The Trawniki concentration camp was set up by Nazi Germany in the village of Trawniki about 40 kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Lublin during the occupation of Poland in World War II. Throughout its existence the camp served a dual function. It was organized on the grounds of the former Polish sugar refinery of the Central Industrial Region, and subdivided into at least three distinct zones.
The Trawniki camp first opened after the outbreak of war with the USSR, intended to hold Soviet POWs, with rail lines in all major directions in the General Government territory. Between 1941 and 1944, the camp expanded into an SS training facility for collaborationists auxiliary police, mainly Ukrainian. And in 1942, it became the forced-labor camp for thousands of Jews within the KL Lublin system of subcamps as well. The Trawniki Jewish inmates provided slave labour for the makeshift industrial plants of SS Ostindustrie to work in appalling conditions with little food.
There were 12,000 Jews imprisoned at Trawniki as of 1943 sorting through trainsets of clothing delivered from Holocaust locations. They were all massacred during Operation Harvest Festival of November 3, 1943 by the auxiliary units of Trawniki men stationed at the same location, helped by the travelling Reserve Police Battalion 101 from Orpo. The first camp commandant was Hermann Hoefle, replaced by Karl Streibel.
|Trawniki concentration camp|
|Forced labour (left) and the SS training base (right)|
Original German site plan of the Trawniki camp (as of June 21, 1942).
Left: Slave labor camp for condemned Jewish prisoners.
|Commandant||Hermann Höfle, Karl Streibel|
|Original use||POW camp for 1941 Operation Barbarossa|
|Operational||1941 – November 1943|
|Killed||At least 12,000 Jews at the labour camp (left) |
The Nazi German camp at Trawniki was first established in July 1941 to hold prisoners of war captured in the Soviet occupied eastern Poland after the implementation of Operation Barbarossa. The new barracks behind the barbed-wire fence were erected by the prisoners themselves. In 1942 the camp was enlarged to include the SS-Arbeitslager meant for the Polish Jews from across General Government. Within a year, under the management of Gauleiter Odilo Globocnik, the camp included a number of forced labour workshops such as the fur processing plant (Pelzverarbeitungswerk), the brush factory (Bürstenfabrik), the bristles finishing (Borstenzurichterei), and the new branch of Das Torfwerk in Dorohucza.
The Jews who worked there from June 1942 to May 1944 as forced labour for the Nazi war effort were brought in from the Warsaw Ghetto as well as selected transit ghettos across Europe (Germany, Austria, Slovakia) under Operation Reinhard, and from September 1943 as part of the Majdanek concentration camp system of subcamps such as the Poniatowa concentration camp and several others.
From September 1941 until July 1944, the facility served as the full-fledged training base with dining rooms and sleeping quarters for the new Schutzmannschaften recruited from POW camps for service with Nazi Germany in the General Government territory. Hauptsturmführer Karl Streibel and his officers used to induce Ukrainian, Latvian and Lithuanian men already familiar with firearms to take the initiative of their own free will. The total of 5,082 men were prepared at Trawniki for duty in German Sonderdienst battalions before the end of 1944 – across from the forlorn Jewish camp separated by an inner fence.:366
Although majority of Trawniki men (or Hiwis) came from among the willing prisoners of war of Ukrainian ethnicity, there were also Volksdeutsche from Eastern Europe among them, valued because of their ability to speak Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and other languages of the occupied territories. They became the only squad commanders. Trawniki men took major part in Operation Reinhard, the Nazi plan to exterminate Polish and foreign Jews. They served at extermination camps, and played an important role in the annihilation of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (see the Stroop Report) and the Białystok Ghetto Uprising among other ghetto insurgencies.
Trawniki men (German: Trawnikimänner) were deployed from Trawniki to all major killing sites of the "Final Solution" – it was their primary purpose of training. As guards, they took an active role in the extermination of Jews at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka II. They conducted large-scale massacres in Warsaw (three times), Częstochowa, Lublin, Lvov, Radom, Kraków, Białystok (twice), Majdanek as well as Auschwitz, not to mention Trawniki itself. During training, many executed Jews who were imprisoned right across the double-row barbed-wire fence. All of them were involved in shooting and beating Jews. They were screened by Streibel for their anti-Semitic sentiments beforehand.
