The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

Work Camp for Jews at 7 Lipowa Street in Lublin

The work camp at 7 Lipowa Street was established at the beginning of December 1939 on the initiative of the SS and Police Commander for the Lublin District, Odilo Globocnik. The Lipowa work camp had the longest history in the entire Lublin area. At first, only civil workers were employed on its premises; however, from the turn of 1940/1941 Polish Army soldiers of Jewish descent were forced to work there. During “Aktion Erntefest” (“Harvest Festival”) carried out on the 3rd of November 1943 all of the Jewish prisoners held at KL Lublin (Majdanek Concentration Camp) were murdered. In January 1944 the camp became a new branch of KL Lublin, employing several hundred non-Jewish prisoners. It functioned until July 1944.

LocationDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The camp was established on two plots of land at 7 and 9 Lipowa Street. Until the outbreak of WWII the field at Lipowa 9 was a sports pitch owned by the Academic Sports Union and occasionally used for agricultural exhibitions and circus shows. On its southern boundary the camp was delineated with the cemetery wall and on the northern – the tenement houses in Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie Street which was renamed Reinhard Heydrich Straße. At the turn of 1939/1940 the first barracks were constructed: serving as both workhouses and lodgings for prisoners. At the beginning of 1941 the camp was handed over to Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke (DAW, German Armament Works). The company developed the building complex and divided it into two sections: industrial and housing. The first of these was made up of workshops, warehouses, stables, camp administration offices and SS military barracks, whereas the second housed prisoners. The camp was enclosed with barbed wire and a wooden fence. The housing area was additionally surrounded with several watch towers1.

 

Functions of the campDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

From the very moment of its establishment the camp in Lipowa Street served several functions. First and foremost, it was a work camp and a penal camp for Polish and Jewish prisoners. It was also used as a gathering place from which Jewish workers were taken to other labour outposts. Additionally, it had the function of a transit camp. In the case of some transports arriving at the camp, selections were also carried out as a result of which only people fit for work were allowed to stay – others were subsequently sent to different camps. In February 1940 a group of approximately 1,200 Jews from Szczecin arrived in Lublin and was lodged in the barracks of the camp under construction. After several days, Jewish prisoners were relocated to Bełżyce, Bychawa, Głusk and Piaski. Many of them had to be moved to the Jewish hospital in Lublin because of their poor health condition2.

 

The SS staffDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Up until the summer of 1940, the camp was managed by SS officers from the Selbstschutz battalions. Its first commandant was SS-Standartenführer Walter Gunst who held the post for only several weeks. He was succeeded by SS-Oberführer Ludolf von Alvensleben. In February 1940 supervision of the camp was given to SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Dolp who was later transferred to the work camp in Bełżec3. He was then replaced, for a short period, by Franz Bartetzko. Eventually, at the turn of July and August, SS-Untersturmführer Horst Riedel was appointed the new camp commandant. Contrary to his predecessors, Riedel originally worked for the Lublin District SS and Police Headquarters which allowed Odilo Globocnik to gain full control of the camp. This, in turn, became one of noteworthy landmarks on the road to establishing an economic empire controlled by SS forces. Soon deemed incompetent, Riedel was removed from the position and SS-Untersturmführer Wolfgang Mohwinkel was named the new commandant and head of DAW4.

Initially, sentry duties were carried out by the Selbstschutz battalions5, and later also the SS-Sonderbatalion, made up of criminals and repeat offenders under the command of Oskar Dirlewanger. Sentry duties were also performed by Komando Kluß which was made up of former SS servicemen. By the end of 1941, SS-officers from KL Lublin were also employed as camp guards, who would be later substituted with watchmen from the camp in Trawniki during the summer of 19426.

Up until the spring of 1942, jurisdictional disputes were held between Globocnik and the head of KL Lublin, Karl Otto Koch, concerning under whose control the Lipowa camp should be placed. The supervision of the concentration camp included providing squads of watchmen, as well as relegating SS-Hauptsturmführers, Hermann Hackmann and Hermann Stroink, to oversee the activities of the chief of the prisoner camp. At the beginning of June 1942, the head of the DAW Company, Karl May, consigned full control of the camp to Globocnik7.

 

Initial stagesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The construction of the camp commenced at the beginning of December 1939, employing Lublin Jews to the task. On the 4th of December the German authorities gathered all males aged between 18 and 55 in the square at 12 Peowiaków Street and ordered them to register for work. The men were employed on the building site of the future camp, working on the construction of the first barracks. A settlement with the German authorities guaranteed that the Jewish Labour Office would supply a daily quota of 300-400 Jews to serve as the general work force. By the end of January 1940, however, the German authorities demanded an increased quota of 1,000 forced labour workers. ZŻGW (the Jewish Religious Community Board) issued summons for more than 14,000 Jews. Workers qualified for the task were obligated to work at least once a week8.

