Stutthof

Before the Second World War broke out, in August 1939, the Germans from Gdansk had already chosen the site of a future concentration camp that was initially intended for the Polish intelligentsia from Eastern Pomerania and Gdansk. Arrests of the Polish elite began with the German invasion of Poland, and already on September 2, just one day after Poland was invaded, the first transport of 150 people was sent to Stutthof. Of all the camps the Germans created on the territory of prewar Poland, Stutthof was operating the longest.

During the first phase, prisoners from Gdansk were sent to the camp, above all members of the Polish intelligentsia. Over the course of 1942, the camp began receiving transports from all over Poland and abroad. The camp's importance was growing, and as a result it was expanded almost tenfold. In addition, Stutthof was given 39 sub-camps. In the last phase, the camp became a place of mass extermination of the Jews. About 110,000 people were imprisoned there, representing 45 nationalities from 26 countries. Among them were Poles, Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Czechs, Slovaks, Finns, Norwegians, French, Danes, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, Austrians, English, Spanish, Italians, Yugoslavians, Hungarians and Roma.

About 65,000 people perished there as a result of the conditions, disease, executions by shooting, hanging or gassing. Many died during the evacuation of the camp before its liberation by the Red Army on May 9, 1945.

A museum was created at the site in 1962. One can visit what remains today of the camp, as well as permanent and temporary exhibitions. Groups can hire guided tours, which are also available in English and German.

 

Muzeum w Stutthoff

 

Piotr Cywiński

 

The text comes from Diapozytyw, formerly owned by Adam Mickiewicz Institute
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