after taking power in March 1933, Nazi SA storm troopers
began mass arrests of their political opponents. They
imprisoned approximately 50,000 of their enemies and victims
in 70 small, hastily established, improvised concentration
camps -- so-called "wild camps." One was the Alten
Braueri (Old Brewery) at Oranienburg, converted into a
camp to confine about 1,000 communists and Jews arrested in
and around Berlin, who were put to work at hard labor.
Within a year, most of the prisoners had been released.
military training camp at Hammerstein, West Prussia, which
existed only until the summer of 1934. After the war began
in 1939, it was reborn as a prisoner-of-war camp.
The Oranienburg release document shows that Alfred Wash was
held captive there from July 7 to September 30, 1933.
bottom: The envelope bearing the Hammerstein camp
commander's imprint, posted May 18, 1934, is the only
recorded mail from its "wild camp" period.
single letter postage was 12 pfennigs, paid by two official