The name of Blechhammer ( Blachownia in Polish) is more commonly used to make reference to a whole of prison camps, camps of work, camps disciplinary and concentration camp during the second world war. The camp of Blechhammer also refers to the under-camp of Auschwitz III-monowitz, known as the camp of the Jews ( Judenlager ).

Blechhammer is the German name of the current small town of Blachownia , located between the village of Sławiecice and the town of Kędzierzyn-Koźle in High-Silesia in the south of the Poland. This area was German until the end of the second world war and the current city of Kędzierzyn-Koźle is resulting from the administrative meeting of the two old German cities of Kandrzin and Cosel. The town of Kandrzin was more known under the name of Heydebreck during the war. The current village of Sławiecice was then called Slawentzitz and Ehrenforst during the war. After the recutting of the borders of Poland ratified at the time of the Conference of Yalta in 1945, the area became Polish.

The industrial site of the chemistry of Blechhammer was also known American allied forces under the names of Blechhammer north for the current factory of Blachownia Sląska and Blechhammer south for the current factory of Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn SA (ZAK) . The two sites of chemistry heavily were indeed bombarded during the last conflict because of the strategic interest of the industrial facilities and the synthetic gasoline that one manufactured there on behalf of the Wehrmacht. Blachownia Sląska (in the past Blechhammer north) is located at the east of the town of Kędzierzyn whereas Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn is located at the south of the same city. Approximately 45.000 people were interned in the various camps built around the two centers of chemistry and in the close area. The whole of these camps thus remains known under the term of Blechhammer .

Various camps of the site of Blechhammer

List camps distributed around the industrial center of Blechhammer north ( Blachownia Sląska ):
  • Firmenlager (camp for the German technical experts and other nationalities, distributed on 3 distinct camps),
  • Mädchenlager (camp of work for women located at Blachownia ),
  • Blechhammerlager (camp of work for Russian and Polish),
  • Kanallager BAB-21 (prison camp of English war - POW),
  • Wiesenlager (prison camp Russian, Polish, English, Belgian, Yugoslav, Bulgarian),
  • Waldlager (camp of the Italians and other prisoners of war),
  • Strafgefangenenlager (disciplinary camp for prisoners of war),
  • Lagerehrenforst (disciplinary camp of work located at Erhenforst - Sławiecice for Polish, Czech and Yugoslav prisoners),
  • Meisterlager (prison camp specialized trade),
  • Justizstrafgefangenenlager (disciplinary camp for Russian and Polish prisoners),
  • A.E.L Arbeitserziehungslager (disciplinary camp for Ukrainian prisoners),
  • Dorflagerwest (camps of disciplinary work for Ukrainian, Yugoslav and Polish prisoners),
  • Unruhelager (camp of disciplinary work),
  • Dorflager (camp of work for Polish, Russian, Czech prisoners and others),
  • Bahnhofslager (concentration camp all primarily Polish nationalities but),
  • Judenlager (concentration camp for Jews of various origin),
  • Mädchenlager (disciplinary camp of work for women located at Erhenforst - Sławiecice ),
  • Schleusenlager (camp of work for French prisoners located at Erhenforst - Sławiecice ),
  • Krankenhaus (hospital).

The whole of the camps fed in labor the factories of the two centers of chemistry and mainly the factories IG Farbenindustrie and Oberschlesische Hydrierwerke AG. The latter manufactured synthetic Essence starting from coal for the needs for the German Army. Also the strategic nature of the site quickly led the allies to destroy the complex of chemistry. The factories were bombarded with 15 recoveries since 1944 by flotillas of B-24 Liberator come from Italian bases.

According to survivors of the camp, it was also produced margarine, jam synthetic. The purpose of work concerning food was to prepare Germany with the shortage. Since the food proved to be dangerous (the deportees of the camp were used as guinea-pigs and the majority fell sick), the authorities do not reflect these goods at disposal.

There does not exist today practically any trace of these camps. On the other hand a number impressing of bunkers, casemates, tunnels are visible on all the sectors which border the factories.

The concentration camp of Blechhammer

The camp of Blechhammer was built in April 1942 in the forest to 2 km in the south of the village of Sławiecice ( Ehrenforst ). The first prisoners, 3056 deportees (n°76.330 with n°76.461) took part in the construction of the factory Oberschlesische Hydrierwerke AG intended for the manufacture of the synthetic gasoline. Very early, typhus prevailed in the camp and 120 prisoners were returned to Auschwitz-II Birkenau. The camp depended on the camp of Auschwitz III-monowitz and was ordered by the S LagerFürher Heidrich Schwarz . The population of the camp reached 4500 prisoners with the arrival of Jews coming from 16 country of Europe. The camp also comprised a separate section of 200 Jewish women. In April 1944, the camp was placed under the command of the Hauptsturmführer Otto Brossmann which was replaced in its turn in November 1944 by the Untersturmführer Kurt Klipp. In January 1945, the population of the camp reaches a peak of 5500 prisoners. A crematorium was built, 1500 prisoners were incinerated there.

The camp of Blechhammer was organized in two distinct camps on the same site, the camp Bahnhofslager for Polish and other nationalities, and the camp Judenlager for the Jews coming from various countries of Europe. The section of the women was located in the camp Judenlager . The labor of the camp was rented with the companies of the industrial complex like for the construction of roads and air-raid shelters. The prisoners were organized by sections of work from 100 to 200 workmen. They were placed in huts out of wooden, each one organized in 6 dormitories from 30 to 40 prisoners. The camp did not have sanitary facilities, at most some toilets and showers in a separate hut.

Jews of the town of Cosel ( Koźle ) and of Silesia were interned with Blechhammer .

80 resistant nonJewish Alsatian French was also interned of November 1944 in January 1945 (10 will be returned to Auschwitz as of their arrival) in the camp of Bahnhofslager then moved in the camp Judenlader little before the walk of death.

In January 1945, in front of the projection of the Red Army , the Germans carried out the evacuation of the camp which was partially set fire to by the S. The evacuation will be directed by the Untersturmführer Kurt Klipp . The 4000 prisoners of Blechhammer , including 150 women, will be joined by 6000 prisoners coming from the camps of Neu-Dachs ( Jaworzno ), Gleiwitz ( Gliwice ) I, III and IV. This terrible walk of the dead one which began on January 21st, 1945, day of the release of Auschwitz (located at approximately 90 km), carried out them until Large-Rosen on February 2nd, 1945, except for 800 of them which were cut down during walk. The survivors were sent by livestock wagons towards Buchenwald (for the Jews) and Dachau (for the prisoners of war). The ramming of these trains by the allies caused many additional victims.

Today the site of the old camp is always visible. The huts disappeared. Only remain the concreted watchtowers, of the posts of the old fence out of concrete and the crematorium. The site is free access.

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