(2) NON-DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS
In America, "concentration camp" sometimes refers to facilities with inhabitants who voluntarily entered. In mainland America in the twentieth century, there were concentration camps for whites, for blacks, and for people (almost all of whom had Japanese ancestors) who had to leave a large, military zone on the West Coast during World War II. As far as I know, the black and white camps were for people who had become homeless because of a natural catastrophe such as a flood.
When writing about the concentration camps of Nazi-era Germany, many authors use definitions not in English dictionaries. These definitions include: camps officially entitled a "Konzentrationslager" (which literally means "concentration camp" in German), camps administered by the part of the SS which operated concentration camps, camps a purpose of which was to kill most of their prisoners (promptly after arrival, gradually by working the prisoners to death, or in any other way), camps which were cruel to their prisoners, and camps a majority of the prisoners of which were Jews. POW (prisoner of war) camps were not concentration camps.
If Auschwitz had had a "music conservatory" sign outside it, that would not have meant that Auschwitz had been a music conservatory. Because a German camp had a sign outside with German words which literally translate into English as "concentration camp", does not mean that the camp was a concentration camp as that term is defined in English dictionaries. Auschwitz was a place to kill people, not to detain or keep them.
This page concerns a few camps most of which are in northwest Germany, especially Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) state. Engerhafe, Neugraben, and Neuengamme worked Jewish prisoners to death. The function of Esterwegen camp changed from time to time. Most lists of camps do not provide instructions on how to go there. This is a problem especially for satellite camps. I provide instructions below for the camps I describe. I have been unable to find studies of real estate development on the sites of concentration camps.
During the Nazi period, Germany operated thousands of concentration camps (perhaps over ten thousand). This page has information about a few, former camps in northwest Germany (for example, detailed instructions on how to get there). Engerhafe, Neugraben, and Neuengamme were always run by the SS.
Engerhafe camp, also called Aurich camp, was a satellite camp of Neuengamme camp. The satellite camp was on (and on both sides of) what is now Dodentwenter street, between the Lutheran church and Achterumsweg street, in Engerhafe village, Aurich county, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) state, Germany. Engerhafe is in Germany's Ost Friesland (East Frisia) region. The camp was directly across a country road from the village's church. I climbed within the steeple to its top, whence I had an excellent view of the camp site. I guess that, when the camp was open, an observer in the steeple's top had an excellent view of the camp.
Most of the grounds of the former camp are now (1 September 2009) occupied by a corn field, one-family houses, a nursery school, businesses' buildings,, and at least one, narrow lane. I did not notice a funeral home on the camp site.
Arby's is an American restaurant chain that serves roast beef sandwiches, French fries, and other food. The Engerhafe concentration camp site should have an Arby's restaurant with a sign over the entrance, "Arby's Macht Fries".
I guess that, if someone moves from one of the Engerhafe concentration camp houses to Berlin, people find a way to talk about it without saying that he resettled in the east.
In America, there is a custom of re-enacting historical events using large numbers of volunteers in costume. For example, entire Civil War battles are re-enacted with careful attention to detail. The job of some volunteers is to die and play dead for the rest of the battle. Maybe volunteers could dress in concentration camp uniforms and re-enact camp inmate activities; for example, waking and participating in roll call. The public would enjoy watching and might learn.
There could be a souvenir store selling cookbooks with recipes for the same food cooked and eaten in Engerhafe camp and other camps. There could be a cafeteria selling those foods for on-premises consumption. The cafeteria would also sell ordinary foods appropriate to an amusement park. A sign would say that the concentration camp foods are good for people trying to lose weight. There might be two customers eating together in the cafeteria. One might have a big, filling, high-calorie meal. The other customer might have concentration camp soup and diet soda.
The amusement park would be called KzAP (pronounced KAY zap, means Kz Amusement Park).
Engerhafe concentration camp did not have a gas chamber but KzAP should have one. People would line up and enter the chamber, doors would close, and perfume would enter the chamber. The chamber would be realistic with the principal differences being that the chamber would be harmless and customers would remain clothed. Some customers might like the perfume. They could buy it in the KzAP souvenir store.
Engerhafe inmates were shaved bald. KzAP customers could get a lock of their hair cut off for free, then be given that hair in a bag to take home as a souvenir. The lock would be cut off by a professional barber. For a fee, a KzAP customer could get a haircut from the barber. The KzAP souvenir store would sell boots which would be realistic copies of German soldiers' boots lined with felt made from inmates' hair.
Auschwitz had an inmate orchestra. KzAP should have an orchestra as close as possible to the Auschwitz one. Customers could listen to live, Auschwitz-like music while at the amusement park. CDs could be sold at the souvenir store.
I guess that there were ferocious guard dogs in Engerhafe concentration camp. There should be many big, harmlessly snarling dogs in KzAP. Those dogs should be for sale. Some customers might want a big, ferocious-looking dog which harmlessly snarls on cue.
An amusement park should have a game of skill which enables the successful customer to win a stuffed animal doll (for example, a teddy bear) or other prize. KzAP would have Shoot the Escapers. Employees dressed as concentration camp inmates would pretend to try to escape from the camp in a mass break out vaguely like the one at Sobibor. Perhaps fifty prisoners would try to escape at a time. The customer-player would try to shoot as many escaping prisoners as he could in one minute with an imitation rifle. The prisoners would be at various distances from the shooter. There would be an obstacle or two, perhaps part of a building, making it difficult to shoot some escaping prisoners. The rifle would fire a laser beam. Each escaper would wear a high tech vest. If the laser beam hit the vest, the vest would make a noise to inform the employee-escaper to pretend that he had been shot dead. Some escapers would just drop dead. Some would dramatically stagger or crawl a little, then die. Every time a laser beam hit a vest, the vest would send a radio message to a KzAP computer connected to a big, video screen near the shooter. The screen would display how many escapers had been shot. The player would win a stuffed animal doll or other prize if he shot twenty prisoners. The game would be hard enough that only about a fourth of the players would win the prize, making the animal a trophy. A professional photographer nearby would make a video of the player playing the game. The video would show the player shooting and would show some escapers falling as they were shot. If the player wanted, he could buy the video as a souvenir. There would be a sign that this is all done in fun and not to do this at home.
