“Antisocial Elements”

A black triangle identified at least 1,200 German prisoners at Neuengamme as “antisocial elements”. This group was made up of poor or homeless people, alcoholics, and so-called “shirkers”. During the war, an increasing number of people who had violated the wartime economic regulations, had made illegal contact with foreign slave labourers or POWs, or hadn't followed the strict work rules also received black triangles. Until 1945, a total of more than 70,000 people classified as “criminals” or “antisocial elements” were imprisoned in the concentration camps by the police. Around half of these prisoners were murdered there.

Facsimile of the “Richterbriefe” from Reich Minister of Justice Thierack on the subject of “combating antisocial elements”.
Further reading at the Learning Center “Anti-Social Elements”
Media Library

The complete permanent exhibition "Time Traces" and the other side exhibitions on the grounds of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial are also available digitally in the memorial's media library. Unfortunately, the media library is only available in German.

media library
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Do you have questions or have you encountered errors while using the website? Then please write to us at:

E-mail: lernwerkstatt@gedenkstaetten.hamburg.de

Phone: +49 40 428 131 551