Klooga concentration camp

​Nazi regime concentration camp in Estonia in 1943 and 1944, where 2000 prisoners were killed in 1944 before the retreat from Estonia

The Klooga camp was established in September 1943 in north-eastern Estonia, about 30 km west of Tallinn. The camp was part of the network of Vaivara concentration camps operating under the SS Economic and Administration Headquarters (SS Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt). The number of prisoners was between 1800 and 2100. Probably a total of 3000 Jews were held in the camp, most of whom came from the Vilnius and Kaunas areas of Lithuania, and to a lesser extent from Salaspils in Latvia. The camp detainees worked under the OrganisationTodt in the timber industry, and made concrete products or signal mines for submarines.

The commandant of the Klooga camp was SS-Untersturmführer Wilhelm Werle; most of the guards were Estonians from the 3rd Company of the 287th Defence Battalion.

In August 1944, when the Red Army was about to re-conquer the Estonian territory, some of the prisoners of the Vaivara network were taken to the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland.

On 17 September the German army was ordered to quickly leave Estonia. On 19 September 1944, 2000 prisoners in Klooga were killed, and the corpses were burnt on pyres. A special commando unit arrived at the camp for the purpose. It is not known whether this was SS or a unit of the German Security Police, nor who the commanding officer was. About 80 prisoners managed to hide in various buildings and escape the mass murder.

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