Poppenbüttel Prefabricated Building Memorial
In the second half of the war, a large number of prefabricated buildings were erected near the Poppenbüttel railway station to be used as provisional housing for Hamburg residents whose homes had been bombed. The construction was carried out by forced labourers, most of them Italian military internees and female concentration camp prisoners from the Sasel satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp. The weak and starving prisoners were forced to level the grounds, lay rail tracks and transport construction materials to the building site. Most of the prefabricated concrete components had been produced in the brickworks of the Neuengamme concentration camp.
Sasel satellite camp
The Sasel satellite camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp existed from September 1944 to April 1945. It was located near the Mellingburger Schleuse and had originally been used as a POW camp. The satellite camp held 500 prisoners, most of them Jewish women, as well as a few Sinti women, who had been selected for forced labour in Auschwitz-Birkenau and deported to Sasel via the Dessauer Ufer satellite camp. They were ‘hired out’ by the companies Möller and Wayss & Freytag, who put them to work constructing prefabricated buildings. The prisoners were also forced to carry out clearance work in other parts of Hamburg, including the Heiligengeistfeld, Sternschanze and the Rübenkamp railway station. They were taken to these sites on the suburban rail system by female SS guards. On 7 April 1945, the SS cleared the Sasel satellite camp and transported the women to Bergen-Belsen, where many of them died due to the indescribable conditions there.
The grounds of the former prefabricated housing estate are now occupied by the Alster shopping centre and a residential complex. However, one prefabricated building has been preserved. It has housed a museum and memorial since 1985. The museum provides information about the planning of the prefabricated housing estate, and it also features a makeshift home from 1944, complete with original furniture. These prefabricated houses offered cramped accommodation for families that had been bombed out of their homes, but they were much better than many other provisional accommodations. They were reserved by the city council for workers critical to the war effort.
A permanent exhibition opened in 2008 covering the history of all the women’s satellite camps of Neuengamme in Hamburg. The exhibition describes the conditions under which the women had to live and work, and it also features biographies of former prisoners. Other sections address the prosecution of the perpetrators after 1945 as well as Jewish life in Hamburg and the persecution of women by the National Socialists.
In 1982, a memorial stone was erected on the site of the former Sasel satellite camp on the corner of Feldblumenweg and Petunienweg. It was initiated by a group of students from the Oberalster Secondary School who had first researched the history of the camp as part of a school project and published their findings in a brochure in 1980/81.
On 1 September 1989, a sculpture by Franz Vollert was unveiled in the forecourt of the memorial to commemorate the fate of the prisoners and the horror of World War II. The wooden sculpture takes the form of a ‘peace tree’.
The memorial is part of the Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes and is managed on a volunteer basis by the Working Group of the Poppenbüttel Prefabricated Building Memorial.
Informationen über das KZ-Außenlager Sasel
Stiftung Hamburger Gedenkstätten und Lernorte zur Erinnerung an die Opfer der NS-Verbrechen
Sonntag 10 bis 17 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung
Buchbar über den Museumsdienst Hamburg unter info(at)museumsdienst-hamburg.de und Telefon: 040-428 131 0