Talk:Ravensbrück concentration camp

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March 2004[edit]

I changed the number of total deaths from 90.000 to "tens of thousands (estimates are about 30.000 to 40.000)". The high figure was published in the time of the former German Democratic Republic, but nowadays estimates are a bit lower. For reference check the website of the Memorial: Important: This is certainly no revisionism but only for accuracy. --Tobias 11:11, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Any reason/source for the 90,000? One third is more than a minor revision. 18:44, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Proposed major re-write of Ravensbrück page:

Ravensbrück was a German concentration camp located about 50 miles north of Berlin. It was founded in 1938 by SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was unusual in that it was a camp primarily for women. There were children in the camp as well. the beginning of the camp they arrived with mothers who were Gypsies or Jews incarcerated in the camp or were born to imprisoned women. There were few of them at that time. There were a few Czech children from Lidice in July 1942. Later the children in the camp represented almost all nations of Europe occupied by Germany. Between April and October 1944 their number increased considerable, they consisted two groups; one of them were Gypsy children with their mothers or sisters brought in the camp after Gypsy camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau was closed. The other group included mostly children who were brought with Polish mothers sent to Ravensbrück after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and Jewish children after the Budapest Ghetto was closed. With a few exceptions all these children died of starvation. Ravensbrück had 70 sub-camps used for slave labor that were spread across an area from the Baltic Sea to Bavaria.

When a new prisoner arrived at Ravensbrück they were required to wear a color-coded triangle a Winkel that identified them by category with a letter sewn within the triangle that indicated the prisoner's nationality. Polish women wore red triangle, red denoting a political prisoner, with a letter "P". By 1942, Polish women became largest national component at the camp. Jewish women wore yellow triangles, but sometimes, unlike the other prisoners, they wore second triangle for the other categories or for "race defilement". Between 1942 and 1943 almost all Jewish women from the Ravensbrück camp where sent to Auschwitz in several transports following Nazis policy to make Germany "Judenrein" (cleansed of Jews). Common criminals wore green triangles, Soviet prisoners of war, German and Austrian Communists had red triangles and members of the Jehovah's Witnesses were labeled with lavender triangles. Classified separately with black triangles were, prostitutes, and Gypsies. The pink triangles for homosexuals played no role in the Ravensbrück women camp.

Based on the Nazis incomplete transport list "Zugangsliste" consisting 25,028 names of women sent by Nazis to the camp, it is estimated that inmates of Ravensbrück ethnic structure was the following: Poles 24.9%, Germans 19.9%, Jews 15.1%, Russians 15.0%, French 7.3%, Gypsies 5.4%, other 12.4%. Gestapo categorized the inmates as follows: political 83,54%, anti-social 12,35%, criminal 2,02%, Jehovah Witnesses 1.11%, racial defilement 0,78%, other 0.20%. The list is one of the most important documents, preserved, in the last moments of the camp operation, by courageous members of the Polish underground girl guides unit "Mury" (Walls). The rest of the camp documents were burned down by escaping SS overseers.

One of the forms of the resistance were underground education programs organized by prisoners for the fellow inmates. All national groups had some form of such programs with most extensive among Polish women where various high school level classes were taught by experienced teachers.

Inmates at Ravensbrück suffered greatly. Living in subhuman conditions, thousands were shot, strangled, gassed, buried alive, or worked to death. A special method of torture were medical experiments conducted on 86 women; 74 of them were Polish inmates. There were two types of the experiments done on Polish political prisoners. The first one aimed at testing the efficiency of sulphonamide drugs. The criminal experiments involved the deliberate cutting out and infection of bones and muscles of the legs with virulent bacteria, the cutting out of nerves, the introducing into the tissues of virulent substances like pieces of wood or glass and the causing of artificial bone fractures. The second one aimed at studying the processes of regeneration of bones, muscles and nerves, and also the possibilities of transplanting bones from one person to another. All the experiments were done against the will and despite the open protest of all the victims. Five of the polish victims died as the result of the experiments. Six others were executed in the camp. The rest of the "rabbits" or Kaninchen as they were called survived thanks to help of other inmates in the camp.

Between 120 and 140 Gypsy women were sterilized in the camp in January 1945. All of them, unaware of the consequences, signed the consent form after being told by the camp overseers that the German authorities release them if they agree to sterilization.

All inmates were required to do heavy labor. The women were forced to work at many kinds of slave labor, from heavy outdoor jobs to building the V-2 rocket parts for the giant German company, Siemens AG.

Ravensbrück had a gas chamber and crematorium, and at the end of 1944 the place became a death camp. With the Soviet Army's rapid approach in the Spring of 1945, the SS decided to exterminate as many prisoners as they could in order to avoid anyone being left to testify as to what had happened in the camp. With the Russians only hours away, at the end of April, the SS ordered the women still physically well enough to walk to leave the camp. Less than 2,000 malnourished and sickly women and 300 men remained in the camp when it was liberated by the Red Army on April 30, 1945. The survivors of the Death March were liberated in the following hours by a Russian scout unit. By the time liberation came, tens of thousands (estimates are about 30.000 to 40.000) women and children had perished there.

