Flossenbürg concentration camp

Flossenbürg was a Nazi concentration camp built in May 1938 by the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office in a remote area of the Upper Palatine Forest of Bavaria, Germany, near Flossenbürg and the border with Czechoslovakia. The camp's initial purpose was to exploit the forced labor of prisoners for the production of granite for Nazi architecture. In 1943, the bulk of prisoners switched to producing Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter planes and other armaments for Germany's war effort. Although originally intended for "criminal" and "asocial" prisoners, after Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, the camp's numbers swelled with political prisoners from Eastern Europe. It also developed an extensive subcamp system that eventually outgrew the main camp.

Before it was captured by the United States Army in April 1945, 89,964 to 100,000 prisoners passed through Flossenbürg and its subcamps. Around 30,000 people died there, from malnutrition, overwork, or executions, or during the death marches. Some of the perpetrators were convicted in the Flossenbürg trial, and the camp was repurposed for other uses before the opening of a memorial and museum in 2007.

concentration camp
The camp after liberation
LocationFlossenbürg, Germany
Built bySS-WHVA
Operated byNazi Germany
Companies involvedDEST, Messerschmitt AG
Operational3 May 1938–23 April 1945
InmatesPolitical prisoners, Jews, criminals, antisocials
Number of inmates89,974
Liberated byUnited States Army
Notable inmatesWilhelm Canaris, Dietrich Bonhoeffer


During the first half of 1938, the Nazi concentration camp population expanded threefold due to increased arrests by the Schutzstaffel (SS) of individuals deemed undesirable, especially "asocial"[a] and "criminal"[b] prisoners, to create a slave labor force. SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered the founding of new concentration camps to expand the SS economic empire.[4][5] The SS intended to exploit the slave labor of prisoners to quarry granite, which was in high demand for monumental building projects in the Nazi style.[6][7] This would also profit the SS-owned and -operated DEST company (German Earth and Stone Works),[8][9] which had been founded in April.[10][11]

During the second half of March 1938, a high-ranking SS commission led by Oswald Pohl and Theodor Eicke toured southern Germany, searching for a site for a new camp that would meet the SS' specifications.[12] On 24 March 1938, they chose a site near the small town of Flossenbürg, in the Upper Palatinate, for the establishment of a concentration camp[5] due to the quarries of blue-gray granite located nearby.[12] Unlike all other Nazi concentration camps to date, which were near rail junctions and population centers, the camp was to be located in the remote Fichtel Mountains near Flossenbürg Castle, formerly owned by Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa.[8]

Flossenbürg was a poor rural area, with about 1,200 inhabitants who mostly worked on the quarries, which had existed since the 19th century. The local economy, especially the stone industry, was negatively impacted by the new border with Czechoslovakia after the Treaty of Versailles and the 1930s economic slump. Adolf Hitler's rise to power increased the demand for granite, earning the Nazi Party local support.[13][14] The construction of the camp was funded by a contract with Albert Speer's ministry for the reconstruction of Berlin;[15] it was the first occasion that economic considerations had determined the site of a camp.[16]


Gate of Flossenbürg concentration camp
Gate of Flossenbürg with the Nazi slogan Arbeit macht frei ("Work sets you free")[17]

The order for the construction of eight barracks at Flossenbürg went through on 31 March,[18] SS guards arrived in April,[19] and on 3 May 1938, a transport of 100 prisoners arrived from Dachau, establishing the camp.[5] It was the fifth Nazi concentration camp to be founded.[20] More prisoners arrived from Dachau on 9 and 16 May;[21] Himmler visited the camp on 16 May with Pohl, indicating that the SS considered it an important project.[16] The SS attempted to segregate prisoners incarcerated for criminal offenses at Flossenbürg because forced labor in the quarries was considered a particularly harsh punishment.[22] Most of the prisoners at Flossenbürg were classified as criminal, with some "asocial" and a few homosexual prisoners;[c] the criminals quickly took over the prisoner functionary positions.[5]

The new prisoners had to construct the camp themselves, beginning with the barbed wire fence; this was initially the main use of forced labor.[9] While performing this heavy and dangerous work, the prisoners lived in makeshift structures. Simultaneously, hundreds of prisoners had to work in the quarries.[24] The camp's population had increased to 1,500 following arrivals from Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald.[5] In January 1939, the first commandant, Jakob Weiseborn, unexpectedly died.[25][26] He was replaced by a former SS officer at Dachau, Karl Künstler, who presided over an era in which the camp became an economically productive center for granite quarrying,[26] and increasingly deadly for its prisoners.[25] With the first barracks complete, in 1939 work began on an internal jail, guard towers, a washing facility, and a sewer system.[9] In April 1939, the economic productivity of the camp led to Pohl ordering the camp to be expanded to fit 3,000 prisoners. To build additional barracks, terraces had to be cut into the hillsides, an arduous task that led to many injuries.[27]

