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1919:    born in Bettemburg (L)

1941:    taken into “protective custody” because of a venereal disease and hospitalized for examination

March 1941:    renewed “protective custody” with detention in Trier prison (D); reasons: prostitution, danger to “public health” and lack of permanent residence

April 1942:    deportation to Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp (D)

Nov. 1943:    sent back to her parents in Dudelange (L)
Catherine O.’s Gestapo index card
A short time after the occupation of Luxembourg, the Nazis began to fight prostitution and persecute women who prostituted themselves or were suspected of prostitution. Women were arrested and taken to hospital where they were forcibly examined for venereal diseases.
In November 1941, Catherine O. was also taken into so-called protective custody and admitted to a hospital. After a short period out of detention, she was arrested again in March 1942 for “prostitution” and other “offences” and imprisoned in Trier. One month later she was deported to Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp. There she was registered as a political prisoner and not, as usual in such cases, as “asocial”. Her parents then applied for her release, but their request was refused because of “bad behaviour”.
It was not until November 1943 that she was released on parole. Back with her parents in Dudelange, she had to report to the criminal investigation department twice a week and was not allowed to leave the village without permission. She remained under observation by the criminal police until the end of the Nazi regime.
View of Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp with female inmates, watched by their guards, performing forced labour in front of the commandant’s office and administration building, Ravensbrück 1940

Und da kam schon am zweiten Tag die Stubenälteste und hat uns gesagt: „Sie können es aber noch besser haben als hier. Da gibt es ein Lager, da kommen Sie hin, wenn Sie wollen. Sie brauchen da nicht zu arbeiten, bekommen schöne Kleider. Sie bekommen gut zu essen. Und da bleiben Sie dann vielleicht sechs Monate. Und nachher kommen Sie wieder zurück. Oder Sie kommen frei.“ Wir haben zuerst gar nicht verstanden, was die damit wollte. Nachher haben wir erfahren, das war für […] das Bordell. […] Hat sich aber keine gemeldet.

Germaine Paulus-Schaack, contemporary witness interview, 2007

In concentration camps, prostitutes were classified as “asocial” and marked with a black triangle. Catherine O. was by coincidence spared this marking and made to wear the red triangle of “political prisoners”.
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