About five kilometers north of Wejherowo in northern Poland, there is a forest area called Piasnica, where the Nazis murdered between October 1939 and spring 1940 between 12,000 – 14,000 poles. The murders were part of an action called Intelligence Action Pomerania that aimed to eliminate prominent people in the Pomerania region. Before the invasion of Poland, the Germans had compiled a book called Sonderfahndungsbuch Poland. This was a book with names of people whom the Germans considered a threat and must be eliminated.

Immediately after the invasion, the people were sought out, arrested, imprisoned and eventually taken off to a place such as. Piasnica where they were shot and buried in mass graves. The victims were shot by murder units, among others. Einsatzkommando 16 under the leadership of the head of Danzig’s Gestapo SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Tröger. Other units that were set up for the purpose were local units (Selbstschutz) consisting of men from german origin. Among the victims were also about 1,000 mentally ill patients who were collected from mental hospitals in the region.

In addition to Piasnica, Poles were also murdered in Chojnice, Szpegawsk, Mniszek, Klamry and Vehicles. Piasnica was the place where most people were murdered within the Intelligence Action Pomerania. Piasnica has also been called the Katyn of Pomerania and the other Katyn. Only Stutthof claimed more victims in Pomerania than Piasnica. After the murders, the Nazis tried to hide the mass graves by planting trees and shrubs in the area and it was forbidden to enter the site. In the autumn of 1944, when the Soviet Red army approached, the Nazis tried in a desperate attempt to conceal the murders by digging up the bodies and cremating them over open fires. A work carried out by prisoners from the Stutthof concentration camp.

Current status: Monument (2016).

Location: 54°40'35.76"N 18°10'27.00"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

There are several monuments in the forest and a small chapel where ceremonies are sometimes held. The mass graves are scattered over a large area but are marked and bound together by paths. There are also a large number of information boards, unfortunately all information is in Polish. The whole area is very well maintained. Near the main train station in Wejeherowo (ul. Ofiar Piasnicy 6) opened in mid-December 2015 a museum in a villa that was Gestapos headquarters and from where the murder action was planned and administered.

Follow up in books: Lukas, Richard C: Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944 (2008).