939 in Lodz (Litzmannstadt).

September 27
Dachau is temporarily closed until February 18, 1940, because it is to be used as a training camp for the SS Death's Head units. Inmates of Dachau are sent to the concentration camp Mauthausen.

October
The first ghetto in the territory of the Generalgouvernement is erected in Piotrkow Trybunalski.

Opening of the SS-Sonderlager Hinzert in the Hunsruck.

Directive by Himmler: "Work shirkers" with previous convictions are to be placed into concentration camps.

October 10
First deportation of Jews from Austria and Czechoslovakia to occupied Poland.

October 24
General order by the RSHA (Central Security Department of the Reich): Releases from protective custody are not to take place, in general, during the war.

November 14
Theodor Eicke becomes commander of all of the SS Death's Head units. Richard Glucks becomes the new inspector of concentration camps.

November 15
Start of the deportations of almost 200,000 Poles and 100,000 Jews from the German territory Wartheland into the Generalgouvernement.

December 23
Edict from the Supreme Command of the SS: "Work- avoiding" Poles who leave their work place without permission are to be sent to concentration camps.


1940


February
Order by the Supreme Command of the SS: "Protective custody camps for youths" (Moringen, Uckermark, Litzmannstadt/Lodz) are to be erected and placed under the jurisdiction of the Central Security Office of the Reich (RSHA).

February 12
Beginning of the deportation of about 95,000 Jews from the federal territory Danzig (Stralsund, Scheidemuhl, Stettin), as well as from Vienna, Maehrisch-Ostrau, Brno, and Prague to the "Federal territory Lublinland." The brutality of the deportations from Stettin causes a sensation in the foreign press.

March 8
Edicts issued pertaining to Poles: "As a countermeasure to opposition movements and the failure to conform to work obligations, work education camps" are to be erected.

April 4
A commission of specialists from the German army and the SS make an on-site visit to Auschwitz.

April 30
The major ghetto in Lodz (Litzmannstadt), now containing 160,400 people, is changed into an enclosed ghetto, with the death penalty declared for any unauthorized departure from it.

Start of the Sinti and Roma (Gypsy) deportations from Germany proper into the Generalgouvernement.

May 5
Rudolf Hoess becomes commander of the new concentration camp Auschwitz.

May 16
RSHA (Central Security Office of the Reich) order: Local Gestapo stations may send protective custody requests and extensions using telegraphic services to Berlin.

May 25
The commander of the camp at Emsland, reporting to the justice administration, orders that "passive resistance" is to be broken by "direct force" (i.e., punished by beatings).

June 14
The first 728 Polish prisoners arrive in Auschwitz to construct the camp.

The first documents to justify the existence of "work education camps" are issued. The RSHA allows the construction of a camp in Hunswinkel near Luedenscheid. Other camps follow for test purposes.

July 1
SS-Sonderlager Hinzert and the annexed police detention camp are placed under the jurisdiction of the Inspector of Concentration Camps.

July 2
The first Dutch prisoners arrive at Buchenwald.

July 15
The security camp Schirmeck-Vorbruck is built in the annexed territory of Alsace.

August 2
Gross-Rosen in Lower Silesia becomes a satellite station of Sachsenhausen. (On May 10, 1941, it becomes an independent concentration camp.)

August 15
The first "protective custody camp for youths" (for male "pupils") is opened at Moringen.

September 3
Edicts pertaining to Poles are intensified.

September 13
Framework for orders pertaining to "restrictions for residence" (ghetto formation) for Jews in the Generalgouvernement. A major ghetto is created in Warsaw during October and November through the "closure" of many smaller ghettos in surrounding Jewish villages.

October 10
Himmler makes SS-Oberfuerer (Senior Colonel) Schmelt responsible for the "Jewish labor pool in Upper Silesia." (Organization Schmelt)

October 22
Jews from Baden and Pfalz are deported in nine freight trains that follow a westerly direction. The Jews are sent, among other places, to the internment camp at Gurs, France. During 1942 they were again deported, this time to the extermination camps in the east.

