Wirtschaftshof Raisko

Name of the camp
Wirtschaftshof Raisko
Other Name of the camp
Arbeitskommando Raisko
Commandant of the camp
SS-Obersturmbannführer Joachim Caesar
SS-Erstaufseherin Florentina (Flora) Cichoń
SS-Aufseherin Johanna (Juana) Bormann
SS-Aufseherin Anneliese Franz
Number of SS Guards
Unknown. Estimated 20 SS guards from the Landswirtschaftskompanie of the SS-T.-Sturmbann Auschwitz. Predominantly Germans and Volksdeutsche from Poland, Lithuania and Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
Work type
Agriculture: Agricultural labour on an SS farm (gardening and experimental cultivation of the rubber plant).
Employer
SS-WVHA/Amt W V; Land-, Forst- und Fischwirtschaft
Sub camp buildings
Wooden barracks built by Auschwitz prisoners.
Number of prisoners
Around 300 female prisoners.
Nationality of prisoners
Poles, Soviets, Germans and Yugoslavians. Also French Jews from Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Period of camp existence
June 1943 – 18 January 1945
Dissolution / Evacuation of the sub camp
On 18 January 1945 the unneeded and unskilled prisoners of the Gärtnerei and Pflanzenzucht Kommandos were added to the columns of prisoners being evacuated from the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. Many of the specialist scientists were transferred to other locations and camps where experiments continued. The plant breeding station at Rajsko was moved together with its Soviet scientists to Büschdorf.
Dates of site visits by Tiergartenstrasse4 Association
June 2006, November 2006, March 2007, November 2007
Memorialisation
On the building where the agricultural laboratory was located there is a plaque with an inscription in Polish. 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, 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 mentioned 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 Auschwitz on March 1, 1941. During the visit and inspection of Auschwitz Heinrich Himmler was accompanied by SS officers from the camp but also the 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 to: 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 camp.[4]

In February 1942 a new department named the Landwirtschaft des Auschwitz O/S was created headed by SS-Obersturmbandführer Joachim Caesar.[5] The farms in the Auschwitz Interessengebiet came under the direct control of WVHA II headed by Oswald Pohl and Caesar reported directly to Pohl. Some day to day administration 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 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]

Residents were only able to take their movable property, excluding farm machinery and tools, and were transported to the train station at Oświęcim 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.


[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 Plant Experimental Station in Rajsko

The first group of Auschwitz male prisoners, marched daily to Rajsko from Auschwitz-Birkenau and demolished some of the houses of the previously expelled residents; the land was added was to the farming stock of the Interresengebiet. In the nearby fields from 1942, prisoners were employed in agricultural work. The Aussenkommandos were employed in weeding, draining fields, levelling land, ploughing, and the cultivation of vegetables and flowers.

On the farm in Rajsko were grown amongst other vegetables: carrots, parsley, sugar snap peas, onions, beets, tomatoes and cabbage, which were sent from the farm to the SS and German army in large quantities.[1]  In addition, a crop known as Kok-Sagiz was grown for the Plant Experimental Station also set up in Rajsko.

The sub camp of Raisko was opened on 12 June 1943, when the Aussenkommando of women prisoners who had been commuting daily from Auschwitz-Birkenau were moved permanently to Rajsko.

In the local school building in Rajsko, a well-equipped laboratory was built, and also greenhouses. [2] The Plant Experimentation Station was set up in 1942 mainly to further research of the use of the plant Kok Sagiz in synthetic rubber production.

As the raw material rubber was scarce during the Allied blockade of the Second World War, top priority was given to developing alternative methods for the efficient production of synthetic rubber in large quantities. Thus, Heinrich Himmler was appointed by Adolf Hitler in July 1943 as “Sonderbeauftragter für Pflanzenkautschuk” (Special Representative for Rubber Plants). On his second and last visit from 17 to 18 July 1942 to the Auschwitz concentration camp complex, Himmler expressed a great interest in developing a plant experimental station for this purpose in Rajsko. [3]

Prisoners and interned scientists were brought to Rajsko to work in the Plant Experimental Station.

