THE GUARDS AND PROTECTION TEAMS
The established Old Camp (Altes Lager) (1939-1942) was protected by a high barbed-wire fence and four guard towers, from which strong reflectors (search lights) at night lit the camp terrain. The guard towers were manned by armed guards. the main gate, also called the 'Gate of Death' led Into the prisoner area of the camp. In the centre part, a second fence with a gate separated the prisoners accommodation from the camp hospital and workshops. The site of the 'New Camp' (Neues Lager) built from 1942 until 1945 was surrounded by two rows of barbed wire fences. The outer fence was electrified with 360 volts. To fully isolate the Jewish prisoners further, their camp area was surrounded by another barbed wire enclosure, connected to a high voltage electrical system. The on duty SS Totenkopf-Sturmbann of Stutthof concentration camp consisted of three companies, which in turn made up of two Platoons. From 1942 to 1943 each company had about 150 men, that is, theoretically every tenth inmate was guarded by one SS man. In practice, however, the ratio was one to 20 or 30. In early 1942, the authorized strength was three officers, and 432 SS men, but in fact there were only 140 SS men on the camp premises.
|Guard Tower, Stutthof|
On 15 June 1944, the first of 500 Wehrmacht soldiers of the Army Section Stettin arrived in the Stutthof concentration camp to reinforce the guards, because now transports of Jews from the Baltic countries and the Auschwitz concentration camp were expected to arrive in Stutthof. On 29 June 1944, the Wehrmacht training battalion under command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Richard Reddig was responsible for re-forming the newcomers into four companies with 431 non-commissioned officers and soldiers. On July 6, 1944 it was renamed 'SS Guard Battalion II-KL Stutthof'. The soldiers were transferred into the Waffen-SS and fitted out with SS uniforms. With this transformation another four security companies had thus been established. The maximum Staff Complement of the Stutthof concentration camp hereby consisted of 1,100 SS men, of whom were 590-900 to be guards.
On 27 September 1942 in accordance with Himmler's order of 15 May 1942 the use of service dogs (Diensthunde) in concentration camps was raised., the first eight shepherd dogs with their handlers arrived in Stutthof. In June 1943, the canine unit consisted of 20 and on January 12, 1945 of 18 dogs. The animals were used as detection dogs in the hunt for fugitive prisoners.
|Himmler during the visit Stutthof. After this visit the decision was made, on renaming the camp for Prisoners as civilian concentration camp under SS control'.|
In November 1942, the first three wardresses (Aufseherinnen) from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, arrived at Stutthof, who came were: Herta Bothe, Anna Kopp and Hidegard Ziegler. At this time there were about 100 female inmates present who were housed without their own security guards in a block of the old camp. The supervisory responsibility was led by SS Unterscharführer Franz Mielenz. During 1942 the Management of the Stutthof concentration camp was obliged to ask for further wardresses, as more and more female prisoners were taken in, as in mid-1944 transports with Jewish women arrived, the Headquarters recruited with the help of the Danzig Labour Office (Arbeitsamt) young women from Danzig as wardresses in the women's camps of Stutthof as well as in the Jewish satellite camps. 150 candidates were trained among others in Ravensbrück. 60 of them remained in the main camp (Stammlager), the rest were used in sub-camps.
PRISONER TRANSPORT TO STUTTHOF
When the war started, right in the first months of the German occupation there were mass arrests and executions of Polish civilians on the territory of the Free City of Danzig and throughout West Prussia. Who escaped the executions, was placed into camps and prisons. Victims were primarily employees of Polish institutions in Danzig. It effected the Polish Postal System, the Railways, the General Commissariat of the Republic of Poland, the Council for the Port and Waterways, the Branch of the Customs Office, as well as teachers, priests and functionaries of Polish Organizations. In Danzig, the new rulers imprisoned in the first days of the war about 1,500 people and put them into the Victoria School, of which one-tenth was taken on September 2nd,1939 into the newly established camp at Stutthof. After September 10th there followed anther prisoner transports from the Victoria School, and in November 1939 Polish officials from the regions of Marienwerder and Stuhmdorf were deported directly to Stutthof, in December, teachers and students of the high school in Marienwerder came from the camp of Hohenbruch.
