Episodes from the history of the Stutthof prisoners’ hospital

How to cite: Siniecki, B. Episodes from the history of the Stutthof prisoners’ hospital. Kantor, M., trans. Medical Review – Auschwitz. June 22, 2020. Originally published as “Z historii szpitala obozowego w Stutthofie.” Przeglad Lekarski – Oswiecim. 1975: 85–89.


Bogdan Siniecki, doctor of medicine, 1925–1993, one of the contributing authors of Przeglad Lekasrki – Oswiecim (Medical Review – Auschwitz).

Medical professionals were among the hundreds of Poles arrested by the Gestapo in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk1) on the night of 31 August/1 September 1939. They were brought out of their homes under a police escort to the accompaniment of the noise of the ongoing fighting on the Westerplatte Peninsula and at the Polish Post Office in Danzig,2 and taken to the Victoriaschule girls’ school in today’s ul. Na Kladki. On the way they were hustled through streets full of rampaging Hitlerjugend3 louts. Just before they entered the school building, they had to pass through a double line of SS-men who spat on their faces, hurled obscenities at them and beat them with their rifle butts. The doctors who were arrested were Witold Kopczynski, Stefan Mirau, Aleksander Witkowski and Stefan Kopczynski, a doctor of pharmacy; as well as two dentists, Bernard Filarski and Wiktor Hirsz. The biographies of some of them have already been published in Przeglad Lekarski – Oswiecim.

The detainees spent the first twenty days of August4 in the Victoriaschule under a continuous reign of terror, interrogations and harassment. The school yard, classrooms and corridors were packed with an endless influx of Polish prisoners rounded up from Danzig, and later also from Gdynia and other locations. In such bad conditions and with no access to medical resources, the prisoner-doctors were not able to help their tortured fellow inmates. Dozens of Polish activists5 from Danzig were executed during the first days of internment.

As the Nazi German educational authorities were planning to start the schools in Danzig on 1 October 1939, the detainees along with the SS commanding officers and staff were moved from the school to the more spacious former military barracks and other buildings converted into a transit camp (Gefangenenlager Danzig) in the district of Neufahrwasser (now Nowy Port).6

There were thousands7 of prisoners packed together here and various diseases started to spread. This forced the SS authorities to open first a sick bay, and soon afterwards a small hospital, where the Polish prisoner-doctors were ordered to carry out just ancillary medical care. They administered the basic medicines and distributed meals to patients, helped them go to the toilet, disposed of the excrement, etc. (Glinski, “Miejsce,” 123). Their potential to administer proper treatment was limited due to the shortage of dressing materials and medications, as well as to the fact that all the decisions concerning treatment had to be taken by the camp executive. Often the commandant, SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Pauly,8 told them what treatment to apply. The Lagerarzt (SS chief physician) and the SDGs, his assistant paramedics, who were SS NCOs, were in charge of medical care in the whole camp. SS-Oberscharführer Dr Werner von Schenck9 was the first SS physician in Neufahrwasser, and later in Stutthof, from 2 September 1939 to 31 October 1941.

Apart from the temporary prison for the Polish inhabitants of Danzig set up on the first day of the War in the girls’ school, the Nazi Germans established a proper concentration camp10 on the outskirts of the village of Stutthof (Polish place-name Sztutowo), over 30 km away from Danzig, on 2 September 1939.

Set up at the beginning of the War, Stutthof was the first Nazi German concentration camp on Polish territory, originally intended for the Polish population of the Gdansk stretch of Pomerania. In 1942, it became an international camp, receiving transports of prisoners from many countries, including the USSR, the occupied Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, and even from distant Italy. It was also the last German camp in operation on the territory of Poland to the very end of the War; it was liberated by Soviet troops on 9 May 1945.

