Breitenau concentration camp

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Breitenau concentration camp was established in June 1933 in Germany. It was located in the Breitenau, a part of the village of Guxhagen, ca. 15 km south of Kassel, Hesse.

Breitenau labour and welfare house[edit]

In 1874, at the former Breitenau monastery a "correctional and poor institution" was established. It became a "labour and welfare house", where prisoners should learn how to work. But the work in such houses were often brutal and back-breaking. This was the original reason why a concentration camp was opened in the Breitenau labour and welfare house.

Breitenau concentration camp[edit]

In 1933, an early Nazi concentration camp for political prisoners was added. 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 early concentration camps. Only a few of them were brought to Breitenau concentration camp. The Nazis later decided to close it down in 1934.

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 labor camp[edit]

The camp was reopened in 1940, but this time as a labor camp, with estimated all in all 8,500 prisoners until its liberation in 1945, including some of those who were originally placed in the camp during the early 1930s. Jewish prisoners were used for labour and work.

Breitenau memorial[edit]

In 1984, the Breitenau memorial was built in the former tithe barn of the Breitenau monastery.

Other early concentration camps[edit]

See also[edit]

  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, vol. 1


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

External links[edit]

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