The SS made lamp shades of human skin. Some shades had a tattoo on them. Those shades had been made from a piece of tattooed skin. Those tattooed shades were prized by the SS. I think that no such shades were made at Engerhafe. The KzAP souvenir store would sell realistic copies of SS tattoo lamp shades made of imitation human skin. Each lamp would have a label saying, "Made on the site of Engerhafe concentration camp in Germany.".
The store would also sell realistic copies of striped, inmate uniforms, both the male version and the female dress. In addition to realistic copies, there would be products inspired by the inmate look; for example, Bermuda shorts, tablecloths, and pantyhose.
KzAP would have a Cattle Car ride. Customers would get in a cattle car like the ones used to transport prisoners to concentration camps. The customers would be locked in. A train would have a locomotive and a few cattle cars. The ride would last about five minutes. The train would be operated to cause passengers to fall down. For example, there would be sharp turns, sudden stops, and sudden, fast starts. The customer-passengers' goal would be to avoid falling. Unlike real cattle cars, there would be plenty of handrails (to help passengers remain standing) and rubber padding (on the interior walls and floor) to prevent injury. The ride would be rough enough to cause about five percent of the passengers to fall down. Signs in the ticket-selling area for that ride and in the boarding area should tell people that some passengers fall, that the challenge of the ride is to avoid falling, and that most passengers are children and teenagers. Part of the ride would be through a dark tunnel. Many of the passengers would yell and shriek with delight.
The most exciting experience for some customers would be the bungee jump. Customers would jump off a specially constructed tower which would dominate KzAP's skyline. After jumping, customers would get a certificate saying, "I did the Matthausen Quarry jump." At the top of the tower, in addition to the bungee jump platform, there should be an observation tower for photographers and sightseers. KzAP should sell film and disposable cameras. At the tower's top, there also should be the top of a giant slide for children to slide all the way to the ground. Maybe, at the tower's top, the should be a restaurant with a great view. A simple, stylized drawing of the tower might become KzAP's logo. If Engerhafe concentration camp had a guard tower, the bungee jump tower would resemble it. Otherwise, the KzAP bungee tower would resemble the guard tower of some other concentration camp. There would be a huge searchlight on top of the tower. At night, the searchlight might follow a child on the ground. The child realizes the light is following him. He waves at the light-operator atop the tower. Also on the tower is a machine gun which fires small pieces of soft candy wrapped in cellophane or wax paper. After the child waves at the light-operator, the gunner fires some pieces of candy at the child. They land on the ground near the child. He picks them up and keeps them. At KzAP, there is a nice machine gun. It fires candy. When the gun fires the pieces of candy, it makes a noise identical to the noise a deadly machine gun makes when it fires ammunition. When people at KzAP would hear that sound, they would know that the gunner was shooting at a child again. Maybe there should be a special area of KzAP at which children could have soft pieces of wrapped candy fired at them, perhaps a large circle marked on the ground, the target zone.
KzAP restrooms should resemble at least a little the Engerhafe inmates' latrine. One restroom should be on the site of the original latrine to enhance the authenticity of the KzAP experience. The KzAP administrative office would resemble the original, Engerhafe camp, administrative office.
Customers should get an identification number on their forearm when entering KzAP. The number should look like a concentration camp number but it should not be a real tattoo. Customers could wash the number off with soap and hot water. The employee applying the identification number would use color-coordinated ink. For example, if a customer wore a red blouse, the employee would apply the identification number to the skin using red ink. The number should be generated by a computer, then copied by the KzAP employee from a video monitor. Some of the SS's primary concentration camps used data-processing hardware made and owned by IBM in America, and programmed and serviced by a subsidiary of an IBM subsidiary. KzAP should use at least some IBM hardware. If possible, customers should see a conspicuous IBM logo on a video monitor or other hardware.
Engerhafe did not have medical experiments but KzAP should have a medical research center. Customers would enter through a front door. As they walked down a short hallway, customers would hear recorded sounds of someone screaming and moaning. Customers would see a sign saying that their vision would be tested. The sign would have a big arrow and a request that the customers go there. Those who went would enter an ordinary, amusement park house of mirrors.
Some Jews survived because they had fake identification papers. At about when the Third Reich ended, some SS personnel got fake identification papers and started new lives. The KzAP souvenir store should sell fake, funny driver licenses, birth certificates, and other identification documents; for example, Argentine passports for Ben Dover. The fake documents should be carefully constructed to be hilarious.
In addition to concentration camp amusements, KzAP should have ordinary amusements such as a Ferris wheel, carousel, roller coaster, magicians, jugglers, and weekend rock concerts.
Some concentration camps had whorehouses although Engerhafe and other principally Jewish camps did not, as far as I know. A whorehouse would be great in an adult-oriented, concentration camp amusement park. However, a whorehouse would not be right for KzAP because KzAP is intended as a concentration camp amusement park suitable for the entire family. If there is a KzAP whorehouse, it should count as a triple ride.
One shouldn't count one's chickens before they hatch. However, if KzAP makes money, there are many other concentration camp sites on which there is now a business. There could be a chain of concentration camp amusement parks. Perhaps KzAP could sell franchises. Other profit possibilities are a KzAP board game, children's lunch boxes, baseball caps, tee shirts, and a TV comedy series. Camp inmates told jokes. Those jokes could be in the TV series. The TV scripts could also have classic jokes adapted to a concentration camp context; for example:
KzAP would be a wonderful place for a child to have a birthday party. KzAP would sell admission tickets to birthday groups and other groups at a discount. Delicious birthday cakes with candles could be ordered in advance to be eaten in a private room in the camp's cafeteria. Employees would sing "Happy Birthday" to the child after he blew out the candles. KzAP would sell cotton candy, popcorn, peanuts, pizza, and other foods children want. KzAP would have pony rides. Kids would love it. It would be the best concentration camp site and the best amusement park they ever visited. They'd want to come back. Maybe season tickets should be sold.
