Memorial stone commemorating the Wittmoor Concentration Camp
The first concentration camp in Hamburg was located at the northern edge of the city in Wittmoor, near the community of Glashütte (known as Norderstedt since 1970). Up to 140 political prisoners in ‘protective custody’ were to put work cutting peat and draining marshes. The first prisoners were transported here on 31 March 1933. They lived in a building surrounded by barbed wire that was part of a peat processing factory. The concentration camp closed again on 18 October 1933 because there was limited space for prisoners and it was not cost-efficient to expand the camp. The prisoners were taken to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, which had opened six weeks earlier on 4 September 1933.
Prisoners in the Wittmoor concentration camp were not subjected to the same kinds of terror that dominated life at the Nazis’ later concentration camps. But for many of the prisoners, Wittmoor was just the first station on a long journey of suffering that would end only in 1945, or often in death. As a reminder and admonition, the Hamburg-Walddörfer local administrative committee erected a memorial stone in the autumn of 1986. A second memorial stone was placed in Norderstedt in 1987. The stone bears a quote from the speech made by Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker on 8 May 1985 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. It commemorates all victims of National Socialism.