Arrival in the camp

Work camp Gleiwitz, Camp for forced labor
12 november 1942

And they looked grotesque, terrible! Not one of them had any flesh on his bones.

In the middle southern of Poland, in Upper Silesia, there is a strip of cities, among which Gliwice, Zabrze, Bytom, Chorzóv, Katowice, and Sosnowice. These cities developed because of the large supplies of coal and ore in this region. Until the second half of the nineteenth century, Upper Silesia was a thinly populated, wooded area. There was no large-scale development of the mine and steel industry until around 1850 when a railway was built from Berlin to Upper Silesia. The mines and the steel factories depended on the rail along which the extracted stocks were transported; the cities depended on the industry. Around 1900 Upper Silesia was among the richest mine and ore areas of Europe. Major German industrialists ran the show, and the German Empire took the steel. At the time Gliwice was called Gleiwitz, Bytom was Beuthen, Chorzóv was Königshütte, and Zabrze was Hindenburg. However, there was a border correction soon after the First World War. Only the western part with Bytom, Zabrze, and Gliwice remained in German hands; the rest became Polish. But in 1939 the Germans reoccupied the area. After all, it supplied raw materials that were essential to the German war industry.