Women's Concentration Camp Ravensbrück

December 1938 -
April 1939

Male prisoners from Sachsenhausen build the first section of the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women.

May 18th, 1939

867 women from the Lichtenburg concentration camp are moved to Ravensbrück. They have to work on the continued extension of the camp as well as on the construction of the SS quarters.

June 29th, 1939

A convoy of 440 Sintis and Romas with children from the Austrian province of Burgenland arrives.

September - November 1939

Arrival of approximately 60 Polish women from the territory of the Reich.

January 1940

Himmler inspects the women's concentration camp Ravensbrück. He orders the official introduction of corporal punishment for the women prisoners.

June 21st, 1940

Founding of the SS enterprise "Society for Textile and Leather Processing Ltd." in Ravensbrück

December 1940

Some 4200 women, including women from Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia, live in sixteen barracks

April 1941

Establishment of a male camp in Ravensbrück with 350 prisoners from Dachau.

April 1941

3500 new prisoners are registered including women from the Netherlands, Poland, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

March 26th, 1942

Some 1000 women are moved to Auschwitz to build the extermination camp there.

March/April 1942

About 1600 "selected" Ravensbrück women are gassed in Bernburg, among them 700-800 Jewish women.

June 14th, 1942

Arrival of 182 women from the liquidated Czechoslovakian village of Lidice.

June 1942

The completed "Uckermark preventive arrest youth camp" is filled with 400 young girls.

June 1942

Industrial barracks are built for the Siemens & Halske electrical combine and the first women are trained.

August 1st, 1942

Medical experiments are made on healthy Polish women.

October 6th, 1942

More than 600 prisoners, among them 522 Jewish women, are transferred to Auschwitz. The RSHA (The Reich Supreme Security Authority) had ordered to make the camp "free of Jews".

December 1942

The Ravensbrück camp reaches a strength of 10,800 women and men, among them women from France, Belgium, Norway, Luxemburg, Rumania.

February 26th/27th, 1943

536 Soviet female prisoners of war - physicians, nurses,signal-communication women auxiliaries of the Crimean army - are deported to Ravensbrück.

March 1943

Prisoners are employed to a larger extent in the armanent industry. Branch camps are built, e. g. in Karlshagen, Neubrandenburg and Velten.


Arrival of a convoy of 1000 French women from Paris.

Autumn 1943

A crematorium is built for the camp. The ashes of the dead are dumped into Lake Schwedt.

December 1943

The SS commander's headquarters is in command of 15,100 female and male prisoners in Ravensbrück and the branch camps.

February 8th, 1944

Approximately one thousand French women evacuated from prison in Compiègne arrive at Ravensbrück.

February 1944

Convoys from the concentration camps of Riga and Majdanek decamped by the SS arrive at Ravensbrück.

May 1944

A total of 2500 women are transferred to the armament works of Heinkel, Rostock-Schwarzenforst and Siemens-Zwodau.

September 1944

Due to the overcrowded barracks, a large tent is put up where many women and children die in winter.

October 1944

After the suppression of the Warsaw uprising, 12,000 Polish women and children are deported to Ravensbrück.

December 1944

Prisoners move into the six barracks near the Siemens halls.

Winter 1944/45

Sterilization of Roma and Sinti girls and women.


70,000 prisoners are taken to Ravensbrück concentration camp to work, among them 10,000 - 13,000 Polish and Jewish women from Auschwitz-Birkenau.

January 15th, 1945

The Ravensbrück concentration camp is in command of 46,070 female and 7,858 male prisoners, half of them employed in branch camps. They are guarded by 1000 SS men and 546 female warders. In January/February the number of prisoners is increased by 11,000 from evacuated concentration camps and branch camps.

End of January - beginning of April, 1945

Old, sick women unable to work are "selected" and transferred to the evacuated Uckermark camp. 5000-6000 of them are gassed, poisoned or shot dead.

April 5th - 26th, 1945

The International Red Cross and the Swedish Red Cross are permitted to evacuate 7500 women via Denmark to Sweden.

April 27th/28th, 1945

All prisoners, with the exception of 3000 seriously ill women and men, are driven from the camp on a "death march" going west. By May 3rd the prisoners from Ravensbrück and the branch camps are reached and liberated by the units of the Second Byelorussian front.

April 30th, 1945

Units of the Red Army free approximately 3000 sick women as well as prisoner care personnel in the concentration camp.

1946 -1948

The so-called Ravensbrück trials against the SS personnel of the women's concentration camp take place in Hamburg. Sixteen death sentences are among the verdicts.

Information provided by the Ravensbrück Memorial

Voices from Ravensbrück   © Pat Binder