Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen

Cigarette box

Cigarette box with carved representation of a prisoner behind bars

The wooden cigarette case made in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, measuring 9.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 cm, has a carved depiction on the lid of a man behind bars, identified as a concentration camp inmate by his cap and prisoner number, who grasps the bars with both hands. Above it is the inscription "K.L. Sachsenhausen", below it the year "1945". This technically elaborate and artistically decorated case is the work of an unknown inmate.
The starving prisoners were constantly fighting for survival in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In some cases, aid groups were formed to support each other, often in competition with prisoners from other groups. Despite the threat of punishment, they made tobacco tins and other objects to exchange for bread rations and other utensils or to give them away in gratitude for help received.
Due to the large number of workshops in the camp, it was sometimes possible for individual inmates to secretly use working materials such as wood, metal or plastics as well as the necessary tools to make private items.  
This exhibit is shown in the permanent exhibition "The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp 1936-1945: Events and Developments" in the former prisoners' kitchen.