Hinzert: Horror Close to Home
Hinzert was first established as a "reeducation" camp in October 1939, a destination for residents in both Germany and occupied areas who didn't agree with the NSDSP politics.  Luxembourg Resistance members passed through the camp, as did prisoners from the "Night and Fog" campaign - so named because they vanished without a trace.  The Gestapo took over Hinzert in 1942, when the camp became a feeder for Dachau, Natzweiler, and Buchenwald.
The Poelert railroad station, where Hinzert prionsers were unloaded
Between 11,000 and  13,500 prisoners passed through Hinzert during its five years of existence.  The prominent location and open use of prison labor in nearby Hermeskeil made public knowledge of the camp and its activities inescapable. The information booklet states that "on frosty nights one could hear the torture victims screaming with pain and cold" from the nearby village. Over 300 executions were recorded. The advancing Allies in March 1945 prompted a forced march of the POWs into the Mainz, Giessen, and Fulda area where those that survived were eventually liberated.

The most comprehensive account of Hinzert is available in a PDF file from the National Center for Political Education.  Click on "Blatter zum Land" under the downloads section on the lower right side of the page.
SS personnel at Hinzert post-1942, possibly on the north edge of the camp in front of the "reception barracks". The afternoon shadows, parallel buildings, and ridge in background suggest this location although there was no gate in this location. If correct, today wind turbines spin on top of the ridge and the museum looks out on this area.
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