Memorialisation

One of the Primary Objectives of the Re-Finding the Sub Camps of Auschwitz Project was to Determine the Status of Memorialisation at the Sites of the Former Sub Camps.

One of the primary aims of the “Re-finding the Sub Camps of Auschwitz” project was to document the extent of the memorialisation of the individual sub camps.

When the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was created on 2 July 1947 it was given responsibility and control of the former camp buildings and areas of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was given no control over, nor responsibility for, the buildings and grounds of the Buna-Werke/Monowitz nor the other former Auschwitz sub camps.

Memorialisation of the sub camps has been left to local communities or organisations. During our extensive fieldwork we did not find any memorialisation or no sub camp specific memorialisation at the following former Auschwitz sub camps:

  1. Altdorf in Pszczyna,
  2. Wirtschaftshof Birkenau in the village of Brzezinka near Oświęcim,
  3. Bismarckhütte in Chorzów,
  4. Arbeitslager Bobrek in the village of the same name,
  5. Brünn in Brno (now in the Czech Republic),
  6. Aussenkommando Chelmek in Chełmek,
  7. Freudenthal in Bruntal (now in the Czech Republic),
  8. Hindenburg in Zabrze, Hubertushütte in Bytom-Łagiewniki,
  9. Lichtewerden in Svetla Hora (now in the Czech Republic),
  10. Meseritz, in or near Międzyrzecze,
  11. Wirtschaftshof Plawy in Pławy near Oświęcim,
  12. Radostowitz in the village of Radostowice,
  13. Sonderkommando Kattowitz in Katowice,
  14. Sosnowitz I in Sosnowiec,
  15. Arbeitslager Sosnowitz II in Sosnowiec,
  16. Aussenkommando Sosnitz in Sośnica near Gliwice,
  17. SS Hütte Porombka in Międzybrodzie-Porąbki,
  18. Tschechowitz-Bombensucherkommando in Czechowice-Dzidzice,
  19. For obvious reasons, it is difficult to commemorate the 2 SS Bauzug sub camp, which was organized on a train moving from place to place.

In the case of Arbeitslager Sosnowitz II there is no commemoration in the form of a monument or plaque at the actual site of the former sub camp. There is a memorial plaque at the entrance gate of the former Huta Graf Renard steel plant which was erected in 1985.

In the cases of Wirtschaftshof Birkenau and Wirtschaftshof Plawy there is no commemoration at the sites of the former sub camps. There is however an information board at the entrance to Auschwitz II-Birkenau erected by the Polish population of the former Interessengebiet in April 2001.

In the cases of Aussenkommando Chelmek, Sonderkommando Kattowitz and Arbeitslager Trzebinia a memorial does exist near the location of the former sub camp but it is not clear whether these are general memorials to the victims of Nazi war crimes and/or for the prisoners of the former sub camp.

Most of the memorials at the locations of the former sub camps provide no information on the former sub camp. The only exceptions were at the sites of the former Aussenkommando Kobior, Arbeitslager Althammer and Arbeitslager Blechhammer where there are information boards which provide a brief history of the former sub camp.

Tiergartenstrasse4Association has not visited the sites of the Auschwitz sub camps since 2008. It is possible that the memorialisation status of individual sub camps has changed since then. Wherever possible we have attempted to check any changes in status via the internet.

There currently exists no single exhibition detailing the history of the sub camps of Auschwitz and little information. However, on local initiatives, some small museums and exhibitions have been created.

In October 2006, thanks to the efforts of the local government of Goleszów and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a memorial room was opened in Goleszów for the prisoners of the former Arbeitslager Golleschau sub camp. As part of this project, a tourist and educational path was developed, leading from the building of the main directorate of the cement plant in Goleszów to the quarry in which prisoners worked.

In May 2007, a new memorial plaque in Harmęże was unveiled through the efforts of the Society for the Protection of Oświęcim. On this occasion, a brochure devoted to the history of the Harmense sub camp developed by the historian Adam Cyra of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was published.

In January 2008, two rooms of remembrance were opened in Brzeszcze: one is located in the former management building of the Brzeszcze mine and another in the renovated building of the former Arbeitslager Jawischowitz bathhouse.

In the building of the former primary school, now the Przedszkole Publiczne nr 2 (Public Kindergarten No. 2) there is a small room of remembrance dedicated to the memory of the prisoners from the Wirtschaftshof Budy sub camp and Strafkompanie.

In some of the mines, steel works and heavy industry businesses there are museums dedicated to the history of the businesses. For example, we were lucky enough on our site visit to the former Arbeitslager Gleiwitz II sub camp and Gasrußwerke in March 2007 to be shown around the area by the caretaker of the former Gasrußwerke Gleiwitz. There is a small museum in the main administration building recording in photographs and documents the history of the plant after the Second World War. There are a few documents and short history of the time of the Gleiwitz II sub camp. There are also photographs of the partly destroyed Gasrußwerke after the war.

There are a number of memorials at the burial sites of former prisoners on the death marches west in January 1945, many in local cemeteries. Whilst the Association retraced some of the routes and photographed some of the memorials this work was not completed and the photographs are not presented on this website.

More recently website based memorialisation has become increasingly important. The best example is the website of the Jaworzno Museum which represents the history of the former sub camp Neu-Dachs in some depth through photographs, multimedia and written text.[1]

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has itself on its own website produced short histories on each Auschwitz sub camp. [2]

The Wollheim Commission of the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main is dedicated to the research of I.G. Farben and its use of slave labour especially at Monowitz. Its website provides excellent information and essays on the topic. [3]


[1] http://www.obozdwochtotalitaryzmow.pl/o2t/neu-dachs.html.
[2] http://auschwitz.org/en/.
[3] http://www.wollheim-memorial.de/en/kz_bunamonowitz_en.

Visit the Individual Sub Camps of Auschwitz