Geflügelfarm Harmense

Name of the camp
Geflügelfarm Harmense
Commandant of the camp
SS-Untersharführer Bernhard Glaue
SS-Rottenführer Xaver Franz Eidenschinkt
SS-Aufseherin Marie Rendel (supervisor of the female prisoners)
Number of SS Guards
Unknown. Estimated 15 SS guards from the Landswirtschaftskompanie of the SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz. Predominantly Germans and Volksdeutsche from Poland, Romania, Hungary and Lithuania.
Work type
Agriculture: Female Prisoners: Agricultural labour on an SS farm: raising poultry, rabbits, and cleaning the ponds.
Male Prisoners: Responsible for fish feeding, sorting, fishing and stocking ponds. Also laboratory work studying the breeding of fish.
Employer
Auschwitz concentration camp until February 1942
Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S from February 1942
SS-WVHA/Amt W V; Land-, Forst- und Fischwirtschaft from February 1942
Sub camp buildings
The former Gustav Zwilling villa was taken over to accomodate prisoners.
Number of prisoners
Around 70 male prisoners who were transferred to the Budy sub camp in 1943 and marched daily to work in Harmęże. 50 female prisoners housed in Harmęże.
Nationality of prisoners
Female Prisoners: Jewish prisoners from Slovakia and a dozen German Jehovas Witnesses.
Male Prisoners: Initially Poles, later in addition to the Poles, prisoners from Germany, the Soviet Union, Romania, France and Czechoslovakia.
Period of camp existence
December 1941 – 18 January 1945
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
18 January 1945. The prisoners after the death march to Wedzisław Śląski were transported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
June 2006, September 2006 and March 2007
Memorialisation
On the outside of the school building in Harmęże a plaque was erected on 22 April 2006 with an inscription in Polish. There is also an information board at the entrance to Auschwitz II-Birkenau erected by the Polish population of the former Interessengebiet in April 2001.
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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 Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S

The development of the agricultural economy in the vicinity of the Auschwitz camp, SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler himself had prioritized. He was a farmer by profession, and even before the war had ordered the establishment of concentration camp farms (for example, in Dachau the plantation farming of herbs and also gardening). In November 1940, the Auschwitz camp commandant, Rudolf Höss gave Himmler a verbal report on the development of the Auschwitz concentration camp. He presented all of the difficulties encountered during the establishment of the camp and the further development of the camp. The meeting was also attended by the head of the office, III D (Agriculture, Forestry, Handicrafts), SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich Vogel. [1] It was known that Himmler did not like to listen to the complaints of his subordinates; Höss mentions in his diary: “Interest by him (Himmler) was increased when I started talking about the entire area and explained the plans. Changed immediately. He was greatly interested in the plan and gave instructions one after another and noted down everything that was to be built on the land. Auschwitz is to be the agricultural experimental station for the East. There are opportunities which we have not had yet in Germany. … Every agricultural discipline needed to be there. They are to create branches of the great laboratories for plant breeding. Breeding cattle of all breeds and types is required. Vogel is to immediately source experts. Clean ponds, recover land, build embankments along the Vistula River (…). In the near future he wants to see everything in Auschwitz. They further discussed their plans for the agricultural area to the smallest detail, until the adjutant on duty told them there were important people, he was to meet who had been waiting for a long time.” [2]

Implementation of these plans gained momentum after the first visit by Himmler to Oświęcim on March 1, 1941. During the visit and inspection of the Auschwitz camp Heinrich Himmler was accompanied by SS officers from the camp but also Gauleiter of Upper Silesia SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Bracht, Obergruppenführer Ernst Schmauser, SS-Oberführer Glücks, leaders from the district and leading representatives of IG Farben. After the visit to the camp and its surrounding Interest Area (Interessengebiet) Himmler ordered Höss as follows: a) expand the Auschwitz camp to a capacity of 30,000 prisoners, b) build in the village of Brzezinka, a second camp for 100,000 prisoners of war, c) support the planned construction of industrial plants on land provided for IG Farben at Dwory near Oświęcim, and provide about 10,000 prisoners, d) develop the whole Interessengebiet, especially for agriculture and livestock.[3]

This Interessengebiet was large, covering about 40 square kilometres and before the war had been partly farmed by Poles. Adverse soil and climatic conditions, made the area ideal for experimenting on improvements in farming techniques that could be used in ecologically fragile areas in the East. A huge advantage of undertaking such a large agricultural experiment in the Auschwitz Interresengebiet was the availability of male and female prisoners from the Auschwitz concentration camp. [4]

