Majdanek (Poland)

Majdanek was established October 1941 as SS-run POW Camp and as concentration camp February 16, 1943. The first commandant was Karl Koch. Maximum number of inmates : 25,000. Majdanek consisted of POW camp; extermination camp ; children camp. Initially there were two gas chambers using Zyklon-B poison gas housed in a wooden building; later there were replaced by gas chambers in a brick building. The killing operations began in April 1942 and ended in July 1944. Majdanek provided slave labor for munitions works and Steyr-Daimler- Puch weapons factory (see The List of the Camps). The estimated number of deaths is 360,000, including Jews, Soviet POWs and Poles.

Built just one and a quarter miles from the outskirts of Lublin, Majdanek began life as a prisoner of war camp in October 1941. However, Majdanek was unusual in that it was run by the Waffen-SS and was intended to supply labor for SS industries, especially armament works.

Liberation of Majdanek: the Red Army found ample evidence of the mass murder that had occurred there.

The original camp was constructed by Jewish POWs. At its ultimate comprised 144 barracks sub divided into five sections, including special camps for children and extermination. The area of the camp was about 2.7 sq. kilometers, surrounded by an electrified barbed wire fence and watch-towers. It was surrounded by workshops and storage facilities.

The first inmates were Polish political prisoners, Polish Jews and 5,000 Soviet POWs who arrived in October 1941. They had perished by the following year when Jews began to arrive from Slovakia, the Protectorate, Holland, Belgium, France and Greece. The camp, which acquired an infamous reputation for the sadism of the SS guards, was used to terrorize people in occupied White Russia and Ukraine, too. The first, and most notorious camp commandant, was Karl Koch.

An estimated 130,000 Jews were deported to Majdanek during 1942-43 as part of the 'Final Solution'. One of the sub-sections of the camp was turned into a killing center with two gas chambers in wooden barracks. Later a brick building was erected to house the gas chambers. The killing was effected by Zyklon-B gas as at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jews and Soviet POWs were also killed in mass shootings. In April 1942, 2,800 Jews were killed in this way. The largest massacre occurred on November 3, 1943, when 17,000 Jews were machine-gunned to death as part of the 'Erntefest Aktion'. It is estimated that up to 500,000 people passed through Majdanek, of whom 200,000 perished. Approximately 125,000 of these were Jews.

This was Majdanek...

The camp was liquidated in July 1944, but was only partially destroyed by the time the Red Army arrived. Although 1,000 inmates were evacuated on a death march, the Red Army found thousands of inmates still in the camp and ample evidence of the mass murder that had occurred there.

NOTE: For more informations about Majdanek extermination camp, we suggest you to read the " COMMUNIQUE OF THE POLISH-SOVIET EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSION FOR INVESTIGATING THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE GERMANS IN THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN " published in Moscow in 1944. This document demonstrates the cruelty involved.