Location: Bobrek (north of Oświęcim), Poland
Camp commandant: SS-Scharführer Hermann Buch
Number of prisoners: 263
Employer in charge: Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH
Dates of camp's existence: from May 1944 to 19th January 1945
In September 1943, the German company Siemens relocated their Electrical Factory to Bobrek in Poland - 5 kilometres from Auschwitz III Monowitz. The Siemens workers could also bring along their families which was much safer than staying in Berlin at the time due to the increased allied bombing raids.
Siemens, known as Siemens Schuckertwerke AG, identified a former Polish Phosphate factory with the help of the German Armaments Ministry. The land stretched over 100,000 square meters of space and was surrounded by open fields which was ideal for expansion. After 1940, the Polish company was forcibly taken over by the Treuhandstelle Ost (Eastern Trust Company) who in turn sold the company to Siemens.
Before the prisoners sleeping areas were built, trucks from Birkenau drove the 15-minute trip to Bobrek each day and bought them home in the evening. Prisoners from Birkenau selected from the Punishment Detachment were chosen to construct the prisoners kitchen, washroom, toilets and the SS guard house. By January 1944, 213 male and 38 female prisoners including 24 11-18-year olds worked in the factory. The plan was to steadily increase the numbers of prisoners to around 1000. In May, all prisoners were housed at the factory sub-camp and became officially subordinate to the Auschwitz III Monowitz administration. As of May 1944, 140 prisoners had advanced qualifications.
SS-Unterscharführer Anton Lukoschek was in charge of the 20 SS men assigned to guard the camp. The guards largely stayed away from the factory leaving the prisoners supervised by the German civilian workers. The work in the factory included manufacturing machine tools, working at grinding and milling machines and manufacturing electronic products such as eclectic motors and switches for various electrical products.
The production of electrical parts for night fighters was also planned for later in the year. The female prisoners worked in the kitchens and looked after the general cleaning of the camp and factory. Some more skilled female prisoners worked on the assembly of tapping machines. The working day lasted a minimum of 10 hours and a minimum of 8 hours for children.
Living conditions were slightly better than at Birkenau but still completely inadequate. Five prisoners slept in each bunk in a mattress stuffed with straw and everyone was issued with cutlery and a small towel which they had to try and keep clean at all times. The construction of the camp and the materials for each prisoner were subsidised by Siemens which was not unusual in such camps.
On the 18th January 1945, the prisoners left the sub-camp for the final time and joined the columns of those evacuated from Auschwitz. The destination was Gleiwitz II about 65 kilometres away in the Polish town of Gliwice. Those prisoners who survived the march were immediately faced with overcrowding in the few barracks that were available. Eighty eight of the 120 prisoners from Bobrek somehow survived the death march and subsequent trip to Buchenwald. From here, they were sent further north to a sub-camp of Sachsenhausen in Berlin to continue working for Siemens.
Information about sources we used while researching the sub-camp you can find here.