In December 1939 in Lublin on 7 Lipowa Street Nazis established a labor camp. In workshops built here people of Jewish origin were hired. The equipement of the workshops had been requisitioned from the Jewish companies. The prisoners also carried out various cleaning works outside the camp. Since December 1940, after the workshops had been taken over by Deutsches Ausrüstungswerke (DAW) company, the extent of its activity expanded. A specialized building commando carried out many various works in Lublin. DAW created also an affiliate on Chełmska Street and in Puławy. In Fall 1941 the forced laborers from the camp on Lipowa Street were used to fencing in the KL Majdanek.
Initially, only Jewish laborers comming everyday from Lublin were hired. The Germans extorted their frequence and discipline by numerous threats. In 1940 the Germans brought to the camp about 1200 Jew, who were held there till the end of the year. Also the Jewish soldiers of the Polish Army were held here – the POWs captured during the September Campaign in 1939 to Lublin from various Stalags. It is estimated that 4.756 soldiers of Jewish origin went through the camp. They were the most numerous group among the POWs in the camp. As well Poles, convicted of various offenses as for instance inappropriate fulfillment of quotas for the occupier, were taken to Lipowa Street. Most of them were released after being punished.
The living conditions were horrible. The prisoners dwelled in collapsing stable buildings. The minimial composite rations were not engough to satisfy hunger and to enable a full regeneration to the prisoners. The works were carried out in a murderous pace. The severe beating up often resulting in the demise of the victim was of daily occurence. The prisoners were tormented in many different ways, among other things they were poured with water on frost. It also came to immediate executions. The prisoners made many attempts to escape. The POWs were also organizing a revolt but eventually this plan failed.
In January 1940 the Germans deported a group of prisoners to Biała Podlaska. They rushed them on foot among snowstorms and temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius. Those who did not follow were killed by the German guards. The inhabitants of the nearby villages were forced to collect and then to bury the bodies in mass graves. Mieczysła Jędruszczak, the subsequent deputy commanding officer of AK in Parczew, was a witness of this deportation. Let’s quote a fragment of his reminiscence published in magazine ”Fołks Sztyme” in 1973: ”It was a harsh winter. Snow and frost paralized the traffic on roads. At the same time most of the prisoners to march wore summer uniforms, some of them were sick and physically exhausted. One just needed to look at them to realise that a march in such poor weather condidions equalled death sentence. But it was Nazis’ deliberate move. (…) Grey, bent figures eclipsed by falling snowflakes, they looked like dummies put into movement by a mysterious power. Heads burried in shoulders were wrapped round in rags. Legs, moved with enormous difficulty, wrapped in rags, created an impression of blocks weakly attached to the body. Everything was sliding slowly in this sort of ghastly march, a march into unvisible, black space. (…) Already 4 kilometers after Lublin first solidier corpses occured, they were the first victims of the SS-men, deseases and cold. (…) Every few kilometers the Germans separareted a few or dozen or so prisoners from the main column and executed them on the road pushing the bodies down to ditches. It happened near Pałczenica, before Klementynów and in the village Juliopol.” After five weeks of this terrible ”March of Death” from 627 people only 287 managed to get to Biała Podlaska.
All of the Jewish prisoners from Lipowa Street were slain on the 3rd November 1943 within the scope of the Erntefest Action. The SS-men surrounded the camp and then under strong guard they took the POWs to the KL Majdanek. They were executed above ditches dug nearby crematory.
The camp was reactivated in January 1944, when 660 prisoners from Buchenwald, Dachau, Majdanka, Sachsenhausen were brought. The post functioned until 22 July 1944. In connection with the offensive of the Red Army in July 1944 the prisoners were transported to the KL Auschwitz.
At present in the place of the camp there is a shopping mall ”Lublin Plaza” On the building’s wall a board has been placed saying: ” In years 1939-1945 in this area there was a German labor camp for Jews where craftsmen from many ghettos and a few thousand of POWs of Jewish origin from the Polish Army were imprisoned. On the 3rd November 1943 the prisoners of this camp were murdered by Nazis in a mass execution in the KL Majdanek. Since January 1944 there was a department of the KL Majdanek here, in which about 700 prisoners of various nationalities from all over the Europe were held and forced to work.”
We reccomend you to listen to the paper of Wojciech Lenarczyk from Państwowe Muzeum na Majdanku (The National Museum in Majdanek) entitled ” Obóz pracy przymusowej dla Żydów przy ulicy Lipowej w Lublinie (1939-1943),” (”The Labor Camp for Jews on Lipowa Street in Lublin (1939-1943)") delivered during the conference ”History and remembrances of the Holocaust in the voivodship of Lublin” organized on the anniversary of the Erntefest Action - http://wiedzaiedukacja.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Lenarczyk-wojciech.mp3 (in Polish)
The list of the Jewish POWs imprisoned in the camp on Lipowa Street can be found in Banjamin Meirtchak’s book ” Żydzi - żołnierze wojsk polskich polegli na frontach II wojny światowej” (”Jews – the soldiers of the Polish Army died on the front lines of the World War II”) (Bellona Warszawa, 2001). It contains also the names of the victims of the ”Death March” from Lublin to Biała Podlaska organized in 1940.
przetłumaczył Paweł Socha