BLECHHAMMER: SUB-CAMP OF AUSCHWITZ III – MONOWITZ
SLAVE LABOR IN THE AUSCHWITZ REGION
“Blechhammer (pol. Blachownia Slaska) was a huge industrial complex in the former county (Landkreis) Cosel (pol. Kozle) in Upper Silesia consisting of dozens of different camps with up to 50,000 slave workers of all kinds and nationalities during different periods of time. Such German industries as AEG, Uhde, and Dyckerhoff + Widmann* were established there. The huge plants of Blechhammer were under construction and were bombed in Allied air raids many times in the summer of 1944, so they always had to be rebuilt.”
EVACUATION OF BLECHHAMMER: "THE DEATH MARCH"
“This evacuation from Blechhammer started on January 21, 1945. The prisoners each got 800 grams of bread, a small portion of margarine, and artificial honey for their march. Approximately 4,000 Blechhammer prisoners plus another 6,000 from the sub-camps Neu-Dachs, Gleiwitz I, III, and IV began their death march. They walked from Blechhammer (Blachownia Slaska) - via Kole - Neustadt - Glucholazy - Neisse - Otmuchow - Zabkowice Slaskie - Schweidnitz - Strzegom. On February 2, 1945, survivors finally reached the concentration camp Gross-Rosen. During the march approximately 800 prisoners who were not able to walk any longer or who tried to flee were shot by the SS and the police (on these death marches they killed Jews, Poles, Russians etc. alike without making a difference). This march was led by SS-Untersturmfuehrer Kurt Klipp, the 2nd (last) Lagerleiter of Blechhammer.
“The prisoners stayed in Gross-Rosen for 5 days. Then they boarded a train to Buchenwald (Feb. 6 or 7). On the way, the train was attacked several times by Allied Fighter Planes, which caused many deaths.
“The total number of forced laborers working in all camps at Blechhammer (not only the sub-camp of Auschwitz III) and surroundings reached about 48,000 people (Jews being only a small part of them). This included 2,000 British Prisoners of war”