The Płaszów was a Nazi German labour and concentration camp built by the SS soon after the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent creation of the semi-colonial district of General Government across occupied south-central Poland.
Originally intended as a forced labour camp, the Płaszów concentration camp, was erected on the grounds of two former Jewish cemeteries (including the New Jewish Cemetery) and populated with prisoners during the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto which took place on 13–14 March 1943, with first deportations of the Barrackenbau Jews from the Ghetto beginning 28 October 1942. In 1943 the camp was expanded and turned into one of many KL concentration camps.
The camp was notorious for horrible terrors. Commanding the camp was Amon Göth, an SS commandant from Vienna who was sadistic in his treatment and killing of prisoners.
On 13 September 1944, Göth was relieved of his position and charged by the SS with theft of Jewish property (which belonged to the state, according to Nazi legislation), failure to provide adequate food to the prisoners under his charge, violation of concentration camp regulations regarding the treatment and punishment of prisoners, and allowing unauthorised access to camp personnel records by prisoners and non-commissioned officers. Camp administration was assumed by SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Büscher.
The camp was a slave Arbeitslager ('labour camp'), supplying manpower to several armament factories and a stone quarry. The death rate in the camp was very high. Many prisoners, including many children and women, died of typhus, starvation, and executions. Płaszów camp became particularly infamous for both individual and mass shootings carried out there. Using Hujowa Górka, a large hill close to the camp commonly used for executions, some 8,000 deaths took place outside the camp’s fences with prisoners trucked in 3 to 4 times weekly.
During July and August 1944, a number of transports of prisoners left KL Plaszow for Auschwitz, Stutthof, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and other camps. In January 1945, the last of the remaining inmates and camp staff left the camp on a death march to Auschwitz, including several female SS guards. Many of those who survived the march were killed upon arrival. When the Nazis realized the Soviets were already approaching Kraków, they completely dismantled the camp, leaving an empty field in its place. The bodies that were buried there earlier in various mass graves were all exhumed and burned on site. On 20 January 1945, the Red Army had reached only a tract of barren land.
The area which held the camp now consists of sparsely wooded hills and fields, with one large memorial to all the victims and two smaller monuments (one to the Jewish victims specifically, and another to the Hungarian Jewish victims) at one perimeter of where the camp once stood. The Jewish cemetery, with tombstones removed by the Nazis (except for one tombstone) stands on the side of the hill at the eastern end of the camp, quite near the Grey house. Amon Goeth"s villa remains there. An additional small monument located near the opposite end of the site stands in memory of the first execution of Polish (non-Jewish) prisoners in 1939.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.