Gęsiówka

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Jewish prisoners of Gęsiówka and Polish resistance fighters of the "Zośka" battalion of the Armia Krajowa after the liberation of the camp in August 1944

Gęsiówka (Polish pronunciation: [ɡɛ̃ˈɕufka]; the colloquial Polish name for a prison on Gęsia [Goose] Street in Warsaw; literally, "Goose Farm") which became a Nazi concentration camp in German-occupied Poland, during the Second World War.

History of Gęsiówka[edit]

Before the war, Gęsiówka was a military prison of the Polish Army on Gęsia Street (now Anielewicza Street), near the intersection with Okopowa Street and the Jewish cemetery. Beginning in 1939, after the German occupation of Poland, it became a re-education camp of the German security police (Arbeitserziehungslager der Sicherheitspolizei Warschau). In 1943 it was turned into a concentration camp for inmates from beyond Warsaw and Poland, equipped with a crematorium. The camp, together with the nearby Pawiak prison, formed the backbone of the Warsaw concentration camp complex. Gęsiówka inmates (mostly Jews) included prisoners from Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Hungary, Belgium and Germany.

Attack on Gęsiówka[edit]

Polish resistance fighters of the "Zośka" battalion of the Armia Krajowa pose on a captured German Panther Tank - 2nd August 1944
Soldiers of the "Wacek" tank platoon of the "Zośka" battalion on the corner of Okopowa and Żytnia Street - 2nd August 1944
Liberated Jewish women posing with Polish resistance fighters of the "Zośka" battalion - 5th August 1944

Gęsiówka liberation memorial plaque at 34 Anielewicza Street - the inscription is in Polish, Hebrew and English

On 5th August 1944, during the early phase of the Warsaw Uprising, the "Zośka" battalion of the Armia Krajowa's Radosław Group led by Ryszard Białous and Eugeniusz Stasiecki attacked the Gęsiówka camp which was being liquidated at the time. The Panther tank "Magda", one of two captured by the insurgents on 2nd August, was instrumental in the attack, supporting the assault with fire of its main gun. In the ensuing one-and-half-hour battle most of the SD guards were killed or captured, although some of the Germans managed to flee in the direction of the Pawiak prison. Only two Polish fighters were killed in the attack and 348 able-bodied Jewish prisoners, who had been retained by the Germans as slave labourers after the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, were rescued from certain death.

Many of the Jewish prisoners joined the ranks of the insurgents, and most of them were subsequently killed during the nine weeks of fighting that followed, as were the majority of their liberators (the "Zośka" battalion lost 70% of its members during the uprising).[1]

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 52°14′40.7″N 20°58′44.18″E / 52.244639°N 20.9789389°E / 52.244639; 20.9789389