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Learn more about the Plawy Sub-Camp

In 1940, it was decided that there should be created a particular 'zone of interest' with agricultural and breeding farms for the Auschwitz concentration camp. In March 1941 inhabitants of the village Pławy were removed from their homes, as they lived too close to the newly created Harmense Sub-Camp.

Most of the houses in Pławy were demolished over next few months, and after that, prisoner commandos from Birkenau camp started to work on the land. Barracks for the future sub-camp prisoners were built in 1944.

Establishing a sub-camp in Pławy happened officially on 3 January 1945. It was surrounded by a double-barbed wire fence, with no watchtowers by it. The camp was divided into 2 sections: the one for living and for work. There were 2 barracks for female and male prisoners, an office barrack by the gate, and also a barn, a stable, a cowshed and smaller barracks for small animals. The main tasks of Plawy prisoners were taking care of SS horses and transporting produce and milk to the main camp's dairy.

The living conditions in the prisoner barracks in Plawy was much better than in Birkenau. Not only they were more spacious, with everyone sleeping separatly on their beds, but they also had windows and electric lightning. What's even more important, there were also heating stoves supplied with coal.

Evacuation of the sub-camp was alerted on the night of 17-18 January. The prisoners were ordered to slaughter most of animals, and the meat was loaded on carts along with hay for cows and horses left. In morning, over 330 prisoners started marching to Pszczyna. After the stop there, they went to Wodzisław Śląski, where where they traveled to Mauthausen.

Read more about the Plawy Sub-Camp's history here.

Plawy sub-camp of Auschwitz
2 camp posts from the Wirtschaftshof Plawy sub-camp reused as a decorative garden arch in the village of Pławy
Photo by Michael Challoner ©