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Budzyn is a village in the Lublin district, situated 5 km (3 miles) northwest of the town of Krasnik. A military – industrial complex, including an aircraft factory, was established on the premises of a former munitions factory in 1937-38. Following the German occupation of Poland, the military industries were taken over by the Hermann Göring Werke, an organisation formed in the early days of the Nazi regime by Göring and some of his cohorts as a Reich-owned enterprise. Hermann Göring Werke was to become a gigantic concern, operating steel works, mines and other heavy industries throughout occupied Europe. The aircraft factory was operated by the Heinkel Company (Heinkel Flugzeugwerke).

A forced labour camp was set up in Budzyn in the autumn of 1942, and 500 Jews were brought in from neighbouring towns at the beginning of November 1942, mainly from Krasnik. At that time the local ghetto was liquidated in that town, and the prisoners destined for the Budzyn camp were selected from among several thousands of Jews who were to be deported to Belzec or shot at the Krasnik Jewish cemetery. That autumn a further 400 POWs were added from the Konskowola camp and from the Lipowa Street Camp in Lublin. From inception, Jewish POWs formed the functionary prisoners in the camp; they still wore the uniform of the Polish army.
Letter from Belzyce
At the beginning of 1943, the last Jews from the Belzyce ghetto, including women and children, were also sent to Budzyn. Among this group were German Jews deported to Belzyce from Stettin in 1940 and from Leipzig in 1942. Following the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 800 Jews arrived from Warsaw at the end of April and the beginning of May 1943. The Warsaw group consisted of about 150 Jewish workers who had worked at the Okecie Airfield in Warsaw prior to the uprising in the ghetto. The final group of prisoners were sent to the camp on 10 July 1943. These were the last Jews from the Hrubieszow Ghetto.
By mid 1943 the camp population had risen to 3,000, including 300 women and children. The precise number of Jewish prisoners in Budzyn was provided in the report by the Home Army (AK – Armia Krajowa) from Krasnik, dated 15 March 1944. At that time there were 2,457 Jews in the camp, including 319 women. This number of prisoners was lower than in 1943 as a result of executions and selections in the camp. The prisoners worked in the military factories, in construction and in general services.

The first commandant of Budzyn was SS-Unterscharführer Otto Hantke, succeeded by SS-Oberscharführer Heinrich Stoschek. Before taking up his position in Budzyn, Hantke had served as an SS man in the Lipowa Camp in Lublin. He was sent to Krasnik personally by Odilo Globocnik as "a good organiser”. Hantke was responsible for the selection during the final liquidation of the Krasnik Ghetto. He personally selected the first prisoners when they arrived at the camp. He was also responsible for the first selection of the sick prisoners, who were deported to Belzec. This selection was organised in accordance with an order from Christian Wirth. The next, and most notorious commandant of the camp was SS-Oberscharführer Reinhold Feix (December 1942 – August 1943), who was replaced in turn by Otto Mohr. Mohr’s reign was short lived; he was replaced in the late summer of 1943 by SS NCO Fritz Tauscher. In the meantime the function of the commandant was also in the hands of Adolf Axmann. Tauscher was replaced by a man named Frank. Whilst he was not in command for very long, Frank ruthlessly suppressed a mass escape attempt in the winter of 1943. The final commandant was SS-Obersturmführer Josef Leipold.
In February 1944, Budzyn officially became a sub camp of KZ Majdanek. The SS garrison numbered 74 persons, all of whom, including Leipold, had previously served at Majdanek. Leipold went on to command the Schindler camp at Brünnlitz, at the end of the war, having shot himself in the foot, injuring his right toe. The rumour amongst the camp inmates was that he had deliberately carried out this act to avoid front-line service

Feix and Tauscher both served at Belzec. Feix was one of the cruellest and most brutal SS men at Belzec, and he continued in the same manner in Budzyn. Neither those who preceded or succeeded him as commandant were as barbaric.
In March 1943 he participated in the final liquidation of the Belzyce ghetto, during which "action" many children and women were killed before the eyes of the other Jews and Poles of the town. The Ukrainians of the camp guard together with Feix himself, beheaded the victims with axes. Selected Jews had to observe these executions and were later sent to Budzyn.
Feix also organised public mass executions in the camp. The selected prisoners, who were accused of all kinds of misdemeanours, were shot or hanged during the evening roll calls, either on the Appellplatz or just behind the fence of the camp. Sometimes the bodies of the victims were cremated in this place. After every execution the prisoners had to sing, especially the Polish tango "Marianna" or Yiddish songs.
Feix had a mascot in the camp, a 6-7 year-old Jewish boy called "Malpe" ("Ape") or "Borscht" by the inmates. The boy wore an SS uniform and held a small whip whilst assisting the commandant. The execution of Rudolf Bauchwitz, a German Jew from Stettin who was a member of the group of Jews from Belzyce ghetto, was a notorious event. Bauchwitz had been a lieutenant in the German army during WW1, and was a very popular person in the camp. Because he was a fluent German speaker, he worked in the camp administration. He was well liked by the other prisoners as well as by some of the SS men, who saw in him a representative of German culture and discipline.
Bauchwitz's wife and son were also prisoners in Budzyn. One day Feix ordered Bauchwitz to be publicly hanged. Nobody knew the reason for this execution, but among the prisoners there were rumours that Bauchwitz knew too much, and that Feix hated him because Bauchwitz did not conform to the Nazi stereotype concerning Jews.