In February 1942 a new department named the Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S was created headed by SS-Obersturmbandführer Joachim Caesar.[5] Caesar reported to the head of the newly created SS-WVHA/Amt W V; Land-, Forst- und Fischwirtschaft, SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich Vogel. Certain day to day administration functions of the farming camps remained with Auschwitz. With the administrative changes in Auschwitz in the Autumn of 1943 the day to day administration of the Interessengebiet came under the authority of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. [6]

The farming camps of Auschwitz had their own guard unit named the Landswirtschaftskompanie of the SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz. The SS guards were assigned from the Landswirtschaftskompanie of the SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz to each individual farm for guard duty. The Landswirtschaftskompanie was made up of men from the 9/ SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz and later the 2.Stabskompanie/ SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz. The first head of the Landswirtschaftskompanie was SS Hauptsturmführer Thomsen. His successor was Hauptsturmführer Ziemssen. Thomsen was the deputy and adjutant to the chief of the Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S, Dr Caeasar. The Spiess of the Landswirtschaftskompanie was SS Hauptsturmführer Becker. The company headquarters of the Landswirtschaftskompanie was first at the experimental station in Rajsko. Later it was moved to the SS barracks in Auschwitz I. By the Autumn of 1944 there were approximately 300 men in the Landswirtschaftskompanie. [7]

Reinhard Thomsen described the creation of Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S and Landswirtschaftskompanie in post war testimony, “ As I came to Auschwitz in May 1940 the camp was still being built up. My task from the beginning and thereafter was to build up the agricultural department and subsequently get the Auschwitz agriculture operational. This seemed necessary in particular because the Poles in the immediate vicinity of the camp were to be resettled and the fields would therefore lie fallow. The idea for setting up a special Landwirtschaftbetriebe of the camp could have come from the commandant Höss, as he was strongly interested in agricultural matters. The workforce for agricultural work I sought first from the Wachkompanien. At the beginning under my leadership were only SS. After, sometime, in the spring or summer of 1941 my department was given prisoners for use as workers. The entire area was split up into departments:

  1. Poultry farm (Harmense)
  2. Fish Farming (also in Harmense)
  3. A forest department
  4. A sheep farm (but after a short time this was closed as it did not pay)
  5. A nursery (Rajsko)
  6. A tree nursery
  7. Three agricultural areas (Budy, Broszkowitz)[8]
  8. A plant research station (in Rajsko. This was set up as a kind of secret department under Dr Caesar) 

The prisoners that worked for the different agricultural departments were at first brought from the Auschwitz main camp to their workplace and in the evening brought back. When in early 1942 Dr. Caesar came to Auschwitz and took over the leadership of the agricultural department the prisoners assigned to agricultural work were withdrawn and were brought to barracks at their workplace.” [9]

From the 7th April 1941 to 12th April 1941 (and in the case of Pławy 8 March 1941) the Germans resettled the population from the villages in the Interessengebiet that were to be used as farms: Babice (in German Babitz), Brzezinka (in German Birkenau), Harmęże (in German Harmense), Rajsko (In German Raisko) and Pławy (In German Plawy).[10]

The residents were only able to take their movable property, excluding farm machinery and tools, and were transported to the train station at Oświęcim from where they were sent to the General Government. The remaining cattle and farm equipment were taken over by the Auschwitz concentration camp. Only a few people – mostly railroad workers and miners – were allowed to live in the neighbouring villages.


[1] Piper, Franciszek, Zatrudnienie więźniów KL Auschwitz, Oświęcim 1981, p. 188-189.
[2] Autobiografia Rudolfa Hössa, komendanta obozu oświęcimskiego, Warszawa 1989, p. 274.
[3]  Czech, Danuta, Kalendarz wydarzeń w KL Auschwitz, Oświęcim 1992, p. 52.
[4] Lasik, Aleksander, Struktura organizacyjna obozu [in:] Auschwitz 1940-1945. Węzłowe zagadnienia z dziejów obozu, vol. I: Założenie i organizacja obozu, Edit. Wacław Długoborski, Franciszek Piper, Oświęcim 1995, p. 213.
[5] Joachim Caesar, SS-Obersturmbannführer, born. May 30, 1901 in Boppard, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, a member of the NSDAP from 1 September 1931 (No Party: 626,589) and the Allgemeine-SS from 27 June 1933 (Registration No: 74704), to 1 April 1937 was an officer of the Central Office Affairs of the SS Race and Settlement (SS-Rasse-und Siedlungshauptamt, R.u.SHA). From 2 August 1941, employed in the Training Department of the Waffen-SS (Schulungsamt der Waffen-SS), where he was seconded to the Office of Human Resources Recruitment Agency of the Waffen-SS (Ergänzungsamt der Waffen-SS). From 16 February 1942, he was an SS officer in the WVHA assigned as manager of the farms in Auschwitz. From: BDC, personal file of Joachim Caesar.
[6] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 36-38.
[7] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 29.
[8] Budy, Plawy and Birkenau.
[9] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 885. Testimony of Reinhard Thomsen 15 March 1962.
[10] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 26.