The Hiwi shooters were dispatched by Hauptsturmführer Karl Streibel to the worst of the "on-the-spot dirty work" at the Jewish ghettos in occupied eastern Poland, so the Germans from the parallel Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the Ordnungspolizei "would not go crazy" from the horror of hands-on killing for hours or days on end. Trawnikis used to arrive in squads numbering around 50 at the killing site, and start by sitting down to a sandwich and bottles of vodka from their knapsacks behaving like guests, while the Germans dealt with unruly crowds of thousands of ghetto inhabitants: as in Międzyrzec, Łuków, Radzyń, Parczew, Końskowola, Komarówka and all other locations.
Trawnikis shot so fast and so wildly that the German policemen under Wilhelm Trapp "frequently had to take cover to avoid being hit." They were seen as indispensable. In Łomazy, the Germans were "overjoyed" to see them coming after the messy Józefów massacre. The killing in Międzyrzec was conducted by a Trawniki unit of about 350 to 400 men, the same as in Parczew. Some Nazi Ordnungspolizei felt uneasy about killing non-Jewish Poles. Their battalion shot 4,600 Jews by September 1942, but only 78 Poles (a grossly disproportionate number). In contrast, the Hiwis saw ethnic Poles as equal opportunity offenders.
The Jews of KL Lublin thought that nothing worse could possibly happen because their labour was urgently needed. Towards the end of October, the entire slave-labour workforce of KL Lublin/Majdanek including Jewish prisoners of the Trawniki concentration camp were ordered to begin the construction of anti-tank trenches. They remained unaware of their true purpose. The massacres, later assumed to have been revenge for German defeat at Stalingrad, were set by Christian Wirth for November 3, 1943 under the codename Aktion Erntefest, simultaneously at Majdanek, Trawniki, Poniatowa, Budzyn, Kraśnik, Puławy and Lipowa subcamps. The bodies of Jews shot in the pits one-by-one by Trawniki men aided by Battalion 101 were later incinerated by a Sonderkommando from Milejów which was executed on site upon the completion of their task by the end of 1943.
Operation Harvest Festival (Aktion Erntefest in German), with approximately 43,000 victims, was the single largest German massacre of Jews in the entire war. It surpassed the notorious massacre of more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar outside Kiev by 10,000 victims. The Trawniki training camp was dismantled in July 1944 because of the approaching frontline. The last 1,000 Hiwis forming the SS Battalion Streibel led by Karl Streibel himself, were transported west to continue their dirty deeds at the still functioning death camps. The Soviets entered the completely empty facility on July 23, 1944. After the war, they captured and prosecuted hundreds, possibly as many as one thousand Hiwis who returned home to USSR. Most were sentenced to a Gulag, and released under the Khrushchev amnesty of 1955.
The number of Hiwis tried in the West was very small by comparison. Six defendants were acquitted on all charges and set free by a West German court in Hamburg in 1976 including commandant Streibel. The Trawniki men apprehended in Soviet Union were charged with treason (not the shootings) and therefore were guilty of enlistment from the start of judicial proceedings. In the U.S. some 16 former Hiwi guards were denaturalized, some of whom were very old.
In January 1943 the SS Germanische Leitstelle in occupied Zakopane in the heartland of the Tatra mountains embarked on a recruitment drive with an idea of forming a brand new Waffen-SS highlander division. Some 200 young Goralenvolk signed up, while offered unlimited supply of alcohol. They boarded a passenger train to Trawniki, but most left the train in Maków Podhalański once already sober. Only twelve men arrived in Trawniki. At the first opportunity they got into a major fistfight with the Ukrainians, causing havoc. They were arrested and sent away. The whole idea was abandoned as impossible by SS-Obergruppenführer Krüger in occupied Kraków by an official letter of April 5, 1943. The failure has inevitably contributed to his dismissal on November 9, 1943, by Governor General Hans Frank. Krüger committed suicide in upper Austria two years later.
Text from USHMM has been released under the GFDL.
Ukraine differs from other parts of the Nazi-occupied eastern territories because the local administrators were able to form the Ukrainian Hilfsverwaltung in support of the extermination policies in 1941 and 1942, providing assistance for the deportations to camps in 1942 and 1943.
Archiwum Państwowe w Siedlcach (APS), Akta Gminy Prostyń (AGP), t. 104, "Budowa i odbudowa, 1946–1947".
Source: Yitzhak Arad, Thomas (Toivi) Blatt, Alexander Donat, Rudolf Reder, Tom Teicholz, Samuel Willenberg, Richard Glazar; museums and private collections.
