Esterwegen concentration camp

Rudolf Diels of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior addressing inmates in KZ Esterwegen, 1933
Carl von Ossietzky in Esterwegen concentration camp, 1934.
Map of the camp from 1955
Gustav Sorge war criminal from the camp

The Esterwegen concentration camp near Esterwegen was an early Nazi concentration camp within a series of camps first established in the Emsland district of Germany. It was established in the summer of 1933 as a concentration camp for 2000 so-called political "Schutzhäftlinge" (protective custody prisoners) and was for a time the second largest concentration camp after Dachau. The camp was closed in summer of 1936. Until 1945 the camp was used as a prison camp. Political prisoners and so called "Nacht und Nebel"-prisoners were also held here. Then Esterwegen served as a British internment camp, as a prison, and, until 2000, as a depot for the German Army.

The most famous prisoner was writer and editor of the weekly antifascist magazine, Die Weltbühne, Carl von Ossietzky, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. Comedian Werner Finck was detained in Esterwegen for six weeks.

SS Hauptscharführer Gustav Sorge, nicknamed "The Iron Gustav" for his brutality, was a guard at Esterwegen prior to being assigned to Sachsenhausen. He was convicted of war crimes after the Nazi defeat.


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Coordinates: 53°00′29″N 7°38′23″E / 53.00806°N 7.63972°E / 53.00806; 7.63972

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