The Site of National Remembrance

The Site of National Remembrance

The complicated history of Łambinowice (until the end of World War 2 known as Lamsdorf) goes back to the 1860s. It was then that the Prussian military range was established in this area and it is in this area later on where isolation camps were organized. At the time of wars they were POW camps designed for soldiers and in periods between military conflicts – they played the role of migration camps for civilians.

The first camp was organized here during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). It was designed to accommodate about 6 thousand French POWs. Over the years of World War 1, in the military range, there functioned a POW camp which accommodated over 90 thousand soldiers of the Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Italian, British and French Armies (the Entente). In the Interwar period there were staying here a few dozen thousand German immigrants from the territories incorporated into Poland. Thus, it was the only ever, in the history of the place, non-repressive camp designed for Germans who had left their homes located in the areas included into the territory of the Polish state which was regaining her independence.

During World War 2, Lamsdorf counted into the largest German-run complexes of POW camps in Europe. There were about 300 thousand soldiers of the anti-Nazi coalition detained here (including the most numerous groups of Soviet, Polish and British POWs), who were members of 10 regular armies and represented a few dozen nations.

The last of the camps was established by Poles after World War 2. It functioned in the years 1945-1946. There were chiefly members of the civilian population from the nearby villages isolated in it. They were German citizens designed to be resettled into the heart of Germany. The number of the detained is estimated at about 5 thousand.

Some scores of thousands of the detained died in Lamsdorf. Three war cemeteries which contain their ashes, together with the remains of the camp infrastructure, are important material traces of the tragic past. Since 1968 these objects have been known as the Monument of National Remembrance, renamed in 2002 into the Site of National Remembrance. Both the facilities of the former camp and the war cemeteries in Łambinowice form the so-called Route of Remembrance, along which visiting of the Site is organized.