Neuengamme concentration camp was established in 1938 as a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen concentration camp and became an independent institution in spring 1940. It was the central concentration camp for north-western Germany until 1945. According to current research, a total of more than 80,000 men and more than 13,000 women were registered at Neuengamme concentration camp and given a prisoner’s number; another 5,900 prisoners were never registered in the camp’s records.
The initial impulse for establishing the camp was the National Socialist Leadership’s requirement for a cheap source of bricks for their large-scale construction projects in Hamburg.The first prisoners came from Sachsenhausen concentration camp and the first guard squads were brought in from Buchenwald concentration camp. The huts that made up the prisoners’ barracks were erected in 1940/41 and were later supplemented by two stone buildings erected between 1943 and 1945. Until 1945, more and more companies and SS-owned enterprises settled around the prisoners’ barracks and the SS barracks.