Internment camp

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Different places of detention in different countries at different times have been designated as detention camps .

The internees were often civilians , prisoners of war or soldiers of neutral powers.

First World War

Internment camp of the German Palestine troops in Istanbul , 1919

United Kingdom

UK taught during the Boer War, an internment camp for internment prisoner Buren in Ahmednagar in the Bombay Presidency in India one. During the First World War it served as an internment camp for civilians. In the spring of 1915 over 2000 German and Austrian civilians were brought there. Mainly there were German civilians from the former German colony of German East Africa , but also from other countries. The camp still existed during World War II .


In France , Germans and Austrians were held in various camps, including the Le Vernet internment camp in the Pyrenees. The internment Garaison whole next conscript men families, civilian nationals of those great powers who were at war against France came. Further camps were located in Uzès in the southern French department of Gard and, the largest, on the Île Longue peninsula near Brest .


During the Austro-Hungarian monarchy , the Abwehramt had several internment camps set up, especially in Lower and Upper Austria, including Enzersdorf im Thale, Göllersdorf, Hainburg, Katzenau , Mittergrabern, Raschala, Sitzendorf an der Schmida, Steinklamm and Weyerburg. In the Waldviertel, these were Drosendorf , Grossau , Illmau , Karlstein an der Thaya , Kirchberg an der Wild , Markl and Sittmannshof , in Styria near Graz the Thalerhof camp and others in Bohemia and Moravia.


Interned in Germany while serving food shortly after the start of the war

In Germany, around 2.5 million foreign soldiers had been interned in around 320 different camps by the end of the First World War. The most famous internment camp - mainly for British civilians - was in Ruhleben .

Interwar period

Internment camp in southern France after the end of the Spanish Civil War, 1939


Towards the end of the Spanish Civil War , more than half a million refugees from Catalonia fled to the French border, the only way to escape from the approaching Franco troops. Due to international pressure, the French government allowed the refugees to enter France on February 5th. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and the remains of the Republican People's Army then poured into France. By February 15, 1939, according to official information, 353,107 people had fled to the French department Pyrénées-Orientales , which at that time was home to around 230,000 people. According to a report by the French government (Informe Valière) of March 9, 1939, the number of refugees reached 440,000. Among the fugitives were 170,000 women, children and the elderly, 220,000 soldiers and militiamen, 40,000 invalids and 10,000 injured. Various internment camps were set up for the refugees, such as the Argelès-sur-Mer internment camp on the Mediterranean Sea.

Second World War

United States

In the United States , prisoners of war or citizens who were politically undesirable or considered dangerous were interned; during the Second World War, for example, 120,000 Japanese and US citizens of Japanese descent (→ internment of Americans of Japanese origin ) and, in smaller numbers, German-Americans , Mexicans and Italians . The last release of German Americans from the internment camps took place in the summer of 1948. To date, the US government has not officially recognized the forced internment or deportation of German Americans.

United Kingdom

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In 1940 the British government decided to intern all male German emigrants as Enemy Aliens ("enemy foreigners"). For example, German Jews who had fled to Great Britain , such as Gerhard Leibholz , as well as German opponents of the Nazis were interned in the internment camps during the Second World War . There were internment camps for civilians in Huyton , on the Isle of Man (e.g. the Hutchinson Internment Camp ), in Canada, Australia and several internment camps in India , including Ahmednagar and Dehra Dun , where the well-known Austrian one was also located Heinrich Harrer, a traveler to Tibet, was arrested. On May 28, 1940, all German women between the ages of 16 and 60 living in Great Britain were interned on the Isle of Man .

After the end of the war, from August 1946 to November 1949, Jewish refugees who wanted to enter Palestine or Israel illegally under British law were held in internment camps in Cyprus .


In Switzerland, units of the French Armée de l'Est (called Bourbaki Army ) were interned for the first time in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 . While only a few soldiers were interned in the First World War , in the Second World War over 29,000 Frenchmen of the 45th French Army Corps were brought back to France in consultation with the National Socialists. The 12,000 Polish soldiers of the 45th French Army Corps were interned in central camps with 2,000 civilians after crossing the Swiss border a few months later. The largest for Polish members of the 45th Army Corps was the Büren an der Aare internment camp . The second largest was the Adliswil internment camp . Other internment camps were, for example, in the Wauwilermoos moorland , in the municipality of Hinwil ( Girenbad internment camp ), in Gordola , Thalheim in the canton of Aargau , Bassecourt , and Wallisellen .

