Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen

Secret Message out of the Soviet Special Camp No. 7 in Weesow

Rudolf Witzleben and his daughter Inka in the Berlin Tiergarten, 1943

Rudolf Witzleben wrote this secret message to his family in Berlin-Charlottenburg on 6 August 1945. Rudolf Witzleben, born 27.11.1898 in Hanover, worked as an engineer at AEG in Treptow. According to his daughter Inka, he was arrested by the Soviet secret service NKWD in Berlin-Charlottenburg on 7 June 1945 and transferred to the Soviet Special Camp No. 7 in Weesow. The accusation was that he had been an "agitator".

After the unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, Germany had been divided into four occupation zones by the Allies of the anti-Hitler coalition. The Allies had agreed to the internment of leading National Socialists and influential supporters at the victors' conferences, most recently at the Potsdam Conference in late July 1945. In the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ), the Soviet secret service NKWD was primarily responsible for this, under whose aegis the Allied practice of internment partly mixed with elements of Stalinist arbitrariness.

The NKWD had set up a total of ten special camps in the Soviet Occupation Zone, five of them in the territory of the present-day state of Brandenburg. Detained persons from Berlin and the surrounding area were mainly sent to Special Camp No. 7, which was located in the small village of Weesow northeast of Berlin from May 1945 until its transfer to Sachsenhausen in August 1945. The inadequate security conditions of the provisionally set up camp from the point of view of the NKVD led to its transfer to the site of the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

It is not known how Rudolf Witzleben managed to smuggle this message out of the camp in Weesow. A few days later he was one of the prisoners who marched to Sachsenhausen, the new site of the camp. Rudolf Witzleben died there on 3 April 1947.