Some Jews delayed capture by hiding. Some hid in sewers. Some buildings had false walls and floors. KzAP would have many hiding places and escape routes. For example, a hallway in the gas chamber building might have a cabinet. The cabinet might really be a door. A customer could slide the cabinet aside, revealing a staircase, walk down the staircase, walk through a tunnel, climb a staircase, slide open a door, and discover that he's in the cafeteria. After finding a few hiding places, some customers would be like experienced Jewcatchers, quickly assessing everything they saw at KzAP as a possible hiding place or escape route. In some of the tunnels and hiding places, there might be an employee handing out small gifts such as a coupon good for an ice cream cone or a child-size tee shirt that says "My parents went to a concentration camp but all they got me was this lousy tee shirt.". If a customer got five coupons and presented them at the same time, he would get a good prize; for example, twenty dollars of anything the KzAP cafeteria sells. When people entered KzAP, they would get a map of the amusement park. The map would mention that there were hiding places and escape routes but not identify them.
KzAP should have a Hall of Lice. The hall should exhibit lice and provide information about lice in the camps. The souvenir store should sell lice in the same way that other businesses sell ant farms. If there's a fear that lice might escape and reproduce after sale, the lice could be sterilized. Involuntary sterilization would be a nice touch.
KzAP could sell dirt from the site. "This is soil from a concentration camp site." It could be embedded in Lucite as a pendant of a necklace, for example.
It's not Jews, concentration camp victims, or suffering that I joke about.
Seriously from a purely business perspective, I think that a variety recreation center (bowling alley, cinema multiplex, sun tan parlor, cybercafe, miniature golf) might flourish on the camp site.
In general, some houses sell at a discount because they are in an unpleasant place. For example, a house next to a jail might sell at a discount. It would be interesting to know how much less (or more) Engerhafe camp real estate (for example, houses and business buildings on the camp site) costs compared to comparable real estate elsewhere. Incidentally, Engerhafe is not alone. Many concentration camp sites today have ordinary commercial and residential uses.
Being on the site of a concentration camp might lower or raise price, or have no effect on price. The effect on price might vary depending on the region of Germany.
Soon there will be an LNG at Wilhelmshaven. I don't know if the LNG will be a tourist attraction. Engerhafe kz is not far away, perhaps in an adjacent county.
Except for the bottoms of a few brick walls (in a toilet area of the former camp), almost nothing remains of the former camp. (I guess that the bricks were made in the Neuengamme concentration camp's brick factory.) There is a little debris on the ground that conceivably is from demolition of the original buildings decades ago. A memorial for Engerhafe camp's victims is in the Evangelical Lutheran church cemetery, a short walk south of the site of the former camp. If one climbs to the top of the church's steeple, one has an excellent view of the camp site. I guess that, when the camp was open in 1944, people could see from inside the steeple what was happening in the camp. Jewish men, brought into Germany from many countries, lived in the camp in late 1944 and did military construction work outside the camp. In the German, federal government's list of concentration camps ("Anlage ...: Verzeichnis der Konzentrationslager ..."), Engerhafe is: camp 51, Aurich, in Kreis Aurich ("Kreis" is often translated as district and roughly corresponds to an American county), a satellite (secondary) camp of Neuengamme camp, open until 23 December 1944. Incidentally, as far as we know, no one has improved the list by adding the camps' street addresses or clear instructions on how to find the camps. The vast majority of camps were, like Engerhafe, secondary camps. Without street addresses or clear instructions, unnecessarily much time is spent finding the sites of secondary camps. For each camp, there should be a list of all street addresses which occupy the site of that camp, or at least one of the street addresses which occupies that site. Someone (for example, a tourist) who wants to go to a camp site should be able to give a taxi driver a street address. Alternatively, a visitor should be able to give a taxi driver a sheet with a list of addresses and ask the driver to take him to any one of those addresses. (Furthermore, I should do it, not announce that it should be done.)
Every September first, there is a small, brief, memorial ceremony in the cemetery at Ev.-Luth. Johannes-der-Taufer-Kirche (Evangelical-Lutheran John-the-Baptist-Church), Kirchwyk 5 (east of Norde Strasse at a T intersection), Engerhafe, 26624 Suedbrookmerland, Aurich Kreis, Niedersachsen. The 2009 memorial ceremony was said to be scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. After the ceremony, the people there will go to a restaurant together.
At a typical, Engerhafe, memorial ceremony, a few people speak. Flowers are brought. In the past several years as far as I know, only several people have attended each memorial service. As far as I know, none of attenders are children. I guess that none are teenagers. The small cemetery is well cared for. As far as I know, almost no one who works or lives on the camp site, goes to the ceremony.
Germany invaded Poland on September first, which may be why the memorial ceremony is that day. As far as I know, memorial services are in the evening Monday through Friday because people have to work earlier in the day, and in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays. That makes a lot of sense but a possible drawback is that, if there are religious Jews who want to atend the service, some may not attend on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Engerhafe was a secondary camp. I don't know if every secondary camp has an annual ceremony. I guess that many don't. It's great that Engerhafe does. Some of the ceremony should be on the camp site, not just in the church's nearby cemetery. Perhaps, if time permits, people should walk the full perimeter of the original camp. People who say "We shall not forget." should not forget the full extent of the camp. People should easily be able to find the camp's full site. People should not forget where the camp's various activities occurrred. To the extent possible without trespassing, people should stand (or at least see) where the camp's main office was, where the prisoners slept, where the SS officers slept, where the prisoners ate, where the prisoners stood during morning roll call, where the SS officers ate, where food was stored and cooked, where the laundry was (I guess that there was a laundry in the camp), where the latrine was, where the main entrance gate of the camp was, where trucks and cars were parked, and where other activities happened.
Jewish, male, Slavic, camp prisoners had ideas about what had happened to them. Many of them thought it had to do with what Germans and Christians are, for example. When the victims are remembered, their beliefs (about their persecution, carceration, slavery, and murder) should be remembered.
