Lager I: Leonhard Haag
Camp for: Germans, Italians and Italian POW's
Camp Population: Around 3400
Camp Lagerführer: Eduard von Baar, Mutzl, Karl Irmer
Leonhard Haag was constructed in April 1941 as a camp for German and Italians. It was the only camp to be built with proper washrooms and toilets, quite possibly as the workers were mostly Germans who were treated fairly decently. The sanitary conditions of the Italians were probably much worse, living in more cramped conditions and according to a testimony from Wanda Foltyn who worked there as an 18-year-old cleaning the barracks, the smell was always nauseating.
Only the Italians were surrounded by barbed wire fencing, which continued when Italian POW’s were sent there. The Italian soldiers were taken away when their country surrounded in 1944.
At the main entrance to the camp, at the south point, there was a large ‘U’ shaped building that was the company hospital. Inside the camp, there were four barracks for those who were sick. The hospital was not well equipped but at least had medicines unlike the Auschwitz sub-camps. The prisoners were put in the barracks according to their nationality. There was a German barrack, a French barrack, Italian, and Polish. Due to the primitive nature of the hospital, those too sick were sent to the main hospital in the town where they could be looked after better. Wanda Hmielorz who worked as a cleaner started stealing medicines and passing it to the resistance in the town. She was caught stealing and sent to another work camp, Lager III Teichgrund which was 5 minutes walking distance to the south of Lager I until the end of the war.
The camp was supposed to hold 5,000 workers but it is not clear if this figure was achieved, however from surviving records, we know that around 3,347 workers were living there in early 1944.
The camp was named after Leonhard Haag, an official who worked for IG Farben but died in Oświęcim before the camp was constructed. The name was given to this camp most probably because it housed German workers and was set apart from the other camps attached to IG Farben, where conditions were much worse in every aspect.
As of 2016, the camp has not been commemorated.
Prisoner Testimonies of Leonhard Haag
Existing Camp Relics
Leonhard Haag is still fairly intact with many of the buildings being used commercially as small business, and others as private garages. Some of the fencing of the IG Farben plant can still be seen in the area and the large SS bomb shelter to the north east of the camp is fully intact, and now used as a storage area.
Leonhard Haag in 1941. Photo courtesy of the Auschwitz Birkeanu Museum archives
One of the remaining buildings from Leonhard Haag. Photo by Michael Challoner ©
SS Bomb shelter in the vicinity of Leonhard Haag. Photo by Michael Challoner ©
Information about sources we used while researching the werk kamp you can find here.