December
Order by the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party, i.e., Nazis): "To guarantee the cleanliness of German blood," companies are to establish houses of prostitution for their foreign laborers from allied countries, as well as for workers from the west. Only foreigners are permitted to be prostitutes.


1941


January 2
Himmler and Heydrich plan three categories of concentration camps.

Type 1: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Auschwitz I For "prisoners in protective custody who are without question capable of improvement," as well as for special cases and for solidary confinements.

Type 2: Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Neuengamme, Auschwitz II For "prisoners in protective custody still capable of improvement."

Type 3: Mauthausen For "prisoners in protective custody who are beyond rehabilitation."

In reality, these divisions essentially played no role.

March 1
Himmler and representatives from I. G. Farben make an on-site visit to Auschwitz to examine the camp's possibilities for expansion. They conclude that the camp can accommodate 10,000 more prisoners for the construction of the Buna-Works.

April
Major ghettos are established in Lublin and Radom, Poland.

April 4
"Aktion 14 F 13" (also known as "Invalidenaktion," i.e., program for the handicapped): First documented proof of the murder of specially picked "handicapped" concentration camp prisoners in an extermination facility of the "Euthanasia" Program.

April 14
First mass arrests of Jews in Paris.

May 28
Edict by the RSHA pertaining to work education detention: The maximum period of detention is increased from six to seven weeks. Improvement and specialization was accomplished in between approved disciplinary actions.

September 3
At Auschwitz hundreds of Soviet prisoners of war are murdered during "test gassings" with Zyklon B in Block II (Bunker).

October
Within Germany 2,139,553 foreign workers (including 1,007,561 Poles) are registered.

Within Germany the Gestapo arrests 15,160 persons. This is ten times the yearly quota for protective custody arrests during 1935-36.

Start of plans for a camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau (initially as a prisoner of war camp). Auschwitz II alone occupies an area of 175 hectares (approximately 433 acres); in 1943, it contains 100,000 prisoners, becoming the largest single camp.

Soviet prisoners of war are murdered in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen during "test gassings" in converted vehicles.

Majdanek, later to become a concentration camp, is opened as an SS prisoner of war camp.

October 14
Mass deportations of Jews from Germany to the east (Kovno, Lodz, Minsk, Riga) begin.

November
First mass shootings of deported German Jews near Riga.

November 11
700,000 Soviet prisoners of war work in Germany. They are primarily forced laborers for the army and the SS, but some also work in industry.

From Hermann Goering's guidelines on the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war: "Procurement of own food (cats, horses, etc.). Clothing, lodgings, subsistence, somewhat better than at home where these people, in part, live in caves."

November 21
Deaths of Jewish prisoners in concentration camps are only being registered on summary lists.

November 24
Theresienstadt, the so-called ghetto for the elderly, is established. It becomes the transit station on the way to the extermination camps for Jews from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and for Jews from Germany (men over sixty-five years old, women over fifty-five years old, children under fourteen years old, Jewish spouses from mixed marriages, and the offspring of mixed marriages).

December
Within Germany 51,000 laborers and 40,000 foreign laborers are arrested during the last six months of 1941 because of "work stoppages" or "breach of labor contracts."

A major ghetto is established in Lemberg (Lvov), Ukraine.

December 8
Gassings start at Chelmno (Kulmhof), the first large camp built exclusively for the mass extermination of human beings. Except for a one year interruption from March 1943 to April 1944, the camp existed until January 1945.


1942


January
Approximately 500 Sinti and Roma (Gypsies) are transported from Lodz to Chelmno and are gassed there.

Deportations from Germany to Theresienstadt begin.

A special tax is enacted for "workers from the east."

January 26
Himmler announces that within the next four weeks 100,000 Jewish men and 50,000 Jewish women will be sent to concentration camps as forced laborers.