It had been difficult to find out what time the 1 September 2009 ceremony would start. After many phone calls, a man whose name was phonetically spelled Myer (perhaps actually spelled Meyer or Meier) said that the ceremony would begin at 5:00 p.m. It did not begin at five or close to five. There was rain but no ceremony at the previously announced time..
In the cemetery, there is an attractive, well-maintained area for concentration camp victims. There are cemeteries which fall into disrepair. Where there is a nice cemetery, someone is spending money to keep it that way.
Sarcastically above on this page, I imagined a cafeteria and a restaurant on the camp site. I wrote that before I discovered that here is at least one restaurant now on the site. The post-ceremony restaurant (the one to which ceremony participants were to go to after the memorial ceremony) is on the camp site.
At the concentration camp site in 2001, there had been latrine remains and an ugly field with debris. Some bricks from the latrice wre still there. I guess that the latrine walls had almost entirely been knocked down but that some bottom bricks had remained in place. I remember wondering if the bricks had been made at the Neuengamme camp's brick kiln. Vegetation grew luxuriantly at what remained of the latrine. The vegetation was a memorial, nourished by what the prisoners left there. I guess that the debris, on the debris-strewn field, was small pieces ofknocked-down walls and buildings. I thought that the little that remained of the camp in relatively unchanged form (namely, the latrine site and the debris-strewn field) was the best reminder, the best memorial, of the camp. When one sees what the prisoners saw, one is reminded of what happened there.
I had read that there was a concensus in Germany that the camp sites should be preserved but I guess that that concensus, to the extent it exists, applies chiefly to the primary camps (the ones which had been supervised by an SS office in Berlin), not secondary camps, such as Engerhafe.
When visitors saw the dirt of the debris-strewn field, they saw the same dirt that prisoners saw. When visitors saw the bricks which remained from the latrine, they saw the same bricks that the prisoners saw. The best reminder, of a camp is the original camp itself. It is stupid to the point of ridiculous to eliminate the little that remains of what one hopes will be remembered.
The first time I went to the camp site, nothing remained in relatively original condition except the debris-strwen field and the latrine site, as far as I know. When I returned several years later, they were gone, replaced by a parking lot, and a mini-memorial. The ugly field is gone. I did not notice a sign restricting who may park in the lot. The corn field and parking lot should not be on the camp site. If they must be on the camp site, it should be where now there are one-family houses, the nursery school, Dodentwenter street, and businesses such as the post-ceremony restaurant.
I did not measure the mini-memorial, which is a flat, horizontal structure approximately flush with the ground. One stands nearby, looking down at it. It is surrounded by a fence the size and seeming strength of which suggest that the fence can keep out dachshunds. Maybe the fence is a notice to people that they should not walk on the mini-memorial. The mini-memorial seems to consist of some post-Holocaust bricks, which I guess are not from Neuengamme camp, set into the ground. A small sign nearby explains the mini-memorial.
Near the mini-memorial (but not on North Street), there are signs guiding people to the mini-memorial. There are no signs or street names (for example, Slave Street) to mark the periphery and area of the camp. One can be outdoors on the site of the camp but not know that one is on the site. For example, someone there that September evening, who knew exactly where the post-ceremony restaurant is, did not know that the restaurant is on the camp site.
Years after Neuengamme concentration camp closed, a prison building was built on part of the site. Later, as far as I know, some people thought that it was wrong to have built a prison there. As a result,the prison building is empty, unused. I appreciate that. At Neuengamme, a small concentration camp building, whaich had been demolished, was reconstructed to resemble the original. There is a nearby sign explaining that the building is a reconstruction, not the original building. I appreciate the reconstruction and the nearby sign.
I've seen many businesses, houses, and other structures at German concentration camp sites other than Engerhafe; for example: a corn field, a barn which seemed to contain dairy cows, a bank branch, one-family houses, a fire house, a prison with prisoners living in it, a statue honoring local horses, and streets.
There is no reason to go to the Engerhafe site except to see what is now there, or to attend the annual Septmber 1 ceremony. . Nothing on the site looks as it did when the camp was open, as far as I know. I was not at the site after 2009. The site may have been changed since then.
Esterwegen was one of the fifteen Emsland camps and prisons. All were near the Ems River, in rural areas of the Emsland and Grafschaft Bentheim counties of northwest Niedersachsen state. Most Emsland prisoners were Christians who were prisoners of war (especially Soviet POWs), political opponents of Nazism (especially government officials, politicians, union leaders, and intellectuals), anti-German resistance fighters (Belgian partisans, for example), German military prisoners who had seriously misbehaved in a German military prison (and had therefore been transferred to a military punishment prison in the Emsland), homosexuals (all gay, I guess), and criminals. Emsland prisoners' work included building roads, digging ditches, farming (potatoes, for example), and removing peat from the ground. As far as i know, POWs did not work (for example, did not harvest crops). Not all Emsland prisoners were white. Some French POWs were black. I think that some Soviet POWs were Oriental. Many camps and cemeteries were on or near Nord-Süd-Straße street.
ESTERWEGEN camp (Emsland camp number 7)
Esterwegen (which was Germany's biggest prison when it opened) was a concentration camp long before it became a satellite of Neuengamme camp. There was a court inside Esterwegen camp. Esterwegen's site is now occupied by a German army depot. Outside the depot's main entrance (on Hinterm Busch street, about half a block from Hinterm Berg rechts street, south of Bundestraße 401 street, north of Esterwegen town, in northeast Emsland county), signs tell about Esterwegen concentration camp. Nothing of the former Esterwegen concentration camp is at that site, I was told by a soldier there. Tourists are not allowed in the depot. There is a 7.8 megabyte, color, Quicktime movie showing some of the outside of the site of the former camp (not the cemetery) on Friday, 21 September 2001.
