Fuhlsbüttel: Concentration Camp - Police Remand Prison - Prison - Satellite Concentration Camp
Concentration Camp:After gaining power in Hamburg at the beginning of March 1933 the National Socialists began their persecution of the political opposition. Almost immediately the Hamburg police established a concentration camp within buildings inside the Fuhlsbüttel prison. Here opponents of the NS regime, socialist and communist activists, were incarcerated for an indeterminate period. This initial unofficial action by the police was legitimated by the NSDAP Regional Administrator and Reich's Governor Karl Kaufmann on 4. September 1933 when he officially assigned the administration and custody of the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp to the totally unscrupulous and exceptionally brutal SS and SA. Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp was called in contemporary usage "Kola-Fu", an abreviation of Konzentrationslager Fuhlsbüttel, and became within a very short time the embodiment of horror, suffering and death. From its establishment to the liberation in May 1945 over 250 men and women died due to the unbearable cicumstances, from maltreatment, or were murdered.
Police Remand Prison:Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp was from 1936 onwards publically only allowed to be refered to as a "Police Prison" in order to conceal its real function, however, "Kola-Fu" Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp or "Gestapo Prison" remained more appropriate synonyms. Almost all the arrested members of the resistance were imprisoned in "Kola-Fu", and from 1935 onwards numerous Jehovah's Witnesses and Jews (over 700 were imprisoned after the pogroms on the 9./10. November 1938), and in following years more and more of those disaffected with the NS regime e.g. juvenile fans of American swing-music, and those whom the National Socialists stigmatized and persecuted as "asocial" and "vermin" e.g. Sinti, beggars, homosexuals and prostitutes. During the war foreign resistance fighters and those sentenced to slave labour were also imprisoned here.
For many prisoners "Kola-Fu" functioned as appropriate to its official title as a police remand prison i.e. an intermediate station on the way into prison or penitentiary, while other prisoners were sent on, without trial, to one of the numerous SS concentration camps e.g. Buchenwald, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen. For many this meant their death.
Prison:Fuhlsbüttel Prison was officially subject to the law and was an institution within the legal administration, whereas in reality it fuctioned as part of the NS persecution apparatus. Many prisoners were in reality political prisoners on account of their opposition to the NS regime but were officially prosecuted and imprisoned under a statute that specified behaviour "preparatory to high treason". It was possible, with the use of special courts, to prosecute people for "treachery" and imprison them simply for criticising the NS regime.
The prison was also allied to the terror apparatus in other respects. More than 100 prisoners of Fuhlsbüttel penitentiary and "prisoners in detention" were from 1942 onwards sent to concentration camps to be "annihilated through work".
Satellite Concentration Camp:
From October 1944 to February 1945 the SS used a section of the penitentiary as a satellite camp of Neuengamme Concentration Camp. More than 200 concentration camp prisoners from more than ten different nations were victims of the inhuman regime there.
The Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and Prison Memorial 1933-1945 was opened in 1987 in the former, twin-towered gatehouse, reception building of the prison. A commemorative plaque lists the names of those that were murdered in "Kola-Fu" and satellite concentration camps. A permanent exhibition presents the history of the concentration camp and the fate of its inmates. Numerous original exhibits and a reconstructed solitary-cell are parts of the exhibition.
The Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and Prison Memorial is administered, in co-operation with the Neuengamme Concentration Camp and Memorial, by the Association of Former Persecuted Socialists (AvS) and the Association of the Persecutees of the Nazi Regime - the Anti-Fascist Federation (VVN-BdA).