The Labor and Illness Camp (Krankenlager) Vaihingen/Enz

The concentration camp Vaihingen/Enz (also called Camp Wiesengrund) was created in 1944 as one of the approximately 50 auxiliary camps of the base camp Natzweiler-Struthof (located south of the city of Strassburg, now in France). It was in the proximity of a quarry, in which the Organization Todt was to construct an underground plant for aircraft production.

About two weeks after the construction of the Vaihingen camp the first freight train with approximately 2,200 Polish Jews from Lublin arrived in August 1944. Beside Jewish prisoners the Organisation Todt used forced laborers from Poland, France and the Soviet Union in the construction of the underground plant. Because of the advance of the Allied forces to the western border of Germany, Natzweiler-Struthof was evacuated in September 1944. At the end of October the underground plant's construction was stopped. Already part of the camp's prisoners had been transferred to other auxiliary commands. Further transfers followed in November. At the same time the concentration camp Vaihingen was changed into an "illness camp" (Krankenlager). Prisoners suffering from sickness and otherwise unable to work were brought to Vaihingen from the other labor camps of the provinces of Baden and Wuerttemberg. By the end of the year 1944 again approximately 2,400 prisoners were in the camp. An infirmary was created in December, and in January 1945 prisoner/physicians came into the camp. The actual purpose of the camp was now to facilitate the deaths of the imprisoned humans.

Due to the instruction of Heinrich Himmler to let no concentration camp inmates fall in enemy hands, the prisoners able to walk were taken to the concentration camp Dachau on April 4, when the Allied forces neared the camp. Soon after the 1st French Army reached Vaihingen. There were still seriously ill prisoners in the camp. Completely insufficient nutrition, catastrophic hygienic conditions, and at the beginning of 1945, an epidemic of the spotted typhus disease took approximately 1,600 human lives in this camp. The corpses had been buried above the camp in mass graves.

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Translated from the original web site "Das Konzentrationslager Vaihingen"

See also the web site of the Memorial to KZ Vaihingen/Enz