The Subsequent Use of the Grounds

In the evening of 2 May 1945, British troops reached Neuengamme concentration camp and found it to be mostly abandoned. Both the buildings and the infrastructure still seemed suitable for mass accommodation, and so former slave labourers from the Soviet Union who had been deported to the Hamburg area were housed and cared for there only weeks after the camp’s liberation. At the same time, other parts of the camp were used to hold German POWs, members of the Waffen SS as well as civilian detainees. In 1948, the City of Hamburg took over the British internment camp and used it as a prison. After the internment camp was disbanded in 1948, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg took over the grounds and facilities of the former concentration campand set up the “Neuengamme Prison for Men” on the site of the former prisoners’ barracks (the Häftlingslager). In 1950, a new prison building was erected on the site. After decades of campaigning, this correctional facility was finally moved to Billwerder in June 2003. Another prison building was erected on the site of the former clay pits at the end of the 1960s. It was in use from 1970 to 2006, first as a juvenile detention centre and later as a regular penal facility.

Black and white photo showing the laying of the foundation stone of the new detention building. There are numerous visitors present. In the background is visible Stone Building I, a former prisoner accommodation of the concentration camp.
The Internment Camp

The British occupation forces used the former concentration camp as a collective camp for interned Waffen SS members. On May 30, the former Neuengamme concentration camp was occupied by more than 10,000 SS members and civilian functionaries of the Nazi state. The camp, which was intended as a temporary solution, developed into a permanent facility. Increasingly, civilian functionaries of the Nazi state who had been arrested in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein were also admitted.

The Penal Facilities

In 1948, the City of Hamburg took over the grounds and facilities of the former concentration camp and set up the “Neuengamme Prison for Men”. In 1950, a new prison building was erected on the site. After decades of campaigning, it was finally moved to Billwerder in June 2003. Another prison building was erected on the site of the former clay pits at the end of the 1960s. In 2005, the Hamburg Justice Authority announced its plans to have this prison also closed by the end of the same year.

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
Contact us at

E-mail: lernwerkstatt@gedenkstaetten.hamburg.de

Phone: +49 40 428 131 551