Częstochowa – HASAG Forced Labour Factory

I went meandering off this morning to look for the HASAG factory, known as Pelcery, which was formerly a forced labour camp during the Second World War, comprised nearly entirely of Jews. HASAG were a private company who grew to becomes the sole armaments manufacturer for the Nazis and they became reliant on slave labour, with labour camps set up at each of their operations in Germany and the occupied nations. The company tried to keep on trading in Leipzig after the end of the Second World War, but the Soviets raided their factory in 1947 and seized everything, saying that it was for war reparations.

The building, of which there are a few nearby of a similar design, is now unused. This would make for a really quite interesting museum, although I imagine that the cost would be high and I’m not sure how many visitors they could get. The US Holocaust Museum notes that there were 4,735 inmates at the labour camp here and it was in operation between June 1943 and January 1945, when the Soviets took control of the area. The workers made to work here had been forcibly moved from the Częstochowa ghetto in June 1943, really from one hell to another hell.

A memorial for those who died at the labour camp has been installed outside of the former factory. There were until recently a series of local business posters attached to some of the empty windows, but I’m pleased to see that these have been removed as they weren’t really appropriate. I’d like to see more information about this former labour camp become more readily available, it has been slightly challenging to find much and although it’s a part of the city’s history which isn’t perhaps one they want to dwell on too much, it remains important.