A detailed description of the work undertaken by the prisoners working in the laboratory of the Plant Experimental Station was given after the war by former prisoner, Professor Zofia Skurska, “The Laboratory was located in a school building, on the road running from Oświęcim in the direction of Brzeszcze. Prisoners of different nationalities worked in the laboratory: Poles, French, Germans and one Russian. The laboratory had a twofold usage: chemical and botanical. The prisoners who worked in the Pflanzenzuchts squad were divided into 3 groups:

  1. One worked on the cultivation of kok-sagiz and performed work relating to the growing of this plant: planting in the soil, weeding, collecting seeds and roots.
  2. The second group worked in a greenhouse. This work was related to my work in the laboratory. The prisoners here were engaged in sowing the seeds of the kok-sagiz and vegetative crops. Cultivation consisted of the carved roots of the kok-sagiz being planted in the soil and its development being studied by observing the development of the kok-sagiz…. The plants were kept at different temperatures and they were examined to see in what warmth, humidity and soil to grow them best, and how to get the best yield from this plant species. The Russian, Popov had responsibility for ensuring the quality of this work…. In addition to the kok-sagiz on a small plot located near the greenhouses seeds of wheat bushy were planted. This was a cross between wheat and couch grass.
  3. The third group of female prisoners worked in the chemical laboratory. Chemical experiments were designed to check which roots produced the largest yield of rubber. Roots samples were taken from the fields. Here, seeds and root cuttings were assessed and checked under which conditions the plant should be cultivated so that it would benefit the most from the (…).
  4. The Research and Development Group used the materials supplied from the fields. The prisoners worked in two separate rooms (…). This group conducted experimental research, made sections of different parts of the plant and stained individual sections of the plant (…). Separately, I Zofia Skurska, conducted the microbial decomposition of cellulose in the root to obtain the rubber and worked seperately. Each group had its own director, who from time to time had to report on the progress of the group.

The laboratory had at its disposal a photographic studio stocked with the necessary equipment and a microscope. Photos recording the development of the kok-sagiz in the fields and the various studies undertaken on this plant were taken by the inmate Wanda Jakubowska. [4]


[1] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of former prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska, Vol. 3, p. 348.
[2] Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 74-75.
[3] Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Hrsg.): Auschwitz in den Augen der SS. Oswiecim 1998, p. 223.
[4] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of Zofia Skurska, Vol. 42, p. 62 – 63.
Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102

The History of the SS Hygiene Institut in Rajsko

The establishment of the SS Hygiene Institut in Rajsko resulted directly from a typhus epidemic which erupted and quickly spread among the inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, causing a threat to the SS staff and their families. On 13 October the wife of Obersturmführer Joachim Caesar died of the disease. Other SS men were infected and died. Dr Eduard Wirths, physician of the SS garrison, turned to Joachim Mrugowsky, chief of the Hygiene-Institut der Waffen-SS, for help.

A decision was taken to set up a research institute in Auschwitz, and SS physician  Obersturmführer Dr Bruno Weber was appointed its head, with SS-Untersturmführer Dr Hans Münch as his deputy. Initially on 8 April 1943 the institute’s labs were accommodated in Blocks 10 and 20 in Auschwitz I, but on 5 May 1943 they were moved to a two storey building in Rajsko.

The head of the Institute in Rajsko was Hauptsturmführer and later Obersturmführer Dr Bruno Weber, Dr Hans Münch, an Untersturmführer, was deputy head; Obersturmführer Dr Hans Delmotte, was temporarily employed in the Institute; Unterscharführer Hans Fugger served as the administrative officer; and Rottenführer Pragner was payments officer; Unterscharführer Krapmeyer also worked there; Scharführer Zabel and Rottenführer Kraus were the disinfection officers; Festweber served as sentry; and Hofmann was responsible for transport services.

A meteorological station headed by Sonderführer Mulzoff was attached to the Institut.

All the research, administrative, and cleaning work were performed by prisoners including qualified persons found in the Auschwitz camps and specialists from universities in occupied Europe sought out by the Gestapo. A total of 150 prisoners worked in the Hygiene Institut in Rasjko.

