Extermination and Death

Most of the prisoners at Neuengamme concentration camp died of hunger and cold, insufficient housing and hygiene, maltreatment and overwork. In 1942, the SS introduced public hanging as a punishment measure. The police and the judiciary also took prisoners to the camp for execution. After their gold teeth had been removed, the dead were usually cremated. Initially, this was carried out at the crematorium at Ohlsdorf Cemetery, but from 1942 the camp had its own crematorium. Relatives could buy urns which allegedly contained the ashes of the dead.

Black and white photo of two empty crematorium ovens in a large bright room.
Further Information Death and Executions
Death and Executions

Prisoners were confronted with death every day. They saw their dead and dying fellow prisoners, and they were in constant mortal danger themselves. Prisoners were clubbed to death, drowned, hanged, shot, killed with poison gas or tortured to death. Prisoners also starved or perished because of the insufficient clothing and housing they received or because of the terrible hygienic conditions to which they were subjected. Others lost the will to live and chose to kill themselves.

Further reading at the Learning Center Extermination and Death The Total Number of Dead
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