Soviet Special Internment Camps

In 1939, Nazi-Germany initiated the destructive World War II and, until 1945, committed countless atrocities and crimes against humanities directed at civilans, which culminated in the horros of the the Holocaust, concentration and death camps. With Nazi-Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the war became openly also a clash of ideologies, that is, fascism versus stalinism.

With the victory of the allied forces over Nazi Germany in 1945 (led by the big three U.S.A., United Kigdom, and Soviet Union), Germany was divided eventually into four occupational zones--the American, British, and French zones in the West, and the Soviet zone in the East. Likewise, the German capital of Berlin was divided into four sectors. Between 1945 and 1950, the Soviet occupational forces operated 10 special internment camps in their German zone of occupation. Ca. 176,000 persons were imprisoned in these camps, of whom ca. 35 per cent did not survive the ordeal. The living conditions in these camps were inhumane. According to Soviet order no. 00315 from April 18, 1945, "spies, saboteurs, terrorists, activists of the Nazi party, members of the police forces and the secret service, administrative officers, and other enemy elements" in Germany were to be arrested. But most of the detainees had hardly or not at all been involved with the NS-regime. They had been small-scale Nazi followers, and, increasingly, they represented persons who were opposed--or had been accused of being opposed--to the Soviet occupation. Many prisoners of the special internment camps were simply innocent.

Bautzen: Bautzen Memorial

Berlin: Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Site

Fürstenwalde: Memorial Site in Remembrance of Special Internment Camp No. 5 Ketschendorf

Jamlitz: Forest Cemetary and Documentation Site Soviet Special Camp No. 6, 1945-47

Mühlberg/Elbe: Memorial Site NKVD/MVD Special Internment Camp No. 1

Neubrandenburg: Fünfeichen Memorial

Oranienburg: Memorial and Museum "Soviet Special Internment Camp No. 7/No. 1" Sachsenhausen

Torgau: Documentation and Information Center, "DIZ"

Weimar: Buchenwald Memorial Site