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Letters from infamous German concentration camp for children rediscovered

Historians from the recently founded Museum of Polish Children – Victims of Totalitarianism have discovered letters written by the children imprisoned in the infamous German concentration camp “Kinder KZ” for Polish children located at Przemysłowa Street in Łódź during the Second World War.

The Germans allowed them to write letters to their parents to keep up appearances. After 80 years, eight such letters have been discovered, all written under the watchful eye of their German imprisoners.

The camp was constructed right next to the Łódź ghetto and was initially intended to house Polish orphans, but the Germans quickly began imprisoning young petty thieves and the children of members of the Polish military underground.

The Germans treated the young children very harshly. Starvation, corporal punishment, diseases and slave labour claimed many young lives in the camp.

The camp was established in December 1942. The German Nazis kept an eye out for Polish children with blond hair and blue eyes, classifying them as “racially valuable” and suitable for “Germanization” through adoption by German parents via the Lebensborn association. Different estimates put the number of children who passed through the camp between 3,000 to 13,000. The youngest child on record was only two years old but most children were aged between 6 and 16.

In the 1960s, a housing estate consisting of 4-storey blocks of flats was erected in the former camp. All wooden buildings dating back to the times of the camp were demolished.

The crimes committed against Polish children is one of the reasons why the Polish government seeks war reparations from Germany. Another important factor in the level of destruction and theft that the German Army brought with it in 1939.

Stolen property occasionally makes its way back to Poland. For example, during the reconstruction of the Rottenburg Cathedral in 2010, it was discovered that a church bell from Poland could be found in the bell tower. The Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart took the initiative to return them, but much of the looted goods can still be found in German museums and private homes across the country.

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