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Warsaw concentration camp


Komora gazowa KL Warschaw

The Warsaw concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager Warschau, short KL Warschau) was an associated group of the Nazi concentration camps, including possibly a dedicated extermination camp, located in German-occupied Warsaw, capital city of Poland.

Some estimates place the number of the camp’s victims as high as 200,000 (mostly gentile Poles) and other, smaller groups of victims included Greeks, Romano people, Belorussians and officers of the Italian Army.
The earliest official mention of the KZ Warschau is from June 19, 1943, which referred to the concentration camp in the ruins of the former Warsaw Ghetto. However, the term KZ Warschau was also used to describe similar camps that were discovered at an earlier date.

Nevertheless, it is estimated that KZ Warschau was in operation from the autumn of 1942 until the Warsaw Uprising.
The First Commander of the camp was SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Goecke, a former Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp commander.

In addition to genocidal purposes, the camp was designed to provide the Nazi Party with a work force to clean up the leveled ruins of the former Warsaw Ghetto into a future recreational area for the SS.

The exact date of the camp’s creation is unknown. Some historians (IPN among them) have suggested that it was created following the orders of SS-Obergruppenfurhrer Oswald Pohl on June 11 1943. However, others have (among them historian and IPN judge Maria Trzcińska) claimed that the camp was already operational prior to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The factual basis for this aforementioned claim is that on October 9, 1942, Heinrich Himmler issued an order in which he stated:
“I’ve issued orders and requested that all the so-called arms factories workers working only as tailors, furriers or boot-makers be grouped in the nearest concentration camps, that is in Warsaw and Lublin.”

 

Organization
The camp was composed of five parts located in different areas of Warsaw, all of which were connected by railway and were under unified organization and one command.

In chronological order of opening:
1. Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) at Koło area (formerly a Kreigsgefangenenlager POW camp for the Polish Army soldiers captured in 1939)
2. Vernichtungslager (extermination camp) composed of two sub-camps near the Warszawa Zachodnia train station.
3. Gęsia Street (now: Anielewicza Street) concentration camp (formerly Arbeitserziehungslager, or re-education labour camp) in the former Ghetto, known as Gęsiówka; a sub-camp for foreign Jews was located on Nowolipie Street
4. Bonifraterska Street camp near Muranowski Square in the former Ghetto
5. Former Gestapo prison on Pawia Street, known as Pawiak.
The overall area of the camp was 1.2 km², with 119 barracks purposely built to hold approximately 40,000 prisoners. There was a system of huge gas chambers and a crematory which could burn 200 bodies per day. The system of huge gas chambers in KL Warschau was located in Warszawa Zachodnia (according to experts Germans probably used Sarin there). The commander of SS and the police in Warsaw Otto Paul Geibl testified that in KL-Warschau were murdered 400 prizoners per day, Poles mainly because there were not many Jews left after the Warsaw Ghetto liquidation.
The camp infrastructure included five crematoriums (including one electrical), and the guards included Ukrainians and Latvians.
OperationPabst Plan

According to the Pabst Plan, after Germany would win the war, this capital city of Warsaw was going to be turned into a small German city called “Die Neue Deutsche Stadt Warschau.”
The Pabst Plan foresaw the complete liquidation of the capitol of Poland in the urban sense and in the human sense. The intellectual, military, and political elites were to be subject to liquidation first. The point was to deprive Poland of its decision-making element, which would guarantee that the capitol city would never come back into existence. (Nurenberg Dokument NO-661 PS).
To ensure this modification, the population of the city was to be reduced from over a million to less than 500,000 inhabitants. First by the removal of jewish population the Nazis next plan was the removal of the gentile population.

The gentile population of Warsaw became the target of the łapanka policy, in which Wehrmacht and police rounded up civilians on a street. Between 1942 and 1944, there were approximately 400 victims of łapanka in Warsaw daily. The individuals caught were first transferred to the KZ Warschau complex; from there, many were transported to other concentration and labor camps in Poland.
Executions
According to IPN, most victims were executed by gunfire, mostly using machine guns, both in the camps and in an adjoining “security zone”, with some of the hostages publicly executed in the streets of Warsaw.

Sonderbefeh” was an order issued by Himmler on July 31st 1942 stating that the word “partisan” was not to be used in reference to the freedom fighters. Instead they were to be addressed as “terrorists” (AIPN, a DC photo collection, sign.547 ). The order was of particular importance during the executions of members of the resistance and the AK army at KL-Warschau during the Warsaw Uprising, and due to it, they were never regarded as combatants.

Polish citizens against the wall before ecexution                                                                 1939-killed Poles

 

Numerous others were gassed in the gas chambers at Gęsia Street, where a considerable quantity of poisonous gas was found after the war.
The first gassing there happened on October 17 1943, killing 150 Poles from the Warsaw roundups and 20 Jews from Belgium.
A relatively small number of victims were murdered by drunken guards at so-called “amphitheatre” at Gęsiowka or hanged at the so-called “death wall” at Koło. There was also a mysterious T-shaped building in the forest at Koło where the truckloads of prisoners were sometimes shipped but never returned.

