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History of KL Gross-Rosen

The concentration camp Gross-Rosen was established in August 1940 as a subcamp of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Its prisoners were destined for hard work in the local granite quarry which belonged to the SS DEST firm. The first transport of prisoners arrived there on 2nd August 1940.

On 1st May 1941 Arbeitslager Gross-Rosen gained the status of self-reliant concentration camp. In the first two years of its existence KL Gross-Rosen was a small camp, mainly supplying service of the quarry. Exhausting 12-hour work in the quarry, starving rations of food, lack of proper medical care, incessant maltreat and terrorization of prisoners both by SS crew and functionary prisoners caused high mortality rate and KL Gross-Rosen was reckoned as one of the hardest concentrations camps.
The considerable enlargement of the camp took place in 1944 and in that year also was changed its character. Apart from the main camp in Gross-Rosen, numerous auxiliary camps were created (approximately 100). They were mostly located on the territory of Lower Silesia, the Sudeten District and in the Province of the Middle Oderland. The biggest subcamps were: AL Breslau, AL Fünfteichen, AL Dyhernfurth, AL Landeshut, and the complex of camps located in the Sowie Mountains (AL RIESE).
Through Gross- Rosen- the main camp and its subcamps- went about 125 000 prisoners in general, including those who were not registered, and those who were transported to the camp to be executed, like 2 500 Russian prisoners of war (POWs).
The most numerous national groups among KL Gross- Rosen’s prisoners were Jews (citizens of different European countries), Poles, and inhabitants of the former Soviet Union.
Estimated number of victims of Gross- Rosen camp is 40 000 people.

One of the most tragic periods of this camp’s history was the evacuation. During the transports, some of which lasted even several weeks, died many thousands of prisoners.
Since autumn 1943, to February 1945, in KL Gross- Rosen had functioned the Corrective Labor Camp (Arbeitserziehungslager AEL), of Wrocław Gestapo. Through this camp went 4 200 prisoners.