The Kleparów Station

ID: 2604
The Kleparów station played a key role in the history and development of the Zwangsarbeitslager-Lemberg (ZAL-L). The train station is a secondary stop and freight station less than a mile from the city’s grand main station. During the time of the camp’s existence, Kleparów played a central role in the operations of the camp in several ways.


Most of the materials for the construction of the camp arrived at this station, given that it was across the street from the ZAL-L itself. Prisoners were tasked with unloading freight trains of building materials and then bringing to the camp. Usually, this took place after the usual long day of forced labor. As Leon Wells remembered, "NEW HUTS were continuously being built at the new camp, and we were forced to assist in their construction at night, notwithstanding the fact that we had to work all day. Accordingly, we were packed off after the evening inspection to unload building materials at the railway station." (Weliczker, 1963, 95) Prisoners called this labor "Vitamin Work" after the Polish words for the building materials—C" (Cegły - Bricks), "D" (Deski - boards), and "B" (Belki - Beams). Exhausted prisoners were forced to run back and forth from the station with these heavy loads and were often shot by guards if they did not run fast enough or carry enough building materials.  (Szkoła okrucieństwa, 1964, 43) This "Vitamin Work" is etched into the memories of survivors. Michał Borwicz wrote, "Those who proved unable to manage the loads were dragged from the columns of five and placed "behind the wire", that is between the two rows of barbed wire entanglements encircling the camp, with sections differing in diameter. Here the victims passed the whole night. In the morning, half-frozen, they were loaded onto automobiles and carried away for execution to the "Sands". After one episode of "vitamins" lasting from six in the evening until midnight, one hundred and thirty people were taken to their deaths." (Borwicz et al., 2014, 27)

Other prisoners routinely worked at the station unloading other kinds of goods. One ZAL-L prisoner recalled that "There were never enough workers for the job in the goods yard. A never-ending stream of trains carrying men and munitions passed through Lwów to the east in those days. Trains had to be unloaded and reloaded." (Folkmann, Szende, 1945, 67) In addition, clothes of murdered Jews from Bełzec also arrived in the camp, likely often by train. (Drix, Samuel, Tagebuch, 22)

Finally, the Kleparów Station served as the deportation site for both prisoners from the ZAL-L as well as many of the Jews of Lviv. The city streetcar line ended almost at the gates of the camp and so some Jewish residents of the city were taken from the ghetto via tram and then either taken to the Janowska camp or directly to Kleparów. Sometimes, thousands of Jews from the Lviv Ghetto were taken to Janowska and forced to wait in the open air overnight. Edmund Seidel remembered that "all the camp inhabitants [who had arrived from the ghetto] were driven to the Kleparów Station and loaded up there. Between the camp and the station, the guards formed a corridor through which we were driven to the train cars." (BA-ZS: B162/29309, 72) Fortunately, he was able to escape the train. The station became particularly important during the "Great Aktion" of August 1942. Marian Rogowski described the process. "Upon our arrival in the camp…women and children were separated on one side and men on the other….All of the prisoners had to wait to wait on the large collection space for the rest of the day and through the night…The next morning the actual selection took place…The women and children were on the day of their arrest and selection already marched to the Kleparów Station and loaded into rail cars. As we later learned, these transports went to Bełzec." (StAL: EL 317 III, Bü 1502, 135) In addition, Kleparów saw the arrival of deportation trains from across the region. Often some prisoners would be taken to the camp to work and unfit prisoners would be added to the train. In this way, Kleparów played a key role not only in the murder of the Jews of Lviv but also in all of Galicia.

The original station does not exist, having been rebuilt after the war. However, there is a memorial plaque now on the station wall remembering "the last stop of Lvov’s Jews" and that "the station served a passage [sic] for all Galician Jews on their way to death."

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Station played a central role as a deportation site as well as for delivering materials for construction.

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The Zwangsarbeitslager-Lemberg (ZAL-L) or The Janowska Camp

Station played a central role as a deportation site as well as for delivering materials for construction.

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Sites of mass murder of Jews near the Janowska camp.

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Michał Borwicz (1911-1987) — Polish-Jewish writer, prisoner of Janowska camp, member of  Żegota, underground organization;
Edmund Seidel
Marian Rogowski


1. StAL: EL 317 III, Bü 1502 — "Rogowski, Marian Statement, 22 September 1961." 
2. StAL: EL 317 III, Bü 1720 — "Translation of Szkola Okrucienstwa by Stanislawa Gogolowska, Wydanictwo Lubelskie, 1964." 
3. StAL: EL 317 III, Bü 1721 — "Drix, Samuel, Tagebuch, 1942-1943." 
4. Bundesarchiv Zentralle Stelle zur Aufklärung nationalsozialistischer Verbrechen (BA-ZS) B162/29309 — "Record of Soviet Military Court of the Carpathian Military Region against Prichodjko et. al, 14 December 1966." 
5. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373: GX8249 SK, exp. 31-32, 50-51 — "Luftwaffe Aerial Photo Film 137 Sk, 30 April 1944." 
6. Michał Maksymilian Borwicz, Jacek Tokarski, Leon Perlman, eds. The University of Criminals: The Janowska Camp in Lviv1941-1944, (Krakow: Wysoki Zamek Publishing House, 2014)
7. Adolf Folkmann, Stefan Szende, The Promise Hitler Kept, (New York: Roy Publishers, 1945)
8. Leon Weliczker Wells, The Janowska Road, (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963).

Author – Waitman Wade Beorn
Editing – Taras Nazaruk