The History of the Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

The sub camp Harmense (full name Geflügelfarm Harmense – agricultural farm in Harmęże) was one of the first sub camps of Auschwitz. Originally it was planned in the rural area of Harmęże located about 7 km from the main Auschwitz camp to set up a poultry farm, which would be worked by prisoners from Auschwitz. This work started in April 1941 after the earlier deportation of villagers.

The first male Auschwitz prisoners began conversion work on the farm, demolishing abandoned houses and levelling the land. Using the materials from the demolished houses they built several buildings to house poultry. Prisoners working in this Aussenkommando had to march the 7 km from the main camp to work and then in the evening the 7 km back. Due to the loss of working time, Auschwitz decided to create a sub camp in Harmęże. On December 8, 1941 the Kommando made up of some 50 prisoners was accommodated in the former villa of Gustav Zwilling (map reference 1).[1]

The villa was surrounded by barbed wire. In the four corners of the cordoned off area four primitive guard towers were built, from which the SS guards surveyed the camp. The living accommodation for the SS guards was located on the first floor. In a segregated part separated by a metal grate lived the prisoners, who were divided into four Kommandos: poultry, rabbits, fish and the carpenters and masons. The prisoners were dressed in normal striped prisoner clothing. Soup for lunch was delivered daily from the main Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, while breakfast and dinner they had to prepare themselves. [2]

In June 1942, the first group of female prisoners were transferred to the sub camp of Harmense. Ravensbrück concentration camp in the summer of 1942 held a course in raising poultry. On completion of the course some of the the prisoners from the course were transferred to Auschwitz and hence to the Wirtschaft Harmense. [5] The first prisoners were mostly Poles brought from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, Jewish prisoners from Slovakia and a dozen German Jehovas Witnesses. There were a total of about 50 prisoners and the number remained constant until the evacuation of the sub camp in January 1945.

The prisoners were quartered in the so called villa of Gustav Zwilling : “In the white palace with columns (…) on the ground floor there was an office, a kitchen for us and poultry, and two large rooms. In one of them, the combing and cutting of rabbits and plucking and cleaning of the wool took place. In the second was winter storage for animals, and in particular cabbage was stored. Here, too, on rainy and winter days, the men’s kommando ate dinner and in a row lay on the black mud floor, where they also spent the lunch break. On the first floor there were rooms for the SS men and us, with iron bars on the windows and doors. It was a sleeping room with three-storied beds and a very cramped dining room, in which friends usually formed of national groups, stayed together during meals and after the evening roll-call, when the door was slammed shut and the windows were blacked out. Sanitary facilities were very primitive. In 1942 – the sleeping room was like a prison cell. To maintain personal cleanliness, including washing for 60 persons, we had 6 buckets of water. That’s how much water was in the tank. Our linen was black from the traces of fleas and lice. Gradually, these issues were improved and in the spring of 1944, on the ground floor of the palace, sewage, a water heater, a wash basin and showers were installed, which the prisoners were allowed to use once a week. The dining room was also transferred to the ground floor. Everywhere was clean and there was order, for which the assigned prisoner Antonina Kozubek was responsible.” [3]

The prisoners worked with the poultry and at cleaning the fish ponds. The latter in particular was extremely arduous work, as the women were forced to wade into the cold and deep water. In Harmęże were kept:

  1. Hens (map references 7, 10-14),
  2. Pheasants (map reference 5),
  3. Ducks (map references 8,15),
  4. Turkeys (map reference 19),
  5. Coypu (map reference 17).