The first 250 prisoners,11 local people from Danzig, were brought to Stutthof in six trucks. Their task was to fell one hectare of the forest, fence the area with stakes and barbed wire, and build a number of barracks for Neufahrwasser prisoners. Before the barracks were erected, the first group of prisoners lived in tents pitched on peat bogs. The abnormally heavy, inhuman working and living conditions in the ever-expanding camp led to a massive death toll, prisoners either died suddenly due to violence from the SS, or slowly from starvation and the spread of epidemics (AMSt., Kwapisz, 1–11). In the first months of the camp’s existence, when there was no sick bay yet, patients were sent to the Neufahrwasser hospital. In March 1940, the Neufahrwasser transit camp was closed and the inmates were sent to Stutthof, where a hospital was established left of the camp’s entrance gate.12 Of course, the number of beds in this hospital was certainly not enough for the needs of the thousands confined in Stutthof. The hospital could only accommodate 30 patients. Considering the conditions in the barracks, where prisoners had to sleep on straw scattered on the floor, the hospital was “comfortably” equipped: it had bunk beds, some makeshift chairs, and a table.

The first winter in the camp (1939/1940) was extremely severe, and many prisoners fell ill. Besides pneumonia, pleurisy, kidney diseases and purulent angina, there were very many serious cases of frostbite. In addition, the camp authorities used all kinds of measures to exterminate inmates as fast as possible. A particularly cruel practice was keeping them out of doors for hours in the freezing cold. One of the prisoners, Father Wojciech Gajdus, camp number 20998, gave the following account:

One afternoon, all the inmates were called out for another roll call instead of working: Achtung (stand at attention). So we were standing at attention in the snow and with the temperature below 0o Celsius from 1 p.m. till sunset; the roll call lasted some five hours. We had to stand motionless for all those long hours. I don’t remember any longer how many prisoners died within the following week, but there must have been scores of deaths. There were so many prisoners with frostbitten fingers, toes and noses that the hospital ran out of ointment. Afterwards very many inmates had open wounds that kept bleeding and would not heal on their hands, ears, noses and cheeks.

(AMSt., Gajdus, 1962, 133)

With such a small number of beds in the prisoners’ hospital, it was hardly possible to admit all the sick. Besides, the man who was the decision-maker was the head of the hospital, SS Hauptscharführer Otto Haupt, who was only good at tormenting prisoners. He decided which of the most seriously ill patients were to be sent for treatment to the Danzig municipal hospital (official name: the Staatliche Akademie für Praktische Medizin zu Danzig—the Danzig State Academy of Practical Medicine; now the Gdansk Medical Academy at ul. Debinki 7).13 All the Polish prisoner-doctors working in Stutthof could do was to suggest which patients to send to the Academy. Once or twice a week patients were transferred to Gdansk in tarpaulin trucks under an SS escort.

I have not come across any reports in the publications on Stutthof mentioning a separate unit for political prisoners located in one of the barracks of the infectious diseases ward in the Staatliche Akademie buildings.14 I was encouraged to follow this point up by a postcard sent by my father Antoni Siniecki, a Polish inhabitant of Danzig imprisoned in Stutthof. He was arrested in the first days of the War and sent to Stutthof. The postcard reached our family in mid-January 1940, and on it he wrote that he was being held in one of the barracks of the Staatliche Akademie. The news astonished us. We wondered why he should have found himself in the hospital, since we knew that he had been confined in the camp for over four months. With mixed feelings, I went to find the new place of my father’s imprisonment. It turned out to be the last barrack of the hospital (the building was modernised after the War, and today it accommodates the Forensic Medicine Department). The barrack was guarded day and night by the Schutzpolizei (Schupo for short, Nazi security police). I had to wait for the right time in the evening to sneak in through the door while they were not looking.

The entrance was in the central part of the barrack, and on the left and right there were two large rooms, each with over twenty beds. I saw patients lying or sitting on the beds. They had broken legs or arms in plaster casts or on lifts (my father was one of those with broken limbs); some were post-operative patients, with oedemas, ascites, or frostbite. The biggest group were the ones with frostbite. Some patients were apathetic, others had a high temperature and were delirious. During our first meeting, my father told me that he owed his transfer to this hospital to Dr Witold Kopczynski. They had known each other before the War, as both had been actively involved in the Polish community in Danzig. Dr Kopczynski had intervened on his behalf, persuading the Stutthof authorities to send him to Danzig.