Fifty-five prisoners died before the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.[28] During mid-1939, Nazi authorities planned to invade Poland. It was decided to stage false flag attacks in order to justify a German declaration of war. Several prisoners from Flossenbürg and other concentration camps were secretly transferred to a Gestapo prison in Breslau, poisoned, and dressed in Polish uniforms. On 31 August 1939, the bodies were dumped at a border post in Hochlinden where they were shot and hacked; photographs were taken as "proof" of a Polish attack on Germany.[29]


Flossenbürg by Stefan Kryszak - Plan without legend
Layout of the camp, as drawn by survivor Stefan Kryszak

In September 1939, the SS transferred 1,000 political prisoners to Flossenbürg from Dachau in order to clear the latter camp to train the first regiment of the Waffen-SS. These prisoners, who were the first political prisoners at Flossenbürg, were moved back to Dachau in March 1940.[30][31] The first foreign prisoners were transferred to the camp by the Gestapo in April, including Czech student protestors and Polish resistance members. The vast majority of the new foreign prisoners were incarcerated due to their opposition to the Nazi regime; a few of them were Jews. Most of the Jewish political prisoners were executed or died shortly after arriving from mistreatment.[32][33] The last twelve surviving Jews were deported to Auschwitz on 19 October 1942, pursuant to Himmler's order to make the Reich Judenrein.[9][33]

The number of Polish prisoners increased sharply in 1941; on 23 January, 600 arrived from Auschwitz.[34] In mid-October 1941, 1,700[35] to 2,000[9][33] Soviet prisoners of war arrived at Flossenbürg as part of a massive transfer of Soviet prisoners to the SS camp system. In poor condition due to their previous mistreatment, they spent several months recovering before they were deemed fit to work. They were accommodated in a special, cordoned-off area.[36]

By February 1943, Flossenbürg had 4,004 prisoners, not including the Soviet prisoners of war.[33] From April 1943, the commandant was Max Koegel, described by American historian Todd Huebner as "a vicious martinet" who lacked the ability to manage the camp during its rapid expansion.[37] Continuing influxes of political prisoners from occupied countries caused Germans to become a minority that same year.[9] During 1944, Flossenbürg's population expanded almost eightfold, from 4,869 to 40,437,[38] due to a high influx of mainly non-German prisoners.[9] This was part of an expansion that applied over the entire Nazi concentration camp system.[39]

By the end of 1943, the number of guards had increased to about 450, including 140 Ukrainian auxiliaries. As with other concentration camps, guards initially consisted of SS men from Germany and Austria, whose ranks were augmented with Volksdeutsche recruits after 1942. The number of guards increased sixfold during 1944 and reached 4,500 by the time the camp was evacuated. Due to manpower shortages, fit young guards were called up for front-line service and many older men, members of the Wehrmacht, and five hundred SS women were recruited into the guard force at Flossenbürg.[37]


The expansion of the camp led to the establishment of subcamps, the first of which was established at Stulln in February 1942 to provide forced labor to a mining company. Many of them were located in the Sudetenland or across the border in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Initially, the subcamps were not involved in armaments production, which changed in the second half of 1944 due to a large influx of available prisoners and the activities of the Jägerstab, which sought to increase German aircraft production.[40] The Jägerstab's dispersal of aircraft production spurred the expansion of the subcamp system in 1944[41] and resulted in the establishment of the two largest of the subcamps, at Hersbruck and Leitmeritz.[40] In the second half of 1944, 45 new camps were created, compared to three camps in the previous six months. The staffing these new camps was increasingly filled by Luftwaffe soldiers, Volksdeutsche SS men (ethnic Germans from outside the Reich), and SS women, for the subcamps containing female prisoners.[42] By April 1945, 80% of the prisoners were at the subcamps.[43]

Forced labor


Quarry at Flossenbürg, USHMM 746235
Quarry at Flossenbürg

Three quarries were operational by the end of 1938, and a fourth opened in April 1941.[44][20] All four quarries were located near the main camp, and the total planned output was 12,000 cubic metres (420,000 cu ft) annually. The stone was average quality blue-gray and yellow-gray granite, 90% of which was suitable for architectural purposes.[20] Production gradually increased during 1940, but remained constant in 1941.[45] Initially all work was done by manual labor;[46] prisoners worked alongside civilian laborers and performed the most arduous and dangerous tasks. Accidents led to many deaths.[47] Beginning in 1940 and 1941, machines were introduced to increase efficiency.[46] In mid-1939, the quarries became the main use of labor in the camp and the following year they consumed half of the total labor, which was valued at 367,000 Reichmarks.[48]

From November 1940, some prisoners were trained as stonemasons in a specialized workshop; their numbers reached 1,200 by December 1942.[49][50] The prisoners were instructed by civilian experts in a ten-week course covering both practical and theoretical topics, but watched carefully by kapos. Those who failed to advance were sent to work in the quarries, while those whose productivity improved were given cigarettes and extra food. The stone that they cut was used for construction of the camp, the Autobahns, and various SS military projects,[51] but later on it was destined for the monumental German Stadium project and the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg.[52]

