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Historical Overview of Stalag 326 (VI K) Senne

History

1941 to 1945

On 22 June, the “war of extermination“ (Operation Barbarossa) started against the Soviet Union. The German Armed Forces were mainly responsible for the prisoners of war. Every third Soviet war prisoner entering the German Reich between 1941 and 1945, had to pass the Stalag system 326 (VI K) Senne. It was mainly recruitment and transit camp for Military District VI. The former Military District VI corresponds more or less to the present federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The main objective of the so-called “Russenlager“ (Russian Camp) was the provision of workers.

Stalag 326 had not only been an important location for labour assignments in the Ruhr district (the largest urban and economic area in the German Reich) but also in other districts. Soviet war prisoners had been primarily employed in production industry and factories for the manufacture of any kind of goods; as well as for raw material and ressource extraction. The so-called “Russian Mission“ had entered almost every part of civil life in society.

In coordination with the prisoner-of-war camps starting 1939 this labour assignment had been organised and implemented. The first Sovjet prisoners of war arrived 10 July 1941 in Stalag 326. On 2 April 1945 the camp was liberated by the U.S. army. In Stalag 326 during this time, the number of registrated war prisoners ranged between 180,000 up to 200,000. In addition, between 1941 and 1945, French, Polish, Serbian, Italian and Belgian prisoners of war among others were imprisoned in specific camp sections.

The number of Soviet war prisoners dying in German captivity amounted to 2.3 up to 3 million prisoners from an overall amount of 5.3 up to 5.7 million prisoners in captivity. Although the Nazis had ratified the Geneva Convention as well as the Hague Convention, they did not fulfil the obligations towards Soviet war prisoners arising from the internationally binding treaties. The situation of the most Soviet war prisoners was characterized by malnutrition, inadequate medical treatment, abominable hygienic conditions and excessive exploitment of labour. The majority died of undernourishment and severe diseases as well as of the consequences of labour assignments.

1946 to 1947

After liberation of the camp the British Military Government established the Civil Internment Camp No.7 (1946-1947) on this site. The British Military Government imprisoned approx. 8,500 people, e.g. suspected war criminals, functionaries from economy and party as well as members of national socialist organisations.

1947 to 1970

At the end of 1947 it was handed over to the Ministry of Social Affairs (NRW) for establishing the Sozialwerk Stukenbrock (1948-1970). The idea to use this location for refugees and displaced people, has developed due to the emergency situation, as the influx of people in need has not ended and at the same time problems of accommodation have become worse. Partial areas of the site have been allocated to the responsible social organisations Arbeiterwohlfahrt / Workers’ Welfare (AWO), Deutsches Rotes Kreuz / German Red Cross (DRK), Westfälisches Blindenwerk /Westphalian Blind Aid Organisation, Caritas and Evangelisches Hilfswerk / Protestant Aid Organisation (later Evangelisches Johanneswerk).

Since 1970

Seit 1970 the area has been used by the LAFP Training Academy Erich Klausener.

6 May 2015

70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Federal President Joachim Gauck visited the celebrations at Stalag 326 (VI K) Senne. His speech and further information you will find by clicking the following link: