Plaszow can be characterised at the beginning by arbitrary killings and atrocities without regard to the preservation of the prison labour potential. The camp was under the jurisdiction of the SS and Police Leader (SS- und Polizeiführer), and was thus free of any control. Most assaults and abuses occurred In 1943, for which some members of the camp SS were sentenced later.
One of the first executions at Plaszow was the hanging of two young women in March 1943, who had dared to escape. All prisoners had to be present during the hanging at roll call. On 3 August 1943, two Jews, engineer Krautwirth and a 16-year-old youth named Haubenstock were hanged for alleged communist views, they had been singing a Russian duet, which in the views of the SS was a Bolshevik song. In October 1943, some prisoners who were employed in the administration were killed. They had stored food in their rooms, which Göth had found. All subjects were taken to the "Hujowa Gorka" site and shot there. In July 1943, the SS-men, Staib and Grün shot and killed three Jews in the brush-working barrack, whom they surprised in prayer. SS corporal William Staib, because of his glass eye was called by the inmates 'Oczko' (Äuglein), he was a sadist who beat with particular fondness into the faces of inmates with his riding whip. SS-man Wolfgang Gross was said to have been in love with a pretty Jewish girl. In late summer of 1943 they were caught together 'in flagranti' by Göth at the SS-Accommodation and Göth commanded, she [the girl, sic] to be killed. SS Sergeant Albert Hujar shot her and her little brother. [Statement of Naphtali D. 3/26/1079, in: ibid B 162/1126, page 2896, sic]
Göth owned by two dogs, a Great Dane, 'Rolf' and a Shepherd 'Alf', who only came into the camp as his escorts. Both were trained to attack people on command, to bite or even kill. What can be proven that at least one prisoner on command by Göth was attacked and mauled by the dogs. [Statement by the accused Karl-Heinz Bigell, that one of the dogs mauled and fatally injured inmate Olmer and he killed him with a well aimed shot through the head, in ibid, AR-Z 60I/67 Vol 4, page 1346, sic]
|After Selections, unsuitable inmates awaiting Transport
Inside the camp there were three killing centres, two of which were used mainly for the shooting of prisoners by the Gestapo. The first and oldest of sites, the prisoners called it "the Excavator"(Bagger) and was located next to the bathhouse. The name went back to an old stationary excavators that covered the bodies with earth. Whatever the circumstances, when a prisoner in the camp died, it was said he was "gone under the Excavator"(unter dem Bagger gegangen). At this location approximately 270 Jews were shot, who were tracked down out of their hiding places when the ghetto was liquidated. The shootings were committed and led by the SS-men Francis Grün, Arwin Janetz, Albert Hujar and Edmund Zdrojewski. Right next to the excavator in the immediate vicinity of the old bath house area, smaller groups were killed. Some distance away, towards the roll call grounds, there was a slight elevation, were the larger groups were shot and the bodies then placed into a pit. Later on the new bath house, a delousing station and some barracks were built onto this site. There are almost 2,000 Jews buried there who had been shot in the course of the ghetto closure on March 13, 1943, [A funeral employee (Leichengräber) , counted the bodies as 1860 murdered in his statement: AZIH Warsaw, 302 / Report No. 3851, sic], as well as 38 Jews from Bochnia, which were in possession of foreign securities on March 28, had been shot and buried there. They were transported by truck to Plaszow from the Gestapo jail, housed in Bochnia Montelupich by the commanders of the Security Police and SD, Max Grosskopf, Rudolph Körner, Kurt Heinemeyer and killed there.
At "Hujowa Gorka" mainly non-Jewish Poles died there, prisoners from the Gestapo prison in the Pomorska Sraße of Montelupich were trucked-in to the site.