After 1943 there were around 20,000 Italians and at the end of the war many German units were added. In total, more than 100,000 people were interned. Members of the SS and Red Army soldiers who fought on the German side were turned away. Officers were allowed to move freely if they gave their word of honor not to flee.

In total, there were over 1,100 internment camps in Switzerland during the Second World War, the exact number of which is not known, and thus one in roughly every sixth place in Switzerland.

Foreign Jews and German political emigrants were also interned as illegal refugees, such as Rudolf Singer , Walter Fisch , Emanuel Treu or the opera singer Joseph Schmidt , who died in an internment camp.


After the Spanish Civil War , many interbrigadists fled across the border to France in February 1939 . There they were sent to internment camps that were quickly improvised along the French Mediterranean coast (including in Saint-Cyprien (Pyrénées-Orientales) , Camp d'Agde internment camp and Argelès-sur-Mer internment camp ), where they first had to sleep on the bare ground.

The internment camps set up in the run-up to the Second World War were used during the war to receive foreign refugees, imprison people hostile to the state or collect Jews for deportation to the German Reich. During the war there were a total of 219 camps.

During and shortly before the German occupation of France in World War II , according to decrees of November 12, 1938, people in France were classified as so-called "étrangers indésirables" (unwanted foreigners), also translated as "hostile foreigners" in German. Internment in camps was planned for the legally worst off of three groups. The best known of these camps was Les Milles ; Many such people were also initially held in the Gurs camp. The French legal term is similar to the Anglo-Saxon term of Enemy Alien, but does not match it.

After the retreat of the German occupying power was in France from October 1944 (in the context of "cleansing" ( épuration ) and about 10,000 to 15,000 executions without trial) 170 warehouse with 60,000 internees of collaboration were suspected furnished.

post war period

Western zones

In the course of denazification and re- education , many functionaries of National Socialist organizations, concentration camp personnel and alleged war criminals in internment camps were arrested in post-war Germany . Most of the internees had been detained under the rules of automatic arrest . Former concentration camps , satellite camps of concentration camps and former prisoner of war camps were used to accommodate the internees .

There were US, French and British camps. After the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp , the Dachau concentration camp was used by the American occupation as a Dachau internment camp . The Dachau Trials took place here, including the main Buchenwald trial . In the internment camp Bad Nenndorf there were mainly people who were seen by the British as the greatest security threat, officers of the German defense, top Wehrmacht officials and diplomats. The Neuengamme internment camp also existed near Hamburg .

The internment camps of the Americans were brought under German control in the summer of 1946 and the establishment of ruling chambers was ordered. The German ruling chambers replaced the "Security Review Boards" of the American army, which had previously processed the dismissal applications. It took many months, sometimes even up to three years, for internees to be brought to trial in the camp. With camp detention of this duration, the punishment was partially anticipated.

Eastern zone or GDR

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Soviet military administration set up special camps in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) , which existed in the GDR until 1950 .

In the GDR, the Ministry for State Security planned such a facility ("Prevention Complex"), but never implemented it.


Confirmation of the death of a prisoner from the Sremska Mitrovica camp in October 1947

By spring 1945, around 90% (around 119,000 people) of the remaining Yugoslav German population had been interned, for example in central labor camps for men who were able to work, in local camps for the population of entire towns and in internment camps for women, children and the elderly who were unable to work.

The historian Michael Portmann speaks of initially around 80 camps for the German population throughout Yugoslavia. Georg Wildmann lists 84 internment camps by name in the area of ​​the former Yugoslavia.


In the Batschka :

  • Jarek camp (Bački Jarak) with 7,000 deaths
  • Gakowa (Gakovo) with 8,500 deaths
  • Kruschiwl (Kruševlje) with 2,800 deaths
Memorial on the edge of the mass grave of the Knićanin ( Rudolfsgnad ) camp , built by members of the Society for German-Serbian Cooperation .

