Concentration camp Vught

Camp personnel

As was the case in each concentration camp, the inside and outside surveillance in camp Vught consisted of two separate components. The outside surveillance was performed by the fourth and fifth company of the SS-Wachbataillon Nordwest. This Wachbataillon fell under command of the Waffen-SS and consisted of Dutch and Ukrainian men. From 26 July to 6 September 1944, this unit took part in hundreds of executions at the execution site of camp Vught.

The inside surveillance was mainly in the hands of German SS-men. They were under command of the Amtsgruppe D (Konzentrationslager) of the SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt. The camp commander was in charge of the inside surveillance. Camp Vught had three camp commanders: SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Walter Chmielewski, SS-Sturmbannführer Adam Grünewald and SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Hüttig.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Walter Chmielewski was the first camp commander of camp Vught. When he was appointed he was 39 years old. Before his appointment to camp commander in Vught he had already worked in several concentration camps. From 1935 to 1936 he worked at Columbia Haus, one of the first concentration camps (frühe Konzentrationslager), in the neighbourhood Tempelhof in Berlin. Subsequently he worked in Sachsenhausen from 1937 to 1940 and in Mauthausen from 1940 to 1943. In his early career he committed several crimes as camp guard. Chmielewski was in command of camp Vught in the chaotic and especially for many prisoners fatal early months of the camp. Nevertheless he succeeded to structure in a disciplined manner the abominable conditions of the ever growing incoming stream of prisoners in a relatively short period of time. Chmielewski was involved in the establishment of the Philips-Kommando. His position as camp commander came to an end when he was discharged in October 1943 because of embezzlement. He supposedly seized diamonds from prisoners, which he then sent to his own family. Other sources claim that he had sold products from the Philips workplace on the black market. After the war, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Chmielewski was succeeded by the 40-year old SS-Sturmbannführer Adam Grünewald. Originally he was a baker, but had been working in concentration camps since 1934. His career started in the frühe Konzentrationslager Lichtenburg where he worked until 1937. In 1938 he worked in Buchenwald and from 1938 to 1939 he was appointed as Schutzhaftlagerführer in Dachau. Before he became camp commander in Vught in 1943, he worked in Sachsenhausen in 1942. Grünewald had a bad reputation and had been convicted by the SS once to three years imprisonment. In camp Vught he introduced a strict regime. After only three months he was fired as camp commander and degraded to the position of soldier because of his part in the Bunker Tragedy in January 1944. During the last year of the war, Grünewald served in the 3. SS-Panzer-Division Totenkopf. He was killed in battle in Hungary in 1945.

The last camp commander of camp Vught was the 50-year-old First World War veteran SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Hüttig. Just like his predecessors Chmielewski and Grünewald he had worked in several concentration camps before he started working in Vught. In 1936, he worked in the frühe Konzentrationslager (early concentration camp) Lichtenburg. He then worked in Sachsenhausen in 1937 and in in Buchenwald in 1938. From 1939 to 1942 he worked in Flossenbürg and before his appointment in Vught he was camp commander in Natzweiler in 1942. In camp Vught he set things right and took some drastic measures. He ended the independence of the Philips workplace and made the camp Judenrein (free from Jews). Not only was he responsible for the deportation of Jews from the camp, he also ordered the execution of at least 329 persons in the summer of 1944. After camp Vught was closed down, Hüttig served in the 34. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Landstorm Nederland in the last months of war. After the war, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, however, he was released early in 1956.

The camp surveillance were assisted by Kapos, prisoners who were deployed to instil ‘order and discipline’ into their fellow prisoners. They started with 80 Kapos in camp Vught. Some of them were German political prisoners, but most of them were German criminals, who often had committed murder. Especially the criminals who were deployed as Kapo took a hard line against prisoners.

Definitielijst

Buchenwald
Concentration camp established in 1937 near the city of Weimar.
concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.
Dachau
City in the German state of Bavaria where the Nazis established their first concentration camp.
Division
Military unit, usually consisting of one upto four regiments and usually making up a corps. In theory a division consists of 10,000 to 20,000 men.
Jews
Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.
Kapo
A Kapo was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany during World War 2 who was assigned to supervise other prisoners. A Kapo had to supervise the work of the prisoners and was responsible for their results on behalf of the SS.
Landstorm
Before 1940 this term designated the various volunteer formations the army in the Netherlands. It was dissolved shortly after the German invasion in May 1940.
Landstorm Nederland
During the German occupation a territorial unit of the Waffen-SS quartered in the Netherlands, consisting of mainly Dutch volunteers. Initially established as the Landwacht Nederland in March1943 the name was later changed because another organisation with the same name was established. The Landstorm was deployed against the Allies. At its peak it numbered 8,000 men. It was known as the 34. SS- Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Landstorm Nederland. In 1944 a total of 22,000 Dutchmen served in the Waffen-SS.
Mauthausen
Place in Austria where the Nazi’s established a concentration camp from 1938 to 1945.
Totenkopf
“Death’s head”. Symbol that was used by the SS. Also the name of an SS Division.
Waffen-SS
Name of Military section of the SS.

Pagina navigatie

Afbeeldingen


Karl Walter Chmielewski, the first camp commander of camp Vught.
(Source: www.philips-kommando.nl)


Adam Grünewald, the successor of Chielewksi.
(Source: www.philips-kommando.nl)


Hans Hüttig, the last camp commander of camp Vught.
(Source: www.philips-kommando.nl)

Informatie

Translated by:
STIWOT translator
Article by:
Kevin Prenger
Published on:
30-05-2015
Last edit on:
06-10-2017
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