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Brzeszcze coalmine

During the German occupation the Brzeszcze coalmine was taken over by the state concern Herman Göring Werke. In order to increase the rate of extracting coal, in 1942 the German management of the mine employed KL Auschwitz prisoners, for whom the Jawischowitz sub-camp was built. This was the first instance in the history of German concentration camps of prisoners being put to work underground.

The average inmate population was approximately two thousand. The majority were Jews from various German occupied countries as well as Poles, Czechs, Russians, Yugoslavs, Frenchmen, Germans and Austrians.

Despite the threat of being put in a concentration camp, some coalmine employees helped the prisoners. They comforted them, gave them food, mediated in their secret correspondence, sometimes did their work for them or even assisted in their escapes.