Alexander Zusia Friedman (Hebrew: אלכסנדר זושא פרידמן) (9 August 1897 – November 1943) was a prominent Polish Orthodox Jewish rabbi, communal activist, educator, journalist, and Torah scholar. He was the founding editor of the first Agudath Israel Hebrew journal, Digleinu (Our Banner), and author of Ma'ayanah shel Torah (Wellsprings of Torah), an anthology of commentaries on the weekly Torah portion, which is still popular today. He was incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto and deported to the Trawniki concentration camp, where he was selected for deportation to the death camps and murdered around November 1943.Dorohucza
Dorohucza [dɔrɔˈxut͡ʂa] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Trawniki, within Świdnik County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It lies approximately 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Świdnik and 33 km (21 mi) east of the regional capital Lublin.
The village has a population of 753.Erich Lachmann
Erich Lachmann (6 November 1909 – 23 January 1972) was an SS functionary who participated in the Operation Reinhard in the Sobibor extermination camp.
From September 1941, at Trawniki concentration camp Lachmann trained Ukrainians who had volunteered to be guards at the Reinhard death camps. According to Lachmann's own statement, he was in Sobibor as commander of the Ukrainian guards since August 1943. However, witnesses state that he was in the camp starting exactly one year earlier. Fellow SS man Erich Bauer called him "a boozer and somebody who stole like the ravens". Sobibor prisoners such as Eda Lichtman and Abraham Margulies witnessed him rape young girls. When Franz Reichleitner took over command of Sobibor from Franz Stangl, he sent Lachmann back to Trawniki because he deemed that Lachmann was unfit for duty. From there Lachmann deserted with his Polish girlfriend in the winter of 1942-43. He was arrested several months later in Warsaw and sentenced by an SS and police court to six years in prison. However, he was released in April 1945 during the final stages of the war, captured by the Soviet Red Army and survived the war.In the Sobibor Trial in Hagen, which lasted from 6 September 1965 to 20 December 1966, he was accused of participating in the mass murder of approximately 150,000 Jews. Lachmann was quoted as saying: "I had nothing against the Jews. I regarded them as all other people. My suits I previously bought from a Jew, Max Süssmann, who had a textile firm in Liegnitz." The court found Lachmann to be mentally incompetent and he was acquitted because of "putative duress".Feodor Fedorenko
Feodor Fedorenko, or Fyodor Federenko (Ukrainian: Федір Федоренко; Fedir Fedorenko; Russian: Фёдор Демьянович Федоренко; 17 September 1907 – c. July 1987) was a war criminal serving at Treblinka extermination camp in German occupied Poland during World War II. As a former Soviet citizen admitted to the United States under a DPA visa (1949), Fedorenko became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1970. He was discovered in 1977 and denaturalized in 1981. Subsequently, he was extradited to the USSR, sentenced there to death for treason against his nation and participation in the Holocaust, and was executed.Hiwi (volunteer)
The term Hiwi ([ˈhiːviː]) is a German abbreviation of the word Hilfswilliger, meaning "voluntary assistant", or more literally, "willing helper". During World War II, the term Hiwis gained broad popularity in reference to auxiliary forces recruited from the indigenous populations in the areas of Eastern Europe first occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union and then occupied by Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler reluctantly agreed to allow recruitment of Soviet citizens in the Rear Areas during Operation Barbarossa. In a short period of time, many of them were moved to combat units.Jakob Reimer
Jakob (Jack) Reimer (November 6, 1918 – August 3, 2005) was a Trawniki camp guard who later emigrated to the United States and became a salesman and restaurant manager.
Born to German Mennonite parents in Friedensdorf (now Khmelnytskyi), Ukraine, Reimer studied to be a librarian before being drafted into the Soviet Army in 1940. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Reimer entered combat and was captured by German forces on July 6. Two months later, he was transferred to the Trawniki concentration camp where he was trained as a camp guard.
While serving as a camp guard, Reimer participated in the liquidation of Jewish ghettos in Poland, in addition to administrative and office duties. On one occasion, Reimer fired a shot over a pit containing corpses and at least one live civilian, which would later prove pivotal in his denaturalization trial. In 1944, he received a War Meritorious Medal for his service, and was promoted to Guard First Sergeant in 1945.
In 1944, Reimer gained German citizenship after Adolf Hitler made all ethnic German military and police personnel eligible for German citizenship. He later applied for a visa to the United States in 1952 and was naturalized as a United States citizen on April 28, 1959. During his time in the United States, he worked as a Wise potato chip salesman and a restaurant manager, and lived in Brooklyn, New York. After he retired, he moved to Carmel, New York, and was living in Fort Lee, New Jersey at the time of his death.
