Justice4Poland.com

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A brief history of the Radogoszcz Prison


burnt prisoners of radogoszcz

The tragic history of the Radogoszcz prison begins in early November 1939. It was then that the German occupying forced had decided to established a massive penitentiary facility for political prisoners at the factory that used to owned by the industrialist Michał Glazer. The establishing of the prison played a pivotal part in the repressive and exterminatory policies carried out the Nazis. Their task was to round up, isolate and ultimately exterminate all the members of Lodz’s intelligentsia – namely: teachers, academics, civil servants, politicians, artists. Due to the multicultural character of the city and the region, a considerable part of this intellectual elite was of Jewish descent. Polish citizens of German origin who refused to relinquish their Polish identity were also imprisoned there.

From November 1939 to early January 1940 about 2 000 people were sent to the Radogoszcz prison. About 500 of them were summarily sentenced to death.  The sentences were carried out immediately, by firing squads, in a nearby forest.

In late December 1939 it was decided that the factory building once owned by Samuel Abbe, initially earmarked for resettlement camp for residents of Lodz and the Lodz region,  would prove to be a better location for the newly established prison. Before the end of the year all if the surviving inmates of the prison in Glazer’s factory were relocated there.

Since July 1940, the police prison for men in Radogoszcz received the official name of the Enhanced Police Prison Radegast (Erweitertes Polizeigefängnis, Radegast).

In August 1943, in connection with the reorganization of Lodz police, the Radogoszcz prison and labour camp at Sikawa were merged forming a new instituition of organized repression and extermination as reflected in the new name: “Erweitertes Polizeigefängnis und Arbeitserziehungslager”. The Radogoszcz prison and labour camp operated  under that name until the end of the Nazi occupation.

Radogoszcz male prison was of a temporary nature.  According to the data from 1944, the averange prisoner remained here for about two months awaiting either trail or shipments to other prisons or labour camps.

Radogoszcz was not a place of mass extermination. It should be noted however, that every day due to hunger, disease, exhaustion and sadistic abuse perpetuated by the  camp guards, prisoners died here. It should be also noted that the single biggest public execution that took place in Wartengau, namely the massacre carried out in Zgierz on May 30 1942, was perpetuated on the people formerly imprisoned in Radgoszcz.

On average, there were between 500 and 1 000 prisoners at a time in Radogoszcz. It is estimated that a total of 40 000 people were imprisoned here. Most inmates were people who have committed “crimes against the interests of the Third Reich”. Such cases included the illegal slaughter and smuggling of food from the countryside, illegal crossing of the border between the General Government and the Wartengau, escape attempts from forced labour in Germany. Some of the imprisoned here were accidental bystanders arrested during round-ups. Political prisoners and members of the Polish intelligentsia were held here before being shipped off to death camps. After the outbreak of war between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, a small group of Soviet prisoners of war were sent to the Radogoszcz Prison.

The greatest tragedy came with the massacre of the prisoners and the burning of the prison building, in the night of 17/18 January, just several hours before the arrival of the Red Army in Lodz . The Germans initially intended to execute all of the prisoners in the prison halls.  When they defied, the executioners decided set fire to the building and burn them alive. That night, about 1 500 people were killed. Only 30 of the inmates survived.

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http://www.muzeumtradycji.pl/1-historia/?lang=en

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https://germanwarcrimes1939.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-nazi-german-massacre-in-prison.html

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2019 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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