For the first few months of their consignment, Jewish builders were allowed to return to their homes after work. However, in the summer of 1940, camp authorities decided on confining them to barracks which was caused, among other things, by Jews avoiding work. It was also for this specific that reason that some of the workers were relocated to labour camps situated outside the city limits9.

Numerous men attempted to send in substitute workers, including “juvenile” ones. Shunning work soon became common practice; however, the German forces were in an ever increasing need for man-power. To enforce work duty, the authorities introduced a two-day compulsive work period and subsequently decided to lodge groups of workers on site for several days at a time. Regular roundups were yet another form of repression10. High work avoidance, however, resulted from extremely low wages, which in no way allowed Jewish men to provide for their families. Remaining in the camp also meant suffering severe brutality from the German guards11.

On the 17th of July, Globocnik issued a decree ordering 1,000 Jews to be housed permanently on camp premises. As a consequence, an urgent appeal printed by the Judenrat was pasted onto the walls of the Jewish district. It called for ending the malpractice of avoiding work duty which would now be punished with sanctions directed at the workers’ families:

“If you miss another day’s work (...) if you refuse to come to work EVERY DAY ON TIME in required numbers to the Work Camp at 7 Lipowa Street, not only will you yourselves be punished severely (...), but also the lives of your mothers, wives and children will be put in jeopardy”12.

On the 26th of September, the Judenrat issued another announcement, explicitly stating the consequences of avoiding obligatory work duty by publishing the names of Jews caught out of work. Berek Landau, Boruch Feldman, Szloma Dębowski, Anczel Adler and Jakub Finkielsztejn were sent to the camp at Lipowa for several weeks13.

At the beginning of November 1940, due to the worsening weather conditions, camp authorities ordered Jewish citizens to provide warm clothing for the workmen employed in the camp. Should Jews refuse to obey the above instructions, German authorities were to confiscate goods themselves. The announcement, put up on the walls of the Jewish quarter, listed items of clothing which should be provided by Jews: jackets, trousers, boots, socks, shirts, long johns, jumpers, as well as caps or hats14.

In the initial stages after the creation of the camp, Jewish forced labour workers were employed on the section of the camp where new barracks were being constructed, which would later serve as workshops for ironworkers, shoemakers, tailors and leatherworkers. As early as December 1939 the following craftsmen were sent to the premises of the camp under construction: tinsmiths, carpenters, wiremen, carters, tailors, painters, builders, woodworkers, shoemakers, ironworkers and stove fitters15. Later, the camp was also enlarged to manufacture tarpaper and crates, as well as give space to a printing house and garages for servicing cars and fixing radio receivers. Jewish workers not otherwise employed in factories or on building sites were given the task of clearing snow, digging ditches, as well as cleaning the streets. They were often made to perform pointless duties, shovelling snow or moving wood from one place to another, activities during which the individuals concerned were often harassed and hastened.

By the end of 1940 the camp was reorganized to admit Jewish prisoners of war, brought to Lublin from stalags (German POW camps) situated in the territory of the Third Reich. Simultaneously, many of the Jewish civilians were allowed to leave.

 

The number of war prisonersDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The first Jewish prisoners of war were sent to Lublin in mid February 1940. In the period between February and May 3,224 captive men were brought to Lipowa Street from the Third Reich territory camps. At the same time, 112 civilian workers were also employed on the premises of the work camp, most of whom soon acquired permission to relocate to the Jewish district or move back to their towns of origin (so long as these were situated within the boundaries of the General Government area)16. For the next several months the work force consisted mainly of Jews from the districts of Lublin, Radom and Warsaw whose numbers varied but would periodically exceed that of 1,200.

At the turn of 1940 and 1941 the character of the camp in Lipowa Street was modified and it became predominantly a site of confinement for Jewish prisoners of war. Most of the civilian workers were then fired. At the beginning of January 1941 the camp held 518 prisoners of war, 15 Jewish civilian workers and 192 Poles, whose number was to rise slightly later on. At the turn of January and February 2,120 prisoners of war brought from POW camps were registered at Lipowa 7. Polish prisoners were most probably held there as hostages, imprisoned for failing to provide Germans with the obligatory quotas of food grain or other offences committed against the German occupying forces. Poles were isolated from Jewish prisoners and kept in separate barracks. Their release was dependent on settling the arrears of grain by their families17.