Even after the establishment of the Harmense sub camp, Arbeitskommandos marched daily from Auschwitz II-Birkenau to Harmęże including Arbeitskommando Mokrus and Arbeitskommando Sinschkowski. [4]


[1] Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007, p.8.
[2] Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007, p. 8-9.
[3] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Waleria Zabielska-Langowa, Vol. 48, p. 102 – 103.
[4] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 882, p. 301. 
[5] Piper, Franciszek, Auschwitz Prisoner Labor, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 2002, p. 321.

 

Literature:
Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007.
Zięba, Anna, Geflügelfarm Harmense. Farma hodowlana Harmęże, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 37-67.

The Kommando Fischerei of Geflügelfarm Harmense

On July 17, 1942 the sub camp in Harmęże was visited by SS-Reichsführer Himmler. Shortly before this visit, the Auschwitz camp authorities had reorganized the sub camp in Harmęże. The work of the female prisoners in the Gustav Zwilling villa was moved to the former schoolhouse adapted as a duck hatchery (map reference 8). The female prisoners however still lived in the Gustav Zwilling villa (map reference 1). The Kommando Fischerei moved to the edge of the village to a house vacated by the farmer Juliusz Psota where it was accommodated. A fish smoking shed was also created in an annex of the former farmhouse.

The Kommando Fischerei (Fishing Kommando[1]) comprised approximately 24 to 26 prisoners and this remained constant until the end of 1944. When originally created the Kommando Fischerei was utilised Polish prisoners. Later in addition to Polish prisoners there were also Germans, Soviets, Romanians, French and Czechs. [2]

The Kommando Fischerei was quartered in the brick house of Juliusz Psota, a displaced farmer from Harmęże. It also housed the administration of the Harmense fish farm. There were several rooms on the ground floor. In the largest of them, accommodation was arranged for prisoners of the Kommando Fischerei. The windows in this room were barred; also the entrance door was equipped with a grille which was locked with a padlock at night. Inside the prisoner room, bunk beds were set up. In addition to the prisoner room, on the ground floor were also: the Schreibstube, latrines, laboratory, smokehouse, kitchen and a warehouse for wood. On the first floor, there was the office of SS-Unterscharführer Rudolf Martin, who was the manager of the fish farm and the head of the Kommando Fischerei. The SS guards who oversaw the Kommando Fischerei: SS-Sturmann Traugt Thran, SS-Unterscharführer Oskar Peschel, SS-Sturmann Hansen Hans, SS-Unterscharführer (?) Werner and SS-Oberscharführer Walenty Ludwig. In addition, there were two or three SS men who performed the function of guards, guarding the building in which prisoners lived and worked.

The permanent Kommando Fischerei was employed at the fish farms at the ponds in Nazieleńce, Harmęże and Pławów with a total area of ​​380 ha of water. Prisoners were responsible for feeding fish, sorting them, fishing and restocking ponds. In addition, work was carried out in a laboratory where soil, water vegetation, water temperature in the ponds and soil, water status, microbes and fish diseases were studied. Former Auschwitz prisoner Aleksander Kalczyński was employed as a draftsman: “(…) I made temperature charts, various fish charts, highlighting in colour all of the illnesses and degenerations, accretions inside and outside of the fish. For this work I used a microscope and drew (the samples) from living fish. With Rybka we recorded temperatures and atmospheric precipitation from meteorological points, of which there were three on the fish farm. The first point was near the crematoria in Brzezinka, the second at the ponds in Harmęże, the third in Nazieleńce. The thermometers were mobile, after immersing them in water and measuring the temperature, we placed them in a designated place. An SS man always escorted us to these places.” [3]

In 1942, Bolesław Lewandowski was the Kapo of the Kommando Fischerei, followed by Mieczysław Lenartowicz. The Schreiber of the Kommando was a Czech prisoner Rudolf Rybka (No. 35667). He made reports on the state of employment every day.

Prisoners washed in a stream flowing near the house where they lived. Meals were brought from the Auschwitz main camp but the prisoners also organized additional food – fish, fruits from abandoned orchards, and eggs from a Kommando employed on the chicken farms. Additional quantities of food provided the opportunity to obtain other products, which were shared not only by the members of the Kommando Fischerei. Aleksander Kalczyński recalled: “Our commando smuggled large amounts of fish to the camp in Oświęcim and Brzezinka. Prisoners took (away) fish in shoes and brazenly in the cauldrons in which food was provided to us. In exchange for the fish, they also brought medicine, mostly Mitigal for scabies. Mitigal and other medicines our colleagues Ryszard Nalewajka, Mieczysław Lenartowicz, Lucjan Włodarczyk delivered to their friends to Birkenau (…). At the same time, they brought messages from the main camp with the medicines.” [4]

Sick prisoners were transferred back to the main Auschwitz camp and in their place were sent healthy prisoners.