January 31
The report from the SS Einsatzgruppe A summarizes that during the massacre of 70,000 Latvian Jews, 3,750 skilled tradesmen were left alive. During November and December 1941 alone, Einsatzgruppe A murdered the following number of Latvian Jews: 11,034 in Duenaberg (Daugavpils), 27,800 in Riga, and 2,350 in Libau.

The number of Jews living in Polish ghettos is estimated to be between 1.2 to 1.5 million.

February 2
"Geschaeftsgruppe Arbeitseinsatz" (Business Unit for Labor Placement) head Mansfeld complains that each week 8,000 to 10,000 civilian laborers come to Germany whose health rapidly deteriorates because of bad nutrition and housing.

February 20
Edicts issued that pertain to workers from the east.

March
Demands are made for the improvement of the quality of life for workers from the east.

Construction of the extermination camp Sobibor begins.

Exterminations continue at the Belzec camp.

March 16
Concentration camps are subordinated to the WVHA (Chief Office of Economic Administration). The number of slave laborers from the concentration camps working in the armamentss industry grows rapidly. At this time, approximately 100,000 prisoners are in concentration camps.

March 17
Start of "Aktion Reinhard" with the deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec.

March 20
Gassings start at Auschwitz II (Birkenau) in Bunker 1, and as of June, in Bunker 2. Both are considered temporary installations with insufficient capacity. Construction will begin mid-year on larger and faster installations, which will go into operation in early 1943.

March 27
Joseph Goebbels' daybook entry about the "resettlement of Jews": "Here a fairly barbaric process is utilized. Of the Jews themselves, not much remains."

March 30
First mass deportations from the west (Compiegne) arrive at Auschwitz.

April
Test gassings conducted in the completed gas chambers at Sobibor.

The "edicts pertaining to workers from the east" are somewhat reduced by the RSHA, while at the same time the penalties are increased for "insubordination" at the work place.

April 17
Due to general difficulties in obtaining provisions, the extremely low subsistence amounts for Soviet prisoners of war are further reduced.

May
Selections start at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Those capable of work are temporarily spared from being gassed.

Jews in Semlin, a police detention camp near Belgrade, are gassed in a van transferred from Berlin.

Construction of the extermination camp Treblinka begins.

May 5
The deaths of concentration camp prisoners no longer have to be reported to the next of kin, only to the responsible Stapo (State Police) station.

May 31
Labor camp Monowitz (later to become Auschwitz III) is opened and stocked with prisoners used for the construction of the Buna-Works (I. G. Farben).

June
Except for the Lodz ghetto, all other ghettos in the Reichsgau (Federal Territory) Wartheland are dissolved through "resettlements." Major deportations of Jews from France and Austria to Auschwitz begin.

Due to the construction caused by expansion, gassings are suspended at Belzec.

To date, twenty vans for gas killings have been delivered by the RSHA (Central Security Office of the Reich).

June 30
The pay schedule for laborers from the east comes under new regulations. No foreign worker can receive higher wages or enjoy better working conditions than German workers.

July
Transports to Auschwitz of Jews from German territory (beginning with Berlin and Hamburg) and Holland begin.

Soviet prisoners of war are killed at Chelmno.

Due to the construction caused by expansion, gassings at Sobibor are suspended until October.

July 19
Himmler orders that the extermination of the Jewish population in the Generalgouvernement, dubbed "Aktion Reinhard," is to be completed by December 31, 1942. The objective was not quite reached by this date. The three death camps (Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka) built and used to accomplish this goal are closed one by one between late 1942 and late 1943.

July 23
Mass gassings in the extermination camp Treblinka begin.

July 28
Albert Ganzenmueller (Director of National Railroads) reports to Himmler that since July 22, a train carrying 5,000 Jews from Warsaw arrives each day in Treblinka and a train carrying 5,000 Jews from Przemysl arrives each week in Belzec.

July 31
1,000 Jews from Theresienstadt are taken to Baranowitsche and gassed in vans.

August
Transports of Jews from Belgium (Malines) to Auschwitz begin.

Transports of Jews from Vienna and Theresienstadt to the extermination camp Maly Trostinec begin.

