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In early May 1945, with the approach of British forces, German officials in Hamburg and its concentration camp, Neuengamme, sought to eliminate all evidence of this camp. They decided to march over 7,000 prisoners to the nearby port of Lübeck and load them on a several old freighters, including the Cap Arcona and the Thielbek, located in the harbor. They intended to take the ships into the Baltic and sink them, thereby destroying the evidence of the camp. On May 3, 1945, when the ships were loaded but before they could leave the harbor, British aircraft flew over Lübeck. Assuming that the ships were German transports, the British bombed the ships and they sank. Almost all the prisoners on the ships died.
Researchers interested in further information on this tragedy may wish to consult one of the following three books:
The prisoners consisted mostly of French, Belgian, Dutch, German and Polish Neuengamme forced laborers, with a few prisoners from Stutthof and Buchenwald who had been sent to Neuengamme. While most of the prisoners that died that day could not be identified, it was possible to provide at least partial information on nearly 1,200 prisoners who either died on May 3 or who died subsequently in various nearby medical facilities.
The original material, provided by the Neuengamme Gedenkstätte (memorial site) in many cases also includes profession and prisoner number, and in a few cases last place of residence. This information is not contained in this database but will be provided by the USHMM, if requested (email@example.com).
The database includes the names of 1,195 victims from the bombing of the two ships.
The fields in the database are as follows:
Place of Death notes:
There are 2 descriptions given for the place of death:
The information for this database was prepared by a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and donated to JewishGen.
In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible. Special thanks to Susan King, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy. Particular thanks to the Research Division headed by Joyce Field and to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.
This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database.
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Last Update: 28 Feb 2005 by WSB