Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

Name of the camp
Arbeitslager Hohenlinde
Other Name of the camp
Lager Nr 4923
1028 Gemeinschaftslager Steinhof Kreis Kattowitz O/S
Gefangen- und Zivilarbeiterlager der Hubertushütte
Fremdarbeiterlager
Commandant of the camp
SS-Unterscharführer Josef Eckert
Number of SS Guards
Approximately 40 SS men. Predominantly Germans and Volksdeutsche from the Wachkompanie Monowitz.
Work type
Steel Works: Labouring in the Hubertus steel mill.
Employer
Königs- und Bismarckhütte AG part of Berg- und Hüttenwerksgesellschaft Teschen (Berghütte)
Sub camp buildings
Former forced labour camp for POWs and civilians.
Number of prisoners
Around 200 male prisoners. 17 January 1945 202 prisoners.
Nationality of prisoners
Mainly Jewish from Greece, Italy, The Netherlands and Poland
Period of camp existence
December 1944 – 19 January 1945
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
On 19 January 1945 the prisoners were evacuated to Gliwice, and later to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
June 2006 and November 2006
Memorialisation
No known memorial.
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The History

The history of the companies and the places prisoners worked, the sub camps, the SS guards and memorialisation of the sites.

The History of the Hubertus Steel Mill

The former Hubertushütte is one of the oldest steel mills in Silesia. In the spring of 1857 the industrial magnate Hubertus von Thiele-Winckler, who owned the mine Florentine and the galvanizing plant, Życzenie Marii[1], planned to utilise the rich deposits of iron ore in the area of Tarnowitz (Polish Tarnowskie Góry) and built a new steel plant. [2]

The new steel plant was constructed in the years 1857-1859 in Łagiewniki Górne near the mine, Florentine. The steel mill began operations on 1 May 1859, and was named Hubertus after its founder. [3]

During the nineteenth century the mill was constantly expanded with new furnaces, workshops, cranes, steam boilers etc being added. In 1899 the construction of an open hearth furnace was completed. [4]

At the beginning of the twentieth century Hubertus grew further. It was favoured by two factors: firstly the general development of Upper Silesia and secondly the prosperity derived from the booming armaments industry in the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War.[5]

After the First World War in 1922, this part of Upper Silesia became part of Poland and the steel works passed into Polish hands, as the Katowicka Spółka Akcyjna dla Górnictwa i Hutnictwa, including the Hubertus smelting works in Łagiewniki and the Marta smelting works in Katowice.[6]

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War there were four conglomerates in Poland including Wspólnota Interesów dla Katowickiej S.A. i Zjednoczonych Hut Królewska i Laura which owned: Huta Piłsudski (formerly Huta Królewska), Huta Laura, Huta Zgoda, Mechanical Workshops at the Huta Królewska. Factories manufacturing Fitzner screws and rivets in Siemianowice, Huty Bismarck, Huta Falva, Huta Silesia and Huta Hubertus. [7]

After the occupation of Poland in 1939, Hubertushütte was taken over by Interessengemeinschaft für Bergbau und Eisenhüttenbetrieb. From 1940 to 1942 Hubertushütte was owned by I.G. Betriebsgruppe Bismarckhütte.[8]

In 1942, after the reorganization of the steel mill Hubertushütte it became part of the Berghütte concern (Berg- und Hüttenweksgesellschaft Teschen) and the company Königs-und Bismarckhütte Aktiengesellschaft – Königshütte Ost. The company Königs-und Bismarckhütte Aktiengesellschaft – Königshütte Ost owned the following steelworks: Bankhütte (Steelworks Bank), Bismarckhütte (Steelworks Batory), Falvahütte (Steelworks Florian), Hubertushütte (Steelworks Zygmunt), Katharinahütte (Steelworks Buczka M.), Königshütte (Steelworks Kosciuszko), Laurahütte (Steelworks Unity), Milowitzhütte (Steelworks Milowice) and Silesiahütte (Steelworks Silesia).

During World War II Hubertus mainly produced castings for submarine hulls and chassis and cannons for Tiger tanks. Near the mill was a firing range where they tested the finished cannons.


[1] Original German name unknown.
[2] Kronika Huty “Zygmunt” 1857-1986, praca zbiorowa w maszynopisie, Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna Bytom-Łagiewniki, p. 17.
[3] Kronika Huty “Zygmunt” 1857-1986, praca zbiorowa w maszynopisie, Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna Bytom-Łagiewniki, p. 17.
[4] Kronika Huty “Zygmunt” 1857-1986, praca zbiorowa w maszynopisie, Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna Bytom-Łagiewniki, p. 25.
[5] Kronika Huty “Zygmunt” 1857-1986, praca zbiorowa w maszynopisie, Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna Bytom-Łagiewniki, p. 25.
[6] Jarosz-Nojszewska, Anna, Smelting Industry in the Second Republic http://kolegia.sgh.waw.pl/pl/KES/czasopisma/kwartalnik/Documents/AJN30.pdf Viewed 15 August 2019.
[7] Jarosz-Nojszewska, Anna, Smelting Industry in the Second Republic http://kolegia.sgh.waw.pl/pl/KES/czasopisma/kwartalnik/Documents/AJN30.pdf Viewed 15 August 2019.
[8] Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hubertushütte (Arbeitslager Hohenlinde), [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie 1970 No 12, p. 159.

