Stutthof Death Camp
The history of the Stutthof concentration camp reaches 1936 when the German security services of the "Free City Danzig" as the ancient Polish city of Gdansk was then called after centuries of German occupation which saw the marginalization of its Polish citizens by large numbers of German immigrants, began composing lists of "undesirable" i.e. prominent/patriotic, Poles in the City. These lists were put into use right after the commencement of the 2nd World War when on the 2nd of September 1939 the first group of 150 out of the 1500 arrested on the 1st of September was deported to the newly created Stutthof concentration camp. During the next few years Stutthof was used to imprison and murder Polish intellectuals and patriots from Gdansk and the entire maritime region.
|KL Stutthof, visible on left in the distance is the monument to the camp's victims|
Starting in 1942 Stutthof was used to impison not only Poles from the maritimes but from all of Poland as well as prisoners from all over Europe, making this a multinational camp. In June 1944 Stutthof was included in the "Endloesung" program - the Nazi's Final Solution, i.e. the extermination of Jews and thus Stutthof became also a death camp. Throughout its existence some 110 000 Europeans were imprisoned there and some 65 000 of them died or were murdered (shot, hanged, gassed, killed by lethal injection, beaten to death, killed/died/drowned during evacuation by foot or by sea). Stutthof was liberated on the 9th of May 1945 by units of the 48th Soviet Army of the 3rd Byelorussian Front.
KL Stutthof is located on the Baltic coast, 40 km east of Gdansk (65km by road) at a picturesque small town of Sztutowo. As a result of the pre-war German colonization practices this region was inhabited almost solely by Germans. Due to the cooperation from the German civilians with the security services escapes from Stutthof were very few and usually resulted in the capture of the escapees. More escapes from Stutthof took place during the camp's evacuation which started when Soviet forces approached. Once the evacuated columns of prisoners entered the areas inhabited by Poles (Kaszuby regional group) the prisoners knew they could count on help when escaping - and many did. Prof. Krzysztof Dunin-Wasowicz, shown in Against The Odds was one of those who escaped at that time and survived thanks to the help he received from the Polish civilians living along the evacuation route.
Based on www.stutthof.pl, the website of the Stutthof concentration camp museum.