As I looked around the room, I was particularly struck by the sight of a young man of 17 with frostbitten feet who was likely to have both feet amputated. They were pale grey, with part of the tissue necrotic, and covered with shreds of bandages. The whole room was full of a suffocating stench. In addition, the young man was in unbearable pain and running a high fever. His face was purple. Later I learnt that he died after just a few days in the hospital.

I also saw other prisoners who had had their feet amputated; one man had both legs amputated at the knee. As most of these people had been arrested during the first days of the War, when the weather was warm and sunny, they were in summer clothes and footwear. During the heavy labour in the camp their shoes, especially the soles, had quickly worn out, and they were given clogs with fibre uppers (a wooden sole with a scrap of tarpaulin on top) or kajaki—clogs made of a single lump of lime-wood. They were too large for the feet, so they fell off.15 That’s why there were so many cases of frostbite.

On recovery, prisoners were sent back to the camp under escort, while the dead were probably buried in the Zaspa cemetery.16 Release from the prison barrack was out of the question. Of course, prisoners cherished illusory hopes they would be released after such a serious illness, but they lost their illusions as soon as they returned to the camp. They owed this scrap of optimism in such dire circumstances to one of the German orderlies employed in the hospital barrack, who tried to help them in many ways. He informed detainees’ families that they were in the hospital. He provided his patients with postcards and then put them in post boxes located in remote districts of the city, so as not to leave any tell-tale signs of his interventions. While he was on duty in the ward, he let the families see their sick relatives. Thanks to him my mother and brothers visited our father several times, which turned out to be our last meetings with him.

Encouraged by the orderly’s optimism, prisoners’ wives applied to the Danzig Gestapo on Neugarten (now Swierczewskiego)17 for the release of their spouses, on the grounds of a serious illness. The Gestapo officers did not even consider these applications and dismissed all the requests with one brief sentence: “He will not get out unless he is shot” (Raus kommt er nicht, wenn er nicht erschossen wird). In fact, the wives never saw their imprisoned husbands again. My father was transported back to Stutthof on 19 March 1940, after over a two-month stay in a hospital barrack in the Staatliche Akademie. He was killed in the camp exactly a year later, on 19 March 1941.

Of the many accounts made by Stutthof survivors, only W. Gajdus’ says that inmates were sent to the Staatliche Akademie:

Urgent surgeries or amputations, if the camp’s commanding officers consented, were performed in the hospital in Danzig. How many cases were not qualified for surgery by the camp executive? How many prisoners died because they got no treatment? I recollect how the prisoner-doctors had to go to great lengths to persuade the commandant to agree to send a young man with frostbitten legs to Danzig. He had to work barefoot for the whole winter, for a German farmer who did not give him any shoes. The farmer starved him and made him work in sub-zero temperatures, and the winter of 1939 was extremely severe. The young man was brought into the camp on a cart from a distant village. He lay quietly on a stretcher. We called the chief physician. When he came in, the man’s legs were uncovered and we saw that they were almost completely blackened, numb and swollen up to the calves. The prisoner-doctors argued that only an amputation could save this young man’s life, but the SS doctor asked, “Is it worth it at all?” Only God knows how many other similar or worse cases there were in the Stutthof hospital.

(AMSt. Gajdus, 149)

Flung Onto the Wires. Marian Kolodziej. Photo by Piotr Markowski. Click to enlarge.

I did not hear of the prison barrack in the Staatliche Akademie für Praktische Medizin continuing its activities in the later period, but it was probably in use until the expansion of the Stutthof hospital, i.e. till 1942. The 30–40 beds in the prisoners’ hospital in Stutthof were definitely not enough, what with such a large influx of patients, so in March 1940 the hospital was expanded: a new barrack with about 120 beds was set up.18 A corridor divided it into a dispensary section, which included an operating and surgical room, a pharmacy and a 60-bed patients’ room, as well as an internist section that could accommodate 60 patients on bunk beds.