|Inmates of Montelupich with Guards
.During this type of actions entrance to the new area was usually barred. The event was always much the same: The execution site (Richtstätte) was cordoned off, and during that evening the SS imposed a "no-go-zone", so the prisoners could see nothing. The victims were led to five 20 meter long, 2 meters wide and 3 meters deep pits. They had to undress and get into the ditch and lie down or kneel. Then they were shot. The bodies were then covered with lime (Kalk) and earth, " in several camps until the trench was full at this point, they then continued on another site." [Statement 11/02/1983 P. Leopold, in: BArch Ludwigsburg, B 162/1126, page 3123, sic] later on, the bodies were immediately burned in the pits. Witnesses tell of several instances in which the victims were trying to show their courage, conviction and pride even in the hour of death to the murderers, they tell of people who sang "Poland is not yet lost,"(Noch ist Polen nicht verloren) of women, who were asked to remove their fur coats, and threw these at the feet of their murderers. [Kielkowsky, Oboz pracy, page 30, sic], according to a report of a survivor during some executions, at the Göth's High Society Evenings, they were celebrating, eating, drinking and laughing. A dentist, after each shooting had to search the oral cavity of the murdered for gold teeth. All bodies were buried after examination. The deceased from the camps hospital and about 90 victims of a typhus epidemic in Tarnow were burned and the remains buried at the same location. Several witnesses report the shooting of a Wehrmacht Officer. On October 9, 1943, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Göth ordered a selection from the camp's inmates for about 50 to 60 Jewish prisoners who were shot on the "Hujowa Gorka." [ see: Reasons for the judgement on 05.09.1946 against Amon Göth in ibid B 162/1124 page 2307, sic]
The third execution area was a pit near the potato cellar. It was called no less vulgar "Cipowy Dolek", the female counterpart to "Hujowa Gorka", in contrast to the picturesque expression "Lipowy Dolek" The Linden Pit. There 'resistance fighters from the Underground were shot. They rode in an enclosed vehicle to the edge of the pit and then let them jump into. At the same time they were shot by the SS standing around the pit". [Statement Sigmund H. 20/08/1980, in ibid, 162/II26 B, page 2940, sic]
On May 7, 1944 about 10-15 SS officers conducted a "health check" with the aim by singling out the sick, the elderly and the weak for the deportation to Auschwitz. SS physician Captain Dr. Maximilian Blanke led the investigation. He let the inmates at 4 ° C march naked to the doctor's tables, the men on the parade ground and the women in front of their barracks. A week later, on May 14, all selected prisoners were deported from this appraisal to Auschwitz. That day the sick from the infirmary were also included. The medic Kaulfuss together with doctors helped the sick to get onto the transport carriage, which took them to the train station bound for Auschwitz. A total of about 900 prisoners in this transport were thus transferred, probably for extermination. [see: Weichert, Pamietniki; Leon Poliakov/Josef Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden-Dokumente und Aufsätze, Berlin 1955, page 286. sic]
Also on 7 May in Plaszow, the "Children's Action" took place. On the parade ground children under the age of 14 years were assembled. Their names had to be read out, and those children were not allowed to go to work. A week later they were sent to Auschwitz to receive their deaths, together with the smaller ones out of the Kinderheim. An eyewitness testified:... "We have never seen our Moshe again, it was immediately known that the whole transport would go to the crematorium in Auschwitz, it was confirmed later to me by prisoners from the 'Kanada-commando' in Birkenau, that the children came directly there. While the boys and girls boarded the vehicles, we heard a gramophone playing a German children's song about mother's love. By all accounts, it was on the parade ground just because of the pointed sub-machine guns of the many guards that no revolt took place.
In the camp there were only 16 children left: eight children of privileged prisoners, a girl, Dr. Biberstein had hidden in the toilet of the infirmary, and five girls and two boys who had been hiding on that day in the latrine up to their necks in excrement . Some of these kids went during October 1944 with their parents into the camp at Brünnlitz in today's Czech Republic, where Oskar Schindler had moved his factory. Of 294 children in the Plaszow camp less than 20 survived". [Statement Anna P. 217.1971, in:BArch Ludwigsburg, B 162/II20, page 1625, sic]
On June 9th a transport from Auschwitz of 5000-6000 Hungarian Jewesses from the ghetto in Mateschalka arrived. Most of the young women were in a great panic. They had their hair shaved off and given grey clothes. The majority of them were assigned to the Depot Building Commando.
Under the leadership of Victor Traubman a conspiratorial group was formed in the camp by inmates of the 'Zydoska Organizacja Bojowa' (Yidishe Kampf Organisatzije). Members were among others David Hertz, Berek Fisher, Jacob Palerer, Victor Reif, Joseph Immerglück, Monek Hecht, Josef Fuglewicz, Mundek Reich, Samuel Kempler, Adam Stab, Pesia Warszawska and Czesia Frimat. The trigger to form a cell was the forcible removal of Jews from Jewish Labour Camps to Skarzysko-Kamienna in November 1943. They wanted to be prepared in case of liquidation of their camp. Link to the outside world were the Polish caterers, that supplied the building materials and mostly belonged to the Underground. In the wagon itself they could smuggle goods into the camp, protected from searches by bribes of vodka and bacon. Inside the bridles of the horses the prisoners hid secret messages. According to these reports the situation in the camp reached the outside, including detailed plans of the camp.
|Russian Partisan Unit operating behind German lines, if caught, summary execution took place.
The group also managed in helping some inmates to escape, who then joined the partisans. With the assistance of bribed guards prisoners were taken at night hidden under garbage onto the landfill outside. Among the escapees were two doctors, Dr. Otto Schwarz and Dr. Romuald Sachs. In the Watch-making Barrack No. 83, a radio was kept hidden. The Polish civil engineer Boleslaw Kowalski, who worked in the camp, although he was not a prisoner, and had contacts with an underground organisations, succeeded in smuggling the three-year old Jozek Weinstein hidden in a bag in his car outside the camp. [see: Sliwinski, Periturus, page 79, sic]
|"German soldier taken Partisan prisoners"