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Page 69. In German penal servitude (O.Baydachenko)
The article provides information about the conditions of labor of Ukrainian workers in Germany in contrast to the promises of German recruiting propaganda. The recruiters offered the workers employment according to skill, good living conditions and excellent wages. But in Germany all city workers were kept prisoners behind the barbed wire and in horrible living and sanitary conditions. The supervisors treated the workers from the East brutally. Many workers died from continuous under nourishment, difficult working conditions, sickness or allied bombs. The author gives many facts about the fate of the Ukrainian intelligentsia from central Ukraine and names many individuals from Kiev and Kharkiv.
My name is Cliff Holland. I just came in possion of a couple photo's of my dad's that he took during the war. I was wondering if you might be able to help me identify where the were taken. I have no other information on them only that he entered Germany through the town of Aachen. I'm attaching the photo's. Thanks. Cliff Holland
Hi: I was a Capt, Company Commander in 1st Bn. 405th Inf Regt of the 102nd Inf. Div. I recognize your pictures as I have some like them . This is at Gardelegen, Germany. This buillding is not part of a camp. This is a barn out side the town. The Germans had been marching these POWS for weeks to keep them from the Russians. When they met the USA troops, they put them all in this barn with straw about a foot deep on the floor. Then they fired a very pistol into the barn and set the straw on fire. The POWs could not get out and were killed. When we opened the barn door, it was a horrible site. Bodies were 10 feet high at the door where they died trying to get out. We found them on the 18th of April 1945. Our Div Commander made all the town people go to see this sight. Made them take the bodies out of the barn as you see in your pictures and later to bury them. Best wishes. John H. Middlebrooks, LTC USA Retired, Mon, 31 Mar 2003.
The prisoners at the Ahlem Labor Camp were initially in the Lodz (Litzmannstadt) Ghetto in Poland. From there, they were deported to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp for a short period of time, and finally sent to Hanover, Germany and the Ahlem Labor Camp.
If you know anyone who was in the Ahlem Labor Camp or their families, please contact The Documentary Institute, University of Florida, PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611 Phone: (352) 392-1501, e-mail: email@example.com or contact Roni at phone: (914) 472-0667, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alderney - German Occupation of Guernsey
"In the tradition of the island, many Guernseymen were already serving in HM forces in Europe and many more islanders (around 17,000 including hundreds of schoolchildren) had been evacuated to the north of England in the preceeding weeks. But over half of the population (25,000) decided to stay and face whatever came their way. Around 2,000 of those were later to find themselves imprisoned in Germany. The entire population of Alderney was evacuated and there sprung up three slave labour camps and an S.S. Concentration camp." Excerpt from: http://www.islandlife.org/occupation.htm
KZ - Lager und Friedhöfe, an incident at Ampfing
The following is my grandmother's story. She was born in (or near) Ternopil, Poland (pre-WWII) in what is today western Ukraine. My grandmother was forcibly taken from her home by the German army at the start of WWII. She was born in 1913, so she would have been around 25 years old when this tragedy occurred! She was forced to work at a labour camp somewhere in Germany under the most abominable, deplorable conditions imaginable for the next 6 to 7 years of her life. Many "inmates" did not survive the camp.
The irony of
this story is that one person who treated her with respect and love during
this horrific period was a German guard at the labour camp! A family
source reluctantly told me that they were in love. Apparently, this unnamed
guard risked his life to secretly feed, cloth and care for many of the
inmates, which not only included Poles, but also Ukrainians, Jews and
Gypsies. Another family source informed me that my grandmother was also
involved with helping Jewish inmates escape the camp. Whether all this
is fact or fiction remains to be learned. My mother, Theresa, was born
of this relationship after the war in 1945. Sadly, my grandfather was
executed (shot) shortly after my mother was born for stealing food to
feed his family! Survivors on my mother's side of the family either do
not have any information, or more likely, are keeping this "embarassing" chapter
of my grandmother's hard life a secret. This resistance has made me even
more steadfast in learning more about him. I recently contacted the Augsburg
registry office (Standesamt Augsburg) for my mother's papers. Unfortunately,
there's no mention of my grandfather's name in any of the documents.
Thank you very kindly. John, Canada
Thank you very kindly. John, Canada
Auschwitz - Birkenau
Auschwitz was the concentration camp; Birkenau was the death camp
Millions of Ukrainians perished in Auschwitz; but history only records that a few Ukrainians sided with the Nazis.
