The camp, place of executions

Summary executions were common in the concentration camps from their inception. But other executions were more "official" in nature.

Theodor Eicke, inspector of the concentration camps, provided for sanctions that could go as far as the death penalty in the regulations he issued for Dachau.

On May 13, 1938, two inmates of KL Buchenwald escaped after killing an SS guard. Himmler and Eicke were furious. Escapes from a KL were already rare but for the first time a guard was killed.

On May 22, one of the escapees was captured. He was quickly tried and sentenced to death. Himmler wanted to set an example. He intervened with Hitler to have the sentence carried out at the scene of the crime.

On June 4, 1938, all the deportees of Buchenwald were gathered together and witnessed the hanging of their comrade*. For the first time, a prisoner was executed in a KL following a court decision.

KL Natzweiler was no exception to this sinister rule.The first hangings, following a death sentence, took place in November 1942.

The deportees of the camp were not the only victims.

That same year, according to Fritz Hartjenstein, the camp's 4th commandant, KL Natzweiler was chosen to carry out the death sentences handed down by the Nazi courts in the area or decided by the Nazi security services.

Very often the condemned prisoners were not registered at the camp. On their arrival, they were taken to the sandpit to be shot or hanged or shot inside the camp.

It is therefore difficult to put a figure on the number of these executions.

By cross-checking, and in the state of research, there would have been more than 400 executions at KL Natzweiler.