In 1941, the human ashes from the crematorium at Auschwitz were dumped into the fishponds in Harmęże. The ashes were poured directly into the ponds, or used to stabilise the bottom of the pond, from which water had previously been drained. Often inmates performing this work found the burnt remains of various objects – frames of glasses, burnt jaw bones with teeth among the ashes.[5]

In the summer of 1943, the prisoners of the Kommando Fischerei were transferred to the male Auschwitz sub camp in Budy. Daily from Budy they marched on foot to work in Harmęże.


[1] Information about the Kommando Fischerei in the sub camp Harmense comes from the testimony of former prisoner Aleksander Kalczyński – see: APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, Vol. 50, p. 9-14.
[2] List of prisoners who were memers of the Kommando Fischerei – the list is from the testimony of Aleksander Kalczyński – see: APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, Vol. 50, p. 10-11:
Królikowski Jan                                No 35492
Barcik Wincenty                               No 35387
Banachowski Stanisław                      No 35366
Bieniek Jan
Będkowski Władysław                       No 35692
Rybka Rudolf                                               No 35667
Miaśkiewicz Marian                           No 15279
Wierzejewski Bolesław                      No 31359
Lenartowicz Mieczysław                     No 3365
Włodarczyk Lucjan                            No 2748
Nalewajka Ryszard                             No 9506
Bielecki Jerzy
Gawron Wincenty                              No 11237
Kalczyński Aleksander                        No 25055
Struciński Józef                                 No 2902
Wiśniewski Ryszard                          No 2678
Szewczyk Grzegorz                            No 2989
Dr Scheer Diethelm                            No 11111
Prof. Gerson Maks
Kamiński Konstanty                           No 1902
Lewandowski Bolesław                      No 15500
Twardowski Franz (Niem.)
Żyd bez ręki (Niem.)
Słodowiak Andrzej (Rosj.)
Grunberg (Rumun.)
Tyrschwald Josek (Holand.)
Kozibiak Józef
Karnawski Izydor
Heinz (Franc.)
Lebrum Alfred
Sosnowski Jerzy
Prof. Liszycki
Waligóra                              (unknown names)
Polaczek                                          „
Sławek                                            „
[3] Information about the Kommando Fischerei in the sub camp Harmense comes from the testimony of former prisoner Aleksander Kalczyński – see: APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, Vol. 50, p. 9-14.
[4] Information about the Kommando Fischerei in the sub camp Harmense comes from the testimony of former prisoner Aleksander Kalczyński – see: APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, Vol. 50, p. 9-14.
[5] Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim 2007, p. 9.
Literature:
Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007.
Zięba, Anna, Geflügelfarm Harmense. Farma hodowlana Harmęże, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 37-67.

The SS Guard Unit

The first Lagerführer of sub camp Harmense was SS-Unterscharführer Bernard Glau, who remained until April 1942. He was replaced by SS-Rottenführer Franz Xaver Eidenschinkt. SS-Rottenführer Wenke was his deputy. [1] Supervisor of the female prisoners was German Marie Rendel.

The SS guard unit was split between the male and female camps and were often changed. [2]


[1] BA Ludwigsburg B162/15193, p. 134.
[2] BA Ludwigsburg B162 15193, p. 135.

The SS Guards - Frauenabteilung

References:
BA Ludwigsburg B162/15193, p169-170.
Zppw-auschwitz.pl Zwiazek Polaków Pomordowanych w Auschwitz. List of 8,500 SS men in KL Auschwitz.
BA Ludwigsburg B162/2679 and B162/2680.
Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007.
Zięba, Anna, Geflügelfarm Harmense. Farma hodowlana Harmęże, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 37-67.
IPN database of Auschwitz SS guards. https://truthaboutcamps.eu/th/form/60,Zaloga-SS-KL-Auschwitz.html.

The SS Guards - Männerabteilung

References:
BA Ludwigsburg B162/15193, p. 169-170.
Zppw-auschwitz.pl Zwiazek Polaków Pomordowanych w Auschwitz. List of 8,500 SS men in KL A6uschwitz.
BA Ludwigsburg B162/2679 and B162/2680.
IPN database of Auschwitz SS guards. https://truthaboutcamps.eu/th/form/60,Zaloga-SS-KL-Auschwitz.html.
Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007.
Zięba, Anna, Geflügelfarm Harmense. Farma hodowlana Harmęże, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 37-67.

