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Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland (marked with black squares)

Gross-Rosen entrance gate with the phrase Arbeit macht frei

Gross-Rosen memorial

Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp (German language: Konzentrationslager Groß-Rosen) was a German concentration camp, located in Gross-Rosen, Lower Silesia (now Rogoźnica, Poland). It was located directly on the rail line between Jauer (now Jawor) and Striegau (now Strzegom).

The camp

It was set up in the summer of 1940 as a satellite camp to Sachsenhausen, and became an independent camp on May 1, 1941. Initially, work was carried out in the camp's huge stone quarry, owned by the SS-Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH (SS German Earth and Stone Works). As the complex grew, many inmates were put to work in the construction of the subcamps' facilities.

In October 1941 the SS transferred about 3,000 Soviet POWs to Gross-Rosen for execution by shooting.

Gross-Rosen was known for its brutal treatment of NN (Nacht und Nebel) prisoners, especially in the stone quarry. The brutal treatment of the political and Jewish prisoners was not only due to the SS and criminal prisoners, but to a lesser extent also due to German civilians working in the stone quarry. In 1942, for political prisoners, the mean survival time was less than two months. Due to a change of policy in August 1942, prisoners were likely to survive longer because they were needed as slave workers in German industries. Among the companies that benefited from the slave labour of the concentration camp inmates were German electronics manufacturers such as Blaupunkt or Siemens. Some prisoners who were not able to work and not yet dying within a few days, were sent to the Dachau concentration camp in so-called invalid transports. One of these, Willem Lodewijk Harthoorn (nl), an inmate from the end of April to mid-August 1942, wrote an account of his experiences, Verboden te sterven (in Dutch, meaning Forbidden to Die). The largest population of inmates, however, were Jews, initially from the Dachau and Sachsenhausen camps, and later from Buchenwald. During the camp's existence, the Jewish inmate population came mainly from Poland and Hungary; others were from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Greece, Yugoslavia, Slovakia, and Italy.

At its peak activity in 1944, the Gross-Rosen complex had up to sixty subcamps located in eastern Germany and occupied Poland. In its final stage, the population of the Gross-Rosen camps accounted for 11% of the total inmates in Nazi concentration camps at that time. A total of 125,000 inmates of various nationalities passed through the complex during its existence, of whom an estimated 40,000 died on site and in evacuation transports. The camp was captured on February 14, 1945, by the Red Army.

A total of over 500 female camp guards were trained and served in the Gross Rosen complex. Female SS staffed the women's subcamps of Brünnlitz, Graeben, Gruenberg, Gruschwitz Neusalz, Hundsfeld, Kratzau II, Oberalstadt, Reichenbach,disambiguation needed and Schlesiersee Schanzenbau.

A subcamp of Gross-Rosen situated in the Czechoslovakian town of Brünnlitz was a location where Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler were interned.

Camp commandants

During the Gross-Rosen period as a subcamp of Sachsenhausen the following SS-officers served as Lagerführer:

As an independent concentration camp from May 1941, the following were commandants:

  • Second-in-command: In the spring of 1944 Fritz Ritterbusch was second in command at Gross-Rosen, where from May 1944 to 13 February 1945 he was the Commander of the company, as well as the Manager of subcamps of Parschnitz in Pozici and Trautenau in Trutnovie in the Czech Republic. Unknown fate.

Notable inmates

See also


  • Alfred Konieczny (pl) Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust. NY: Macmillan, 1990, vol. 2, pp. 623–626.
Inmate accounts
  • Harthoorn, W.L. (2007). Verboden te sterven: Oranjehotel, Kamp Amersfoort, Buchenwald, Grosz-Rozen, Dachau, Natzweiler. ISBN 978-90-75879-37-7. 
  • Teunissen, Johannes (2002). Mijn belevenissen in de duitse concentratiekampen. ISBN 978-90-435-0367-9. 

External links

Coordinates: 50°59′57″N 16°16′40″E / 50.999281°N 16.277704°E / 50.999281; 16.277704

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