In the course of the following few months only single prisoners of war or other small groups of people were admitted to the camp – all of which arrived from various POW camps. In March, 11 prisoners of war were admitted to the camp and in September – 1718. It is quite probable that in October 1941 a group of Soviet prisoners of war was also imprisoned in the camp at Lipowa Street. Among them were craftsmen brought from the POW camp in Chełm, a fact which is mentioned by Roman Fiszer:

“(...) in October 1941 a group of about 100 Russian prisoners of war arrived consisting of Jews, Ukrainians and Russians. They were meant to be professional workers selected from the Soviet POW camp in Chełm which was destined for liquidation. Very few craftsmen were sent to us. (...) Captives sent to our camp were utterly exhausted physically and every day several of them died”19.

Up until November 1943 the POW group was the most numerous one in the camp. Small groups of workmen from the local ghetto were also sent by convoy to the camp, together with Jews selected from transports passing through Lublin. Most prisoners of war arrived from the area of the Eastern Borderlands of the II Polish State, which were by then incorporated into the territory of the Soviet Union. This made it impossible for them to return to their homeland20.

 

Living conditionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Ever since the camp was established, living conditions on its premises were very poor. Prisoners of war were stationed in 5 barracks whose state was below proper technical standards. Until mid February 1941 Jews held in the camp were provided for by the Judenrat which financed their food, medical care and personal hygiene. Two small infirmaries were created for them with 20 beds in all. Medical care covered the treatment of general illnesses and infectious skin diseases. Medical check-ups for inmates were provided by a visiting Jewish doctor. Seriously ill prisoners were sent to Jewish and Polish hospitals. The camp lacked basic sanitary facilities and for this reason prisoners had to be transported to public baths. These outings, however, were dependent on the “approbation of the Camp Commandant”. The Judenrat arranged a kitchen on the premises of the camp where inmates were provided with hot meals and 70 dag of bread per person. In the morning and at noon prisoners were given soup and in the evening – sweet coffee. Such poor provisioning was to some extent supplemented with parcels sent by individual families, which stopped arriving after the outbreak of the Soviet-German conflict. In May and June 1941 2,550 and 2,316 parcels respectively were sent to the camp and only 335 in August. The entire correspondence, postal orders and parcels were delivered by the Postal Department operating at the Judenrat. Poor provisioning forced prisoners employed outside the camp to attempt smuggling food inside. Incidents of stealing from the camp warehouses were also noted and, when detected, punished with death21.

Poor working, sanitary and provisioning conditions resulted in the deterioration of the inmates’ health. In December 1941 an epidemic of Typhoid swept through the camp. The contagion was spread by Jewish prisoners of war employed on the premises of KL Lublin where they contracted it from Soviet prisoners. In the face of such a potential threat, no more groups of prisoners were sent to work in the concentration camp which, however, did not suppress the spreading of the epidemic. A makeshift infirmary for the suffering inmates of the Lipowa camp was arranged in the Maharshal Synagogue. An estimated 500 prisoners fell ill at that time, and at least several dozen of them died as a consequence22.

 

Prisoner councilDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Deteriorating relations with the Judenrat resulted in the aggravation of the living conditions on the premises of the camp. This, in turn, gave rise to the establishment of the prisoner council which was meant to represent inmates and bring their needs to the attention of the camp authorities. The council was headed by a fiduciary, commonly known as the commander. The position was first held by Wolf Kraut and then subsequently by Herman Brandel and Roman Fiszer. The fiduciary supervised troops divided into working commandos. Establishing the council was additionally meant as a means of integrating prisoners and introducing military discipline giving hope for survival in the rough conditions of the camp. The authorities of the camp, however, tried hard to break through the prisoner unity by means of including civilians into their groups or introducing collective forms of legal liability in case of misdemeanour and instances of breakout23.

 

WorkDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Inmates of the camp were given various tasks to perform, including work outside its actual boundaries. Having fired most of the Jewish civilian workers, the authorities of the camp employed prisoners of war at the camp building site, as well as the craftsmen workshops (shoemaker’s, tailor’s, carpenter’s, ironworker’s and watchmaker’s). Prisoners were given assignments by the camp authorities, but also worked in small factories. In addition, several hundred of them were employed by the Wehrmacht to unload cargo trains, or work as staff at car parks and military hospitals. In October 1941 several hundred prisoners of war were also sent to work on the premises of the newly established concentration camp at Majdanek. Here the men were given tasks at the construction site as well as ordered to bury the bodies of Soviet prisoners. A group of Lipowa camp inmates was also employed at the construction of the Flugplatz camp and after the commencement of Operation Reinhard they had to unload and sort the goods brought directly from death camps24.

