Salt Mines

Whatever some returning POWs might have claimed; there were no POW Working Parties in salt mines.

No POWs worked in salt mines. There were no salt mines anyway!

During the second world war the nearest salt mine to Krakow was the Wieliczka Mine (now a tourist attraction) which is 230 km east of Lamsdorf, just south of Krakow, and completely outside the area where the POW Working Parties operated. No POWs worked there although the Nazis did show some interest in the mine and sent some Jews to work in an underground armament factory set up there. However, manufacturing never began as the Soviet offensive was nearing. Some of the machines and equipment was disassembled, including an electrical hoisting machine from the Regis Shaft, and transported to Liebenau in the Sudetes mountains. Part of the equipment was returned after the war, in autumn 1945. The Jews were transported to factories in the Czech Republic and Austria.

There had been another salt mine at Bochnia, 260 km east of Lamsdorf, but this had closed after the first world war.

The only other salt mine was at Klodawa, 265 km north of Lamsdorf, but this did not open until 1949.

This information has been confirmed by Polish mining expert and by the Polish Central Prisoner-of-War Museum at Łambinowice (Lamsdorf) on the site of the former Stalag VIIIB/344.

Philip Baker

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