A Concentration Camp (KZ) emerges
At the beginning of May 1944 the first 50 prisoners from the concentration camp Neuengamme arrived at Schandelah. By November the number of prisoners had reached approximately 800. At the end of March 1945 the number was about 1200. 500 prisoners were brought from the concentration camp Porta-Westfalica to Schandelah. Between 250 and 300 prisoners occupied each barrack. The furniture consisted of wooden bunk beds in which three prisoners slept above each other. During the last weeks the prisoners had to share one bed. The camp was surrounded by a double electric fence.
Jercy Budkiewicz, who was arrested in 1942 in Warshaw for resistance activities, was first held prisoner in the Warshaw prison Pawiak. From Auschwitz-Birkenau he was transported to Neuengamme where he worked producing bricks. Finally he was transported to Schandelah with 200 other prisoners. He wrote the following about this camp:
It was dirty and full of lice. The barracks were primitive, the prisoners exhausted and badly treated. Some of the civilian workers employed by the firm were not very friendly. They demanded discipline and hard work from people who were partly unable to stand on
their own two legs. The prisoners who were physically abused by the Kapos were not able to get up by themselves. I met many Danes and Jehovas Witnesses here. The destiny of a good number of Spanish communists was particulary bad. Many of them only understood Spanish, suffered from the bad weather and were hungry. The prisoner’s rations were regularly stolen. The camp commander, a man called Ebsen, was a dirty sort, who in March 1945 as it was already obvious that the third Reich would lose the war, said: You are here to work and to die.