The Post War History of the Zygmunt (Formerly Hubertus) Steel Mill

After the war the Hubertus steel works was renamed the Zygmunt steel works. In 2000, Huta Zygmunt went bankrupt.[1] In 2004, part of the former steelworks was bought by ArcelorMittal who set up a service centre, dealing with sheet metal processing. [2]


[1] Wojciech Szulc: TRANSFORMACJA POLSKIEGO HUTNICTWA ŻELAZA DO GOSPODARKI WOLNORYNKOWEJ. Gliwice: Instytut Metalurgii Żelaza, 2013.
[2] http://www.parkiet.com/artykul/267655.html. Viewed 19 August 2019.

The History of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

The growing need for labour in the Third Reich forced many enterprises in Upper Silesia including Hubertus to employ as well as civilians, forced labourers, prisoners of war, and Jews. On 25 February 1943, the Board of Königs-und Bismarckhütte AG made a written request to their group management for permission to establish the Hubertshütte camp for forced laborers. The camp was to consist of eight huts and three barracks. The camp was to have a capacity of about 700 workers who were needed for the expansion of tank production. A few days later on March 1, 1943, Dr. Schicketanz signed the authorisation for the construction of the camp. [1]

In the official correspondence the camp was variously referred to as: Camp No. 4923, 1028 Gemeinschaftslager Steinhof, Hohenlinde, Kreis Kattowitz O / S, Gefangen-und Zivilarbeiterlager Hubertushütte, Fremdarbeiterlager. [2]

The camp was built gradually, as more and more forced labourers arrived. The camp was located to the north-west of the smelter, where barracks and huts were erected and the area fenced off with barbed wire. In November 1943 the camp accommodated 432 workers, including 200 Italian military internees. By August 1944, the number of prisoners in the camp was 840, including 107 Poles, 299 Ostarbeiters, 32 Ukrainians, 178 French POWs and 212 Italian military internees. [3]

Due to the increasing need for labour for the further expansion of Hubertusütte, the board of the steel mill in 1944 asked the Central Office of the SS Economic Administration (WVHA) for an allocation of around 1,000 prisoners from Auschwitz.[4]

Preparations for the construction of the sub camp at the mill began in September 1944. This is evidenced by the correspondence between the employment office in Hubertusütte and the main office of Königs-und Bismarckhütte AG. For example requesting trees for the construction of guard towers. Also for single man concrete air bunkers for the SS men serving on the guard towers.

On 20 December 1944 the first and only transport of 200 of the allocated 1,000 prisoners arrived at Hubertushütte. The Auschwitz prisoners were accommodated in a separate part of the already existing forced labour camp, where there was only one wooden barrack for the prisoners, a latrine and a small kitchen hut. Thus this camp was unique amongst the sub camps of Auschwitz in that the prisoners of the concentration camp shared the camp with forced labourers.

Little is known about the prisoners assigned to Hubertushütte. We do know that 64 of the sub camp prisoners had prisoner numbers from the Auschwitz general series in the range 152060-199870. They were prisoners from various countries, mainly of Jewish origin.[5]

They were employed in various parts of the steel mill, for example in the coking plant, loading gravel, and the construction of new production facilities.


[1] Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hubertushütte (Arbeitslager Hohenlinde), [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1970] Nr 12, p. 160. see also: APMAB. Zespół Berghütte, file. 415, p. 100-101.
[2] Strzelecka, Irena, Das Nebenlager Hubertushütte, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1971] Nr 12, p.164.
[3] Strzelecka, Irena, Das Nebenlager Hubertushütte, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1971] Nr 12, p.164.
[4] APMAB. Zespół Berghütte, file. 2224, p. 5.
[5] Strzelecka, Irena, Das Arbeitslager Hubertushütte, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1971] Nr 12, p. 168.
Literature:
Strzelecka, Irena, Das Nebenlager Hubertushütte, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1971] Nr 12, p 161-173
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hubertushütte (Arbeitslager Hohenlinde), [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1970] Nr 12, p. 159-170.

