The Secret State Police (Gestapo) and the Criminal Police (Kripo) incarcerated mainly political opponents of the Nazi regime and people who did not meet the racial criteria of the National Socialist “Volk community.” Ninety percent of Flossenbürg’s prisoners were “protective custody prisoners” of the Gestapo. These prisoners also included Jews. Roughly 6,000 men were incarcerated as Kripo “police preventive detainees.” In addition, at least 6,000 Soviet prisoners of war held by the Wehrmacht were transported to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.
Table depicting prisoner badges from the Dachau concentration camp, not dated (Arolsen Archives)
Preventive detainees were transferred to Flossenbürg as “career criminals” and forced to wear the green triangle. Prisoners from other marginalized social groups, such as the homeless and the unemployed, beggars, prostitutes, and Sinti and Roma, were assigned the black “asocials” triangle by the SS. At least 4,000 German and foreign opponents of the regime were assigned the red triangle of the “politicals.”
The largest group of prisoners was foreign forced laborers, primarily from Eastern Europe. They also received the red triangle. Their nationality was indicated by a letter on the red triangle. Jews wore an additional yellow triangle. A triangle’s color and its letter determined a prisoner’s status in the camp.