Historisches Falkensee
Geschichtspark Dauerausstellung Museum Rosengarten Falkenhagener Anger Falkenhagener See
Historisches FalkenseeEin Rundgang durch die Geschichte

Self-organization of the prisoners and the liberation of the camp


Note: The photos have not yet been released for the Internet under copyright law!

French prisoners photograph the Falkensee concentration camp, which had just been liberated two days earlier. The photo from April 28, 1945 was published in memoirs by former French prisoners on April 26, 1973.

Source: Archive Museum Falkensee

To organize the concentration camps, the SS used so-called, often German, prisoner functionaries, who took on a wide variety of tasks in the camp and were supposed to implement the orders of the SS. In the course of the war, the shortage of personnel in the SS increased and the importance of these prisoners increased. Increasingly, political prisoners were placed in such positions and were thus able to exert a greater influence on camp life.

An independent illegal structure of the prisoners was the international camp committee, which was led in Falkensee first by Christian Mahler and later by Max Reimann, both German communists. In April 1945, she and her comrades-in-arms made a decisive contribution to the liberation of the camp without death or bloodshed.

When the Sachsenhausen main camp gave the order for the Falkensee camp to be closed, they convinced the commander, Ernst Kannenberg, not to evacuate the camp. Days before, the Falkensee prisoners had seen very weak, sick and suffering people in the camp who were stopping in Falkensee on their way from Lieberose to Oranienburg. The horror among the prisoners in Falkensee was great. As chairman of the camp committee, Max Reimann tried to get in touch with the Red Army so that the camp would not become a theater of war.


On April 26, 1945, the first Soviet soldiers arrived at the camp. That same day, the prisoner at the time, Bruno Schultz, began his diary: "Thursday, April 26, 1945 at noon. 11:30 a.m. free to leave the camp after the camp guards have left their posts on the 25th

had left."

This was the decision of the International Camp Committee based on a memoir by former prisoner Gustav Buttgereit from 1975.

Source: Archive Museum Falkensee

Character letter from former prisoners of April 24, 1945 for the last Falkensee camp commander Ernst Kannenberg. Among the signatories are Max Reimann, member of the International Camp Committee and later KPD Chairman of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the French inmate doctor Dr. Breitman. A notarized copy is shown.

Source: Brandenburg State Main Archive, Rep. 161, Object 4, ZB 2969

Bruno Schultz's diary, first page open: On April 26, 1945, the day the camp was liberated, Bruno Schultz began writing his diary.

Source: Archive Museum Falkensee


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