“Uckermark juvenile custody camp”

Gedenken an das Jugend-Konzentrationslager Uckermark

It was mostly male prisoners that built the “Uckermark juvenile custody camp” that also belonged to the Ravensbrück complex. It was opened on 1 June 1942, consisting of two barracks – one for the “educators” and one for the “wards” – and was to serve as “youth education camp” for young girls between 14 and 18 years of age.
From December 1944, the SS ordered the youth camp to be evacuated and thus dissolved. The majority of the girls and young women were transferred to the women's concentration camp, deployed elsewhere in the war industry or even released home. The area of ​​the "youth protection camp" Uckermark was converted into a death and selection camp and thus the largest death zone of the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

The so-called youth protection camp Uckermark was part of the SS camp system. Girls who were considered “anti-social” were sent to this camp, although this term was interpreted very broadly. It led to the situation where previously convicted girls, so-called “work-shy”, girls who were considered “anti-social” or “neglected” or “threatened to neglect” according to National Socialist standards, girls who were “seriously sexually endangered”, Sinti and Roma or girls who belonged to the "swing youth", u. a. were instructed. From 1942 at the latest, the Gestapo also sent underage prisoners who were under protective custody to the youth protection camp. And from 1943 there were also other groups of inmates in the camp. B. Slovenian girls who had supported the partisan struggle, Polish women who were imprisoned for various reasons, etc. a.

The admission to the youth protection camp Uckermark took place via the Ravensbrück concentration camp. The young people here had to endure the same procedures as the women. When they arrived at the Uckermark camp, the girls were divided into different blocks, the observation block, blocks of different categories, the readout block for Gestapo prisoners and the special block for the Slovenian girls and young women.

Everyday life in the camp was later described by the former inmates as brutal. There was an absolute ban on speaking. There should be no contact between inmates. Regardless of the temperature, daily morning exercise in the open air in scanty clothing and followed by a cold shower was arranged. Everything happened to the whistle, with military drill. As in Ravensbrück, roll call was part of it every day. Beatings and hunger were omnipresent. Above all, however, the girls and young women were exploited in various workshops, in agriculture, in horticulture, as were the women of Ravensbrück, which brought the SS high profits.

(Source: The Uckermark Girls' Concentration Camp, Ed .: Katja Limbächer, Maike Merten, Bettina Pfefferle, UNRAST-Verlag Münster, 2005; Merten, Limbächer; The Uckermark youth protection camp: a field of experimentation for the implementation of racial utopias on girls and young women, p. 16 - 44, ISBN 3-89771-204-0)

A former prisoner reported on the brutal everyday life in the Uckermark youth concentration camp: “There were some gypsy women upstairs, very young ones. There was a pair of twins that they hit a lot. Why? Simply because they were gypsies (...) We saw the girls here in the evening showering, how they were green and blue. Especially the little gypsy girls, but also the others. Source: “The National Socialist Genocide of the Sinti and Roma”, p. 177, Ed .: Romani Rose, Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma, Heidelberg, 1995, ISBN 3-929446-01-4

Slovenian girls and young women were detained in a "special block". In their homeland they supported the liberation struggle against the German, Italian and Hungarian occupiers. The current member of the IRK, Stanka Krajnc Simonetti (born September 6, 1928 near Maribor), was first in the A block, later in the special block. Like everyone else, she also reports daily forced labor, hunger and harassment. Her most impressive memories are the humiliations she and her fellow prisoners had to endure. “... How they could get us down. Parry, obey, not speak, be quiet. ... "" ... Humiliation was an important part of "social education". They wanted to break you, destroy your self-respect! You are sixteen or seventeen and your head and body are shaved bald, you have scabies on your nose and cheek, you have dirty clothes and because you are almost always cold you also have a particularly "sloppy posture" and because you always run "fast, fast" you have to drag the unfortunate feet with terrible wooden shoes on the ground. If you have diarrhea, they won't let you leak and then everything is dirty and you are "a damned pig" ... "The solidarity with the other girls helped Stanka through this difficult time. Stanka was in the Uckermark camp until the beginning of April 1945. She observed the transformation of the camp into a selection and extermination camp. “The German girls went before us because the SS needed the barracks for the extermination camp. It looked terrible when the transports with men and women arrived. I saw that, then, at the beginning of April, I was evacuated. ”Evacuated, that meant forced labor and prison for the girls. Stanka experienced the liberation in Güstrow.

