The Neuengamme concentration camp, a Nazi concentration camp, was established in 1938 by the SS near the village of Neuengamme in Bergedorf district within the City of Hamburg, Germany.
It was in operation from 1938 to 1945. By the end of the war, more than half of its estimated 106,000 prisoners had died. After being used for two prisons by the Hamburg authorities from 1948 to 2004, the site now serves as a memorial. It is situated 15 km southeast of the centre of Hamburg in the Vierlande area.
The camp served the needs of the German war machine and also carried out exterminations through labour. The inmates were spread over the main camp and approximately 80 subcamps across north Germany. At least 50,000 succumbed to the inhumane conditions in the camp from hard manual work with insufficient nutrition, extremely unhygienic conditions with widespread disease, and violence from the guards.
Work at the mother camp was centered on the production of bricks. This included the construction of a canal to transport the bricks to and from the site. Inmates had to excavate the heavy, peaty soil with inadequate tools and regardless of weather conditions or their health state. From 1942, several armaments companies (e.g. Messap, Jastram, and Walther-Werke) established facilities directly next to the Neuengamme concentration camp.
Inmates were from 28 nationalities (Soviets (34,350), Polish (16,900), French (11,500), German (9,200), Dutch (6,950), Belgian (4,800), Danish (4,800)) and also from the local Jewish community, but also included communists, homosexuals, prostitutes, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, prisoners of war and many other persecuted groups. Of 106,000 inmates, almost half died. 20,400 victims, listed by name on the camp memorial Neuengamme, died in the camp and the subcamps. In actuality, an estimated 26,800 victims are known to have died there. During the last days of the camp and “evacuation” about 17,000 people died. At least 42,900 victims can be verified.