In the late summer of 1944 KZ (concentration camp) Salzgitter-Bad was established as the last of three satellite camps in Salzgitter, after a couple of structural modifications in the former camp for civilian workers No. 43 which was located on the peripheries of the city.
On average about 500 women were in custody between autumn 1944 and April 1945 in four huts. The SS camp was directly linked to the concentration camp.
The women at KZ Salzgitter-Bad came from different European countries, the majority had been taken into custody for political reasons. Transports arriving at the satellite camp were primarily from KZ Ravensbrück. At KZ Salzgitter-Bad, the women were given new prisoner’s numbers which were assigned to KZ Neuengamme.
A couple of kilometers away from the camp the women were forced to produce ammunition. A large number of them had to walk the way to their workplace at the “AG für Bergbau- und Hüttenbedarf” (a mining and steel works subsidiary of the “Reichswerke Hermann Göring”). Some women were taken in trucks to the so-called “Kleineisenwerk”. Working in three shifts, they produced artillery shells and munitions accessories. Since the women were not used to these tasks and because of great communication difficulties, there were often misunderstandings and mistakes were made, which were punished as acts of sabotage.
The food was insufficient for the hard-working women, there was no proper clothing for the cold winter and the hygienic conditions were very poor. There was no adequate medical care and thus diseases were spreading quickly in the camp. Prisoners unfit for work were transported to other concentration camps, and most of them died there as a result of the imprisonment. As far as the satellite camp for women in the Salzgitter area is concerned, there were ‘only’ four fatalities. These women were buried on the Cemetery Jammertal.
The atmosphere in the camp changed significantly when the end of the war was in sight. On April 7, 1945 the camp was evacuated by the SS. Together with the prisoners from KZ Drütte the women were transported to the north in a train. At the goods depot in Celle the transport became the target of an air raid by the Allies, many prisoners died. Yet those who could at first reach safety in the surrounding area, were hunted down by the SS and the inhabitants of Celle, and some of them were shot indiscriminately.
Those prisoners who were unable to march on were left behind in a stable in Celle and were not provided for, the others had to walk by foot to the completely overcrowded KZ Bergen-Belsen. The survivors were liberated there by the Allies on April 15, 1945.
The Memorial Place
The camp was used for various purposes shortly after the war, there were, for instance, a candy factory and a paint depot. But the wooden huts were torn down soon. A timber outlet set up its storerooms and offices on the foundations of the former SS quarters. Where once 500 women were imprisoned, there is a municipal parking lot today.
In the course of an analytical assessment of the history of the Salzgitter area—an analysis mainly initiated by the Arbeitskreis Stadtgeschichte e.V.— a memorial stone was set up on the former terrain of the camp. The metal plate that has been set up here bears the following inscription:
“Between autumn 1944 and April 1945 the KZ Salzgitter was located at this site. About 500 women of different European nationalities were in custody here. They had to work in munitions factories.”
There is no further information about the former KZ Salzgitter at this historical site.