Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie

Name of the camp
Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie
Commandant of the camp
SS-Unterscharführer ?
SS-Oberaufseherin Maria Mandl
SS-Oberaufseherin ElfriedeRunge
Number of SS Guards
Unknown. Estimated 20.
Work type
Agriculture: Agricultural labour on an SS farm
Employer
Auschwitz concentration camp
Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S
SS-WVHA/Amt W V; Land-, Forst- und Fischwirtschaft
Sub camp buildings
Former school building in Bór and other local buildings.
Number of prisoners
In total approximately 400 female prisoners passed through the Strafkompanie.
Nationality of prisoners
Poles, Soviets, Czechs, Yugoslavs and Jews from Slovakia and France.
Period of camp existence
Middle 1942 – April 1943
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
April 1943
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 Budy Strafkompanie

The reason for setting up the Strafkompanie in Budy was the escape of two Polish prisoners, one of which was Janina Nowak (No. 7615) on the 24 June 1942, when part of the female Kommando were gathering hay.

The approximately 200 prisoners of the Aussenkommando were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and subject to “exercises”. The next day all the women of the Aussenkommando had their hair shaved as a punishment, and were transferred to a Strafkompanie. It was located in a former school building in Budy.[1]


[1] Czech, Danuta, Kalendarz wydarzeń w KL Auschwitz, Oświęcim 1992, p. 188-189.

The History of the Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie Camp

The camp of the Strafkompanie in Budy was limited to only four buildings located along ul Bór, opposite the intersection with ul Strażacka. The following facilities were located there:

  1. The brick building of the former school in the hamlet of Bór, in which the ground floor housed the office of the Strafkompanie, the SS-Aufseherinnen apartment and rooms where German Kapos, mainly repeat offenders slept; in the attic, a room was arranged for Jewish prisoners from France, they slept on the floor,
  2. A wooden windowless barrack painted green, in which French Jews and female prisoners of other nationalities, Polish, Soviets, Ukrainian, Yugoslav and Czechoslovaks lived; they slept on the ground,
  3. A small, brick building, the village fire station, in which the kitchen of the penal company was arranged,
  4. A small wooden barrack behind the school building, where the toilet was located.

The whole area was fenced in with a double barbed wire fence hung over concrete poles. The fence was not connected to the electricity supply. In the corners of the camp stood small, makeshift guard towers, nicknamed Hähne (Roosters). At night, the prisoners were locked in their accommodation and SS dogs roamed around the camp area. The wooden barrack was illuminated by a lamp, which was hung on the school wall. In addition, SS guards patrolled around the camp at night.[1]

Those to be transferred to the Penalkompanie were suggested by Maria Mandel and approved by the Auschwitz camp commandant. SS-Oberaufseherin Runge female camp leader of the Frauenlager Budy oversaw the Strafkompanie. Overall administrative control of the sub camp and the guard unit had a SS-Unterscharführer.[2]

In total, approximately 400 prisoners passed through the Strafkompanie. Prisoners could be transferred to the Strafkompanie for the most minor of offences, “When I worked at the kitchen, toward the end of 1942 or the beginning of 1943, I remember I appropriated some bread for a comrade of mine. For that, defendant Mandl assigned me to the SK (penal company) for four months. I remember it was scorching hot and I wanted to get to her with a report. Finally, after four days, she admitted me and asked who I had taken this bread for. I replied that it was for myself. Then defendant Mandl shouted, in a dominating way, “heraus” (out) and I was given time with the Strafkommando, SK.”[3]

The conditions and treatment of prisoners of the Strafkompanie, were extreme even for Auschwitz, “Hans Aumeier, SS-Hauptsturmführer, is known to me as Schutzhaftlagerführer (camp leader), who was also a frequent presence at the women’s camp, together with the entire staff of the political department, prior to some notable actions. During the two months I spent with the penal company in 1942 I saw Aumeier a few times, as he took part in public whippings in Budy, personally holding a list of prisoners and reading out prison numbers. In the wake of each of his visits to Budy, the atmosphere in the camp harshened. Aumeier was particularly hostile toward Polish female prisoners. His further activities at the camp are known to me mainly from stories told by fellow prisoners of mine.”[4]

The extremely severe conditions existing in the Strafkompanie, and the constant harassment to which the female prisoners were subjected resulted on the night of 5 to 6 October 1942 in a uprising, led by a French Jewish woman.