Besides mass shootings and other killings, the majority of other deaths resulted from physical exhaustion and the typhus epidemics. The dead bodies were either burned in crematoriums and open-air pyres, including on the former stadium, or were buried under blown-up buildings of the former Ghetto.
Ulica Bema tunnel

KONZENTRATIONSLAGER WARSCHAU, the annihilation site of 200,000 thousand Poles between the years 1942 – 1944, still remains without a memorial tomb.
The Gulag in Western Warsaw was placed at both sides of a tunnel at Bema street. Gulag II was 30 ha in scale (between the streets Mszczonowska, Armatnia and Bema), and had 20 barracks. On the opposite side of the tunnel by Skalmierzycka street, where the PKS station now stands on a land of 20 ha, Gulag III stretched together with its 12 barracks.

Both of them were secured with a double barbed wire fence standing in two rows, each 3 meters high. On top of it there was a watchtower with SS-men constantly on the lookout. Gulag II was at a distance of 25 meters from Bema, with two gates facing both Armatnia and Bema streets. Gulag III could also be accessed through a gate from Bema street. It was here that people were being gassed to death all night long.

The tunnel was restored to street traffic after the war. The alleged gassing pumps and connected massive ventilators (used to remove the gas into the atmosphere prior to removal of bodies in the large Nazi gas chambers) were destroyed during the renovation works in 1996 and early 2000s.

The now hotly-discussed sunbject was not publicly debated and almost completely unknown during the era of the communist rule in Poland.
One of the possible reasons behind this secrecy was to increase the number of the perceived victims in the Warsaw Uprising; this uprising was initiated by the non-communist Polish Home Army against the Germans in August 1944, resulting in a massive number of civilian casualties. In 2001 the Polish Sejm appealed for building the memorial; in the meantime, a part of the tunnel was turned into an unofficial mausoleum by citizens of Warsaw.

In 2002 Sejm rejected the inconclusive findings of the Warsaw’s IPN investigation. The new IPN investigation by another unit started in 2006 and was expected to end in 2007.
Liquidation and liberation

 
On July 20 1943 SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Koppe ordered the complex to be liquidated and dismantled. The majority of prisoners were either executed or were transferred to other concentration camps, such as Dachau, Gross-Rosen and Ravensbruck. Between July 28 and July 31 four major railway transports left Warsaw, containing some 12,300 prisoners. A small group of several hundred inmates, mostly Jews from European countries, were left in Pawiak and Gęsiowka to dig up and burn bodies. The camp’s documentation was burnt, and the railway tunnel and the prison were mined for demolition.
The KL Warschau concentration camp is represented on Rudolph Hoss’s map by three triangles with crosses next to each one. The triangles represent the prison or concentration camp and the cross is a sign of oppression, not a religious symbol. In Germany, extermination camps were called Vernichtungslager and are represented by the cross on the map.

Szare Szeregi resistance fighters with the liberated prisoners in Gęsiowka, 5 August 1944
On August 5 1944 the assault group of Polish Home Army (AK) stormed the Gęsiowka camp located in the former Warsaw Ghetto and set free the remaining 360 men and women. Later, these survivors fought in the uprising. On August 21, 1944, after the failure of an insurgent attack on Pawiak, all but seven of its remaining prisoners were executed and the building was blown up by the Germans.
Communist prison camp
After the Soviet takeover of Warsaw in January 1945, the camp continued to operate as a prison camp for the former AK fighters and other “enemies of the people’s power” under the Soviet NKVD and then Polish MBP until 1954 (the last prisoners left in 1956). It was the second biggest prison after the Mokotowa Prison.

Unfortunately there are strong forces especially in Poland which don’t want the true about mass extermination of Poles during WWII came to light and deny the existence of the gas chambers) in spite of the fact that there are testimonies of eyewitnesses who saw the gassed people in the chambers and the existent of the chambers were confirmed by investigators in 1989. The investigation into the KL Warschau has been blocked for years because in 1945 the Lager was used by NKVD to exterminate the Doomed Soldiers – the Polish Soldiers who didn’t want the Soviet occupation of Poland.
The changes made to the political system in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 at first liberalized life enough that the process of uncovering historical truths became possible, and then it has gradually become more difficult.
After the II World War, the Polish nation went through a period when those who preached the truth felt hopeless because speaking the truth meant jail, torture, and even death.
Research on KL Warschau has been conducted by heroic Polish judge Maria Trzcińska, who researched the first phase of the existence of this camp, which was the German-Fascist phase, when the task of the camp was the extermination of the gentile Polish population.
For Poland, regaining freedom after the II World War meant entering an era of a different occupation. As Warsaw after the war was basically turned to rubble, the new occupiers – NKWD forces – utilized the ex-German facilities of KL Warschau to establish their own camp to exterminate the Polish patriotic element, which was called the “Army of Second Conspiracy” (Żołnierze Drugiej Conspiracji) or doomed soldiers ( żołnierze wyklęci).
We must remember that during the Hitler occupation of Europe, Warsaw was the only occupied capital in which there was a concentration camp, just as Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where helping Jews was punishable by death.

KONZENTRATIONSLAGER WARSCHAU, the annihilation site of 200,000 thousand Poles between the years 1942 – 1944, still remains without a memorial tomb.

 

Source: http://modelskamira.blogspot.com.au/2014_04_01_archive.html#!

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