Author: Miroslava Langhamerová
The largest Nazi concentration camp for women was officially established in Ravensbrück in May 1939. Its inmates were primarily women imprisoned for their resistance against the Nazi regime. In 1941 Ravensbrück was incorporated among the concentration camps with the special treatment (so-called Sonderbehandlung) regime, which meant that prisoners were deliberately liquidated and executed. Starting in February 1942, the SS Camp headquarters also began to organize mass murders in Bernburg and later in Auschwitz, where mostly Jewish women were taken. In February 1944 women who were ill or unfit for work were transported first to Lublin and from there to Auschwitz, while other inmates were sent to Barth and other places to be exterminated. Up to 1944 Ravensbrück was classified as a facility with "better treatment" (camp type Ia), where the main emphasis was put on using the imprisoned women for labour. However, towards the end of 1944 even Ravensbrück was the site of mass murders of the women prisoners in the nearby Uckermark (a former camp for juvenile female delinquents), where a gas chamber had been built. Ill, disabled and old women were killed there.
The first women from our territory (from the borderland occupied by Germany) came to Ravensbrück already at the end of 1938, others followed when the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia was complete. The first women were several Communist officials arrested by the Gestapo soon after the Nazi occupation. In the winter of 1939-1940 first Jewish women arrived as well.
Waves of regular transports which started in October 1941 after the declaration of martial law by the Acting Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich continued until the spring of 1942. For example, on January 14, 1942 a group of 60 young women and girls from Prague´s Pankrác Prison arrived in Ravensbrück. They were members of a young Communist group seized by the Gestapo in the autumn of 1941. More and more transports followed, in some periods those from the Protectorate were even coming to the camp at regular intervals. On June 14, 1942 the Gestapo in Kladno sent to the camp 182 women from the village of Lidice who belonged to a large group of women taken hostage. Gradually also 156 women arrested for an offence classified as "polit. Verkehr m. Tschechen" (political, relations with Czechs) were sent to the camp.
Transports from the Terezín Gestapo Police Prison were coming to Ravensbrück until December 1944. Czech political women prisoners, Gypsies (Romanies) and Jews from Auschwitz-Birkenau were also brought to the camp between 1943 and 1945.
The Gestapo Chief Offices in Prague and Brno sent to Ravensbrück many Czech women known for their active social and political life in the pre-war period who were involved in the democratic and communist anti-Nazi resistance movement.
The database of Czech male inmates, imprisoned in Ravensbrück, is under preparation.
Problems encountered when working with the database
With respect to the kind and origin of sources, which are often contradictory, there are no precise data available for all the prisoners. The amount of data about each inmate may, therefore, substantially differ. The available data come exclusively from historical sources.
- Name and Surname (at the time of imprisonment, maiden, post-war name): there is a considerable variability in the spelling of the names in the sources, which makes it difficult to determine the correct form of the names and, above all, to identify the individual persons; in addition, some family names of women are left without feminine derivates (-ová etc.); when searching for a specific name, only the word root may be used.
- Date of Birth: if the date varies in different sources, the alternative one is given under "Date of Birth 2"
- Length of Imprisonment: if available, the date of leaving the last repressive facility is given, plus the date of inmate´s arrival and departure
- Reasons for Termination of Imprisonment: transport – inmate´s transfer to another camp (branch of the Ravensbrück camp); death – due to illness, for unknown reasons or in a gas chamber); execution – death penalty executed under the so-called "special treatment" (Sonderbehandlung); discharged – released before the camp´s liberation; evacuation - went on a death march; liberated – survived the war
- Transport to: name of the repressive facility (mainly a concentration camp) to which inmate was taken from Ravensbrück
- Final Termination of Imprisonment: last known place of detention with the date and reason for its termination (died, liberated/survived, discharged etc.)
- Note: different information about the given person