Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof - Sandkasten massacre
On 17th February 1943 after evening roll call, Josef Kramer, the third of five Kommandants at KL-Natzweiler-Struthof, reached into his pocket and withdrew a sheet of paper. On it were the names of a group of prisoners from Ballersdorf, a village in the south of Alsace who were incarcerated at the camp. Kramer proceeded to read aloud the 13 names on the list, before all other inmates were ordered back to their barracks. The nervous young men remained stood on the Appellplatz wondering what lay ahead. Soon after, they were lead out of the camp under SS guard, turning left as they reached the road that overlooks the camp. Just a few moments later, they reached the spot shown in the attachment below. The Sandkasten (sand pit) was the location chosen by the SS to murder the group of prisoners, who were cut down by machine gun fire. Inmates back at the camp later remembered the incident, stating that after the short pause from when they themselves had returned to their barracks, they were startled by the sound of nearby machine gun fire. Shortly, the blood soaked bodies of their former fellow inmates were unceremoniously dragged back to the main camp and dumped on the Appellplatz. The young men, killed because they had earlier dodged being drafted into the Wehrmacht, are remembered by the commemorative marker shown below.