- Muzealna 6, 82-110 Sztutowo, Pologne
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Museum Stutthof is located in the former German Stutthof concentration camp. The museum preserves, researches and displays archival records and historical artefacts. Exhibitions and videos offer visitors a haunting insight into the lives of the 110.000 people that were imprisoned here during the Second World War.
The Stutthof Museum in Sztutowo was founded in 1962. The main goal of the museum is to collect, preserve, research and display the primary source documents about the camp. Many historical records concerning the Stutthof camp were lost during the destruction of the facilities from January 1945 onward. Numerous documents were burned, the rest was packed and transported alongside the evacuating inmates. The SS however abandoned the documents in a roadside ditch in the Lauenburg area (today Lębork). When the Soviet Army crossed the same area, the documents were recovered and sent to the Governing Board of the Polish Red Cross in Warsaw. Currently, the museum archives hold 69.000 archival units (125 linear meters).
The Museum is established in some of the buildings of the camp. The former German headquarters for instance is now a cinema. There are also permanent exhibits with videos and artefacts: objects of camp life, illegally crafted objects, illegal artwork created by the inmates (drawings, pictures, portraits, decorative caskets, rings, signets, crosses) and post-war works of art, dedicated to the memory of the victims of Stutthof. Thus the museum strives to protect and investigate the heritage of the camp, and to make its visitors aware of the brutal and inhumane effects of war.
In the last year of the Second World War Jenny-Wanda Barkmann was a young SS-guard in the German concentration camp Stutthof. Nicknamed ‘Beautiful Spectre’, she was infamous for her brutal treatment of the prisoners. Apprehended after the war, she was sentenced and publicly hanged in Gdansk.
The story of Petronela Brywczyńska proves that no one was safe during the war. Petronela’s father, a Polish farmer, was captured while defending his country. After many wanderings, the Brywczyńska family ended up in the Stutthof concentration camp. Yet they were lucky: they suffered, but survived.
Stella Czajkowska is one of the relatively few Jews who survived the war, despite the ghetto, the gas chambers in Auschwitz, hunger and disease in Stutthof and a gruesome death march. Her story is symbolic of the horror in which the victims of Nazi regime had landed.
The Reifeisen family was an ‘ordinary’ Jewish family, whose fate is exemplary for the destruction of European Jewry during the Second World War. Ilse Reifeisen, the daughter, luckily survived, but her parents, Simon and Gertrud Anna Reifeisen, shared the fate of many other victims of ghettos and camps. Gertrud died in Stutthof whereas Simon’s death is unknown.
The concentration camp in Stutthof was initially founded to eliminate and persecute Poles. Later in the war the role of Stutthof changed as it became an integral part of the planned extermination of European Jews. Before the Soviet Army could liberate Stutthof, the surviving prisoners were send on horrible “death marches”.