Updated: Jul 26
Right from the beginning of Hitler's regime, the Nazis founded a massive network of concentration camps for various purposes. It started with the persecutions of opposition forces, Union leaders, and intellectuals inside Germany. After the invasion of Poland, the network of camps expanded and was used mainly for the extermination of Jews, forced labor, and the imprisonment of dissidents and prisoners of war.
The Stutthof Concentration Camp was established right with the invasion of Poland, in what was East Prussia before the Second World War, and nowadays Northern Poland. More than 110 thousand people were in prison there. Among them, about 85 thousand were murdered.
Until 1943 it served mainly as a concentration camp, with horrible conditions and forced labor. But then it became an extermination camp with mass killings by gas chambers.
Before the camp's liberation, thousands of Jews were forced to take part in Death March – they were forced to walk into the frozen Baltic Sea and got shot. Others drowned while the Nazis tried to send them by boats to Germany. Finally, the Soviets liberated the prisoners of Stutthof on May 9, 1945. It was the last camp to be released.
Today there is a Polish national museum in the camp and a massive monument for the victims.
There are also exhibitions (some of them in English, but not all) in the barracks. It is also possible to see the gas chamber and the Crematorium.
The entrance is free.
I got to the camp by Bus I took from Gdansk Central Station, approximately 80 minutes drive.
It's not close and not so comfortable to go there. But I think every man and woman must visit at least one Concentration camp like it. We must not forget the abyss to which mankind came in that war, and every such visit is a warning sign to all of us. Very important.
The Gas Chambers and the Crematorium
The Barracks and Exhibitions
The Stutthof Monument