Amongst the thousands executed by the Germans at Ravensbrück were four female members of the SOE: Denise Bloch, Cecily Lefort, Lilian Rolfe, and Violette Szabo as well as the Roman Catholic nun, Elise Rivet, Elisabeth de Rothschild, and the 25-year-old French Princess Anne de Bauffremont-Courtenay. The largest group of executed women at the Ravensbrück camp, 200 in total, was the Polish group of young patriots, members of Polish Home Army.

The name of the camp appeared in numerous trials held against Nazis after WWII. One of those trials Doctors' Trial was held by Military Tribunal from October 1946 till February 1948 in Nuremberg, Germany. The following Nazi doctors participating in the medical experiments in Ravensbrück were found guilty and sentenced by the Tribunal: Victor Brack, Rudolf Brandt, Karl Brant, Fritz Fischer, Karl Gebhardt, Karl Genzken, Siegfried Handloser, Joachim Mrugowsky, Herta Oberheuser, Adolf Pokorny, Helmut Poppendick, Paul Rostck, Gerhard Schiedlausky, Percy Treite who conducted or participated in various experiments such as sulphanilamide, bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration and bone transplantation, and sterilization experiments.

Renewed attention and interest in the camp came about following the Düsseldorf War Crimes Trials begun in 1976. Among the most notorious of those placed on trial was a guard supervisor at Ravensbrück, Hermine Braunsteiner, who had been tracked down by the famous Nazi-hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Numerous witnesses from Ravensbrück identified her as the pale, blue-eyed, six-foot tall blonde, called "The Stomping Mare" because of her penchant for killing children by trampling them, often in front of their mothers. In 1981, the then 61-year-old woman was sentenced to life imprisonment for numerous child murders and other brutal crimes.

Gas chambers - sorry not in Germany. Where did this rewrite material come from? Not against beefing wiki up with garbage but this is better than one could hope for. 18:52, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Excuse me for the above rewrite question - wiki it seems in the main article has reinserted gas chambers back into Germany proper after all those historians threw them out years ago. Wiki is getting too large to patrol - especially for the Holocaust Project editors, and me. Ninarose, any editor with a leading j or g it seems - come save these people from themselves. 18:56, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Related article[edit]

External links[edit]

de:KZ Ravensbrück

--Ttyre 08:16, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I added the total number (86) of the women who had undergone medical experiments. Only 74 cases of polish political prisoners on whom the medical experiments were conducted are well documented. However, it is established that among other 12 were at least one German, at least one Ukrainian, other 10 of different nationalities were mentally ill inmates; see Beyond Human Endurance: The Ravensbrück Women Tell Their Stories. Warsaw: Interpress Publishers, 1970, and Kiedrzyńska, Wanda Ravensbrück, kobiecy obóz koncentracyjny, Książka i Wiedza 1965. In the book Das KZ Ravensbrück : Geschichte eines Lagerkomplexes on page 258, the author Bernhard Strebel states that additionally to the above mentioned, there were further attempts of the medical operations, whose background, kind and extent due to the insufficient documentation can not be proved. Among them the thyroid operations on approximately 15 prisoners resulting in five deaths were probably conducted by SS Dr. Treite.


Any more info on the thyroid operatons. 15 seems like a very small research effort. Were these for treatment for the prisoners? 5 died - thyroid cancer? Any evidence of anything - research papers from the doctor, money for lab equipment for a research lab, etc? 18:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Use of inmates for prostitution[edit]

I took out the following paragraph from the article for now:

Ravensbrück also supplied every major camp, except Auschwitz, with women to work in the camp brothels. In 1942 the Germans sent fifty female political prisoners with overseers to each of the following camps to work in their brothels: Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, Neuengamme, and Sachsenhausen. Most of the women volunteered because they made money, had Sundays and mornings off, received nice clothes, took regular showers, and were treated fairly well. But most subsequently returned to Ravensbrück after a few months suffering from venereal disease.

This is not part of the German article about the camp and I couldn't find any sources that have that information. If there are sources, this is quite important I would say, but we cannot write it just like that without any source. BigBen212 22:34, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the list - probably partial - of female guards. Reading their wiki articles is interesting - sentences, etc all over the range. Odd to see that guards in different camps and countries all defied SS orders and regulations in exactly the same way, they were a gutsy bunch of girls ( but how did they all know exactly how it was being done elsewhere - a question for historians maybe in the future)? 14:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

RE The idea that a camp just for women is unusual until you read the Geneva Convetion 1929 - separating sexes and nationalities into their own camp/section was required. The women from Lidice were sent here where most of them survived. 19:40, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Neumann hildegard.jpg[edit]

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I get the impression that this article needs more work. What's with there only being one general reference? (The "United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia entry", the other one being specifically about the female guards) The article's content doesn't even seem perfectly match the information of this one reference:

USHMM: In early 1945, the SS constructed a gas chamber in Ravensbrück near the camp crematorium. The Germans gassed between 5,000 and 6,000 prisoners at Ravensbrück before Soviet troops liberated the camp in April 1945.

