The most important characteristic of the prisoners of the PDA was its diversity. There were differences in age, gender, background, education, religion, political disposition, reason for arrest, position and treatment in the camp, sentence and time of imprisonment. Being a prisoner in this camp meant a struggle for life. Mistreatment, forced labour, hunger and illness made life very tough.
Every man fought for his own survival and this caused a total lack of togetherness between the prisoners. The camp management made good use of this situation by making a distinction between the groups of prisoners. An example of this were the tasks given tot he ‘Prominents’. They were appointed Lagerälteste, Blockälteste and Stubeälteste (Several German names for the ranks of prisoners). Furthermore the prisoners were divided by the German camp management into categories that were distinguished by a patch, mostly triangular, above the right breastpocket of the camp uniform. Thus political prisoners got a red triangle, Jehovah’s witnesses a purple and the so called antisocialists a black triangle.