Interview with Dr. Stanka Krajnc Simonetti on March 3rd, 2000, in: Silvija Kavcic; Survival and Remembrance, Slovenian prisoners in the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp, 2007, Metropol Verlag; P. 299; Katja Limbächer, Maike Merten, Bettina Pfefferle (Eds); The girls' concentration camp Uckermark, 2nd edition, June 2005; UNRAST-Verlag Münster; Portrait of Stanka Simoneti-Krajnc; Heike Rode in Ravensbrück Blätter, December 2010

Lucja Barwikowska (born in 1927 near Gdansk) was 16 years old when she was arrested in May 1943 at her place of work at the land registry in Tczew (Poland). She was held in Gestapo custody in a dark cellar for a week with her parents and her 14-year-old sister, as well as families from the neighborhood. Her arrest was an act of retaliation because her brother and other young men from the neighborhood had evaded service for the Germans after they were forcibly recruited. On the way to Norway, they jumped off the train in Sweden. Lucja and everyone else were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp. There she had to do the heaviest forced labor in agriculture, in the workshops of the German Equipment Works (DAW), in the saddlery and the belt weaving mill. In May 1944 Lucja, her sister, who was two years younger, and her friend Bronka were brought to Ravensbrück. With that, they were separated from their beloved mother, which was the worst for them. After the admission procedure in Ravensbrück, they were taken to the Uckermark girls' concentration camp. The two sisters and their friend were torn apart and could no longer keep in touch with each other. Lucja came to the Slovenian block. In this concentration camp, too, she again had to work in various work detachments: in the knitting factory, in the forest detachment, in the farm detachment, rabbit breeding, laundry. It was part of the “education concept” in the Uckermark camp not to let the girls out of sight for a second, not to let them come to their senses. At the end of her detention, she worked as a camp runner and in the precinct. The pseudomedical gynecological examinations to which the young women were exposed were particularly degrading and harmful to health. This had already started in the Stutthof concentration camp and then continued in the Uckermark concentration camp. Her friend Bronka was subsequently sterile. Lucja and her sister were also able to observe how parts of the girls' concentration camp were separated at the end of 1944 in order to build a separate camp for the sick and the weak from Ravensbrück on the other side, in order to keep them here under even more cruel conditions than they were in Ravensbrück concentration camp ruled to let people die and murder even faster. In the last three weeks before their liberation, the two sisters had to do forced labor in a hotel in Fürstenberg. They walked the 200 km home. Her mother did not survive the concentration camp, her father was ill and her apartment was bombed out.

(Source: Ravensbrückblätter, September 2011, p. 16/17, portrait of Konny Wermich and Petra Voss)

Anita Köcke (born on January 17th, 1925 in Weimar) Anita Köcke was born on January 17th, 1925 as illegitimate child of Anna Lydia Lindner in Weimar. Her mother worked and could not look after her daughter. The youth welfare office gave her to foster parents until she was placed with an aunt in 1933, at the age of 8. But she couldn't stand it there, she wanted to see her mother. Instead she was given to a children's home in Schwarzenberg (Ore Mountains). When she was ten years old, her mother's sister took her on her farm. Anita milked the cows in the morning and then went to school. At the age of 14 (1939) she completed the compulsory year in Lindlar. In the meantime Germany had started the war. Without permission, she left a farmer's job to visit her mother in Gera. To please her, she had taken sausage and butter from his farm. This did not go unnoticed and the farmer reported them for theft. This time Anita was sent to a correctional facility. After the trial in Kiel, it went from here to the prison in New Brandenburg. In the winter of 1942/43 she came to Ravensbrück, to the girls 'concentration camp in Uckermark, via a labor camp in Glücksstadt and a girls' home in Kiel. She proudly remembered that she always resisted and often stood up for others. For this reason, she was in Block 6, the punishment block, for most of her detention. There was always camaraderie and solidarity for them in the camp. She also said later: “When you've seen all of this, someone has to open your mouth!” Anita became very ill in the camp. Nevertheless, she had to do forced labor for the SIEMENS company and produced coils for the company. At the end of April she was driven on the death march with other women. When she was liberated by English troops, she weighed just 79 pounds. Mentally and physically she collapsed when she could not find the relatives suspected in Munich. Only slowly did she regain her strength. She met an American and went to Frankfurt am Main with him. Because of this contact and because the youth welfare office still had her (Anita was over 20 years old!), She was summoned to the Frankfurt health department. But then she recognized the officer working there as a former concentration camp guard (Leutner) and gave this to her to understand. Anita had (once again) not let herself be intimidated and could go her own way. She happily found her mother again in the 1950s with the help of the Red Cross. On March 21, 1971, Anita married her husband Karl Köcke.

