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Detention Cell Building

The building containing the detention cells, or "Bunker" as it was known in the camp, was situated in the left wing of the entry building. It was the camp jail and its most awful torture site.

In front on the left is the detention cell building in the right wing of the gate building. In the center is the main watchtower above the camp gate. Behind it is the left wing of the gate building.
Arrest cell construction in the gate building, April 1945. Photo: Alfred Stüber.
A set of cell doors. Next to each door, a thin metal tube belonging to the heating control. Above it on the wall is the rotary wheel of the heating control.
Controlling the heating outside the detention cells, 2022. Photo: Lukas Severin Damm.

To the left and right of a narrow central hallway were a total of 26 cells. Each of the approximately two by 1.4 metre cells could be individually heated and illuminated. From 1938 on, they were always fully occupied.

Inmates were randomly relegated to these cells. Almost any act could be designated as resistance or sabotage. The official range of punishments for arrestees—three to 42 days in a cell, individual or group cells, standing all day without being allowed to lie down or sit, or being kept in utter darkness and only receiving bread and water—were mere guidelines. In actually, the torture experienced in these small cells often lasted months and ended in death for many.

The SS guards tormented inmates at their own initiative or upon orders. They tortured people, hung them from the bars of the cell, or murdered them by injection. In cell 1, people spent their final hours before being hung in the cellar of the crematorium.

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