The Deportation of the inhabitants of Warsaw

After Warsaw had been razed to the ground by the German occupying forces in late 1944, the German SS deported all inhabitants who had survived the street battles and had so far eluded the shootings. Most of the inhabitants were driven out of their houses and were only allowed to take "hand luggage" with them. Others were arrested in the street. Two former prisoners of the Sandhofen concentration camp have witnessed the deportation:

We saw how they had thrown hand grenades into the first houses at the beginning of the street. Then we tried to safe some of our possessions ( ) We were only allowed to take with us what was considered as "hand luggage ". My mother had taken laundry out of the cupboard and tied it together with a sheet. ....They set our house on fire, we were driven away, the whole street..

(J. Czuj, former prisoner)


I served as a soldier at the Polish Underground army in the environs of Warsaw. We transported arms and ammunition to Warsaw. When I returned from one of this transport missions I was arrested and taken to the Volska Street for interrogation. They wanted to know whether I was a "partisan", a "bandit" as they called it. Although I was beaten and on one side they dashed out all my teeth, I did not confess .

(J. Wojciewski, former prisoner on 05 Sept. 1989)


Many prisoners had joined the Underground army during the Warsaw Uprising and had fought for the liberation of Poland. However, they had to take off their army uniforms before being arrested in order to avoid immediate shooting by the German SS.

Those who wore simply one piece of uniform were dragged into a corner and shot
immediately .

(E. Szobski, former prisoner)


The Transit Camp Pruszkov

All those who were singled out for deportation were taken to the transit camp Pruszkov. From lst Aug. to 14l Oct. 1944 more than 350,000 people passed through this camp. Many of them were deported in mass transports to the German Reich where they had to do forced labour. Many of them ended up in a concentration camp.

The inhabitants of Warsaw were divided into groups of women and men, which resulted in families torn apart. They also had to surrender to the SS their possessions they had snatched from their homes before they went on deportation.

During the transport and also afterwards my thoughts kept wandering back to my family. What had happened to my young wife who had been wounded in the Uprising? What had happened to my mother and my siblings who had been arrested, just as my wife?

(W. Jarocki, former prisoner on 31st Aug. 1989)


Arrival in Dachau

One of the trains, which left Pruszkov on 9th Sept. 1944, reached Dachau after days of starvation and thirst. There everything they still possessed was taken away from the 3,000 randomly chosen Poles. Everything was taken away, even the very clothes they were wearing. As an exchange, they received thin-worn prison clothes. From now on they were to the SS simply numbers who had to work for them.

After a few days the train stopped and we saw a ramp. A sign said "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work brings Freedom "). We knew at once where we were. We were taken to some ground and told to muster. We had to stand there for a few hours. Then we were led to the showers and afterward our civilian clothes were taken from us and we were given prison clothes with a number on each garment.

(K. Zbrzeski, former prisoner)


Transport to Mannheim-Sandhofen

After about a week men came to Dachau who turned out to be Daimler-Benz employees. They chose men who should do forced labour at the Daimler-Benz plant in Mannheim.

(E. Majewski, former prisoner on 02 Sept. 1989)

When the prisoners arrived in Mannheim, they had to form columns and had to walk to the Alte Schule in Sandhofen, which was to accommodate them for the next half year. Many of them fell ill because of icy coldness and rain, but also because their prison clothes from Dachau were hardly sufficient to withstand the low autumn temperatures and not at all the icy winter temperatures.

After our arrival in Mannheim, we had again to get out of the train, form columns, then we marched to Sandhofen, accompanied by a rather large escort.

(E. Majewski, former prisoner on 02 Sept. 1989)


The Natzweiler concentration camp was responsible for the forced labourers working at Daimler-Benz. Therefore they were administered from Natzweiler and received new registration numbers after their arrival in Sandhofen.