Experience: Gleiwitz

Ludwig Berman
Benjamin Kawer
Bernard Klein
Emery Klein
Andre Marosy
Emmanuel Mittelman
Samuel Rotberg
Roman Shloss
Martin Water
Larry Wayne

“Between 1942 and 1944, the SS authorities at Auschwitz established 39 subcamps.
Some of them were established within the officially designated “development” zone,
including Budy, Rajsko, Tschechowitz, Harmense, and Babitz. Others, such as
Blechhammer, Gleiwitz, Althammer,  Fürstengrube , Laurahuette, and Eintrachthuette
were located in Upper Silesia north and west of the Vistula River. Some subcamps were
located in Moravia, such as Freudental and Bruenn (Brno). In general, subcamps that
produced or processed agricultural goods were administratively subordinate to
Auschwitz-Birkenau; while subcamps whose prisoners were deployed at industrial and
armaments production or in extractive industries (e.g., coal mining, quarry work) were
administratively subordinate to Auschwitz-Monowitz. After November 1943, this
division of administrative responsibility was formalized.
“In mid-January 1945, as Soviet forces approached the Auschwitz concentration camp
complex, the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its subcamps. SS units forced nearly
60,000 prisoners to  march  west from the Auschwitz camp system. Thousands had been
killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of
prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march either northwest for 55 kilometers
(approximately 30 miles) to Gliwice (Gleiwitz), joined by prisoners from subcamps in
East Upper Silesia, such as Bismarckhuette, Althammer, and Hindenburg, or due west for
63 kilometers (approximately 35 miles) to Wodzislaw (Loslau) in the western part of
Upper Silesia, joined by inmates from the subcamps to the south of Auschwitz, such as
Jawischowitz, Tschechowitz, and Golleschau. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or
could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and
exposure on these marches. At least 3,000 prisoners died on route to Gliwice alone;
possibly as many as 15,000 prisoners died during the evacuation marches from
Auschwitz and the subcamps.

“Upon arrival in Gliwice and Wodzislaw, the prisoners were put on unheated freight
trains and transported to concentration camps in Germany, particularly
to  Flossenbürg , Sachsenhausen ,  Gross-Rosen ,  Buchenwald ,  Dachau , and also
to  Mauthausen  in Austria. The rail journey lasted for days. Without food, water, shelter,
or blankets, many prisoners did not survive the transport.”

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Accessed on July 21, 2011

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