Hindenburg

Name of the camp
Hindenburg
Commandant of the camp
SS-Unterscharführer Adolf Tauber
Oberaufseherin Johanna Bormann
Number of SS Guards
Around total 20 guards from the Wachkompanie Monowitz and former Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe men from the 8th Sentry Company Auschwitz and SS-Aufseherinnen.
Work type
Steel Works: Production of trucks to transport armaments in the Donnersmarck steel mill. Also labouring in the Concordia mine.
Employer
Vereinigte Oberschlesische Hüttenwerke AG
Kohlenbergwerk Concordia
Sub camp buildings
Built specifically for the Auschwitz sub camp.
Number of prisoners
Around 450 female and 70 male prisoners.
On 17 January 1945 70 male prisoners and 469 female prisoners (30 December 1944).
Nationality of prisoners
The male prisoners were Jews from the Theresienstadt ghetto. Most of the female prisoners were Polish Jews. There were also 18 Sinti and Roma prisoners. The female functionary prisoners were Slovakian Jews.
Period of camp existence
August 1944 – 19 January 1945
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
19 January 1945
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
June 2006, September 2006, November 2007
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 Donnersmarck Steel Mill and Concordia Mine

In 1828 18 individual mining fields in the area of the future Concordia mine in Zabrze were consolidated and given the name Concordia. The owner was Carl Lazarus Henckel von Donnersmarck. The mine began operations in 1841 and in 1851 was merged with the coal field Michael. In 1873, the mine became the property of Donnersmarckhütte, which already owned other ore and coal fields in the neighbourhood. By 1897 it also owned the coal fields Borsig, Johann August and Maria Anna which were added to the Concordia mine.

Zabrze was renamed Hindenburg in 1915 and remained German after World War I.

The Vereinigte Oberschlesische Hüttenwerke AG was incorporated on 1 October 1925 with a share capital of RM 30,000,000.00. The foundation of the Vereinigte Oberschlesische Hüttenwerke AG signified an important stage in the development of the extremely badly affected heavy steel and coal mining industry in Upper Silesia. The founders “Linke-Hofmann-Lauchhammer”, “Oberbedarf” and “Donnersmarckhütte” contributed in kind for stock the following plants and mines, namely:

  1. “Linke-Hofmann-Lauchhammer A.-G.”: the blast furnace, steel mill and rolling mill Julienhütte in Bobrek, Beuthen district O.-S., the Herminenhütte rolling mill in Laband, Tost-Gliwice district, and the wire and nail works in Gliwice;
  2. “Oberbedarf”: the plant facilities in Gliwice (formerly Huldschinsky Works) including the Blechwarenfabrik, the Stahlröhrenwerke in Gliwice-Stadtwald and the Zawadzki rolling mill (now Andreashütte) in Andreashütte, district of Groß-Strehlitz, and the iron foundry in Grafenweiler;
  3. “Donnersmarckhütte”: the blast furnace works and coke plant as well as iron and tube foundry, iron construction workshops, Kesselschmiede and Maschinenfabrik in Hindenburg O.-S., the Concordia grube in Hindenburg O.-S., including a subfield of the hard coal mine Consolidierte Donnersmarckhütte-Grube, which operationally already belonged to the Concordiagrube. [1]

In 1942 a coke plant was built on the grounds of the Donnersmarckhütte.[2]


[1] http://www.albert-gieseler.de/dampf_de. Original source [Dt Eisenbahnw d Geg (1927) 339] [Handbuch Akt.-Ges. (1943) 6283+5587].
[2] http://www.albert-gieseler.de/dampf_de. Original source [Dt Eisenbahnw d Geg (1927) 339] [Handbuch Akt.-Ges. (1943) 6283+5587].

The Post War History of the Former Donnersmarck Steel Mill and Concordia Mine

In April 1945, the Concordia mine was nationalized and in 1958 merged with the Michael mine to form Ludwik-Concordia. In 1973, there was another merger with the Rokitnica-Mikulczyce mine to form the consolidated Rokitnica mine. Three years later, the Pstrowski mine was added so that all the mines in the north of Zabrze were consolidated into one. The Ludwik (including the former Concordia mine) mine itself was decommissioned in 1994 and part of the mine buildings were demolished.

