Meseritz

Name of the camp
Meseritz
Commandant of the camp
Unknown
Number of SS Guards
Unknown. Estimated 15.
Work type
Forestry work
Employer
Pszczyna Forestry Authority (Oberforstamt Pless)
Sub camp buildings
Unknown
Number of prisoners
Probably between 20 and 100 male prisoners.
Nationality of prisoners
Probably Jews from Western European countries.
Period of camp existence
Probably no later than October 1942 to probably April 1943.
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
In the early spring of 1943, the prisoners were probably transferred back to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
Not visited
Memorialisation
Unknown
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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 Sub Camp Meseritz

Meseritz sub camp was located at or near the village of Międzyrzecze on highway 931, 11 kilometres West of Oświęcim.

This sub camp was “discovered” after Tiergartenstrasse4Association had finished the site visits and major part of the research. The first mention of this sub camp is in the Hefte von Auschwitz series of periodicals published by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.[1]

Piotr Setkiewicz in his short history of the Meseritz sub camp estimates that the camp was set up no later than mid-October 1942, thus making it the first of the four forestry sub camps. He also estimates the sub camp to have been closed sometime around April 1943. [2]

The existence of the sub camp Meseritz was “discovered” in the hospital registers and health records of the Auschwitz concentration camp. There are no known survivors of this sub camp and no known survivor testimonies. [3] 28 prisoners were recorded in the hospital records as have being sent back to the hospital at Auschwitz from the Meseritz sub camp between the 16th October and 30 November 1942. [4]

The work of the prisoners of the Meseritz sub camp consisted of clearing forest-land, digging up the roots of fallen trees, digging soil and planting small spruce trees. Officially, their employer was the Pszczyna Forest Authority (Oberforstamt Pless). It is likely, as in the case of the sub camp at Kobiór, that the harvested trees, especially branches and the waste material, were used as fuel for burning corpses in the pits of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp where the Sonderkommando 1005 action had begun.[5]

It is possible that an agreement was reached between the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Oberforstamt Pless that in exchange for forestry work by the prisoners, branches and waste material would be transported to Auschwitz for the Sonderkommando 1005 Aktion without cost. From the research work of Tiergartenstrasse4Association on the Kulmhof death camp it is known that in this case the local forestry authority was paid in cash for the wood and material used for the Sonderkommando 1005 action in Chelmno.

From the Auschwitz hospital records the prisoners sent back from the Meseritz sub camp suffered from wounds and injuries to the legs. It is likely that the prisoners sent back to the Auschwitz hospital were gassed. [6]

We currently have no information on where the prisoners of the sub camp Meseritz were accommodated. In the three other Auschwitz forestry sub camps: in sub camp Altdorf prisoners were accommodated in a residential block of flats, in Aussenkommando Kobior a purpose built camp of wooden barracks housed prisoners, in the sub camp Radostowitz prisoners were accommodated in the stable block of the forester´s house. Without visiting the area and talking to locals it is currently not possible to ascertain where the prisoners were accommodated.


[1] Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies. [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.
[2] Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.
[3] Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies  [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.
[4] Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.
[5] Sonderkommando 1005 was the code name given to the coordinated action to excavate and burn the bodies of the victims of Nazi crimes in occupied Poland and the East. Prior to August 1942 victims were buried in mass graves. This included victims of the Nazi occupation of Poland from September 1939 and other Eastern European countries and Jews and other victims killed in the Nazi death camps, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Kulmhof, Maidanek and Auschwitz. Also the victims of the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union. In 1942 the Nazi leadership decided to erase the evidence of their crimes and appointed SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel to lead Sonderkommando 1005. Blobel began his experiments to find the best method to excavate and eradicate the remains of the victims in Kulmhof (Polish Chelmno) in June 1942. By September 1942 he had developed a simple method through the use of field crematorium built in the ground from brick and fuelled with wood, branches and oil. In September 1942 he invited representatives from Auschwitz concentration camp to visit Kulmhof to view these methods. The commanders of Auschwitz themselves were then tasked with implementing Sonderkommando 1005 for the tens of thousands of victims mainly Jews murdered in the so called White and Red bunkers in Auschwitz-Birkenau and buried near the Birkenau camp. It was likely one of the tasks of the Forestry sub camps of Auschwitz to gather wood and branches to be transported to Birkenau and used for fuel to burn the excavated bodies.
[6] Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.
Literature:
Setkiewicz, Piotr, The Kobiór sub camp (Aussenkommando Kobier) and Pszczyna forest Kommandos (Forstkommandos Pless) [in:] Auschwitz Studies [2012] Nr 26, p. 130- 131.

The SS Guard Unit

No information.

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Meseritz

The sub camp of Meseritz was probably dissolved in April 1943.

Memorialisation

Unknown.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Site Visit

As far as we are aware the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum had not visited the site of the former Meseritz sub camp.

Topography of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Meseritz

Location of the Sub Camp Arbeitslager Golleschau

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