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Lichtenburg - f.KL (Frauen-Konzentrationslager) KL + Außenlager

Article about: Before the establishment of f.KL-Ravensbrück, the only major concentration camp established primarily to hold female inmates, the majority of women deemed a threat to the National Socialist

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    Default Lichtenburg - f.KL (Frauen-Konzentrationslager) KL + Außenlager

    Before the establishment of f.KL-Ravensbrück, the only major concentration camp established primarily to hold female inmates, the majority of women deemed a threat to the National Socialist state were housed at Schloß Lichtenburg. From as early as 1933, a concentration camp had been in operation at the site in Prettin, south of Berlin. During the early years of its existence however, Lichtenburg held male inmates. From 1937, women were held at the castle until it was eventually closed in May 1939, when the female inmates were transferred to the newly established major camp at Ravensbrück.

    The Renaissance castle in Saxony, used to hold the prisoners, received its first inmates during late spring 1933. One of the first concentration camps established by Nazi Germany, it served as a model of sorts for future camps before eventual closure after some six years in operation. The vast majority of prisoners were political prisoners although homosexuals and repeat offenders were also incarcerated at Lichtenburg from 1934.

    Several notable individuals were appointed as Kommandant or held other prominent positions at the camp, including Theodor Eicke (Kommandant during spring/summer 1934), Karl Koch (later served at several other camps including Buchenwald and Lublin-Majdanek), Egon Zill (later, Kommandant at Natzweiler-Struthof and Floßenbürg) and Günther Tamaschke who would hold the title of director of the women's camp until its closure, then moving to the newly established women's camp at Ravensbrück. The sadistic Aufseherin Juana Bormann, later executed for her crimes, was among the fifty women appointed to guard inmates at Lichtenburg. Bormann's nicknames of "the woman with dogs" and "wiesel" need no further explanation.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Lichtenburg1.jpg   Lichtenburg2.jpg  

    Lichtenburg3.jpg   Lichtenburg4.jpg  

    J.Bormann.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

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    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  2. #2

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    Thanks Carl,
    I enjoy reading your KZ posts.
    gregM
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  3. #3

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    thanks Carl nice info as always.

  4. #4
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    Thank you gents.

    To continue...

    Lichtenburg, correctly designated as a Sammellager (collection camp / assembly camp), was, until 1937, strictly used to hold male prisoners - until they were transported to Buchenwald in the August of that year. From late in the year, it began to serve as a holding site for female inmates, becoming a Frauen-Konzentrationslager (women's concentration camp).

    Designed to hold approximately 1,000 Schutzhäftlinge (protective custody prisoners), the camp was soon overcrowded, holding 1,600 just a few months after its establishment - a figure that soon rose to over 2,000.

    By late spring 1934, Eicke had reorganised Lichtenburg along the lines of Dachau, the model camp, including a comprehensive thorough view of operation, with all aspects such as discipline, mistreatment, punishment etc considered in typically elaborate detail. Eicke, serving as Kommandant from May 1934, was followed in the role by Bernhard Schmidt, Otto Reich, Hermann Baranowski and finally, Hans Helwig. Three others, Tamaschke (mentioned earlier), Alex Piorkowski and Max Koegel, held the position of Kommandant during the camp's existence as a Frauenlager.

    Female inmates arrived first in December 1937, some 200 from Moringen. In less than a year, the predetermined capacity had once more been passed, this time, over 800 women were held at Lichtenburg, some 25% over the intended total decided beforehand. Estimates state around 1,500 women were held in the camp during its existence - following over 5,000 men who were held there earlier. During the final transports of spring 1939, almost 1,000 women were sent to f.KL-Ravensbrück. During 1937-1939, women of Jewish origin were assigned the most difficult work detail, patently showing the antisemitic characteristics of early National Socialist terror. As stated earlier, homosexuals were also incarcerated at the camp, as were Zigeuner ("Gypsies") and almost 500 Jehovah's Witnesses, of whom over 80% were women.

    Building work, garden detail and duties specifically designed to break the prisoners both physically and psychologically, such as Wasserschöpfen (water drawing) performed in sub-zero temperatures were among the common work postings at Lichtenburg.

    The roll call / exercise yard, shown above, was known by the inmates as the Todeskurve (Death Curve). Dunkel-Arrest (confinement in total darkness), beatings and a Stehzelle (standing cell) were regular features for the inmates who endured poor conditions at the hand of their SS masters. Although only 20 victims were officially recorded, more obviously fell victim to the camp and its staff. Deaths within the torture rooms were typically recorded as suicides.

    Post war, almost none of the former staff were tried in direct connection to actions at the camp, largely due to their later positions held at larger, worse camps - such as Egon Zill, who followed his service at Lichtenburg with spells at Ravensbrück, Dachau, Natzweiler-Struthof and Floßenbürg. Zill was sentenced to life in 1955 but released early.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

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    Außenlager Prettin-Lichtenburg

    Over two years after its closure, the camp was once more utilised within the concentration camp system, this time, serving as a satellite of the main camp at Sachsenhausen.

    From early October 1941, Lichtenburg became a lowly populated site which operated for over three years. Some 15 inmates from Sachsenhausen arrived to work at the Bekleidungslager (clothing production camp) under the guard of 10 SS staff who remained at the site after the vast majority of their detachment had left for Prague, to be trained in preparation for action on the Eastern Front. In March 1942, another 50 prisoners from Sachsenhausen arrived to be used as labour detail in the SS Arsenal Administrative Office, independent of the Bekleidungslager yet still located at Lichtenburg.

    Staff

    Obersturmführer Germann Cristel was chief of the clothing production camp until he was replaced by Sturmführer Hans Koch, with Kaspar Wallner also holding a position of authority at the Bekleidungslager. The SS guards at Lichtenburg varied in age from 31 to 46.

    The Final Days

    The camp functioned until late April 1945, when the advance of the Red Army forced the SS to flee. Remaining prisoners escaped although it is unknown if any were killed during the latter stages.

    Memory / Today

    A memorial site was established back in 1965, with redevelopment considered after 1990. In 2004, the memorial closed. Today, located within the castle courtyard, an open exhibition administered by the Saxony-Anhalt Memorials Foundation, along with a recent documentation centre and permanent exhibition are able to be seen by visitors.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Lichtenburg5.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

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    Great info Carl!......
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

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    Once again Carl you have blessed us with an interesting and fully researched thread, thank you. I only have one question, and that is,
    " what was, and is the post war use of this site"? You're picture's look great so I assume that it is a museum with full public access? Leon.

    EDIT: You have answered my question with an update whilst I was typing!!
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  8. #8
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    Quote by FALLSCHIRMJAGER View Post
    Once again Carl you have blessed us with an interesting and fully researched thread, thank you. I only have one question, and that is,
    " what was, and is the post war use of this site"? You're picture's look great so I assume that it is a museum with full public access? Leon.

    EDIT: You have answered my question with an update whilst I was typing!!
    Thank you Leon.

    The former workshop buildings are now utilised to house the exhibition, titled "Es ist böse Zeit..." - Die Konzentrationslager im Schloß Lichtenburg 1933-1945 ("It is an evil time..." - The Concentration Camp in Lichtenburg Castle 1933-1945). Also open to visitors is the former bunker, the centre of punishment on site. Within the two floor exhibition, a certain focus is placed upon the early camp system and its development - using Lichtenburg as an example.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

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