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Research on sub-camp Kochendorf

The journalist and political scientist Klaus Riexinger from the Miklos Klein Foundation in Bad Friedrichshall spent three days at the International Tracing Service (ITS) searching for information on Kochendorf, a sub-camp of concentration camp Natzweiler-Struthof. “My visit has permitted me to fully document four other transports in connection with Kochendorf”, said Riexinger. “I could even find the death notification for prisoner Miklos Klein, after whom our foundation is named.”

A Jewish prisoner, Klein was hanged in the camp in front of all other inmates. The rubric “particular occurrences” in the weekly report for the last September week in 1944 shows the following entry: “The Jewish-Hungarian prisoner no. 18.057 – Klein Miklos – sabotages his workplace by interrupting the branch circuit.” “This is an accusation that will never be proved and cost Klein his life”, explained Riexinger. “He became a central figure and a symbol of the cruel occurrences in the concentration camp.”

The Journalist succeeded in finding not only transport lists and the death notification, but also lists on prisoners’ work assignments and transfers to other sub-camps and weekly camp reports. “Thanks to previous research, our foundation is in the possession of a whole series of documents from the early stage of concentration camp Kochendorf“, said Riexinger. “When I found a clue that records on the subject of death marches were kept here, I became more and more curious about the ITS.”

Located in the parish of Bad Friedrichshall-Kochendorf, the sub-camp Kochendorf was run from September 1944 until March 1945. About 2000 prisoners from approximately 21 nations were kept prisoner here and had to do slave labour for the armaments industry. By late March 1945 and during the death march after the camp’s “evacuation”, a total of more than 440 prisoners lost their lives.