In spite of the dire consequences, the desperate situation of the prisoners leads to increases in the number of escape attempts: 14,583 prisoners of war in August 1942 and a monthly average of 45,000 foreign workers, primarily workers from the east.

August 22
The work week for foreign workers is increased to 54 hours.

September 18
The ghetto Theresienstadt reaches its maximum number of inmates: 58,491 men, women, and children.

Edict by Himmler: Prisoners of the justice system capable of work are to be transferred to concentration camps for forced labor. Judicial control over Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, and Gypsy prisoners falls under the SS.

October
Gassings begin in the concentration camp Majdanek (near Lublin).

October 10
Subsistence rations are increased approximately 10 percent, even for Soviet workers.

October 27
Himmler orders the liquidation of the last huge Ukrainian ghetto in Pinsk.

October 29
Wages for foreign workers are completely changed over to piece work payments.

November 5
Order issued that all Jews in concentration camps within Germany are to be deported to Auschwitz and Majdanek (Lublin). As of November 26, 1942, it also applies to Jews working in the armaments industry.

December
Despite centralized attempts to reduce the brutality in the camps (beatings, standings at attention) in order to increase the ability of the prisoners to work, the death rate in the second half of 1942 reaches a peak (around 60 percent) due to poor housing, nutrition, and hygiene.

December 1
The "Polen-Jugendverwahrlager Litzmannstadt" (Camp for the custody of Polish youth in Lodz") opens.

December 15
The RSHA urges the establishment of "divisions for education," which will report to labor education camps. Within the coming months, many of these education camps are established within businesses.

December 17
In order to achieve the goal of obtaining 350,000 more prisoners capable of working by the end of February 1943, the head of the Sipo (Security Police) decides that foreign workers are to be sent to the closest concentration camp immediately upon any breach of the work contract. Work education camps and detention camps are to be combed for able prisoners for transfer to concentration camps.

December 29
In an report to Hitler, Himmler notes that 363,211


1943


January
As the only camp west of the German border, the former police detention camp at Herzogenbusch in Holland is placed on an equal level with a concentration camp.

A section for girls between the ages of eight and sixteen is established at the youth custody camp in Lodz. Later, children between the ages of two and six years were sent to the same section.

More and more satellite camps, the so-called "Aussenkommandos," are built outside of the main concentration camps. They are officially designated as labor camps or SS labor camps.

January 20
The Inspector of Concentration Camps advises his commanders to use all resources to reduce the death rate in the camps. At the same time camp doctors give direction that sick and debilitated prisoners are to be killed.

February
1,622,000 prisoners of war and 4,121,000 foreign laborers are working in Germany.

February 20
A section is opened in the Sonderlager (Special Camp) Hinzert to which Polish civilian workers are sent for six months for fraternizing with German women. While there, they are to be examined for their "suitability for Germanization."

February 26
Effective immediately, workers from the east who were only temporarily sent to a concentration camp can no longer be discharged.

February 27
Jewish workers in the armaments industry are arrested at their work stations and deported to Auschwitz with their families.

March
Transports of Jews from Greece to Auschwitz begin.

A political debate on the identification markings for workers from the east begins.

Due to air raids, almost 10,000 foreign laborers become homeless in Essen. Many camps for foreigners are destroyed.

March 11
The RSHA orders that, after the completion of their sentences, Jews are to be taken to the concentration camps Auschwitz or Majdanek/Lublin for the rest of their lives.

March 12
Creation of the SS-owned business "Ostindustrie GmbH" (East Industry, Limited) for the purpose of taking possession of Aryanized businesses in the Lublin district.

March 13
A celebration takes place at Cracow's main railroad station featuring the two thousandth transport of workers from Poland to Germany. The one millionth forced laborer is "honored."

March 22
The new death facilities at Auschwitz begin operation: Crematorium 4 on March 22, Crematorium 2 on March 31, Crematorium 5 on April 4, and Crematorium 3 on June 25.