The first Polish prisoner-doctors who managed the hospital’s units were Dr Stefan Mirau, head of the internal diseases ward, and Dr Aleksander Witkowski, head of the surgical ward. The other prisoner-doctors were Dr Witold Kopczynski and Dr Edmund Zielinski from Rumia. In late March 1940, three more prisoner-doctors from Torun, Dr Julian Wegrzynowicz, an internist; Dr Józef Debski, a surgeon; and Dr Bogdan Jasinski, a gynaecologist, started work in the hospital. Initially they were all employed as paramedics.

In the spring of 1942, with the outbreak of a typhus fever epidemic, the hospital expanded to several more barracks. Now it consisted of two surgical barracks, two for internal diseases (including a tuberculosis ward) and a separate infectious unit. It housed a total of 600, and periodically even over 1,200 patients. Usually two patients had to share a bunk. The diarrhoea prevailing in the camp claimed the greatest number of lives. One or two Pfleger (orderlies) were employed in each block. They had several assistants called Hausers, who cleaned the ward, while the Pfleger distributed medicines and food, and were in charge of the block’s economic affairs. Most of the orderlies were German, usually SS NCOs. A few were Polish or Czech prisoner-medics. The prisoners’ hospital had a bad name because of the bad reputation of the German medical staff managing it. In the first phase of its existence, the German directors and administrators harassed the Polish prisoners working in the hospital, who were members of the Polish intelligentsia from Danzig.

The appointment of new SS chief physicians did not improve the situation. Dr Werner von Schenk, the first chief physician, was dismissed in 1941; he was followed by SS Obersturmführer Dr Johannes Otto,19 who held the office from 1 November 1941 to April 1942, and subsequently by SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Otto Heidl from 28 April 1942 to the end of the War (Glinski, “Obsada,” 69). Especially Dr Heidl, along with Otto Haupt, the NCO acting as chief administrator, and the orderly Breit, were perpetrators of mass murder for no reason. They are the ones whose names are most often mentioned in numerous survivors’ accounts written after the War and deposited in the archives of the Stutthof Museum.

One of the prisoners, Dr Julian Wegrzynowicz20 (camp number 9230), a Polish doctor working as an orderly in the hospital for two years, wrote in his account:

Our Polish staff took no part in killing patients—the Germans did that. The orderlies used every occasion to get rid of patients whom they found “troublesome” whether because of some inconvenience, for example, a patient soiling his underwear, or for some other minor reason . . . The SS men finished off patients. I soon realized that Haupt, who managed the hospital on a regular basis, and his assistants killed patients. There was a fat Oberscharführer, I do not remember his name, and also a Scharführer. Both of them drowned patients in the bathroom, but this method of mass murder was so to speak demanding and inefficient. That way he could kill two, three, five patients a day, which was not many.

(AMSt., Wegrzynowicz, 241)

In the first half of 1942, the camp executive implemented another method of killing, which according to the hospital’s management was more effective. They administered intravenous injections of corrosive sublimate21 or phenol. Dr Wegrzynowicz went on to write,

Euthanasia, segregation, that is selection for euthanasia, followed a certain routine: the SS chief physician usually went round the wards in the morning, examined patients’ temperature charts, asked us prisoner-doctors, about their diagnoses and the expected outcome of treatment. Of course, our forecasts were always good. I remember one case: a prisoner, a railwayman from Chelmno—I think he was called Lewandowski—was in the lower bed of a three-storey bunk. Dr Heidl asked me whether he would recover. I replied that he would. So he decided to spare him. Haupt, who used to accompany Heidl on his rounds, wrote down the prisoners’ names. When Heidl signalled with his hand or head, Haupt noted the prisoner’s name and number or his place on the bunk bed. In the case of this railwayman, Heidl decided to leave him in the ward. On that day I managed to persuade the SS doctor that I did not have hopeless cases in my wards.

