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  • Vernon Tott, Angel of Ahlem (1924 - 2005)
    Vernon Tott was proud of his Dutch ancestry. Born in the small farming community of Orange City, Iowa in 1924, he grew up hearing stories about his grandparents’ migration from the Netherlands to tiny ...
  • Eliezer David Rotfogel (1927 - 1958)
  • Henry (Heinz) Alfred Kissinger
    Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger ) is an American diplomat and politician who served as the United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential admi...
  • Reuven Rotfogel (1895 - 1945)

This project describes the Hannover-Ahlen work camp. This camp was an underdepartment of the Concentration camp Neuengamme, positioned in Ahlen at Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany. This smaller camp was a forced labour camp for a large industrial company.

Among others, the two US soldiers Vernon Tott ("The angel of Ahlem") and Henry Kissinger (later US statesman and Nobel laureate) were involved with the 84th Infantry Division of the US Army, which liberated the Ahlem work camp. Tott made several photos with his second hand camera, in his young age not being aware of their historical importance, which decades later resulted in reestablishing his contact with the previous camp prisoners, and a film documentation.

Sources and Links

Summary: The KZ Hannover-Ahlem was established in late 1944 to house 840 inmates who were transferred from a satellite camp of the KZ Stöcken (Continental). The prisoners worked in the drifts (tunnels) of a subterranean asphalt [bitumen] mine. Most of the prisoners were sent on a death march to the KZ Bergen-Belsen a few days before the arrival of the US Army. The remaining prisoners were liberated on April 10, 1945.

Planning for the KZ Hannover-Ahlem began in 1943 in response to the increased bombing of Hannover where the Continental Corporation [a rubber products manufacturer] produced aircraft tires and gas mask components. Continental wanted to move its manufacturing operations under ground to protect them from the bombs. The SS took responsibility for this project in November of 1944 and built a camp consisting of five buildings, surrounded by barbed wire, that faced the tunnel entrance.

The prisoners had to work two 12-hour shifts with picks and shovels to widen the tunnels for the manufacturing equipment. Laboring in the cold and damp environment (circa 50 degrees F and 85% humidity) was very hard on the prisoners who were also mistreated by SS personnel. This camp had the highest mortality rate of Hannover's seven KZ camps. The commandant of KZ Neuengamme had 250- 350 prisoners returned to KZ Neuengamme and replaced them with Danish, Polish, and Russian prisoners. This move briefly reduced mortality to 22 deaths per week; it was 44 deaths per week by the first week of January 1845. Within 6 weeks 50% of the Jewish prisoners were either incapable of working or had died.

340 prisoners arrived from the abandoned satellite KZ Hildesheim on 3/25/1945 to join the 750 then alive. Evacuation of the KZ Ahlem began on 4/6/1945 with 600 prisoners being marched to KZ Bergen-Belsen; 250 prisoners who were not well enough to march were left behind. The marchers reached Bergen-Belsen on 4/8/1945; several prisoners were shot on the way. US Forces liberated the Ahlem prisoners on 4/10/1945.

Dieses Projekt beschreibt das Konzentrationslager Hannover-Ahlen. Dieses Lager war eine Unterabteilung der KZ Neuengamme, gelegen in Ahlen bei Hannover, Niedersachsen. Dieses kleinere Lager war ein Zwangsarbeitslager für ein größeres Unternehmen.

Unter anderem waren die zwei US Soldaten Vernon Tott ("Der Engel von Ahlem") und Henry Kissinger (später US Regierungsmitglied und Nobelpreisträger) mit dem 84th Infanterie Division vom US Army, die das Zwangsarbeitslager Ahlem befreite. Tott hat dabei viele photos mir seiner gebraucht gekauften Kamera, in seiner Jugend noch nicht auf deren historischen Bedeutung aufmerkam, die Jahrzehnte später dazu führen sollte dass sein Kontakt mit den früheren KZ Gefangenen wieder zustande kommen sollte, und dass einen Dokumentarfilm entstand.

Quellen und Links

Summary: The KZ Hannover-Ahlem was established in late 1944 to house 840 inmates who were transferred from a satellite camp of the KZ Stöcken (Continental). The prisoners worked in the drifts (tunnels) of a subterranean asphalt [bitumen] mine. Most of the prisoners were sent on a death march to the KZ Bergen-Belsen a few days before the arrival of the US Army. The remaining prisoners were liberated on April 10, 1945.

Planning for the KZ Hannover-Ahlem began in 1943 in response to the increased bombing of Hannover where the Continental Corporation [a rubber products manufacturer] produced aircraft tires and gas mask components. Continental wanted to move its manufacturing operations under ground to protect them from the bombs. The SS took responsibility for this project in November of 1944 and built a camp consisting of five buildings, surrounded by barbed wire, that faced the tunnel entrance.

The prisoners had to work two 12-hour shifts with picks and shovels to widen the tunnels for the manufacturing equipment. Laboring in the cold and damp environment (circa 50 degrees F and 85% humidity) was very hard on the prisoners who were also mistreated by SS personnel. This camp had the highest mortality rate of Hannover's seven KZ camps. The commandant of KZ Neuengamme had 250- 350 prisoners returned to KZ Neuengamme and replaced them with Danish, Polish, and Russian prisoners. This move briefly reduced mortality to 22 deaths per week; it was 44 deaths per week by the first week of January 1945. Within 6 weeks 50% of the Jewish prisoners were either incapable of working or had died.

340 prisoners arrived from the abandoned satellite KZ Hildesheim on 3/25/1945 to join the 750 then alive. Evacuation of the KZ Ahlem began on 4/6/1945 with 600 prisoners being marched to KZ Bergen-Belsen; 250 prisoners who were not well enough to march were left behind. The marchers reached Bergen-Belsen on 4/8/1945; several prisoners were shot on the way. US Forces liberated the Ahlem prisoners on 4/10/1945.