Muzeum Martyrologiczne w Żabikowie
- The Martyrs’ Museum in Żabikowo
This museum is in Luboń (Żabikowo near Poznań), on the site of a former forced labour camp for Jews from the Łódź ghetto, Zduńska Wola, Sieradz, Wieluń, Pabianice, Gąbin, Gostynin and other ghettos in the Wartheland (Warta region); there was also a corrective labour camp and the Poznań Gestapo prison (Polizeigefängnis der Sicherheitspolizei und Arbeitserziehungslager Posen-Lenzingen) there. The labour camp for Jews was part of the Reichsautobahnlager (Reich motorway camps) system, which comprised a total of 24 such camps along the route of the Berlin-Poznań-Łódź-Warszawa motorway that was under construction. A total of around 10,000 people were employed in these camps, and their labour was exploited by private German firms from the Reich involved in the construction of the motorway. The man responsible for planning motorway routes and engaging the contractors to build them was Dr Fritz Todt, “chief inspector for German roads”, appointed in 1933. He created the paramilitary Organisation Todt (OT), which employed prisoners and forced labourers in the construction of military sites until the end of the war. The camp and Gestapo prison operated from April 1943 as a continuation of the function of the Fort VII Prison in Poznań. Individuals suspected by the Gestapo of enemy activity in respect of the Third Reich were incarcerated here for the duration of their investigation and interrogations (for several days or weeks). From here, prisoners were sent to the concentration camps Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück. The prison was intended above all for Poles. The museum on the site today was founded in order to commemorate both institutions – the slave labour camp for Jews engaged on the construction of motorways in the Wartheland (Warta region) and the Gestapo prison for Poles.The Martyrdom Museum in Żabikowo was created in 1979. The Museum is located in the space over 3 hectare along motor-way A2. There are the monuments commemorated the martyrdom of Poles, Jews, Luxemburgians, Dutch, Soviet Union citizens, and other nationalities.
In 2013 the Museum of the Former Extermination Camp in Chełmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof), created 1990, became the filial institution of the Żabikowo museum.
The Museum is composed of the three parts: the territory of the camp, the place of the Museum building, and the monumental space in Czołów (near Kórnik). The building of Museum is situated on the foundations of an old-camp barrack and the house of camp-commander.
In addition to its exhibition and educational functions, it has the following archival collections:
- materials on the Poznań Gestapo prison and the “corrective” labour camp,
- materials on forced labour camps for the Jewish populace in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), including: – transport lists from the Łódź ghetto, – lists of the names of prisoners from the various camps, – lists of the names of members of the camps’ staff, – lists of the companies employing Jewish prisoners, – original photographic documentation from the camps, – accounts and memoirs, – lists of human losses, – copies of correspondences between the administration of the Wartheland and the German companies employing Jews from the ghetto in Łódź and the German Gettoverwaltung (ghetto administration) – sourced from Polish and foreign archives, – copies of investigation and trial files. In addition, the museum gathers all types of data on Jewish forced labourers in its electronic database. The database on Jewish prisoners in forced labour camps in Greater Poland contains several thousand entries and is still being supplemented. It includes the following information on prisoners: basic details – prisoner number and remarks on that number, surname and given names; birth: date, place, gender, country of origin, remarks on birth (birth certificate number); family: marital status, data on spouse, information on prisoner’s parents, place of residence at the outbreak of the war, family connections, occupation, deportations: where the prisoner was from (list of ghettos, address in the ghetto), where sent to (list of camps), date of deportation, other information on deportation (e.g. source of information), further information; camps: name of camp, date, removal from roll; death: cause, other information, place of burial, date of death, date of cremation, death certificate, circumstances of death; sources: archive, file no., other data. The information in the database are available to scholars via museum employees. In its database the museum also gathers information on all the prisoners in the penal camp in Żabikowo, and has used it in a monographic publication about the camp.2 The museum possesses rich archival collections. There are also the following kinds of holdings:
- letters and illegal letters (grypsy) of prisoners,
- photographs of prisoners,
- reports, memoirs and questionnairs of prisoners,
- death certificates of prisoners
- lists of German businessmen employed Jewish prisoners,
- letters between German administration, German business and Łódź Ghetto authorities,
- investigation and trial records are concerning various camps.
A. Skibinska (ed.), chapter 4.
The Museum is open: Tuesday- Friday 9.00 - 15.00, Saturday-Sunday 10.00 - 14.00.