The Auschwitz prisoners working at the Hygiene Institut in Rajsko came daily from the Auschwitz main camp.

Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.

The History of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

The Auschwitz female prisoners of the sub camp were accommodated in two wooden barracks, which were located in the north-western part of the village about 200 meters from the main highway 933 between Oświęcim and Brzeszcze.

Initially, the female prisoners lived in a barrack which was divided between the Gärtnerei-Kommando and the Pflanzenzucht-Kommando. The second barrack incorporated a dining room, a kitchen to cook Kok Sagiz, and laboratory space. Later a third barrack was added; one barrack was occupied by the female prisoners of the Gärtnerei Kommando and the other by female prisoners of the Pflanzenzucht-Kommando. [1]

The barracks were primitive; there were windows, but no running water and sewage facilities. Baths and latrines were set up in one of the barns. The sub camp of Raisko had a rectangular shape, surrounded by a barbed wire fence, which was not connected to the mains electricity. Lamps mounted on posts illuminated the camp. No guard towers were built. At night the SS guarded around the fence, and during the daytime relied on the chain of guard posts, Grosse Postenkette that surrounded the Auschwitz Interessengebiet, including the area where the prisoners lived and worked. At the Raisko sub camp there were two gates one for the prisoner camp and the second used for business purposes. At the main gate there was the camp kitchen and the guardhouse of the SS.[2]

The sub camp Raisko incorporated a sickbay with ten beds for prisoners who were not seriously ill. More seriuosly ill prisoners were returned to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The admissions book for the sickbay shows that between 17 June 1943 and 4 January 1945 438 ill prisoners had been treated. [3]

Initially, food was delivered from Auschwitz II-Birkenau, but it was soon decided to modify one of the unoccupied houses in Rajsko for use as a kitchen. Cold lunches was delivered from Auschwitz II-Birkenau, but in the evening hot meals were cooked in the sub camp by inmates under the supervision of SS-Aufseherinnen. Prisoners of the Gärtnerei-Kommando managed to get permission to use the vegetables produced in the camp for cooking: “After years of intensive work to get authorization from the commander of the Gärtnerei (Kommando) finally we were allowed to use the vegetables we grew for dinners, which led to an improvement in our food calorie intake. We got meals three times a day, with a half-hour break for lunch.” [4]

Roll calls were held twice a day and supervised by the SS-Aufseherinnen. [5]

In May 1944 a Soviet prisoner named Vera escaped. Former prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska testified after the war, “She was a prisoner of war who, having been brought to Germany wanted to escape and during the escape she was arrested and brought to Auschwitz, and then she was placed in Rajsko, where she helped a doctor in the hospital. It was in May 1944, after the evening roll-call, she did not appear agitated. Returning from the roll-call to the barrack, we saw her walking with a towel and soap to wash in the bathroom. Taking advantage of the absence of the Aufseherin handing over the keys to the guards, she used the business gate and went past the wire. We noticed her absence at 19-o’clock, but we did not report her, wanting to extend the time. On the 21st, we informed the blockleader and the Aufseherin in turn. An alarm was sounded immediately, and on hearing the alarm Höss and 10 cars of SS and Alsatian dogs arrived. A search was carried out in the barracks. The appel took place in a block (barrack) under the supervision of Höss, who threatened us with the liquidation of the camp by shooting all of us. After this escape discipline in the subcamp was increased. ” [6]


[1] Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko, [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.
[2] Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 75-76.
[3] Zięba, Anna, Das Nebenlager Raisko, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1966] Nr 9, p. 92.
[4] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of former prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska, Vol. 3, p. 349.
[5] Zięba, Anna, Das Nebenlager Raisko, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1966] Nr 9, p. 92.
[6] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of former Auschwitz prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska, Vol 3, p. 350.
Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.
Zięba, Anna, Das Nebenlager Raisko, [in:] Hefte von Auschwitz [1966] Nr 9, p. 75-108.

