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Conditions of detention

Conditions in the Osthofen concentration camp were extremely primitive. In the beginning, the prisoners slept on the bare concrete floors of the paper mill, later they built bunk beds, tables and benches. As it got colder, they only received a blanket in addition to their straw mattress. In the fall, the prisoners built fireplaces for small wood-fired stoves. The drafty and cold paper mill never got warm, though. Many prisoners suffered from the cold and contracted kidney and bladder ailments which in some cases lasted for their entire lives.

Sanitary conditions were even worse. Only in exceptional cases did the inmates receive a small ration of soft soap to wash themselves and their clothes. Normally, they had to clean their clothes with sand and cold water from three faucets located outside the building. The Jewish prisoners had to perform the most repulsive work, such as cleaning the latrines, and never received any soft soap.

Dr. Reinhold Daum, a registered doctor from Oppenheim and SS-Untersturmführer, was in charge of the prisoner’s medical care. His main task was to declare the maltreated and abused prisoners “fit for detention” upon admission and “fit for work” upon release.