Neuengamme. Getuigenis over het ongemaskerde National-Socialisme van een Duitsch Concentratiekamp - Neuengamme. Testimony on the exposed National-Socialism of a German concentration camp, by Albert van de Poel, Gestapo prisoner number 5919 in the years 1941-1943 in Neuengamme near Hamburg, published by Winants, Heerlen, Netherlands, 1945. Dutch.
Testimony of a Neuengamme concentration camp prisoner who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941, without being told why, and was quickly transferred to the camp and put in Block 14, where he received instructions from one of the camp prisoners describing the impossible situation the prisoners were in: "Everything is forbidden here" and elaborates: "It is forbidden to buy and sell, forbidden to speak, forbidden to leave the block after evening bell, forbidden to do anything you don't see other prisoners doing, everything must be like the puppet show of a thousand men dancing to the SS tune... There are so many prohibitions that it is simply impossible not to constantly violate one prohibition or another, and therefore there is always punishment, a person is constantly exposed to danger of being caught or betrayed... There is also collective responsibility for what befalls fellow prisoner inmates due to violations. So that for circumstances sake, all must help protect as many crimes committed by others as possible...".
In the camp he was taken to forced labor in the nearby brick factory. Where every morning roll call was held, during which not even the slightest unnecessary movement was allowed, prisoners had to stand stiffly with straight backs, without moving as the Nazis counted them, any movement could cost the prisoner their life. In Neuengamme the Nazis operated with monstrous torture methods described at length in the book, which will not be detailed here. In Neuengamme, prisoners who wanted to commit suicide did not have to throw themselves on the electric fence, it sufficed to step out of line or make the wrong motion and they were shot on the spot. The guiding principle of Nazi torture methods was unpredictability of tasks. During the day the Nazis ordered prisoners to perform countless unexpected actions out of complete surprise, such as changing shoes for another's, changing beds, undressing and presenting themselves for superficial inspection, undressing and dressing quickly, standing still without moving, in the middle of the night a whistle would sound and the block's prisoner group had to run at full speed to the front of the block, and more. These tasks, which he describes in detail, were intended to break the bodies and spirits of the prisoners, as each time the Nazis claimed the prisoner had not fulfilled the task imposed on him, and was thus deserving of various strange punishments that are impossible to imagine. After a short time in the camp, it became clear to him that all he had previously read about Nazi cruelty was not even a percentage of what they inflicted on him and his friends and what he saw with his own eyes in the camp.
Paul was also a witness to the entire extermination process in the camp. In one of the last chapters entitled "How the Human Soul Overcomes" is an enlightening explanation of human resilience in the harshest conditions, and the enormities of the human spirit even facing the worst of evils, while emphasizing the inconceivable absurdity of the "Aryan master race" placed by the Nazis at the pinnacle of the human races, committing the lowest acts in history, versus the camp inmates of the "inferior races" in whom the wondrous power of the human spirit truly came to light.
The Neuengamme concentration camp was one of the camps in the Nazi German concentration camp network located in the Neuengamme borough of Hamburg. The facility began operating in 1938 as an external camp of Sachsenhausen, and became independent in 1940. The camp is notoriously known for the brutal forced labor imposed on prisoners in the brick production industry. Prisoners were forced to dig in hard earth without proper tools or consideration for weather conditions or health, and methods of extermination were also harsh, with many murdered by phenol injections. In October 1942 gas chambers were opened in the camp. A crematorium was established to burn the bodies of prisoners who died from typhus and other diseases. The camp was evacuated by the SS in April 1945, on the eve of liberation by the British army. During its years of activity over 55,000 people perished there.
116  p. Very good condition.