Memorial to the Victims of the Litomerice Concentration Camp

Pronunciation: Leet-meritz

In the official German documents, the concentration camp Litomerice was called Arbeitslager Leitmeritz
or SS Kommando B 5. Over 18,300 inmates passed through the camp between 1944-1945, coming
from Poland, the former Soviet Union, Slovenia, France, Germany and former Czechoslovakia. Its
inmates also included Belgians, Italians, Dutch, Serbs, Croats and Bulgarians. A group numbering
4,000 inmates consisted of Jews mainly from Poland, Hungary, former Czechoslovakia, Greece,
Lithuania, Latvia and other countries. As many as 4,500 inmates died in the camp due to ruthless
exploitation of human resources (cheap labor force) coupled with extremely harsh living conditions.

In the years 1942-1945, the Germans established various sub-camps of Flossenburg on Czech territory,
especially in border areas. Around two dozen large or smaller squads or labor camps were operating.
The largest of these was Leitmeritz, located north and west of Prague and south and east of Dresden.
From the spring of 1944 on, the Leitmeritz quarry was converted into a production site. Two large
undertakings were created with slave labor: tank engines were to be assembled in the Richard I
quarry, while the Richard II was to accommodate production for the Berlin-based Osram company.

The first transport of 500 prisoners from the Dachau Concentration Camp arrived at Leitmeritz on
March 24, 1944. Due to a lack of housing, the prisoners were lodged in the Small Fortress, the
Gestapo prison at Theresienstadt located 7 km. away from Leitmeritz. In the summer of 1944, the
prisoners constructed a barrack camp in close vicinity of the quarries. A total of 18,000 prisoners
passed through the Leitmeritz camp, most of them having arrived from the main camp at
Flossenburg as well as from the Gross-Rosen, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau Concentration Camps.
The SS deported about 4,000 Jews to Leitmeritz, most of them from Poland, but also from Hungary.
From February 1945 on, several hundred women also had to conduct forced labor at Leitmeritz.
The death rate at the camp was very high due to atrocious living conditions and disease epidemics.
Arms production frequently came to a halt because of the prisoners' poor health.

According to one traveler to the town, "We went through the ancient town of Litomerice where I saw a
spectacular white Baroque Christian church. Near an old and very elaborate gateway on the road
through the town, I caught a glimpse of some old concrete posts, which were used for the barbed wire
fences around the concentration camp. I learned that in the spring of 1944, a sub-camp of the
Flossenburg concentration camp was set up in Litomerice. Around 18,000 prisoners were brought to
this sub-camp in Litomerice and given a task of construction of an underground factory. A large
kommando (work group) from the Small Fortress was sent to this underground factory every day to
work. The Nazis had started building all their munitions factories underground because every city in
Germany was being bombed by the Allies. Working conditions for the prisoners at the factory were
horrible and the typhus epidemic resulted in many prisoner deaths at the camp. The below photo
was taken as our group entered the Small Fortress in Litomerice."

An official report by the United States Third Army Headquarters (Document 2309-PS, on Page 2,
Section IV, Paragraph 4): "Concentration Camp Flossenburg was founded in 1938 as a camp for
political prisoners. Construction commenced on the camp in 1938 and it was not until April, 1940,
that the first transport of prisoners was received. From this time on prisoners began to flow steadily
into the camp. Flossenburg was the mother camp and under its direct control and jurisdiction were
47 satellite camps or outer-commandos for male prisoners and 27 camps for female workers. To these
outer-commandos were supplied the necessary prisoners for the various work projects undertaken.
Of all these outer-commandos Hersbruck and Leitmeritz (in Czechoslovakia), Oberstaubling, Mulsen
and Sall, located on the Danube, were considered to be the worst."

According to prisoner Boguslaw Adam Kalinka, "Conditions at Leitmeritz were even worse than at
Auschwitz (for me). We no longer received food parcels and our food rations were even smaller than
at Auschwitz. Every day new prisoners arrived -- one, two, or three hundred. It became overcrowded.
Bunks were arranged in five tiers. About 3,000 prisoners died of typhus while we were there."

About 4,500 prisoners perished at Leitmeritz; the names of 3,200 victims are known. Many died as a
result of the dysentery epidemic which occurred in the winter of 1944/45.

Prior to the installation of its crematorium in 1945, dead bodies were sent to Theresienstadt to be
cremated (from July 1944 to the beginning of 1945). Two locally manufactured ovens were built in a
brick building in the sub camp at the beginning of 1945. Bodies were burned there until April 1945.
In April 1945, 405 bodies were cremated. The capacity of the ovens was incapable of keeping up with
the body count and mass graves were used in addition to the overs. 789 bodies were exhumed from
mass graves after the war and reburied in the National cemetery in Terezin. In addition the ashes
from the crematorium were moved to the national cemetery. Dead prisoners from the Flossenburg
sub-camp of Hertine (Rytne) were also brought to the Leitmeritz camp for cremation. In addition,
on April 16, 1945, 16 dead Jewish prisoners from Hertine were buried in the Ortsfriedhof in Hertine.

In April 1945, the SS began dissolving the camp under chaotic circumstances. About 1,200 of the
prisoners were left behind at the camp and liberated by the Red Army around May 7, 1945.
In 1946, a mass grave not far from the camp was uncovered, the bodies exhumed and finally buried
in new graves. In 1992, a memorial to the victims of the concentration camp, designed by Czech artist
Jiri Sozansky, was dedicated next to the former camp crematorium. The memorial is administered by
the TerezĂ­n Memorial, where an exhibition on the history of the Leitmeritz satellite camp is on display.

Miroslava Langhamerova put together a database of victims at the camp using 60 sources. The original
camp documents are kept in the Terezin Memorial. Other camp documents are in the care of the
National Archives in Prague under the collection Okupacni vezenske spisy (Occupation Prison
Records) -- transport lists and labor commando lists and so-called Lagerstarke, a book of arrivals
and departures which also provides records of prisoners' death. Well-preserved transport documents
have also become an important source. Their copies were provided to the Terezin Memorial by the
International Tracing Service (ITS) Bad Arolsen. Further, the Gedenkstatte Flossenbuerg (Flossenburg
Memorial) significantly helped in the development of the database after its staff had discovered, in the
National Archives in Washington, the so-called Hauptbuch (Main Book) of the core concentration camp
Flossenburg. Post-war materials, especially various records and memories which served as an
additional source, are kept mainly in the Terezin Memorial, in the Archive of the Czech Security Forces.



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If you know a survivor of Leitmeritz Camp, please contact me. Please review the site content below.
Zachor - We Remember.

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Remember the Victims

The only memorial for this Concentration Camp is this website.
Please submit the names of victims so I can list them.


LINKS

Litomerice Concentration Camp Links:

Database of Inmates of the Concentration Camp Litomerice 1944-1945

Leitmeritz Jewish Links:

Coming Soon

Survivors of Leitmeritz:



Victims of Leitmeritz:



(continued below)


Remember Your Family

International Tracing Service
JewishGen Family Finder
JRI-Poland: Search for Your Family
Yad Vashem: Search for Your Family
Yad Vashem: Submit Names of Your Family Members


Above: The two single muffle ovens in KL Richard (Leitmeritz), 4 km. from the Terezin ghetto.
These ovens still exist today and are under the auspices of the Terezin memorial.





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