Warsaw concentration camp

Jewish prisoners of Gęsiowka, a German-Nazi Camp in Warsaw

Jewish prisoners of Gęsiowka, a German-Nazi Camp in Warsaw

The Warsaw concentration camp was built in the summer of 1943 on the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto s. The concentration camp was conducted from the end of April 1944 as a satellite camp of Majdanek concentration camp, but it was understood at that time already in resolution. On 28 July 1944 was the concentration camp “evacuated”.

Allegations it had at the Warsaw concentration camp to an extermination camp with gas chambers and about 200,000 deaths are traded are disputed by historians.

Background and History

Since March 1942, the SS dissolved the ghettos in the General gradually and deported the Jews to extermination camps of Aktion Reinhardt or shot them on the spot. On 22 July 1942 began the so-called by the SS dissolution of the Warsaw ghetto. The armor inspection and the Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger agreed, from war-important operations of deportations to exclude Jewish workers and their families first. This arrangement was often undermined, complaints piled up.

Heinrich Himmler called in October 1942 to combine all operations of the Warsaw ghetto and to provide control of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (WVHA). As soon as the plants should be together with the forced labor laid as a “closed concentration camp farms” in the Lublin district to perform work as an SS-owned business enterprises of the Eastern GmbH (OSTI) Wehrmacht orders.

Contrary to the instructions of Himmler the ghetto businesses continued to work as usual. Himmler called for on 9th January 1943 infuriated the immediate elimination of private firms, ordered the relocation of establishments within six weeks and ordered to deport those Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp, which are not needed in war-important plants. On 16 February 1943 Himmler wanted to set up a concentration camp in the Warsaw ghetto. The prisoners should demolish the building, following the move of the farms in the neighborhood and ensure the building materials for further use.

The resumption of deportations met on 18 January 1943 to armed resistance. A large-scale operation in a violent eviction sparked on 19 April the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, on 16 May 1943 ended with the complete destruction of the ghetto.

Warsaw concentration camp

The SS-group leader and lieutenant-general of the Waffen-SS Jürgen Stroop subsequently proposed to the Dzielna Prison (Polish: Pawiak) to use as a concentration camp and to allow salvage usable by prisoners bricks, iron girders and other materials.

In fact, however, the building of the former military prison was at the ulica Gęsia (Eng. Geese road; ul today Anielewicza) for the Warsaw concentration camp used; later, the commandant was accommodated therein.

Demolition of the ghetto

The area of ​​the ghetto was 320 acres, a part of the civil administration was ceded. 180 acres with 2.64 million cubic meters of masonry should be removed. The project required the use of heavy equipment, rail and Loren and qualified staff, exceeding the possibilities of local services. Albert Speer considered these extraction of building materials as the preferred project.

It was planned originally, the use of 10,000 prisoners. In fact, in February 1944, only 2,040 prisoners, however, were used there next 2,000 civilian workers. At times remained the forced laborers because of a typhoid epidemic in quarantine so that only civilian workers were employed.

The work was completed in early June 1944, more than 80% and should be scheduled to expire on August 1944.

Construction of the concentration camp

The headquarters of the new concentration camp used a building on Ulica Gęsia. For the concentration camp, which was originally planned for 10,000 prisoners, some barracks were erected on a wall of the old central ghettos from the salvaged building materials. On 23 July 1943 met there 300 non-Jewish prisoners from Buchenwald. Until the end of November around 3,700 Jewish forced laborers including 2,500 Hungarian Jews were sent from Auschwitz. In February 1944, we reduced the planned capacity of 5,000 prisoners, but only on 10 June announced the construction management, the concentration camp was “ready” and could be fully occupied soon.

The camp SS

The first commandant of the camp was Wilhelm Goecke, a former camp director of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Successor Goecke was after a few weeks SS-Hauptsturmführer Nicholas Herbet with the Obersturmführer Wilhem Haertel as protective custody camp leader. After the Warsaw concentration camp on 24 April 1944 was the concentration camp Majdanek assumed as external storage, followed Obersturmführer Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert as camp commander and Sergeant Heinz Villain as the protective custody camp.

Not all departments, which were common in other concentration camps were set up here. Function points remained unoccupied, so there was no temporary camp doctor.

The guard unit consisted of nearly 150 “German folk n” and Eastern Trawniki men.

Living conditions

Heavy physical work six days a week with inadequate nutrition and insufficient accommodation given the daily lives of prisoners. With the use of heavy machinery outweighed lighter work when cleaning and stacking bricks. By appropriated valuables that anfanden in the ruins, the black market could be initiated on civilian workers. Former inmates judge the living and working conditions are very different. Dissolution of the camp

The camp was the end of April 1944 performed as satellite camp of Majdanek concentration camp, but it was understood at that time already in resolution.

Was triggered the organizational restructuring, which was accompanied by extensive changes in personnel, extensive corruption scandals. New warehouse manager was SS First Lieutenant Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert.

On 28 July 1944, the camp was “evacuated” by the SS. Prior 200 not march enabled prisoners were shot. 380 forced laborers remained in the camp in order to reduce material, transported equipment. Around 4,000 prisoners had to walk under a lot of death march to Kutno, from where they were transported in freight cars in the Dachau concentration camp.

On 5 August 1944 reached a unit of the Armia Krajowa as the camp and was able to free 348 prisoners before they had to retreat. With the arrival of the Red Army on 17 January 1945 was finally liberated the camp. It existed until 1956 in parts on various positions as an internment camp, prisoner of war camp and a prison for political opponents.


The Polish prosecutor Maria Trzcińska published information about the Warsaw concentration camp and described it as an “extermination camp in the center of Warsaw”. She claimed that the concentration camp was to extend over five warehouse complexes throughout the city. It had been carried out in an underground tunnel between October 1942 to August 1944 gassings with Zyklon B. A total of 200,000 Poles had been murdered in the Warsaw concentration camp.

These theses met with opposition. Thus, there are no statements of prisoners who refer to gassings. Andreas Mix judge in a work published in 2008, the theses Maria Trzcińskas were “not scientifically reputable and have been criticized by historians”. Nevertheless, the allegations in the Polish “national Catholic milieu” are echoed.

The claim that in road tunnels in the Wola district, worked for a gas chamber in which 200 000 were gassed Warsaw, officially the Institute of National Remembrance (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, IPN) was denied. Nevertheless, the national Catholic activists from the city of Warsaw Council require the construction of at public expense a monument next to the tunnel. All doubters will be branded as a traitor to the people.


• Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel (ed.): The place of terror.History of the Nazi concentration camp. Vol 8: Riga Kaiserwald, Warsaw, Vaivara, chewing (Kaunas), Płaszów, Chelmno / Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57237-1

• Maria Trzcińska: Obóz zagłady w centrum Warszawy, Polskie Wydawnictwo Encyklopedyczne, Radom, 2002. ISBN 83-88822-16-0 (Polish)

Wola (Warsaw)

KZ main camp

Abgegangenes building in Warsaw

Warsaw Uprising

Subcamp of the concentration camp Majdanek

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