Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie
These (admittedly low quality) pictures were taken in the mid afternoon of 29 November, 2005 at the concentration camp cemetery outside of Vaihingen an der Enz, a city near Stuttgart, and at the city cemetery.
According to the information panel at the site, the remains of 1267 people are buried here. They died betweeen 4 October, 1944 and 12 April, 1945 at the nearby concentration camp Wiesengrund. Another 223 victims were transfered to their home countries in 1955. Those who died after the liberation of the camp are buried at the city cemetery.
Everybody has heard of the big concentration camps and death camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka. What is less popularly known is that there were thousands of smaller camps and branch camps of the larger camps all over Germany and the eastern occupied areas where Jews, Gypsies, POWs and others were held under horrific conditions and subjected to forced labor. The camp at Vaihingen / Enz was one such place.
If you are at the site on a Sunday, you can also visit the nearby memorial.
|This is the marker at the gate of the cemetery. It reads, In eternal memory of the victims of the National Socialist rule of terror who died in the concentration camp at Vaihingen/Enz. The mortal remains which were found were buried here in 1956.|
|Right by the entryway, there is also a bronze plaque in the wall that reads, in German and Norwegian, Norway thanks and honors its sons, prisoners of the Vaihingen camp, who from 1944 to 1945 gave their lives in the fight against National Socialism and injustice. The 13 names are listed.|
|This phots, taken from a corner of the cemetery, shows almost the entire yard.|
|Some of the markers have one number, some have two.|
|Some - very few - have been identified and marked with brass plaques or receive special recognition with a candle by visitors.|
|The Jewish tradition of putting rocks on gravestones is practiced by some visitors.|
|In the wall near the entrace, there are over one dozen special markers to individuals.|
|This one reads, Here lie our dear father Jakob Stopnicki born 1900 in Opatow died 1945 in Vaihingen / Our dear brother Chaim Stopnicki born 1923 in Opatow died 1944 in Vaihingen.|
In the city cemetery, along the wall, there is another remnant of the Holocaust.
|When coming from the main cemetery entrance, a visitor may see these markers hidden in the ivy.|
|They each carry one name and, as far as is known, dates of birth and death. These are the exact same markers found at German military cemeteries of the same era, including the military section of the same cemetery.|
|At the end of about 40 such markers, there is a plaque.|
|It reads, Here lie the prisoners of the concnetration camp Vaihingen / Enz who died of the effects of their imprisonment after liberation by French troops in 1945. May 1945.|
|One of the markers has an additional stone in Russian, probably placed by family members.|
I would like to thank Oliver Gassner for showing me these sites.