Country trips

Rabstejn Concentration Camp. 2,5 hour underground tour. CNWW10.

Rabstejn – Remains of WWII Concentration Camp

It must be booked in advance. You will spend aproximately 2,5 hour in the underground passages.

8 HOUR ROUND TRIP

There was a complex of underground aircraft factories during World War II. During WWII there were 2500 gestapo prisons and 76 camps, from them 38 were concentration camps on the teritorry of the present Czech Republic. Rabstejn was one of the concentration camps.

After Hitler issued his decree December 3, 1941 , “On Improving the Efficiency of Weapons Production”, the Rabstejn valley became an object of interest of the Fascist war machine.

On October 1, 1942 , the entire complex of Preidl’s textile factories in Rabstejn, Janska and Ceska Kamenice were confiscated by the Greater German Reich and handed over to the company Weserflugzeugbau Bremen (WFG), whose factories were destroyed in British bombing raids. The production programme of this company focused among other things on aircraft construction and weapons production. WFG’s workshops, machinery and core employees were moved during 1942-3.

Rabstejn was organizationally divided into zones – Werk A-B-C-D-E. In the zone of Werk A the company built a camp called “Nove Bremy” for its employees. As weapons production increased they required a greater number of workers. For this reason more than 30 Rabstejn camps were set up gradually in Janska-Rabstejn and Ceska Kamenice, plus 2 prisoner-of-war camps and, in August 1944, a concentration camp for about 700 prisoners. In total WFG in Rabstejn and surroundings had in its employ 6,000 employees (forced labourers, prisoners-of-war and concentration camp prisoners) from 18 countries.

In 1944 people all over the world already suspected that war was coming to a happy end. Only the big Nazi bosses in Germany continued to hope for a miracle weapon that would turn the tide of World War II to their victory. In the whole area occupied by the Third Reich underground weapons factories began to be built. Rabstejn-Janska was no exception.

In August 1944 the geological institute in Liberec performed the first research of the rock massif in the area of Rabstejn-Janska.

After an evaluation the company WFG decided to build an underground space to locate weapons production. To carry out this plan it was necessary to secure a sufficient work force. In August 1944 the first prisoners from the Flossenburg concentration camp were transported to build an underground factory in the newly set up concentration camp in Rabstejn.

From August 1944 to April 1945 prisoners excavated about 17,500 sq.m. of underground space in the rock massif of the Kamenice River valley. Due to the surroundings they did not reach the planned 80,000 sq.m. According to the records the underground factory project took the lives of 80 prisoners. However, many more people died here though it is not possible to determine the exact number.

After sixty long years, during which the underground complex in Rabstejn was closed to the public, part of the underground systems have reopened.

There is currently an exposition documenting Rabstejn’s mysterious past. You are cordially invited to come, have a look around and take in the atmosphere of the wartime years.

In September 1940 the company Vereinigte Farberein AG from Wienn bought the old textile factories in Rabstejn and Janska, they tried to continue in the production of textile, but in December 1941 all the factories were closed.
It was the end of the textile production in these villages.
In October 1942 everything was confiscated and the factories were passed to the company FY Weserflugzeugbau Bremen. The production programme of WFB was the military production and planes construction. Within the years 1942 – 1943 there were moved workshops, machines and employees. The military production all the time eincreased and it was necessary to bring the new labour. That is the reason why there were bulit more than 30 camps around, than two war prisoner camps for the Soviet, English and Ameriacn army officers. In total there worked more than 6000 prisoners from 18 countries. There were brought also forced workers from the occupied countries in Janska number 59.

In April 1944 there was made the geological research of the rocks in Janska and Rabstejn. The reason was to move the military production to the underground. The first underground passages were bulit from July 1944, that is why there was bulit the branch of the Flossenburg concentration camp with 700 prisoners that bulit in the rock 17500 square meters of the underground and in the end of April 1945 a part of production was moved there.

In the end of the war there was the spotted typhoid epidemic.

History of former textile factories is connected with the name of Mr. Franz Preidl (1810-1889) was a native of Liska, the oldest of 11 children, who built the first textile factory in the eastern part of the Rabstejn valley in 1860. During the years 1864 and 1867 two more textile plants were built downstream from the Kamenice River. Preidl then bought a thread factory from F. Hübel, which was built in 1858.

In 1869 the Czech northern railway line was built, which greatly contributed to the development and prosperity of Preidl’s textile concern. By the end of the 1930s Preidl’s company had 68,710 spindles to produce yarn and employed up to 1000 workers.

During the global economic depression Preidl’s factories were also affected and gradually went bankrupt. From 1938 to1941 Preidl’s textile plants progressively changed owners, who tried to revive production but to little effect. This marked the end of textile production in Rabstejn.

Number of victims of the Rabstejn concentration camp

Estimates of the total number of victims in the camp range from 80 to 100 people. Prisoners worked in the underground factory Weser of Bremen. The corporeal remains of the dead victims were weighed by trucks to the crematorium in the town Usti nad Labem at night, or buried at the end of the war in the mass graves. On May 5, 1945, healthy prisoners – about 600 were gathered and, under the supervision of SS guards, led out of the camp on a death march towards to the town Decin. After the liberation of the camp, 8 dead people were found in the morgue, who were subsequently buried in the village Janska cemetery.

English and American soldiers brought from the Terezin Small Fortress to Rabstejn

A group of English soldiers, prisoners of war, at the Small Fortress of Terezin, was imprisoned in the cell No. 39 at the 4th – i.e. IV. courtyard in the autumn of 1944, later rose from 8 to 142 men. They were imprisoned at the cell 44 to 4 April 1945. In contrast to other prisoners, English prisoners were well equipped. It happened, however, that the guards had treated them poorly and some of them got rid of them. Mr. Stanley Wood – the prisoner was treated with pneumonia from March 21, 1945 to April 4, 1945 in the prison hospital. A spokesman for a group of prisoners of war protested at the sadist – commander Rojko’s guard against haircuts and the removal of food delivered by the Red Cross, and against the treatment.

But Jockel – the gestapo prison Small Fortress of Terezin – ordered the sadistic Rojko to deal with them as with other prisoners, he said he coughs at international conventions that they are the worst kind of swine for him, and his job is to take care of them …………… (Jockel was executed after WWII in the nearby Litomerice town).

The English prisoners were seized in March 1945 for trenches at Litomerice, but they were appealed for the intervention of the German military authorities. They were taken back to the cell and shortly afterwards they were transported to unknown locations. It is not excluded that they were taken to the secret concentration camp at Rabstejn near Ceska Kamenice, where also English and American prisoners of war were exterminated.

NW from Prague – 2 hours

Trips :

1)Rabstejn WWII concentration camp trip number NWW10 – 8 hour round trip

Trips combinations :

1)Rabstejn NWW10 and Litomerice WWII concentration camps NWW11 trip – 8hour round trip

2)Rabstejn NWW10 and Terezin WWII concentration camps NW3 trip – 9hour round trip

3)Rabstejn NWW10 and Terezin NW3 and Litomerice NWW11 – WWII concentration camps trip – 10hour round trip

4)Rabstejn NWW10 and Litomerice town trip NWW5 – 8 hour round trip

5)Rabstejn NWW10 and Litomerice town trip NWW5 and Litomerice WWII concentration camp NWW11 trip – 9 hour round trip

6)Rabstejn NWW10 and Terezin NW3 – WWII concentration camps trip and Litomerice town trip NWW5 and Litomerice WWII concentration camp NWW11 trip – 9 hour round trip

7)Rabstejn NWW10 and Ustek medieval town and synagogue NWW7 trip – 8hour round trip