KL Stutthof was the first Nazi concentration camp built outside of Germany. It was founded almost at the outbreak of the II World War. Stuthoff operated from 2 September 1939 to May 9, 1945. It was the last camp liberated by the Allies.
Right after the Nazis invaded Poland, massive arrests of Poles started. Around 1500 people were arrested on the first day of war. Among them a group of 150 people was selected and, as early as on the 2nd September 1939, they were transported to Stutthof (it is located about 35 kilometers form Gdansk).
Through all the war Stutthof served mainly for extermination of the most aware and patriotic and educated Poles, mainly from Pomorze Region. In 1942 Stutthof became an international camp – there were citizens of 28 countries and over 30 nationalities.
The original camp (known as the old camp) was surrounded by electrifiedbarbed-wire fence. It comprised eight barracks for the inmates and a “kommandantur” for the SS guards Within the 5 years of its existance Stutthof grew from a small camp comprising 12ha in area intended for 3500 prisoners at a time to 120ha and 57 000 prisoners. A new camp was constructed alongside the earlier one. It contained thirty new barracks. In June 1944 Stuttfoh became part of the project “the final solution of the Jewish problem” and became a camp of mass- extermination.
Prisoners of Stutthof Camp were exposed to a various exterminating factors such as slave-like work, malnutrition, terrible sanitation, disease, mental and physical torture. Those whom the SS guards judged too weak or sick to work were gassed in the camp’s small gas chamber. Over 65 000 people died in Stutthof, not only because of a living conditions but also as a result of executions by shooting or hanging, beating, torturing, murdering in gas chambers by means of Cyclone B and killing by phenol injections into the heart.
Nowadays Stutthof is a museum and is opened for public. Visitors can see various permanent exhibitions which are supplemented with documentary films concerning the time of Nazi – ocupation.