Prisoners who were qualified craftsmen worked for 10 hours a day on weekdays and were entitled to two breaks for breakfast and lunch. On Sundays and Saturdays prisoners had to work for 6 hours a day and had one meal break. Prisoners who had no trained skills had a lower status and often had to work until late in the evening (9 or 10 pm). All captives worked at an extremely fast pace and were constantly supervised by SS officers who would frequently abuse prisoners, the cruellest of these being Dolp, Dornberger and Hausberg. Additionally, selections were carried out systematically to pick out prisoners who were ill or unfit for work. Some selections were aimed at inmates deemed dispensable, as well as children. One example of this kind of selection was the general assembly called for in November 1942, the victims of which were, among others, Jakub Blank and his 6-year-old son25.

 

FugitivesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Attempts at escaping from the camp area, which were not always successful, came as a reaction to the living conditions at Lipowa 7 as well as the brutality of the camp regime. At the same time, such attempts resulted in repressions directed against other prisoners. Frequently, collective legal liability would be applied in the form of corporal punishment and public executions. Fear of sanctions gave rise to incidents of lynching among prisoners as a means of suppressing further escapes.

The first major breakout was recorded at the beginning of February 1941 when over a dozen Jewish prisoners managed to escape. A very brutal punitive roll-call was organised then as a form of retaliation. On a bitterly cold night between the 3rd and 4th of February, all Jewish inmates were led outside and beaten savagely. As a consequence, many Jews were seriously injured26. Nevertheless, despite such harsh forms of repression, incidents of attempted escape ceased only temporarily.

In the spring of 1942 news of the mass extermination of the Jewish community reached the camp and gave rise to widespread conspiracy designed in order to prepare inmates for a potential revolt leading to a collective breakout. Prisoners were trying to get hold of weapons and ammunition, as well as to get in touch with the Polish underground movement. Such attempts resulted in collaboration with the PPR (Polish Workers’ Party), thanks to which on the 28th of October 1942 forty prisoners of war led by Kaganowicz managed to escape. Although a mass revolt had been planned, it never came to fruition, mainly due to the risk of exposure. Additionally, poor logistics meant that attempts at moving prisoners out of the camp and finding a hiding place for them were often completely unfeasible. Another crucial reason for discontinuing any further preparations for a revolt was the fact that one of the leaders and organizers of camp conspiracy, Roman Fiszer, escaped himself in March 194327.

In the autumn of 1942 the number of breakouts increased. For example, during one attempted escape, 30 prisoners working in the military hospital in Warszawska Avenue managed to make a run for it. In the course of this daring flight, prisoners succeeded in stealing weapons from a warehouse and left the hospital grounds in a stolen car. They managed to hide in the Garbów Forest where they formed a partisan group. Other breakouts soon followed allowing around 40 prisoners to break free28. Many of them sought shelter in the nearby forests, joining the already existing partisan troops or forming new ones.

The growing number of escapes resulted in the permanent confinement of all Jews previously employed outside the camp in Lipowa Street. Unfortunately, they were later sent with the remaining prisoners to KL Lublin at Majdanek. When marched towards the concentration camp, the men attempted to escape which resulted in the death of many. Some of the prisoners managed to run away but failing to find shelter – returned to the camp in Lipowa. Most men arrived in KL Lublin and their subsequent fate remains unknown29.

Many fugitives tried to take refuge in forests which, as it turned out, did not prove a safe hide-away. Partisan troops stationed in the woods as well as individual gangs of robbers often murdered Jews trying to seek shelter there. One tragic event of this kind took place in 1943 near the village of Rudka, situated in the Kraśnik area. A group of 40 Jewish prisoners of war, who managed to escape from the Lipowa 7 camp and were hiding in forest bunkers, were then murdered by the members of a nationalist organization30.

Despite many forms of repression, breakouts did not cease in 1943. Apart from the above-mentioned Roman Fiszer, Józef Cynowiec also managed to escape from the camp, followed by a group of 10 prisoners who made their escape in June while employed at the construction of a bridge in Pawia Street. The last organized breakout most probably took place on the 9th of October 1943 and was sparked off by the SS officers’ discovery of weapons on the premises of the camp31. Less than a month later, at KL Lublin, the German security forces carried out the “Harvest Festival” Operation (“Aktion Erntefest”) during which all Jewish prisoners held at Lipowa 7 camp were murdered.