Of the five prewar concentration camps where economic industries were prominent, Flossenbürg was the one that was most significant and consistent in producing income for DEST. For example, it produced 2,898 cubic metres (102,300 cu ft) of stone in 1939, almost three-quarters of the total production that year.[53] The largest buyer of Flossenbürg granite was Albert Speer's office for the reconstruction of Berlin.[8] Within this project the largest and most significant orders were for Wilhelm Kreis' Soldiers' Hall (Soldatenhalle) project, beginning in 1940. Increasing amounts of stone were used for road building; 15% in 1939 but 60% the next year.[54]

The first quarry shut down in May 1943 and its workers were reassigned to arms production,[53] but half of prisoner labor was still going to the quarries.[55] Although civilian production was being scaled back in order to reorient the economy to total war, DEST managed to secure permission to keep many of its quarries open into 1944.[56] At Flossenbürg, the company maintained strong control over the economic enterprises of the camp, despite the fact that this aspect was supposed to be under the control of the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office (SS-WHVA).[26] In early 1944, 1,000 prisoners were still employed in the quarries.[56]

Aircraft and armaments

Aircraft factory at Flossenbürg
Aircraft factory at Flossenbürg, photographed after it was captured

During 1942, the focus of the SS shifted towards war production, leading to negotiations with arms manufacturers to license their products to DEST.[57] Messerschmitt AG was one of the most important armaments companies that demonstrated interest in acquiring the slave labor of concentration camp prisoners, opening negotiations with DEST via Rüstungskommando Regensburg by the end of 1942 to produce parts for the Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft at Flossenbürg. Under the terms of the deal, Messerschmitt would provide skilled technicians, raw materials, and tools, paying DEST 3 Reichsmarks per day for a skilled laborer and 1.5 Reichsmarks per day for an unskilled prisoner. Thus, Messerschmitt could increase its profit margin by reducing labor cost, while DEST could reduce its administrative costs by acting as a manpower agency. In mid-January 1943, DEST accepted the offer;[58] production started in early February.[58][55]

According to Yad Vashem historian Daniel Uziel, the conversion of Flossenbürg to armaments production was especially significant because it had been the most profitable DEST enterprise. The number of prisoners working for Messerschmitt increased greatly after the bombing of Messerschmitt's Regensburg plant on 17 August 1943.[59] That month, 800 prisoners worked for Messerschmitt; a year later, 5,700 prisoners were employed in armaments production.[55] Erla Maschinenwerke, a subcontractor of Messerschmitt, established Flossenbürg subcamps to support its production: a subcamp at Johanngeorgenstadt, established in December 1943, to produce tailplanes for the Bf 109, and another subcamp at Mülsen-St. Micheln which produced aircraft wings, in January 1944.[41] Despite strict regulations forbidding contact, the German civilian workers came into contact with prisoners and some helped by providing extra food or other assistance.[60]

The Flossenbürg camp system had become a key supplier of Bf 109 parts by February 1944, when Messerschmitt's Regensburg plant was bombed again during "Big Week". Seven hundred Soviet prisoners who had been working at the Regensburg factory were transferred to Flossenbürg to continue working on Bf 109 production. Increased production at Flossenbürg was essential to restoring production in the aftermath of the attack. Aircraft manufacturer Arado eventually becoming one of the primary users of slave labor at the subcamps for the Arado Ar 234 jet bomber project, at Freiberg among other locations.[41] Other prisoners in the subcamps were forced to work on synthetic oil production or repairing railways.[42] Before the end of the war, about 18,000 prisoners at Flossenbürg and its subcamps were working on aviation-related projects.[61]


Barracks at Flossenbürg concentration camp
Barracks at Flossenbürg concentration camp

Ten percent of the deaths at Flossenbürg occurred before 1943. The quarries caused the death rate to be higher at Flossenbürg than at camps with less physically demanding industries, such as brickworks; the switch to armaments production in 1943 led to a decrease in the death rate.[62] Prisoners also suffered from a shortage of fresh water, due to the elevation, and unusually cold and wet weather; their clothing was not adequate for these conditions. The main camp, situated in a narrow valley, had little room for expansion. Originally constructed for only 1,500 prisoners, the population of the main camp increased to between 10,000[9] and 11,000[33] before it was evacuated in April 1945. In order to increase productivity, the prisoners were forced to sleep and work in shifts. This also helped alleviate the chronic overcrowding in the barracks.[9]

The prisoner functionaries at Flossenbürg were unusually brutal and corrupt, because the positions had been taken by criminal prisoners even though overall only about 5% of prisoners had been classified as criminal. The final camp elder, Anton Uhl, was beaten to death by prisoners after liberation. Many of the criminal functionaries sexually abused young male prisoners, causing the commandant to isolate teenage boys in a separate barracks. The SS hierarchy was also known for corruption and brutality. Prisoners were mistreated in various ways, from being beaten or doused with cold water to being shot by guards during alleged escape attempts.[63]

