Located in occupied Warsaw, capital of the Warsaw District (Distrikt Warschau) of the General Government, in the former Warsaw ghetto area that had been almost completely leveled by the Germans after the failed Jewish Uprising of April 1943. The camp was near the infamous prison at Pawiak and covering the areas of Zamenhofa, Wołyńska, Ostrowska, Gliniana, Okopowa and Gęsia Streets.
KL Warschau began to function as a concentration camp on 15 August 1943 and created by Jewish forced labourers who cleared the area of the destroyed ghetto and demolished the buildings within its borders. There was a crematorium in the camp, but bodies were also burnt on timber pyres. KL Warschau did not have gas chambers although a debate rages around the alleged existence of an enormous gas chamber in the pre-war road tunnel on Józef Bem Street near the main train station of Warszawa Zachodnia. KL Warschau prisoners were not only Jewish but also included Poles captured during street round-ups, other hostages and Pawiak prisoners. KL Warschau commandants were first SS-Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Goecke followed by SS-Hauptsturmführer Nikolaus Herbert.
On 1 May 1944 KL Warschau changed from an autonomous concentration camp to become a sub-camp to KL Majdanek and was known as Arbeitslager Warschau with SS-Obersturmführer Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert as its new commandant.
In July 1944 some 4,000 prisoners were evacuated from Arbeitslager Warschau to other concentration camps in the Reich. On August 5, 1944 “Zośka” AK battalion liberated a group of 348 prisoners from Arbeitslager Warschau, whom the Germans had left there to work on the closure of the camp during the Warsaw Rising. Estimates put the number of people murdered in the Warschau camp at around 20,000 people including those shot in the camp or near the camp zone.
After the Soviet liberation of Warsaw 17 January 1945, the remnants of the former KL Warschau site was used as a POW camp and detention center for "enemies of the people" (political prisoners) by the Soviet NKVD and then later by the Polish communist MBP until 1954 —the last prisoners left in 1956!
Attached is an official indentity paper (Ausweis) issued to Mrs Elisabeta Walczak in 1946-8 whose husband Josef Walczak was one of those 20,000 who died at Konzentrationslager Warschau.