Lager IV: Dorfrand (later Buna Monowitz)
Camp for: originally civilian workers, later Jews
Camp Population: around 11,000
Camp Lagerführer: Heinrich Schwarz
Perhaps the most intriguing change of direction in the IG Farben werk kamp history was that of Lager IV, Dorfrand. A camp originally designed to house around 5,000 civilian workers. A decision was made in 1942 that became the catalyst for the construction of the 3rd main concentration camp in the Auschwitz network. Auschwitz III, or Buna Monowitz. Dorfrand then became Buna Monowitz mainly for Jewish prisoners to work at the IG Farben plant.
The stark contrast of conditions between Jewish prisoners and civilian workers is illustrated by IG Farben deciding to reduce the numbers of barracks making the living conditions parallel with those in Birkenau. As the camps original purpose was to house civilian workers, the layout and structure was similar to other werk kamps. Therefore, the barracks had heating facilities which were actually maintained and serviced, as testified by a civilian worker named Józef Wrona who was assigned to the camp to undertake maintenance work. The camp was surrounded by concrete posts, just like other werk kamps but instead of standard fencing separating the posts, barbed wire was used with watch towers paced more frequently than other camps. A planned extension to the east side was never fully completed despite the camp population rising to an incredible 11,000 by 1944. The death rate was high, not helped by IG Farben's interference influencing the SS to get more out of the prisoners without improving their provisions. Those no longer able to work were sent back to the main camp to be killed, however an estimated 1,500 died in the hospital at Monowitz. Several others were executed, beaten, hanged or died at work through injuries at construction sites.
After the war, a small village was built on the area of Monowitz. Local people erected a small memorial in the heart of the former camp.
Prisoner Testimonies of Dorfrand
Existing Camp Relics
Many people interested in visiting the camp have told us that locals in Oswiecim and the also the Auschwitz Museum suggest that there are no visible relics left at the site of Monowitz, however there are more physical attributes to see than at Leonhard Haag.
The following structures are still available to see as of 2016: the camp canteen, SS Bomb shelters, SS brick barracks, individual bomb shelters (approx 7), several prisoner barrack relics, original road entrance and the last remaining camp post.
Prisoners marching to work at the entrance to the Monowitz camp
Photo courtesy of USHMM
One of the last single SS bomb shelters erected within the camp
Photo by Michael Challoner ©
The remaining part of the Monowitz canteen, now converted into a private house
Photo by Michael Challoner ©
Information about sources we used while researching the werk kamp you can find here.