Ravensbrück, the Largest Concentration Camp for Women, Opens
Ravensbrück or Ravensbrueck (German pronunciation: [ʁaːfənsˈbʁʏk]) was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück (part of Fürstenberg/Havel).
Construction of the camp began in November 1938 by SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was unusual in that it was a camp primarily for women. The camp opened in May 1939. In the spring of 1941, the SS authorities established a small men's camp adjacent to the main camp.
Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system; only 40,000 survived. Although the inmates came from every country in German-occupied Europe, the largest single national group incarcerated in the camp consisted of Polish women.
The Ravensbrück concentration camp was the largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich. In the concentration camp system, Ravensbrück was second in size only to the women's camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the closure of the Lichtenburg camp in 1939, Ravensbrück was also the only main concentration camp, as opposed to subcamp, designated almost exclusively for women.
German authorities began construction of the camp in November 1938, at a site near the village of Ravensbrück in northern Germany, about 50 miles north of Berlin. In April 1941, the SS authorities established a small men's camp adjacent to the main camp.