Uckermark


In May 1942, a small concentration camp with dozens of barracks just over a kilometer from Ravensbruck was established for women between the ages of 16 and 21, but probably there were also younger prisoners. These women were considered criminal, sexually immoral, asocial, or simply just plain disruptive or deviant. A small number of boys were also in the camp. There were about 1,000 prisoners in the camp and most of them came from Germany, Austria and Slovenia. The camp was guarded by female SS officers and guards. There is much to suggest that Uckermark at the turn of the year 44/45 in practice became a holocaust camp. Not in the sense that the gas chamber and crematorium were built and that large trains arrived in Uckermark. Rather, a place where sick prisoners from Ravensbruck were brought to be murdered.

Virtually all but sixty prisoners from Uckermark were transferred to Ravensbruck or some other camp. Those who remained were housed in a small part of the former camp. The prisoners from Ravensbruck were murdered with poison injections, poison tablets or that they were shot. Some of the prisoners ended up in the camp and were later murdered in either Uckermark or sent back to Ravensbruck where they were murdered in the gas chamber. About 6000 prisoners were sent from Ravensbruck to Uckermark, how many of these were murdered is not possible to determine. The camp was finally dismantled in March 1945 and the Soviet Union later tore the camp.

Current status: Demolished with monument (2011).

Location: 53° 11' 16 N 13° 10' 50 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

After the war, the camp was demolished and the area was taken over by the Soviet Red Army, which erected new buildings for military purposes. When the last troops (US) left the area in 1994, the area fell more or less into oblivion and quickly fell into disrepair. The site is not part of the museum Ravensbruck and the future ownership had not yet been established in 2011. Since 1997, a feminist-antifascist group has on its own initiative carried out small-scale excavations and laid bare certain foundations after a barracks. It has also managed to map where the former camp street was located. The goal is for the camp to be thoroughly explored and become a ”official” memorial site. But all research had been carried out with minimal resources until 2011. Around the prisoner barracks and the camp street there are small information boards about the history of the camp. A small unofficial monument has also been erected on the site. To find the place you follow the small signs that are along the road (about one kilometer) from the Ravensbruck museum. If you go by car, you park the car about 500 meters from the camp itself, from there you walk on the former military area and follow the red arrows painted in the street. All the buildings, fences, walls and roads that exist are erected after the war.

One reason for the research, the lack of knowledge and interest about Uckermark may be due to the fact that several of the prisoners who sat in the camp were classified as sexually immoral (lesbian and prostitutes) or asocial. This was a category of prisoners that was talked about and still talked about quietly. Even after the war there was (and is) a moral condemnation of the lives of such prisoners. This meant that they chose not to come forward and tell or testify about their experiences and that researchers chose not to research a subject that was socially and morally unacceptable. This may be one reason why none of the officers and guards who served in the camp were sentenced to prison after the war. Only commandant Lotte Toberentz and her deputy Johanna Brach were brought to justice but released for lack of evidence. Several of the officers and guards who served in Uckermark worked after the war as police officers, social workers and gym instructors.

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