Additional information

Commemorative sites
The commemorative stone for the Polish-Jewish Special Camp can be found here.

Rooms in the detention cell building commemorating Paul Schneider and others can be found here.

Disinfection of inmates of the Polish-Jewish Special Camp on the muster ground, autumn of 1939. Photo: Buchenwald Concentration Camp Records Office. Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington

1939

 February

The first typhus epidemic breaks out as a result of overcrowding and the continuing shortage of water. The camp is placed under quarantine.

April 1

The Special Registry Office "Weimar II" is established within the camp command / administration complex; its work consists primarily of registering deaths.

April 19/20

Inmates are released as a consequence of the "mercy campaign" on the occasion of Hitler's birthday.

July 18

After more than a year in the "Bunker", the Protestant minister Paul Schneider dies in the infirmary as a consequence of medical treatment.

September 6

The rations for Jews are reduced to four hundred grams of bread and one litre of soup per day. Despite the threat of death posed by the machine guns of the SS on the muster ground, the Jehovah's Witnesses unanimously refuse to report for military service.

September 27

A special camp is set up on the muster ground. Among its first inmates are 110 Poles whom the SS herd into a wire entanglement where they die of hunger and cold within a few weeks.

October

Following the outbreak of war, 8,500 men are committed to the camp, including approximately 700 Czechs, hundreds of Romani from Burgenland (Austria), over 2,200 Poles and more than 1,000 Viennese Jews. In the special camp on the muster ground, the SS crowd over 3,000 Poles and Jews into tents. This winter, Burgenland Romani and Viennese Jews fall victim to the cold and forced labour or are killed by means of lethal injections. Due to the high death rate, the construction of a camp crematorium begins in early 1940 adjacent to the muster ground. By February 1940, nearly half of the inmates in the special camp have died. This is the first mass murder to take place in a German concentration camp.

November 1

The camp is placed under quarantine following the outbreak of a dysentery epidemic.

November 9

The SS take revenge on the Jews in the camp for the attempt made on Hitler's life the previous evening in Munich. Twenty-one Jews are killed in the quarry by an execution commando unit. All of the Jews in the camp are deprived of food for three days.

November

In retaliation for the theft of a pig from the stalls on the north-western edge of the camp, all inmates are compelled to go hungry for several days.

Year-end

There are now 11,807 inmates in the camp. The inmate death toll for 1939 amounts to 1,378.

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