The prisoners were chronically undernourished and disease was rampant.[37] Conditions differed based on a prisoner's status and race. Polish and Soviet prisoners occupied the lowest rungs on the prisoner hierarchy, being put on the most physically demanding work details and allocated less food than other prisoners.[34] There was an epidemic of dysentery in January 1940 that shut down work at the camp, and typhus epidemics in September 1944 and January 1945 claimed many lives.[37] The total number of prisoners who passed through Flossenbürg and its subcamps has been estimated at 89,964[9] or over 100,000.[64] About 30,000 of the prisoners died at Flossenbürg or during its evacuation,[9][64] the main causes of death were malnutrition and disease.[37] Between 13,000 and 15,000 prisoners died at the main camp and more than 10,000 at the satellite camps.[64] An estimated three-quarters of the deaths occurred in the nine months before liberation.[65]


Flossenburg crematorium (external view)
The Flossenbürg crematorium

Due to increasing mortality from the harsh conditions, the SS ordered the construction of an on-site crematorium, which was completed in May 1940.[66] Executions by shooting began at Flossenbürg on 6 February 1941; the first victims were Polish political prisoners. Victims were separated after evening roll call and read their sentence. After a night in the camp jail, they were shot at the firing range adjacent to the crematorium. After a mass execution of 80 Polish prisoners on 8 September,[67] the execution method was changed to lethal injection due to complaints from local residents of blood and body parts washing up in nearby streams.[68] The primary victims were Polish political prisoners and Soviet prisoners of war.[37]

Doctors who had participated in the Aktion T4 mass killings toured several concentration camps to select ill inmates to be transported to euthanasia centers; they visited Flossenbürg in March 1942.[69] Thousands of prisoners who were worn out by forced labor were sent to death camps such as Majdanek[70] and Auschwitz. One transport from Flossenbürg to Auschwitz arrived on 5 December 1943 with more than 250 of the 948 prisoners dead. By 18 February, only 393 survived.[71] Women unable to work were often deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp.[72]

The rate of executions increased during the final months of the camp. The SS liquidated prisoners who they suspected might try to escape or organize resistance; most of the victims were Russians.[73] Some of them were high-profile prisoners who had been kept alive previously for interrogation. During the last days of the camp's existence, the SS executed thirteen Allied secret agents and seven prominent German anti-Nazis, including former Abwehr head Wilhelm Canaris and the Confessing Church theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.[74][37] In all, the SS had executed at least 2,500 people at Flossenbürg.[75]

Final months

Fence at Flossenbürg concentration camp
Flossenbürg fence

A total of 12,000 prisoners in seventeen transports arrived at Flossenbürg in late 1944 and early 1945, causing the camp to fall into a state of disarray.[76] The first of these prisoners had been evacuated from Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in mid-1944.[77] In early 1945, 2,000 prisoners were sent to Flossenbürg during the evacuation of Auschwitz concentration camp.[78] 9,500 prisoners arrived after the evacuation of Gross-Rosen; of 3,000 on one transport, only 1,000 arrived alive.[79] The influx of prisoners caused conditions to worsen and the death rate to increase dramatically: 3,370 prisoners died between mid-January and 13 April.[73]

As there was not enough space in the infirmary for all of the sick prisoners, commandant Max Koegel ordered hundreds of sick prisoners sent to Bergen-Belsen in April. In order to cope with the disorder, he founded a camp police force composed of ethnic German prisoners, mostly criminals. These prisoners mistreated non-German prisoners.[76][80] During the last months of the camp's existence, many of the prisoners were idle because no raw materials for their work had arrived.[81] Because of its location near the border of the Protectorate, Flossenbürg was the destination for evacuation transports from Buchenwald concentration camp when the Allies neared the camp in mid-April. At least 6,000 prisoners from Buchenwald[76] arrived at Flossenbürg between 16 and 20 April; many of the Jews were sent on to the Theresienstadt Ghetto while non-Jewish prisoners remained at Flossenbürg.[82] On 14 April, the population of Flossenbürg and its subcamps was 45,800, including 16,000 women.[76] The main camp's population peaked at between 10,000[9] and 11,000.[33]

Death marches

German civilians exhume mass grave at Schwarzenfeld
German civilians exhume mass grave at Schwarzenfeld

On 14 April 1945, SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered all of the camps to be evacuated: "Not a single prisoner must fall alive into enemy hands".[83] As soon as he received the order, Koegel sent some families of SS men away and prepared to evacuate the camp.[76] At 5 am on 16 April, the 1,700 Jewish prisoners at Flossenbürg main camp were separated from the rest and ordered to assemble. Each column of 100 prisoners was guarded by eight SS men. When they reached the railway station, 4 miles (6.4 km) distant, they were loaded into closed and open freight cars, 60 to 75 each.[84] The train was strafed by United States aircraft soon after setting out, causing the guards to flee temporarily. Many prisoners were injured or killed; others rummaged for food that the SS guards had left behind. After the raid, the guards returned and shot injured prisoners. The total number of deaths was several dozen, increasing in the next two days as the prisoners were not provided with food or water.[85]