April 7
Following the termination of transports to Chelmno, traces of the extermination process there are being obliterated.

April 9
Majdanek is officially designated a concentration camp. It contained gas chambers since the fall of 1942, but was not a first-line extermination camp. Instead it was a forced labor camp and, after the establishment of the "Ostindustrie GmbH," a center for the SS's own business venture.

April 11
Central order to the SS doctors in the concentration camps: Prisoners are to be selected anew for the "Euthanasia Program," transferred to Hartheim, and gassed.

April 15
A notice of the RSHA work group on issues pertaining to the treatment of foreigners poses new guidelines for the treatment of foreign laborers. Everything is to be subordinate to the objective of victoriously ending the war.

April 19
At I. G. Farben AG in Ludwigshafen, 85 percent of the workers from the east are used for the heavy or heaviest work and for the specialized work, e.g. in "acid or unclean works."

April 27
General message from the Inspector of Concentration Camps to commanders: Only mentally ill prisoners can be gassed in the "Euthanasia" installations.

April 30
Construction of concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

May
The chief air raid warden in Essen closes public air raid shelters to foreigners. At Krupp the air raid shelter can accommodate only half of the foreign workers.

May 8
Deaths in concentration camps of workers from the east are to be reported only to the labor offices. No notices are to be issued for deaths in concentration camps.

May 20
A special camp named "Sued" (South) is established in the camp Esterwegen in Emsland for receiving "Nacht und Nebel" (Night and Fog) prisoners.

May 26
In order to veil the deaths, the sequential numbering of deaths reported at the registrar's office of concentration camps is to be halted. A secret code system is to be introduced.

June 11
Himmler orders the Warsaw ghetto to be razed. Also, all ghettoes in Polish or Soviet territories are to be dissolved and the Jews deported to concentration camps.

June 22
The first verifiable gassings take place in the concentration camp Stutthof. The victims are Poles and White Russians.

June 23
All "Jewish residential districts" in Galicia are dissolved. The total number of Jews receiving "Special Treatment" or "being moved out" is 430,329.

June 27
Himmler orders a complicated procedure for the "racial testing" of the newly born children of Polish women and female workers from the east. "Racially inferior" children are to be placed in the simplest kind of care centers for foreign children. The babies die in a short time due to inadequate hygiene, improper nutrition, and lack of care.

June 29
The RSHA enacts a two-step identification marking for workers from the east based on performance. A third step is planned.

July 14
"Step 2" of the identification marking for workers from the east is tied to special allotments.

July 20
Since March 2, there have been twenty transports of Jews from Holland to the extermination camp Sobibor. Of those people, 34,000 died, 19 survived.

July 23
Fritz Sauckel announces further improvements for workers from the east, justified by "excellent conduct" and "in recognition of their performance" in the fight against Bolshevism.

August
Fifty-six men and thirty women are selected in Auschwitz for their skeletons. They are transferred to the concentration camp Natzweiler and gassed. Their bodies are sent to the Anatomical Institute of the University of Strassburg.

The ghettos are "cleared out" in the important industrial cities of Sosnowiec and Bedzin. The inmates of the Polish ghetto Bialystok are deported to Theresienstadt.

The total count of inmates in concentration camps is 224,000 persons. Of these, about 74,000 are in Auschwitz, 26,000 in Sachsenhausen, and 17,000 each in Dachau and Buchenwald.

August 2
Liquidation of the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz- Birkenau: 2,897 men, women, and children are gassed.

Insurrection by prisoners at Treblinka. The extermination facilities, which had been used to murder between 700,000 and 800,000 people, are destroyed.

August 21
At the I. G. Farben factory in Oppau, workers from the east are required to work at least sixty-seven hours per week in swing shifts. Such work hours are required in many businesses.

October
Prisoners are increasingly loaned out as slave laborers to the armaments industry outside of their base camps. By the end of 1943 there are 500 concentration camp satellites assigned to industrial businesses.

"Aktion Reinhard" is officially completed after the disbandment of the three extermination camps (Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka) in the Generalgouvernement.

