Camp Vught was built and organised according to the German model. The official name of the camp was Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch, but in this article we will refer to the more common Dutch name. Just as the concentration camps in Dachau, Buchenwald and Mauthausen, the camp was under command of the SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt (SS-WVHA), the economical headquarters of the (SS) in Berlin. The other camps in the Netherlands, including the ones in Amersfoort and Westerbork, were managed by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, Security Service).
Camp Vught was built because the German occupier needed more prison space. The transit camps in Amersfoort and Westerbork no longer were sufficient. The camp had to serve as a Schutzhaftlager, a prison camp for various groups of prisoners who were dangerous to the state, such as political opponents and resistance fighters, but also homosexuals. Part of the camp functioned as a refugee camp and later as a transit camp for Jews. Below you will find an overview of the different departments of camp Vught throughout its existence.
|As of 13 January 1943||Schutzhaftlager|
|As of 16 January 1943||Judenauffanglager, later Judendurchgangslager|
|As of February 1943||Geisellager|
|As of 12 June 1943||Frauenkonzentrationslager|
|August 1943||Polizeiliches Durchgangslager|
|As of June 1944||SD-Lager|
The heath where the Germans built the concentration camp was property of the Dutch government and could therefore easily be confiscated. The camp site was well shielded off from the outside world and was located near a rail road and highways. The location was also suitable because of the short distance to ’s-Hertogenbosch, where important government agencies and the SD and justice department were located.