Danzig – Matzkau

In October 1939, the SS had a camp in Matzkau (polish Mackowych), about five kilometers south of Danzig (polish Gdansk), for something called the SS-Heimwehr. Prisoners from the nearby Stutthof concentration camp were used in the construction work and the camp was also subordinated to Stutthof. The camp consisted of about 45 barracks with a capacity of about 3000 soldiers. Already in the autumn of 1940 the camp was dismantled and during a transitional period the camp became a transit camp for so-called people from the Baltics who were to be transferred to the German empire. In September 1941, the SS established a penal camp called the Strafvollzuglager der SS und Polizei.

This was a camp for the SS and police officers sentenced to punishment for desertion, refusal of orders, defeatism, assault, rape and even homosexuality. The level of punishment varied from fixed-term prison sentences, frontal duties, forced displacement to penal companies and death sentences. A guard from Stutthof was sentenced to death for crimes committed in the concentration camp. Some prisoners were also forcibly recruited by so-called anti-party units, among others, the infamous unit Dirlewanger consisted of members recruited from the camp. Dirlewanger was notorious for his brutality against partisans and civilians. The camp began to be evacuated in February 1945, when most prisoners were sent to other prisons. Nuremberg and Mosbach.

Current status: Demolished (2016).

Location: 54° 18'40 N 18° 37'1 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

There are ruins and remnants left all around the former camp area. Some are barely visible because they are located among shrubs and can be difficult to reach. Some of the ruins are probably also on private land. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get any overview of the camp because it is difficult to know what the ruins and remains once were. The exceptions are the barracks that have their characteristic rectangular shape with a small staircase in the middle on one long side. Incidentally, the whole area feels a bit run down and wild, but of course it does not take away its historical significance.

Follow up in books: Höhne, Heinz: The Order of the Death’s Head: The story of Hitler’s SS (1969).