Start of transports from Italy to Auschwitz.

October 1
During the roundup of Danish and other Jews living in Denmark, 220 people fall into the hands of the Gestapo. About 7,500 Jews are hidden or moved to Sweden by the resistance movement.

October 14
Insurrection by prisoners at Sobibor. The extermination facilities, which had been used to murder more than 250,000 people, are destroyed.

November 22
The work day for prisoners is increased to eleven hours.

December
Foreign laborers working for Germany number 1.16 million from the west, 1.8 million from the east, and 600,000 Italian military internees.


1944


January 14
Per a directive from Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the network of "V-Maenner" (informers) among the foreign workers is expanded in order to protect against the increasingly slipping control over them.

February 14
The governor of the federal district of Wartheland reports that per Himmler's orders the extermination camp Chelmno is to be reactivated. Between May and August 1944 Jews are once again exterminated there.

March
During the retreat of the German army from the east, Soviet, Polish, and Jewish slave laborers are forcibly moved to Auschwitz. In Auschwitz, they are subjected to the selection process, and those deemed able to work are transferred to concentration camps in Germany. Numerous concentration camp satellites are created in conjunction with the movement of the armaments industry to underground facilities.

March 16
Foreign workers complain that the poor nutrition for workers from the east substantially contributes to the development of the black market, e.g., bread is sold for 10 Reichsmarks per pound by workers from the west and east.

April
Transports of Jews from Greece and Hungary begin.

Announcements of transfers, deaths, or other changes pertaining to Soviet slave laborers in concentration camps are to be immediately stopped.

April 3
Hungarian Jews are required to wear identification markings.

April 5
The SS Economic and Administrative Office reports to the Supreme Command of the SS that there are twenty concentration camps with 165 connected labor camps.

April 11
The SS orders that prisoners who have committed "sabotage" are to be publicly executed.

April 25
Creation of "Kommandos Nord" (Department North) of the prison camps in Emsland. Its camps are located in Norway, north of the arctic circle, and contain 1,404 persons.

May
Deportations of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz begin. The extermination camp reaches its maximum capacity.

The Gestapo arrests members of the resistance organization "BSW." Almost 400 Soviet prisoners of war and forced laborers are shot to death at Dachau and Mauthausen.

Hitler agrees that Jews should again be used in the armaments industry.

A care center is established in Velpke for Soviet and Polish nursing babies and small children. By December, 110 children were sent there, of which ninety-six died.

May 1
The Organizational Division of the Prisoner of War Office announces that a total of 5,165,381 Soviet soldiers fell into German captivity. By 1945 it becomes around 5.7 million, of which slightly over one million survived the camps.

June
Six transports of Hungarian Jews are brought to the preferential camp Strasshof near Vienna, where they are kept for negotiation purposes. The negotiations by the SS with Jewish aid societies, however, are unsuccessful.

Albert Speer complains to Hitler that each month, 30,000 to 40,000 escaped civilian workers and prisoners of war are taken out of the economy when they are arrested by the police and sent to concentration camps for the purposes of the SS.

June 6
"Heuaktion" (Hay Process): 40,000 to 50,000 children between the ages ten and fourteen are to be abducted in the Soviet Union and brought into Germany.

July
Prisoners from the concentration camps at Riga and Kauen are evacuated to the concentration camp Stutthof. From there, some are moved to Buchenwald or Dachau.

Termination of the Kovno ghetto.

July 24
The Soviet army liberates the concentration camp Majdanek.

August
There are 7,615,970 foreign laborers working in Germany. Every second person engaged in agriculture is a foreigner; approximately every third person in mining, construction, or the metal industry is foreign.

Since June, more than 60,000 inmates from the Lodz ghetto have been deported to Auschwitz. At the end of August about 10,000 people remain in the ghetto.

August 9
Kommando X/Group West of the camp Emsland is returned to Germany.

August 15
The total count of prisoners in concentration camps is 379,167 men and 145,119 women.