Reimer was first investigated by American authorities in 1980 in connection with the John Demjanjuk case, but little progress was made during this initial investigation. Not until 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, did investigators make substantial progress. That year, the Office of Special Investigations filed a denaturalization suit against Reimer, and following a bench trial in 1998, Reimer was denaturalized on September 5, 2002. He appealed his denaturalization, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld it on January 27, 2004. In 2005, the government sought to deport Reimer, and he agreed to leave for Germany, but he died before his deportation could be completed.Josias Kumpf
Josias Kumpf (April 7, 1925 – October 15, 2009) was a Nazi concentration camp guard.Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (or Klonimus Kalmish Szapiro) (or "Shapiro," a more common transliteration of the Polish spelling of his name "Szapiro") (20 May 1889–3 November 1943), was the Grand Rabbi of Piaseczno, Poland, who authored a number of works and was murdered by the Nazis during the Shoah.Karl Streibel
SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Streibel (11 October 1903 – 1986) was the second and last commander of the Trawniki concentration camp – one of the subcamps of the KL Lublin system of Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland during World War II.Streibel was born in the area of Chiemgau in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria). He joined the NSDAP and the SS at the age of 29, in November 1932. He was promoted to Obersturmführer just before the Nazi German invasion of Poland. He was appointed leader of Trawniki by Globocnik on 27 October 1941 to conduct training of the collaborationist auxiliary police a.k.a. "Hiwis" (Hilfswilligen, lit. "those willing to help") for service with Nazi Germany in the General Government. His camp had also imprisoned Polish Jews condemned to slave labor. The Jews were all massacred in Operation Harvest Festival on 3 November 1943.The Trawniki men (German: Trawnikimänner) took part in Operation Reinhard, the Nazi extermination of Jews. They conducted executions at death camps and in Jewish ghettos including Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka II, Warsaw (three times, see Stroop Report), Częstochowa, Lublin, Lwów, Radom, Kraków, Białystok (twice), Majdanek as well as at Auschwitz, not to mention Trawniki itself, and the remaining subcamps of KL Lublin/Majdanek including Poniatowa, Budzyn, Kraśnik, Puławy, Lipowa, but also during massacres in Łomazy, Międzyrzec, Łuków, Radzyń, Parczew, Końskowola, Komarówka and all other locations, augmented by the SS and the Reserve Police Battalion 101 from Ordnungspolizei (Orpo).List of denaturalized former citizens of the United States
This is a list of denaturalized former citizens of the United States, that is, those who became citizens through naturalization and were subsequently stripped of citizenship. In the cases of Solomon Adler and Bhagat Singh Thind, they subsequently obtained United States citizenship. Frank Walus's nationality was restored after doubts emerged as to the accuracy of the complaints against him and his conviction was quashed.
According to a February 2, 2011 release from the United States Department of Justice, since 1979, the federal government has stripped 107 people of citizenship for alleged involvement in war crimes committed during World War II through the efforts of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). An unabridged 600-page Justice Department report obtained by The New York Times in 2010 stated, "More than 300 Nazi persecutors have been deported, stripped of citizenship or blocked from entering the United States since the creation of the O.S.I." The Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that five such denaturalized men could not be deported as no country would accept them, and that four others had died while in the same situation.Others have been stripped of their citizenship for more mundane crimes; unless otherwise noteworthy, these people are not included on this list. Some of the people on the list below agreed after legal consultation and/or Department of State communications to give up their United States citizenship/nationality in order to avoid legal prosecution and/or exhaustive deportation/removal proceedings, which does not constitute voluntary relinquishment of citizenship as contrasted with the list of former United States citizens who relinquished their nationality.
This list is incomplete.Key of reasons
Hiding World War II crimes or association with Nazis Serious crimes, suspicion of spying for the communists, or association with terrorists All other reasonsList of subcamps of Majdanek
The following is a list of subcamps of the Majdanek concentration camp run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II. The list, supplied by the Majdanek State Museum, identifies two German categories of the KL Lublin/Majdanek subcamps; the Arbeitzlagers, and the so-called Kommandos. The satellite camps were named Aussenlager (external camp), Nebenlager (extension or subcamp), and Arbeitslager (labor camp). Some of them were less than ten kilometers away from the main camp, with prisoner populations ranging from several dozens to several thousand.Around 1943 the SS put a number of separate camps under the command of the Majdanek administration including Trawniki, Krasnik, Pulawy and Poniatowa concentration camps. However, a similar plan to include the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in the list was never realized partly because of the Sobibor extermination camp uprising in the vicinity. Plaszow remained an independent Konzentrationslager associated with Auschwitz.Marian Neuteich
Marian Neuteich (29 May 1890 - c.1943) was a Polish-Jewish composer, cellist and conductor.