The SS Guard Unit

In the Autumn of 1944 Lagerführer SS-Oberscharführer Josef Eckert, and around 40 SS guards arrived in Łagiewniki to set up the sub camp. The leaders of the camp kitchen were SS-Unterscharführer Pawel Szczurek and SS-Sturmmann Johannes Weber. [1]


[1] Strzelecka, Irena, Das Nebenlager Hubertushütte, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz 1971 No 12, p.166.

The SS Guards

References:
Rudorff, Andrea, Hubertushütte [in] Des Ort des Terrors Band 5, Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. C.H.Beck 2007.p 255 and 256.
BA Ludwigsburg B162/2680 and B162/2679.
Zppw-auschwitz.pl Zwiazek Polaków Pomordowanych w Auschwitz. List of 8,500 SS men in KL Auschwitz.
IPN database of Auschwitz SS guards. https://truthaboutcamps.eu/th/form/60,Zaloga-SS-KL-Auschwitz.html.
Strzelecka Irena, Podobóz Hubertushütte (Arbeitslager Hohenlinde), [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1970] No 12, p. 161-173.

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

On the evening of 18 January 1945 orders were received by the Lagerführer Eckhart to immediately evacuate Arbeitslager Hohenlinde. As the order was received after dark, he decided to start the evacuation at dawn. The SS guards feared that, if they began the evacuation at night many of the prisoners would escape. At. 3.00 hrs, the SS ordered prisoners to gather for a roll call, at which they were informed of the evacuation and were each issued with a piece of bread and margarine. At dawn on January 19, the 200 strong column of prisoners under escort of the SS left the camp and were marched via Chropaczów Lipiny to Gliwice. The column of prisoners arrived in Gliwice the same day at approximately 15.00 hrs. There the column was attached to a transport of prisoners directed to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Based on the records of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen it is known that in February or March 1945, some of the prisoners from the Hohenlinde sub camp were transferred from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.


Literature:
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hubertushütte (Arbeitslager Hohenlinde), [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1970] Nr 12, p. 169-170.

The Post War History of the Former Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

By the time of the site visit of Tiergartenstrasse4Association all the buildings in the area had been demolished. It is not known whether the sub camp buildings were used after the war.

The Preservation Status of the Former Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

The Hubertushütte sub camp was located on the northern edge of the Hubertus steelworks. We had significant difficulty locating the remnants of the camp. To reach the remnants, you go through the main gate of the Zygmunt steelworks, then straight ahead on the factory road towards the main factory halls passing them on the right, a few meters down a slope there is a vast area of foundations, and remnants of the labour and sub camp overgrown with thick bushes and trees.

Although the condition of the former labour and sub camp, can be described as ruinous there are sufficient remains to locate many elements of the former labour and sub camp. It is worth paying attention to the preserved elements of the side gates on the eastern wall of the camp. These are characteristic gate posts made of brick, similar to those seen in the Auschwitz sub camp Gleiwitz II, and on which the wings of the entrance gates were hung. One of them led to the forced labour camp (map reference B), while the other one led to a separate and divided section (map reference C) for the prisoners of the Auschwitz sub camp. There are also traces of the entrance gate at the southern wall of the camp, where forced labourers were marched up the stairs to work in the steelworks. In addition, in the eastern part, several wooden pillars resembling railway sleepers, which possibly formed part of the camp fence, were found. On each of them you can find numerous nails and twisted nails used as hooks to attach the barbed wire. One such pillar still stands at the side gate.

Memorialisation

In the area of the former sub camp, as well as at the Huta Zygmunt there is no form of remembrance of the former Auschwitz sub camp.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Site Visit

As far as we are aware the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum had not visited the Arbeitslager Hohenlinde sub camp.

Other Photographs / Site Visits

There are in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum archive 4 photographs captioned Łagiewniki, Oboz pracy huty Zygmunt. There is also a reference to these photographs being sourced from Yad Vashem. Photograph reference number 12214 is a single sheet of six photographs of what is assumed to be Arbeitslager Hohenlinde sub camp. The photographs look like they were taken some time after the war.

Photograph references 13407, 13408, 13409 are extracted from this sheet of six photographs.

Topography of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

Map of the former Arbeitslager Hohenlinde. T4
Map of the location of the former Hubertus steel works in Bytom. T4
Map of the camps at the former Hubertus steel works. Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Land

Location of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Hohenlinde

TitleCategoryAddressDescriptionLink

Photographs

Taken by the SS, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Tiergartenstraße4Association and other

SS Contemporary Photographs

SS-Unterscharführer Paul Szczurek. APMAB 2001

SS-Unterscharführer Johannes Richard Weber. APMAB 2040

Tiergartenstrasse4Association Photographs from Site Visits

Other Photographs and Postcards

Panorama of the sub camp in 1967. APMAB 13408
Labour camp of the steelworks Zygmunt. APMAB 12214
Fragment of the camp. APMAB 13409
Fragment of fence and barracks for prisoners in 1967. APMAB 13407

Sub Camp Documents