Orte der Erinnerung 1933-1945

Orte der Erinnerung 1933 - 1945

Gedenkstätten, Dokumentationszentren und Museen
zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Diktatur
in Berlin und Brandenburg

Death March Memorial Site in the Below Forest

On April 21, 1945 with the approach of the Red Army, the SS forced 30,000 prisoners from the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, among them women and children, to walk northwest on a death march. For most of them, the march ended with their liberation between the 3rd and 6th of May 1945 around the Parchim, Ludwigslust, Schwerin area. However, hundreds died on the way or were shot by the SS.

The majority of the group, more than 16,000 prisoners, were gathered together near Wittstock in the Below Forest from April 23rd to April 29th. They were forced to camp here in the forest without any lodging or provisions, fenced in with barbed wire and watched over by a chain of guards. The commando officers stayed in a shepherd’s house in the forest across from where they were and the concentration camp commandant Kaindl stayed in Below for a short time with his entourage. After negotiating with the SS, a delegation from the International Red Cross was permitted to hand out food packages and set up an emergency hospital in the neighbouring village, Grabow.

After having been newly designed, the Death March Memorial Site in the Below Forest was re-opened in April 2010 for the 65th anniversary of the liberation. The focus of the site is the historical forest area which covers about 20,000 sqm. Many trees have inscriptions on them which were made by the prisoners. The new open air exhibition, "April 1945: The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Prisoners’ Death March” is located on a plateau close to the forest. It uses glass columns with texts, photos, documents, drawings and numerous survivor reports to provide information about the evacuation of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the death march, the Below forest camp and the liberation. In addition, artefacts from the Below Forest are displayed in a temperature-controlled glass display case. There is now an educational project space located in the former museum building, which had been damaged in 2002 by an extreme-right arson attack. The monument which was erected in 1975 was renovated as part of the work on the site’s new design.

Address

Gedenkstätte Todesmarsch im Belower Wald (Death March Memorial Site in the Below Forest)

Branch of the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site and Museum/Brandenburg Memorial Sites Foundation
Belower Damm 1
16909 Wittstock

Tel:+49(0)39925-2478
Fax:+49(0)39925-77835

E-Mail: below(at)gedenkstaette-sachsenhausen.de
Information: www.stiftung-bg.de

The institution on google maps

A 24 (Berlin-Hamburg, Pritzwalk exit) and the A 19 (Berlin-Rostock, Wittstock exit); in Wittstock take the L 153 direction Röbel, left after Alt Daber, then follow signs.

Opening Hours:
The open-air exhibition and the historical forest site are accessible during daylight hours.
Educational projects and tours must be booked in advance.
The office and bookstore are open from Mon. to Fri., from 10am-4pm
Closed on December 24th-26th as well as on December 31st and January 1st

Admission:
Tours / project days for a maximum of 15 people cost 15 Euro, 25 Euro for up to 30 people. Tours in foreign languages will cost an additional 25 Euro.