Budzyn Camp
At the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a survivor of Budzyn, Dr David Wdowinski, described how he had been deported to KZ Majdanek in May 1943 following his participation in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. A few days later he was transferred to Budzyn together with 806 other Jews. He described their reception at the camp:
"Turning, we sighted Camp Budzyn about a quarter-mile distant, this was a genuine SS camp, a fenced in rectangle flanked by four towers, one at each corner. Looking out from the top of these were armed Ukrainian guards manning machine guns. Directly ahead was the entrance gate. A guardhouse on our right, across the road from a cluster of young pines and brush, was the last landmark as we stood outside the gates. Beyond the barbed wire stood a row of barracks backed by a large open square. No bigger than a football field, the complex was surrounded by a belt of open country surrounded by pinewoods…
The commandant Feix told us to stand in two rows. Afterwards, he went up to one of the Jews and told him to leave the rank and ordered him to undress. He then began undressing; he removed his overcoat and Feix started shouting: "Hurry up - undress completely!" This went on until he was altogether naked, and then he drew a revolver and killed this Jew and said: "This is what will happen to each one of you if you do not hand over everything you have, and this is only an example." He demanded gold, silver, good clothes, suitcases, and so on ...
On the same day, he saw a man of advanced age, an old man, and his first words were: "You old dog - are you still alive?" And he ordered the Ukrainians to shoot him and kill him - and he went off. Then we surrounded the old man, and the Ukrainians were unable to find him. By chance, the commandant came back to the camp half an hour or an hour later and saw the old man - he drew his revolver and shot him. He was a very popular doctor from Warsaw, very much loved by the Jews of Warsaw - Dr Pupko. He was well known, firstly because he was an Orthodox Jew: he prayed every day with his phylacteries and prayer shawl; he would not write any prescriptions on the Sabbath, and, apart from that, he was known and loved, for he had done a great deal as a doctor for the poor Jews and had attended to them without payment.

Wdowinski related another incident involving a prisoner named Bitter, who had been discovered with money on his person. Feix had beaten him and then commanded that Bitter should be hanged. But the rope broke. Feiks, deciding it was not necessary to hang Bitter again and not wishing to waste a bullet on a Jew, ordered that his fellow Jews would kill Bitter. A roll call was ordered. Each of 2,000 Jews was given a stick and forced to beat Bitter to death.

In the autumn of 1942, approximately 100 sick or elderly persons and children were sent to Belzec. In August 1943, a further 200 prisoners classified as sick and unfit for work were transported to Majdanek for extermination. Many prisoners died in the camp itself due to the inhuman conditions; hunger, disease, and maltreatment.

A decree, issued by Oswald Pohl on 2 September 1943, announced that with effect from 1 November, the Lublin labour camps would be subordinated to the Ministry of Munitions and Armaments. In order to prevent this from happening, and thereby losing control of these valuable resources, the SS declared that the labour camps were branches of Majdanek. Eventually, Budzyn was declared a concentration camp and made a sub-camp of Majdanek on 13 February 1944.
By that time, all of the other work camps in the Lublin region had been liquidated in the Aktion Erntefest in November 1943. Only the workers at the Heinkel factory at Budzyn were spared from this massacre because of the continuing importance of aircraft production, but even there, most elderly people had been selected and taken to Majdanek for execution. One of the Jewish cleaners in the camp, Jacob Katz, saved the lives of seven elderly Jews at this time by hiding them under mattresses.

After Budzyn was subordinated to Majdanek, the conditions of life in the camp improved. All prisoners were removed from the old camp to the new barracks closer to the factory. They had to wear prisoner clothing from Majdanek and they received numbers. All executions, which were fewer in number in 1944, had to be conducted in accordance with concentration camp regulations. Even the food was better then before.

Although bad enough, conditions at Budzyn became relatively bearable in comparison to other labour camps, largely due to the efforts of Noah Stockman of Brest-Litovsk, the camp elder, who even managed to persuade the camp administration to allow Passover to be celebrated in the camp in spring 1944.
In May 1944, as the Red Army began to approach the Lublin District, the factory installations and some of the workforce were transferred to the salt mine in Wieliczka. Other prisoners were dispersed to camps at Skarzysko-Kamienna, Starachowice, Mielec and Ostrowiec, as well as to Majdanek itself. Included among those transferred to Mielec was Manfred Heyman, born in Stettin and deported from there to the Belzyce Ghetto in February 1940. He had been sent to Budzyn at the age of 14. Transferred yet again to another aircraft factory near KZ Flossenbürg, he survived a death march from that camp and was liberated by American troops on 29 April 1945.


Hamburg, 1974
Hantke, Otto - Life imprisonment
Mic., Georg - 12 years
Polizei SSPF Lublin, Haftstättenpersonal ZAL Budzyn
Deportation of at least 300,000 Jews to KL Treblinka and shooting of several thousand Jews in course of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. Deportation of at least 15,000 Jews to KL Treblinka and Auschwitz as well as forced labour camps in the Lublin District in course of the liquidation of the Bialystok Ghetto.
Killing of Jewish forced labourers at ZAL Budzyn and Krasnik.


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Archive of the Majdanek State Museum, Collection of the Jewish testimonies.

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