Former SS man Pery Broad in his memoirs: “It was customary for SS men assigned as permanent guards to this external unit to constantly provoke German women functionaries (Kapos) to beat the Jewish women at work. They were threatened that if they did not do so, they would be forced through the guard chain and shot during their escape. The degenerate SS beasts got pleasure from torturing Jewish women. The result of this unbearable situation was constant fear among German functionaries. Their conscience told them that when the opportunity arose, the tormented,…prisoners would take revenge on them. But Jewish women, mostly from educated circles, e.g. former Sorbonne students or artists, never thought about reducing themselves to the level of these coarse German prostitutes and trying to repay them in a way that was only understandable to them. When one of the Jewish women returned from the toilet to the upstairs bedroom in the school the previous evening, it seemed to one German woman that she (the Jewish women) had a stone in her hand. Of course it was just a hysterical deception. Downstairs at the gate, there was a sentry guard with whom – as was commonly known among prisoners – this German woman had an affair. She called out of the window for help, claiming that a Jewess had allegedly beat her. Then all the guards standing around the camp ran up the stairs and, together with the functionaries (Kapos) who had been deprived of their humanity, fell on the Jewish women. Many (prisoners) were thrown down the stairs so that they fell one on top of another. Others were thrown out of the window and remained lifeless on the ground. The sentries also expelled some of the Jewish prisoners from the barracks into the yard. The perpetrator of this slaughter remained alone in the bedroom with her beloved. It was probably their goal.” [5]

Overall during the rebellion in the Strafkompanie and the fights between the Kapos and the French inmates 90 prisoners died. The women were killed with clubs, axes, some had their heads cut off, many died from being thrown out of the first floor window, and several were killed on the electrified barbed wire fence, trying to escape the massacre.

On October 6, 1942 officers of the Erkennungsdienst launched an investigation. At that time, SS paramedics were killing wounded prisoners by injecting them with two cubic centimetres of phenol.

The investigation conducted by the political department of the Auschwitz camp commandant’s office could not ascertain and explain all of the facts. It was only known that a massacre had taken place of prisoners by the German Kapos and SS guards. Some of the prisoners were sentenced to a lashing, after a hearing in Block 11.


[1] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Marii Cyny, vol. 3, p. 366.
[2] Rudorff, Andrea, Budy (Strafkompanie) in Des Ort des Terrors Band 5, Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. C.H.Beck 2007, p 199.
[3] Testimony of former Auschwitz prisoner Maria Budziaszek and viewed on 11 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/4026/edition/4003/content.
[4] Testimony of former Auschwitz prisoner Antonina Piątkowska 1st October 1947 and viewed on 11 August 2019. https://www.zapisyterroru.pl/dlibra/publication/3233/edition/3212/content.
[5] Wspomnienia Pery Broada, [w:] Oświęcim w oczach SS, Oświęcim 1976, p. 157.

The Post War History of the Former Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie Camp

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 Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie Camp

The remains of the Wirtschaftshof Budy sub camp 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 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.

The remains of the female Strafkompanie buildings in the Budy sub camp are located at the intersection of ul Bór and ul Strażacka in Brzeszcze (about 7 km from Oświęcim).

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.

Directly next to this building there is a fire station. This building is new, but it was erected on the foundations of an old, rural firehouse, which existed before the war. Here was the kitchen in which meals for prisoners of the Strafkompanie were prepared.

The wooden barrack in which the other prisoners lived has not survived. However, in front of the pre-school building, in the field you can see several fence posts that formed the fence around the Strafkompanie camp area. On several of them, both steel rods and insulators for the electrified barbed wire fence have survived.

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 (org. 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!)

However, 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.

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 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

Topography of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie

Location of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Budy Strafkompanie

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Photographs

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

SS Contemporary Photographs

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Photographs from Site Visits

Tiergartenstrasse4Association Photographs from Site Visits

Sub Camp Documents

Fahrbefehl. APMAB