The SS Guard Unit

In overall control of the farms and Plant Experimental Station in Rajsko (and all of the farms and farming sub camps of the Auschwitz complex) was SS-Obersturmbannführer Joachim Caesar. He was strict and demanding, not only with the prisoners, but also with the SS. Rudolf Höss gave an interesting character assessment of Joachim Caesar, in his memoirs: “The treatment of prisoners by Caesar was quite different. As a result of his good nature he indulged many prisoners,…, and let them do what they liked. The Kapo had his full confidence. For this he fought constantly for his total control of the prisoners working in agriculture (…) prisoners were housed separately in Rajsko. His prisoners were employed in the cultivation of plants which were under special protection and according to Pohl’s order had to be treated especially gently so as not to compromise the scientific work of Caesar. Among these prisoners were many university graduates – mainly French Jewish women who were treated almost as colleagues (…) If necessary sanctions had to be applied, Caesar was personally offended.” [1]

The Gärtnerei-Kommando was led by the SS men Grell, and Schmidt, while the Pflanzenzucht-Kommando was led by Dr Schettenberg. The  SS-Aufseherinnen in Raisko: Florentina Cichoń, Johanna Bormann and Anneliese Franz.


[1] Autobiografia Rudolfa Hössa, komendanta obozu oświęcimskiego, Warszawa 1989, p. 218.
Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.

The SS Guards

References:
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, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.

The Evacuation of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

The evacuation of the sub camp  Raisko was ordered for 18 January 1945. About 18.00 hrs the unneeded and unskilled prisoners of the Gärtnerei and Pflanzenzucht Kommandos were added to the columns of prisoners being evacuated from the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. Many of the specialist scientists were transferred to other locations and camps where experiments continued. The plant breeding station at Rajsko was moved together with its Soviet scientists to Büschdorf. [1]

This period was remembered by the former female prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska: “Before we set out, for 15 minutes, 15 SS men with dogs fell upon us. They surrounded the barracks and began to shoot in the air, then with great screaming and in a hurry drove us out of the barracks. We took some food from the store, which was to last us for two days. We took…sugar (beets) and bread. During the acute emergency we prepared in secret for a possible (forced) march by making bags and backpacks. On January 18, 1945 around 18.00 hrs we set off on the frosty moon night leaving Rajsko into the unknown (…) feet floundering in the snow, walking without rest, feeding on bread, sugar and snow.”[2]

The prisoners were marched on foot through Pszczyna, Poreba Wielka, Jastrzębie Zdrój to Wodzisław Śląski. During one of the stops, the SS men bayonetted two inmates who were hiding in the straw. There were several failed escapes. After reaching Wodzisław Śląski the prisoners were loaded onto coal trucks and taken to the concentration camp of Gross-Rosen. However, Gross-Rosen refused to accept the transport due to overcrowding in the camp. The prisoners were then transported by train to the concentration camp Ravensbrück[3]


[1] Wieland, Thomas, Die politischen Aufgaben der deutschen Pflanzenzüchtung – NS-Ideologie und die Forschungsarbeiten der akademischen Pflanzenzüchter. In: Susanne Heim (Hrsg.) Autarkie und Ostexpansion. Pflanzenzucht und Agrarforschung im Nationalsozialismus (= Geschichte der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus Bd. 2). Herausgegeben von Susanne Heim, Wallstein Verlag Göttingen 2002, p. 54.
[2] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of former prisoner Zenobia Rządzińska, Vol. 3, p. 350 – 351.
[3] APMAB. Zespół Oświadczenia, testimony of former prisoner Hanna Laskowa, Vol. 37, p. 98 – 99.
Literature:
Zięba, Anna, Podobóz Rajsko [in:] Zeszyty Oświęcimskie [1965] Nr 9, p. 71-102.

The Post War History of the Former Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

After the war Rajsko was again inhabited by returning Poles. The two wooden barracks which accommodated the prisoners were dismantled. The former greenhouses continued to be used as they are to this day.

The Preservation Status of the Former Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

In the former sub camp in Rajsko, few elements of the sub camp which accommodated the prisoners survive. However, in the village of Rajsko you can see many buildings and objects associated with its usage as an Auschwitz farm and experimental station.