The History of the Sub Camp Hindenburg

The first group of Auschwitz prisoners to arrive in Hindenburg in August 1944 were approximately 350 Jewish female prisoners from Poland who were transported from Auschwitz II-Birkenau by truck to the area of the Donnersmarckhütte steel works in Hindenburg. In the Autumn of 1944 a further transport of about 150 female Auschwitz prisoners arrived in Hindenburg. [1]

In October 1944 70 male Jewish prisoners arrived from the Theresienstadt ghetto. There were also 18 Roma and Sinti prisoners. The functionary prisoners were Slovakian Jews. [2]

The prisoners were taken to a site near Foundry IV, where several wooden barracks had been built that housed storage rooms, kitchen, and prisoner accommodation. The female prisoners slept approximately 125 to each of the three accommodation barracks. [3] The camp was surrounded by a double row of electrified barbed wire fence. [4] In the four corners, wooden guard towers were built. [5] There was also a sickbay in the camp, staffed by a prisoner doctor. Prisoners too ill to work were transported back to Auschwitz-Birkenau. [6]

The first female prisoners who arrived in the Hindenburg sub camp had to build the washrooms etc. Later a male camp was built on the other side of the electrified barbed wire fence. [7]

The approximately 70 male prisoners worked in the nearby coal mine, Concordia and also with the female prisoners at the Donnersmarck steel plant in the production of trucks to transport armaments. [8]

The prisoners were escorted to work by former Wehrmacht soldiers, most of whom treated the prisoners fairly well. Prisoners working in the steel mill, Donnersmarck, were assigned to different departments. Wilhelm Fuchs testified after the war: “(…) Most of the Jewish women were employed in foundries III and IV. The fourth foundry was a large hall. On the ground floor prisoners worked in the manufacture of trucks for transporting bombs, on the floor (where there were more – about 100) they worked at the lathe… Several prisoners were sent after appropriate vocational training to handle cranes, also some were employed in the transport of sand.” [9]

The treatment of the female prisoners in the sub camp was reasonable compared to other Auschwitz sub camps as recalled by a former prisoner, “I didn’t witness any prisoner deaths in the Hindenburg camp and I hadn’t heard about any such acts. The worst I had seen was Taube giving about 50 blows on the back and hindquarters to a prisoner who was said to have exchanged a letter in the factory with a male worker. Likewise he also cut all the hair of this girl. The whole thing happened early in the morning around 4.00 hrs.”[10]


[1] Rudorff, Andrea, Hindenburg (Zabrze) in Des Ort des Terrors Band 5, Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. C.H.Beck 2007, p 251-252.
[2] Rudorff, Andrea, Hindenburg (Zabrze) in Des Ort des Terrors Band 5, Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. C.H.Beck 2007, p. 251-252.
[3] BA Ludwigsburg B162/15197, p. 77.
[4] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Wilhelm Fuchs, Vol. 50, p. 169.
[5] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Erik Wróblik, Vol. 50, p. 174.
[6] BA Ludwigsburg B162/15197, p. 78.
[7] BA Ludwigsburg B162/15197, p. 145-147.
[8] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Wilhelm Fuchs, Vol. 50, p. 169.
[9] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Wilhelm Fuchs, Vol. 50, p. 169.
[10] BA Ludwigsburg B162/ 15197, p. 77.
Literature:
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hindenburg, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 119-135.

The SS Guard Unit

The Lagerführer of the sub campwas SS- Unterscharführer Adolf Tauber. The guard unit consisted of around 20 SS men, former Wehrmacht soldiers and Aufseherinnen. The three supervisors of the female prisoners were SS-Aufseherin: Oberaufsehrin Johanna Bormann, Wanda Lydia Blida and Gertrude Musioł.[1]


[1] Strzelecka, Irena, Das Nebenlager Hindenburg [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1970] Nr 11, p. 133.
Literature:
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hindenburg, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 119-135.

The SS Guards

References:
BA Ludwigsburg B162/2680, B162/2679 and B162/15197, p. 153.
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
Public Records Office London. First Bergen-Belsen Trial WO 235, 13-24.
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hindenburg, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 119-135.

