University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
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CHGS

  • Children

    Children

    Some infants and children, as well as women, had to endure the cruel conditions of life and death at Ravensbrück.

    Click on image to enlarge

    portrait of a girl"Portrait of a girl." Drawing by unknown Ravensbrück prisoner. Ravensbrücker Zeichnungen. © MGR/S8G. (Original in archive of MGR/S8G.)

    Some of the Ravensbrück prisoners arrived at the camp with their children or gave birth there. The statistics on the arrival of children and the birth of babies are incomplete and we will never know the full extent of the horrors inflicted on children and newborns. Most of the newborns only lived briefly and then were murdered by the Nazi doctors and nurses.

    Statistics from incomplete ledgers regarding children suggest that 882 children were deported to Ravensbrück. One inmate described the children as "little skeletons wearing rags," with no hair on their heads. Despite their grim appearance and surroundings they managed to behave like children and even played games. For example, they imitated the daily roll call, or Appell, acting out the parts of victims and perpetrators, Like children everywhere, they played games of imagination that mirrored the reality of their surroundings. In December, 1944, the women were given permission to hold a Christmas party for the children then in the camp. Most of these children, like others before them, were then sent on to other camps and did not survive.

    child holding mothers hand

    "Child Holding Mother's hand." Drawing by Aat Breur. Courtesy of Dunya Breuer (Original in Archive of Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam, Netherlands.)

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