Concentration camp subcamps

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term concentration camp as an abbreviation for a spatially separated lying part of a concentration camp use historians to the complex system of the former Nazi -Haftstätten in the German Reich and describe research. Each concentration camp satellite camp or concentration camp field command was part of a concentration camp main camp, i. H. administratively subordinate to the local concentration camp commanders. Prisoner files and death records were kept in the so-called main camp; The SS guards also came from the higher-level concentration camp main camp and were usually part of a guard ban of the Totenkopf SS .

Origin of the term

Inmates had to do forced labor within a concentration camp . You shouldn't be detained idle. The work could also be pointless and harassing without any economic benefit resulting from it. The SS called the work troops, in reference to the military parlance, work command or command for short . The later historical literature coined the term concentration camp satellite camps , also subcamps , and means the larger external commandos that were housed in camps outside the main camp.

The euphemistic designation “Arbeitslager der Waffen-SS” was a code name officially used by the SS from 1943 on, especially for those satellite concentration camps that were set up in the course of the increased underground relocation of the German armaments industry.

Concentration camp commands

For example, in the Dachau concentration camp there was a crematorium work detail from 1940 . This group of concentration camp prisoners was housed separately. They were not allowed to have contact with other inmates. The SS wanted to prevent word of the number of dead among the camp inmates from getting around and leading to unrest and uprisings, known as mutiny in Nazi parlance .

External concentration camps

Even the Dachau concentration camp, often a model for the organization of later concentration camps, was by no means limited to its own camp area. In addition to the commands that had to perform work inside the camp, there were soon mobile commands that were deployed outside the camp, such as the herb plantation command or work commands that were assigned to peat cutting. Commands that were entrusted with construction work were supervised by Kapos in addition to the SS guard . The SS had roads, moats, barracks and SS rest homes built. If the work was carried out for state or private companies, the SS meticulously invoiced them in favor of the NSDAP main fund. During the war years, external units were added to clean up the cities after bombing raids. B. the SS construction brigade command .

Concentration camp prisoners were also used for private purposes by Nazi leaders: for Oswald Pohl's “Brüningsau” country house, for Himmler's hunting lodge ( Valepp external command ), and also for the country house of Hans Loritz , the commandant of the Dachau concentration camp. Also Eleonore Baur , a Blood Order bearer and personal friend of Hitler, got his own command allocated.

The assignment to a lighter or more physically difficult command influenced the prisoners' chances of survival. A command within a building, for example manual work, was more bearable for prisoners than commands that took place in the open air in freezing temperatures in winter.

Many work details only lasted weeks or months and the number of documents varied. Their accommodation to sleep, to check the presence of the prisoners at two daily roll calls and to settle the negotiated fictitious "costs" with the recipient of the work was mostly done directly in the main camp.

Concentration camp subcamps

Earth huts in the Kaufering concentration camp command that housed prisoners
Schindler's former factory (2004)

When the war began, the SS increasingly deployed prisoners in armaments factories . The prisoners were either temporarily accommodated in various sleeping quarters, in other cases the SS had their own camps built with watchtowers and fences. Some of the subcamps had a spatial structure similar to that of a concentration camp. In these cases there were SS camp leaders and prison functionaries such as "camp elder" or "block elder".

In many cases, the food supply, sanitary facilities and sleeping quarters were worse than in the main camp. The provision of these ancillary services for external accommodation, like security, was determined in the provision contract with the beneficiary company etc. after negotiations.

However, better supply than in the main camps was also possible, if the individual armaments company wanted it. The arms manufacturer Oskar Schindler saved over 1,200 concentration camp prisoners from deportation and murder in his armaments factory in Brünnlitz, and spent several million Reichsmarks on it.

In her dissertation supervised by W. Benz, Schalm suggests survival through work? Fields and satellite camps of the Dachau Concentration Camp in 2008 proposed to differentiate more precisely between the field and satellite camps of the concentration camp than before on the basis of the number of prisoners deployed and the purpose and thus also the prison conditions.

Basis for independently managed concentration camps

In some cases, satellite camps developed into new, independent concentration camps: The Mauthausen concentration camp began in August 1938 with the arrival of the first prisoner detachment from Dachau. The Niederhagen concentration camp also emerged from an external concentration camp. The Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp was initially a subcamp of Buchenwald and later became an independent concentration camp.


The following lists contain external units and satellite camps of the main camps:

  1. List of the Auschwitz I subcamps
  2. List of the Buchenwald subcamps
  3. List of the Dachau subcamps
  4. List of the subcamps of the Flossenbürg concentration camp
  5. List of the subcamps of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp
  6. List of the subcamps of the Hinzert concentration camp
  7. List of the Majdanek subcamps
  8. List of the Mauthausen subcamps
  9. List of the subcamps of the Mittelbau concentration camp
  10. List of the subcamps of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp
  11. List of the Neuengamme satellite camps
  12. List of the subcamps of the Ravensbrück concentration camp
  13. List of satellite camps of Sachsenhausen concentration camp
  14. List of the subcamps of the Stutthof concentration camp



  • Wolfgang Benz , Barbara Distel (Ed.): Subcamp camp. History and memory. In: Dachauer Hefte Nr. 15, Verlag Dachauer Hefte, 1999.
  • Joanna Skibinska: The last witnesses. Conversations with survivors of the “Katzbach” satellite camp in the Adlerwerke Frankfurt am Main. Hanau 2005.




  1. ^ Concentration camp satellite camp in Bavaria, conference, November 2006. ( Memento of the original from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Conference: Subcamp camp in the Ruhr area , December 2009. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Hans Maršálek : The history of the concentration camp Mauthausen . Documentation. 3. Edition. Austrian camp community Mauthausen, Vienna 1995, p. 71.
  3. ^ Stanislav Zámečník: That was Dachau . Luxembourg, 2002, ISBN 2-87996-948-4 . P. 150, chapter survival conditions .
  4. Sabine Schalm: Survival through work? External commandos and satellite camps of the Dachau concentration camp 1933-1945 . Metropol, Berlin, 2009. 368 pages. ISBN 978-3-940938-45-9 (also dissertation at TU Berlin 2008; review by Ulrich Fritz , 2009 at hsozkult).
  5. See also: Directory of the concentration camps and their external commands