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Find out about ways of the SS for increasing productivity in Trzebinia's oil refinery

In August 1944, a British POW camp by a refinery in Trzebinia was transformed into a camp for Auschwitz prisoners. The plan of the Germans was to expand the refinery for increasing oil production by accomodating up to 1,000 prisoners.

Large SS bomb shelter to the south of the camp, now used for private storage
Large SS bomb shelter to the south of the camp, now used
for private storage
Photo by Michael Challoner ©

The British soldiers were deliberately not working efficiently in protest of their imprisonment, so the Nazi officers decided they have reached more goals with the slavery work of the main camp's prisoners. Among 800 people sent there from Auschwitz, there were around 120 of children under the age of 17.

All of them face tough conditions in the camp, such as very long working hours (up to 11 hours a day), starvation, constant beatings and even torture. At some point there was a decision made of constructing a small crematorium in the sub-camp as the death rate was getting so high, that it was too complicated to send them to Birkenau. The refinery management wasn't concerned about prisoners and conditions they worked in. Instead they insisted to the SS that more productivity could be achieved.

In January 1945, the evacuation began. Prisoners who could have not walked, were removed from the camp on trains. The Nazis tried to conceal their crimes by the attempted demolition of the crematorium, however it was still largely intact when the Russians entered the camp.


Learn more about the Trzebinia sub-camp's history and read the prisoner testimony here.