NAZI Concentration Camps: Flossenbürg (1938-45)

Figure 1.--The U,S. Army a few weeks after the July Bomp Plot and other resistors were executed reached the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp (April 23). This boy is one of the survivors they found. The caption of this wire service news photograph read, "UNRRA cares for European homeless children, Kloster Inderdorph, Germany: An old nunnery some 25 miles north of Munich now houses some 200 'D.P.' children of all nationalities. , who are being cared for by Team 182 of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Most of the children are truly stateless and may never find their relatives or former homes again, some being in doubt even of their nationality. Since the Germans had non use for younger children, there is a complere absence of of boys and girls between 3 and ...." [The rest of the caption is missing.] The photograph taken November 7, 1945, shows UNRRA workers assisting a boy found at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp when it was liberated by the U.S. Army. Unfortunately we do not know the boy's name or story.

The SS opened a new concentration camp at Flossenbürg, close to the then Czech border (May 1938). It was in the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria. The SS initially intended to use the camp for male criminals, 'asocial' persons, and Jews. After the War began, it came to be used for political prisoners. These groups were all Germans. With the stunning military successes of the early years, German acquired large numbers of POWs, some of which were interned in Flossenberh The largest numbers were Soviets. Hitler had enormous building plans that required huge quantities of building material, including granite. The Flossenbürg site was chosen by the SS because of the granite in adjacent hills. The prisoners were used as a slave labor force in a large quarry. It was one of the many camps which became part of a growing SS economic opertation, run for a profit. The quarries belonged to the SS German Earth and Stone Works (DEST) company. This was only the beginning. Eventually over 100 sub-camps were built to support many SS production facilities supplying the German military, all run at a profit. The SS because of manpower shortages began using more female guards at the end of the War. A training facility for women guards was established (September 1944). Some 30,000 inmates are believed to have died in Flossenbürg and its subcamps. Early estimates were as high as 75,000 people. Most died from overwork and inadequate food and medical care. A smaller number were political prisoners who were executed. An estimated 1,500 executions were carried out at Flossenbürg in the final year of the War. Most were individuals involved in the July Bomb Plot aimed at killing Hitler (July 1944). Among the most notable executions were Abwehr chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Christian resistor Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and General Hans Oster. The plotters were arrested when the plot failed and the Gestapo launched a massive investigtion. They were held in various prisons and camps until being sent to Flossenbürg, in part because it was deep within the Reich at a time that Allied armies were liberating other camps. They were stripped naked and hung with piano wire on meat hookd (April 9, 1945). The grisely executions were filmed and sent to Hitler in the Berlin Führer Bunker for his viewing. The U,S. Army reached the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp a few weeks later (April 23). Here is one of thge boys they saved (fugure 1).


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Created: 7:18 PM 9/9/2011
Last updated: 7:18 PM 9/9/2011