Auschwitz Transit Camp

Sosnowitz-Dulag, Poland

Sosnowitz-Dulag was a transit camp that Gerda spent a little bit of time at before being relocated to her first work camp of Bolkenhain.

In June of 1942, everything that Gerda had known or come to love about Bielsko, Polond was gone. A couple of days before Gerda’s departure from Bielsko, her father was taken away by train to a new destination. Then Gerda and her mother left the ghetto they had been staying at and were taken to an area where they SS officers separated them into two different groups. (Klein, 91) This would be the last time that Gerda ever saw her mother because she was loaded into a truck and taken to the local train station. From there Gerda and several others were loaded onto the train to be transported to Sosnowitz-Dulug. (Klein, 95)

Sosnowitz-Dulag was a subcamp for the larger concentration camp system known as Auschwitz. This camp was used as a transit camp for Jews to either be taken straight to Auschwitz or transported to some of the local working camps that were in need of a labor force. (USHMM, 270) The camp originally opened in 1941 on the Gliwicka Street. (Klein, USC Shoah)

When Gerda arrived at Sosnowitz-Dulug, she and the rest of the girls were taken to the Militz (Jewish auxiliary police force established by the Germans) headquarters. (Klein, 96) There she remained for several days until they were transported to a red-brick building that at one point had been a school. Gerda and her friend, Isle, would remain there until they might be picked for a labor pool. One day the girls were taken into the yard for roll call and a man pointed out several girls that would be taken to the Weberei, meaning weaving mill. (Klein, 104)

On July 2, 1942, Gerda and her friend, Isle boarded the train that would take them to their new location a work camp called Bolkenhain. (Klein, 111) Sosnowitz was originally opened in May of 1944 with 600 prisoners. (USHMM, 270) Throughout the rest of the years more prisoners would be added to Sosnowitz, but the number would always fluctuate since the camp was only used as a transit destination. “The Sosnowitz camp was finally shut down and the approximately 863 prisoners evacuated in January 1945.” (USHMM, 271) After a grueling march the prisoners were loaded into boxcars in Opava and then taken to the Gusen subcamp. (USHMM, 271) That is the last report of what happened to the remaining prisoners that were in Sosnowitz.