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KZ-Außenlager Holleischen (Floßenbürg sub-camp)

Article about: Good thread. Thanks. Cheers, Ade.

  1. #1
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    Default KZ-Außenlager Holleischen (Floßenbürg sub-camp)

    One of the larger sub-camps of KZ-Flossenbürg in Bavaria, was the camp and metalworks facilities located at Holleischen (Holyšov), situated near the city of Pilsen (Plzen) in what was the south west of occupied Czechoslovakia.

    The camp mostly held female prisoners of various nationalities, including French, Dutch and Czech, most of whom worked as slave labour in the nearby MWH (Metalwerke Holleischen munitions factory complex). The prisoners who were held at Holleischen gave varying testimonies post war. Some, who like many thousands of other concentration camp prisoners had endured more than one camp during the Third Reich period, stated that the treatment at KL-Holleischen was better than at any of the other camps during their incarceration, although it must be remembered that conditions were still deplorable. Prisoner accounts also vary regarding the staff at KZ-Holleischen. Some reports stated that more than dozens of SS guards were captured when the camp was liberated, whilst others claim that by that time, most of the staff were Luftwaffe personnel. A large complement of SS-Aufseherinnen were certainly present. By war's end, over 1,000 female prisoners were at the camp.

    During March 1945, two transports totalling around 400 women arrived at AL-Holleischen from a camp in Nuremberg (SSW - Siemens-Schuckert Werke), after it was destroyed by aliied bombers. Throughout the existence of the camp, approximately half of the prisoners were of Jewish origin, the remainder being political prisoners. They were divided into separate barracks, with Jews being kept in a different barrack to the rest. The women slept two to a bunk, without mattresses.

    The camp was finally liberated early in May 1945, initially by Polish Partizans, and later by US troops, who together freed approximately 700 women. A few days earlier, the partizans had reportedly overheard a transmitter message stating that drunken KL staff in a Holyšov bar nearby, had been overheard telling the barman that the camp was to be burnt down the following day at 12.30pm. On hearing this information, the partizans rushed to the area, and surprised the guards who reportedly hid in their rooms. One officer was arrested whilst attempting to change into civilian clothes, whilst another was shot whilst trying to make his escape on a motorbike. Many cans of fuel were found outside and around the locked barracks in preparation for the mass slaughter that was averted by the partizans. The prisoners were invited to join the partizans if they so wished, and indeed many did, although the French women reportedly declined, as they had heard that other allied forces, including fellow French, were already approaching.

    The factory complex was large, and grand enough to even command the introduction of a camp monetary system for the prisoners. The scrip was not discovered until more than 20 years after the liberation of the camp, likely due to the state of the former buildings, which were mostly destroyed or damaged during late war air raids, and the misunderstanding of what the tokens actually were used for. The tokens, some of which are shown below, resemble theatre tickets rather than typical camp or ghetto banknotes. No explanation is known for why they were produced in such numerous denominations (seventeen variants from 1Rpf to 5RM). MWH logos adorn not only the paper tokens, but also the metal bottle tokens that enabled prisoners to acquire drinks.

    Today, the site of the former camp is not accessible, due to it having been bought in a private sale and currently being renovated. Most of the original structures remain, but are being altered to serve a new purpose. A small row of homes lies before the walls of the former main barracks building, which is intact, save for a new roof. Many structures in the surrounding area however are also still present, as shown in the images below. Down the road lies the former metalworks facility, MWH, which comprised many, many buildings and transportation systems for moving the metal products up from the factory to the other premises located in the nearby woods. Traces of the transportation system used are still to be found in a field not far from the factory area.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture HOL1.jpg   HOL2.jpg  

    HOL3.jpg   HOL4.jpg  

    HOL5.jpg   HOL6.jpg  

    HOL7.jpg   HOL8.jpg  

    Last edited by CARL; 04-06-2014 at 01:40 PM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Further images of the MWH facility, including the cable car transportation system as it is today...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture HOL16.jpg   HOL13.jpg  

    HOL14.jpg   HOL15.jpg  

    HOL17.jpg   HOL18.jpg  

    HOL19.jpg   HOL20.jpg  

    Last edited by CARL; 01-14-2013 at 02:05 AM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    There are no signs in or around the town that indicate the former camp, but at the actual site are several memorials, two of which are shown below.

    The barracks building. Shown as it is today, which apart from the new roof, is quite similar to the condition it was in following the allied air raid that took place during April 1945, that almost obliterated the whole camp and several of the MWH facility structures.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture HOL22.jpg   HOL21.jpg  

    HOL23.jpg   HOL24.jpg  

    HOL25.jpg   HOL26.jpg  

    HOL27.jpg  
    Last edited by CARL; 01-14-2013 at 02:08 AM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Another structure that still remains, the former men's barracks, later used to hold Hungarian Jewish women. This lies outside the grounds that have been privately acquired.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture HOL28.jpg  
    Last edited by CARL; 01-14-2013 at 02:10 AM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Finally some of the tokens that were used by the forced labour workers at the MWH (MetalWerkeHolleischen) factory.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture KZH Rpf d.jpg   SDC13542.JPG  

    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Hello Carl, Interesting photos, for sure! I have never much liked the wertemarkes from Holleischen. Have you ever seen any of them in a circulated condition? It seems that every one I have ever come across are brand new condition.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Carl, thank you for bringing yet another unknown historical gem to my attention

    Fascinating stuff !

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Hello William, in answer to your question regarding the condition of the tokens, unfortunately no. I have much information and countless photographs relating to the tokens that were used at Holysov, but the examples are always in near mint condition. Most that are found today are either unissued in sheet form, or near perfect such as those shown above. The denominations are also peculiar, with no known reason for creating every value from 1Rpf through to 10Rpf, then continuing with 15Rpf, 20Rpf and so on. The subject of camp monies is a fascinating area, and this is just one of many stories that encourages those of us interested in it to delve deeper. Many people believed that the Theresienstadt notes were created solely for use to mislead the Red Cross visitors, and indeed it wasn't until many years later when camp survivors began to explain that the notes were actually used by the prisoners, that people started to understand. The Natzweiler camp scrip is another fascinating story, as in the entire world ther is only a single known example. Personally, although prisoners have stated that the Holleischen tokens were used in the factory, I'd be happy to find a used example. Otherwise, some will say they may well all have been unissued and simply found many years later on site.

    Regards,

    Carl

    - - Updated - -

    Quote by Woolgar View Post
    Carl, thank you for bringing yet another unknown historical gem to my attention

    Fascinating stuff !

    Nick
    Thank you Nick, glad that you find it interesting.

    Cheers,

    Carl
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  9. #9

    Thumbs up Re: Kz holleischen

    Interesting. Probably one of the top reasons I'm drawn to wwii is that there is always new things to learn. This being one of them. Thank you for taking time to share these pictures and story with us.
    Last edited by CARL; 11-13-2017 at 01:39 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Kz holleischen

    Another image from the former metalworks factory MWH

    The translation reads as follows...

    "People, never forget what Fascism means..."

    Regards,

    Carl

    p.s. Thanks for the kind comments gents, glad that you find it interesting.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture SDC13642.JPG  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

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