On 20 April, about 750 of the Jewish prisoners were stranded in Schwarzenfeld after another aerial attack disabled the locomotive. The SS murdered any prisoners who were unable to continue the march. After the liberation, 140 corpses were found in a nearby field; some of the victims had been killed in the air raid, while others had been murdered. One prisoner testified that "The SS men joked and laughed during the shooting... the prisoners were led in groups of 15–20, they had to lie on the ground and were shot in the nape".[86] The survivors were divided into columns 100-strong and marched through heavy rain and mud. Many were ill with fever, but anyone unable to keep up was shot on the spot. On 23 April, the guards exchanged their SS uniforms for civilian clothes and deserted, leaving 600 prisoners to be liberated.[87] Another group of Jewish evacuees continued towards Theresienstadt, arriving in early May.[88]

US Army newsreel filmed after liberation

Evacuation of non-Jewish prisoners began on 17 April, when 2,000 prisoners left on foot, arriving at Dachau on 23 April. This group consisted of longtime Flossenbürg prisoners, a group from Ohrdruf concentration camp, and the survivors of the death march from Buchenwald.[84] SS official Kurt Becher, who was involved in negotiations between Himmler and the Allies, visited Flossenbürg on 17 April and attempted to persuade Koegel not to evacuate the camp.[89] A telegram from Himmler the next day repeated the order not to let any prisoner fall into enemy hands.[89][74] On 19 April, some 25,000 to 30,000 remaining prisoners in Flossenbürg and its subcamps were ordered to evacuate to Dachau.[89] About 16,000 prisoners actually set out, and only a few thousand reached their destination.[90]

At many of Flossenbürg's subcamps, the SS massacred sick Jewish prisoners before evacuating. Including these massacres, the death marches cost the lives of about 7,000 prisoners from Flossenbürg and its subcamps.[90] The 90th Infantry Division (United States) [91] of the United States Army liberated the main camp on 23 April and found 1,527 ill and weak prisoners in the camp hospital;[37][89] more than 100 prisoners had died in the preceding three days. Despite the efforts of American medics, only 1,208 prisoners survived the immediate aftermath of liberation. Initially, the American authorities ordered the bodies to be burned in the camp crematorium, but after protests from the survivors, held a funeral for 21 former prisoners on 3 May.[64] Some of Flossenbürg's eastern subcamps, located east of the demarcation line, were liberated by the Red Army.[92]

Liberation of Flossenbürg

Former prisoners welcome the United States Army

Survivors of Flossenburg suffering from typhus

Survivors suffering from typhus

German civilians bringing corpses out of Flossenbürg

German civilians remove corpses from the main camp

Funeral for Flossenburg prisoners who died after liberation

Funeral for prisoners who died after liberation


Flossenbürg Trial

Flossenbuerg Trial.jpeg
Father Lelere, a former prisoner, testifies at the Flossenbürg Trial on 21 June 1946

Investigation of Nazi war criminals at Flossenbürg began on 6 May 1945, when the United States Army appointed eleven investigators.[93] SS- Hauptstrumführer Friedrich Becker, the head of the labor department at Flossenbürg, had signed most of the transport lists and was considered the most important perpetrator by the American prosecutors;[37][42] Koegel had hanged himself shortly after being captured by the Americans in 1946.[37] After a year of pretrial investigation,[94] the United States charged Becker and fifty other defendants[95] on 14 May 1946.[94] The defendants, who were tried before a United States military court at Dachau between 12 June 1946 and 22 January 1947, all pled not guilty.[96] Thirty-three of the defendants were low-ranking SS members, sixteen were former prisoner functionaries, and two were civilians.[95] Charges against seven were dropped and five were found not guilty. Of the remainder of the defendants, fifteen received death sentences, eleven life sentences, and the remainder jail terms of varying length.[97]

After the trial, two of the prosecution witnesses were tried for perjury following a petition by the nephew of a defendant.[98] One was convicted and the other acquitted, leading into judicial review of the charges against the defendants, but a War Crimes Board of Review found that the perjury had not affected the outcome of the trial.[99] Two of the defendants who had received death sentences had their sentences reduced on appeal. The remaining death sentences were carried out on 3 and 15 October 1947 or 1948.[100] Between December 1950 and December 1951, the remaining twenty-six prisoners had their sentences reviewed. Most were commuted to time served or a shorter term. The last prisoner was paroled in 1957 and had his sentence remitted on 11 June 1958.[101]


TAL DES TODES, Gesamtansicht
Tal des Todes (Valley of Death) with memorials

After liberation, Flossenbürg was used to hold Axis Disarmed Enemy Forces[102] and later as a displaced persons camp.[103] During the following decades, much of the camp was built over or repurposed.[104][105] For example, the former prisoner laundry and kitchen were used commercially until the 1990s.[106] The Flossenbürg camp quarry is on land owned by the Bavarian state government, but is currently leased to a private company. The lease expires in 2024, and the Green Party is attempting to prevent the lease from being renewed so that the quarry can be incorporated into the memorial.[107]

