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Gdańsk-Kokoszki – KL Stutthof Subcamp

Heritage Sites – Sites of martyrdom
Polska / pomorskie

A subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp started to operate in Gdańsk-Kokoszki on 13 September 1944. Its prisoners, Jews from Poland, France, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Hungary, were used by Germans as free labour. The first transportation, in mid-September 1944, brought about five hundred women to the camp. Within two months the number of prisoners grew to 1,600. In the winter of 1945 the camp was alos used to detain Poles from the Gestapo prison in Gdańsk[1.1].

The prisoners were lodged in POW barracks in Gdańsk-Kokoszki, from where they commuted every day by train to the Schichau shipyard, where they worked two 12-hour shifts building submarines and anti-raid shelters.

During the day the prisoners received 0.5 l of watery soup and 250 grams of bread. An evening meal included 0.5 l of soup. The food had too few calories for the prisoners to be able to regain strength. A big problem was the lack of proper clothes that would protect them against weather conditions. People died in the camp as a result of diseases, accidents in the workplace and beatings by the guards. Archival files indicate that the mortality rate skyrocketed towards the end of 1944. Dead bodies were burned in the crematorium belonging to the Medical Academy in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz and buried in the cemetery at Zaspa. As written by Danuta Drywa in her book called Zagłada Żydów w obozie koncentracyjnym Stutthof (“Extermination of Jews in the Stutthof concentration camp”), the higher death rate in November and December 1944 could be caused by a typhoid epidemic, insufficient supplies of clothing, and inappropriate food. Despite that fact, most prisoners believed that the living conditions in Kokoszki were much better than those in the main camp in Stutthof[1.2].

In February 1945, the Germans sent a few big groups of prisoners from the Stutthof concentration camp to the subcamp in Kokoszki. Their job was to build fortifications around the town and clear the railway tracks of snow. At that time the subcamp in Kokoszki served as a transit camp for those evacuated from KL Stutthof and its branches, as well as for people arrested in Gdańsk for various offences, like avoidance of work for the army. Living conditions deteriorated a lot at that time, which was caused by such things as limited supplies of food and diseases spreading in the camp. The prisoners suffered from frostbite, typhoid fever, diarrhea and other ailments[1.3].

With the eastern front approaching the area, the Nazis decided to evacuate the camp. After a night selection, the sick and exhausted people were separated from the rest. The Germans gathered those who remained in a column, which was then led on foot to Rybno and Godętowo. The camp was liberated on 23 March 23 1945[1.4].

A monument in the form of a rectangular prism intersecting a glacial erratic and placed on a granite block was unveiled in 1984 at the intersection of Nowatorów and Maszynowa Streets. The inscription on the monument read: “To the eternal glory and memory of the prisoners of the Stutthof subcamp in Kokoszki, tortured and murdered by the Nazi murderers in the years 1944-1945”[1.5].

Numerous human bones were found in 2011 during construction works of a factory in Kokoszki.

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[1.1] Drywa D., Zagłada Żydów w obozie koncentracyjnym Stutthof, Gdańsk 2001.

[1.2] Drywa D., Zagłada Żydów w obozie koncentracyjnym Stutthof, Gdańsk 2001.

[1.3] Drywa D., Zagłada Żydów w obozie koncentracyjnym Stutthof, Gdańsk 2001.

[1.4] Drywa D., Zagłada Żydów w obozie koncentracyjnym Stutthof, Gdańsk 2001.

[1.5] Pomnik więźniów podobozu Stutthof w Kokoszkach, Zarząd Dróg i Zieleni w Gdańsku [online] [Accessed: 09.04.2015].

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54.3620° N / 18.4920° E
54°21'43" N / 18°29'31" E
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