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Memorial honours victims of Nazi German labour camp in present-day Poland
Polish Radio 26.11.2019 15:15
A new memorial has been unveiled to commemorate victims of a former Nazi German labour camp in what is now southwestern Poland. Two former prisoners, Lea Gleitman from Sweden and Sonia Abiri from Israel, took part in the ceremony in the Polish town of Strzegom on Monday, alongside a host of officials, according to reports. A Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest said prayers, and officials cut ribbons in the Polish and Israeli national colours as the new memorial was unveiled. There was also a roll call of honour, a military salute and a wreath-laying ceremony.
Strzegom, a town in Poland’s southwestern Lower Silesia province, is where the Nazi Germans operated the Gräben forced labour camp during World War II, according to Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which seeks to prosecute crimes against the Polish nation. Hundreds of young women prisoners died while being forced to work at the camp and during “a death march” when the facility was “evacuated” by the Nazis in late 1944 and early 1945, according to a historian cited by a Polish newspaper.
“They were dying of exhaustion, hunger and low temperatures,” historian Tadeusz Płużański said in an interview published on Tuesday by the Gazeta Polska Codziennie newspaper. The exact location of the Gräben camp was determined only recently by Polish researchers, in part thanks to 1944 aerial Allied photographs that the Polish Institute of National Remembrance obtained from the United States this year, Polish website niezalezna.pl reported.
The camp began operating in March 1943. In June 1944, it became a branch of the nearby Gross-Rosen concentration camp in what is now the village of Rogoźnica near Strzegom. About 500 young Jewish women were forced to work at Gräben after being sent there from ghettos in Będzin and Sosnowiec in German-occupied Poland, as well as from Hungary, France and Belgium, according to niezalezna.pl.
Source: niezalezna.pl, gpcodziennie.pl, wroclaw.ipn.gov.pl