ESTERWEGEN cemetery (Gedenkenstaette Esterwegen)
Esterwegen's dead inmates (and some of the dead of other Emsland camps, too, I think) were buried here. The cemetery, which is always open, is on the south side of Bundestraße 401 street, west of Bockhorster Straße street, northwest of Esterwegen town, in the north part of Emsland county. Each gravestone has two notches. There is a 5.7 megabyte, color, Quicktime movie showing some of the Esterwegen cemetery on Friday, 21 September 2001.
Neuengamme concentration camp originallly was a satellite of Sachsenhausen camp (a fascinating camp to visit, by the way) but later became a primary camp, supervised by the SS Inspectorate in Berlin. The former camp is at Jean-Dolidier-Weg street 39, on the east side of Jean-Dolidier-Weg street, south of Klinkerweg street, in Neuengamme neighborhood, 21039 Hamburg. Telephone +49 4042 89603, fax +49 4042 896525. There is a local bus stop at the site of the former camp. Farm fields are across a street (Jean-Dolidier-Weg street) from the site. The site has some original buildings (such as a brick factory inmates worked in), some reconstructions (such as a clay pit), and some additional works (such as a memorial column and a small museum). The camp's prisoners, almost all Jews, came from many countries. Neuengamme camp had several dozen satellite camps (also called subordinate camps, extension camps, external commandoes, and Außenlagern), one of which was on Alderney, an island in the English Channel.
There is an 11.2 megabyte, color, Quicktime movie showing some of the Neuengamme site on Wednesday, 14 February 2001.
Neugraben was a satellite camp of Neuengamme camp. Today, the former camp's site is a public park (used for dog-walking, for example) which is always open. This camp was by far the most time-consuming for me to find. I found no sign, statue, or other clue (visible from the street or sidewalk at the park) that there had been a concentration camp there. The name of the street is not Slave Street, Concentration Street, or anything else helpful. The sidewalk by the park is not a distinctive color which would be a clue that one is at a special place.
I walked for hours through the neighborhood, looking around and asking people where the camp had been. Most people simply did not know. Two people gave me bad instructions. One person doubted that there had been a camp in the neighborhood. Eventually, someone told me where the camp had been.
There is a nearby bus stop on Falkenbergsweg: the Neugrabener Heideweg stop of the number 240 bus line.
I do not know the park's street address. The park is across the street (Falkenbergsweg) from what seem to be one-family houses (for example: Falkenbergsweg 94 [Falcons Mountain Way 94], 21149 Hamburg). I do not know if those houses (for example, Falkenbergsweg 94) were part of the original camp site.
I suggest entering the park on the east side of Falkenbergsweg street, several steps north of Gödecke-Michels-Weg (name of the street in 2001 acccording to a street sign), in Neugraben neighborhood, 21149 Hamburg, Germany. If you enter the park where I suggest, you will soon see a hill. The camp was on the hilltop. I found a desecrated memorial boulder at the back of the hilltop (assuming that the sidewalk from which I had entered the camp was at the front of th camp). When one walks through the park, one sees nothing of the former camp except parts of foundations of some buildings. Because of persistent vandalism, there was no sign or other notice in the park when I was there that there had been a camp there.
I did not search for vandalism. In my walk through the neighborhood and through the park, the only vandalism I happened to notice was against the memorial boulder.
A memorial monument is near the front entrance of the police station in Neugrabener Markt, about half a mile from the park. The memorial is next to the police station to protect the memorial from persistent desecration suffered by the memorial boulder in the park. The vandalism seems directed against anything, regardless of how small or obscure, which might, without vandalism, inform people that there had been a concentration camp in the neighborhood. The memorial next to the police station, because of its location, has escaped vandalim.
On 1 January 1946, if someone had asked Neigraben neighborhood residents where the Neugraben concentration camp had been, residents would have known. Today, few neighborhood residents know. There is a saying, "We shall not forget." If one today asks Neugraben resdients where the Neugraben concentration camp was, the most common answer one gets is basically, "I don't know." Neugraben forgot.
Jewish women (mostly from Czechoslovakia) were brought into Germany to that camp. They worked outside the camp. The former camp site is across a street (Falkenbergsweg street) from one-family houses. I don't know if the houses are on the original, camp site.
There is a 9.6 megabyte, color, Quicktime movie showing the site on Saturday, 10 March 2001.
We were harassed for our remarks in the above discussion of Engerhafe. The harassers seem to live near us. We guess that none are from Engerhafe.
Some of the former camp sites of Nazi Germany were in the midst of cities (for example, Dessauer Uffer camp in Hamburg city), not in rural areas. For visitors to Germany who are curious about concentration camps, the urban camp sites may be easier to visit.
Many camps (for example, Esterwegen) had mostly Christian prisoners.
Many of the Jews in German concentration camps were brought into Germany (for example, to Engerhafe and Neugraben camps) to work. This importation of Jews to Germany to work (which was somewhat incompatible with Nazi ideology about Jews) is evidence of the severe labor shortage which contributed to Nazi Germany's military defeat.
FORMER CAMP BUILDINGS
In America, some private homes are made out of old barns. The architecture of those homes is sometimes discussed in magazines. Some concentration camp buildings have been incorporated into private houses in Germany. Those private houses are one-family houses (for example, at the sites of the former Alexisdorf and Bathorn camps in the Emsland, two-story brick towers have been incorporated into one-family houses) and at least one nunnery (the Carmelite nunnery at Dachau). In some cases, the resulting architecture is interesting. By the way, the brick building which contained the Deßauer Ufer camp is now used as a warehouse, as far as I know.
THERE'S NOTHING HERE.
At some camp sites, someone may sincerely tell you that there's nothing there. Often, that merely means that there's nothing most people care about (for example, a wall or much of a building). There may be a small structure, such as the foundation of a gatepost, that few people care about.
Going to the camp sites is the best way to see what they look like now. Looking at the amateur, color, Quicktime movies mentioned above on this page are the second best way. For details, send email clearly identifying yourself.
This is a preliminary discussion, written in the summer of 2006, of the Holocaust, especially how many Jews died in the Holocaust. There may be many mistakes in this preliminary discussion.
We will count someone as a Jew if he was killed because he was thought to be a Jew by the killer.
