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Holocaust History: Concentration Camps

This LibGuide is a starting point for general research on the concentration camps, with resources on genocide, survivor memoirs, and primary sources.

Brief History

The Stuttof concentration camp, situated in a secluded, heavily wooded area west of the town of Stutthof, Poland, was first established in September 1939 as a civilian internment camp under the jurisdiction of the police chief of Danzig. Subsequently, it came under the administration of the SS as a labor camp and then in 1942 as a concentration camp. Mostly non-Jewish Poles were originally sent there.

It also served as a forced-labor and transit camp for the Jews of Danzig, Poland, and other northern Polish cities. Many prisoners worked in SS-owned businesses. Other inmates labored in local brickyards, in private industrial enterprises, in agriculture, or in the camp's workshops. Conditions in the camp were extremely harsh. Many prisoners died from disease, malnutrition, and poor living conditions. A typhus epidemic swept the camp in the winter of 1942 and again in 1944. Those deemed unable to work were gassed.

In early 1944, groups of Stutthof prisoners were sent to Auschwitz. As Soviet soldiers approached in January 1945, the SS guards started to evacuate the camp then holding about 50,000 prisoners. Around 5,000 prisoners from Stutthof’s sub-camps were sent on a death march to the Baltic Sea, forced into the water, and shot. This act was repeated in April 1945. For a great many prisoners, the order to evacuate became a death sentence. Some prisoners were sent on marches to other concentration camps. Due to the harsh winter conditions, thousands of people died. The Soviet Army entered Stutthof on May 9, 1945, and freed about 100 prisoners who had managed to hide during the last phase of the camp’s evacuation.


The following summary derived information from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library

Archival Material