Plaszow

Question:

I have been looking for the Brunnlitz (Schindler's concentration/work camp). If I am correct, it is located in a town now called PLTZOV. Would you be able to tell me where is this town at. In the Czech Republic, Poland or former Sudetanland which would now be in Germany? In September (next month) I am visiting the camps my father was during WW II a prisoner. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

I am one of the volunteers that responds to queries from our readers. It is possible that you will receive other responses from my colleagues.

You are probably referring to Plaszow. The Dictionary of the Holocaust describes it thus:

Plaszow Labor Camp opened in 1942 outside of Krakow (Poland) for Polish Political and religious leaders. The facility was 'upgraded' to a concentration camp in January 1944. At this point the Death's Head Brigade units replaced the Ukranian guards and operated the facility. The camp was predominantly composed of Jewish inmates, but after the Polish revolt in Warsaw, the number of Polish political prisoners increased. The camp's population peaked in the spring of 1943 at around 24,000. The most barbarous crimes were committed under the leadership of Amon Goeth. On January 14, 1945, Plaszow's surviving prisoners were evacuated to Auschwitz.

I recently visited the site of this camp which is located on the south- east side of Krakow. It can easily be reached by car or you can take a local train (Tarnow direction) Plaszow Station or walk from Podgorze (20 minutes) down to ul. Wieliczka [NOTE: 'ul.' signifies 'street.'] and cross over the road. You might wish to buy the following guide book at Barnes & Noble or Amazon Books: Poland: The Rough Guide, by Mark Salter and Gordon McLachlan which gives detailed instructions.

I might add that there is precious little to see. The site of the camp contains a couple of modest monuments honoring the dead and a few vestigial ruins. The stone quarry is visible (this was where Stephen Spielberg built a replica of the camp when he filmed Schindler's List, but even the replica is gone). Ammon Goeth's house is also visible from the hillside above the quarry. The rest of the camp consists mostly of large, green expanses of grass -- much of it overgrown. The entire area around the camp is now filled with homes and apartment houses.

In another request you had written:

I am traveling to Poland and the Czech Republic to visit the concentration camps my father was a prisoner in. The names of the concentration camps I remember he spoke of are: BRUNLITZ or BRINLITZ and GOLESOV or GOLESOW.

From The Holocaust Chronicle published by Louis Weber:

October 8, 1944; Seven hundred Plaszow, Poland, camp deportees are sent from the Gross-Rosen, Germany, camp to Brunnlitz in the Sudetenland. Oskar Schindler, owner of a newly-opened munitions factory in Brunnlitz, persuades the SS to give him all 700 Jews for use as workers. Schindler also makes arrangements to have 300 Jewish women transferred from Auschwitz to his factory.

Re: GOLESOV or GOLESOW

This "probably refers to Golleschau: [also from the Holocaust Chronicle]

January 21-29, 1945; Ninety-six Hungarian Jews interned at Auschwitz and working at a quarry in Golleschau , Germany, are sealed inside a pair of cattle cars labeled 'Property of the State.' Half of the prisoners freeze to death as the train travels aimlessly for days. At Zwitau, Germany, the cattle cars are detached from the train and left at the station. Manufacturer Oskar Schindler alters the bill of lading to read: 'Final Destination - Schindler Factory, Brunnlitz.' After unsealing the cars at his factory, Schindler frees the Jews. ... April 26, 1945: The Red Army captures Brno, Czechoslovakia, freeing Oskar Schindler's Jews."

Golleschau is just inside the Polish border with Germany some 40 kilometers southwest of Auschwitz (Oswiecim), near the town of Ustron.

Brno, which was once Brunnlitz, is located in the Czech Republic about 200 kilometers southeast of Prague.

Note: There was also a small camp in "Gloskow" which is just south of Warsaw, but I don't think this is related to your search.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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