As far as we know, all of the killings were in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Jews in French Africa were killed in the Holocaust. Many of them died during brutal, forced, railroad labor under the Vichy regime. Jews in Libya were killed when the German army was there.
To cooperate with Germany, Japan imprisoned Jews (for example, Jews who had fled to China to escape being killed in Europe). Japan kept those prisoners. Japan did not give them to Germany. Did any Jews die because of the imprisonment? For example, did a Jew die trying to escape or to avoid capture by Japan? Did a Jewish prisoner die because he needed medical care that was unavailable in prison but was available outside prison? We don't know.
Most killings were in Europe.
There are at least two, different approaches to calculating the number of Jewish Holocaust deaths: addition and subtraction.
In addition, one starts from zero deaths, then counts up. The Yad Vashem method, mentioned below, is an example of addition. Adolf Eichmann used addition when he wrote to Himmler that six million Jews ahd been killed. That number later was used by Nurmberg prowecutors. Because today there is a severe shortage of information about how many people were killed in the holocaust, the addition total is much lower than the true total.
In subtraction, one finds the Jewish population of a place before and after the Holocaust (using census data and guesses where census data are unavailable), then subtracts the after number from the before number. One tries to explain the difference (for example, "Why are there one hundred thousand Jews fewer living in this country after the Holocaust?"). To the extent one can answer that question, one does (e.g., "Five thousand moved to America and other countries. What happened to the other 95,000?"). Subtraction is the main technique used after the Holocuast. Subtractors guess much. For example, the total number of Jewish emigrants is not always known.
If both approaches (addition and subtraction) are used on the same place but yield different totals, it can be productive to ask why the totals differ.
This distinction (addition and subtraction) is important.
If someone knows, as the result of his own research (as distinguished from guessing or having heard from someone else), how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, he should know how many deaths he discovered using subtraction and how many he discovered using addition.
People often say that six million (or some number close to six million) Jews died in the Holocaust. A few writers provide a clear range created by a low number (always less than six million) and a high number. Many writers merely provide a number. Six million does not seem to mean precisely six million (as distinguished from, for example, 6,000,001).
Does six million mean six million give or take a million (in other words, a number between five million and seven million)? Does it mean give or take two million (in other words, four to eight million)?
Does six million mean six million rounded off to the nearest million (in other words: 5,500,000 to 6,499,999)?
In many fields of research, even when there is a consensus on an issue, the consensus occasionally changes as the result of continuing research. It is suspicious that six million continues to be the publicly announced number despite decades of experts' research.
Eichmann estimated six million while the Holocaust was still in progress. If he was right, the total for the entire Holocuast exceeded six million. (Starting at about the time of the Wannsee Conference, Eichmann was the highest-ranking, full-time person running the Holocaust. Eichmann's supervisor had responsibilities than the Holocaust. Eichmann's supervisor did not work full-time on the Holocaust.)
There were records of the Holocaust. Many records, which would be useful if they had existed, never existed. We'll use an Auschwitz example. When Auschwitz began, every incoming, live passenger was registered. The vast majority were killed immediately after registration. Much time was wasted registering incoming passengers who were killed immediately after registration. Auschwitz management changed its passenger-reception system. Under the new system, management decided, immediately after a passenger entered Auschwitz, whether to immediately kill him. For most incoming passengers, the decision was to immediately kill. If so, he was immediately killed without registration. Those passengers would never be registered as Auschwitz inmates. They would not be assigned identification numbers. The IBM staff in Auschwitz would never have Hollerith punch cards for those passengers. This policy (no registration for incoming passengers designated for killing immediately after arrival) is just one example of a lack of records that prevents knowing how many Jews died in Auschwitz.
Furthermore, many Holocaust records were destroyed. Some records were destroyed accidentally or by causes beyond Germany's control (recall, for example, that there was a war going on during much of the Holocaust) and some records were destroyed intentionally by German personnel (for example, to prevent punishment of people who did the Holocaust).
There is a difference between (1) knowledge and (2) a guess made after learning what one can about a subject. Sometimes, despite much study, sought knowledge remains unknown. Sometimes one can only guess.
Let us say, perhaps wrongly, that, on average, at least 1000 Jews died during the Holocaust per camp (although not necessarily on the premises of that camp). We have reasons (which we may present in an expanded version of this essay) for our premise of 1000.
We think we read on a Web page, that there were 10,006 concentration camps (primary and secondary). We guess that the true number is not lower.
If the two numbers (1000 and 10,006) are right, at least 10,006,000 (ten million, six thousand) Jews died in the Holocaust. This guess (10,006,000) is much higher than most guesses.
Yad Vashem is an Israeli entity which has a Web site which lists Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It provides specific information for each Jew it lists as killed in the Holocaust (for example, his name). Many killed Jews were never reported to YV. YV has, according to its Web site on 1 June 2006, "... names and biographical details of half of the six million [in other words, three million] Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices."
We checked some Holocaust-era Jewish names to see how YV Web site handled them. A few Holocaust Jewish deaths were correctly reported by YV. A few Holocaust Jewish survivors were incorrectly reported by YV as Holocaust deaths. (They were false positives.) Several Holocaust Jewish deaths were not reported by YV. In general, the number of Holocaust Jewish deaths reported by YV is about one third of what we know, according to the tiny, unscientific, spot check we did. In other words: if our tiny sample is representative, the Holocaust total is three times YV's total.
We guess that YV's archive is most likely to be wrong in cases in which no Israeli resident is involved. For example, we guess that people outside Israel are less likely to report Holocaust deaths to YV than are people living in Israel. We guess that, when a YV record contains mistaken information, the person who knows is more likely to tell YV if he's an Israeli than if he isn't.
We don't know if anyone outside YV except us has attempted to evaluate the quality of YV's work. We did a tiny, unscientific spot check which does not necessarily prove anything.
