Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

Holocaust Research Project

Subscribe to Holocaust Research Project: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts
Get Holocaust Research Project via: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn

Blog Feed Post

Polish Fort-Nightly Review issue #115

New Page 1


London, Tuesday, May 1 1945 Issue No. 115

Polish Women in German Concentration Camps




A wave of indignation is passing over the world today as the result of the revelation of the conditions in which the prisoners in German concentration camps have lived and died.


Red Cross nurse administers to an ethnic Pole at the Hannover-Ahlem concentration camp in Germany

Unfortunately, not even the most horrible of these revelations is new to Poles, for they know the German concentration camp methods only too well, the deaths of thousands of people from “heart attacks” in one day as the result of an injection of phenol, and the unfailing ingenuity of German everyday brutality.


The Press has already given horrible details of the concentration camp at Buchenwald. In this camp, as in all German camps, there were also Polish prisoners. Out of some 50,000 Polish prisoners held there until recently, the Allied troops have managed to release only 3,500 altogether; the others have either been carried off from the camp by the Germans, or have died.


And yet as Florian Sokolow, a correspondent of the Polish Telegraph Agency, reports in his message from Buchenwald on April 21st, the conditions of existence in this camp were comparatively much better than those in the great camps in Poland: in Oswiecim or Majdanek.


This is what he writes:


“For that matter, Buchenwald is not among the worst of the concentration camps. It was a camp of slow death by exhaustion, sickness and hunger. The number of those put to death there by various kinds of torture is 51,000, a comparatively small proportion of the total number of Buchenwald’s victims.


A former prisoner in Oswiecim (Auschwitz in German nomenclature), Sokolow, goes on, “whom I met there, told me that by comparison with Oswiecim, Buchenwald was a paradise.”


This view is confirmed in the Parliamentary Deputation Report on Buchenwald as quoted in “The Times” on April 28th:


“One of the statements made to us most frequently by prisoners was that conditions in other camps, particularly those in Eastern Europe, were far worse than at Buchenwald.


The worst camp of all was said by many to be at Auschwitz; these men all insisted on showing us their Auschwitz camp numbers, tattooed in blue on their left forearms.”


In this number of the POLISH FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW we give two extensive reports on the conditions of existence in the women’s concentration camp at Brzezinka (Birkenau in German nomenclature) as well as a shorter note on the medical experiments made on women in the same camp.


This camp was close to the notorious camp at Oswiecim, in south –eastern Poland, and was in fact part of it. All the stories are from eyewitnesses, women and girls who were imprisoned in Brzezinka, and they have reached Polish official circles in London by devious routes.


They relate to the second half of 1943 and the beginning of 1944.


The camp at Brzezinka was one of the three main concentration camps for Polish women. The others were that at Majdanek, near Lublin, and at Ravensbruck. At the moment of writing this second camp is still in German – held territory.




Autumn 1943, to Spring 1944


At the outset I want to say that the details given below are strictly true and authentic. They are not dictated by any desire for propaganda, by hatred, or love of exaggeration.


On the contrary, instead of making the picture more glaring, I shall try to tone it down, to make it more credible. For the reality I have to write about is so horrible that it is difficult to expect that anyone who hasn’t seen it should believe it. Yet it is the reality. Please believe this short account of that reality, and believe my words as you would believe someone returned from the dead.


The women’s concentration camp at Oswiecim has officially no connection whatever with the men’s camp. They are two separate worlds. The data concerning either of them do not apply to the other.


Founded a year or more after the men’s camp had been started, the women’s camp is at present passing through that same process of successive horrors which the men’s camp has already experienced. The results are still more terrible, for women have less powers of resistance and are more helpless than men.


Some Figures


The serial number of the women at present in the camp runs into the eighty thousands. Of this number, 65,000 women of various nationalities have died during the past two years.


The majority of the deaths have been Jewesses, but several other nations have contributed large quotas. The total number of Polish women who have passed through the camp is reckoned at fifteen to sixteen thousand. Of these 5,500 are still alive, the others are dead. The number of released women are insignificant, and do not amount to one percent of the total.


Female prisoners sit shivering in the cold at Birkenau

The women’s camp is an abyss of misery, a horrible slaughter house for thousands upon thousands of women. Their ages range from ten to seventy. The crimes for which they are incarcerated are equally varied: in addition to serious political cases, and women soldiers captured with arms in hand, there is a Poznan woman who refused to sell her favourite cat to a German woman.


Her hard bed is shared by a twelve- year old girl who, while collecting her father’s geese, happened unknowingly to cross the frontier, so-called near Czestochowa. She has been here for two years as a serious political criminal.


The nationalities are just as varied: Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Yugoslavian, German, French and Jewish. The Jewesses are the most numerous and most unfortunate of all. At first the conditions at Brzezinka were so horrible that very few of those who came to the camp in the early days are still alive. A great transport of a thousand women brought from the Fordon prison two years ago, is recalled by only four women still alive.


Read more here:  http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/nazioccupation/polishwomen.html



    The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto  H.E.A.R.T 2011

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Holocaust Research Project

The aim of H.E.A.R.T is to inform and educate people about the Holocaust and the extermination programs conducted by the Nazi regime throughout Europe during the Second World War.

H.E.A.R.T research and material is contributed from a group of independent Holocaust researchers who devote their spare time to research for the production of this website and other forms of related publications, such as leaflets and books.

H.E.A.R.T is run by its trustees and directors, who manage the daily administration of the website, review all research materials, fact checking, and addressing any required corrections.

Most materials presented on the H.E.A.R.T website originate in Poland, Germany, the former Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom as well as from private sources in the USA and other countries.

H.E.A.R.T currently accepts no new membership however we do maintain affiliations with educational institutions and private associations that contribute articles, photos, rare documents, etc.

Contributed text and pages will appear on the website as a "Guest Publication" with the author maintaining full copyright to the submitted text however page design and layout is owned by © H.E.A.R.T. All other material presented on this website is subject to H.E.A.R.T copyright however all pages may be used “Freely” providing the source is credited as the following:

"Courtesy of the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team www.HolocaustResearchProject.org " © H.E.A.R.T www.HolocaustResearchProject.org