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Timeline of Events

Liberation of Ravensbrück

View of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. This photograph is from the SS-Propaganda-Album des Frauen-KZ-Ravensbrueck 1940-1941.

View of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. This photograph is from the SS-Propaganda-Album des Frauen-KZ-Ravensbrueck 1940-1941. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lydia Chagoll

April 30, 1945

In January 1945, Ravensbrück and its subcamps held over 45,000 female prisoners and over 5,000 male prisoners. In early March, the SS began “evacuating” Ravensbrück when they transported 2,100 male prisoners to Sachsenhausen. In late March 1945, the SS transported about 5,600 female prisoners to the Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

In late April, SS guards forced about 20,000 female prisoners, as well as most of the remaining male prisoners, on a brutal and forced evacuation on foot toward northern Mecklenberg. Advancing Soviet forces intersected the route of the march and liberated the prisoners. On April 29 remaining SS guards at the camp fled, and on April 30 the vanguard of the Soviet Army arrived at Ravensbrück; on May 1 its regular units appeared and liberated the last prisoners.

Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female and 20,000 male prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system; between 20,000 to 30,000 of these prisoners perished in Ravensbrück.