Women’s Labor Camp (FAL) Liebau : September 1944 – May 1945

This thesis focuses on the history of one camp, the Liebau Women's Labor Camp, established in the last year of World War II, in Upper Silesia, today southwestern Poland, as part of the Gross-Rosen labor camp network. The study focused on the events in the camp, which was established as a source of forced labor for three armament factories in the town of Liebau. In my research I have examined the testimonies of thirty-nine camp survivors. I have combined the data with existing knowledge about the conduct of the war in its last year. The research seeks to produce a detailed history of the events in the camp and sets them against the background history leading up to the defeat of Nazi Germany. It thus contributes to the research of the Holocaust, and the occurrences toward the end of the war.


Post-war events in Poland prevented an in-depth study of Nazi Germany's policies concerning operation of forced labor camps and Nazi regime attitude to the extermination policy within the framework of the “Final Solution.” Little information has been gleaned from the trials of SS guards held in Poland in 1945-6 and from documents found in Nazi Germany-era archives, particularly in the archives of the Gross-Rosen camp. The process of collecting the testimonies on which the research is based took place decades after the liberation of the camp, from the mid- 1990s until the first decade of 2000. The paucity of testimonies and the long time that had passed since the events necessitate a conservative and selective approach towards what is said. Accordingly, the information provided was carefully examined by cross-referencing testimonies and verifying them against historical known evidence. Most of the prisoners in the camp were deported from Hungary between May and July 1944 as the Red Army was fighting in central Ukraine and was about to occupy eastern Hungary within months. Several dozen prisoners were deported from Holland and France in the last transports from these countries.


My research suggests that a set of conditions, unique to the place and period in question, was a major factor in the prisoner’s physical survival until camp’s liberation on the last day of the war in Europe despite the mental burden they experienced during their imprisonment time, and years later. On the one hand, the inmates were deported at a late date and, therefore, were in better physical condition compared to longtime prisoners. On the other hand, the prisoners in the camp underwent a sharp and sudden change in their living conditions, which hindered their mental ability to cope with the difficult conditions in the camp, especially from the beginning of 1945. This difficulty was especially noticeable in prisoners who were directly expelled from a well-established and functional family home.


My research distinguishes between two periods. The first spans the second half of 1944 when Nazi Germany, though retreating on all fronts, still maintained activity in the concentration camps and manufacturing plants. The second period lasts from January 1945 until the surrender of Nazi Germany. This was the time the regime’s disintegration and weakening control over vast parts of its territory, including the camps and the factories, for which they had been established. When the camp was liberated, four hundred and eightynine of the five hundred prisoners who managed to survive returned to their homes, many of them physically and mentally injured 

Eran Mor | 2023
134 pagina's | Haifa : University of Haifa
Concentration Camps, Deportation, Females, Holocaust (en), Jews, Life Experiences, Mortality, Women