 

Relations with Lublin JewsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The relations between the prisoners of war and the local Jewish community were filled with tension from the very beginning. In February 1940, the Judenrat in Lublin refused to take custody of 1,367 prisoners brought from the stalags of the Third Reich. The decision affected the fate of nearly 500 men, many of whom were murdered by the Nazis on the way to Biała Podlaska32. The tragic event is described by Berek Kawe:

“In February 1940, in the most biting, freezing cold, Germans brought Jewish captives who were to be handed in to the Judenrat which supposedly would not accept the duty of providing for them. So then Germans rushed them all – barefoot, ragged and hungry – to Biała Podlaska. Germans rode horses and Jews had to follow them. (...) Those of them who could not keep up were shot. The road was covered with corpses (…)”33.

The Judenrat, learning from the awful consequences of its mistake, decided to provide for the prisoners moved to the camp at Lipowa 7, as well as those released from it. By the end of February a special Department for Assisting Captives and Deportees was established which registered prisoners of war as well as sought to release them. One of the conditions, however, was to provide prisoners with regular clothes as a substitute for their uniforms. The Department organized a collection of clothes among local Jews and managed to obtain 1,700 full sets of clothing (1,500 of which were sent directly by the prisoners’ families). Simultaneously, the Judenrat was striving to win the sympathy of the local Jewish community, whose engagement resulted in finding lodging for prisoners in private apartments and shelters. Money was also collected to help prisoners finance their journey back home. One of the reports delivered by the Department contains information on this very initiative:

“(...) the question of enabling prisoners’ a safe return home to their families was met with a warm response from the local community, the members of which have spontaneously rushed to help those in need. In most cases, individual people, remaining always in touch with the Committee, made an effort to collect sufficient funds to cover the prisoners’ travel expenses. The endeavour was undertaken in each of the houses inhabited by Jews and it produced the outcome of several dozen thousand zlotys making it possible for the prisoners to go back home”34.

All the same, travelling was only possible within the territory of the General Government. A special Information Point was set up allowing people to make contact with their families in the form of “wall letters” containing messages from relatives which were put up inside the building. What is more, the Work Office operating at the Judenrat offered jobs on preferential terms to 459 prisoners of war. However, the regular daily wage was only 5 zlotys and in the case of Jewish workmen it could be as low as 435.

The strained relations between prisoners and the local community resulted also from the Jewish conviction that captives were a privileged group of people. Such perception was influenced by many different factors, like the fact that prisoners wore unmarked uniforms (without the Star of David armbands) and did not have to take their hats off when passing German soldiers.

The mutual relations in question deteriorated even further when the prisoners of war from the camp in Lipowa took part in a roundup organised in mid December 1941 in the area of the Jewish ghetto. As a result of a Typhoid epidemic, which was ravaging the concentration camp at Majdanek, the commandant of the Lipowa camp ordered an immediate withdrawal of the POW troops employed in KL Lublin. At the same time, the authorities of the concentration camp demanded their substitution. As a consequence, on the night between the 11th and 12th of December 1941, prisoners took part in a brutal roundup in the wake of which 320 Jews were taken from the ghetto. Initially, they were stationed at the work camp in Lipowa Street. Afterwards, 170 people were released and the remaining group sent to KL Lublin. By the end of 1941, most of them died as a result of the extremely bad living conditions in the camp. Only 17 prisoners survived to be later liberated. At the turn of December and January, captives were additionally used as work force for the collection of clothing made from fur and wool36.

After the liquidation of the residual ghetto in Majdan Tatarski, which was carried out on the 9th of November 1942, a group of prisoners were sent to tidy up and search the abandoned area. They performed the task together with Polish prisoners held at the Lublin Castle prison. The whole group was supervised by watchmen from Trawniki37.

The tension between the inhabitants of the ghetto and the prisoners notwithstanding, there were circumstances under which people managed to cooperate – one example being the establishment of an infirmary within the boundaries of the ghetto for those captives who had contracted Typhoid fever. Another particular way of maintaining mutual relations came in the form of intermarrying. However, the existing documents do not allow for the assessment of the exact number of such marriages. One instance of a union of this nature was that of Roman Fiszer, the resistance movement leader from the Lipowa camp, and Cipora Trachtenberg. Several survivors from the Flugplatz camp also recall an exuberant wedding reception of a Jewish POW from Lagerälteste – Friede Alexander38.

