Paesi Bassi / Monumento
Camp Erika, also known as Camp Ommen, is a virtually forgotten former German concentration camp in the forests of Ommen, in the province of Overijssel. The camp was in use between 1942 and 1946 and served several purposes during that time: a punishment camp, a re-education and transit camp and, after liberation, as a detention camp for collaborators, consisting largely of Dutch NSB members.
The first prisoners arrived at Camp Erika in Ommen on 19 June 1942. The camp population consisted mainly of convicts of the Dutch judiciary and economic offenders. The internees were brought to Camp Erika to relieve the overcrowded prisons. They had to perform hard labour in this Justizlager.
Constant harassment, beatings and intimidation were daily occurrences and often these atrocities were accompanied by murder. The remoteness of the camp allowed the guards to abuse the prisoners unhindered and systematically. Forced labour, disease, malnutrition, beatings and outright murder took the lives of between 170 and 200 prisoners in Erika. When these atrocities came to light in 1943, it marked the end of Justizlager Erika.
Subsequently, the penal camp was renamed to education and transit camp. Between 1943 and 1944, the camp housed people who had volunteered to work in Germany, people in hiding and 'anti-socials'. There was less mistreatment but still living conditions were so bad that internees died.
In the autumn of 1944, Camp Erika again became a penal camp. Atrocities increased again, partly because of the presence of the Ordnungspolizei, the SS and the Sicherheidsdienst in the camp. This also increased the number of deaths among the prisoners, at least nine of whom were shot.
On 11 April 1945, the camp was liberated. Immediately after liberation, Erika was used as a detention camp for collaborators. It continued in this function until 31 December 1946.
Bergsteeg 7731, Ommen, The Netherlands