Unfortunately, Lewandowski died during the night. Nothing would have happened if I had not forgotten to put another patient in his bed after his death. The next day Heidl came and inquired about that patient. I had to admit that he had died the previous night. Heidl looked at me and hit me in the face with his gloves saying, “You see, I told you it was a hopeless case.” His reaction hurt me deeply, especially as he used to treat me as a partner, and now he hit me in the presence of my patients. During his rounds he selected inmates for an injection, on average 17 a day. Sometimes more, sometimes fewer. Fortunately, Heidl did not visit tuberculosis patients, otherwise he would have selected at least half of them for euthanasia. But he was afraid of going to that ward. He did not want to visit the typhus unit, either. He only went round the internal diseases ward, which constituted about 2% of the hospital, i.e. 17 or 20 patients. Sometimes there were over thirty of them. The selected patients were either carried out or walked if they could walk, just in their shirts, to the washroom, where there was a small table with already filled syringes on it. After Heidl had injected phenol into the prisoner’s vein, he ordered him to take off his shirt and lie down in the corner on the cement floor. As it took the shot a few minutes to start working, the patient had enough time and strength to take off his shirt and lie down. And that’s how it went. Heidl told each of these prisoners, one after another, to lie down on the pile of corpses, no matter if it was 20 or 30 of them. As far as I know, this method of killing was used only in the hospital.

(AMSt., Wegrzynowicz, 247–248)

“This method of killing prisoners,” as described by Dr Wegrzynowicz, continued until 1944. Later, the camp’s situation changed radically due to the successive defeats of the German forces on the front. The German orderlies were called up, and from that time the hospital was left in (relative) peace.

Another prisoner, Fyodor Soprunov,22 camp number 23506, a professor of the biological sciences, has given us a character study of another villain, the hospital’s commandant Otto Haupt:

Almost every day he beat up prisoners, and almost every day he killed some. In 1943, Haupt used to stick his hand out through the open door for the next syringe, while in the third room to the right of the corridor, the kapo hustled naked inmates due for the crematorium. In the autumn of 1943, Haupt selected a tall man with glasses, who had just come to Stutthof, by marking an x on his forehead with a chemical pencil, after having heard from the kapo that the prisoner was believed to have swallowed a diamond. We prisoner-doctors had admitted this man with the x on his forehead to the hospital, and that is all Haupt needed in order to kill him immediately. He took him outside to the barbed wire fence, and shot him on the pretext of “an attempt to escape.” Then Haupt threatened Prof. Antanas Starkus23 of Kaunas and myself with his gun, forcing us to conduct a post-mortem on this man. “If we find a diamond, we will throw it in the sewer,” Starkus whispered to me. Our hands trembled as we washed the slippery intestines. Still holding his gun, Haupt observed us closely. He was very angry and disappointed when we did not find the diamond. He was greedy, thoughtlessly greedy for anything at all. He used to take anything he could lay his hands on in the camp: clothes, bread, gold teeth extracted from prisoners. He took these things to his house in Tiedenhof.

(AMSt., Vol. II, 216–218, Soprunov)

New prisoner-doctors, Boleslaw Kaczynski, Józef Roszkowski, Lech Duszynski, Anna Paszkowska, and Alfons Wojewski, arrived in the hospital in the autumn of 1942: and Dr Kwiatkowski came in late 1944. Some of them worked as orderlies.

Of the Polish prisoner-doctors from Danzig I have mentioned who were sent to Stutthof in the first transports, only one, Dr Aleksander Witkowski, stayed in the camp to the end and survived (Sruoga, 255). In late January 1945, he was evacuated from Stutthof in a group of 1,600, and forced to take the last, most tragic death march in temperatures of under minus 30 degrees Celsius and with no food. After many weeks and suffering from typhus fever, he and the decimated group of inmates arrived in the village of Ges near Lebork, where they were liberated by Soviet forces. The other doctors, Stefan Mirau and Stefan Kopczynski, died of infectious diseases in 1942; Dr Witold Kopczynski was sent to Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen in the spring of 1941, from there to Majdanek, and finally returned to Gdansk after the War (Zegarski, 201–204). The dentists, Bernard Filarski, who had treated the pupils of the Polish grammar school run by Macierz Polska (a private Polish educational organisation) in the Free City of Danzig for many years before the War,24 and Wiktor Hirsz, a member of the Polish Association in the Free City of Danzig, were executed in Stutthof together with 67 other Poles from Gdansk and Pomerania on “Black” Good Friday, 22 March 1940.