"...his greatest tormentor in Birkenau was a Jewish kapo in Block 4 who beat him mercilessly whenever he caught him praying. That man hated Father Kovalskyi because he was Ukrainian and a priest. He did not care that Kovalskyi was there because he had tried to help Jews."
"I stayed in Barracks 7 at Birkenau for about another week. It was a mixed barracks, housing Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians, all of them trying to survive. After the first week, we were marched over to Block 11 in old Auschwitz. There were 29 of these blocks in all. They had been used as housing for Polish border troops before the war. Each one had two accommodation levels and a small attic above. We were on the top floor, which was almost entirely populated by Ukrainians. I notice that there were quite a few more SS men here guarding us. There were also quite a few Jewish kapos, dressed in black outfits, better fed than the rest of us, who did a lot of killing. Many of them belonged to a special formation known as the "Canada Commando" which sorted out the belongings of incoming prisoners, taking everything that was of value to the Third Reich's war economy, leaving only the naked men, women and children, many of whom were then gassed. That task gave those kapos many opportunies to steal, which they did, not that it helped most of them in the long run.
"I remember that there were this time a lot of Soviet POWs in the camp, including a large group of Ukrainian women. They were housed in Block 11, two floors below us. We could sometimes hear them singing Ukrainian songs at night. That went on for about three weeks, and then one night their singing abruptly stopped. We heard the next day that they had all been taken away and shot. Only the empty cellar floor and an echo of their songs were left in our minds."
"19 January 1945. I had fallen quite ill by that time and was so weak that I couldn't really walk. My friends half -carried and half-dragged me with them. We left a night. The rumours were that the Red Army was alreay in Cracow. So, between ten and eleven o'colock that evening we were told to get ready to go and at about one, we were paraded and counted up. I walked through the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work shall set you free) gate one last time. I was free in Auschwitz, but gave it no thought. I was almost a musulman (lost soul walking but with vacant look - one who has given up on life). Into Auschwitz, for Ukraine By Stefan Petelycky
"An examination of the contents of the warehouses revealed all the objects had belonged to the peoples of various nationalities who were tortured to death or murdered. Clothing, footwear, and other articles bore the labels of French, Belgian, Hungarian, Dutch, Yugoslavian, Czechoslovakian and other manufacturers. Stickers from various European hotels could still be seen on the suitcases. On the camp railway platform, the commission discovered seven railway wagons loaded with clothing and bedding ready for shipment to Germany... "In Auschwitz camp, the Hitler criminals murdered hundreds of thousands of children, from infants to sixteen-year olds. As a rule, children were sent to the gas chambers to be killed as soon as they stepped off the train, and only a small number of powerful youths were retained for work in the camp. The investigations have shown that the Germans demanded the same hard labour from children 8 to 16 years old as from adults...German hangmen killed not less than 4,000,000 citizens of the USSR, Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Holland, Belgium, and other countries during the period of the existence of Auschwitz camp...The persons examined suffered from broken ribs, fractured limbs, fractures of the vertebral column and bones of the face, as well as various wounds, ulcers, and frozen hands and feet, the results of the tortures permitted by the Germans. Very many of the liberated prisoners suffered from severe nervous and psychological disturbances. The forensic medical commission held an examination of the corpses of 536 prisoners found on the grounds of the camp. It was established that in 474 cases (88.3 percent) the cause of death was exhaustion."Soviet War Crimes Report on Auschwitz
Einfahrt zum Konzentrationslager Auschwitz - Birkenau Auschwitz, nach Mai 1945
Photographie, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin Inv.-Nr: BA F 78/275
40 subcamps Oswiecim (Auschwitz)
Russian POWs at Auschwitz taken by Nazis
Ukrainian President (2005), Viktor Yushchenko's father, Andriy, like all Auschwitz forced labor prisoners, was simply identified by his tattooed number on his chest while in the camp. He was there from February to July 1944. He was also in Dachau and Buchenwald, escaping seven times. One of a handful of some 14,000 Soviet (Ukrainian) prisoners of war to survive the camp where 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died, he returned home after World War II to work as a teacher. He died in 1992. By Ron Popeski, Reuters, Krakow, Poland, Thu, January 27, 2005
1. Kaczmar, Andrzej (1900-08-26 - 1942-04-06)
Birthplace: Warolce, Place of Residence: Mechtahl, Denomination: katholisch / Catholic
2. Kaczmar, Piotr (1892-05-15 - 1941-11-04)
Birthplace: Grabowiec, Place of Residence: Swiete, Denomination: grekokatholisch / Greek Catholic
Search death camps: http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/szukaj/index.php?language=EN
Then they began to execute us, to exploit us, even to export us as slave laborers to the Third Reich. Too many people still bury Ukraine's losses among those of the Soviet Union or Poland. They pretend Ukrainians did not exist. We proved otherwise. We resisted. Ukraine's anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet movement would carry on an armed struggle for our people's freedom well into the 1950s.
