Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

PLACE

The Ravensbrück Concentration Camp was the largest female camp in the Nazi prison system. Many women in the camp were Jewish, others were political prisoners, asocials, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, and criminals. Men oversaw the leadership in the camp, but the female inmates were looked after by women guards of the “female civilian employees of the SS.” Ravensbrück became the largest training facility for these female guards of the SS during the camp's active period. The women of Ravensbrück worked during their incarceration mostly in agricultural and industrial fields. However, prisoners also faced being selected for euthanasia programs, horrifying medical experiments, and even work in brothels. The women of Ravensbrück suffered greatly during their incarceration, and the lack of food and sanitary conditions only aggravated the problems these women faced. When Soviet forces liberated the camp on April 29, 1945, they found thousands of women ready to regain their life and freedom.

Blanka Rothschild Describes conditions in the Ravensbrück camp [1994 interview]

    There was no sanitation. We did not have latrines. There were holes with wooden--there was a wooden board with two holes, and since many of us were sick from whatever they gave us to eat, it was a constant walk to the latrines, to the holes. It was tremendous degradation of, of human beings. It was, the human spirit suffered more than the physical spirit. Uh, the bodies didn't listen to us, didn't obey us. Uh, we had--as I mentioned before, we lost our menstruation, very thank...gratefully because we couldn't have taken care of this. It was the avitaminosis--the lack of food and vitamins. We slept two, three to a wooden, uh, bunk. The tiers in Ravensbrück were packed with human beings. There was stench in the air, horrible stench, between the latrines and the bodies. The one who was in charge had a special little room and special privileges and special food. We, the Jews, never got close to it. The Germans who...and the Ukrainians were in charge.

    Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum; http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_oi.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005199&MediaId=2481


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    Created:
    August 10, 2009
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    August 11, 2009
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