September
All "Night and Fog" prisoners must be transferred from prisons to concentration camps.

The prisoners of the concentration camp Natzweiler are relocated to the Rhine-Neckar area to work in the underground armaments factories there. The concentration camp headquarters is relocated to Guttenbach/Baden.

Since March, the Gestapo has reported on the the existence of organized resistance groups of civilian workers and prisoners of war in at least thirty-eight cities. At least 2,700 participants have been arrested.

Several members of "bands" of foreigners are publicly executed in Cologne.

September 4
In the first half of 1944, 32,236 of 181,764 Soviet prisoners of war engaged in mining have died.

October
Seizure of all Jewish "Mischlinge" (offspring of mixed parents) in Germany for use in a "restricted work pool."

More than 2.8 million people from the Soviet Union (prisoners of war and civilian laborers) are working in German territory.

Since May more than 88,000 inmates from the ghetto Theresienstadt have been deported to Riga, Minsk, Lublin, and Auschwitz. About 3,500 of them survived.

October 7
Revolt in the crematorium section of Auschwitz- Birkenau. The prisoners blow up one crematorium before being killed.

October 21
Jews who previously were protected because of their "Aryan" spouses are deported from Germany.

The RSHA permits Gestapo sites to conduct executions of foreign laborers based on their own authority.

November 1
The Buchenwald satellite Dora becomes an independent concentration camp named Mittelbau- Dora as well as the center for the underground aircraft and v-armament production in the areas of Thuringen and Harz.

November 30
A lawsuit against the commander and the SS guards of the concentration camp Majdanek is heard in a Polish court.

December
German authorities start to "evacuate" foreign laborers to the east.

December 1
On orders of Himmler the crematoriums and gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau are to be dismantled and blown up.

December 11
The last gassing in the "euthanasia" facility Hartheim occurs. The estimated number of people murdered there is 30,000. Since April 11, 1944, 3,228 people were killed in the concentration camp Mauthausen and the adjacent camp of Gusen.


1945


January 10
The murder begins of female prisoners no longer able to work at the dissolved "protective custody camp for youths" of Uckermark, which is adjacent to Ravensbruck, the concentration camp the women.

January 15
The total number of prisoners in concentration camps is 714,211. The number of guards is 40,000.

January 16
Liberation of the ghetto and the "Polish Youth Custody Camp" at Lodz.

January 18
The SS begins evacuating Auschwitz and its satellite camps.

January 19
The SS-Sonderlager Hinzert becomes a satellite of the concentration camp Buchenwald.

January 27
Auschwitz is liberated by the Red Army.

February
Arrests are increasing of workers from the east charged with "belonging to bands." Many are tortured in order to force "confessions."

February 1
Commando X/Group West at Lendringsen becomes an independent penal camp.

March
Himmler orders that camps are to be cleared as the enemy approaches. At least one third of those registered in January as concentration camp prisoners die during death marches and mass executions.

The Gestapo prisons overflow with workers from the east. The Gestapo shoots thousands of slave laborers and concentration camp prisoners in many towns until mid-April.

March 3
Prisoners in the SS-Sonderlager Hinzert are evacuated.

April
In the satellite camp of Gusen, 684 sick persons are exterminated. In the main camp of Mauthausen, 1,441 sick prisoners are exterminated.

April 6
The prisoners of the "protective custody camp for youths" Moringen are sent on a death march to the east. Those remaining in camp because of their inability to march are liberated on April 9.

April 11
Inmates free themselves at the concentration camp Buchenwald.

April 15
British troops liberate concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

April 20
Of the 140,937 people sent to Theresienstadt, 33,521 had died in the camp. About 23,000 people survived this so-called "preferential camp."

April 28
Austrian resistance fighters are the last victims of gassings at Mauthausen.

May 8
Soviet troops liberate Theresienstadt.

At the end of the war, about six million foreign slave laborers (male and female), about two million foreign prisoners of war, and about 750,000 predominantly foreign prisoners in concentration camps were found on German territory.

 

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