  1. The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and nearly 200 towns and villages in its environs. Danzig had a predominantly German population, Poles constituted 1% of its inhabitants. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the Nazis abolished the Free City and incorporated the area into Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreussen.a
  2. The post office was established in 1920 under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, and its buildings were considered Polish extraterritorial property.a
  3. A Nazi paramilitary youth organisation founded in 1922, designed to train boys to become future fighters and soldiers for the Nazi cause.a
  4. The dates given in the article, retained after the original, are wrong. The transit camp established for civilians in the Victoriaschule operated from 1 to 15 September 1939, and was the first of the interim detention centres the Germans set up for Poles and Jews, thousands of whom were held there and subsequently sent to other camps: Stutthof, under construction as of 2 September 1939; the civilian hostages’ camp in Danzig-Neufahrwasser (Gdansk Nowy Port), which started operations on 7 September; or as of 10 September to the camp in Grenzdorf (Graniczna Wies). Some of those held in the Victoriaschule were released following appeals by their families. (Grot, 449–468).b
  5. The Polish community was the largest minority in Danzig. Its activists stood up against the Germanisation and secularisation policies of the German government and sought to protect the rights of Poles living in the Free City.a
  6. The camp in Danzig-Neufahrwasser (Gdansk Nowy Port) was in operation from 7 September 1939 to 31 march 1940. It was the location of the main HQ of the civilian hostages camps in Gdansk (Kommandantur der Gefangenenlager Danzig), the institution in charge of the Neufahrwasser, Stutthof, and Grenzdorf camps. SS-Sturmbannführer Max Pauly was the commandant there. After the liquidation of the camp in the spring of 1940 the buildings were put at Wehrmacht’s disposal. The prisoners, guards, HQ, and documentation of the camp were transferred to Stutthof, the camp which had been under construction since 2 September 1939 and which, starting on 1 April 1940 became the main camp for the existing sub-camps and work commandoes. Between 7 January 1942 and 9 May 1945 Stutthof was a Nazi German concentration camp (Konzentrationslager Stutthof).b
  7. About 10 thousand prisoners passed through Neufahrwasser, Stutthof, and Grenzdorf camps from September 1939 to late March 1940. About 3 thousand were released.b
  8. At this time Pauly was a Sturmbannführer. He was not promoted to the rank of Obersturmbannführer until the turn of 1941/42.b
  9. Werner von Schenck was Lagerarzt of Stutthof from late 1939 to the autumn of 1941, but his predecessor in the post was Alfred Labitzki, a local doctor from Stutthof and Steegen, who was a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. As of 1939 von Schenck was a reserve police officer and a member of the SS Wachsturmbann Eimann special unit, whose job was to exterminate the Polish population of Gdansk Pomerania. Eimann’s SS unit took part in the massacres committed in the Piasnickie and Szpegawsk Forests, and the mass killings of psychiatric patients at Kocborowo and several other places. Von Schenck was a member of the regiment commanded by SS Obersturmbannführer Max Pauly, who was the commandant of the Danzig hostage camps as of September 1939. Initially von Schenck’s duties were to dispense medical care to the SS men and other members of the staff of Pauly's camps. He is mentioned in Konrad Ciechanowski’s detailed account of the Stutthof Neufahrwassser transit camp, “Hitlerowski obóz w Gdansku – Nowym Porcie (Zivilgefangenlager Neufahrwassser).” Zeszyty Muzeum, 5.b
  10. In fact the official status of Stutthof varied over the 5 years of its existence. It was set up in the autumn of 1939 as a detention centre for civilian hostages, but was not a concentration camp formally until January 1942.b
  11. The prevalent opinion based on relations and research is that it was 150 prisoners.b
  12. Due to an increased number of prisoners in Stutthof, which was connected with a greater number of patients in need of medical care, on 9 march 1940 the sick ward was transferred from room 8 to the larger room 21, and on 8 April 1940 to the new hospital barrack. As a consequence, the patients and medical staff were transported from Danzig-Neufahrwasser to the camp in Stutthof. SS physician W. von Schenck, who was also in charge of the sick ward for the SS-men and SS orderlies in Stutthof, was transferred to the new hospital location as well, and received the title and function of the Lagerarzt. As such, he was a direct subordinate of the camp commandant M. Pauly. In Stutthof von Schenck was in charge of the prisoners’ hospital, performed round on the patients, managed the correspondence, issued death certificates for the prisoners and records of their burial in the Gdansk-Zaspa cemetery. Von Schenck’s subordinates included SS-Unterscharfuhrer Otto Knot i SS-Hauptscharfuhrer Otto Haupt, a professional nurse and member of the unit of Kurt Eimann, the criminal responsible for e.g. the murder of the patients in the Kocborowo psychiatric hospital in the autumn of 1939.b
  13. Currently (2020) the Medical University of Gdansk (Gdanski Uniwersytet Medyczny).c
  14. Up to 2020 no research has been done on this subject.b
  15. The footwear issued to prisoners is described at https://www.academia.edu/1958412/Typology_and_Symbolism_in_Prisoners_Concentration_Camp_Clothing_during_World_War_I.a
  16. This small cemetery in Gdansk is the burial place of ca. 14,000 Nazi German victims murdered during WWII either in police detention or in the early years of Stutthof. See also the article “Zaspa Cemetery – KZ Stutthof – Victims of Hitler’s Terror – Gdansk, Poland”.a
  17. Currently (2020) the street name is Nowe Ogrody.c
  18. As indicated in an earlier note, this happened in early April 1940, over the course of a few weeks earlier the only change of the sick ward’s location included the change of the room within the same prisoners’ barrack.b
  19. SS-Obersturmführer dr Johannes Otto was the chief SS physician of the camp since 1 November 1941.b
  20. Dr Wegrzynowicz was a physician serving in the Polish forces (the Torun air force regiment) before the War. He was sent to Stutthof on 23 March 1940, from detention in the Torun Fort VII prison.b
  21. Mercuric chloride, poisonous if ingested. The Nazi Germans regularly used phenol, the other substance mentioned, in poisonous injections to kill concentration camp prisoners.c
  22. Prof. Soprunov is mentioned in the Polish records and in an article as “Fiodor Fiodorowicz Soprunow” (Klusak, 59). See also a historical photo with informaition on Prof. Soprunov and the article by Fiodor F. Soprunov on pp. 114-117 in Warren and Bowers (eds.). Parasitology: A Global Perspective.c
  23. Professor Antanas Starkus, Head of the Pathological Anatomy Department at Kaunas University, sent to Stutthof in 1941. Cf. https://lsmuni.lt/en/structure/medical-academy-/faculty-of-medicine-/clinical-departments/department-of-pathological-anatomy.htmla
  24. The story of Dr Filarski is described at https://www.facebook.com/notes/muzeum-stutthofstutthof-museum/bernard-filarski/502093739847665/.a

