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By the 1930s there were over 100 municipal crematorium in Germany. Although the percentage of the population being cremated was relatively small (below 10% in the 1930s) it was seen as the modern and clean way to be disposed of. One of the reasons the percentage of the population being cremated was so small was that the Catholic church was vehemently against cremation.

In the 1930's as the concentration camp system expanded and the number of dead increased the SS were looking for a way to cleanly dispose of bodies in the "modern" way of things but more importantly as a way to avoid the interference of civil and legal authorities in the operation of the camp and especially the death of prisoners.

The camps started using the local municipal crematoria to dispose of their bodies. These crematorium were not built for mass cremation however and it soon became apparent that the camps needed their own crematorium.

Once the camps had their own crematorium this did not mean the municipal crematorium had no further dealings with the SS. As the sub camp system expanded in 1943 it was no longer feasible to send bodies back to the main camps for cremation. Thus many sub camps used the local municipal crematorium for body disposal.

The municipal crematoriums were not built for mass incineration that is they had a very limited capacity for the number of bodies that could be burnt per day. This was for many reasons: use of coffins and legal requirments such as only burning one  body at a time, no smell, no smoke etc. Thus as the body counts in the sub camps rose towards the end of the war the municipal crematorium were no longer the solution. Fuel was running out not just to power the crematorium but also for lorries to transfer the bodies. Resort was made to mass burials near the sub camps.

There is also evidence that during the period of the Third Reich that the Gestapo used the municipal crematorium for disposing of bodies killed in their prisons and camps. For example the bodies of the allied flyers captured by the Germans on escaping from the prisoner of war camp in Sagen (the so called Great Escape) and ordered shot by Hitler were cremated in the various local municipal crematorium in which they were captured and interrogated.

In addition it seems that the Anatomical institutes of German universities if they did not have there own crematorium sent remaining bodies and body parts (mostly of dead prisoners they had been given for dissection) to the local municipal crematorium.

One of the aims of this project is to document the involvement of the municipal crematoria in Germany in disposing of the victims of the Third Reich. It is our belief that every single municipal crematorium in Germany cremated Nazi victims from the camps, Gestapo or other places such as anatomical institutes.


List of Municipal Crematoria used by the Camps:


Muncipal Crematorium                      Camp


Wien-Simmering                              KL Mauthausen

Steyr                                              KL Mauthausen, Sub KL Gusen, Sub KL Steyr-Munichholz, Sub KL Ternburg, Sub KL


Linz                                                KL Mauthausen

Graz                                               KL Mauthausen

Weimar                                           KL Buchenwald

Jena                                               KL Buchenwald

Leipzig                                            KL Buchenwald, Sub KL Leipzig-Schonau (B), Sub KL Markkleeberg (B)

Srasbourg                                        KL Natzweiler

Leignitz                                           KL Gross Rosen

Gleiwitz                                           KL Auschwitz

Furstenburg/ Havel                           KL Sachsenhausen, KL Ravensbruck

Nuremburg                                      Sub KL Hersbruck (F)

Rostock                                          Sub KL Barth (F)

Braunschweig                                   KL Arbeitsdorf, Sub KL Braunschweig (Bussing) (N), Sub KL Braunschweig

                                                      (SS Reitschule) (N)

Dortmund                                        KL Niederhagen Wewelsburg, Sub KL Dortmund (Huttenverein AG) (B),

                                                      Sub KL Witten-Annen (B)

Bochum                                           KL Niederhagen Wewelsburg

Bielefeld                                          KL Niederhagen Wewelsburg

Brackwede                                       KL Niederhagen Wewelsburg

Munich                                            KL Dachau

Lindau                                            Sub KL Friedrichshafen, Sub KL Saulgau

Konstanz                                         Sub KL Uberlingen (Aufkirch)

Brandenburg an Der Havel                 Sub KL Belzig (S), Sub KL Genthin (S)

Dessau                                            Sub KL Dessau (B)

Koln                                                Sub KL Bochum (SS Baubrigade III) (B)

Essen                                              Sub KL Bochum (Bochumer Verein) (B)

Freiburg                                           Sub KL Freiburg (F)

Straschnitz (Prague)                          Sub KL Janowitz Sub KL Hradischko (F)

Zwickau                                            Sub KL Johanngeorgenstadt (F), Zwodau (F)

Esslingen                                         Sub KL Hailfingen (F), Sub KL Echterdingen

Reutlingen                                       Sub KL Hailfingen (F)

Sonneberg                                       Sub KL Gundelsdorf (F)

Reichenbach                                     Sub KL Lengenfeld (F)

Meissen                                           Sub KL Nossen (F), Sub KL Meissen-Neuhirschstein (F)

Plauen                                             Sub KL Plauen (Baumwollspinnerei) (F)

Aussig-Schreckenstein                        Sub KL Rabstein (F)

Karlsbad                                           Sub KL Schlackenwerth (F)

Dresden Tolkewitz                             Sub KL Zschachwitz (F), Sub KL Schwarzheide (S)

Selb                                                 KL Flossenburg

Gorlitz                                              Various sub camps KL Gross Rosen

Liberec                                             Sub KL Reichenau (GR)

Magdeburg                                       Sub KL's Magdeburg (B)

Berlin-Baumschulenweg                      Sub KL Schonefeld (S)

Quedlinburg                                      Sub KL  Langenstein-Zwieberge (B)

Hannover                                         Sub KL Muhlenberg (N)

Stuttgart Pragfriedhof                          Sub Kl Leonberg (S-N)

Munich                                             Dachau


List of Municipal Crematoria Used by Gestapo


Bremen                                            Bremen Gestapo

Dortmund                                         Dortmund Gestapo




See also: