Alderney Holocaust and Slave Labour Trail
(c) Marcus Roberts 2014.


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All prisoners in these camps were subject to a regime of beatings, cruelty, torture, sporadic acts of murder and sometimes mass murder, over-work, dangerous work conditions, inadequate clothing, shelter, starvation, and lack of basic health care, which will be discussed in more detail later. Anyone who did not fit into the Nazi regime, racial system, or was perceived to be in opposition to the Third Reich, in which ever manner, could potentially end up in these camps.

The camps themselves were not fixed in their form or usage, but were dynamic and changing. There were very short lived camps, or Komandos, attached to specific work-sites using temporary or make-shift accommodation, there were also central camps with the lesser satellite camps. There were regularly shifting prisoner populations and cohorts of prisoners, as prisoners were moved in, died, or moved out and even the administration and designation of the camps could change, so that a camp could start as an OT camp and then become an SS camp. The camps expanded and contracted in size as required, as the pre-fabricated huts could be put up or taken down rapidly (in three hours) and they could be rapidly shut-down or merged.

The OT camps were primarily for forced labour, but secondarily the death of the inmates designated as racially inferior, or undeserving of life, over a period of weeks, or months, for which-ever cause, be it, starvation, over-work, lack of medical care, accidents, beatings, or out-right murder, was clearly regarded as desirable and the prisoners were doubtlessly regarded as expendable and their murder in smaller numbers was frequently officially encouraged on site, though numbers of worked out, or undesirable prisoners ear-marked for death were transported and killed elsewhere and it was probably intended that none of these prisoners would ever return home. The OT camps should not be confused with the extermination or death camps in the East, whose main purpose was the rapid killing and efficient disposal of large numbers of victims, a smaller number of whom might be selected to give a final few weeks of labour before being killed, or dying of starvation, or disease.

However, it must be qualified that there were some incidents of mass murder, on Alderney associated with Lager Sylt, as Dalmau recounts how when there had been particularly heavy bombings of German towns, 50 Jews or political prisoners would be gathered made to 'dance' through a hail of bullets, with anyone falling being shot through the head, until all lay dead on the ground and another account states that List attempted to shoot 150 prisoners near to the airfield, but was thwarted after he had killed just 10, by a local infantry unit who opened fire with a machine gun, on the SS men, to stop it.

The report states that List and Puhr, 'at one time ordered the shooting of 140 of their own Todt workers. Only 12, however, were actually shot before the Inf. Unit at the extreme NE corner of the aerodrome, adjoining the potential airfield, intervened and stopped the slaughter, by turning their MG's on the SS. This was by no means the only case of friction between the Wehrmacht and the SS.'

It is also reported that at the evacuation of Alderney the SS Camp commander, the following took place - 'June 24, the Lager Commandant - having been refused permission by the Governor of the island to shoot all the prisoners - embarked them for Guernsey - and later Jersey.'

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