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Hindenburg

The number of prisoners in the sub camp Hindenburg on the 17th January 1945 was 70.[1] These appear to have been only the male prisoners. The female prisoners numbering around 450 were probably still in the sub camp on 17th January 1945 as we know from the testimony of former prisoner Zygfryd Halbreich that “After arriving in Gliwice, the prisoners from our transport were separated and placed in the Gliwice I and Gliwice II camps,… About 7,000-8,000 people were staying in that camp. Apart from the prisoners from Monowitz, there were also prisoners from various branches of this camp, and about 700 women as well. These women came partly from the Hindenburg camp (Zabrze), which was a branch of Monowitz, and from the Bobrek camp.” [2]

The evacuation of the sub camp Hindenburg took place on 19 January 1945. The male and female prisoners were marched on foot in the direction of Gliwice and arrived at the former Auschwitz sub camp Gleiwitz II. From there the female prisoners were transported in the open goods wagons to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, and subsequently to Bergen-Belsen. Some of the male prisoners were transported from Gleiwitz II to the Buchenwald concentration camp.[3]


[1] Testimony of Otto Wolken 22 June 1945. Viewed 10 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/3755/edition/3736/.
[2] Testimony of Zygfryd Halbreich 9 October 1945. Viewed 10 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/3755/edition/3736/.
[3] Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hindenburg, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 119-135.
Literature:
Strzelecka, Irena, Podobóz Hindenburg, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1969] Nr 11, p. 119-135.

The Post War History of the Former Sub Camp Hindenburg

The immediate post war history of the sub camp is unknown. At the time of the site visit of Tiergartenstrasse4Association the area was being used by various industrial firms.

The Preservation Status of the Former Sub Camp Hindenburg

The Hindenburg sub camp was located along ul Hagera, between ul Kasprowicza in Zabrze. On the left hand side of the former sub camp from ul Hagera there are now allotments. From the main road to the allotments there are a set of brick entrance gate posts of a type seen in other sub camps and camps. It is likely these were the entrance gates to the prisoner of war camp or forced labour camps that existed next to the sub camp and whose prisoners also worked in the Concordia mine. There were two British Prisoner of War Working Party E603 and E725 from Stalag VIIIB 344 Lamsdorf in Hindenburg.[1] It has not been determined whether the prisoners of war worked alongside the Auschwitz prisoners.

The old camp posts are today part of the new fence of this area, where private workshops and enterprises are located. Approximately 100 metres north of the intersection of ul Hagera and ul Kasprowicza there is an unmarked entrance to the former sub camp. In this place there was the main gate, which unfortunately has not survived.

The camp kitchen a single storey brick building has survived. (map reference 5). Inside, the original layout has been preserved, as well as the manufacturers name plates for devices installed there: “Friedrich Menzel, Breslau 17, Frankfurterstrasse 74, Fabrik für Kühl- und Gerfrieranlagen, Eishäuser und Kühlschränke.” There is also a “Rauchen Verboten” (smoking prohibited) sign. It is now used as a workshop. The owner kindly showed us around his premises and the area of the former sub camp.

Behind the fence along ul Hagera are two original prisoner barracks, currently used as warehouses (map reference 1 and 3). After the war they were combined into one building. Of the other two barracks (map reference 2 and 4), only the foundations survive on which new buildings have been built.

The Zabrze steel works, in which prisoners of the Hindenburg sub camp worked, went bankrupt a few years ago and most of the buildings and industrial installations were demolished. Some still survive including the former administrative building. There is a monument to the former steel works in the form of a steel press.

The Concordia mine also closed after the war. At the site of former Concordia mine there is now a small mining museum. There is no information on the former Hindenburg sub camp or the prisoners who worked in the mine. The coke plant still exists in Zabrze owned by the Concord group.


[1] https://www.lamsdorf.com/working-parties.html. Viewed 2 October 2019.

Memorialisation

On the grounds of the former steel works and Concordia mine and the former sub camp, there is no commemoration of the former Auschwitz sub camp Hindenburg.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Site Visit

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum visited the site of the former sub camp on 13 March 1959 but only took four photographs and none of the former sub camp. Whether they were unable to gain access to the steel works and former sub camp is unknown. It appears they did not visit the Concordia mine.

Topography of the Sub Camp Hindenburg

Map of the former Hindenburg sub camp. T4

Location of the Sub Camp Hindenburg

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Photographs

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

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Photographs from Site Visits

A wooden barrack the only remnant of the sub camp. 1959 APMAB 4404
Prefabricated elements produced by prisoners in the sub camp. 1959 APMAB 4405
Main administrative building changed after the war. 1959 APMAB 4406
Fragments of fence visible from the steel works. 1959 APMAB 4403

Tiergartenstrasse4Association Photographs from Site Visits

Other Photographs and Postcards

Sub Camp Documents