In the Banat :

  • Molidorf (Molin) camp with 3000 deaths
  • Rudolfsgnad (Kničanin) with 9500 deaths

In Syrmia :

  • Camp “Svilara”, silk factory in Syrmisch Mitrowitz (Sremska Mitrovica) with 2,000 deaths

In Slavonia :

  • Walpach (Valpovo) with 1,000 deaths
  • Kerndia (Krndija) with 300 deaths

According to the legal opinion by Dieter Blumenwitz (2002), the total number of Danube Swabian human casualties in the camps was 59,335 victims, including 5,582 children. This number includes the Danube Swabians who died in the temporary camps and those shot while fleeing. Michael Portmann (2004) named around 46,000 Germans from Vojvodina alone who, according to statistical estimates, died in the camps between autumn 1944 and spring 1948.

In January 1946, the Yugoslav government applied to the Western Allies to expel the approximately 110,000 Yugoslav Germans who had remained in the country to Germany. However, this was refused. In 1947 groups of Germans were allowed to leave the country or were able to flee from the camps across the borders to Romania or Hungary. In 1948 the camps were closed; The 80,000 or so surviving Germans were fired, but were then forced to sign mostly three-year employment contracts with prescribed employers. During this time, they were not given identity cards and were not allowed to leave their homes. Only after completing the service and often only after paying a bounty did they receive the status of full citizens.

Internment camps in individual countries (selection)






western allies:

American Zone of Occupation (Civilian Internment Enclosures. Abbreviation: CIE)

British zone of occupation (Civilian Internment Camps, abbr .: CIC):

French zone of occupation: (Camps d'Internement)

Soviet occupation zone:






