On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Penal Camp Börgermoor (Emslandlager I)

One of the first concentration camps established in Nazi-Germany. Its main task was to held political enemies and criminals. Until 1934, Börgermoor served as concentration camp whereupon it became a penal camp. Börgermoor (officially: Lager I Börgermoor) was also the first camp established of the Emslandlager (Emsland camps).

It was opened in June 1933 with a capacity of 1.000 prisoners. Camp Börgermoor was under control of the SS. The prisoners were forced to work on the construction of the camps Börgermoor and Esterwegen. Shortly before Christmas, the majority of prisoners were released. In May 1934, the facility was changed into a prison camp and expanded in May 1937 to a capacity of 1.500 prisoners. In total 3 large deportations took place to Börgermoor, namely:

- 20 May 1944:1.300 German prisoners, including 600 Military convicts.
- March/April 1944: Temporary transfer of 920 resistance members.
- January 1945: 400 military convicts.

Three large deportations from Börgermoor to France and Norway took place between 1941 and 1944. On 10 April 1945, the prisoners of the camps Börgermoor and Esterwegen were sent on a death march to Aschendorfermoor. The camp was liberated on 22 April 1945. The exact death toll of Börgermoor is unknown, but it is estimated that at least 237 people perished in this camp.

Until the mid 60's, the camp was reused as prison under the name of "Strafanstalten Emsland, Abteilung Börgermoor". Nowadays the camp doesn't exist any more but a memorial stone and a number of information panels can be found on the former camp location.

Do you have more information about this location? Inform us!


  • Text: Kaj Metz
  • Photos: Geert Westerhof

53.0175, 7.524167