|The arrested people of Gdynia - 1939 years.'|
Throughout the year of 1943 transports with members of the secret military organization (TOW) 'Gryf Pomorski' and the Pomeranian District commands, the defender of Poland (LAD) from the environment of Leipe and Rypin arrived at the Stutthof concentration camp. In the second half of the year, members of the Polish insurrection army were present at Stutthof. Members of these organizations were also admitted during the year 1944 into the camp, also members of other conspiratorial groups such as the right-wing 'Miecz i Plug' (sword and plough), the 'Tajny Hufiec Harcerzy' (Secret Scout group), 'Mlody Las' (Young Forest), 'Legia Orla Bialego' (White Eagle Legion) as well as members and sympathizers of the communist Polish Workers Party (PPR).
|A Polish flag with an "anchor" device was used as an emblem by the Polish resistance.'|
Although Stutthof was mainly a camp for the Polish population from Danzig-West Prussia until the end of 1942, some German Nationals were already there between 1939 to 1941, among the first camp prisoners was a native of Danzig, a 'Bibelforscher'(Jehovah Witness), who was admitted on 6 September 1939. There were also German opponents of the NS-Regime, but also Belarusians and Ukrainians. In December 1941, Germans from Danzig were finally admitted by the local criminal police (Kripo) into the camp, among them, one, who later became Camp Elder, Fritz Selonke. In 1941 there were also some Jews from the Lodz ghetto in Stutthof. They performed forced labour during the final construction phase of the highway (Autobahn) Berlin-Danzig- Königsberg which had to be previously stopped at the German/Polish border. After the attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, the first Soviet prisoners appeared in the camp. Crews of the anchored vessels 'Magnitogorsk' and 'Aleksander Sybiriakow' in Danzig and Gdynia harbours were also interned at Stutthof.
A Polish POW stands to attention at a roll call at Stutthof
In 1942, there were organizational changes due to the affiliation of the camp and its involvement in the extermination policies and the system of exploitation of the labour force of the prisoners in concentration camps, resulting in a radical change in the national composition of the Stutthof camp. From 1942 to mid-1944, the SS sent prisoners from concentration camps Buchenwald, Dachau, Neuengamme, Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Flossenbürg to Stutthof. Among them were at the beginning craftsmen such as carpenters, roofers and carpenters, who were initially employed in the construction of the new camp. The prisoners were of Polish, German, Czech, Dutch, Belgians, French, Norwegian origin, and also Jews. Among the Germans, the 'criminal' prisoners (BV), predominated, which immediately took over auxiliary functions in the guarding functions. In addition ten nurses arrived from the Dachau in two transports on 22 April and on 23 September 1942.
The transports that came from Denmark, Norway and Finland, and Lithuania and Latvia from 1942 to 1944, bear witness to the brutal fight against the Resistance in occupied countries. In April 1943, so-called Honour Prisoners were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp. Representatives of the Lithuanian and Latvian intelligentsia, university professors, members of parliament, engineers, priests,and doctors. More and more members of the Latvian resistance movement came in the second half of 1944 into the camp. In the camp records 3,000 Latvians are listed. Among the prisoners that were detained on 14 September in the concentration camp, was among others the son of the President of Latvia, Professer Konstantin Cakste.
In the years 1942 to 1944 Poles were deported to Stutthof from other regions. On May 22, 1942 for the first time 51 prisoners came from the Warsaw Pawiak-Prison, among them eleven Jews from the Warsaw ghetto. Further 859 prisoners from Pawiak arrived on the 25th of May 1944. Most were political prisoners, members of underground organizations that operated in Warsaw. Late August and September 1944 arrived the largest group of prisoners from Warsaw. These were from the transit camp of Pruszkow, where the Warsaw insurgents had been kept after the capitulation in October 1944. The SS transferred a total of 4,432 civilians of them, as well as a group of female couriers of the Home Army. Also from the area around Bialystok in the course of anti-partisan operations one transports with Polish citizens arrived. Due to their affiliation or assistance towards partisan units or for sympathies for them about 2,500 Polish peasants and Belarusian's mainly farmers and residents in rural areas in the eastern Polish territories during 1943 to 1944 were imprisoned in the concentration camp Stutthof.
|Soviet partisan fighters behind German front lines in Belarus, 1943.'|
|Non-employable inmates rest with their belongings in the forest near the crematorium IV. An old man climbs down the slight bank at the edge of the fire pond in order to fill some water into a metal container|
Former Execution Range Paneriai - Ponary
CONTINUED UNDER PART 3/10