a—notes by Maria Kantor, PhD; b—notes courtesy of Marcin Owsinski, PhD, Expert Consultant on the history of Stutthof concentration camp for the Medical Review Auschwitz project; c—notes by Teresa Baluk-Ulewiczowa, PhD, Head of the Medical Review Auschwitz translating team.


  1. AMSt. (Archiwum Muzeum Stutthof [Archives of Stutthof Muzeum]) Survivors’ statements.
    • Z. Kwapisz, camp number 4120. Relacje [Statements], vol. II, 1-11.
    • F. Soprunow [Soprunov], camp number 23506. Vol. II, 216-218.
    • J. Wegrzynowicz, Relacje [Statements] vol. VI, 241-248.
  2. Ciechanowski, Konrad. “Hitlerowski obóz w Gdansku – Nowym Porcie (Zivilgefangenlager Neufahrwassser) 1 IX 1939 – 1 IV 1940.” Zeszyty Muzeum. 1984; 5: 40–104. Summaries in English, French, German, and Russian available in the publication.
  3. Gajdus, Wojciech. Nr 20998 opowiada. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Znak; 1962: 133.
  4. Glinski, Miroslaw. “Obsada szpitala obozowego w Stutthofie.” Przeglad Lekarski – Oswiecim. 1971: 69.
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