Other Groups of Prisoners

Jehovah`s Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted in Germany since 1933. Almost 200 members of this religious group were imprisoned in the Neuengamme concentration camp. The SS often used them for special work because they were considered conscientious and refused to flee for religious reasons. They kept in close contact with one another. In the spring of 1938, the Hanseatic Special Court heard eight cases against a total number of 187 Hamburg Jehovah's Witnesses (110 women and 77 men), 55 of whom were sentenced to prison terms of between one and four years. Nazi propaganda highlighted the alleged threat to the state from the religious community, whose members were “emissaries of Jewish Bolshevism”.



Title page of the “Fascism or Freedom” brochure by Joseph Franklin Rutherford, published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1939 in the USA (Brooklyn) and Switzerland (Berne). The brochure was distributed illegally in Germany.

Front page in black and white of the brochure “Fascism or Freedom”. In front on the right, a man holds up a Bible. On the left sits a man whose legs are chained to iron balls marked with swastika and hammer and sickle. In the background Hilter, Stalin, a bishop and other men.


Homosexuals only formed a small group in the Neuengamme concentation camp. In 1935 § 175 was tightened considerably. A total number of around 10,000 homosexual men were deported to concentration camps between 1933 and 1945 and labeled with a pink triangle. Although female homosexuality was not punishable, some lesbian women were sent to concentration camps under the stigma of being “antisocial”.


Approximately 100 “SAW prisoners” (“Sonderabteilung Wehrmacht” – special department Wehrmacht) were imprisoned in the Neuengamme concentration camp - former members of the Wehrmacht who had been brought to the concentration camp from the Wehrmacht's special departments and penal camps because of particularly poor “leadership”.

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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E-mail: lernwerkstatt@gedenkstaetten.hamburg.de

Phone: +49 40 428 131 551