Wikipedia: In the autumn of 1944, the SS constructed a gas chamber near the crematorium. The Germans gassed several thousand prisoners at Ravensbrück before the camp's liberation in April 1945.

The "United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia entry" doesn't seem to provide any sources either, so there's no way to verify that information.

Also, the link to the article is dead. Tchernobog (talk) 05:50, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Something wrong with the "ethnic structure"[edit]

<<ethnic structure was the following: Poles 24.9%, Germans 19.9%, Jews 15.1%, Russians 15.0%, French 7.3%, Gypsies 5.4%, other 12.4%.>>

Where do those statistics come from ? What do they mean ? Why do Jews and Gypsies are counted as having no nationality, not even "other" ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Road roller?[edit]

What exactly was the "road roller" for? Its shown in the article but never actually explained. -- (talk) 03:01, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

The prisoners were forced to pave the streets and made to pull the heavy roller themselves - see here: Cecily Lefort. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:51, 1 January 2014 (UTC)


The emigration of Gałczyński's wife and son was followed by "aka not true", which I deleted, but hence marked it as dubious. Please follow-up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Hildegard Neumann?[edit]

The photo is not an aufseherrin (female guard) but of a military volunteer or helper (one of the women who worked for the military). (talk) 07:34, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Dr Robert Neumann[edit]

Dr Robert Neumann. 1. I found it here on German wikipedia. Liste von NS-Ärzten und Beteiligten an NS-Medizinverbrechen

N–O : Robert Neumann (Arzt)

2. Dr. Neuman(sic) Neuman (sic) was a doctor at Buchenwald who experimented on people by vivisecting them and cutting pieces out of their livers.


Robert NEUMANN Born: 21 August 1902 1st Doctor at Auschwitz; also at KZ Ravensbrueck.

4. Camp Doctor: Robert Neumann, SS first lieutenant, SS No. 203348

Unfortunately, scant info.Valleyspring (talk) 04:36, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Siemens & Halske, Siemens-Schuckert, Siemens-Reiniger-Werke or Siemens[edit]

This articular mentions "Siemens" several places where it is not clear whether it means Siemens & Halske, Siemens-Schuckert, Siemens-Reiniger-Werke or are they all considered to be "the Siemens company"? ( They all merged to found Siemens AG in 1966.) Runarb (talk) 13:29, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Addition to list of prominent prisoners[edit]

Virginia d'Albert-Lake has a Wikipedia entry in which her residence at Ravensbruck is substantiated. Joe marasco (talk) 17:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Malchow Concentration Camp is on concern list for no sourcing and/or OR. Cannot find authoritative sourcing that a camp went by the proper name "Malchow." As it is a sub-camp of Ravensbrück, propose merging in here.

???? You should not start a new thread with a bad i-link to Malchow concentration camp and with what you cannot find online, and than within minutes (without waiting for feedback from the community) begin changing other articles to fit your confusion. More references can be added.[1] Poeticbent talk 06:46, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Death toll[edit]

This article speaks of 50.000, 90.000 or even 117.000 deaths. Currently the number of 20.000 - 30.000 deaths is used by historians. Why the number is still so high and thus wrong on this Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) from Utrecht, Netherlands

The weblinks are there for you. Why don't you click on any of them before asking. Poeticbent talk 17:28, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Deutsches historisches museum

ITS Arolsen

Also the book written by Stefan Hördler shows a number of 28.000.

Also the total amount of prisoners is 153.000; lot of sources say 132.000 women, 20.000 men and 1.000 kids — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

1. "Stefan Hördler, who has conducted research on Ravensbrück, estimates that about 28,000 women perished at the camp. This figure does not include the many thousands who died on the so-called “death marches” in the final days of the war, when the SS evacuated the camp of all prisoners able to walk. It also does not factor in deaths of women who had been transferred to other camps or satellite facilities and perished there. Stefan Hördler, “Die Schlussphase des Konzentrationslagers Ravensbrück. Personalpolitik und Vernichtung,” Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 56 (2008), 247." – Gengler
2. "Between the years 1939 and 1945, the camp administration enrolled about 132,000 women and children, 1,000 female juveniles and 20,000 men as prisoners to-be... The overall death toll (men, women and children) at Ravensbrück is between 20,000 and 30,000 victims... Tired out, weakened and not provided with food, the male inmates had to start out walking on 24th and 26th April on a death march heading north-westward. On 27th and 28th April it was the turn of about 20,000 women to undergo such march. Approximately 2,000 sick women, men and children were left on the camp site..." – International Tracing Service
3. "Zwischen 1939 bis 1945 sind im KZ Ravensbrück etwa 132.000 Frauen und Kinder, 20.000 Männer und 1.000 weibliche Jugendliche des "Jugendschutzlagers Uckermark" als Häftlinge registriert worden. – Jenney Oertle © Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin (translation from above)

The ITS estimate speaks of 20,000 women walking and 2,000 staying behind in 1945. No explanation and no further analysis of whatever happened in the preceding six years or why 132,000 number is quoted. From what I see, the above three sources are no more reliable than others already quoted. Poeticbent talk 08:50, 14 March 2015 (UTC)