Trawniki

Question:

Hello, my name is [...]. Im a jew, daughter of a surviver. Ive been looking for information about my grandfather, mother's father, who died in Trawniki. I know this was a small camp, but Im still not sure what kind of camp was it. Because Ive read that it was a trainig camp. I would like to know if it was an extermination camp as well, and if their are any records I could get. The other question is if this was a subcamp of Lublin, as I read somewere else. What does subcamp means exactly, does it mean, for example that people could have been taken to the main camp ? Thank you so much for your help

Richard J. Green answers:

I am one of the people who answers questions addressed to the Holocaust History Project. It is possible that you will receive other answers.

Trawniki was indeed a training camp for the so-called Hiwis who assisted in mass murder, but it was also a slave labor camp. It was located about 40 km east of Lublin by rail. (according to Gilbert's atals of the Holocaust).

We have a short essay that gives several sources to help people find information about loved ones at http://www.holocaust-history.org/short-essays

Best Regards,

Rich Green

Harry W. Mazal OBE responds:

Further to the response from my esteemed colleague, Dr. Richard Green, I will give you some further details on Trawniki.

The information was taken from:

Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
Volume 4,
Israel Gutman, Editor-in-Chief
c. 1990, Macmillan Publishig Co. (New York)
ISBN 0-02-896090-4
pp. 1480-1481

Trawniki, labor camp established in the fall of 1941 in Trawniki, southeast of Lublin, Poland in what had once been a sugar factory; it was used to house Soviet prisoners of war and Polish Jews. Trawniki belonged to the network of camps under the control of Odilo Globocknick, the Hoeherrer SS - und Polizeifuehrer (Higher SS and Police Leader) in the Lublin district. In the spring of 1942, Jews from Germany Austria and Czechoslovakia were brought to Trawniki. Many of them died of starvation and disease, were deported to the Belzec extermination camp, or were shot in the nearby forest.

Late in 1942, a brush factory that had been in operation in the Miedzyrzec Podlaski ghetto was transferred, together with its crew, to Trawniki. After the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in the wake of the ghetto revolt in 1943, the Fritz Schulz Works in Warsaw was moved to Trawniki with ten thousand workers; it consisted of workshops for tailors, furriers, and broom makers. Among the arrivals from Warsaw were Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum and thirty-three members of the 'Zydowska Organisacja Bojowa (Jewish Fighting Organization: ZOB) The latter set up an underground u]in the camp, acquired a few arms, and made plans for an uprising. In May 1943 Jews from the Netherlands and from Bialostok, Minsk and Smolensk were brought to Trawniki, as were factories working for the Wehmacht. That July, 'Ostinddustrie GMBH' (Osti) which belonged to the SS requested that the Trawniki camp be enlarged because of the importance to the Wehrmacht. of the goods (army uniforms, and so on) that were being manufactured there. In october the Wehrmacht factories were transferred to Osti. The Jewish prisoners in Trawniki were also employed in peat mining and in eart-moving operations outside the camp.

As a result of the uprising that took place in the 'Sobibor' camp on October 14, 1943, the Nazis became alarmed about the possibility of more such rebellions breaking out and Heinrich Himmler ordered the *Hoeherer SS und Polizeifuehrer* in the Lublin district to liquidate all the Jewish camps. This action led to the 'Erntefest' *Aktion* of early November 1943, in which forty-three thousand Jews were killed. The turn of the Trawniki camp came on November 5; ten thousand Jews were taken out of the camp, brought to the pits that had been prepared in advance, and killed. The Jewish underground members were taken by surprise but they resisted, and all fell in battle. In the spring of 1944 the remaining prisoners in the camp were transferred to the Starachowice camp, in the Radom district. Some twenty thousand Jewish prisoners passed through Trawniki in the period of its existence.

I hope that this information will give you some better knowledge of what happened to your great-gradparents.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W, Mazal OBE

back to the list of questions