Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

Name of the camp
Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager
Commandant of the camp
SS-Oberaufseherin Elfriede Runge
SS-Oberaufseherin Elisabeth Hasse
SS-Oberaufseherin Johanna Bormann
Number of SS Guards
Unknown. Estimated total of 40 SS guards from the Landswirtschaftskompanie of the SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz and SS Aufseherinnen. The SS guards were predominantly Germans and Volksdeutsche from Hungary, Croatia and Czechoslovakia.
Work type
Agriculture: Agricultural labour on an SS farm.
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
Former school building in Bór and then a purpose built camp opposite the male sub camp.
Number of prisoners
On 23 March 1944 455 female prisoners.
Nationality of prisoners
Originally 200 Polish prisoners. Probably a mixture of different nationalities thereafter.
Period of camp existence
April 1943 – Autumn 1944
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
Autumn 1944.
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
June 2006, September 2006, November 2006, March 2007
Memorialisation
On the Przedszkola Publicznego nr 2 (Public Kindergarten No. 2) a granite plaque with an inscription in Polish was erected in 2003. There is 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 he 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, and 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 area 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 Interessengebiet was the availability of male and female prisoners from the Auschwitz concentration camps.[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 camp 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 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] The SS guards were not generally assigned to one of the farm camp permanently but were assigned over time to other farm camps. [8]

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. I sought the workforce for agricultural work 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)[9]
  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.” [10]

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 Interessensgebiet 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).[11]

In April 1941 the Germans deported the inhabitants of the two hamlets Bór and Budy. Budy encompassed an area of 70 hectares and there were 30 buildings. Bór comprised 260 hectares and 70 buildings. This area belonged administratively to the municipality Brzeszcze. [12]

Residents were only able to take their movable property, excluding farm machinery and tools, and were transported to the train station at Auschwitz where they were sent to the General Government. The 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.

Then the Abbruchkommando was sent in to demolish the abandoned houses and farm buildings. Overall about 80% of the buildings in Bór and Budy were demolished. Most of the demolition material was transported to the village of Harmęże, where it was used to build hen houses, while the debris was used in Budy for the foundations of the future subcamp barracks. Wooden parts were used to build barns and guard towers.


[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] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 884, p. 555. Testimony of Josef Gaschler.
[9] Budy, Plawy and Birkenau.
[10] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 885. Testimony of Reinhard Thomsen 15 March 1962.
[11] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 26.
[12] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 26.

The History of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

The sub camp in Budy for female prisoners was established on land situated in the centre of Budy belonging to the displaced Pole, Wincenty Moroń. After the creation of the Interressengebiet the farm in Budy was worked by an Aussenkommando; the Auschwitz prisoners were marched each day to work and then returned in the evening to the main camp.

On April 5, 1943, during a roll call in Auschwitz-Birkenau an SS doctor selected a group of 200 Polish prisoners who were deemed capable of hard work in the fields. On the same day they were taken to the former school building in Budy, which had previously housed the women’s Strafkompanie. [1]

The Budy Frauenlager was further expanded in the second half of 1944 with the erection of several wooden barracks and a fence. The camp was located opposite the male sub camp in Budy along ul Borowa and ul Łagodna, which formed the inner street of the Frauenlager. At the end of this street was also the main entrance to the camp.

The Frauenlager was surrounded by a single row of concrete posts hung with barbed wire that was not connected to the high-voltage network. Five wooden guard towers were set up around the camp.

Within the fence of the sub camp there were three one-story brick houses (map reference III C,D,E) located on ul Borowa. Two of them were inhabited by SS men, while in the the third there was a sick room, a pharmacy and a medicine warehouse. In the fourth house located at ul Łagodna, a camp kitchen and food storage were arranged (map reference III 1).