During World War II, Neuteich was in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he was one of the conductors of the Jewish Symphony Orchestra. He was murdered in the Trawniki concentration camp.Poniatowa concentration camp
Poniatowa concentration camp in the town of Poniatowa in occupied Poland, 36 kilometres (22 mi) west of Lublin, was established by the SS in the latter half of 1941 initially, to hold Soviet prisoners of war following Operation Barbarossa. By mid-1942, about 20,000 Soviet POWs had perished there from hunger, disease and executions. The camp was known at that time as the Stalag 359 Poniatowa. Afterwards, the Stammlager was redesigned an expanded as a concentration camp to provide slave labour supporting the German war effort, with workshops run by the SS Ostindustrie (Osti) on the grounds of the prewar Polish telecommunications equipment factory founded in the late 1930s. Poniatowa became part of the Majdanek concentration camp system of subcamps in the early autumn of 1943. The wholesale massacre of its mostly Jewish workforce took place during the Aktion Erntefest, thus concluding the Operation Reinhard in General Government.Richard Thomalla
Richard Thomalla pron. (23 October 1903 – 12 May 1945) was an SS commander of Nazi Germany. A civil engineer by profession, he was head of the SS Central Building Administration at Lublin reservation in occupied Poland. Thomalla was in charge of construction for the Operation Reinhard death camps Bełżec, Sobibor and Treblinka during the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland.Trawniki
Trawniki [travˈniki] is a village in Świdnik County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Trawniki. It lies approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) south-east of Świdnik and 33 km (21 mi) south-east of the regional capital Lublin.The village has a population of 2,893.Trawniki (disambiguation)
Trawniki is a village in Lublin Voivodeship, east Poland, the site of a World War II concentration camp.
Trawniki may also refer to the following places:
Trawniki, Lesser Poland Voivodeship (south Poland)
Trawniki, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (south-central Poland)
Trawniki, Silesian Voivodeship (south Poland)
Trawniki, Opole Voivodeship (south-west Poland)
Trawniki concentration campTrawniki men
Trawniki men (German: Trawnikimänner) were Central and Eastern European collaborators recruited from prisoner-of-war camps set up by Nazi Germany for Soviet Red Army soldiers captured in the border regions during Operation Barbarossa launched in June 1941. Thousands of these volunteers served in the General Government territory of occupied Poland until the end of World War II. Trawnikis belonged to a category of Hiwis (German abbreviation for Hilfswilliger, literally "those willing to help"), Nazi auxiliary forces recruited from native subjects.Between September 1941 and September 1942, the German SS and police trained 2,500 Trawniki men known as Hiwi Wachmänner (guards) at a special Trawniki training camp; for the total of 5,082 men on active duty before the end of 1944. Trawnikimänner were organized by Streibel into two SS Sonderdienst battalions. Some 1,000 Hiwis are known to have run away during field operations. Although the majority of Trawniki men or Hiwis came from among the prisoners of war, there were also Volksdeutsche from Eastern Europe among them, valued because of their ability to speak Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and other languages of the occupied territories. All the officers at Trawniki camp were Reichsdeutsche, and most of the squad commanders were Volksdeutsche. The conscripted civilians and former Soviet POWs included Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Tatars, Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The Trawnikis took a major part in Operation Reinhard, the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews. They also served at extermination camps and played an important role in the annihilation of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (see the Stroop Report) among others.Többens and Schultz
Többens and Schultz (German: Többens und Schultz & Co) was a Nazi German textile manufacturing conglomerate making German uniforms, socks and garments in the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere, during the occupation of Poland in World War II. It was owned and operated by two major war profiteers: Fritz Emil Schultz from Danzig, and a convicted war criminal, Walter C. Többens (i.e. Walther Caspar Toebbens, from Hamburg).Warsaw concentration camp
The Warsaw concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager Warschau, short KL or KZ Warschau) was an associated group of the German Nazi concentration camps, located in German-occupied Warsaw, the capital of Poland.