Sunday, May 1, 2016

Groβ Rosen, Buchenwald, Natzweiler and Bisingen Concentration Camps

A true hell hole to slave in and ultimately become a final resting place
This is a story has become close to me and needs to be told before time silences the evil for good. It is one of the untold thousands of similar stories of the oppressed Poles in WWII, salvaged from the ash heap of history. The story of  a young man, my uncle, Tadeusz Frackiewicz

The extensive research I performed on the blog of my father, "Zygmunt Frackiewicz- The Journey of a Polish POW 1939-1945",  viewable at: rfrack.blogspot.com  provided simple clues. A birth date of February 23, 1923, birthplace of Warsaw, parents were Piotr and Lucyna (Zarema) Frackiewicz and oral family history stated he was "arrested"  by Germans in 1944. That was all that was known of this man. Using some of the same resources to discover evidence and documents in Dad's blog,  I was able to find evidence of the last year of Tadeusz's life.

Tadeusz Frackiewicz would have been 14 when dad entered the army and 16 when dad was captured by Russians in 1939. During the ensuing 5 years of German occupation of Poland, surely this young man would have been a member of the Polish underground and resistance and was active in the Warsaw Uprising. In the 61 days between August 1 and October 2, 1944 Warsaw was razed to the ground and that was the time frame of his “arrest” by the Nazis at age 21. His sentence was a “tour” of the 3 worst concentration camps in  Hitler's Nazi Germany.

The complexity of following his trail is  the fact concentration camps each had a number of subcamps: Groβ Rosen had 102 sub-camps, Buchenwald had 44 and Natzweiler had 63. So even as the main camp was liberated the satellite camps keep slaving and killing. 

The first record shows him at Groβ Rosen as inmate # 11945. This was the site of forced labor at a granite stone quarry. After several months there, there was a frantic evacuation of prisoners in January of 1945 due to the advance of the Red Army. Tadeusz was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp 425 km away and arrived on February 10,1945.  Groβ Rosen was liberated on February 13, 1945.  He missed liberation by days.

At Buchenwald, he was assigned prisoner # 130719. Then again there was a hasty evacuation and transfer to another camp. This time he missed the April 11, 1945 liberation by 1 month.


He was sent “on paper” to the Natzweiler camp ( the only concentration camp on French soil) on March 12, 1945. But since history shows the 1st French Army liberated Natzweiler on November 23, 1944, the evacuated prisoners were rushed to support the frantic Nazi war effort even as the Allies advanced. Tadeusz was recorded as being on transport “Wuste II” (Desert II) to support project “Unternehmen Wuste” (Operation Desert) at one of Natzweiler's sub-camp Bisingen, 435 km from Buchenwald. This project was the extraction of shale oil for synthetic fuel. Can you imagine the filthy, backbreaking work for the sick, starved and emaciated  inmates under the fear of "natural death" or Nazi sponsored  planned extermination?


 This man, Dave Fischel, was documented to be on the same
 transport from Buchenwald to Bisingen on the same date and he survived. An eerie coincidence.
I would have loved to speak to him 
Since all traces of Tadeusz disappear after this, it is likely he is one of the 1158 prisoners, starved, beaten, worked to death or shot by fleeing Nazis. At the cemetery at Bisingen they are buried, 2 per grave.

I am very proud to discover and put together these traces of a long forgotten person, to put a face and a story on my uncle after 70 years of anonymity.  Tadeusz was a brave resistance fighter, arrested, weathered notorious concentration camps with liberation tantalizingly close several times. But as the fate of countless others, he was killed at 22, in the prime of his life.

Uncle Tadeusz Frackiewicz, this is your story and you will not be forgotten.

Too young

Too soon gone