The first memorial on the site was set up in 1946, and the cemetery was added during the 1950s. A small exhibition was opened in 1985, and a permanent museum opened in what had been the laundry room in 2007. A second exhibition has existed since 2010 in the prisoner kitchen.[104] A list of the names of more than 21,000 prisoners who died at the camp is available on the museum's website.[108]


  1. ^ The asocial category was for people who did not "fit into the mythical national community", in the words of historian Nikolaus Wachsmann.[1] Nazi raids targeted homeless people and the mentally ill, as well as the unemployed.[2]
  2. ^ According to SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the "criminal" prisoners at concentration camps needed to be isolated from society because they had committed offenses of a sexual or violent nature. In fact, most of the criminal prisoners were working-class men who had resorted to petty theft to support their families.[3]
  3. ^ Any man suspected of "lewd and lascivious" behavior with another man could be arrested and sent to a concentration camp under Paragraph 175; see persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.[23]



  1. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 252.
  2. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 253–254.
  3. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 295–296.
  4. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 250.
  5. ^ a b c d e Huebner 2009, p. 560.
  6. ^ Jaskot 2002, pp. 1, 12.
  7. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 179, 292.
  8. ^ a b c Jaskot 2002, p. 1.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Huebner 2009, p. 561.
  10. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 12.
  11. ^ Jaskot 2002, p. 12.
  12. ^ a b Wachsmann 2015, p. 292.
  13. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 11.
  14. ^ KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, Before 1938: Flossenbürg — Site of Granite.
  15. ^ Jaskot 2002, p. 25.
  16. ^ a b Wachsmann 2015, p. 293.
  17. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 182.
  18. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 13.
  19. ^ KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, 1938: The Founding of the Flossenbürg Camp.
  20. ^ a b c Jaskot 2002, p. 35.
  21. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 16.
  22. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 294.
  23. ^ USHMM 2019.
  24. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 296.
  25. ^ a b Wachsmann 2015, p. 214.
  26. ^ a b c Jaskot 2002, p. 38.
  27. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 20.
  28. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 297.
  29. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 342–343.
  30. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 346.
  31. ^ Huebner 2009, pp. 560–561.
  32. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 25.
  33. ^ a b c d e f Jaskot 2002, p. 40.
  34. ^ a b Skriebeleit 2007, p. 27.
  35. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 504.
  36. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 497, 504.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Huebner 2009, p. 563.
  38. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 809.
  39. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 31.
  40. ^ a b Fritz 2009, p. 567.
  41. ^ a b c Uziel 2011, p. 182.
  42. ^ a b c Fritz 2009, p. 568.
  43. ^ Fritz 2009, p. 569.
  44. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 296, 373.
  45. ^ Jaskot 2002, pp. 27, 30.
  46. ^ a b Jaskot 2002, p. 39.
  47. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, pp. 17–18.
  48. ^ Huebner 2009, pp. 561–562.
  49. ^ Jaskot 2002, pp. 28, 41, 75.
  50. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 373–374.
  51. ^ Jaskot 2002, p. 75.
  52. ^ Jaskot 2002, pp. 41, 69, 75.
  53. ^ a b Jaskot 2002, p. 41.
  54. ^ Jaskot 2002, pp. 108–109.
  55. ^ a b c Huebner 2009, p. 562.
  56. ^ a b Jaskot 2002, p. 33.
  57. ^ Jaskot 2002, p. 32.
  58. ^ a b Uziel 2011, p. 180.
  59. ^ Uziel 2011, pp. 56, 180.
  60. ^ Uziel 2011, p. 222.
  61. ^ Uziel 2011, p. 185.
  62. ^ Jaskot 2002, p. 45.
  63. ^ Huebner 2009, pp. 562–563.
  64. ^ a b c d Skriebeleit 2007, p. 51.
  65. ^ Huebner 2009, p. 564.
  66. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 24.
  67. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, pp. 27–28.
  68. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 476–477.
  69. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 440.
  70. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 49.
  71. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 755–756.
  72. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 847.
  73. ^ a b Blatman 2011, p. 131.
  74. ^ a b Wachsmann 2015, p. 1007.
  75. ^ KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, 1941 and After: Executions and Mass Murder.
  76. ^ a b c d e Blatman 2011, p. 172.
  77. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 969.
  78. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 97.
  79. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 99.
  80. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, pp. 50–51.
  81. ^ Blatman 2011, pp. 172–173.
  82. ^ Blatman 2011, pp. 151–152.
  83. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 154.
  84. ^ a b Blatman 2011, p. 173.
  85. ^ Blatman 2011, pp. 174–175.
  86. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 175.
  87. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 176.
  88. ^ Blatman 2011, p. 177.
  89. ^ a b c d Blatman 2011, p. 174.
  90. ^ a b Blatman 2011, p. 178.
  91. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, p. 49.
  92. ^ Uziel 2011, p. 234.
  93. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 586.
  94. ^ a b Riedel 2006, p. 587.
  95. ^ a b Riedel 2006, p. 583.
  96. ^ Riedel 2006, pp. 585, 588.
  97. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 588.
  98. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 595.
  99. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 596.
  100. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 597.
  101. ^ Riedel 2006, p. 598.
  102. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 1100.
  103. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 1103.
  104. ^ a b KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, A European Place of Remembrance.
  105. ^ Skriebeleit 2007, pp. 53–54.
  106. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 1106.
  107. ^ Muggenthaler 2018.
  108. ^ KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg, Book of the Dead.