 

“Aktion Erntefest”Direct link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

In the early hours of the morning on the 3rd of November 1943, the work camp in Lipowa Street was surrounded by SS-officers. Prisoners were searched, arranged in columns and marched out of the camp. The operation came as a big surprise and because it was carried out in great haste, captives had no chance to put up any opposition, despite ample weapons kept in hiding. During the march instances of escape were noted which, however, ended in failure in most cases. The only successful breakout took place in Fabryczna Street, but most fugitives were soon found and shot by the Nazis. The bodies of murdered prisoners were collected immediately and taken by cart to the concentration camp at Majdanek. As for the rest, nearly 2,500 captives were taken to KL Lublin on that day and stationed in Field V from which they were directly rushed to the execution site. These tragic events have been captured poignantly by Józef Kalisman in a very personal letter addressed to his wife:

“(...) Dearest, please do not despair, what’s done is done, your worries are futile, just live and be happy. The world is a beautiful place and the war will soon be over – you will be a free, independent woman, you’ll find a boyfriend and forget about me. (...) Honestly, I wish I could finally end this life, for there is no use in these several spared moments and hours. I can’t look at all of this anymore and have no more strength for it”39.

SS-officers selected 300 people, who were subsequently forced to burn the bodies of the prisoners executed on the premises of KL Lublin, or otherwise employed in the Poniatowa work camp. Some of them were sent to the Borki Forest in the vicinity of Chełm where they were ordered to obliterate the traces of other mass atrocities. On the night between the 23rd and 24th of February 1944, 33 out of 61 prisoners managed to break free, while the rest of the group was executed. Most of the fugitives were later captured and only a few survived to see the end of the war. In mid April 1944, some of the prisoners still kept alive in order to help cover evidence of the terrible crimes committed at KL Lublin were relocated to the Lublin Castle prison. Unfortunately, their fate remains unknown40.

 

The last stages of the camp’s existenceDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

As a result of the mass murder committed on Jewish prisoners, the camp was left devoid of a work force. In effect, the production had to be halted but previous contracts were still binding. Therefore, the DAW Company had to be reorganized throughout the entire area of the General Government. In Lublin only the workhouses at Lipowa 7 were reactivated and the camp was renamed as a branch of KL Lublin. It was designed to serve as a work place for 250 skilled craftsmen and 1,500 unskilled workers. The first transports of prisoners meant as forced labour for the newly reactivated camp were sent at the end of January 1944 from Sachsenhausen, Dachau and Buchenwald. Approximately 500 individuals were brought in at that time on whom quarantine was imposed in the concentration camp at Majdanek. Afterwards, prisoners, among them many French citizens, were relocated to the work camp in 7 Lipowa Street. On the 1st of February camp production officially restarted. It manufactured wooden and metal items as well as baskets for grenades. Living conditions on the premises of the camp were relatively good. Prisoners were allowed to receive mail, and had been guaranteed a limited number of work hours. SS-officers were said to have seldom treated them brutally.

The evacuation of the camp, which was a result of the rapidly advancing Red Army, commenced on the 31st of March 1944. As a consequence, 155 prisoners were relocated to KL Lublin. Several days later an operation of workhouse disassembly was enacted. The buildings were to be subsequently transferred to KL Lublin. By the end of April another 100 prisoners were relocated to Majdanek and on the 15th of June and 13th of July several dozen men were sent to the Puławy sawmill. On the 22nd of July the last POW group consisting of 229 men left the premises of the camp in Lipowa and the final stages of evacuation proceeded simultaneously with the attack on the city carried out by the Russian Army. The last group of prisoners was sent to KL Auschwitz, arriving on the 28th of July41.

 

After the warDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

German troops retreating from Lublin did not manage to finalize the destruction of the camp buildings. After the war, the surviving infrastructure was initially used by the Internal Security Corpse and afterwards by the Polish Army. When the military unit was closed in the 1960s, the barracks were used for commercial purposes. At the beginning of the 1990s some of them were destroyed in fire and the remaining ones were demolished. In 2007 a shopping centre – Plaza – was constructed on the former camp site. A year later, a memorial plaque was installed on the wall of the building to commemorate the victims of the camp. It bears the following inscription:

“On this site in the years 1939-1943 was situated a German SS Labour-Camp for Jewish craftsmen brought from different ghettos as well as several thousand prisoners of war – Jewish soldiers serving in the Polish Army. A few hundred prisoners perished in the camp. On 3 November 1943 prisoners from the camp were murdered by the Germans in a mass-execution at the concentration camp in Majdanek. From January to July 1944 a branch of the Majdanek concentration camp was located here and some 700 prisoners of various nationalities from all over Europe were incarcerated in the camp for forced labour.”