According to news reports on about 19 September 2006, YV's Web site, based on wrong information supplied long before by Hilda Shlick's brother Karol that Hilda had died in the Holocaust, wrongly reported her as dead. Long before 19 September 2006, Hilda found out that she had wrongly been reported as dead to YV, and Karol found out that his report of her death had been wrong. However, on 19 September 2006, the YV Web site still writes, "Hilda perished in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 01/02/1999 by her brother." As nearly as we can tell, Karol's report seems to have been based solely on his plausible guess.
We informed YV of one Holocaust survivor its Web site incorrectly reports as having been killed. According to the YV website, the supposed killing was reported to YV by a group ("reporters") from the same town as the survivor. The Web site does not say the reporters' source of information (for example: they saw a killing, they saw a corpse, they attended a funeral, they read a death certificate, they heard gossip, they lost touch with the person during the Holocaust and later guessed that the person died as part of the Holocaust). The YV Web site does not say what evidence the reporters provided to YV (for example: one of the reporters said that he had seen the survivor's corpse). YV responded by email to our notice to it. VY wrote:
"Only after receiving this material can we note that the record is about a survivor."
We came to two conclusions about YV:
We'll use Poland to illustrate gross and net. The gross number of Polish Jews is the number of Polish Jews who died during the Holocaust regardless of cause of death.
Some Polish Jews died for reasons other than seeming Jewish to the killer (for example, some died because they were living in a combat zone). The net number of Polish Jews' deaths is the number of Poles who were killed by Germany and its collaborators because those killed people were believed to be Jews by the killers. One can estimate the Polish net number if one knows the percent of Polish gentiles (non-Jews) who died during the Holocaust.
If someone claims that his research established how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, ask him how he calculated gross and net. If he did the research himself, he knows. He may not know how gross and net were calculated if he merely guessed (or repeated a conclusion someone else told him).
Consider a Polish Jew who goes to Belgium. In Belgium, he is captured by the German invader, then sent to a Czech camp where he is killed. If someone claims to know, based on his own research, how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, ask how his calculations handled the kind of death described just above. Did the researcher treat that kind of death as Polish, Belgian, Czech, or some combination of the three? The researcher may not have had a policy on that kind of killing. He may capriciously have handled that kind of death differently for different deaths. If he is just guessing (or repeating or adding conclusions others made), he may not know how multiple-nationality deaths were handled.
To know (not guess) how many Holocaust Jewish deaths there were, a researcher must know much about the demography of the deaths. For example, it seems unlikely that someone knows how many Holocaust Polish Jews' deaths there were without knowing how many of them were young (for example, not yet sixteen years old).
If a researcher used the subtraction approach, he may not have a breakdown by year (for example, he may not know how many Jews were killed in 1943). If a researcher used the addition approach, he should have (based on the evidence he encountered in his research) some kind of approximate breakdown by year.
Most Holocaust Jewish deaths were between September 1939 (German invasion of Poland) and May 1945 (German defeat). The Wannsee conference, at which implementation of the final solution was planned in a general way, was held on 20 January 1942. Much of the Holocaust was done after the Wannsee conference.
What if someone died in January 1948 (or will die in January 2008) because of medical problems caused by his having been a camp inmate during the Holocaust? Let us assume that this person would have lived longer but for the Holocaust. The custom is not to count him as a Holocaust death. To be counted as a Holocaust death, he must have died during (or very soon after), not just because of, the Holocaust.
When a smoker dies, it may be impossible to know if that smoker would have lived longer but for his smoking. However, it can be shown that, for smokers generally, they die younger than they would but for their smoking. There are properly done studies measuring, for people in general, the life-shortening effects of smoking. Consider a specific, Holocaust survivor who died in 1950. It may be impossible to know if he would have lived past 1950 (dying in 1973, for example) but for the Holocaust. However, maybe there are studies of the life-shortening effect of the Holocaust on its survivors in general, so that one can know about how many Holocaust survivors who died in, for example, 1950, died earlier than they would have but for the Holocaust. We do not know if such studies have been done.
Above we state and briefly explain our two guesses of total, Jewish Holocaust deaths: 9,000,000 (based on a spot check of Yad Vashem incompleteness) and 10,006,000 (based on the number of concentration camps). These are much higher than others' guesses.
Today, computers are indispensable to the functioning of many government agencies. Before there were computers, there were Hollerith machines. According to information once at URL news.com.com/Probing+IBM's+Nazi+connection/2009-1082_3-269157.html, IBM built Hollerith machines, provided the SS with those machines, programmed those machines for the SS and other Third Reich clients, custom-printed the Hollerith punch-cards, and provided those cards. IBM was indispensable to the SS's data-processing, which was indispensable to the SS's efficiency.
IBM must be contrasted with other vendors to the SS. For example, Hugo Boss designed the SS's uniforms. If Hugo Boss had not designed uniforms, another vendor would have designed uniforms which would have served just as well. I.G. Fibrin (more particularly, its Degesch affiliate) provided Zyklon B, the gas used in concentration camp gas chambers, to the SS. If I.G. Farben had not provided Zyklon B to the SS, another company would have provided some other poison that would have worked as well or better. IBM provided data-processing hardware (machines and cards) and software (programming) to the SS. The machines included card-punchers and card-sorters. If IBM had refused to provide data-processing hardware and software to the SS, no other company would have provided comparable hardware and software. Unlike Hugo Boss's uniform design and I.G. Farben's Zyklon B, IBM was indispensable to the Holocaust's efficiency (and therefore to the Holocaust's size). Without IBM data-processing, Jews would have been killed but in much smaller numbers.
Accomplishing the Holocaust was an immense, data-processing challenge. Millions of Jews spread over many countries had to be killed. There were thousands of concentration camps. The railroad transportation alone was difficult to plan and coordinate. The Holocaust was a logistical problem which required much data-processing to solve. IBM provided that data-processing. For example, Dachau had dozens of IBM's Hollerith machines. IBM personnel worked in concentration camps. The original Auschwitz tattoo was an IBM number. The Holocaust could not have been done so quickly to such huge numbers of victims without IBM's help. IBM was not simply a vendor to the Third Reich (like Hugo Boss), IBM was an indispensable vendor. The Third Reich could not have bought the data-processing provided by IBM from another source.