North Korea

see also: Kwan-li-so



Soviet Union

South Africa



United States

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Internment camps  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  2. ^ Jochen Oltmer: Migration and Politics in the Weimar Republic. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-36282-X , p. 271.
  3. Les lieux de détention., accessed on April 25, 2014 (French).
  4. Arnold Krammer: Undue Process: The Untold Story of America's German Alien Internees. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, London 1997, ISBN 0-8476-8518-7 .
  5. ^ Ted Jones: Both sides of the wire. 2 volumes. New Ireland Press, 1989 ISBN 0920483216 ISBN 0920483259 . About a warehouse in Fredericton , New Brunswick
  6. ^ Hervé de Weck : Internments. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . May 13, 2008 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  7. ^ Georges Schild: The internment of military and civilians in Switzerland 1939-1946. a historical-postal study . Clipaeus, Bern 2016, p. 180-210 .
  8. ^ Joseph Schmidt in the exile archive
  9. Les camps d'internement français entre 1939 et 1945: list of the camps. Retrieved June 14, 2017 .
  10. Journal officiel, 1938, pp. 12920-12923, esp. 12923 Scan at Gallica
  11. Joel Kotek, Pierre Rigoulot: The century of the camp. Captivity, forced labor, extermination. Propylaea, 2001, ISBN 3-549-07143-4 .
  12. ^ Heiner Wember: re-education in the camp. Internment and punishment of National Socialists in the British zone of occupation in Germany. Essen 1991, ISBN 3-88474-152-7 , p. 7 f. (Düsseldorf publications on the modern history of North Rhine-Westphalia; Vol. 30)
  13. Christa Schick: The internment camps. In: M. Broszat, K.-D. Henke, H. Woller (Ed.): From Stalingrad to the currency reform. On the social history of upheaval in Germany. Munich 1989, ISBN 3-486-54132-3 , p. 301 ff.
  14. Peter Reif-Spirek, Bodo Ritscher (ed.): Special camp in the SBZ. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-86153-193-3 .
  15. ^ Michael Portmann, Arnold Suppan: Serbia and Montenegro in World War II . In: Austrian Institute for East and Southeast Europe: Serbia and Montenegro: Space and Population - History - Language and Literature - Culture - Politics - Society - Economy - Law . LIT Verlag 2006, p. 277 f .
  16. Michael Portmann: Politics of Destruction. In: Danubiana Carpathica. Vol. 1, 2007, p. 342ff.
  17. Michael Portmann: Politics of Destruction? In: Danubiana Carpathica, Vol. 1 (48), 2007, p. 351.
  18. a b c d e f g Georg Wildmann: Crimes against the Germans in Yugoslavia 1944–1948 . Editor: Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung. Munich 2010, p. 320.
  19. ^ The suffering of the Germans in communist Yugoslavia , Volume 3. Donauschwäbisches Archiv Munich, 1995, ISBN 3-926276-21-5 , p. 234ff.
  20. Dieter Blumenwitz , legal opinion on the crimes against the Germans in Yugoslavia 1944–1948, special edition: Legal Studies, Munich 2002, p. 64.
  21. Documentation Working Group: Crimes against Germans in Yugoslavia 1944–1948. The stages of genocide. Munich 1998, p. 314. In: Central and Eastern European Online Library, Michael Portmann: Communist Retaliation and Persecution on Yugoslav Territory During and After World War II (1943–1950) . Currents of History (Tokovi istorije), Volume 12, 2004, pp. 45-74 (English).
  22. Foreign Relations of the United States - Diplomatic Papers 1946, Volume V, p. 135.
  23. ^ Immo Eberl, Konrad G. Gündisch, Ute Richter, Annemarie Röder, Harald Zimmermann: Die Donauschwaben. German settlement in Southeast Europe, exhibition catalog, scientific management of the exhibition Harald Zimmermann, Immo Eberl, and employee Paul Ginder . Ministry of the Interior of Baden-Württemberg, Sigmaringen 1987, ISBN 3-7995-4104-7 , p. 262-265 ( Internet publication ).
  24. ^ Zoran Janjetović : The conflicts between Serbs and Danube Swabians. Belgrade, 2004
    Anton Scherer : History of Danube Swabian Literature. Munich, 2003, ISBN 3-926276-51-7 , p. 134.
    Herbert Prokle: The way of the German minority of Yugoslavia after the camp was dissolved in 1948. Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-926276-77-3 , p. 144, here p. 14.
  25. Kathrin Meyer: Denazification of women. The internment camps of the US zone of Germany 1945-1952 (Documents - Texts - Materials 52), Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-936411-24-7 (The title is misleading, as this scientific study only casually deals with the special situation of women ; Review ). For Bavaria: Christa Schick: The internment camps . In: Martin Broszat, Klaus Dietmar Henke, Hans Woller (eds.): From Stalingrad to currency reform. On the social history of upheaval in Germany , Munich 1988, pp. 301–326. For Württemberg-Baden: Christof Strauss: Between apathy and self-justification: The internment of people burdened by Nazi in Württemberg-Baden ; in: End of the war and a new beginning: The occupation time in the Swabian-Alemannic area , Konstanz 2003, ISBN 3-89669-731-5 , pp. 287-313. For Hesse: Armin Schuster: The denazification in Hesse 1945-1954: Politics of the past in the post-war period (publications of the Historical Commission for Nassau 66), Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-930221-06-3 , in particular pp. 239-257. Postmark of some camps at Jay T. Carnigen: Civilian Internment Enclosures (CIE) and Hospitals ( Memento from October 14, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  26. Until April 1946 referred to as Interrogatio Camp Berlin (interrogation camp Berlin); Meyer p. 266.