(Source: Ravensbrückblätter, March 2004, p. 5; portrait of Tina Waschkewicz)

Hilde Lazik (born on September 17, 1925 in Nuremberg) Hilde Lazik (nee Meier) was born on September 17, 1925 in Nuremberg in a family with 11 children. In 1942 she did not follow the request not to register for the Reich Labor Service. Then the police wanted her because she had contact with "foreign" people. She had secretly supplied potatoes to Russian slave laborers. In autumn 1942, Hilde was arrested by the police. Without a trial, she was imprisoned for a year. After escaping, she came to Ravensbrück at the age of eighteen. In Ravensbrück it was one of the "available", i.e. she had to do every job that came up, e.g. B. Get bodies out of the toilet. “That was the worst work I ever had to do.” After three months she was sent to the Uckermark concentration camp for girls. She remembered a gallows from which three girls were hung and shown to the others as a deterrent. "Look closely, that's how you feel if you don't sprint!" Bad happened to Hilde. She underwent gynecological surgery and was never able to have children. Hilde Lazik also remembers children in the camp as well as many different nationalities: "Actually all languages ​​were spoken, Russian, French, Polish ..." However, there were predominantly German girls in the Uckermark concentration camp. In April 1945, Hilde was driven on the death march with the other girls and liberated by the Red Army. After her return to Nuremberg, Hilde married Paul Lazik in 1953, who had survived the Auschwitz extermination camp. She could talk to him about what she had experienced.

(Source: Ravensbrückblätter, March 2007, p. 8, portrait of Chris Rotmund)

Stanisława Tkaczyk (born 1927 in Warsaw) I became seriously ill with pleurisy. I was very weak, so during the selection process I was sent to the youth camp, where prisoners were collected to be killed. Halina Walczuk was also sitting there with her mother. That was a camp near Ravensbrück that one no longer left. I was taken there when I could no longer walk. My legs looked like sticks and my feet were incredibly swollen. During the selection I was put aside, they said that I could no longer work. We crawled on all fours because we ran out of strength. We slept on the floor on straw. The women I met there were shocked when they saw me - my delivery was about to come. They said to me: “Child, you leave this place through a chimney. But we're trying to save you. ”They were nurses. The sick were to be transported to Ravensbrück shortly. They somehow managed to smuggle me into it and I got into the infirmary block in the camp. It was all the better there because you didn't have to get up for morning roll calls. (...) When my son was born, I had nothing for him. There was little bread and my sister was very hungry and I gave her my bread. Later the women organized some clothes for me from dead children. (...) A few days after the birth we went to Sweden. That saved us. It was only in the hospital in Sweden that we slowly recovered.

Source: "Recovering from oblivion - my memories of Ravensbrück", editor and publisher H. Nowakowska, Warsaw, 2010

Irma Trksak (October 2, 1917 (Vienna) - July 11, 2017 (Vienna), former member of the IRK In 1944 she became the elder in a SIEMENS “warehouse” right next to the company premises. In “her” room she promoted cultural activities, there was sung, sketches were written and performed. And there were also political discussions. But she was betrayed and at the end of 1944 was transferred to the Uckermark camp as a room elder. That was the time when the Uckermark Hier camp was converted into a death and selection camp and thus the largest death zone of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. “There the prisoners were not given anything to eat, two or three people only had a thin blanket and that was later taken away from them. They took off their wool jackets and finally their stockings. Many of the women were killed with poison and injections. From mid-February 1945 selections for the gas chamber were carried out there. ”Irma was desperate. For nothing in the world did she want to stay in this place. With the help of Lisl Thury, the chief of the camp police, she managed to get back to the main camp.

(Source: Wiener Zeitung of April 30, 1997, p. 30, Rainer Mayerhofer in conversation with Irma Trksak)

Betty Wentz, the mother of Vera Modjawer (IRK member), came from Auschwitz concentration camp in January 1945 and was sent to the Uckermark camp as a prisoner functionary together with Lotte Brainin. Betty, designated as camp elder, had to watch terrible selections, as her testimony against the responsible concentration camp guards in 1947 shows: “After the prisoners had been selected for the gas chamber, they were pressed into the so-called gymnasium. In this gym, people stayed from a few hours to three days, without drinking, eating, blankets, and without permission to go to the bathroom. It is very clear that the stench in this room was unbearable. The scenes I saw were so cruel that I had a nervous breakdown myself a few times. It was especially terrible when mothers were separated from their daughters or daughters from their mothers. The SS made fun of it, and it was even more reason for them to separate mothers and daughters and to abuse them on top of that ... "

(written down by her daughter Vera Modjawer in December 2019)

After the liberation of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, the women who remained were able to billet in the barracks of the former girls' concentration camp.

Rosel Jochmann wrote in a letter to Vienna on June 21, 1945: “We are doing very well here, we have enough to eat and I am very much afraid that you are missing much of what we have here in abundance. We sleep in a barrack in the middle of the forest, it is the former youth camp and has a very sad history. "