 

FootnotesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

  1. Go back to the reference Relacje: Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego [dalej: AŻIH], zesp. 301, Relacje. Zeznania ocalałych Żydów, sygn. 2521, Relacja Pinkusa Zyskinda, k. 1; tamże, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 2; H. Bryskier, Żydzi pod swastyką, czyli getto w Warszawie w XX wieku, Warszawa 2006, s. 278; Literatura: C. Rajca, Lubelska filia Niemieckich Zakładów Zbrojeniowych, „Zeszyty Majdanka” 1969, t. IV, s. 259–260; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów – polskich jeńców wojennych (1940–1943), „Kwartalnik Historii Żydów”, nr 4 (228), s. 494–495; Podstawowe opracowanie: W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej dla Żydów przy ul. Lipowej w Lublinie (1939–1943), [w:] 3–4 listopada 1943. Erntefest zapomniany epizod Zagłady, red. W. Lenarczyk, D. Libionka, Lublin 2009, s. 38–41.
  2. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/ 1295, Relacja Franciszki Mandelbaum, k. 17–18; tamże, 301/1454, Relacja Arona Fajgenbluma, k. 2.
  3. Go back to the reference J. Chmielewski, Obozy pracy dla Żydów w ramach planu „Otto”, „Studia Żydowskie. Almanach” 2013, R. 3, nr 3, s. 139–156.
  4. Go back to the reference M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 494; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 39, 42–43.
  5. Go back to the reference Formacja paramilitarna utworzona rozkazem Himmlera z 26 września 1939 roku, w skład której wchodzili przede wszystkim przedstawiciele niemieckiej mniejszości narodowej, zamieszkujący na terytorium przedwojennej Polski. Ze względu na liczne przypadki niesubordynacji, formacja została rozwiązana na przełomie 1939 i 1940 roku.
  6. Go back to the reference SS-Sonderbatalion stacjonował w GG pomiędzy listopadem 1940 roku a lutym 1942 roku.
  7. Go back to the reference M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 498.
  8. Go back to the reference Archiwum Państwowe w Lublinie [dalej: APL], zesp. 891, Rada Żydowska w Lublinie [dalej: RŻL], sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 121; tamże, sygn. 8, Sprawozdanie z działalności Rady za okres od 1 września 1939 roku do 1 września 1940 roku, k. 41–42, 47; tamże, sygn. 10, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń t. 1, k. 1, 3, 5; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 44.
  9. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 10, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń t. 1, k. 24.
  10. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 10, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń t. 1, k. 71–72, 98; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 45.
  11. Go back to the reference W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, s. 45–46.
  12. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 10, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń t. 1, k. 85; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 45.
  13. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 10, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń t. 1, k. 127.
  14. Go back to the reference Tamże, k. 147.
  15. Go back to the reference Tamże, sygn. 43, Wydział Obozu Miejscowego (obóz pracy przy ul. Lipowej 7 w Lublinie) sprawy finansowe, wykazy sprowadzonych i zwolnionych z obozu, zatrudnionych tam rzemieślników i in., k. 1.
  16. Go back to the reference Tamże, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 roku do 1 listopada 1942 roku, k. 21–22, 108; tamże, sygn. 8, Sprawozdanie z działalności Rady za okres od 1 września 1939 roku do 1 września 1940 roku, k. 21–22; tamże, sygn. 133, Komisja Pomocy Jeńcom Wojennym i Wysiedleńcom – sprawozdania i korespondencja dot. jeńców wojennych, k. 3, 51; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 495; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 51.
  17. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 48, 67, 148; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 497.
  18. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 44, 48, 148; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 49.
  19. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 5.
  20. Go back to the reference W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, s. 51–53.
  21. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 148–153, 201–205; Yad Vashem Archives [dalej: YVA], zesp. O.3, Yad Vashem Testimonies [dalej: YVT], sygn. 2292, Relacja Józefa Reznika, k. 10; AŻIH, 301/41, Relacja Mieczysława Grubera, k. 4; tamże, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 2; tamże, 301/4857, Relacja Jana Szelubskiego, k. 2; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 500; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 53.
  22. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/41, Relacja Mieczysława Grubera, k. 4; tamże, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 6; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 501; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 55–56.