  27. ^ Until April 1946 referred to as Interrogatio Camp Bremen (interrogation camp Bremen); Meyer p. 266.
  28. ↑ In some of the sources you can also find the term "Civilian Internment Camp No. 15 ".
  29. Henrik Friggemann: The internment Darmstadt. Democratization measures as part of the American and German denazification and internment policy after the Second World War . Munich 2007. (Master's thesis), ISBN 978-3-656-27412-4 (eBook). ( Extracts )
  30. ^ Peter Heigl : Flossenbürg Concentration Camp. 1994, ISBN 3-921114-29-2 , p. 79.
  31. First of all, all internees were housed in the Olympic ice stadium and then divided into two barracks; Karl Vogel: M-AA509, 11 months in command of an internment camp , Memmingen (self-published) 1951.
  32. ^ Files in the Ludwigsburg State Archives . Watercolor of the surroundings ( memento from October 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  33. Georg Haberl, Walburga Fricke: Beginning and End of the Thousand Year Reich in Eastern Bavaria , Vol. 2, 2009, ISBN 978-3-85022-760-5 , pp. 319–329.
  34. Letter to the camp commandant ( memento of the original dated February 27, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  35. Georg Haberl, Walburga Fricke: Beginning and End of the Thousand Year Reich in East Bavaria , Vol. 2, 2009, ISBN 978-3-85022-760-5 , pp. 314-319.
  36. ^ Waltraut Burger (text): Trutzhain memorial and museum. The permanent exhibition , Trutzhain 2012, ISBN 978-3-9813483-0-9 . The Trutzhain Memorial and Museum has its own room with pictures and texts on "CI Camp 95".
  37. ^ Mathias Beer : From home to home. Refugees in the Schlotwiese camp , Sigmaringen 1995. Mathias Beer: People in camps. The Schlotwiese 1942-1967 . In: People in Red. The history of a Stuttgart district in life pictures . Tübingen 1995, ISBN 3-87407-217-7 , pp. 29-35.
    Mathias Beer: Zuffenhausen in the period after the Second World War . In: Albrecht Gühring (Ed.): Zuffenhausen, village - city - city district . Möglingen, 2004, ISBN 3-00-013395-X , pp. 477-498.
  38. Those who were accused of war crimes were interned in the Esterwegen camp. From July 1946 the camp was named No. 101 Prison Camp with a German director under a British commander; Wember, pp. 81-82.
  39. Wember, pp. 61-63.
  40. The internees were taken to the Easelheide internment camp in September 1946; Wember, pp. 55-58.
  41. ^ Stiftung Lager Sandbostel ( Memento from December 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). Wember, pp. 58-60.
  42. Before prisoner of war camp for British and American ship crews; Wember, pp. 79-81.
  43. The Civil Interrnment Settlement No. 1 Adelheide was intended to isolate people classified as followers for the long term ; see Wember, pp. 85-86. prehistory
  44. ^ The War Criminal Holding Center No. 2 Fischbek comprised around 1,200 people in autumn 1947; Wember, pp. 87-88.
  45. ^ Rainer Möhler: The internment camp in the French occupation zone . In: Special camps - internment camps: internment policy in occupied post-war Germany (conference in the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen memorial on October 25, 1996) . Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-933152-02-X , pp. 50–60 (there p. 54 overview of the “twelve large internment camps” in the French zone).
    Rainer Möhler: Denazification in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland under French occupation 1945-1952 (= publications of the Parliament's commission for the history of Rhineland-Palatinate 17). Mainz 1992, pp. 358–395: Internment as part of the denazification policy .
    Gerd Bayer: The chair . Zell / Mosel 2012 (reports from former internees).
  46. Edgar Mais: Algenrodt internment camp . In: Landkreis Birkenfeld (Ed.): Home calendar of the Landkreis Birkenfeld 1985 . Baumholder 1984, pp. 179-185.
    Bayer, pp. 28-36.
    Karl Geiger: Internment in the German Southwest . 3rd edition, Heilbronn 1977 (report of former internees), pp. 29–57.
  47. Old Swiss
  48. Bayer, p. 36 ff.
  49. The prisons in Koblenz, in which civilians were held after the automatic arrest , are not counted as internment camps in the literature (Möhler, Internierungslager, p. 54). The people imprisoned in Koblenz were housed in the bunker in Nagelgasse, in the town hall cellar, in the prison on the Karthauser, in "Camp 20" in Lützel and in the casemates of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress . Bayer, pp. 24-28.
  50. Geiger, pp. 64–67.
  51. Adolf Welter: Trier-Petrisberg 1940-1945: The POW camp Stalag XII D . Trier 2007, ISBN 3-923575-26-2 . Adolf Welter also has a private archive with documents on the internment camp.
  52. According to investigations by the Tracing Service of the German Red Cross, there were 1,215 internment camps, 846 labor and penal camps and 215 prisons in Czechoslovakia, in which 350,000 Germans were detained for longer or shorter periods. Wilfried Ahrens: Crimes against Germans - documents of expulsion . - Deutsche Verlagsanstalt 1983 ISBN 0391111639 , p. 225.
  53. ^ Alfred de Zayas The Nemesis of Potsdam. The Anglo-Americans and the expulsion of the Germans. 14th expanded edition. Herbig, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7766-2454-X . - English: Nemesis at Potsdam (1–3 issues Routledge, London / Boston; 4–5 issues University of Nebraska Press; 6th issue Picton Press, Rockland / Maine, 2003). P.224
  54. Internment camp Hanke: Ostrava plans a memorial for Germans murdered after the end of the war. in: Czech Republic online 19.1.2018