Breitenau concentration camp

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Breitenau was a Nazi education and labor camp established in June 1933 in Germany. It was located in Guxhagen, ca. 15 km south of Kassel and was built around the Breitenau monastery.

Breitenau as an education and welfare camp[edit]

Breitenau was first established as a correctional facility. This was the original reason why it was first opened in 1933. It became a "labour house", where prisoners literally learned how to work. But the jobs that they had at Breitenau were often brutal and back-breaking.

In 1932 and 1933 the prisoner population was 24 people. Between 1933 and 1934, the population increased to 125. A number of the 125 prisoners had been arrested during a one-week raid on homeless people known as "Beggars Week". By the end of 1933, 11,000 people were held and placed in concentration camps. Only a few of them were brought to Breitenau.

After the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring was passed, Breitenau officials began to test prisoners for hereditary diseases. Many of the inmates who were found to have hereditary diseases were transported to euthanasia killing centers or kept at Breitenau under penalty of being forcibly sterilized.

Breitenau as a concentration camp[edit]

In 1933, an early concentration camp for political prisoners was added to the Breitenau correctional facility. The Nazis later decided to close it down in 1934. In 1940, Breitenau was reopened, but this time as a concentration camp, with an estimated population of 8,500 prisoners, including some of those who were originally placed in the camp during the early 1930s.

The camp was liberated in 1945.

Other early concentration camps[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d David Magnus Mintert, Das frühe Konzentrationslager Kemna und das sozialistische Milieu im Bergischen Land (PDF) Ruhr University Bochum, doctoral dissertation (2007), pp. 232–235. Retrieved January 14, 2012 (German)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°12′11″N 9°28′32″E / 51.20306°N 9.47556°E / 51.20306; 9.47556