Driving from Oświęcim towards Brzeszcze, we reach Rajsko and turn into ul Przesmyk. From the main road this street leads to the sub camp Rajsko. At the end of this street, you can see a single-family house – where the kitchen of the Raisko sub camp was located. Behind this building there are two barracks converted into a barn. It is highly probable that these objects stand on the foundations of the former prisoners’ barracks of the Gärtnerei-Kommando and Pflanzenzucht-Kommando. It is possible that elements of the original prisoners’ barracks were used in their construction. On the left side of the house that used to be the kitchen, there is a third barn where the washrooms and latrines were located. This building is preserved in good condition. However, there are no traces of the fences and gates leading to the sub camp.

Between the area of the former Rajsko sub camp and the new glasshouses and agricultural laboratory there remains the water basin typical of many Auschwitz sub camps. It is not recorded on any of the former prisoner drawings of the sub camp but undoubtedly it is from the time.

On the corner of ul Cyklamenów and ul Skautów, is the so called White House, in which the SS female guards (Aufseherinnen) lived.

The Hygiene-Institut der Waffen-SS laboratory and the boiler house, which are located in Rajsko on the main road from Oświęcim to Brzeszcze (highway 933), have been preserved. Behind them, you can also find two wells dug by prisoners for purposes of the work in agricultural sub camp.

The areas of the former greenhouse and the laboratory building have remained virtually unchanged. Inside the greenhouses are numerous wall inscriptions in German, eg Konigshutte No. 12. There are also remains of the former fence that surrounded the area. Outside of the former laboratory and greenhouses the foundations of a building with a cellar remain. This building looks like it is from the period of the sub camp.

Along ul Pszczyńska (highway 933) in Rajsko there are at least five buildings now used as houses which during the war were occupied by the Hygiene-Institut der Waffen-SS. They have been adapted but remain virtually unchanged since the visits by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in 1955, 1968 and 1993.

In the fields around Rajsko survive fence posts from the time of the sub camp, which probably surrounded some of the cultivated fields.

Memorialisation

On the building where the agricultural laboratory was located there is a plaque with an inscription in Polish: “W latach 1941-1945 teren ogrodnictwa w Rajsku był miejscem niewolniczej pracy więźniów i więźniarek obozu koncentracyjnego w Oświęcimiu.” (In 1941-1945, the Rajsko gardening area was a place of slave labour for prisoners and prisoners of the concentration camp in Oświęcim.)

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 site of the former sub camp in Rajsko and associated buildings in 1955, 1968, 1993, and took 21 photographs including:

  1. “Main building of the Hygiene Institut der Waffen SS in Auschwitz.” (photograph references 15472- 15476),
  2. “Wooden house where rats and rabbits were raised for experiments by Hygiene Institut der Waffen SS in Auschwitz.” (photograph references 15479 and 15480),
  3. “In the background barracks where female prisoners lived.” (photo reference 22 275/2),
  4. “Area of the camp.” (photograph reference 22 275/1),
  5. “Interior of greenhouse where prisoners worked.” (photograph reference 20 983/22).

There is also one photograph from 1946 of the interior of one of the greenhouses. (photograph reference 20 983/22)

Other Photographs / Site Visits

There are sixteen photographs in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum archive (the originals are in the Yad Vashem archive) taken by the Bauleitung d. Waffen SS u. Polizei KL Auschwitz showing the construction of new farm buildings. These include:

  1. Prisoners building the greenhouses. (photograph references, 20995-156, 20995-167, 20995-169, 20995-170, 20995-171, 20995-172),
  2. Finished greenhouses (photograph references 20995-173, 20995-174, 20995-175, 20995-176, 20995-177),
  3. Laboratory of the SS Hygiene Institut (photograph references 20995-149, 20995-151, 20995-153 to 20995-156).

Topography of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

Location of the Sub Camp Wirtschaftshof Raisko

TitleCategoryAddressDescriptionLink

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

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
Fanhrbefehl 2 APMAB
Fahrbefehl 1 APMAB