Two wooden barracks for prisoners (map reference III I,II), as well as toilets (map reference III 3) were erected. Within the Frauenlager there was also a granary where SS guards lived.[2] Water was not readily available to the prisoners in the camp, “Later, I was designated for the kommando working at Budy. Since where we lived there was no water, and we would pass a moat on our way, myself and some fellow prisoners dashed toward the moat to collect some water. Then, we heard the purr of a motorcycle and gunshots. It was defendant Szczurek who had fired. He started to shout at the guards for letting us collect water and fan out near the forest, which could have enabled an escape. The guards unleashed dogs on us, and several women were torn to pieces, the death toll being eight.” [3]

Maria Nowakowska a former prisoner in Budy witnessed many brutal floggings of prisoners, “From around mid-July until the end of August 1942 I worked in the Landwirtschaft commando (farming work detail) in Budy. This is where I first met Lagerführer (head of the camp) Aumeier, whom I recognized upon confrontation in the Central Prison in Krakow. Aumeier came in a car on Saturday or Sunday every week to conduct roll calls – in the evenings after work on Saturdays, and around noon on Sundays. During these roll calls, female prisoners received punishments by flogging. The women had to lie down on wooden racks and lift up their dresses to have their bare skin thrashed. As the SS men struck with whips, Aumeier often gave orders to hit harder whenever he noticed some of the SS men not hitting hard enough, since some of them were not keen on carrying out this task. Having received the flogging, prisoners had to go back to their usual tasks. I looked at the beaten prisoners and saw that their bodies were not only bruised but also bleeding, as their skin had been cut. Flogging was comprised of 25 or 50 lashes. Aumeier’s behaviour showed that he wanted the punishment to be carried out meticulously. In one instance, a prisoner suffering from sciatica or arthritis was carried outside and subjected to flogging.”[4] 

Initially there were approximately 50 female prisoners in the Frauenlager but this was increased over time to approximately 450 prisoners.

Even after the establishment of the Frauenlager, Arbeitskommandos came daily to work at the farm in Budy from Auschwitz II-Birkenau including Arbeitskommando Nr.7 Pöllmann. This Arbeitskommando was named after its commander and existed from the beginning of 1943 to January 1945. [5] 


[1] Zięba, Anna, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr 10, p. 91.
[2] Description of the sub camp based on: Anna Zięba, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr. 10, p. 83-95, APMAB. Inspection of the area of the former sub-camp in Budy by Tiergartenstrasse4Association between 2006-2008.
[3] Testimony of former Auschwitz prisoner Michalina Jędrusiak. Testimony viewed 10 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/3150/edition/3131/content.
[4] Testimony of former Auschwitz prisoner Maria Nowakowska 30 September 1947. Testimony viewed 10 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/3474/edition/3455/content.
[5] StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bu 881, p. 56-58.
Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr. 10, pp. 83-95.

The SS Guard Unit

The female overseers of the Frauenlager were successively SS-Oberaufseherin Runge, SS-Oberaufseherin Elisabeth Hasse, and then SS-Oberaufseherin Johanna Bormann.


Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr. 10, p. 83-95.

The SS Guards

References:
StA Ludwigsburg StAL EL 317 VI_Bü 897, p. 1325-1326.
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.
Zięba, Anna, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr. 10, p. 83-95

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

So far, little is known about the evacuation of the female sub camp at Budy. Probably the prisoners in the Autumn of 1944 were taken on several transports to camps located within the Third Reich, where they worked in munitions factories.


Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Wirtschaftshof Budy, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1967] Nr. 10, p. 83-95.

The Post War History of the Former Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

After the war the wooden barracks and barns were dismantled possibly for emergency housing. The residential buildings were reoccupied and the area of the former sub camp was retained as farmland or converted into residential buildings.

The Preservation Status of the Former Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

The remains of the Wirtschaftshof Budy sub camp and Strafkompanie are today administratively located within the Brzeszcze commune. Driving along the road No. 933 from Oświęcim to Brzeszcze, after the village of Rajsko, turn right into ul Budy (which behind the railway track Brzeszcze-Oświęcim changes its name to Bór). This street leads to sioła Bór, which in the form of a circle marks out the streets: ul Bór, ul Grzybowa, and ul Borowa. The streets of ul Łagodna, ul Harmęska and ul Odległa lead off them. Within these streets are the remains of the Budy male and female sub camps. The Strafkompanie was located about 1 km west on ul Bór, which leads to the village of Harmęże.

At the intersection of ul Bór and ul Borowa and ul Harmęska, a fragment of the original Frauenlager Budy camp fence has survived. These are several fence posts, buried halfway into the ground. They mark the north-eastern corner of the female section of the Budy sub camp. These columns are damaged with partly or completely loose concrete, from which the reinforcing bars protrude. Several of them have double-threaded steel rods used to mount insulators.

