Beatings, illnesses, exhaustion and death

Beatings, diseases, exhaustion and death were the daily lot of the prisoners. They suffered from the wounds left by blows inflicted on them by the Kapos and the SS, as well as from the bites of the dogs trained to attack them. They could also be punished and sentenced to be beaten on the beating rack or locked up in the bunker on the lower part of the camp. Skeleton-like, exhausted, wounded, ill, deprived of treatment whether or not they were admitted in to the infirmary, many of them died. In Natzweiler, the mortality rate was 40%; in the camp annexes, it could rise to 80%.

Detainees who attempted to escape or were simply suspected of doing so incurred the death penalty by hanging or the firing squad.

The Gestapo of Strasbourg also used the camp as a place of execution. In 1943, thirteen young men from Ballersdorf (upper Rhine region) were shot in the quarry for refusing to the conscripted into the Wehrmacht army and trying to leave the annexed region. In September 1944, just before the evacuation of the camp, members of the Alliance network and maquisards from the Vosges mountains were taken to the camp to be executed.

They all died in the oven of the crematorium block.