Print sources
  • Blatman, Daniel (2011). The Death Marches. Harvard: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674059191.
  • Fritz, Ulrich (2009). "Flossenbürg Subcamp System". In Megargee, Geoffrey P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. 1. Translated by Pallavicini, Stephen. Bloomington: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 567–569. ISBN 978-0-253-35328-3.
  • Huebner, Todd (2009). "Flossenbürg Main Camp". In Megargee, Geoffrey P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. 1. Bloomington: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 560–565. ISBN 978-0-253-35328-3.
  • Jaskot, Paul B. (2002). The Architecture of Oppression: The SS, Forced Labor and the Nazi Monumental Building Economy. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge. ISBN 9781134594610.
  • Riedel, Durwood (2006). "The U.S. War Crimes Tribunals at the Former Dachau Concentration Camp: Lessons for Today". Berkeley Journal of International Law. 24 (2): 554–609. doi:10.15779/Z38FD1G.
  • Skriebeleit, Jörg (2007). "Flossenbürg Hauptlager" [Flossenbürg Main Camp]. In Benz, Wolfgang; Distel, Barbara (eds.). Flossenbürg: das Konzentrationslager Flossenbürg und seine Außenlager [Flossenbürg: Flossenbürg Concentration Camp and its Subcamps] (in German). Munich: C. H. Beck. pp. 11–60. ISBN 9783406562297.
  • Uziel, Daniel (2011). Arming the Luftwaffe: The German Aviation Industry in World War II. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 9780786488797.
  • Wachsmann, Nikolaus (2015). KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps. London: Macmillan. ISBN 9780374118259.
Web sources

Further reading

  • Siegert, Toni (1979). "Das Konzentrationslager Flossenbürg: Gegründet für sogenannte Asoziale und Kriminelle". In Broszat, Martin; Fröhlich, Elke; Wiesemann, Falk (eds.). Bayern in der NS-Zeit (in German). 2. Munich: Oldenbourg. pp. 429–493. ISBN 9783486483611.

Coordinates: 49°44′08″N 12°21′21″E / 49.73556°N 12.35583°E

Arnold Büscher

Arnold Büscher (16 December 1899 – 2 August 1949) was a German SS officer. At the rank of SS-Obersturmführer, he was the second and last commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, succeeding Amon Göth, from September 1944 until about January 1945.

Erika Bergmann

Erika Bergmann (3 January 1915 in Berlin-Neukölln – 1996 in Guben) was a German Nazi concentration camp guard at two slave labor camps during World War II.


Flossenbürg (Northern Bavarian: Flossenbirch) is a municipality in the district of Neustadt an der Waldnaab in Bavaria in Germany. The state-approved leisure area is located in the Bavarian Forest and borders the Czech Republic in the east. During World War II, the Flossenbürg concentration camp was located here.

Friedrich Marby

Friedrich Bernhard Marby (10 May 1882 – 3 December 1966) was a German rune occultist and Germanic revivalist. He is best known for his revivalism and use of the Armanen runes row. Marby was imprisoned during the Third Reich, which may have been due to a denunciation by Karl Maria Wiligut. According to the Odinist magazine Vor Trú, Marby "was one of the most (if not the most) important figures in the realm of runic sciences" with an impact felt not only by contemporaries but "among today's researchers and practitioners."

Fritz Hartjenstein

Friedrich Hartjenstein (3 July 1905 – 20 October 1954) was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era. A member of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, he served at various Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen. After the Second World War, Hartjenstein was tried and found guilty for murder and crimes against humanity.

Gustavs Celmiņš

Gustavs Celmiņš (April 1, 1899 in Riga – April 10, 1968), was a Latvian politician, who was the founder of the Pērkonkrusts (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈpæːr.kuɔn.krusts], "Thunder Cross").

Hans Oster

Hans Paul Oster (9 August 1887 – 9 April 1945) was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany and a leading figure of the German resistance from 1938 to 1943. As deputy head of the counter-espionage bureau in the Abwehr (German military intelligence), Oster was in a good position to conduct resistance operations under the guise of intelligence work; he was dismissed for helping Jews avoid arrest.