People forget all that. When they speak of Ukrainians and the war, they refer to us only as collaborators or camp guards. I was in a camp, in fact several. But I wasn't there as a guard. In fact, that's where I got my number. It's 154754. The Nazis gave it to me.
I was 19 years old when they did that to me at Auschwitz. They brought me there because I was a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. I know it has become politically correct to label Ukrainian nationalists as anti-Semitic Nazi collaborators. That is not true.
Yes, there were some Ukrainians who collaborated, out of fear, out of greed, out of prejudice. But I saw such scum among every nation represented among those at Auschwitz. I also saw them in the other concentration camps the Nazis carted me off to, including Mathausen, Melk and Ebensee. Many Ukrainian patriots, men and women, perished at the hands of the Nazis. Only a few were lucky enough to survive and to find a new life in the West, even as our homeland fell under Soviet occupation, again.
At first, when they saw us, they could not believe they were free. But when they understood, some began to laugh, others broke down crying. Many tried to kiss us, but they looked so horrible that we kept away so as not to catch some bug. Many asked for food, but we didn't have any. Our support units arrived the next day and got busy with the prisoners, feeding and washing them. But we only stayed for a couple of hours. It was a horrible scene. We went into a filthy women's barrack, with bunks in tiers and bloodstains on some of them.
The Germans had not expected everything would move so fast: we carried out the operation very quickly. They hadn't had time to blow up anything or plant mines. There was a huge construction site next to the camp: prisoners were building a chemicals plant. There were not just camp inmates working there, but also tens of thousands of civilians shipped from the USSR.
The grim barracks stood in rows and, from a distance, looked like a factory - and it was a real factory of death. I saw a great deal in the war, but nothing so horrible or awesome as that camp. The experience gave us a new energy and determination to put an end to the abomination of nazism. Our men did not spare their lives - we knew our cause was just. In a few days we moved on to the west, and I was again gravely wounded, now on German territory, at a place called Lonau.
Nadia, a Ukrainian, writes about her experiences in a slave labor camp
"We had to stand in line to get our daily bread along with our coffee. The bread was around 200 grams and black...We were given a small aluminum bowl where they poured our coffee into and a large spoon to drink the coffee with. Along with our bread, they gave us a small cube of margarine. The bowl and spoon were our one and only worldly possessions...We had to take our eating utensils with us because we needed them at lunchtime when it was served at the work site. The soup they served us was utterly digusting. It was a cabbage soup and floating on top were worms. We had a difficult time eating it and one of the girls stood up to protest...She held up the worm and said,
"You expect us to eat this slop with worms in it?"
"You should be so grateful," he says, "when I was in the Russian prisons in the first World War, I had it worse than you. I didn't even have a worm to eat. At least you've got a worm not to mention soup." ...[When assigned to peel vegetables,] we craved to have some of these vegetables but weren't allowed. I'd be wearing my big jacket as it was already cold outside....I'd look around and thought to myself is it worth the risk getting caught taking a vegetable. [The penalty was being moved to Buchenwald concentration camp.] I kept a watchful eye on the guard. When she wasn't looking, I quickly grabbed a carrot and put it in my pocket...I managed to swipe some turnips along the way to the fields as we walked through."
For more, read "A Life of Hope, Memoirs of Nadia the Survivor" by Peter Anton, ISBN 0-9736966-0-5
Continue to slave camps pages B-C
Life after slavery:
...when I would come to visit, she was always happy to see me because she could always talk me into cooking for her. I hate to cook and I hated to work around my mother. My mother learned discipline from the Nazi guards in the concentration camps. She expected you to follow orders and she expected you to do it right. There was no screwing up allowed around her. If you did, she would freeze you out, turn her sarcasm against you. Call you a baby or a fool. Tell you that you're a college professor and still you can't boil a stinking egg! john guzlowski email@example.com
German Soldiers Come to My Mother’s Village
On their knees, and one by one, each man
and woman, each child, is shot and falls
backward without a sound into the mud
like an iron rod. God doesn’t love these people.
For more: http://www.eiu.edu/~agora/0709/GuzB.htm