The SS operated the concentration camps. If the SS had not done so, some other Nazi party or German government organization would have. IBM, unlike the SS, was necessary to the Holocaust's efficiency.
Furthermore, most Jews killed in the Holocaust were not German. Most of the Jews who were killed were obtained in countries invaded by Germany. Data-processing was indispensable to Germany's military prowess then as it is now. Rapid conquest of much territory in modern war requires data-processing. Then, IBM provided Germany's military with data-processing hardware and software. Germany could not have conquered so much of Europe so quickly without IBM's data-processing products and services. If IBM had stopped doing business with the Third Reich when Watson returned his award to Hitler, the Allies would have defeated Germany sooner. Germany would have conquered less territory and thus had fewer Jews to kill, had IBM refused to do business with the Third Reich.
In summary, IBM's assistance to the Third Reich caused far more Jewish deaths than otherwise would have occurred, for at least two reasons. First, IBM data-processing was used to gather, transport, and kill Jews (for example, IBM data-processing equipment was used by the camp system and by railroads which brought Jews to the camps). Second, IBM data-processing was used by Germany's military to conquer territory which Jews inhabited, resulting in far more Jews being subject to the Holocaust. IBM helped the Third Reich in other ways, too, but this discussion is limited to the Holocaust.
Consider a large organization today (maybe an airline, medical center, or phone company) that would decide to stop operating without computers or even Hollerith machines. To operate without computers or Hollerith machines, the scope of the organization's operations would have to be drastically reduced. The SS's system of concentration camps (and closely related organizations such as railroads) could not have processed so many Jews so quickly without IBM's data-processing.
The brief Wannsee conference, at which implementation of the final solution was planned in a general way, was held on 20 January 1942. Much of the Holocaust was done after that conference. The Holocaust, especially in its last few years, required immense, data-processing. But for IBM, most of the Holocaust's killed victims would have survived.
During and after World War I, people sometimes sincerely described it as the "war to end all wars". Similarly, people who discuss the Holocaust sometimes say, "Never again.".
It's common to ask why: why Nazism (including the Holocaust) happened, why in Germany, and so forth. We learn by doing research involving many cases, then statistically analyzing our observations. One must have many cases to get a low probability value. However, what makes the Holocaust (and much of the rest of Nazism) interesting is that much of it is unique or at least rare. Furthermore, if one decides to study features which are common (for example: religious intolerance, military aggression, glorification of brutality, dictatorship, widespread use of forced labor and slave labor, eagerness to do what the government and other authorities want, and suppression of people with defects), one must omit outliers as part of proper research procedure. The Holocaust was an outlier in many kinds of research, making it difficult to study.
We guess that part of the explanation is that the percentage of the German population which is vicious to people is much higher than the corresponding percentage of other countries. We don't know how to find out whether this guess is right. We do not express an opinion as to whether the average (mean, median, or modal) German is more vicious than the average person of other countries. It is conceivable that, with respect to the trait of viciousness, the German population has a higher standard deviation from the mean than do the populations of other countries. We guess that the viciousness of Nazism appealed to many Germans.
We wrote above, "It's common to ask why: why Nazism (including the Holocaust) happened, why in Germany, and so forth. Those questions are a reaction to the enormity of Nazism. Rather than ask about the causes of the enormity, one can ask the opposite question: why wasn't Nazism much worse? For example, why weren't more people killed, why wasn't the killing done more quickly? New kinds of legislation and regulation had to be made, a system of concentration camps had to be created with a bureaucracy to run it, not all countries gave their Jews to Germany, the Wannsee conference was not held until 1942, and the attention of top, Third Reich executives was often on non-genocidal, non-eugenic matters. Seemingly for an economic reason, many concentration camp inmates were used as workers at least for a while, especially in satellite camps, rather than immediately killed. The Wannsee conference was not held until January 1942. The geographical strategy of the Holocaust was to start genocide in the west of Europe and move east. Perhaps a different strategy (starting in Poland, for example) would have resulted in more deaths. We are not astounded by the enormity of Nazism. It is more interesting to us to ask why Nazism wasn't worse.
Americans sometimes think that it is a mistake to outlaw Nazism in Germany. Sound analysis of politics and economics should keep Nazism weak, etc. In light of the viciousness of many German people, it is sensible to outlaw Nazism in Germany.
According to our understanding of German law, it is illegal to publicly mock or scorn the dead. For example, if someone in Germany, while chatting with neighbors, ridicules a dead person they knew, the speaker violates German law. This kind of law is necessary in Germany. This law may have almost no effect on ordinary, social conversation. Nevertheless, we favor this law because, what can be done to try to civilize the exceptionally high percentage of the German populace which is vicious, should be done. Every miniscule bit helps.
This we guess.
This paragraph is only slightly relevant to this page but I don't want to create a special page for the subject of this paragraph, nor do I want to create a miscellany page.
Primary camps such as Auschwitz were run from Berlin. Secondary camps (sometimes called satellite camps) such as Engerhafe were run from primary camps. In general, secondary camps were not as bad to their inmates as primary camps were.
According to someone who survived BB (Bergen Belsen) and Auschwitz, both of which were primary camps, BB was much worse than Auschwitz. We were told the metaphor that BB and Auschwitz were night and day (BB's worse night to Auschwitz's better day). We were told, as merely one of many possible examples that could have been given to us, that Auschwitz had an orchestra but BB didn't. On 22 May 2009, Wikipedia's "KZ Gusen" article said, "Gusen is the name of the biggest and most brutal Nazi concentration camp complex on Austrian territory.". We appreciate the author's providing a brutality comparison although we don't know how the author compared brutality. We've never read systematic comparisons of the relative hellishness of the camps; for example, a rank-ordering of camps in how hellish they were. For a specific example: among people who survived both Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz, is there a consensus that Bergen Belsen was much worse? It would be interesting to read a survivors' rank-ordering, or any other rank-ordering, of the hellishness of concentration camps.
The best way to email us is by email to more than one of our email addresses.
The best way to email us is by email to more than one of our email addresses.