Gross-Rosen


Gross-Rosen was first established as a satellite camp to Sachsenhausen in 1940, but became the year after an independent concentration camp with its own satellite camps. The most famous is perhaps Brneec (Brunnlitz in German) in the present Czech Republic. It was there that Oskar Schindler moved his factory from Krakow and brought with him about 1200 Jewish workers who thus survived the war. Brunnlitz was liberated by the Russians on May 10, 1945. Gross-Rosen was also the camp that about 60,000 prisoners from Auschwitz were forced to march against when the SS evacuated Auschwitz in late January 1945. Not even half came forward, but were either murdered by the SS or died from the physical stresses that these death marches meant. People from virtually all of occupied Europe were imprisoned in Gross-Rosen or in one of the 80 or so satellite camps that belonged to Gross-Rosen. The prisoners who sat in the main camp (10,000 prisoners) were mainly allowed to work in the nearby granite quarry. Gross-Rosen also assisted slave workers in the tunnel structures at Anlage Riese, where 119 prisoners were murdered in December 1941 as part of the euthanasia program. Gross-Rosen also housed s.k. Nacht und Nebel (Night and fog) catches. As the Red army approached in early February 1945, the nazis began to evacuate the camp. The remaining prisoners were forced on death marches to camps further into Germany. The camp was liberated by the Red Army on February 13, 1945. During the camp’s existence, about 125,000 people sat in the camp, of which about 40,000 died.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with museum (1998).

Address: Ofiar Gross Rosen 26, 58-152 Rogoznica.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Gross-Rosen is a really interesting museum that consists of a mixture of ruins and preserved with the quarry as an added bonus if you like. Some ruins are in better condition than others and some preserved buildings are in better condition than others. The place is also a bit in the middle of nowhere just far from denser buildings. You do not need to be worried about any congestion, and you are a little too yourself in the camp area. For me, Gross-Rosen is a place where history shows itself from its best side, just right known, is a bit to itself, sparse with visitors, good exhibitions, just right preserved/razed. A place that I would like to return to, but at the same time I do not want to take away the feeling I have preserved since my last visit in 1998.

Follow up in books: Kogon, Eugen: The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them (2006).