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Sachsenburg concentration camp 1933-1937

Research field:Dictatorship Research
Research focus: Saxony during National Socialism (Project completed)
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Mike Schmeitzner


Published in early June 2018, the anthology is the result of a multi-year co-operative project between the Saxon Memorial Foundation (StSG) and the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies at the TU Dresden (HAIT); the project was supervised by Bert Pampel and Mike Schmeitzner. The focus lay on Sachsenburg concentration camp near Chemnitz as the most important and longest-operated early concentration camp in Saxony. It was constructed by the Nazis in the spring of 1933 to eliminate their main political opponents, especially Communists, Social Democrats and trade unionists. Before shutting down in 1937, the camp also increasingly received Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, pastors of both Christian denominations and persons incarcerated by the regime for ‘protective custody’. Containing 25 essays from 19 writers, the volume presents for the first time a comprehensive history of this concentration camp. In addition to placing the camp in the context of the Saxon Nazi terror system and sketching the camp’s evolution, the following aspects play a particular role in the book: analysis of criminal groups and individual perpetrators in the SA and SS, a social study of the inmate population and individual groups of prisoners and the perception of the camp abroad. Studies on bringing perpetrators to justice, on the history of memorial sites in the GDR up to 1989 and reflections on dealing with this legacy to the present day conclude the lavishly illustrated volume. The project was completed in May 2018. The book was published in the Saxon Memorial Foundation’s series of writings, and is moreover intended to aid the memorial sites currently under construction in Sachsenburg.