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SS-Sammellager Mechelen

Article about: SS-SAMMELLAGER MECHELEN: Located in the Dossin Kazerne, originally a Hapsburg Empire structure dating back to the 1750's, the former Belgian Army barracks were utilised by the SS as a Sammel

  1. #1
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    Default SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    SS-SAMMELLAGER MECHELEN:

    Located in the Dossin Kazerne, originally a Hapsburg Empire structure dating back to the 1750's, the former Belgian Army barracks were utilised by the SS as a Sammellager (assembly camp) during the second world war.

    The KL site:

    The site was used for the collection and Belgium's Jews and Roma, mostly from the Antwerp area which had a heavy concentration of Jewish residents. As with other Konzentrationslagers of the assembly nature, most deaths came later, following the numerous transports that left the camp. However, several hundred are estimated to have died at the Sammellager.

    Transports:

    The first transport arrived near the end of July 1942, bringing Jews from Antwerp. Only a week later, Jews were being sent to their deaths on the first transport to leave Mechelen. A total of 28 transports eventually left the camp, with over 25,000 Jews and 352 Roma departing for KL-Auschwitz and Arbeitslager Heydebreck-Cosel. Between August and December of 1942, transports of 1,000 Jews left for Auschwitz twice a month. The last transport, "Transport-Z" ("Z" = "Zigeuner" - Roma), left early in 1944, taking its victims to KL-Auschwitz, where they were later killed. By war's end, only 1,240 of those deported had survived, barely 5%. More than half of all Belgian Jews to die in the Holocaust went through Mechelen.

    The Staff:

    Mostly German, led by Kommandant Philipp Schmitt from the nearby Konzentrationslager Breendonk, with acting Kommandant Rudolph Steckmann handling duties on site. Schmitt was later executed for war crimes.

    Acts of Resistance:

    During 1942-1943, several trains destined for Auschwitz were derailed on their way out of the country, due to the underground activity of the Belgian-Jewish Underground and Belgian Resistance forces. This intervention allowed an estimated 500 Jews to escape. The "20th Transport" was stopped at Boortmeerbeek Train Station, 10km from Mechelen, on 19.4.1942 by a group of resistance fighters. Approximately 230 prisoners managed to escape, of whom 90 were recaptured and 26 were shot by train escort guards.

    Evacuation and Liberation:

    The Germans fled the site on 3rd September 1944, leaving behind some 527 prisoners. Allied forces arrived and liberated the site the following day.


    Images:

    1. Period image of the Sammellager in use.

    2. Recent view taken within the former assembly yard.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-YARD (6).jpg   MECH-YARD (2).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    assembly yard:

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-YARD (3).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    closer views of the prisoner accommodation blocks:
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-HÄFTL.jpg   MECH-HÄFTL (2).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    HAUPTEINGANG (Main Entrance):

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-HAUPTEINGANG.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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    TRANSPORT:

    Located at the side of the road, an eternal reminder to those who pass by, of the torment endured within the Mechelen camp.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-EXTERIOR (2).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  6. #6

    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen

    many thanks tiger88.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    Sammellager Mechelen (Assembly Camp Mechelen):

    Exterior views:

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-EXTERIOR (3).jpg   MECH-EXTERIOR (5).jpg  

    MECH-EXTERIOR (4).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen

    Quote by harryamb2 View Post
    many thanks tiger88.

    Thank you Harry.

    Next, an image of the commemorative marker, located to the side of the Haupteingang (Main Entrance).
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-EXTERIOR.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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    Towards the end of last year, the Jewish Museum was relocated from inside the former Mechelen Camp, to these new premises constructed directly opposite. Inside, several floors of large photographic displays depict the events of the period.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-JEWISH MUSEUM.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 wypeya oki hi sni"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: SS-Sammellager Mechelen


    SS-SAMMELLAGER MECHELEN (SS-Assembly Camp Mechelen):

    EXHIBITIONS:

    The following images were taken within the former Sammellager, and show the various exhibitions on display there.

    1. A family. Depiction of a father, mother and daughter.

    2. Wall of stars. Rows of "J" marked stars.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MECH-EXHIB (5).jpg   MECH-EXHIB (7).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 wypeya oki hi sni"

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