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

The evacuation of the sub camp Geflügelfarm Harmense was ordered for 18 January 1945. The prisoners escorted by SS guards marched out of the camp and were attached to the other columns of prisoners evacuated from Auschwitz II-Birkenau. They marched via Brzeszcze and Pszczyna to Wodzisław Śląski, from where they were transported by rail to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.


Literature:
Cyra, Adam, Podobóz KL Auschwitz w Harmężach, Oświęcim, 2007.
Zięba, Anna, Geflügelfarm Harmense. Farma hodowlana Harmęże, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 37-67.

The Post War History of the Former Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

After the war, the Poles returned to Harmęże mostly living in surviving buildings of the sub camp and farms. New houses were gradually built. Today, the village has about 160 houses. Also immediately after the war, the former Zwilling villa was rebuilt and is now used as a primary school which still operates today.

The Preservation Status of the Former Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

After the war, the former Poles returned to Harmęże mostly living in surviving buildings of the sub camp and farms. New houses were gradually built. Today, the village has about 160 houses. Also immediately after the war, the former Zwilling villa was rebuilt and is now used as a primary school which still operates today (map reference 1). The school was named after Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe in 2000. The school has a small permanent exhibition on Maximilian Kolbe. In 1941/42, prisoner number 432 – Marian Kołodziej – worked in Harmęże cleaning the ponds. Copies of some of the paintings of Maximilian Kolbe by this prisoner are in the small exhibition in the school.

The main buildings of the sub camp sub camp Geflügelfarm Harmense and farm still exist, although they have been renovated.

The hatchery where the female prisoners worked is now used as a business premises (map reference 8).

The fishponds where the Kommando Fischerei worked are unchanged since the war. Many of the hen houses have been adapted as garden sheds for houses built after the war. The former Psota house remains much as it was.

Some remnants of the concrete posts probably used to surround the places of work and accommodation remain.

Memorialisation

Also immediately after the war, the former Zwilling villa was rebuilt and is now used as a primary school which still operates today (map reference 1). The school was named after Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe in 2000. The school has a small permanent exhibition on Maximilian Kolbe. In 1941/42, prisoner number 432 – Marian Kołodziej – worked in Harmęże cleaning the ponds. Copies of some of the paintings of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe by this prisoner are in the small exhibition in the school.

On the outside of the school building a plaque was erected on 22 April 2006 with an inscription in Polish: “W kwietniu 1941 roku niemieccy okupanci przymusowo wysiedlili mieszkancow Harmęż I na tym terenie zalozylipodoboz KL Auschwitz.” (In April 1941, German invaders forcibly deported the inhabitants of Harmęnse and in this area founded a sub camp of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp)

There is also an information board at the entrance to Auschwitz II-Birkenau erected by the Polish population of the former Interessengebiet in April 2001.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Site Visit

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum made three visits to the site of the former sub camp Geflügelfarm Harmense. On these visits on 5 October 1955, 1965/1966, and 22 March 1993 they took photographs of the remnants of the buildings of the sub camp, fishponds and farms including:

  1. “Palace where originally the male prisoners were accommodated, later female prisoners.” (photo reference 21639/5(map reference 1),
  2. “Building of the hatchery and the rooms for ducks.” (photo reference 21746/1) (map reference 8),
  3. “Fragment of Psoty house – in this annex was the smokehouse.” (photo reference 21746/7),
  4. “Hen houses.” (photo reference 22 273/4),
  5. “Fence from the the time of the sub camp. In the background hen houses.” (photo reference 22 273/10),
  6. “Fishponds where the female prisoners from Harmense worked.” (photo reference 21 639/1).

Topography of the Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

Location of the Sub Camp Geflügelfarm Harmense

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Photographs

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

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Photographs from Site Visits

Tiergartenstrasse4Association Photographs from Site Visits

Other Photographs and Postcards

Former Zwilling villa now a primary school 3062
Former Zwilling villa now a primary school 3061
Former Zwilling villa now a primary school 3060

Sub Camp Documents

Yearly report of Zentralbauleitung der Waffen SS u Polizei Auschwitz. 1943 IPN GK 196 101 0015
Yearly report of Zentralbauleitung der Waffen SS u Polizei Auschwitz. 1943 IPN GK 196 101 0014
Fahrbefehl. APMAB
APMAB 769 17