Oranienburg was one of the very first concentration camps established after the Reichstag fire in February 1933. In connection with the fire, the SA and SS were given police powers and were thus able to arrest political opponents and put them in what was called a protective detention centre (Schutzhaft). This meant that political opponents could be arbitrarily imprisoned without any grounds whatsoever. The camp was set up by local SA units in an old factory and was not large and it was closed just after a year. During this year, about 3,000 people were imprisoned, mainly Communists and Social democrats. At most, 735 people were imprisoned and 17 deaths are documented. In July 1934, the camp was dismantled and the prisoners were transferred to Lichtenberg. Later during the war, the camp was badly damaged and after the war the ruins of the camp were demolished.

Current status: Demolished with memorial tablet (2008).

Location: 52°44'54.84" N 13°14'13.33" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Oranienburg is perhaps the most known camp out of the first concentration camps that were established but only existed for a short period. Probably because of its proximity to Sachsenhausen. At the same time, camps like Oranienburg, became blueprints for bigger camps like Auschwitz.

Follow up in books: Kogon, Eugen: The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them (2006).