When Irma Eckler was taken into custody by the Gestapo in summer 1938 (18th July 1938), nobody knew for a long time where she had been sent. Research has revealed that both, father and mother, were first taken to the prison in Fuhlsbüttel, Harnburg. According to the Guardianship File, she was also in the Oranienburg concentration camp.
The identity card proves that she was held prisoner in Lichtenburg. The Lichtenburg, near Prettin on the Elbe (District of Torgau), was built as a fortress in the 16th century and then converted to a prison. In 1937 it became a women's internment camp, the first all women concentration camp (FKL).
Compulsory identity cards for Jews were introduced on the 23rd July 1938. The identity card had to be presented automatically with all applications or its particulars notes in correspondence. Non-Jews were not oblidged to own an identity card.
"On 15th May 1939, the female inmates of Lichtenburg, a total of more than 800, were transferred to the newly built women's concentration camp FKL Ravensbrück."
In Ravensbrück, Irma Eckler was given the KZ-number: 928/574. 928 from Lichtenburg, 574 in Ravensbrück. The new women's camp in Ravensbrück was at Schwedtsee, near Fürstenberg/Havel in Mecklenburg, 80 km from Berlin, on the railway line Berlin-Oranienburg-Fürstenberg.
"The majority of the prisoners were innocent people who found themselves in this terrible situation and could not understand why. They all hung onto the memories of the lives from which they had been torn: their children, their husbands, their families. In this state of deep despair, they were now deported to a concentration camp for an indefinite period of time. They were subjected to military drill and had no minute to themselves, day or night. Everything was carried out in the company of hundreds of others. At every word and every step they were confronted with other unknown, fellow sufferers. Within the masses there were perhaps a couple of souls in each barracks to whom one might feel drawn, but one found the vast majority unbearable in every aspect. Under the SS the women froze, starved, worked hard, and as grown women, were yelled at, humiliated and even beaten." [M. Buber-Neumann: Milena, Kafkas Freundin, Frankfurt 1985, S.15]
What happened to Ingrid and Irene Eckler...