Among the 1500 prisoners of the Osthofen concentration camp whose names are known today, 118 were Jews. Many of them were initially arrested for political activities against the Nazi-regime. In August 1933, Dr. Werner Best, State Commissioner for the police in Hesse, publicly called to take Jews who failed to show “appropriate restraintâ€ into “protective custodyâ€ and imprison them in Osthofen. Typical reasons for arrest were “racial defilementâ€ (Rassenschande; prohibited sexual relationship with non-Jews) and “anti-social behaviorâ€.
In comparison to their fellow prisoners, the Jewish inmates were particularly badly treated, more frequently humiliated, and beaten and abused in other ways.
During the construction of the KZ Osthofen Jewish businessmen had already been extensively used to fund and maintain the camp: Without any legal basis camp guards confiscated vehicles, blankets, work clothes and various furnishings from Jewish businessmen. The family members of Jewish prisoners or the prisoners themselves had to “donateâ€ food or wine in order to be released.