Walking south along ul Borowa on the left you can see the massive old granary building (Map reference III: 23). It is a one-story building with a high attic, covered with a gable roof. This was where the rooms in which lower-ranking SS guards from the Budy camp were accommodated.

To this day, at ul Borowa (III: C, D, E), there are also residential houses in which SS guards from the Wirtschaftshof Budy sub camp lived after the inhabitants had been displaced. They are small, one-story houses, with high attics, covered with a gable roof.

Also surviving behind the residential buildings at ul Łagodna, there is also a small house, which housed the kitchen of the Frauenlager.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Site Visit

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum visited the former site of the Wirtschaftshof and sub camp of Budy on four occasions and took 16 photographs: 5 October 1955, 8 January 1963, 12 January 1968, and 22 March 1993. The 7 photographs from 1968 are of the school building occupied by the Strafkompanie. One of the 1955 photographs (reference 22274-1) shows the concrete foundations for the two wooden barracks. In the background is a large hay barn and in between the remnants of the concrete posts of the fence. One of the 1955 photographs (reference 22273-3) also shows the attic of the former school building where the massacre of prisoners took place

Memorialisation

The fully preserved building is a brick, one story building of the former primary school, and now the Przedszkola Publicznego nr 2 (Public Kindergarten No. 2) It housed the offices of Strafkompanie, living accommodation of the SS-Aufseherinnen and German prisoners, repeat offenders serving as the prisoner camp functionaries. French Jewish women lived in the attic of this building. A granite plaque with the inscription (orginal in Polish) was erected in 2003 on the outside of this building: “W TYM BUDYNKU MIEŚCIŁA SIĘ KARNA KOMPANIA WIĘŹNIAREK KL AUSCHWITZ. GINĘŁY W NIEJ ŻYDÓWKI, POLKI ORAZ WIĘŹNIARKI INNYCH NARODOWOŚCI. W PAŹDZIERNIKU 1942 r. WARTOWNICY SS ORAZ NIEMIECKIE WIĘŹNIARKI FUNKCYJNE BESTIALSKO ZAMORDOWALI OKOŁO 90 WIĘŹNIAREK, GŁÓWNIE ŻYDÓWEK FRANCUSKICH. CZEŚĆ ICH PAMIĘCI!”

(“THIS BUILDING HAD A PENAL COMPANY OF PRISONERS OF KL AUSCHWITZ. JEWISH, POLISH AND PRISONERS OF OTHER NATIONALITIES DIED HERE. IN OCTOBER 1942 SS GUARDS AND GERMAN FUNCTIONAL PRISONERS BEASTILY KILLED ABOUT 90 PRISONERS, MAINLY FRENCH JEWS. HONOUR THEIR MEMORY!”)

Inside the building there is a small room of remembrance dedicated to the memory of all prisoners from the Wirtschaftshof Budy sub camp and Strafkompanie. There is information about the creation of the sub camp, archival photographs, plans and maps as well as illustrations showing the work of prisoners. This is undoubtedly one of the better local exhibitions located in the former sub camps, providing information about the camp and the organisation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex.

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.

Other Photographs / Site Visits

There are seven photographs in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum archive (originals in the Yad Vashem archive) taken by the Bauleitung d. Waffen SS u. Polizei KL Auschwitz showing the construction of new farm buildings. Two photographs (reference 20995-162, 20995-163) show male prisoners working at the construction of a barn. Photograph (reference 20995-165 shows a prisoner speaking to an SS officer during the construction of the barn).

Topography of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

Location of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Frauenlager

TitleCategoryAddressDescriptionLink

Photographs

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

SS Contemporary Photographs

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Photographs from Site Visits

The place where a barrack stood.1955 APMAB 22274 2
Remnants of barn in Budy sub camp in Brzeszcze Bór village. 1993 APMAB 21747 4
Foundations of farm barracks, posts of fence and barn in the background in 1955. APMAB 22274 1
Buildings where SS guards lived. 1955 APMAB 21747 3

Tiergartenstrasse4Association Photographs from Site Visits

Sub Camp Documents

Fahrbefehl. APMAB