He was involved in the Oster Conspiracy of September 1938 and was arrested in 1943 on suspicion of helping Abwehr officers caught helping Jews escape Germany. After the failed 1944 July Plot on Hitler's life, the Gestapo seized the diaries of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of Abwehr, in which Oster's anti-Nazi activities were revealed. In April 1945, he was hanged with Canaris and Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Happurg subcamp

The Doggerstollen was a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp in World War II, close to the village of Happurg. It was an underground factory, where the production of BMW aircraft engines was planned. The Doggerstollen was built by approximately 9500 prisoners of whom 4000 died ("Extermination through labor", German: Vernichtung durch Arbeit).

Heinz Heger

Josef Kohout (24 January 1915 – 15 March 1994) was an Austrian Nazi concentration camp survivor, imprisoned for his homosexuality. He is known best for the 1972 book Die Männer mit dem rosa Winkel (The Men With the Pink Triangle), which was written by his acquaintance Hans Neumann using the pen name Heinz Heger, which is often falsely attributed to Kohout. The book is one of very few first-hand accounts of the treatment of homosexuals in Nazi imprisonment. It has been translated into several languages, and a second edition published in 1994. It was the first testimony from a homosexual survivor of the concentration camps to be translated into English, and is regarded as the best known. Its publication helped to illuminate not just the suffering gay prisoners of the Nazi regime experienced, but the lack of recognition and compensation they received after the war's end.

Kohout's book inspired the 1979 play Bent, by Martin Sherman, which was made into the movie Bent, directed by Sean Mathias, in 1997.

Jakob Weiseborn

Jakob Weiseborn (22 March 1892 in Frankfurt – 20 January 1939 in Flossenbürg) was a German SS-Sturmbannführer (major) and the first commandant of Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Ján Golian

Ján Golian (January 26, 1906, Dombóvár, Hungary – 1945, Flossenbürg concentration camp, Germany) was a Slovak Brigadier General who became famous as one of the main organizers and the commander of the insurrectionist 1st Czechoslovak Army in Slovakia during the Slovak National Uprising against the Nazis.

Karl Fritzsch

Karl Fritzsch (10 July 1903 – reported missing 2 May 1945), a German SS functionary during the Nazi era of 1933-1945, served as an Auschwitz concentration camp deputy- and acting-commandant. According to Rudolf Höss, Fritzsch first suggested using poisonous gas Zyklon B for the purpose of mass murder and experimented with the first gassings himself.

Karl Künstler

Karl Künstler (12 January 1901 in Zella, Anrode – presumably in April 1945 in Nuremberg) was a German SS-Obersturmbannführer and commandant of Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Karl Sack

Karl Sack (born 9 June 1896 in Bosenheim (now Bad Kreuznach), executed 9 April 1945 in Flossenbürg concentration camp) was a German jurist and member of the resistance movement during World War II.

List of subcamps of Flossenbürg

Below is the list of subcamps of Flossenbürg complex of Nazi concentration camps built by the Schutzstaffel (SS) and managed by Economic-Administrative Main Office at Flossenbürg, in Bavaria, Germany, near the border with Czechoslovakia. Until liberation in spring 1945, more than 96,000 prisoners passed through the camp, around 30,000 of whom perished. The list might be incomplete, with some sources quoting as many as 94 sub-camps and external kommandos.

Margot Dreschel

Margot Elisabeth Dreschel, also spelled Drechsler, or Drexler (17 May 1908, Neugersdorf – May/June 1945, Bautzen), was a prison guard at Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Before her enlistment as an SS auxiliary, she worked at an office in Berlin. On 31 January 1941, Dreschel arrived at Ravensbrück concentration camp to receive guard training. At first she was an Aufseherin, a lower-ranking female guard at Ravensbrück camp in charge of interned women. She trained under Oberaufseherin (Senior Overseer) Johanna Langefeld in 1941, and quickly became an SS-Rapportführerin (Report Overseer), a higher-ranked guard.

Max Koegel

Otto Max Koegel (16 October 1895 – 27 June 1946) was a Nazi officer who served as a commander at Lichtenburg, Ravensbrück, Majdanek and Flossenbürg concentration camps.

Pyotr Georgyevich Novikov

Pyotr Georgyevich Novikov (Russian: Пётр Георгиевич Новиков; 18 December 1907 – August 1944) was a Red Army major general. Novikov fought in the Spanish Civil War as a battalion commander. After returning to the Soviet Union he fought in the Winter War. After the end of the Winter War Novikov became commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division. He led the division in battles on the Southern Front. The division became the 109th Rifle Division and fought in the Siege of Sevastopol. After the evacuation of Filipp Oktyabrsky and Ivan Yefimovich Petrov, Novikov became commander of the Sevastopol defense. Novikov attempted to evacuate the city on a patrol boat and was intercepted and captured by German forces. He was sent to concentration camps in Germany and died at Flossenbürg concentration camp in August 1944.

Theodor Strünck

Theodor Strünck (7 April 1895, Pries - 9 April 1945, Flossenbürg concentration camp) was a German lawyer and resistance worker, involved in the 20 July plot.

Map of selected subcamps
Flossenbürg concentration camp is located in Germany
Mülsen-St. Micheln
Mülsen-St. Micheln
Flossenbürg concentration camp

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.