  23. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 2; Archiwum Państwowego Muzeum na Majdanku [dalej: APMM], sygn. VII/M-182, Relacja Józefa Reznika, k. 8–10; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 498–500.
  24. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 151, 153; A. Żmijewska-Wiśniewska, Zeznania szefa krematorium Ericha Muhsfeldta na temat byłego obozu koncentracyjnego w Lublinie (Majdanek), „Zeszyty Majdanka” 1999, t. 20, s. 23; AŻIH, 301/41, Relacja Mieczysława Grubera, k. 3; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 54.
  25. Go back to the reference H. Bryskier, Żydzi pod swastyką, s. 280, 282, 284; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów, s. 501–504; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, s. 54–55, 57–58.
  26. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 2; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 505; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 58–59.
  27. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/2521, Relacja Pinkusa Zyskinda, k. 2; tamże, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 8; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 506, 507; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, s. 59–60, 62; D. Libionka, ZWZ-AK i Delegatura Rządu RP wobec eksterminacji Żydów polskich, [w:] Polacy i Żydzi pod okupacją niemiecką 1939–1945, red. A. Żbikowski, Warszawa 2006, s. 106–107.
  28. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/114, Relacja Mieczysława Grubera, k. 3; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 60; T. Berenstein, Martyrologia, opór i walka ludności żydowskiej w Lubelskiem podczas okupacji hitlerowskiej, „Biuletyn ŻIH” 1957, nr 21, s. 50.
  29. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/114, Relacja Mieczysława Grubera, k. 3; tamże, 301/2521, Relacja Pinkusa Zyskinda, k. 2; tamże, 301/2808, Relacja Romana Fiszera, k. 8; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 506; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 62.
  30. Go back to the reference D. Libionka, Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa i Narodowe Siły Zbrojne wobec Żydów pod Kraśnikiem – korekta obrazu, „Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały”, red. D. Libionka, Warszawa 2011, s. 29–54.
  31. Go back to the reference W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 62.
  32. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/71, Relacja Mojsze Josefa Fajgenbauma, k. 14; tamże, 301/603, Relacja Michała Fingera, k. 5; tamże, 301/608, Relacja Nuchema Perlmana, k. 3–4; tamże, 301/1295, Relacja Franciszki Mandelbaum, k. 17; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 495–496, 509–510; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, Lublin 2009, s. 51, 64.
  33. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 301/2300, Relacja Berka Kawe, k. 15.
  34. Go back to the reference APL, RŻL, sygn. 8, Sprawozdanie z działalności Rady za okres od 1 września 1939 roku do 1 września 1940 roku, k. 24.
  35. Go back to the reference Tamże, sygn. 6, Sprawozdania wydziałów, k. 124; AŻIH, 301/603, Relacja Michała Fingera, k. 4; APL, RŻL, sygn. 8, Sprawozdanie z działalności rady za okres od 1 września 1939 roku do 1 września 1940 roku, k. 21–25; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów, s. 496–497.
  36. Go back to the reference AŻIH, 233/73, Korespondencja urzędowa w sprawach więźniów żydowskich w obozie na Majdanku, rabunek mienia pożydowskiego, k. 5–6; R. Kuwałek, Żydzi lubelscy w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, „Zeszyty Majdanka” 2003, t. 22, s. 79–81; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 510; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej..., s. 62–64.
  37. Go back to the reference M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 510.
  38. Go back to the reference APMM, sygn. VII/M-609, Relacja Cipory Fiszer, k. 7–10; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów..., s. 511.
  39. Go back to the reference Dokumenty i materiały z czasów okupacji niemieckiej w Polsce, t. 1: Obozy, oprac. N. Blumental, Łódź 1946, s. 160–161.
  40. Go back to the reference APMM, sygn. VII/M-182, Relacja Józefa Reznika, k. 13–19; AŻIH, 301/24, Relacja Chaima Zacharewicza, k. 27–28; relacja Tadeusza Budynkiewicza w zbiorach Historii Mówionej, [dostęp:] 31.10.2016; M. Grudzińska, V. Rezler-Wasielewska, Lublin, Lipowa 7. Obóz dla Żydów, s. 511–513; W. Lenarczyk, Obóz pracy przymusowej, s. 66–71; R. Gicewicz, Obóz pracy w Poniatowej (1941–1943), [w:] 3–4 listopada 1943. Erntefest zapomniany epizod Zagłady, red. D. Libionka, Lublin 2009, s. 227.
  41. Go back to the reference W. Lenarczyk, Francuzi w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. 24, s. 131–132, 136–138.