In the Polish city Gdansk is a cemetery in honour of the victims of Concentration Camp Stutthof. Concentration Camp or KZ Stutthof lies about 35 kilometres to the east of Gdansk near the town of Sztutowo ‘Polish’ or Stutthof in German.
Concentration Camp Stutthof
The Stutthof Concentration Camp was the first camp build outside German borders and was operational from September 1939. Konzentrationslager Stutthof was also the last of all Concentration Camps liberated, it was freed on the 9th of May in 1945. Life in Concentration Camp Stutthof was brutal; torture, typhus, murder and systematic gassing of prisoners. The latter was ordered by Reinhard Heydrich at the Wannsee Conference in 1942, this order is also knwon as ‘the final solution’. The camp started out with 8 barracks and in 1942 another 30 were added, together with a gas chamber and crematory. Some mobile gas chambers, trucks designed to gas prisoners, were employed to pace up the killing rate. Numbers differ by source but are estimated between 63000 to 85000 victims, there were 110.000 prisoners in Camp Stutthof during 1939 and 1945, more than half of the inmates lost their lives during captivity.
Stutthof had more than 40 sub camps, the forced labourers in these camps were deployed in factories and other facilities. After the war members of the Stutthof guard and camp command were put on trial and all but two, of the 101 accused, were found guilty of inhumanity.
The Cemetery in Zaspa
Zaspa is a quarter of the city of Gdansk. Gdansk was named Danzig in German and it was the first city to endure the German invasion on the first of September in 1939 by using the Battleship Schleswig Holstein together with bombardments by Stuka’s and attacks with Me190 fighter planes on the Westerplatte peninsula before the German infantry landed. It took the Germans 7 days against a small Polish garrison. The Germans preformed plenty assaults by ships and planes before they took the peninsula. During the attack other Polish defended the Post office and lost their lives in the process. On the Zaspa Cemetery is a memorial for the executed defenders of the Post Office.
On the cemetery are graves of multiple nationalities. Forced labourers from the Schichau Werke, a locomotive factory and shipyard for U-boats which received a workforce delivered by the Stutthof Concentration Camp are amongst them. The forced labourers came from France, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and Poland and had to work in 12 hours shifts on only 250 grams of bread each day.
There are memorials with ‘NN’ engraved, which indicated that these victims came from the Nacht und Nebel camps. The closest Nacht und Nebel Concentration Camp in the vicinity is Gross-Rosen in the town of Rogoźnica, some 500 km to the south.
Most of the deceased on the cemetery died in the Stutthof Concentration Camp due to the harsh circumstances or extermination.
The cemetery can be found on Bolesława Chrobrego 79C, 80-414 in Gdańsk, Poland, it is open for public during daytime hours.